July 27, 2011

Soup to Nuts: Sipping the blues

If you can't get enough of blueberries, you're in luck. Now you -- and sometimes your dog -- can quaff them in tea, beer, vodka or coffee.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Owen Jolley, 2, picks blueberries with his mother Lindsey on Saturday at Libby & Son U-Picks in Limerick.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Pat Leslie and Jeri Stuart from Gorham gather highbush blueberries at Libby & Son U-Picks in Limerick.

Additional Photos Below

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WHERE: First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 114 Main St. (Routes 1 and 35)

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

WHAT: Blueberry muffins and pies, chowder luncheon, raffle, 40 artisans and crafters from all over New England

INFO: 985-3700


WHERE: Various venues downtown

WHEN: Aug. 19-21

WHAT: Baking and pie-eating contests, blueberry farm tours, more than 200 craft booths, foot races, Blackfly Ball, parade, blueberry quilt raffle; blueberry musical comedy Aug. 17-20, which costs $13 for adults and $5 for children

INFO: 255-6665


WHERE: Rangeley Inn, 2443 Main St.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 18

WHAT: Blueberry jams, muffins and pies; gifts and crafts; entertainment for children.

INFO: 864-5364


WHERE: Union Fairgrounds, on Common Road off the Union Common

WHEN: Blueberry activities are scheduled for Aug. 21, 23, 25, 26 and 27

WHAT: Wild Blueberry Queen contest; kids' wild blueberry pie-eating contest; blueberry pie competition; wild blueberry muffin and dessert contests; blueberry pancake breakfast; free individual blueberry pies to all fair patrons on Friday.

HOW MUCH: Fair admission is $8 adults, $4 for children 12 to 14, free for children under 12

INFO: www.unionfair.org/Blueberry.cfm


WHERE: Various venues in Wilton

WHEN: Aug. 5-6

WHAT: Free concert, parade, vendors, crafts, fireworks, blueberry bazaar, blueberry cook-off, horse-drawn wagon rides, boat tours of Wilson Lake, firetruck rides, quilt and rug show.

INFO: 778-4726, or for a complete schedule go to www.wiltonbbf.com


WHERE: Winslow Congregational Church, 12 Lithgow St.

WHEN: Aug. 13

WHAT: Blueberry pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m.; homemade blueberry pies; silent auction; large yard sale; hot dog stand

INFO: 872-2544; www.winslowucc.org/home

-- Compiled by staff writer Meredith Goad

Once I got going, I lapped this stuff up like there was no tomorrow.

I heard my human say that the tea is good for me too. The company that makes it, Pet Bistro in some place called Pennsylvania (petbistro.us), says their blueberry tea is packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins. I have no idea what those are, but they're supposed to help me avoid diseases and live longer, and that makes my tail wag faster.

Not only does the tea contain wild Maine blueberries, it's certified organic by MOFGA, whatever that means. And it's real food, so even my human could drink it if she wanted to.

I give this product four woofs. It would have gotten five if it had a little bacon.

Price: $14.50 for 2 ounces


Let me make something perfectly clear up front: I absolutely love Cold River Vodka. It's my go-to brand for serving summer guests.

It's one of the two best vodkas I've ever tried, the other one being some incredibly smooth Russian vodka I had in Helsinki once, when I dined with a party that included the former governor of Maryland and we all got quietly snockered while eating our reindeer entrees. (It's a long story.)

I hope that will be enough to keep the good folks at Cold River Vodka (did I mention they do a lot of charity work?) from putting out a hit on me for what I'm about to say next.

Cold River Blueberry Vodka? Not so much.

When it first came out, I excitedly purchased a bottle to serve to guests from out of town. Everyone politely finished their drink, but no one wanted a second, and the bottle sat in the fridge, untouched, for the rest of the week.

Oh, it's fine for mixed drinks. And I appreciate the fact that it contains so little sugar compared with other ultra-sweet brands of flavored vodkas.

But served neat or on the rocks, it has an artificial taste (even though there's nothing artificial in it) that seems nothing like blueberries and is just not appealing.

Feel free to disagree with me. I'd love to hear from folks -- no friends or family of Cold River employees, please -- who think I'm crazy and wouldn't drink anything else.

Meanwhile, I'm sticking to plain, and plain delightful, Cold River Vodka.

Price: $36.99


This product, flavored with Maine blueberry juice, is kind of dangerous.

There are 165 calories and 40 grams of sugar in each 12-ounce bottle, but it's so danged delicious, and it actually doesn't taste too sweet.

It's like you ate a mouthful of blueberries and they somehow carbonated in your mouth. I could drink it every day.

If it makes you feel any better, the sugar in this soda is fair-trade certified organic evaporated cane juice. And the soda is delivered locally in a vehicle that runs on recycled restaurant fryer oil.

Price: $5.99 for a 4-pack


Armed with fresh blueberries from the farmers market, I tried this recipe from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council over the weekend, and soon found myself totally addicted. I couldn't stop drinking it.

The sweetness of the blueberries works with the sugar to cut the tartness of the fresh lemon. The whole berries floating in the glass among the ice cubes provide a taste of visual fun. It's like Maine's own version of bubble tea.

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Additional Photos

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Growers report healthy highbush blueberry crops.

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Odie checks out Wild Maine Blueberry Dog Tea before lapping up a cupful.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer


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