For some, summer meant picking fresh blackberries. Though pricked and stained fingers were often the end result, the sweet and juicy fruit consumed throughout picking was well worth it. Our Coronado Farmers Market is providing locals with the sweet, antioxidant-rich fruit sans scratches (though stains may still apply.)
Pauma Valley Citrus is known for its spectacular choice of lip-puckering fruits, but you won’t find them at our market. Instead, you’ll find rows of freshly picked blackberries, unpasteurized fruit juice and homemade blackberry jam.
“The farm has been around for 32 years,” said Frank Villalovas, who was born and raised on the stretch of land. “We’ve been organic the entire time.”
The organic berries are picked the same morning they’re sold—leaving you without the prickly thorns and instead with full-flavored, sweet fruit.
“The grocery store picks them a week before they’re ready,” Villalovas said, explaining the supermarkets’ inconsistency of sweet berries.
Blackberries are known for their high antioxidant properties, which are higher than those found in strawberries and raspberries. Though they are called black, in actuality, they’re dark purple. Blackberries are a great source of energy, making them perfect snacks; fiber, for healthy digestion; and vitamin C, which boosts our immune system and is great for our skin.
Pauma Valley Citrus boasts two acres of bramble bushes, so they put their surplus of berries to good use. The farm cooks up some homemade blackberry jam inside a certified kitchen and serves it up for around $6-$7 a jar. (Note: The jam has sugar added, for those watching their sugar intake.)
They also make unpasteurized blackberry juice, served ice cold for $4. The juice is a must, as it’s rarely found in markets, and the sweet-and-sour juice is great for downing on a hot day, or mixing into your favorite cocktail. Their lemonade also contains a few drops of blackberry juice for added color and flavor.
The organic farm, located southwest of Palomar, is bringing us blackberries only while supplies last. Villalovas said the farm should produce enough blackberries to be sold the next two weeks, and then they’re gone. Grab a carton (or three) for anywhere between $3.50 and $10. Then try out one (or all) of the four recipes I’ve created or borrowed for this dark and sweet summer fruit.
Blackberry Mint Lemonade
A great way to cool you off by the pool!
- Muddle six blackberries with a sprig of mint and a teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of a cup. Pour your favorite lemonade over it and add ice.
- Ahh! (Make it “grown-up” lemonade and add a splash of vodka to the mix.)
Food and Wine Magazine Blackberry Compote
Pour this over vanilla bean ice cream and indulge.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of orange juice with 2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch.
- Put the blackberries in a small saucepan with ½ cup of granulated sugar, 5/8 cup of orange juice (3/4 cups with 2 tablespoons removed), a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of clove.
- Bring to a simmer over low heat and continue simmering for one minute.
- Stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the compote.
- Simmer, stirring, until thickened, about three minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Blackberry-Glazed Pork Chops
Go the savory route with this simple glaze for pork.
- In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup Pauma Valley Citrus blackberry jam, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and a dash of cinnamon.
- Cook and stir over low heat until the jam is melted.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Sprinkle both sides of four pork chops with 2 tablespoons of your favorite steak seasoning.
- In a large nonstick skillet, cook the chops in 2 tablespoons of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160ºF. Serve with blackberry sauce and fresh Pauma Valley blackberries on top.
Blackberry Afternoon Snack
This one’s for the kids. Let them assemble it!
- Mix together one 8-oz container of room-temperature strawberry cream cheese with one 16-oz container of marshmallow fluff (found in the baking aisle at the grocery store.)
- Spread onto graham crackers and stick as many blackberries as you can fit on top.
- Take a bite and smile with your mouth full.