The Berries at Bug Hill
At Bug Hill Farm, we grow all our berries (currants, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, eldberries, and aronia) using organic and regenerative practices that benefit the taste and nutrient value of the fruit and the health of the land. To enjoy the delicious goodness of these berries, come to the farm and and pick them fresh (check for up-to-date picking info here) or enjoy their savory flavors in one of our house-made shrubs, cordials, or spreads.
Currants are our oldest cultivated crop at Bug Hill Farm and are our premium rare berry. We have white, red and pink but predominantly black currants, the original stand of which were planted several decades ago. Currants are chock-full of goodness, boasting one of the highest levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals of any fruit. Fresh currants can be a bit tart - though some people love the tangy flavor - but they are excellent in jams, sauces syrups and even for making wine. We use our black currants in one of our most popular specialty products - Kiss of Cassis black currant cordial, whose delectable uses are too many to list (see product page). Click here to read more about the history of black currants in the US.
Gooseberries are from the same botanical family as currants and are similarly tart. They can be eaten raw but are often cooked into sweet jams and savory sauces. Additionally, like currants, fresh gooseberries are not commonly grown in North America and are rarely available in local markets. So come on up and try them!
Our cultivated highbush blueberries are among the youngest of our berry crops and are starting to produce well - sweet, plump and delicious berries ready for picking starting mid-summer. Our native bushes, some of which are more than 12 feet tall, are the elders of our farm. Although the berries are smaller, they are especially tasty, and there are plenty for you and the birds! Blueberries are at the top of the list when it comes to health benefits, loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. We love our blueberries by the handful, in smoothies, on yogurt, and in pancakes.
Our raspberries are probably our most coveted PYO berry. We have black raspberries, ripe in mid-to-late July, and fall red raspberries in our high tunnel greenhouse, starting in mid-August and often extend into late September. Both are delicate in flavor and texture and melt in your mouth! Not only are raspberries delicious but they are well known for their anti-cancer benefits, coming from their diversity and abundance of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Raspberries are a treat right off the cane, divine in a salad or salad dressing and mouth watering on top of ice-cream.
Also known as the chokeberry - presumably for its mouth puckering tartness, aronia are similar in color and size to the blueberry. Like many of our berries here at Bug Hill Farm, the rich, deep color of aronia means it is a powerhouse of healthy goodness. Because of their tartness, aronia berries are most often used in a recipe with a sweetener, such as one for muffins (swap out blueberries for aronia), in smoothies or as a syrup. These are so nutrient dense that you’ll want to sneak them into whatever you are making!
In England, it is commonly said that summer doesn’t start until the creamy white fragrant blossoms of Elderberry are in bloom and summer comes to a close when the bush is dripping with ripe berries. Both the flower and berries of Elder have long been touted for their medicinal properties - relieving cold, flu, sinus and allergy symptoms, to name a few. The flower can be used to make hot tea or a cold beverage. We also use the flowers to make an elderberry syrup that is divine in a glass of seltzer or water - a perfect as a thirst quenching beverage for hot days of summer. And don’t forget the power of the elder wood….. in Harry Potter, elder was the most sought after and mightiest wand of them all.