A Crash Course in Blueberries - Christine Kane

blueberries6.jpgMy friends and I were talking about delight and self-care. We were reflecting on value and laughing about how often our penny-pinching choices actually cost us money in the long run. Clothes we bought because they were on sale, not because we loved them. Food that merely filled us up rather than feeding us. Each one of us agreed that when we deny ourselves our true delight, we end up spending more on bigger unwanted things because we “deserve them, damn it.”

Someone shared a conversation she overheard at a grocery store in Boca Raton…

A group of white-haired older women were talking in the produce section. One of them reached over and got two pints of blueberries and put them in her cart.

Her friend looked at her and said, “Oh my! Blueberries are so expensive now. These organic kind are $5.99 a pint! That’s just outrageous!” The other women in the circle agreed. A grave discussion on the cost of fruit ensued. It turned into a conversation about inheritances and the rising cost of health care.

When the conversation died down, the woman with the blueberries looked around. She finally said, “Well, I love blueberries. Screw my son’s inheritance. I’m gonna enjoy my blueberries in the time I have left.” And she pushed her cart away to continue her shopping.

My friends and I cracked up when we heard this story.

I remembered it yesterday when my husband came home with a literal trough of blueberries he’d gotten from a local organic farmer. “I bought him out!” stated my husband proudly. “He had to go home!”

I almost asked, “Oh my. How much was all of this?” But I remembered the delightfully ornery woman in the grocery store. I took a deep breath and instead of asking such a boring question, I inhaled summer. I told myself to enjoy some blueberries while summer’s here. And I did.

What delights you?

  • Erin

    I like the blueberries story. The 70something mother of a friend of mine says, “If I can’t eat what I want now, when can I?”.

  • Jack

    tattoos, workouts, calm moments with my hyper puppy, hyper moments with my hyper puppy, squash, sangiovese, bare feet in my studio, paint between my toes, the sound of trains rolling by outside my window, kudzu, “the last days has begun” graffiti on an old abandoned warehouse I pass on my way to the studio…these are my every day delights. How grateful am I.

  • Alice

    For me it is peaches, picked off the tree in August in Virginia, still warm, dripping with juice. Almost a religious experience!

    On a related topic, I read recently about how pesticides used in produce grown in South America are killing lots of birds (and are not too good for us, either) so we have sworn off produce from there and are making a real effort to each foods grown locally. This means that we will only be able to get blueberries, peaches, etc when they are in season in the US.

    So we are really enjoying the fruit this summer!

  • Pat K.

    Wow, lots of replies to this one. I adore the teeny tiny strawberries that used to grow near our cabin in wisconsin. I love black berries and want to start growing them here in New Mexico. Once my home is built, I can plan on where to put them. That and raspberries.

    Christine, it would be great to see information or a blog post on where a vegetarian can eat where fast food restaurants are concerned. I have trouble making the switch from a meat eater to vegetairan when I mostly have to get lunch in a hurry. I am starting by making my own veggie sandwiches. (Because I think the only place to get vegetarian–but not vegan–quick lunch is Subway.) I also adore rice and beans, but those get tired fast.

  • Sharon J

    Great story. Loved it!

    Strawberries are my summer weakness.

  • Mark


  • LMaxwell

    How about dry cranberries, totally delightful!
    And pure cranberry drink simply oh ohuaa.

  • m

    cherries and the ingredients to make traditional summer pudding

    jasmine green tea

    green and black’s dark cherry organic chocolate


    breakfast out with colour supplement magazines to read

  • pati

    Hi, all.

    Organic peppermint tea . . . hot or cold, but cold preferred. The color is beautiful, too. Tastes good. Smells wonderful. Looks mysterious. Feels great.

  • Tim


    Great post! I feel the same way about cherries. Yes, they are typically expensive. But for a small window they are available every year, cherries are worth it. I am worth it! One of my simple pleasures every year is to eat cherries, blueberries and all of the incredible summer fruit. It is a priceless experience!


  • Kate

    I live on the 5th floor of an apartment building in the heart of downtown in a city. I enjoy getting fresh cut flowers from the farmer’s market. It’s not essential….and I usually tell myself “just this once”. Loved the story.

  • Deb

    I bought strawberries for the 4th for the same reason.

  • connie

    Blueberries remind me of my childhood in Germany!!! We would pick for hours, we would fill up tin liter milk jugs,come home and have a bowl with cream. I can’t pass up blueberries, no matter the cost. Cherries would be another “costly” indulgence. YUMMY!!! Loved the story too.

  • thegrapesofrap

    since you mentioned grocery shopping in boca….
    as someone who actually grew up in boca—the funny saying i heard from my Dad recently to describe retirees in boca/delray is someone is really old when they get to an age where they “stop buying the green bananas”.
    i laughed so hard, but it’s one of those sad but true things.
    one day i’ll probably stop buying the green bananas because i’m not sure i’ll be around when they ripen.

  • jinny

    Mint Shampoo is great as well!

  • leah

    oo, i love this post! and the grocery store conversation was too funny.

    i think i’ve finally learned how to shop for clothing for myself (i used to avoid it like the plague and ended up wearing things til they were utterly destroyed from over-use.) i had trouble justifying buying clothes that seemed expensive to me. feelings of lack would come up and i’d end up running out of the store with nothing. this usually left me frustrated and with a lot of scrappy (and crappy) clothes. a slight shift in thinking and this summer i went out looking for items of clothing that gave me a feeling of pure delight. what a different shopping experience that was! it certainly cut down the amount of time i’d normally spend looking and not buying anything and i feel so fabulous in the items i chose. my husband noticed my new confidence, which stems not from the clothing necessarily, but from going with what brings me joy and and expressing inner self on the outside too.

    always go towards the bliss!

  • Emily

    My parents have tons of wild raspberry vines in their grove…I used to go out there with the dog and wonder around eating them. My fingers would be stained red for days at a time! Worth going home for those alone!
    One of my favorite delights though — fresh, ripe mangos off roadside stands in St. Croix. Nothing tastes better!

  • elizabeth

    What a fun post! This past weekend my husband and I went camping. We live in Colorado, and all of the wildflowers are blooming right now! The forest was a vast palette of colors! Flowers of all shapes and sizes. It was pure delight to be surrounded by such natural beauty!

  • Kelsey

    Your post title immediately made me thing of the Catie Curtis album. . .

    The picture makes me thing of the summer at camp when the cook had a bunch of government surplus blueberries to work with. Ever baked good we ate, all summer long, was full of blueberries. After a while, you start to wish for plain pancakes!

    Right now I’m delighted by my son’s smile because he’s only four months old and it is still awfully new. I’m also delighted by my three-year-old who says things like, “Mom, Michael picked that toy up with his mighty fistes!”

  • Christine Kane

    yet another jessica – why not do both?? 🙂

    diane – i am all about peaches when the skin peels right off with your finger. i’ll just stop at a stand by the road in ga and eat one right there dripping all over the asphalt.

    you go, barbv!! my husband likes those local brews too. he buys the “jug” size. and yes, this is about delight – not just fruit. (much to the dismay of “Intrepid.” !!)

  • BarbV

    OK. I wasn’t gonna post cause everyone is talking about fruit and this healthy stuff but what the heck. You know what I don’t mind paying for and I really enjoy? The local beer here in Asheville. Nothing like sitting out on the deck enjoying the woods, the sound of the birds with a nice cold Endless Summer Ale. I have no problem paying more for the local brews. They’re fresh, extremely tasty and the my money stays here in the community, which is really important to me.

  • Diane

    I delight in many fruits but Parker County peaches are really special, they just had their annual peach festival where you can taste peach everything. I also love blueberries! Here is a tip for the frugal…You can buy them frozen and they are just as good and so much cheaper. You don’t even need to thaw them for smoothies. Yum!

  • Yet Another Jessica

    As a teenager I drove my father nuts because I could finish off any berries he bought within about, oh, an hour. I felt like I could live off nothing but berries, cherries, and grapes for weeks, and I still feel that way. It’s lychee season, too. Summer fruit rocks. Now I’m hungry.

    I actually spent part of this weekend looking up the difference between blueberries and bilberries, so there’s some synchronicity there. Does that mean this is my task for the next couple of days, to think about what delights me (or maybe to just go buy more fruit)? 🙂

  • Christine Kane

    My apologies, Intrepid! I was having fun with a popular CD title of Catie Curtis’s called a crash course in roses. we artists just shouldn’t write blogs, I guess! We’re hell on google searches.

    sandy – i’ve never even seen a raspberry bush. it sounds so unbelievably exotic!

    • Lee Hauck

      Christine Kane,

      In what USDA climate zone do you live? I would be delighted to send you some rootstock of eastern european yellow raspberry. They are as delicious as the domestic reds, not as full flavored as the commercial blacks but a delicious mellow sweetness drop shadowed by a fruity tartness.

      Easy to grow but you will probably not get any fruit until June of 2013, but by then you will be ready for many more anxious years of anticipation for that season to roll around, once again.

      Enjoyed your musings on that poetic licensed misdirection titled, “A Crash Course in Blueberries”!!!

      BTW, who are you and what do you really do in and for life??? I did enjoy, purely by happenstance, your writing style and the stimulating provocations to think!!!



  • Sandy

    Raspberries are mine. Reminds me of summers in Maine at my grandmother’s house. Her neighbor had a bunch of bushes, and they would always let us come and pick as many as we wanted!

  • Intrepid

    While I enjoyed reading this story I must admit I was a bit disappointed. From the title, I was expecting to be schooled in all things blueberry. How to pick good ones, how to determine the carbon footprint by where they came from, etc. Instead it was merely and anecdote about life, which is fine, just not really what the title suggested. Thanks for listening!

  • Christine Kane

    Wow. What beautiful reflections here.

    Mokana – I’ve only ever had Goji berries dry – so I’d love to experience them ripe and from the bush!

    Tammy – yay! You got a new dog! I’m happy to hear that.

    Rachel – black raspberries are my all-time favorite. there’s a bush of them by the river where I walk my dog – and I’m always halfway in that thicket grabbing as many as I can find. Truly wonderful.

  • Lance

    That’s the great thing about seasons. Something new in each one, and a chance for us to savor whatever it is we love about spring, summer, fall, and winter. I love blackberries, and miss the previous house we were at which had the largest, most delicious blackberries ever. Summer is also a time for me to enjoy water. It may sound weird, but water tastes so good to me on a hot summer day – it’s a refreshing pick me up.

  • Sue

    Love the story of the woman in the grocery store! My delight was eating the first ripe tomato from our garden yesterday. I LOVE tomatoes. I was nearly giddy about it, and I just savored the freshness and flavor of it.
    I also delighted in the sunrise on my way to work today. A giant orange ball hung low in the sky. And like you said in your post, it was like breathing in summer, these things.

  • rachel

    My family has always sought out black raspberry bushes which typically grow along railroad tracks and other out of the way, weedy places. I remember hunting for them with my mom when I was small. Now at 45 I still help them track down and snatch up treasure troves of berries that seem completely forgotten in our packaged world.

  • Suzanne Hull

    Its coincidental that you posted this message. Just yesterday I was running in the woods listening to my ipod when I came to cliff that overlooked a valley with a stream. I stopped, took off my earphones and just marvelled at the beauty that exists in the world. I listened to the quiet and breathed it in for a while. It stopped my run for a minute, but spiritually it filled me up.

  • Tammy Lenski

    Christine, I love the story about the woman in the grocery store!

    I was just at the top of a mountain yesterday with Rod and our new dog Smudge, and I grazed on blueberries for the last quarter mile up or so…it felt like heaven itself to be up there on such a beautiful day with the man I love, a funny little dog and the delight of fresh, wild berries.

  • Julie

    Great post Christine!

    I remember having a similar conversation recently with colleagues.
    We mused about the fact that we never questioned the price of a chocolate bar but always think twice about the cost of “healthy” food.


    I eat at least three pounds of BB a week. They are high in anti inflamatory antixioidants(spelling). GOJI Berries are the best for those that what to rid the body of bad stuff and fill it up with singlet oxygen gathering nutrients. I got turned BACK onto a Vegan and raw food diet by Raw Melissa which is the site I found you. Talk about viral. I am down 12 pounds and heading back to 195 and it makes me . . . happy!

  • Thien-Kim

    I love blueberries too. We went blueberry picking at our local farm this past week. It gives me so much satisfaction whenever I open up my freezer and see the 8 quart-sized bags of blueberries. Of course I had to make blueberry scones the first day. Then blueberry bbq sauce with roasted cornish hens the next. We should definitely indulge in the foods we love that are also healthy for us!

  • Tally

    That’s exactly the way I behave this summer: I revel in fresh foods that I found too expensive to allow myself before (although since many years I would have had the money, but always had an eye on saving as rule):
    Local cherrys – what a dream!
    Strawberrys, blueberrys, rasberrys.

    They keep me healthy and make me happy.

    Hello from Hamburg

  • Irene

    Thank you!
    Strawberries are my favorite delight. When I hear the comments about the cost in my head I turn the switch off. My other delight is life.