by Janet Boyd
Boyd Family Farm
How many blueberries can you fit in your mouth? I’ll race you up Blueberry Hill! Can we go to the pajama party in the blueberry field? When is the Blueberry Festival? These are just a few of the questions we hear over and over again as the blueberry season begins.
In 1926, the Army Corps of Engineers made plans to build Lake Whitingham, otherwise known as Harriman Reservoir, in southern Vermont. The Boyd family was required to move from their original farm, which is now under the lake. After careful consideration, our present hillside farm on the northern end of Wilmington became the family’s new home, and so our relationship with this piece of earth began.
The family worked and lived like many Vermont farm families. At times three generations lived together, sons and cousins went to war, several siblings moved away, and others kept the farm going through the Depression. The gardens were lush, the milk was plentiful, the butter and cream were fresh, and the animals were raised to provide for the family and to sell. The apple orchard was in the upper mowing, and somewhere around 40 years ago the first blueberry bushes went in.
Fast forward to the fourth generation now working the fields, trying to hold true to the same ideas of providing for the family while embracing the vision of the fifth generation, who wanted to plant hundreds of blueberry bushes! So plant we did, and now we have more than 500 highbush blueberry bushes. We also added 1,500 raspberry bushes. Today we also grow year-round produce, operate a nursery, produce our own honey, have PYO berry pickings, haost weddings, and engage in many other activities.
We are also the host site for several of the Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival activities. Aside from their wonderful nutritional qualities, blueberries are a perfect crop: very easy to harvest, long lasting, no peeling required, and ours are pre-washed by the rain! Our family is always experimenting with unique ways to enjoy them, and this Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Cake (below) wins raves from all who try it!
In short, the farm has been a whirlwind of activities the last few years. Our nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters, brothers, parents, and staff provide the energy and support we need to move forward. Customers stopping by to use their Farm Member cards encourage us. Visitors marvel at our diversity. And the new year-round “Farm Market” is an exciting upgrade to the large barn and might just provide the area required for the ideas of the sixth generation!
Visit BoydFamilyFarm.com to learn more about the farm in Wilmington or VermontBlueberry.com to learn more about the Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival.
Best Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Cake Ever
adapted from King Arthur Flour website
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
⅓ cup milk
¼ cup room temp. creamed butter
1 large egg
½ tsp. lemon extract
zest of one lemon
¾ cup fresh blueberries
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups ricotta cheese
⅓ cup sugar
1⁄4 tsp. lemon extract
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9" round spring form pan.
For the batter: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, butter, egg, lemon zest, and lemon extract, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into a greased pan. Sprinkle the blueberries over the batter but do not mix.
For the topping: In a small bowl, beat the eggs till frothy, then beat in the cheese, sugar, and lemon extract. Spread this mixture evenly over the blueberries.
Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until it is golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool, on a rack, to lukewarm before serving.
Garnish with lemon basil.
Wilmington, VT 05363