“Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!” My 5-year-old is chirping with the biggest grin as he drops three blueberries into his pail while we pick our own from Santa Barbara Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch, which is open the entire blueberry season from May to August.
You can’t miss the signs as you head north on the 101 about 10 minutes south of Buellton. As I drive up to a nicely shaded farm stand with my two happy sons, a very friendly woman waits to help us. She points out rows that are ready to pick and sends us on our way with three tin pails. My 5-year-old flies to the rows of bushes with his pail swinging gleefully as my youngest places his pail on his head and smiles.
Even as the 101 highway rushes by, there is something quiet and nostalgic about picking your own blueberries and dreaming about all the goodies you want to make. “Will we see the mama bear and the baby bear?” my son asks, recalling his favorite book, Blueberries for Sal, a must-read classic that’s impossible not to think about while picking. “Not today,” I say, as we carry our pails back to the farm stand, with thoughts of blueberry muffins on my mind. Find my recipe for blueberry muffins at independent.com/food.
Santa Barbara Blueberries is located at 1980 U.S. Highway 101 in Gaviota, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.. See santabarbarablueberries.com.
I love blueberry muffins, but mornings are busy. Here is an easy way to prepare everything the night before.
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
1 pinch of salt
8 Tablespoons of (soft) butter
1 cup of sugar
1¼ cups of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of grated lemon peel
2 cups of lightly floured fresh blueberries
½ cup of brown sugar (for topping)
Grease 12-cup muffin tins.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until mixed well.
Add eggs, buttermilk, and grated lemon peel to butter and sugar mixture.
Pour buttermilk mixture into large flour bowl.
Lightly flour blueberries, and gently fold them into muffin mixture.
Portion mixture into greased muffin tins.
Top muffins off with brown sugar.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in fridge overnight.
In the morning, set oven to 350°F and bake for about 30 minutes or until tops are golden.