not in season: blueberry apple crisp

I was fooled at the grocery store last week. I noticed a display of pints of blueberries, on sale at a very good price. I checked the label to find out where they came from, and I was pleased to find out that they were local, from just south of here, in Winter Haven. The kids asked if we could buy the blueberries, so I said yes. They don’t always ask for fresh fruits or vegetables, so when they do, I do what I can to encourage that habit.

It was only after I got home, with several pints of blueberries in my reusable bag, that I started thinking about those berries. I went online to research our local blueberry farms, and I realized that typical harvest months are not until summer. I pulled a package of blueberries out of the refrigerator, and read it a little closer. “Product of Chile,” but distributed out of Winter Haven, the label read.

Duped. I was duped.

So, that got me thinking about the value of eating locally-grown and locally-produced foods. I try to do it whenever possible, and I feel bad when I make a mistake. Like when I find that I’ve bought blueberries imported from Chile. But does it really matter? Is it more important to eat locally-grown food – for reasons of sustainability and eco-friendliness — or is it more important to promote and encourage my children’s desire for fresh fruits and veggies?

The answer that I’ve decided on is that I’m not going to stress about it. If my kids ask for blueberries, and blueberries are in the market, then I’m going to buy blueberries for them. When our farmer’s market opens back up in the next month or so, it will be easier to shop for fresh foods harvested in this part of north Florida. Until then, feeding my children a variety of fruits and vegetables – especially if they ASK for them – wins out as most important in my book.

So, back to those Chilean berries…

A fruit crisp is a great way to showcase blueberries. I threw in some chopped apple, just for fun, and I ended up with a Blueberry Apple Crisp. It feels like a lighter dessert than pie, but to me, it’s just as satisfying. I like mine plain, warm out of the oven, but this crisp would be just as wonderful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream served in the same bowl.

Yield: Serves 4-6.

Blueberry Apple Crisp

This is a simple fruit dessert that is satisfying when eaten by itself, or you can jazz it up by serving it warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.


2 cups blueberries
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375°F. Make filling: In a bowl, combine blueberries, chopped apple, light brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, allspice, and lemon zest and juice. Toss together and set aside.

Make topping: Stir together flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces, and toss to coat with the dry ingredients. Using fingertips, pinch pieces of butter together with the flour and sugar mixture; it should resemble crumbly, wet sand when completely blended. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or in the freezer for 7 to 8 minutes.

Add fruit filling to a 9-inch pie plate. Spread chilled topping evenly over the filling. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.

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20 Responses to “the box on the dining room table”

  1. Renee - Kudos Kitchen — June 8, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

    Such a sweet story about your father. My heart goes out to you.
    This ice cream? Divine!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 9th, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

      Oh, thank you, Renee.

  2. MJ, this is a beautiful post. I can see how there’s comfort in having your dad “around’. I am sure he is smiling down at you all and I know that he will love Yellowstone XO

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 9th, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

      I think this Yellowstone trip will be great for all of us. It just feels right to take Dad with us. And thank you, Mardi.

  3. Gail — June 8, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

    You outdo yourself, every single time.
    And I go through more kleenex, every single time.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 9th, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

      I should post a warning label, right? (Thank you, Gail!)

  4. Kathryn — June 9, 2014 @ 4:28 am

    Such a beautiful and touching post.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 9th, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

      Thank you so much, Kathryn.

  5. Colleen — June 9, 2014 @ 11:14 am

    Such a beautiful post!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 9th, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

      Thank you, Colleen.

  6. jacquie — June 9, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    beautiful post. after i have lost a significant being in my life, for some reason i always feel more settled when a piece of them come back home to me. I’m so glad your dad is going to Yellowstone with all of you. I’m sure he will let you know where he wants to rest. take care.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 9th, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

      I believe you’re right, Jacquie. I think I’ll know the place when I’m there. It will feel right.

  7. Jennifer Annan House — June 9, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

    Another wonderful post I think your posts about your dad help all of us who are grieving for someone. And, love the picture, and news of your upcoming Yellowstone trip. It will be a wonderful time for all of your family.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 9th, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

      Thank you so much, Jennifer.

  8. Christine — June 12, 2014 @ 10:16 am

    Thanks for this thoughtful post. I am excited for your family to have the opportunity to travel to our country’s oldest and greatest national park later this month. Be sure to visit the tourist sites such as Old Faithful and Morning Glory as well as some less-trammeled backcountry nooks. While working there with the Youth Conservation Corps for four summers, I felt continually astounded by the pristine solitude of the backcountry, despite the flooded overdevelopment of places in the front-country. Have fun!

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  10. Paula — June 17, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

    This one final road trip *with* your Dad will be fun, poignant and truly memorable…for all of you. Safe travels. Beautifully written post and I hope you write about your time, experiences at Yellowstone.

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  12. Janice @Kitchen Heals Soul — July 14, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

    I kinda stumbled on this post while browsing your blog. So my comment is coming in a little late. I can relate to the box that is there but that you can’t open, but that is such a comfort.

    I need to start by saying that my recent loss was totally not on the magnitude of losing a parent, not by any means. Still, I have the box containing what may be an urn of my cat’s ashes in it. I’ve had it on my nightstand next to my bed since March. I haven’t opened it. It’s just there. I can’t face the box, but I can’t let it go either. So, there it sits. I guess I was more dependent on that tiny little life than I realized. And because it’s been just me and her for the last 8 years (no boyfriend or anybody along the way), going through this was so very hard. It’s amazing how much a plain old cardboard box can contain.

    I am so sorry for your loss and from reading backwards through your posts to this one, I see that you took that trip with your Dad. There are no words that can make the loss of a loved one “better” but I do hope that you will find some comfort along the way.

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