Yesterday I went to Blueberry heaven. Not on a hill as some might say, but close to the Dutch border in Achel, Belgium.
Last Monday a lady at the grocery store saw me looking at the blueberries, wondering if I should buy them. She said there was a place just over the Belgian border where you could get buckets of the blue gold for a fraction of the retail price and organic too! Tempted by the excitement of this secret place, just over the border, I asked her how to get there, and looked around me if anyone was watching.
“If you drive from Valkenswaard to Achel, you take the Maastrichterweg. Then just over the border when you ‘ve entered Achel, but still before the city’s centre you can take a left at a sign saying ‘Domein De Bever’. Then you keep driving until you see a sign on your left and there’s a little restaurant on your right. Park there. It is a beautiful place with birds and berries. You'll love it.”
I took it all in, also lead by an artist’s budget and my ideals to get organic fruit. Blueberries aren’t very cheap. The next day boyfriend and I followed her advice.
We walked into a field with numerous rows of blueberry plants, and only a handful of people who were gathering the berries. We brought a bucket and intended to get about 2kgs of the berries. Soon we were addicted to picking them and finding out where the best ones were. The place truely is beautiful and if you are close to Achel you should go there a.s.a.p. it is a peaceful place in the middle of a national park. There are no pesticides used and the place is crammed with birds and insects enjoying the silence. I saw a huge flock of swallows and 2 big birds of prey. Frogs were jumping in the water as you walked by a little pond. It was a perfect day. And the 2kgs....became 3kgs. And now I have a lot of blueberry pies and muffins to bake!