Rites of passage take place at Quonquont Farm’s first blueberry festival
The Recorder, July 22, 2018, by Melina Bourdeau
Eamon Smith, 21 months, completed an agricultural milestone Sunday when he picked blueberries for the first time.
Helping him were his parents, Lincoln Smith and Meghan Garrity.
“There was a lot going on this weekend and we wanted something to do with him,” Smith said. “We care a lot about food and where food comes from. It’s important. Meghan and I met working in the food industry.”
The trio was among many families in attendance at the first Blueberry Festival at the Quonquont Farm on Sunday. Guests picked blueberries, enjoyed live music and cooled off with ice pops and cold lemonade from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The farm also has options to pick your own peaches and apples when in season. Visitors can pick their own flowers at different times throughout the year.
Farm manager Allison Bell said hosting the Blueberry Festival was a way to do something fun.
“This is something fun for the town, for the people of Whately,” Bell said.
Festivities included music from the MilkBottle Band, an obstacle course and a “berried” treasure activity — a sandbox where youngsters could dig for blue marbles, an opportunity seized by the children of Marilee and Daniel Melnik.
“We wanted to find something that would keep them occupied,” Marilee Melnik said. “This worked out. It was amazing. They both enjoyed picking blueberries. We thought they were going to do this for two minutes, but they did the obstacle course. They’re entertained. This is great for people of all ages.”
While some picked blueberries, others participated in the great blueberry bake-off, proceeds of which went to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The competition included two different categories, local professionals and amateur bakers.
Entries included a blueberry-chocolate cake, a blueberry lemon zucchini cake and blueberry scones, among others.
There was a people’s vote and a “celebrity judge,” Tinky Weisblat, for the bake-off, with gift cards for the winners.
The winners for the people’s vote and Weisblat’s choice were the Bitter Sweet Bakery and Cafe and Whately resident Sara Cahillane.
Cahillane, who prepared the blueberry lemon zucchini cake, participated in the contest with her daughter.
“The farm is our neighbors. We love what they do,” Cahillane said. “It’s an exciting event. It was great. I was glad to be involved with my daughter.”
The day wasn’t all about blueberries. For those interested in non-blueberry food options, there were choices from Wicked Awesome Eats, Tom’s Hot Dogs and Crooked Stick Pops. That morning, there was a naturalist program lead by Laurie Sanders at the farm’s pond.
Still, blueberries were the main draw for many in attendance. Carrying a full bucket, Margaret Christie, who lives down the street from the farm, said she was going to bake a blueberry pie.
“I came for the blueberries,” Christie said. “This farm is great. They have a colorful moth and caterpillar display and they have a talent of finding unusual things, like wildlife on the farm.”