Midwest Living Review
"Look, Mom!" a little boy calls out. "I found some big juicy ones!" Pushing aside glossy green leaves, he tugs at fat berries dangling from a branch just above his head, then drops them -- plop, plop, plop! -- into a white plastic bucket. It's a July afternoon in northeast Ohio, and although the sun shines fiercely and the thermometer has creeped past 90, a small army of people searches among the flourishing rows of bushes at the Blueberry Patch just outside of Mansfield. Bending, turning, crouching, reaching, they're all in hot pursuit of the luscious blue globes grown at Ohio's largest blueberry farm. Owners Steve and Lisa Beilstein grow more than 25 kinds of blueberries, but the Blueberry Patch is not just another you-pick fruit farm. It's one of the most diverse agritourism attractions you'll ever encounter. In addition to a nursery where the Beilsteins propagate berry plants for their online catalog, the Blueberry Patch has a large greenhouse selling herbs, flowering plants, hostas, garden pottery and of course copious blueberry bushes (one-gallon pots cost about $10). Although blueberry season ends in September, you can always buy the farm's jams and jellies plus frozen blueberries (about $15 for a three-pound bucket) and blueberry pies ($8.50) at the Blueberry Patch Gift Shop. A surprising find on a farm, that boutiquelike shop also carries pretty jewelry, fashion accessories and colorful Vera Bradley handbags. Another surprise is the Blossom Cafe, a bright and airy spot to lunch on blueberry-laced chicken salad ($7.75) or homemade quiche served with a side salad and the muffin of the day ($7.50). Don't be surprised if it's blueberry!