The weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately and unseasonably mild for a Maryland August.

Bill and I were home for the first weekend in over a month, so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and took a scenic drive out to Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm in Baldwin, Maryland to pick raspberries and blackberries.

Anna, a friend of mine from church, who is also into food and healthy living and has helped me with some photography, told me about the farm and how much we would love it. She and some other moms had gone to the farm several times with their kids to pick berries.

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When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by Kiki, a young girl who was offering samples of her homemade granola made with products grown on the farm. I love seeing children having an appreciation for food and where it comes from at such a young age!

After sampling the¬†blueberry granola¬†(which was¬†delicious), we were welcomed by Robert Hamilton, one of the farm’s owners who runs the farm as a hobby outside of his full-time job as¬†the Director of Dermatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bayview.

His kind,¬†humble and unpretentious demeanor wouldn’t have led us to realize we were talking to someone as accomplished as he is. I plan to interview him¬†in the coming weeks to learn more about how he ended up owning and running such a remarkable business¬†in the midst of the pressure to leave small organic farming in the dust in favor of more large scale, industrial, conventional farming.

I’ve watched¬†two documentaries recently (King Corn and Fresh) and am in the middle of reading Michael’s Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and both the movies and book have given me a heightened appreciation for what goes into organic farming. More on that later!

Back to the berries ūüôā

As I’ve written before, I love raspberries.¬†They’ve been my favorite fruit since I was a kid, and I try to take advantage of them¬†for the short time they’re in season locally. (Check out this recipe¬†for¬†tart & tangy raspberry lime popsicles posted¬†earlier this summer!).

Throwback! Had to recreate one of my favorite pictures from my childhood holding none other than a cup of...raspberries!

Throwback! Had to recreate one of my favorite pictures from my childhood holding none other than a cup of…raspberries!

Bill and I spent about 2 hours filling our green buckets with almost 5 pounds of organic raspberries and blackberries, dodging buzzing bees and beetles along the way, sure signs that there were no synthetic pesticides/insecticides/herbicides or other harmful chemicals coating the plants.

It was such a peaceful calming morning, where the only thing you’re thinking about is which leaf to lift to find the biggest, ripest, juiciest berries.

There’s something special about seeing where your food comes from, knowing that it was grown safely, picking it yourself, and then (of course!) eating it.

When I returned home with over 3 pounds of raspberries and nearly 2 pounds of blackberries, I had to start thinking about what to make.

My loot! 5 pounds of berries!

My loot! 5 pounds of berries!

I was busy in the kitchen as a result of all of the berry picking! Coming later this week are recipes for a blackberry blast smoothie and a better-than-store-bought raspberry vinaigrette.

For starters, I opted to try a variation of a jam I made earlier this year that used rhubarb and used raspberries instead (and tweaked it a bit!).

You can use this raspberry¬†jam however you would use regular bottled jam. Stir it¬†into oatmeal, add it to a smoothie, drizzle¬†on top of 2-minute¬†banana ice cream, or smear it on top of a muffin! ūüôā

The possibilities are endless!

It is ridiculously¬†simple to make and is¬†sweet, tart and tangy…just like a raspberry jam should be!

Homemade Raspberry Chia Jam

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup¬†fresh (or frozen)¬†raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (more if you prefer a sweeter jam)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s or Home Goods for the lowest¬†price, or you can get them online. By the way, the original recipe calls for white chia seeds, but black chia seeds are fine!)

Click here for the full recipe from A House in the Hills.