An Explosion of Flavour

at TNT Berries in Shakespeare, ON

From as early back as I can remember, blueberries have always been my favourite fruit. They are delightful, juicy, sweet, and delicious. They make almost every baked good that they appear in better. No other fruit can hold a berry-scented candle to the mighty power of blueberries in my opinion.

I found my thrill…

The first time I ever learned about blueberries dates back to when I was about nine years old, and we were on our very blueberry bushes at TNT Berriesfirst family vacation. Our family made a road trip to Nova Scotia to visit my dad’s family. It was on an outing with my aunt where I saw my first blueberry bush growing wild on the side of the road. I had never seen a blueberry before, and I was delighted when I was encouraged to eat them. I remember we picked buckets and buckets of these delicious little berries to bring back. We were a large family, and in this extended family, we had more than our share of home bakers who all worked together, baking so many delicious treats with the bounty – pies, cakes, loaves, muffins, and more.

 

on Blueberry Hill

There are many blueberry growing regions in Canada, but I was still surprised to learn that a blueberry farm is not too far from my home where you can pick-your-own. TNT Berries is located in the lovely town of Shakespeare, Ontario, in Perth County, a place we visit often. So, let’s plan our summer day trips with an outing to pick some of the fresh tastes of the season.

Generally speaking, I am not much of a pick-your-own berry kind of person. Most other berries are challenging to pick, low to the ground, or just not worth the effort (in my mind). However, blueberries are very different. Their bushes grow taller, so there is minimal bending (take that, strawberries). The berries are easy to pick due to size and a lack of thorns, and as previously mentioned – I love blueberries, so the risk/benefit analysis is in their favour.

As it is with all berries, the growing season is minimal for blueberries. So, we missed out on the first couple of years we knew of TNT Berries. However, last year the planets aligned, and we made it to get some pick our own berries. And just in the nick of time, because the season ended days later.

 

About the Farm

The TNT Berries farm is a large operation. There are rows upon rows of blueberry bushes growing here. To prevent over picking, the staff guide you to an assigned section for picking. This practice also ensures social distancing is maintained – making this a covid-safe travel activity.

This family-run farm is a joy to visit. The team, led by Nadia Walch, are top-notch. They are very friendly, pleasant, and helpful. The blueberries are so beautiful, plump, juicy, and the blue-est berries ever. You might want to ensure you have a cooler in your car to ensure your berries stay fresh as possible in the summer heat. You will likely end up picking more than you expect because you won’t believe their prices.

In addition to pick-your-own blueberries, they also have Sea Buckthorn berries later in the summer (which I have yet to try) and raspberries. If you are unable to pick your own, you can purchase pre-picked berries, and if you miss out on the short growing season, they offer frozen berries, as well.

How to Get There:

TNT Berries is located at 1904 Line 34, Perth East, ON N0B, Canada – between Stratford and Kitchener/Waterloo right on Highway 8. 

Know before you go:

follow @tntberries on social media
@tntberries

Because the season is so short before you head out on your road trip to visit TNT Berries, be sure to check their Instagram or Facebook for updates because:

🫐   The field may close for a day or two to allow the blueberry bushes to rest & ripen.
🫐   There are daily capacity limits.
🫐   Weather – rainy days means closures.
🫐   Blueberry picking season may already have ended.

A visit to a farm for a pick you own fruit adventure is a great summertime day trip activity for the whole family. For a delightful afternoon, plan your visit to Shakespeare, ON, to pick your own blueberries at TNT Berries. Then, for more adventures in agri-tourism – pick up (or download) a copy of the FarmGate Map to discover more amazing agricultural activities that await you in Perth County.

We followed up our blueberry picking with a tour of the Appleflats orchard which is nearby. 

Pick Like a Pro:

Regardless of where you go to pick your berries, some basic tips will help ensure you have the best experience. Pack the following before you go:

🫐    Sunscreen –  While you are picking, you will be out in the open, with the sun beating down. Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
🫐   Bug Spray – there will be bugs. You are not the only one attracted to the sweet smell of berries.
🫐   Hat or visor – protect your head and eyes from the sun
🫐   Sunglasses – bright sunny days are best for picking – protect your eyes from the sun.
🫐   Buckets or baskets – TNT will provide you with a basket for picking, but you take them home in a bag, and a bag can damage your berries on the bottom.
🫐    Water bottle – staying hydrated is always important – especially when you are out under the sun
🫐   Cooler with ice packs – keep your precious cargo as fresh as possible until you get home

Cocktail Recipes:

Fresh or frozen, blueberries make a delightful cocktail that can be so sweet, fruity, and delicious. We created a few tasty cocktails using our bounty of beautiful berries from TNT. Adjust quantities to taste.

Peach – Blueberry Gin Smash  (Pitcher)

        • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
        • 1/2 lemon, juiced 
        • 1/2 pint fresh TNT blueberries
        •  1/2  fresh Niagara Peach – chopped 
        • 8 ounces Dixon’s Wicked Blueberry gin
        • 2 cans of club soda
        • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Toss blueberries and peaches with sugar – allow sitting until juices just start to flow. Squeeze in lemon juice, and muddle together.  Pour in blueberry Gin and stir. Pour through a strainer into a chilled pitcher, add club soda and gently stir. Enjoy.

 

Blueberry Frozen Margarita (pitcher)

        • 8 ounces good Tequila
        • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
        • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
        • 1 – 2 ounces agave nectar or (blueberry) simple syrup (more to taste)
        • 1 Pint frozen TNT blueberries (fresh works as well)
        • 2 cups ice cubes
        • Sprigs of mint (or basil)

Place all ingredients into a heavy-duty blender and pulse until all mixed in well. Pour the mixture into chilled glasses that have been rimmed with crystal sugar. Garnish with mint or basil.

 

Blueberry picking season is typically mid-July to early August.

Nick Kulnies of Roguetrippers visit TNT Berries in Perth County for some delicious blueberries
when you are in Shakespeare, don’t forget to buy a Pie or a butter tart at Shakespeare Pie Company

Author

Adventurer, gastro-tourist, avid road tripper, and butter tart aficionado. Exploring the road less travelled and the adventures that exist for all to see if you open yourself up to new possibilities. Greg and his husband Nick are residents of Guelph, and their greatest joys in life are exploring the world around them. Road trips with no real destination are a favourite past time. Get off the beaten path and discover somewhere they have never been before. Sometimes the best vacations are the ones you don't really plan. Life is about the journey together and not the destination.

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