Don’t beat yourself up in January. Blueberry season is upon us, so get out there now, and pick your own berries for eating, baking and freezing. I recently headed out to Vogley’s Enterprises in Pike Township, Ohio, where Gary Vogley grows 14 acres of blueberries.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Trust me, that’s what you’ll be muttering at the grocery checkout this winter as you pay close to $5 for a pint of fresh blueberries, likely imported from Chile.

That’s because you’ll recall how you might have headed to an area farm on a lovely summer day and paid practically a pittance for fruit grown locally.

Don’t beat yourself up in January. Blueberry season is upon us, so get out there now, and pick your own berries for eating, baking and freezing.

I recently headed out to Vogley’s Enterprises in Pike Township, Ohio, where Gary Vogley grows 14 acres of blueberries so plump and ripe the fruit just about fell from the bush into my bucket.

Self-pick berries are $2.50 a pound, but that’s not the only draw. The setting is beautiful. The farm sits on rolling hillsides, and the tidy rows of berry bushes are mulched with mowed lawn between them. Looking across the sun-splashed field, it’s hard not to feel happy at the sight of all that blue polka-dotted foliage.

“Some people actually bring blankets and snacks and make it a nice relaxing time when they come out to pick,” Vogley said.

As far as the fruit, it looks to be an excellent year.

“Everything looks real good,” said Vogley of the season, which typically runs from the Fourth of July through Labor Day. “We have several varieties, some are early and others come on later,” he explained.

Some varieties are more sweet, and some are more tart.

“Just depends on what you like,” Vogley said.

To him, every berry tastes great –– and tastes them, he does.

“Believe it or not, I eat a quart a day when they are in season,” he said.

Another Ohio farm is Wade’s Fruit Farm, where John Wade grows two acres of blueberries, and self-picked berries sell for $2.25 a pound.

“We’ve got a dozen different varieties, including ‘Bonus,’ which is the 3XL of the blueberry variety,” Wade said.

Blueberry Cobbler

3 1⁄2 cups fresh blueberries or a 1-pound bag frozen blueberries 1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 cup all-purpose flour 3⁄4 cup turbinado (raw) sugar or granulated sugar, divided 1 teaspoon baking powder 1⁄4 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 cup milk 3 tablespoons butter, melted 3⁄4 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread blueberries in ungreased 8- or 9-inch square baking dish or pan. Sprinkle with cornstarch; drizzle with lemon juice; set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, 1⁄2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and salt. Add milk and butter; stir just until combined (not smooth). Drop 9 mounds of dough onto blueberries. Pour boiling water over dough and fruit. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and blueberries are bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 8 portions.

Per portion: 209 calories; 39 grams carbohydrate; 6 grams total fat (3 grams saturated fat); 2 grams fiber.

-- U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council