Blueberry and cherry pie were on the menu Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley.
Teen campers picked blueberries at Haven Blueberry Farm in Umpqua on Monday and ventured to Kruse Farms on Tuesday to pick cherries.
“My mom thought it’d be really cool,” 11-year-old Alexander Williams said. “I like the outdoors and I didn’t know what the camp was.”
The camp, called Bounty of the Umpqua, was described online as “We will go out to the fields and groves of this beautiful land and we will harvest the bounty that Mother Nature has bestowed upon our slice of the North West. We will then take the fruit of our labor and bring it back to the Club’s kitchen to bake at 360 delectably delightful degrees and then we will kick back and enjoy the scrumdiliumcious summer treats, as we think how lucky we are to live here.”
Several of the campers said they had no idea what the camp would be when they showed up.
“I didn’t know when it says Mother Nature what it meant, so I thought it would be an adventure,” Alexander said. “But then (Education Director Marcus Vela) told us what we were going to do. And I haven’t tried it before, but it’s been really fun.”
Jaiden Adams, 11, said she first thought it would be an art camp, but was excited to learn it included baking.
“I just like baking things and doing fun stuff,” Jaiden said. “When I bake with my mom I like to make cakes and bigger things.”
She also likes baking cookies by herself and helping her grandmother can peaches and cherries, and making strawberry and blackberry jams.
Vela said his favorite part of the camp was sharing the experience of going to pick fresh fruit and seeing the local harvests in the Umpqua Valley.
On the last day of the camp, the teens transformed their freshly picked produce into pies by using their own recipes.
“I’ve never made a single pie,” 11-year-old camper Christoper Clark said on Tuesday.
His fellow campers Shaeli Sikes, 12, and Gabe Simmons, 14, had some experience making pies. Shaeli said the hardest part was making the pie crust, while Gabe thought waiting for the pie to cool down was tougher.
Bounty of the Umpqua is one of several culinary camps offered by the Boys & Girls Club this summer.
“I want them to do some citizen science,” Vela said, adding that adjusting recipes or temperatures is just like chemistry.