Blazing rows of cultivated, northern highbush blueberries, Vaccinium corymbosum.
The weather doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind. Sometimes, we get all four seasons one single day, as the weather flicks through all its options like a bored teenager browsing the offerings of the cable channel. On Tuesday, I drove to Larsen Lake early in the morning, my sunglasses tightly on my nose, to snap some pictures of the blueberry fields before the glistening, horizontal autumn sun got too high. When I arrived, the weather had decided otherwise. The sun was hiding, and the whole plateau was covered in moist, milky mist that muffled all sounds and wiped out every trace of the surrounding busy suburbia, seemingly transferring the little blueberry farm back in time to its early days of glory more than a century ago.
The Thode log house from the 1890s. Originally situated by the nearby Phantom Lake, it was transferred to the Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm in the 1990s.
Somewhere out there... blazing red blueberry fields covered in deep mist.
Larsen Lake is one of the many places near Seattle with Scandinavian connections. It was named after Ove Peter Larsen, who built his homestead and farmed potatoes and other vegetables there in the 1890s. Ove Peter's sons used to pick huckleberries and cranberries on the wetlands. Their harvest was transported to the young and fast-growing city of Seattle, first by horse to the Medina or Yarrow Point landings, and then with the ferries to the city. Farming business bloomed and many immigrants followed Larsen's example, covering vast areas of Seattle's eastside with vegetable, fruit and berry farms. Today, few of the farms exist and most of them are used as recreational areas by the busy, suburban eastsiders. Some, like the Larsen Lake or the nearby Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm, are leased out and cultivated as working farms, making nostalgic reminders of Seattle's not-so-distant, rustic past, when all its now world-famous tech companies were unheard and probably even undreamed of.
As the sun crawls up behind the huge fir trees, blueberry bushes emerge from the mist.