Ari’s Pick: Wild Blueberry Buckle from the Bakehouse

A long-standing classic comes back for a special appearance this summer!

a partial view of a sliced blueberry buckle with one piece laying on its side revealing its crumb and distribution of blueberries.I can’t recall when we started making Blueberry Buckle at the Bakehouse, but it’s been a classic and a fan favorite pretty much ever since. If you haven’t had it, it’s a wonderful crumb-topped, cinnamon-scented, butter-enriched, and blueberry-laced coffee cake that you can eat, happily, any time of the day.

Blueberries are one of the most wonderful Native North American foods. They are a big part of the culture and cooking of the Ojibwe people. Dried blueberries were one of the best indigenous sweeteners and were long used medicinally—they have lots of antioxidants, nutrients of all sorts, can help lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease, and a dozen other good things.

Blueberry Buckle became popular after the publication of Elsie Masterton’s 1959 Blueberry Hill Cookbook. I know the book because of Masterton’s daughter, Laurey who was a wonderfully kind and inspiring caterer and creative leader in her hometown of Asheville (where French Broad Chocolate, now in those terrific Townie Brownies, is also located). Laurey was a long-time ZingTrain client who lost a long battle with cancer in 2014. Her life message was a good one: “Don’t postpone joy.” I still have the T-shirt from Laurey’s Catering with that on the back, and think of her every time I wear it.

The Blueberry Buckle from the Bakehouse is about as versatile a baked good as you can get. Great for breakfast, and excellent for dessert with a scoop of vanilla gelato. Because it can stand up to the sun without melting (no chocolate!), it’s ideal to pack for picnics. It’s a beautiful, delicious gift. Buy a bunch and keep them stashed in the freezer for special Sunday mornings as we move out of berrying season into the fall. Thinking in the Ojibwe tradition, it turns out it’s really good drizzled with maple syrup, also an essential element of pre-Columbian cooking of this region. You can eat it just as it is, or add a bit of whipped cream. Maybe better still, put some good butter into a skillet over medium heat, and when the butter starts to bubble lightly, add slices of the Buckle and cook it until it’s golden brown. In the spirit of the summer season, the Roadhouse has added a Maize and Blueberry Buckle Sundae—a slice of Buckle served with a scoop of the Creamery’s Maize and Blueberry gelato. Garnished with whipped cream, and served with maple syrup on the side!

Blueberry Buckle will be on the counters at the Bakeshop through Labor Day.


Ari headshot
Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments