Blue and Purple All Over

Cluster of ripening blueberries at Green Gate Family Farm Orchard
Cluster of ripening blueberries at Green Gate Family Farm Orchard

The blueberries have ripened right under our nose.  We thought it would be another week for sure until the first blueberries of the season were ready for eating, but Saturday, when we returned from the Brookside Farmers Market, they were looking very blue!  Then on Sunday I picked the first half pint of the season.  It probably would have been close to a full pint if every berry i picked had made it into the bucket (instead of my mouth!) We will wait another few days before we pick again and I think we will have at least a dozen or so pints to bring market on Saturday.  These are the early season large berry varieties primarily, and they are tasting mighty delicious!  So much so the craftiest of the chickens have been squeezing through wobbly gates and over some too short fencing to get into the blueberry patch. All the birds graze the berry yard during the “off season” quite a bit, but they have been “banned” for the past 2 months. They didn’t seem to mind until this week, when they must have noticed the berries through the fence!  We have taken care of the gates and raised the fence around the blueberries by 6 more feet.  So far so good!

This will be our third very good blueberry season at Green Gate, as we are looking forward to another good season of blueberry production from our 60 bushes. We have a combination of early, middle and late season blueberry varieties that produced about 225 pints of berries last year. We irrigate the blueberries with well water and have developed a good layer of organic material in their soil, including wood chips, composed wood chips, and composted manure. We’ve been able to build it up to about 6-8 inches thick. This is a continuous process for us, and of course we follow all organic practices, which most importantly means no pesticides or herbicides. So for us that means lots of weed pulling, especially the dreaded “bindweed”. Such a fast growing, prodigious little vine! But we have it at bay for the moment, and the berry season picking is about to begin! Its a sweet tasting time.