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Kings County blueberry farmers reporting some of the strongest crops in recent years

Virginia Lee of Lower Canard and her four-year-old granddaughter, Freya Lee of Ashdale, take advantage of the fine weather on Aug. 7, picking high bush blueberries at Embree’s u-pick on Belcher Street. The bushes are hanging with ripe berries.
Virginia Lee of Lower Canard and her four-year-old granddaughter, Freya Lee of Ashdale, take advantage of the fine weather on Aug. 7, picking high bush blueberries at Embree’s u-pick on Belcher Street. The bushes are hanging with ripe berries.

BERWICK - Blueberry farmers in the Valley are thrilled with the rainy weather that has plagued weekends all summer long.

“Our blueberry crop is good,” says Peter van Dyk, part-owner and manager of Van Dyk Blueberry Ent Ltd. “We have had good rain fall this year, so the size and weight is good.”

This is great news for this blueberry farmer as approximately one-third of their crop is used for blueberry juice production.

Van Dyk is not the only happy blueberry farmer in the Valley.

“So far, we have had the right amount of rain and sunshine for our berries to flourish. Many are bigger than quarters and sweet,” says Kim Baltzer of GraBa Few Berries in Berwick.

Comparatively, Baltzer says, last year was brutal because of the drought. The berries ripened all at once, This year, Baltzer says, the berries have spread out better, so they are continuously picking and new ones are coming as soon as they take the ripe ones off.

Bobby Kidston, director of Blueberry Acres, agrees, saying this year’s crop is the largest crop they’ve ever had.

“The past two winters have been very good to us,” says Kidston.

On top of the great growing season this year, Kidston says the act of blueberry picking has increased over the past few years.

“We feel that more people enjoy seeing where their food is coming from,” says Kidston, “and they like the experience of coming out to pick berries.”

Picking berries at Blueberry Acres is a unique experience. After arriving, customers line up for the blueberry bus for a life to the picking locations. Boxes and picking buckets are all provided, and there is staff onsite to help carry boxes if needed. After picking is complete, customers hop back on the bus to head back to the parking lot, says Kidston.

There are opportunities for area residents to skip the work and still enjoy blueberries and support local farmers. GraBa Few Berries, for instance, sell their no spray, no pesticides, chemicals, or fertilizer highbush blueberries on the side of the road in Berwick. They will also happily drop them off to people who live near the farm or will meet customers so they do not have to travel a long distance to come for the berries. They can be contacted through GraBa Few Berries on Facebook.

Local blueberry farmers expect the season will last until about the end of September, so there’s still time to pick some berries.

 

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/GraBa-Few-Berries

http://www.mycountrymagic.com/upick

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