Blueberries

No Blueberries in 2017

We have decided to exit the “pick your own” blueberry business. It has been a difficult decision as we started planting our blueberries in batches of 550 plants per year beginning in 1988. Those 2200 plants are almost like our family, having cared for them yearly with the pruning, watering, and weeding.


It is difficult to provide a quality crop consistently every year when our operation is confronted with damaging late frosts, bird scavenging, hail, and the invasion of several insect pests which were not present until recently. We took pride in our operation by not spraying the blueberry fruit. Now there is a new normal which we find is not the way we like to do things. We hope you understand our situation and we appreciate your support over the years.


We continue to raise Christmas trees and apples. There will be no apple or pear crop this year due to the June 11 hailstorm. We will open for “cut your own” Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving.

 

-Old information about our blueberry operation-

 
We grew the University of Minnesota developed varieties of blueberries.  There are over 2200 plants in our 2 acre blueberry plantation.  Our varieties are:

  • Northblue
  • Cousin of Northblue
  • Saint Cloud
  • Northcounty
  • Chippewa
The blueberries are planted in rows 7 feet apart, mulched with wood chips, and separated by mowed grass aisles.  This allows for very clean berries (without dirt or sand). The majority of our plants are 3 to 4 feet tall and you will be standing most of the time to pick the berries.
 
Berries started to ripen early July in 2016.  The berries are in a cluster.  They bloom over several weeks and thus ripen over several weeks.  
 
We mulch the blueberry rows with wood chips.  We chip left over evergreen branches from our Christmas tree operation to add some acidity into the soil as they decompose.  Every year we add over 30 cubic yards of wood mulch to the field.  Mulching of the field helps maintain a constant moisture level for the plant roots and minimizes the use of supplemental irrigation.  Our field is set up for drip irrigation. 
 
Pickers Attire 
 
Here are some helpful hints on what to wear when picking blueberries.  The bushes are generally tall so you will be standing most of the time.  We hook a smaller bucket onto our belt , sometimes with a carabiner, so both hands are free to pick berries.  A long sleeve shirt protects your arms from berry twigs and always add a good sun hat.
 


Other information you may find useful:

  • A dry pint of blueberries weighs 10.4 to 12 oz.
  • We purchased most of our berry plants as Northblue in the period 1988 to 1992, but  have since learned that they are a cousin of Northblue with a more vigorous growth characteristic and they have grown to double their anticipated size.
  • While not certified organic, we have maintained a no spray policy in the past. 

For cultivation and plant selection, an excellent web page can be found at: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG3463.html

We are always on the hunt for new and exciting ways to eat blueberries and publish a new recipe sheet every year.  Look for past years recipes on the RECIPE page.