Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Has Sprung!

Well, we can tell with the recent spring rainfall that our blueberries are plumping up and seeming really happy for all the water.  

The Blueray variety of blueberries in this picture to the left even seems to have an underlying blue hue today as the sun comes out to declare that it's springtime and that summer is on the way!

The berries have almost finished with their blooms; there are a few late blooms out there, but most have turned from bloom into little green berries with the leading berries getting bigger.

It seems to look like a normal season with our first ripe blueberries (Duke) ripening the first week of June and then the other varieties following it through June and into the first week of July.


We really were slammed with rain this last weekend, getting almost 5 inches of rain Friday night and into Saturday morning.  Les drove down to the valley several times to see if his hay barn was under water.  Thankfully it didn't quite get high enough to put the hay underwater.  You can see a good picture of his finger in the bottom left of the picture.

The bumblebees and honey bees have been busy out in the field.  As I snapped pictures in the field, the bees were almost bumping into me.  We're looking forward to seeing a good crop come to harvest!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Blueberry Season 2016

Duke Blueberries on June 1st
 Our blueberry season has begun!  In fact, I got so busy with keeping up with our Facebook page that I neglected to update my blogspot.  I was excited to get out of school before the picking started; usually school goes late and we're busy picking blueberries the first day I'm out of school.  This year I actually had time to help watch my granddaughter as Les built my daughter's deck on her back porch before heading to the house to get the barn cleaned up for the picking season.

We began picking the Duke variety of blueberries the first week of June.  It is a mellow flavored blueberry that isn't too sour and isn't too strong in flavor.  It's really fun to pick the first crop off the bush.  They seem to just fall in quickly and it makes for a good evening to fill the bucket as the sun goes down in the evening.

Nova Raspberries on June1st
Since it's now mid-June, this variety is almost picked clean.  There probably won't be any left on this variety after this week.  However, the Bluejay, Blue Crop and Blue Ray have all begun their ripening process and we've picked at least one or two pickings off of these varieties.


The Nova raspberries are pictured to the right.  We started picking them in late May and they will probably finish their season by the last week of June.  We also have a red variety that is called Reveille that is sweet and slightly more fragile than the Nova.  Les' favorite raspberry, though, is the Royalty and are purple when ripe.  We also have a berry called a Wye Berry that is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry.  They're burgundy when ripe and taste a bit like like a Dr Pepper in their scale of sweetness.

If you get a chance, come see the farm on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. We're planning to be open from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.  See you soon!






Monday, June 15, 2015

Jamming!

The Raspberries are right at their peak, if not a bit past, so I've been picking raspberries like a crazy woman.  The variety that I picked tonight was Nova - a berry that keeps its shape and has a yummy raspberry flavor, so I decided to put it into  jam.

I made sure to wash the berries and get rid of any soil, grass or over-ripe berries.


Then I heated the berries to make them easier to push through a strainer with a pestle.  In one batch I tried to eliminate all the seeds.  In a second batch, I only took out half the pulp and left a bit in.  I like the seeds in my jam; it makes it taste like real raspberry jam!


With 9 cups of juice and 6 cups of sugar, I brought the mixture to a boil and stirred often for 24 minutes.

After pouring into Ball jelly jars, I placed them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes and took them out.

Voila!  Raspberry Jam that is almost seedless, and another from a batch that has the seeds.  I can hardly wait to get to work on Blackberry Jam

See you soon!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Nibbling the Natchez

My great niece, Grace, came out to pick berries last Monday and found that her favorite berry was ripe.  I think she stuffed 20 blackberries in her mouth while her mom and dad were picking blueberries.

We just planted these two years ago and they're great tasting berries!  You can tell by the picture that they're about 2 inches long.  Not only are they big and quick to file a bucket with, they're also sweet!

I'm hoping that Grace didn't have a belly-ache after she left that evening.  Her hands were purple and her face had smears of blackberry juice on it.  If you come out to the farm, you will have to come ready to get some blackberry juice on your hands.

This variety is only up the hill by the house, so if you're looking for the Natchez, head on up and ask about the blackberries.

See you soon!  (Open Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday for the upcoming week)

Blueberry Honey!

My nephews robbed the bees this week.  There's nothing like lifting the lid of a strong beehive to set the field on high alert!  Les took a couple of pictures and when I complained that they weren't very good pics, he exclaimed, "They were swarming!"

I'm sure you know, or have some idea how the honey business works.  After the hive is robbed, the honey gets extracted from the frames, is allowed to settle and then poured into jars and labeled.  Soon we'll have the quarts of honey ready to sell on the farm from this last robbing.

Sometimes the honey is light from the spring clover.  If the bees can't find clover, they use the blueberry blossoms and the honey is a bit darker with a stronger flavor.  I can't wait to see what this batch tastes like!

See you soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Do the Duke!

Well, I managed to take a pretty good picture of one of our early varieties - Duke.  It may have been named after Duke University researchers.  I really should look that up; I'm a teacher and that will just really bug me that I'm not sure of my facts!

One thing that's neat about the Duke is that even if you pick it a little green or have a little pink on the berry, it still tastes great.  It has a mellow flavor and is not sour at all.  The size is good and really most of the berries ripen fairly close to the same time.

With that said, you can tell that it's really fun to pick these berries.  The bucket fills quickly and it feels like blueberry heaven, or maybe a blueberry bonanza as you find the "mother lode."

I was like a kid in the candy store the other night (picking around 8:00 p.m.) and gaily rolling the berries into my bucket.  I'll have you know that I picked two gallons in an hour!  That's super fast and only happens when the bushes are all blue with berries.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I had about a pint of 1/2 green berries in there.  I sorted the berries on the grading table and took the pint and tossed it into my famous blueberry sauce this morning.  Since it was a bit green, I added a little extra sugar and it was great!

Blueberry Sauce:  2 Cups Berries, 1/2 cup Orange Juice, 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, dash of cinnamon.  Bring to a boil for about 3 minutes or until it looks great, then serve on waffles.  Cover with whipped cream and VOILA!  A great breakfast experience awaits.

Till next time!