Harvest began today at Eastview Blueberry Farm at 4983 Ferndale Road, just north of Slater Road. Workers began picking this year’s crop this morning and processing will begin tomorrow according to 3rd-generation owner, David Hughes
The 40-acre farm provides Bluecrop, Blueray, Earliblue, Berkely, Ruble, Duke and Liberty varieties of blueberries. While the majority are sold commercially, locals are invited to buy fresh from a fruit stand on the property. These berries are often being sold only a few hours after being hand-picked according to Hughes.
Deciding when to begin picking is an important decision, Hughes said. Blueberries increase in sugar content as they ripen on the plant. Waiting patiently until the sugar gets to the right level is the challenge.
Hughes uses automated picking machines in addition to hand-picking. Machine picking is currently used only for processed product that is sold commercially.
Hughes says he has developed a program over the years to help youth and community groups fundraise. Prior to harvesting, groups can presell blueberries and then purchase them at a discount from Hughes. An option is to have group members pick the berries they sold in order to get an even larger discount. Hughes said there’s still time for groups to get on board for the late harvest blueberries expected in August.
Eastview Berry Farm fresh blueberries are available until mid-September. The fruit stand is open through the month of August from 9am to 5pm, Mondays through Saturdays, and 10am to 5pm on Sundays.
SIDENOTE: As this article was being written, Boxx Berry Farm announced their sweet yellow corn harvest had just begun.