2017 Blueberry Crop Assessment

With the 2017 season about to begin, I thought I would give everyone an assessment of what to expect when you come to pick.
First of all, for those of you who have not been here before, there are 7
“zones” of blueberries. The zones are clearly marked as to where the zone begins (as you are walking toward them.) Each have their own nuances. Here is what I see and predict:
Zone 1 (close to the bathroom). Being revitalized. Many newer plantings (not bearing yet). Variety: Mostly Bluecrop but have some Bluejay and Patriot mixed in. The berries are medium to small.  Some early season berries are to be found within the 6 rows closest to the bathroom.
Zone 2. Also, being revitalized and has many newer plantings (not bearing yet). Many of the bushes are Bluecrop and therefore don’t have many leaves. I’ve pruned a lot of the smaller berries off the bushes to help with picking.  Many of the bushes are thin on leaves.  This makes the berries more “out in the open” as far as accessibility.  However,  the berries are medium and will take longer to fill a bucket.  Also, make sure to sample as you go to make sure the berries are okay on a given bush since lack of leaves on a cane can affect the berry quality.

Zone 3.   Pretty much the same as zone 2, except the 4 rows that are close to the pavilion.  These 4 rows are doing well and have a lot of nice medium to large berries.  The variety is Blueray. Some are starting to turn blue but will mostly ripen in 7-10 days.

Zone 4 (south of the Pavilion). The first 6 or 7 rows are Bluecrop.  Most of these are doing pretty well and have medium to large berries.  Some are just starting to turn blue.  Most will ripen in another 7-10 days.  The remaining 4 or 5 rows are Bluejay. This is one of the most shady spots because of the foliage.      These bushes are loaded with berries.  However, they are also loaded with leaves.  Make sure to move the canes around because many times pickers don’t get to the interior of the bush and there are nice ones in there.

Zone 5.  All these are the Bluejay mentioned in zone 4.   These bushes are starting to turn and will probably be in full ripening by the week of June 19th.  The 2nd and 3rd row from the south end of zone 5 are Toro, medium to large berries.  The last row is Draper.  These are very nice bushes with lots of large berries.  Problem is, there is just one row.  These will be in full ripening by the week of June 19.

Zone 6 (south of  Herb Gulch).  The first 8 rows on the east side are Patriot.  This is where we will begin to pick next week because they are an early berry.  The bushes are shorter (about 3 to 4 feet tall).  The berries are medium to large.  The last 3 or 4 rows on the west side of zone 6 are Blueray.  These are very nice bushes with medium to large berries.  They will be coming on right after the Patriot.

Zone 7.  The first 3 or 4 rows are a continuation of the Blueray from Zone 6.  Again, a very nice crop of berries there.  And then the last 8 rows are Bluecrop (by the Asparagus patch).  These are newer bushes but loaded with nice berries.  They will be ripening around the week of June 19th.

IMPORTANT:  During the first of the season especially, we will be directing you to walk along the pond bank and then go west from the picnic table (down the pond bank), then past the peach orchard, in order to get to Zones 6 and 7.  So it is a bit of a walk.  We do have limited parking closer to these zones for those who cannot walk far or are in wheelchairs.  If you have a disability, please let us know and we can direct you to a parking spot closer to these zones.

The Wise Blueberry Picker

The Wise Blueberry Picker (10 tips on having a good picking experience)

1. Try to come within the first couple of weeks. The berries are much easier to pick and are the largest and best.
The season usually lasts about 3 weeks here. The longer you wait the smaller the berries and therefore the longer it takes to pick a bucket
2. If you are picking a good amount (several buckets), it’s best to keep your already picked bucket of berries in the shade of the bushes.. If they are kept cool in the field and then put right in the fridge when you get home they will give you several weeks of enjoyment!
3. To freeze your berries, don’t wash them, just pour them in a heavy zip lock bag and stick in the freezer. Then, when you get ready to use them, just poor out what you need in a little colander, rinse off and eat. A healthy, delicious treat to eat all through the winter.
4. When picking, make sure to sample the berries from the bush from which you are picking (we don’t spray our bushes so no chemical worries). Also, avoid canes that don’t have many leaves on them as the leaves bring nutrition to the berries.
5. Move the canes around. There are usually really nice berries hiding in the foliage because many people just pick the berries on the outside.
5. Best picking is usually between 9-11 am because it is cool yet the dew is usually off.
6. If you attach your bucket to your belt, you will free up both hands and can pick twice as fast! Careful though, don’t bend too far over and dump your berries. We do have some different sizes of belts on hand if you need one.
7. In order to make everyone else’s berry picking more pleasant, please pick as many ripe berries off of a bush as you can before going to another bush. Try to go in sequence down a row or at least go to the next ripened bush in the row. Hopping around makes it much more difficult for those coming after you to find the ripe berries. Also, we can direct people more easily to sections of ripe berries.
8. Bring a hat, sunscreen and something cool to drink. (note we don’t allow alcoholic drinks and they are not good in the heat anyway)
9. Bring a light weight picking stool. You can glean those nice berries that the other pickers left because they were picking above waist height and rest your legs while picking those nice berries.
10. We have a regular, “flushable” bathroom for your convenience. Please make use of the outdoor sink and soap to cleanse your hands before you go back to picking.

Enjoy yourselves! Opening date coming soon…..

The 2017 Blueberry Season is coming up quickly

The 2017 Blueberry Season is coming up quickly. Possible opening date is June 16th BUT that could change so stay tuned – plenty of berries. Please tell/share with your friends. Look forward to seeing all of our faithful patrons and also those who are new pickers!

2017 Opening Day PROJECTION for Blueberry Picking

The blueberries are blooming like crazy, and there are more bumblebees than I have ever seen before. That translates into lots of nice, easy-to-pick berries for you all to pick. Looks like around June 16th for projected opening day. We would appreciate if you would TELL all your friends!   We will keep everyone informed for sure what the opening day will be as the day approaches.

How to Freeze your Asparagus

http://www.asparagus-lover.com/freezing-asparagus.html

Welcome 2017 Season- Asparagus is Here – Blueberries Coming Soon!

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Lost Branch Blueberry Farm is happy to announce the 2017 asparagus season has begun!  The price this year will remain the same: $3/pound.

We will probably be making deliveries to Kirksville on Wednesdays and Fridays, 5pm-6pm, at the Lincoln Square Shopping Center. BUT we would like feedback from you as to what works best for the  majority.  We will change our plan if necessary.    You are also welcome to come pick up your order at the farm by appointment.

If you would like to place an order, please e-mail me at rpriceblue@gmail.com or call/text me at 660-342-2725.   Let us know the following:

  1. How many pounds (min. 1 lb) you would like.
  2. The date you want to pick it up
  3. Phone number to contact you in case of a last minute change
  4. Please bring correct change or a check

ORDERS FILLED based upon AVAILABILITY.

We look forward with excitement as we, Lord willing, are able to provide high quality produce for you that is naturally grown using no insecticides.

Wanted to share a recipe from a dear customer.

Blueberry Pound Cake

1/2 cup butter, rooom temp

3 eggs, room temp

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups sugar

4 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup milk

Grease a 10″ tube pan.  In a large bowl sift together flour, bp, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined.  Beat in eggs.

Stir blueberries into reserved flour mixture.  Then fold the blueberry/flour mixture into the butter  mixture.  Stir in milk just until combined.  Spread batter into the prepared pan.  Bake at 325 degrees F for 60-90 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

 

Blueberry Cheesecake is one of our favorites. Here’s a simple recipe.

cheesecakeea3eb293fe04http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/fresh-blueberry-cheesecake-pie/8624ba75-cef7-44fe-b8b9-ea3eb293fe04

Some young pickers came out to the farm to learn about blueberry production.

Preschool pickers

I want to try this recipe real soon! “Blueberry Scones” See the link below for recipe:

Sconeshttp://www.food.com/recipe/blueberry-scones-cooks-illustrated-318620