While picking berries this past weekend, the grass, bushes and berries were still wet from the night’s rain. There is no shade in the blueberry patch so early morning is a great time to pick berries and avoid the intense midday sun and heat. The angle of the sun’s light has drifted enough to be noticeably different from the more vertical rays of the equinox, fifty-four days ago. We are just past the midpoint of summer and just past the mid-point of our blueberry season.
Blueberries, unlike our other fruit, have a ripening schedule designed by nature to span 2 – 5 weeks. The intrinsic clock that produces the staggered ripening is apparent right from bloom. In the spring, within clusters, the dormant buds will bloom at different times. Pictured below is a cluster of Chandler berries from this past weekend. Within this cluster are open stems where ripe berries had been picked in an early harvest, ripe berries ready to be picked, and berries that are 1 and 2 weeks away from being ripe.
Our blueberry season at Rose Hill Farm begins in late June and carries through the end of August. We have 5 cultivars that ripen at different periods, allowing us to offer ripe berries for an 8 week continuum. Our cultivars, in ripening order, are: Reka (early ripening, medium size), Blueray (sweet, light blue), Chandler (sweet, large), Darrow (sweet-tart, large, dark blue) and Elliot (late season, light blue, medium size). We are currently picking Chandler, Darrow and some Elliot.
The path to the blueberries from the farm stand leads to the northeast corner of the field. Our field has four hundred and sixty bushes planted in twenty-five north-south oriented rows. Moving across the rows from East to West, planted in ripening order from earliest to latest, are: 3 rows of Reka, 4 rows of Blueray, 5 rows of Chandler, 6 rows of Darrow and 7 rows of Elliott.
In summary, blueberry season will last through the end of August and we will have berries for your pies, jams, muffins, cereal or just by the handful well into apple season!