About the Blueberry Farm
Our blueberry field is part of our family farm in Graham, Florida. Our farm is located on the Santa Fe River, near U.S. Highway 301, about 6 miles from the Waldo Flea Market, 20 miles northeast of Gainesville, and 13 miles southwest of Starke.
Most of our rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium Ashei) bushes are around 20 years old. We have three different cultivars of rabbiteyes; each cultivar is subtly different from the others:
- "Tifblue" blueberries, which have a slightly tart flavor, are best for canning and baking.
- "Choice" blueberries, which are very sweet, are good eating berries.
- "Powderblue" blueberries are not quite as sweet as the Choice blueberries; but, they have a long shelf life because of the heavy powder on the berries.
Our blueberries are chemical-free. On our farm we try to observe practices that will not harm the environment. We do not use chemical fertilizers, herbicides nor insecticides. We use horse manure to fertilize the plants, we pull weeds by hand and apply mulch to inhibit weed growth, while removing destructive insects by hand. Even though we have not applied any chemical to our plants, you should still wash your berries before using them.
You can make the most of your blueberry picking by keeping a few things in mind. Think about how you want to use the blueberries and how soon you want to use them. When you pick your berries, you may want to pick some berries that are purple or purple-blue. The purple and purple-blue berries will continue to ripen even after they are picked. If you are planning to make jam or jelly or use the blueberries in baking, picking some berries when they are purple, rather than light blue, gives the finished product more flavor. As long as there are no white areas on the blueberries, the blueberries will ripen satisfactorily. You can tell a blueberry is ripe not only by its color but also if the berry falls easily off the bush into your hand when you roll it between your fingers. Some people claim that a ripe blueberry achieves its full flavor about four days after it is picked.
Blueberry Picking Times and Cost
The blueberry picking season is June 9 - July 14. The u-pick price is $3.00 / lb., and the we-pick price is $4.00 / lb. We are open every day 9:00 am - 2:00 pm, weather permitting.
Preparing To Pick
Due our location on the Santa Fe River and our farm practices, mosquitoes, ticks, and red bugs are part of our life on the farm. If you take a few precautionary steps, you should not have any problems. Use an effective insect repellant before you pick berries. After you apply the insect repellant be sure to wash your hands before picking berries. Our pharmacist recommended Avon's Skin-So-Soft as an effective alternative to insect repellants containing DEET. Some people who spend a lot of time in the woods suggest putting sulfa powder in a sock and gentling knocking the sulfa sock around your shoes and socks. Once you get home, take a shower, check yourself for ticks, and wash your clothes, and you should be bug-bite free. Following these suggestions should afford a wonderful picking experience.
We encourage families to come to our farm. However, we do not encourage customers to bring their dogs because of the summer heat. We do not have kennel facilities. Our farm includes not only the blueberry field but also a few acres of woods along the Santa Fe River. In addition to the basic amenities, we have a picnic area, benches, and a short walking trail that you may use when you are ready to take a break from picking berries.
I hope you will come to our place to pick blueberries and stay to enjoy our farm!