FAQ

Visiting the Farm

What should I bring?
  1. Containers/bags to take your berries home
  2. Sunblock and a hat if it’s sunny
  3. Bug spray

We supply picking baskets. We encourage you to bring your own reusable storage containers to take your berries home.

Where should I park?

If the parking lot is full, park along the property line.

Do you accept credit cards? 

Yep, via Square. (Minimum purchase of 20$)

Are kids welcome?

Absolutely! Most kids love picking blueberries and eating them straight off the bush.

How about dogs?

Yes, but they must be well-behaved, leashed, and stay near you as you pick. (and sign a liability waiver)

Are there restrooms?

We have a little outhouse. Composting toilet.

Scheduling

Do I need to schedule an appointment?

If you follow the opening hours that are listed a day before, then no.
Because of weather and/or other condition we ask that you check before arriving.

Weekends are always scheduled (during the season to be open), unless it’s going to be raining all day.

Blueberries (General)

Why pick my own when I can buy them at the store?

Freshly picked blueberries are an entirely different fruit from what you find at the grocery store. We promise. We actually weren’t very fond of blueberries until we visited a u-pick blueberry farm, and WOW. They’re juicy and tart and sweet—totally unlike the dry little marbles you pay too much for at the supermarket. You haven’t tasted a blueberry till you’ve eaten one fresh. Plus, we hope you’ll enjoy the experience of picking berries out in the countryside on the farm.

Why organically grown?

Conventionally raised blueberries (i.e., blueberries sprayed with chemicals to control for weeds and insect damage) contain 52 pesticide residues, according to the USDA Pesticide Data Program, several of which are known or probable carcinogens. The toxicity is so high that, in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Working Group placed conventionally raised blueberries on its “Dirty Dozen” list, recommending that people buy organic blueberries whenever possible (as well as many other fruits and vegetables whose skins you eat rather than peel off and discard). Read more here: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/dangers-pesticides-blueberries-87335.html. 

What’s that cloudy white coating on blueberries?

It’s called the “bloom,” and it’s a natural, protective wax coating, similar to the coating on plums and apples. (It’s not pesticide residue; we never spray our bushes.) Bloom is completely tasteless and harmless. It protects the berries from certain bacteria and insects and keeps them moist. Read more

Will I have to bend over or kneel to pick blueberries?

You can pick plenty of blueberries without bending over much. Unlike strawberry plants, highbush blueberries grow up to six feet tall. Ours are probably four feet tall right now. If you have a bad back or knee issues, blueberry bushes are your friend.

Pricing

We spent a lot of time thinking about pricing. We surveyed the price of organically grown blueberries in every store we could find them, then considered our own production costs (labor, fertilizer, mulch), as well as the costs associated with maintaining the setting for visitors. We don’t make our living off the berry farm. Honestly, we’re just breaking even.

Do you offer pre-picked berries for sale?

No. We want to encourage the experience of picking your own berries rather than retail sale, so we don’t sell pre-picked berries.

Growing Blueberries

How do you control weeds?

We pull weeds by hand, believe it or not. The worst offenders in our patch are wild fennel, brome grass, ragweed, miscellaneous tree seedlings, and palmer amaranth. Also, we use mulch. Lots and lots of mulch.

What about animal and insect pests?

Our #1 pest is birds. Songbirds. We’ve talked to a lot of berry farmers about bird scare devices, and basically there’s no good, long-term solution. The birds learn that plastic owls are fake very quickly. They learn that pie tins and other noisemakers are not real threats (and besides, those annoy everybody). Nets are tangly and awful, especially on a larger scale. Some berry farmers actually hire falconers to scare the birds every month or so. We’re not that desperate. We let the birds eat their fill.

Japanese beetles are another serious threat to blueberry plants. We use beetle traps late in the season, when the bugs get really bad. They’re basically bags of water and bug pheromone hanging from trees. The beetles get trapped and die. I don’t like killing, but these creatures are ruthless. They’ll eat a plant to the ground…not just the berries, but the leaves, too. If you see any while picking, don’t worry, though. They don’t bite. And they’re sort of pretty, all gemstone green.

Storage and Baking

How do I store my blueberries?

For short-term (week-long) storage:

  1. Go through the berries and discard any soft or damaged berries. Remove any stems.
  2. Don’t wash the berries before storing them (especially important for long-term storage). Washing can toughen the blueberries’ skin.
  3. Cool the berries to room temperature. This will prevent excessive condensation within the storage container. You can even spread them on paper towels or cookie sheets and place them in front of a fan for more effective drying.
  4. Select a storage container (Pyrex, Tupperware, or Ziploc bags will do) and put a folded paper towel in the container to absorb any condensation.
  5. Load the blueberries into the container and place in the refrigerator.
  6. Rinse before eating.

For long-term storage (up to 1 year):

  1. Follow steps 1-3 above.
  2. Spread the blueberries in a single layer on cookie sheets and place in the freezer until they’re frozen (no longer than 24 hours). This prevents them from clumping together in the storage containers.
  3. Transfer the berries to freezer bags or other freezer containers and seal tightly.
  4. Place in freezer!
  5. Rinse before eating.

Adapted from http://www.blueberrywoman.com/research.php

Do you have any good pie recipes?
https://www.stone-hill-blueberry-farm.com/site/recipes/

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