Blueberries are ready for picking

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Opportunities to enjoy fresh fruit are plentiful in Chilton County, and the fun at Eden Farm is just getting started as the blueberries are now ripe for families to come and pick.

Ravin Farmer of Eden Farm said the pick-your-own opportunity has been offered for the past four years by appointment only.

Many people have been coming to the farm to pick berries since she opened.

The farm has Climax, Tift Blue and Premiere blueberries. Each variety ripens at a different time in the season, ensuring a steady supply.

“I love our blueberries,” Farmer said. “I would eat them every single day …They are so, so, so sweet.”

However, her love for blueberries is limited to the ones on her property. Farmer said when she first saw the bushes, she had wanted to plow over them because she did not like blueberries. Her husband wanted to keep them for at least one season. After she tasted them, she was glad they had kept the bushes.

Having others come pick berries keeps them from going to waste. Farmer said she also freezes berries to have them throughout the year.

The bigger the berry, the sweeter it will be, Farmer said.

“The smaller berries are always more bitter,” she said.

Climax are one of the sweeter varieties.

While there will still be “plenty for everybody,” Farmer said the blueberry bushes are producing a little less this year.

She attributes this to all the pruning they had done, so they could walk between the rows of bushes.

Farmer speculated the hotter than normal temperatures for late spring may have caused the fruit to be ready later than normal.

“A lot of the blooms came early, but they died,” Farmer said.

Farmer said 40 years is the average age for a healthy producing blueberry bush. Each bush will produce hundreds of berries each year. The bushes at Eden Farm are about 30 years old, and some are getting ready to be removed.

To have a good crop, at least two bushes are needed because they cross-pollinate, according to Farmer.

Those interested in scheduling a time to pick berries can contact Farmer through the Eden Farm Facebook page or by calling 205-294-5595. Pickers bring their own baskets, and the cost for berries is $10 a gallon.

The farm is kid-friendly with a playground area for younger pickers who might not get as excited about the berries as their parents.