Opening late in the week of July 21 for raspberry picking; probably on Friday the 25th. Check back Wednesday evening for a possible opener on Thursday the 24th.
Welcome to the 2014 season at Border Country Berries! For those of you not familiar with Border Country Berries we are a small operation with the offerings that you see below. We are located just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Details and map are at the Location link above.
It has been a challenging year, so far, at the farm. As a very late spring finally began to advance and bring about 'green up' it became apparent just how damaging the extreme temperatures of this past winter have been. Under each crop topic below we provide a brief assessment of the winter's effect.
We are sure that most of our customers realize that such a late spring translates to a delayed season for almost anything growing in the outdoors. Border Country Berries is no exception! As of this writing (7-06-14) we estimate that fruit development is fully two weeks later than in 2013, when our first day of picking raspberry was July 20th and blueberry was July 24th. The good news is that there is fruit on the canes!! Read further for a few specifics.
We look forward to visiting with our repeat pickers this year and seeing some news faces, too. See ya at the farm!
Raspberry - U-pick
We have a few different varieties of raspberry available on the farm. They are all red varieties and all are summer-bearing (no autumn-bearing). Though different cultivars, they all ripen within just a day or two of each other. In the past our typical raspberry harvest has lasted from 2 - 3+ weeks. This varies year to year with changing growing conditions and other variables in the weather and the field.
The 2013-14 winter produced some, though not severe, damage in the raspberry field. There was no creature (read: vole) damage this year like last, so we seem to have dodged that bullet. The winter temps have taken a toll but most of the canes have made a decent recovery. The healthy canes actually put on a very good bloom crop last month and pollination is still occurring (yes, I know, it's quite late for that!). Raspberries, once pollinated, typically mature and ripen quite rapidly so they may yet do a little "catch-up". All in all at this point we look forward to a fair raspberry crop this year.
Blueberry - U-pick
We have several cultivars of blueberry. Wouldn't you know it!? They're all blue. There actually is a pink-colored blueberry available now; we don't have it. Some things just shouldn't be messed with!
This is where we really got whacked by the winter's low, low temperatures! Very significant damage occurred in the blueberry field (from MSU extension bulletins, we understand that to have been the case through-out Michigan's blueberry country this year). Pruning out dead/damaged wood has been an extensive task this year that is still going on. Of course, dead wood can't bear fruit. (hhmmmm . . . almost seems like a life lesson is that statement) Anyway, that means there will be significantly less blueberries available this year. To be clear, the undamaged portions of the bushes have put on a nice crop of berries; but, due to the winter damage the bushes are smaller this year, therefore fewer berries.
We are mulling over a couple of ideas that may help to prevent such severe damage in future winters. Time will tell.
For the blackberry lovers out there we have both good and bad news. The good news first: we have decided to continue our efforts with our fledgling planting from 2012 and it does seem to be responding in a very encouraging way this spring. The bad news: there doesn't seem to be any reason to expect a yield or harvest yet this year. Ever the optimists, we pin our blackberry hopes on 2015!!
Our annual departure from the berry category is in the ground and growing. Those of you who have eaten our corn in the past may agree with us that it is a very flavorful and sweet late summer treat for those backyard on-the-deck meals. This is not a u-pick crop. It is sold at our residence, 3042 S. Seymour, and through a couple of local retailers.
Like everything else in nature this year, the corn is off to a late start; but, does seem to be doing rather well, at this point. We'll update you periodically as that harvest is still some distance off.
It's our intent to post regular updates here. For instance, if the pickers have cleaned the bushes of ripe berries we will notify you here that we are closing for a day or two so the ripening berries can "catch up". We want your visit to be as productive as possible.
For a few tried and true blueberry recipes like canned pie filling, sour cream muffins, and blueberry torte visit our facebook page.
We expect to open on either July 24 or 25. Check with us Wednesday evening for a firm date.
Berry season 2014 is not yet open
NOTE RE WEATHER: If thunder can be heard or lightning seen while one is in the berry field, then the farm will immediately close until those conditions are absent.