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The Happy Berry

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2024 Newsletters

June 5, 2024 - Now Picking Blue and Blackberries

Open Daily
Rain or Shine

Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturdays: 8am - 6pm
Sundays: Noon - 8pm


BLUEBERRIES BEGIN (with a Bang!)

Picking is already Very Good and Improving Every Hour.  We are now picking Climax and Premier varieties.  The Climax bushes are LOADED.  It is looking like the biggest crop of blueberries ever!  Plan now to fill your freezer with fresh blueberries to get you through the winter!


NOW PICKING - Blackberries

Picking conditions are Good in the morning, decline to Fair in the afternoons, and then improve again in the evening.  


**Call First if you are making a special trip for pre-picked berries.


Future Harvest Forecast
Figs forecast is August 1
Muscadines, seedless and seeded, forecast is August 15
Sweet Persimmons, non astringent, forecast September 15
 

We hope to see you in the fields!
Walker Miller and The Happy Berry Bunch

May 22, 2024 - Blackberries BEGIN

Thanks to no frost damage this year,
it looks like we wil have a full crop of everything we grow!

First Up - Blackberries

We will begin picking blackberries May 27. We will be open Monday (5/27), Wednesday (5/29), and Friday (5/31) that week. Hours will be 8am to 8am those dates.  Picking will be slow, but should improve rapidly. Stay tuned to our website home page for Memorial Day Weekend days to be open.  It will depend on how quickly the harvest improves this week.  **Call First if you are making a special trip for pre-picked berries.**

There was no freeze damage this year so there are lots of berries. In the field, we are transitioning to all thornless blackberries. Removing the thorned varieties and replacing with new thornless plants, combined with a bit of a deer problem with last year’s transplants, may reduce the crop some, but what is left will be brimming with fruit. 


Next on Deck - Blueberries

Blueberry forecast is June 10.  Where as in 2023 we had just a small crop due to late frost damage, this year it is looking like the biggest crop of blueberries ever!  Plan now for stocking up, keeping in mind that "July is Blueberry month" and typically the peak of the blueberry season. 


Figs, Muscadines & (Oh So Sweet) Persimmons

Fig forecast is August 1
The fig trees are doing great and will have a big crop this year! There are a few Breba figs (in Spain Breva) so you might find them if you search while black and blueberry harvesting. Generally the Breba fig quality is poor. If we see them, we just throw them to the ground to divert tree resources to the August 1 crop. 

Muscadines, seedless and seeded, forecast is August 15 
Our seedless table grapes (Labrusca type seedless grapes) are being replaced by muscadine type seedless grapes. So the table grapes of prior years will not be available this year.  In their place we will have seedless muscadines grapes. We have 5 varieties of these delicious berries including the Razzmatazz, Oh My and Oh Gosh varieties you have already seen. Oh Goodness and Oh Fine are younger plants that are just coming along.  The seeded muscadines, being the scuppernongs and the black bullis, will be another abundant harvest this year.

Nickname "Sun-Berries": You may hear us refering to the muscadines, both the seedless and the seeded, as “sun-berries” because they love the sun!

Sweet Persimmon, non astringent, forecast September 15
 Persimmon trees have grown; we have replaced those killed by sudden wilt; and, we continue our program of eliminating the vector of the disease before it gets to the tree. This year's crop of persimmons will be our largest ever!

Sorry - The Happy Berry does not grow strawberries.

Try Mile Creek Farms Market (Six Mile) and Hunter Farms (Easley). Hunter has both you-pick and pre-picked.


Other Farm News: 

In the field - Plant transitions in progress
The plant transitions in the blackberries and the replacing the table grapes with seedless muscadines are being done to reduce the neeed for plant pharmaceuticals (pesticides). Also to address the problem of climate change and our loss in chilling, which has dropped from 13-1400 hours to 9 -1100 hours and we expect this trend to continue no matter what we as humans do because of the lag between putting carbon dioxide and others in our atmosphere and its impact. We are also transitioning from loblolly to Italian stone pine (pine nuts) to address issues of frost protection, customer comfort and plant cooling.

The farm is CONSERVED!
We have conserved the farm so it will always be a farm. Linda Lovely, a local author of mystery books and a local advocate of conservation of land for future generations, has written a blog on conservation and our effort. Here is the link to it ADVOCATES FOR QUALITY DEVELOPMENT March 7 post.

In pursuit of a dream - a Biochar Kiln
Our dream for the farm is to build a biochar kiln. It would enable fixing carbon for hundreds to thousands of years in an effort to help prevent climate change. Linda Lovely has also written a blog on biochar. Here is the hyper link Biochar—A ‘Burning’ Desire to Battle Climate Change March 24 post

Wind Machine news
Our wind machine broke down during the March freeze event of 2023. Its failure was a major player in the lost crop in 2023. When it works - the wind machine brings down warm air from the inversion off of lake Keowee and spreads it over the farm, about 9-10 acres. An inversion happens when there is no wind when the air on the lake is warmed by the lake and picks up moisture from the lake. it moves/rises above cold air sitting on the lake. On still morning before the sun rises you can see dancing ladies swirling, twirling and leaping through the inversion to get to the warm air above. The cold air slides off the blue wall and continually feeds the system. On a really still night the inversion rises up over the farm about 2-3 PM in the morning. The cold air eventually gets deeper and deeper and when it reaches our farm we turn on the wind machine. We turn on when the temperature is 35 F. It also keeps the flowers and baby fruit from super cooling. In super cooling the fruit goes below the ambient air temperature and the wind from the machine breaks the boundary of super cooled air from forming. As the air rises and the moisture condenses the heat of condensation serves to keep the air warm.

Thanks to peach grower, Kemp Mcleod in Chesterfield County we have a new rebuilt wind machine. Thank you to peach grower Kemp McLeod!

In the news
The Happy Berry was on 7 News recently - Thank you 7News and Dan Bickford!


Job Opportunities
The Happy Berry is looking for mature summer employees. The job will entail helping customers checking in and checking out, advising you-pick customers on how to recognize ripe berries, and giving instructions on where to go to find berries in the field. Depending on the applicant, the job may include helping to grade the pre-picked fruit and checking in field pickers for pre-picked sales. This could be a great fit for retired individuals. Call Walker (864-350-9349) if you have any interest to work on the farm. He will explore what opportunities may still be available and how you might fit.


Thank you for your support. We would not be here without you!
Walker Miller and The Happy Berry Bunch