Your Fruit Connection
If you would like to be added to our email list please contact us . Typically the newsletter will be short and come out weekly during the harvest season [June to August] to let you what is happening. It also comes out once or twice in off season.
Blueberry picking is fair to poor. Picking time per gallon increasing significantly. You have to hunt for the spots, they are low and to the inside, but when you find them the quality is great.
Fig picking is fair. Still lots to ripen and first in the field gets the good picking.
Blackberries are gone.
Raspberries are doing nicely. We have removed all limits on raspberry picking. They will continue for quite a while.
We are on the honor system now so you will need to bring change. We have tried to leave instructions to answer your questions. There may or may not be anyone available to help you. I am probably in the field pulling weeds, trying to get caught up on vegetation and pest management or working on infrastructure.
The gates will be open till the berries are gone. If you have questions call.
This is probably the last newsletter for the season.
We have had a great season. The best ever! Thank you so much for your support! Thank you, Thank you! Thank you!!!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch
Picking time per gallon for blueberries will start to increase this week. There are lots of spots where it is still excellent (short) picking time per gallon…it is as good as it gets in these spots. Please get all the ripe berries…that is pick the bushes clean now… because when you get done the next picker won't consider it a good spot and the berries might get wasted.
Figs are loaded! Brown Turkey fig is at peak of season along with the few Louisiana Purple figs we have. The Celeste will start this week. The few Golden Celeste figs we have, a big fig, have also started.
Blackberries are about gone.
We are picking the primocane crop on the Heritage and Josephine Raspberries now. Although the patch is small, the supply is steady. We continue with the 2-pint limit. Best picking is in the early morning and again in the evening. If you are wondering what the yellow areas are …we are preparing some areas to be replanted. We will be doing the same thing to blackberries soon. We are trying to get the volume up on the raspberries.
If you have not responded to our grape survey please take a minute to do so. We are trying to get a good idea of how much of the various varieties we should plant. Please check out our survey on-line: www.TheHappyBerry.com/survey.html.
Thank you so much for your patronage!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch
There are still blueberries galore. They are oh so sweet! The Centurions, Tifblues and Powderblues are loaded. The Climax Blueberry still has many excellent berries but they are towards the interior of the bush.
Figs, Brown Turkey, are in! We are picking everyday. Remember that when the stem bends the fig is ready and it will ripen more in your refrigerator. If not harvested the fig will burst during rainy weather and wasps and other bees will eat holes in the fruit.
Raspberries are back but the supply is limited and we are operating with a 2 pint limit per family. Elderberries are in and we made a batch of Elderberry jam. There are some Chester Blackberries.
It has been raining every night and grass has gotten a little ahead of us because we don't like to mow some areas when it is wet for safety and erosion reasons. We apologize and promise to get on it ASAP.
As good as it is … it is time mention that the end is in site. Peak in blueberries will last for another 10 to 14 days with the end of blueberry season being about the end of the first week in September. If you have been putting off blueberry picking because we have such a long season it is time to get picking now or get your pre-picked berries for the freezer. Happy Berry pickers are eager to pick for you!
For those of you wondering about the blackberries: The production has been hurt by Blackberry Yellow Vein virus. To find out more and to give your input regarding grapes or other replacement options for the blackberry patch, please check out our survey on-line.
See you in the field!!
emailed July 24, 2004
Peak Picking for Blueberries: the berries are dripping from the bushes; they are ripe and sweet. Tifblue, Powderblue and Centurion are the primary crops in production with some Brightwell. We will continue to have oodles and oodles of blueberries for a couple more weeks. But if we don't get help picking the fields, the birds will arrive and the crop will diminish quickly- so come- bring your family and tell your friends!
Figs are in now too. Best picking times for figs are 8am until 11am. Beginning at 11, we pick the figs for pre-pick orders and we won't leave much behind. Elderberrries are in. Go to our website for more information on Elderberry picking. There are still a few blackberries for the folks who are willing to spend a little time. Peaches (we've been getting from the Zehrs in Sandy Springs) will be gone soon. Raspberries will be coming back in a few days it will still be limited picking and they will come in slowly, but the berries will be there. We also have some free range eggs as an experiment this year. The production is very limited - but if you want to buy just a couple for breakfast, (25 cents an egg) be the first at the farm.
Don't forget we also sell pre-picked. Call to order or order from our website.
Some of you have asked, “Where are all the blackberries this year?” The production has been hurt by Blackberry Yellow Vein virus to find out more and to give your input regarding grapes or other options for the blackberry patch, please check out our survey on-line.
See you on the farm!!
emailed July 10, 2004
We are approaching Peak-Of-Season! There are blueberries everywhere---There are still lots of Climax berries, and muffin-berry season in the Climax will start in a week or so. Muffin berries are smaller and meatier --- they don’t turn to all juice in the muffin when you cook them--- There is still some picking in the Premier. We will be at peak for about 4 weeks then blueberry picking will start to decline but there will be some blueberries into early September. Centurions, Powder blues and Tifblue have really nice berries now. The sun is pumping the sugar up.
Raspberries are gone but there will be some at the end of July and August. Figs will start in about 2 weeks. We will pick figs about 11AM or after each day. We pick all fig trees daily. A fig is climacteric meaning it will continue to ripen after picking --- even in the refrigerator. As soon as the stem bends it will continue to ripen. If you pick it before the stem bends it will not ripen. If you wait until the skin of the fruit cracks, the bees will start to eat holes in the figs--- some people blame birds for the holes when bees are the real culprits. The climacteric characteristic, even at 33 degrees Farhenheit, is why you don’t see southern sugar figs in the supper market.
The Elderberries are starting. You will need your clipper to pick them--- you pick the whole head --- when you get home you tease the berries off with a fork or you process them with the stems. our web site for information on elderberries as a neutriceutical and recipes. If you have an elderberry recipe please send it to us!
emailed June 30, 2004
We are open Sunday July 4 [noon until dark] and Monday July 5 [8 AM until dark]. A ripening berry does not stop for holidays!
Blueberry picking is fantastic and we are picking some of all varieties --- that’s right the Centurions have started. We are doing a first sweep through the Centurions now. We are projecting peak of season in about 7 to 10 days. The Tifblue are also starting. I was nibbling on Delights while mowing --- not many of the Delights but they are big. There are still loads of Climax and still some Premier. Raspberries are about done. The Chester blackberry will be ripening in a week or so. Some have been picking a few “king” berries in the Chester. The rest of the blackberries are gone. Oh! The avid picker might scare up a gallon or two but it is tough picking.
Rain, Rain, RAIN! We are open rain or shine. We are experiencing some cracking. As the berries get real sweet [21% plus], then we get another shower, then poof! they crack. The sugar in the berry pulls the water in. With dry weather these will dry up and drop off. Between Friday and noon today, June 30, we overflowed a 5 inch rain gauge.
Please come pick!
emailed June 25, 2004
Yes! We will be open regular hours for the July 4 weekend.
We are picking Premier, Climax and some Powderblue. There are some sweet blueberries in the Tifblue and Centurions. Blackberry picking has been fair to poor and is expected to continue so until the Chester blackberry comes in. The Chester variety has lots of green berries on it and so far has not been affected by the virus. We will let you know when these start to ripen. Red Raspberries are slowing up. We expect to "lay them by" (stop picking) about July 1. We should start picking raspberries again about the last week in July. The elderberries have lots of green berries and we expect them to begin in mid July. The figs are still projected to come in about August 1, 2004.
If you can't make it to the farm or the rainy weather has kept you from picking we are at the Pickens Flea Market on Wednesday mornings in booth 314 and we are at the Greenville Curb market on Court Street on Saturday mornings. You can also order pre-picked berries by calling or ordering from our website.
Because of the virus problem in most of the blackberries we are considering taking them out and replacing them with Grapes. In a few days we will be conducting a survey at our web site to get your thoughts about grapes --- seedless?, concord type grapes? Wine Grapes? Desert quality Muscadines? Muscadines for wine? all? Muscadines are noted for the nutriceutical value, equal to or greater than blueberries, especially the black or purple varieties.
emailed June 13, 2004
We have started picking Premier and Climax blueberries. This is as early as we can remember for these berries. Below is the card we sent out by surface mail. The blueberry bushes for the yet to ripen varieties are loaded too! We are picking blackberries and listing picking as fair depending on time of day. We are disappointed in the blackberries. They are performing poorly due to blackberry yellow vein virus and mites. Early blackberry pickers are finding good picking and later in the day it declines to fair. The nice berries are down in and under so you have to hunt a little. The raspberries are in and at the moment we are operating on a 4-pint limit. Again, those who are in the patch early are finding the best picking in the raspberries. See you at the farm. Sincerely, Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch
Surface Mail Card
emailed May 27, 2004
Below is the surface mail announcement we sent out a few days a go saying we will open Saturday. True! but the blackberry picking will be very limited. Blackberry picking, Choctaw, should improve to excellent by Tuesday or Wednesday of this coming week.
Greetings 2004 from the Happy Berry!
Well, it has been a difficult spring with Walker having open-heart surgery on April 9. Not to worry though - he is doing excellent! The whole family has chipped in and along with the valiant help of Anthony and Nick everything looks good. We will open on May 29, 2004 with blackberries and the crop looks excellent. Only the Apache variety was hurt by blackberry yellow vein virus. We have added some Austin Dewberries (similar to blackberries) as a trial planting. Blueberries have a heavy crop, overall, as good or better than last year and we expect to start picking around June 15th to 20th. The Delight variety was heavily impacted with foliar disease last summer and consequently set very few flower buds. The good news is this means this variety will have very big fruit this year. Raspberries are anticipated to start about June 5. We have added 6 more varieties of elderberries in an effort to find the best varieties. As always, we have fresh drinking water, picnic tables, the grass is mowed and we will have a portable toilet for your convenience. If you are on our email list we will send brief harvest updates once a week starting the first week of June.
See you in the berry fields!
Strawberries April 20 - but not at The Happy Berry
So many have asked that I thought I would advise when local strawberry harvest will start. We do not have strawberries at the Happy Berry. For updates on strawberry harvest call Kevin Hardy at Hardy Berry Farm in Anderson SC at 224 5441 or Hunter berry Farm Near Easley at 859 2978. They are estimating starting harvest on Tuesday April 20, 2004. It takes about 28 to 35 days from flower to harvest depending on temperature. Cool weather could delay opening.
Blueberries were hurt a little in the freeze of March 22-23 but it still looks like a excellent crop it only takes 80% of the flowers to make a full crop. Blackberries are coming along fine with no problems. We are estimating opening day as May 29, 2004. We are all excited about the upcoming season.
Chub continues to improve from his stroke and he has been out driving around his pastures, checking on cows etc.
Happy Spring from The Happy Berry Bunch!!
Did you know that the winter weather plays an important role in the berry production? The crop needs a certain number of "chilling" hours: we have had ample chilling, with all the crops chilling requirements having been satisfied. With a good spring, we are expecting a prompt bloom in mid to late March. Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and figs all look good at this time. Defoliation in Delight and Climax blueberries last fall has resulted in reduced flower bud count in these varieties. The good news there is that a reduced bud count will mean bigger berries. The ample rainfall has resulted in increased bud count in the other blueberry varieties.
We are busy pruning blueberries now and we are worried if we will get it done in time. The blackberries are all pruned and tied up. The raspberries still need topping to get the already fruited portion of canes out. We are planting additional black caps (which are black rapsberries) of the Jewel variety, which will replace plants lost last year, and add a few more. We are planting additional Elderberries [varieties: York, Nova, Black beauty, Samdal, Samyl, Korsar, and Sampo] and new this year we are planting some Dewberries [Austin]. If you have any dewberry recipes you are willing to share, please send them! The first application of fertilizer will be in about 3 weeks to blueberries and in 4-5 weeks on blackberries. We project opening with Choctaw blackberry on May 29, 2004. Raspberries should follow in a week and blueberries by June 20. Elderberries should start the last week in July and figs the first week in August.
For those of you who follow the Berry Bunch crew, we are all doing well. Casey (last season's mascot) has gone to live at a petting zoo where he can continue to be lavished with attention. Chub had a minor stroke, is on the mend and you can still count on seeing him this season. We hope hope your winter is going well!
See you in berry season if not before!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch