The Happy Berry 2008 Newsletter
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.

updated 09/12/08

Muscadines - Peak of season!!

It is peak of muscadine season! They are so sweet and the skins are tender. They are great on cereal, as hors d' oeuvres stuffed with goat cheese or crab meat, [My daughter Zoe did some with banana pudding topped with toasted caramelized pecans and also with chicken salad at the Saturday market and the crowd went wild], you can make a pie, or maybe a crisp. I love grazing on them in front of the TV or a movie. If you have not tried them please come graze on them for free. They are packed with nutraceuticals. If you feel guilty you can donate to the Sin Bucket. If you have a favorite recipe please tell us about it! Of course if you decide to take some home you need to pay for them.

Blueberry picking is extremely slow, probably not worth it, but you can get some. Figs have slowed way up. Blackberries and seedless table grapes are gone. The drought has pretty much done the elderberries in.

If you are coming to the farm, we are usually there, but as the harvest has slowed, you will occassionally find we are on the honor system.

Don't forget that if you want to go to the On-Farm dinner on October 4, you need to buy tickets soon.

Thank you for your support!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch

emailed 8/30/08

Now Picking Muscadines

Muscadine harvest is now underway and will last about a month. Picking conditions are good to excellent!

You pick muscadines one at a time unlike the bunch grapes (seedless concords or Jacques). They are kind of like blueberries. They need to be the right color for the variety and to be a little bit soft or plump to be really sweet and tender skinned. There will be some sugar in the hard berries but don't pick them till they are plump. Look for the rows marked with Early Fry [bronze] and Ison [black] They will be the ripest. When ripe they should run about 19% sugar or more. Dixieland and Janet varieties have started in the bronze and Supreme has also started in the black. Some of the Supreme are as big as plums. Nesbit will start soon. Unlike blueberries, muscadines fill the bucket quick.

We still have lots of Jacques grapes. This is a great cooking grape that makes "killer" jelly, pies and, according to a wine making friend, a good wine. It is a bunch grape, so requires that you bring a cutting implement for harvesting the bunches. Check out our link on "How to Pick Grapes" ( for more detail.

There are still figs out there. There were not been many pickers during the last rain so conditions should be good for a few days. There are also still blueberries but picking is slow. Blackberries are gone and seedless concord grapes are gone.

No more pre-picked blueberries for the remainder of this season, and the front porch is not always staffed. If we are not there, we are on the honor system- instructions will be in front of the scale and we will leave a note as to what is going on.


With great relief, we received 2.25 inches of rain the night of August 16-17, and another 5.25 inches from tropical storm Fay August 25 - 27. We are hoping for another good dose maybe out of Gustav! Even though the season is winding down, we really need this rain to set the plants up for next year's harvest. Every thing is really growing, so the timing of this rain is perfect to set flower buds for next years crop of blueberries which is happening now and over the next month

Be on the lookout for a news release that will be in next week's Pickens Courier regarding "Eat Locally and Seasonally."

The Happy Berry is co-sponsoring the 2nd Annual Upstate On-Farm Benefit Dinner- "Eat Your View"- that will be on Saturday, October 4, 2008. This year the dinner will be held at the Greenbrier Farm (grass-fed beef) in Easley. More information is on our website, or call Walker (864-350-9345) or Zoe (864-350-2216).

Thank you all for your support! We would not be here without you!

updated 08/09/08

Figs - Peak of season!!
There are just oodles and oodles of figs out there!

Blueberry picking - Fair to Good
There are still berries out there but they will be gone soon.

Response to the seedless grapes has been very good. There should be a lot more next year and even more the year after that. current conditions are: Seedless Concord-type Grapes- Neptune variety has started and supply is limited. Venus, Mars and Jupiter are near gone. Jacques grapes are ready. Jacques is a great cooking grape that makes "killer" jelly, pies and, according to a wine making friend, a good wine.

If you are coming to pick grapes be sure to read our tips on How to Pick Grapes. You will need a cutting implement for harvest grape bunches.

Blackberry picking conditions are Poor
There are still some Chester and Navaho- They will be gone soon.

Muscadines are still a couple of weeks out- eta late August.

Thank you so much for your support.

We hope to see you at the farm!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch

posted July 28, 2008

Blueberries at peak!
The picking is great!

We have started table grape harvest.

Harvesting table grapes:
Table grapes are harvested in bunches. You do not pick single berries. The bunch must be cut off from the main stem. If it is torn off it will make an infection court (create an open wound on the plant) for Botryosphaeria and Eutypa fungi which can cause death of the cordon [which is the main arm supported by the wire] or even the whole vine.

This means that if you want to harvest grapes you need to bring snippers. Snippers with pointed noses are best and so we do not allow children to pick grapes. We do not want them running with tools or cutting their own fingers. They can go with you into the grape fields and hold the bucket. Note that it will take two hands to cut off a bunch of grapes-one to hold the bunch and one to operate the snippers.

When are the seedless concord table grapes ripe? There are three varieties {Venus, Mars and Jupiter] and all three turn dark blue. Look for bunches with uniform dark blue color. If there is a red tinge they are not ready but will be in a few days. They do not ripen all at once so you walk along looking for the dark blue bunches. There is one yellow variety, Neptune, but it is not ready yet. More on it later.

Figs are starting to ripen. A few folks have picked a few, and the conditions should be improved by August 1. The muscadines are still a ways off… Mid August at the earliest

Blackberries:There are still some Chester and Navaho blackberries.

We are watering 24-7. We need rain bad! All of the thunderstorms that have passed through the Upstate have managed to miss the farm!

Thank you so much for your support. It is shaping up to be a pretty good year if we can just get past the water bill and just get a little rain.

We hope to see you at the farm!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch

posted July 10, 2008

Blueberries are at Peak of Season
Blackberry Conditions - Poor

The farm received 0.25 and 0.7 inches of rain Sunday morning and Sunday evening July 7, 2008! It was great! But we still need more and are irrigating 24/7- so please keep doing your best rain dances for us! We have had to increase pre-picked prices to cover our costs - please check our Prices page - but be aware that the web site is not always able to be updated as quickly as conditions change. (Our web person is our oldest daughter who recently gave birth to our first grandchild and is not able to post changes as quickly as they happen...)

Blueberries- peak of season! All varieties getting ripe: Tifblue, Centurions, Powderblue, Climax, Premier, and Delights. Remember that unlike northern blueberries the rabbiteye blueberry does not get ripe all at the same time. There are always green, red and blue berries on the same cluster. What you have to do is tickle the plump ones out of the cluster. We do not expect you to pick a bush clean. Often the plumpest berries are toward the inside of the bush. Many of our customers use a cup which they stick under the cluster and then pour the cup into a bucket on their waist or nearby. If an unripe berry gets in there they pick it out and throw it down. Blueberries should remain at peak through mid August then decline into September.

Blackberries ....There is a big crop of Chester blackberries and they are starting to ripen. We are seeing some nice buckets of berries coming out of the Chester plants. The Choctaw, Prime Jim And Prime Jan are gone. The Chickasaw and Kiowa will be gone soon but there are still some berries to be found. We will begin pruning out the flora canes getting ready for next season. The Navaho are in and some folks are getting some nice berries....but these young plants are small therefore supply is limited. The Navaho canes for next years crop are growing well so should be improved there next year.

Table Grapes - The seedless table grapes are going through verasion now. Verasion is when a grape starts to change color. They are not sweet yet... but the Venus variety will be by the end of the month. We will keep you posted. Venus variety will be followed by Mars and Jupiter, which are also blue seedless grapes, at about 7 day intervals. Last will come Neptune, a yellow grape. All our plants are young so the volume will not be great ... but my wife Ann says there are a lot of berries and we should get a good taste of them this year!

Muscadine Grapes should start mid to late August. There will be more volume this year than last year. Figs should start about August first. Corn & Peaches- We are trying to keep a little local corn and peaches on hand.

See you in the field!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch

posted June 28, 2008

NOW PICKING Blueberries!
Blackberry Conditions Still Good & Steady!

We started picking Blueberries on the 18 th of June and we have been swamped with pickers. We thank all of you who have come and picked!

The drought has intensified and we are listing blueberry picking conditions as fair to good and improving. We are irrigating- but the drought stress has slowed photosynthesis and berries are not sweetening as fast as they would with sufficient rain. A good rain and a few days and we will be loaded. No rain and with a week or so conditions will still improve with the irrigation but at a slower rate.

We are still picking blackberries. Blackberry picking is fair to good and even excellent in the early morning.

We are taking blackberries and blueberries to four different Farmers Markets – so if you can’t make it to the farm, you can find us at Anderson on Tuesdays, Pickens on Wednesdays, Pendleton on Thursdays, or the Greenville on Saturdays.

2008 Prices:
Pick your own blue and black berries are $1.75 per pound

Blueberries - On Farm: Pre-picked are $18.00 dollars per gallon and $4.50 a quart.
Blueberries - At Farmer Markets: Pre-picked are $20.00 dollars per gallon and $5 a quart.

Blackberries - On Farm: At Farmer Markets: Pre-picked are $20.00 dollars per gallon and $5 a quart.
Blackberries - At Farmer Markets: Pre-picked are $22.00 dollars per gallon and $5.50 a quart.

Figs and Elderberries will be $1.25 per pound you-pick
Figs and Elderberries Pre-Picked will be $14 per gallon/$3.50 per quart (not available at Farmer Markets).

Grape prices to be determined still - at a minimum they will be the same price as the figs & elderberries but could be a little more.

If you are interested in buying bulk quantities, please contact Zoe, Walker or Ann.

We will post the internet coupon once we get the much needed rain and the picking conditions improve. Thank you for asking and please do your best rain dance for the farm! (All the rain that has passed over the upstate in the last few weeks has gone right around us!)

Thank you for all your calls and support!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch (Ann, Zoe, Betty Ann, Walker, Amado and Jessi)!

posted June 11, 2008

Blackberry Picking is EXCELLENT!!
Blueberry Forecast - June 18, 2008

The Happy Berry is now open 7 days a week - Our regular hours are
8:00 Am to Dusk Monday through Friday.
8:00 AM till 6:00 PM Saturday
12 noon to dusk Sunday.
(With the heat- mornings and evenings are the best time to pick)

BLACKBERRIES - Picking Conditions are EXCELLENT!!
We are picking The Choctaw, Prime Jim and Jan. The Kiowa and Chickasaw are ripening. Picking time per gallon has drop precipitously to where a good picker can do 2 gallons per hour.

BLUEBERRIES - There are now some blue blueberries on the bush now but they are NOT SWEET YET- so please don't pick. We are forecasted to start June 18 but will start slow. We think that by June 23 the volume per day should be good. Then in a few days more should be excellent. We will start with Varieties Climax and Premier. There is huge crop and the bushes have to "work harder " to mature the crop. This is certainly the year of the blueberry!

It is getting dry again. We are watering the blackberries.

See you in the field!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch (Ann, Zoe, Betty Ann, Walker, Amado and Jessi)!

posted May 30, 2008

Blackberries Begin Saturday May 31
Blueberry Forecast - June 18, 2008

Greetings from the Happy Berry Bunch!

We will start blackberries Saturday May 31 with very poor picking. By June 7, picking condition should improve to "good".

Our Hours of Operation for the first week will be limited due to picking conditions.
Saturday May 31, 1 to 6 PM
Sunday June 1, 1-6 PM
CLOSED Monday June 2
Tuesday June 3, 8a to 6 PM
CLOSED Wednesday June 4
Thursday June 5, 8a until dusk
CLOSED Friday June 6
Beginning Saturday June 7, and for the rest of the season at our regular hours.
Our regular hours are 8a until dusk Monday through Friday, 8a to 6 PM Saturday, and Noon to dusk Sunday.

On Saturday May 31 and Sunday June 1 we will be giving tours of our farm for the benefit of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association in addition to our regular business operations. We are just one of 17 farms offering tours this weekend. To participate in the tour, tickets must be purchased. Tickets are available through Bee Well Honey in Pickens, the Six Mile Coop and any of the other participating farms. For more info see and follow the "Upstate Farm Tour!" link.

We are now forecasting Blueberries to start June 18 but if it continues cool it could be later.

Venus seedless blue table grapes are forecasted for the last week of July and will be followed by Mars, Jupiter and Neptune varieties, at about 7 to 10 day intervals.

Elderberries will be in August.

Figs generally start, for the summer crop, the last week of July and first week of August. There are a few Breba figs, spring crop, out there this year. They generally are of inferior quality but should trickle along in late June and July.. even cool spring temps in the 30's and 40's seems to damage them so they are more pithy.

We’ll keep you updated on the harvest to come!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

posted April 24, 2008

Blackberry Forecast - Open June 1, 2008
Blueberry Forecast - Open June 15, 2008

[for Strawberries go to last paragraph]

Well, Mother Nature has been very kind to us this year. While there has been less than maximum growth as a result of last year’s drought, the good news is that as of this writing we have not lost any of the blooms on the current crop (Knock on wood!); our water table at the farm has been recharged (but we need continued rain to keep it charged); and as of today we are down to 7% risk of frost damage, with no cold weather in the forecast for the next 7 days. So we are cautiously optimistic for continued good fortune!

We anticipate opening June 1 for blackberries and about June 15 for Blueberries. Stay tuned though, these forecasts could change depending on the weather.

For those who wonder what we have been up to since last season:
It has been a busy fall, winter and spring. In addition to 16 man weeks of pruning blueberries we took out about 250 of the Delight blueberries and replanted with a variety called “On Slow”. On Slow will harvest in the same season as Delight. It will be sweeter but not quite as big. We apologize to those of you who like the Delight variety's size, but it is susceptible to leaf rust, which requires use of a fungicide while the berries are being picked (and which we choose not to do), and the plants are so tender to frost that we have had no or very little crop 4 years in 5. Next year we will take out the rest of the Delight and replace them with a new hybrid rabbiteye known as “Robeson” which should start our blueberry season about 15 days earlier. In the rest of the varieties, we planted new plants in a number of blank spaces where plants have been lost due to tractor blight, pine mice, borers and other micellaneous reason for the past 5 or 10 years, including replanting the Muscadine, blackberries and Table grapes that got zapped by the drought and April 6, 2007 freeze. We put in a concrete pad to make it easier turning into the upper parking that we put in last year. We planted a winter annual crimson clover as a replacement for fertilizer in the grapes. It is blooming now…It’s incredible to see!

With the great crop we anticipate that the prepicked price of blueberries will drop by about $7 per gallon…$25 to $18. We really want to thank everyone for their support through a very tough year last year- we wouldn't be here without you! Just for your info the price of fertilizer has increased from a few 100 dollars a ton to over 800 dollars a ton over the past several years. .. So there has been some increase in price over three years ago that it is necessary just make it possible for us to grow berries. We will investigate use of legumes in other crops to susbstitute for fertilizer too...

New Family Ventures:
Ann is retiring from her job at Clemson University in June and, along with a partner, Lou Christensen (Mountain Willow), is growing and selling Pussy Willows. We have planted about 10 varieties. They will be harvested from Christmas through April 15. Pussy willows like moist ground so we are using them in the riparian area around our streams to protect the streams. We are also putting up a small hoop house for Ann. The chickens are doing well and they love grazing in the crimson clover. The eggs are currently available at Bee Well Honey in Pickens. For our Keowee Keys patrons who may have missed seeing our daughter Zoe at the restaurant, she is now working at the Cliffs, but she will continue to help out on the farm and taking berries to market this summer. And adding to the summer busies- we are anticipating the birth of our first grandchild by our oldest daughter in mid-May!

Rod Wetzel in Mountain Rest, in Oconee County is selling strawberries this year. His number 718 7105. Eric Hunter near Easley between Dacusville and Easley said he would start picking April 24 but to call to be sure. His number is 859 2978. Beechwood farms in Marietta is open and picking. I also saw their roadside truck on Route 130 in Seneca. Trotter farms has strawberries and you have to get them from their roadside mobile stands. I have not seen them yet but they should start soon. I don’t have a number for them. Hardy Berry Farm, 224 5441, near Anderson on Strawberry Farm Rd off of Dobs Bridge Rd, opened this past Saturday for strawberries and say they have lots. They will have several fruits as the season progresses. Andy Callaham, 338 0810, will be open April 22, 24, 26 then starting Monday the 28 should have good supply of strawberries. Callaham’s orchard is near Belton 564 Crawford Road.

We have put ourselves on www.TheLocalHarvest.Org web site. They have a review section on the web site. If you would like to write a little review about us we would love it. To write a comment, log in to the site, and click on the "user reviews" link under the "View" heading in the left side bar. That will take you to your "user reviews" page:

We’ll keep you updated on the harvest to come!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

The Happy Berry, Inc.
Mailing Address Only: 120 Kelley Creek Road
Farm Address-No Mail Receptacle: 510 Gap Hill Road
Six Mile, SC 29682
Phone: (864) 868-2946
Farm: (864) 350-9345