The Happy Berry 2009 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 11/2/09

Closed for 2009 Season
Will Re-Open June 1, 2010

We have had a great season! Our best year ever!! Not all profit by a long shot…we have not completed the books yet…but still I think a 10% return on investment along with local workers and family making a little money. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank You!!!

Zoe has decided to add more Jupiter grapes in her front yard. You all enjoyed the seedless grapes so much she/we wanted to add more. This increases the seedless grape acreage by 0.25 acres. We are replanting better than 200 blueberry bushes where they have died off over the years or gotten trampled during the harvesting process or where we took out some of the Delight variety. The older blueberry varieties are susceptible to leaf disease, which results in defoliation, which in turn, results in lower number of flower buds. We are replacing with OnSlow, Ira, Britewell, and more Premier- all of which resist leaf disease. If we keep this up for several years eventually we will get rid of those susceptible to leaf disease. We are taking out the Prime Jim and Prime Jan blackberries. These were the ever-bearing blackberries that we had high hopes for early harvest. We plan on replanting with another early season variety called Natchez. It is thornless. Flowers on the ever-bearing varieties that developed in hot weather resulted in small misshapen berries with not enough to harvest at any one point in time and the primo canes died back in the winter so there was not much of an early spring crop.

We hope to get started on a new barn this winter, along with the 10 weeks of pruning, mulching for erosion control, updating the web site and several weeks of tying up the blackberries. I must say the wet weather has agreed with the blackberries. They certainly look great at this point. We hope you got enough fruit picked to get you through the next 7 months until we start again. Again thank you for your support! Come see us at the farm anytime or give me a shout if you have questions.

Thank you for your support!! We couldn't be here without you!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 10/12/09

Still Muscadines
But They'll Be Gone Soon

There are still Muscadines grapes but they will be gone soon. When you see the planting while walking west out Blackberry Alley note that there will be more grapes on the ends of the rows nearest the woods. The bronze grapes (Scuppernongs) are in the rows toward the bottom of the hill and across the creek.. The black ones (muscadines or bullis) are up the hill. There is more black than bronze.

We are changing our hours for the fall. We will be open 9 am till 5 PM. We are on the honor system now. Any questions give me (Walker) a call. Phone 864 350 9345

We are busy getting things cleaned up for fall lay-by. Then we will start working on infrastructure issues. We are thinking we will add more Jupiter seedless table grapes because you-all liked them so much. We will take out two small areas of blackberries and replace them with Natchez thornless blackberry. We also plan on replanting any missing blueberry plants. We hope to get started on the barn.

Stay Tuned-Pussy willows are next in January.

We have had a great season and have done very well despite the recession. Thank you very much!! We couldn't be here without you!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 08/10/09

And Lots of Figs

Seedless, table grapes are OH SO SWEET! We are loaded and they pick so easy... We are now picking Jupiter and have just opened the fields to Mars and Neptune. The Venus are gone. We wanted a harvest that was a nutraceutical as the blueberries were finishing and the muscadines were starting. We have hit a winner! They are fantastic! Ask anyone who has tasted them. They are nothing like what you buy at the store (nor can you buy them there). They are unique. My wife freezes them and then eats them like candy from the freezer. I love them on my cereal. Kids just gobble them up. In fact, that is a problem in the field while picking. Parents bring stripped grape stems to be weighed out... So please let us weigh them before you eat them. Picking conditions Excellent!

Blueberries have slowed up significantly and picking time per gallon has increased to 2 hours per gallon. There are still blueberries out there though, and we are listing conditions as poor.

Fig picking is good and we have lots of figs. As soon as they begin to bend they are ready. Remember they are climacteric- they continue to ripen after they have been picked- so you should pick a range of ripeness. The brown ones with the cracks are so sweet. If you plan to come pick, remember that We will not pick the figs until after 11:00 in the morning. That way bees and wasps, which love the sugar in a fig, do not have a chance to lick a whole in the side of the fig…and you won’t grab a bee when you pick figs. Still if it is a really ripe one… look before you pick. Also, a few people are sensitive to fig leaves so you might wear a long sleeve shirt. Remember that you have to look for figs when you are picking. Figs are famous for hiding from you.

Blackberries are slowing some and the best picking is in the morning. by afternoon it takes longer to pick a gallon.

Muscadines, especially Early Fry, are about a week away. We will let you know. We anticipate muscadine peak in early September. You pick muscadines one at a time. They should be soft to the touch.

Some of the summer crew are leaving. Jessi and Alex are headed back to school ...Tri county where Jessi will play soccer and Alex to Wofford. We will miss them!

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Looking forward to seeing you in the fields!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 07/31/09

Now Picking - EVERYTHING!
Well, except muscadines...

We will finish the Venus grapes July 31 and the Jupiter have about completed veraison. We will pick Jupiter starting August 1. When harvesting, be sure to pick the really dark blue ones. IMPORTANT…you harvest grapes by the bunch! NOT by the berry. In fact, taking singular grapes out of clusters destroys the appearance of the cluster for the next person. IMPORTANT you harvest grapes by cutting the cluster away with pointed snipers. If you “pick” the grapes by tearing the bunch off, you leave a wound where diseases such Botryosphaeria and Eutypa can enter the plant…. Which can shorten the life or kill the vine. IF YOU LIKED VENUS YOU WILL LOVE JUPITER! After we finish the Jupiter we start the Mars, which are still in veraison

There will be two more weeks of good picking in the blueberries…with some picking into early September. It is the time of year when it is really handy to use the plastic quarts when you pick so you can put then into the bush below the cluster where you are picking. That way you don’t drop the plump sweet ones and then you can pour to your big bucket.

Figs are in!
A fig is ripe when the fig stem starts to bend. A fig is climacteric, which means that it continues to ripen after it is removed from the tree. The secret to high quality figs is to pick everyday. Our policy is that we will not pick the figs until after 11:00 in the morning. That way bees and wasps, which love the sugar in a fig, do not have a chance to lick a whole in the side of the fig…and you won’t grab a bee when you pick figs. Still if it is a really ripe one… look before you pick. Also, a few people are sensitive to fig leaves so you might wear a long sleeve shirt. Remember that you have to look for figs when you are picking. Figs are famous for hiding from you.

Still Blackberries
The Navaho and Chester blackberries still have good picking but will slow up in couple of weeks. To me they are really sweet, but then I am a blackberry lover.

The muscadines seem to be slow … but I am sticking to my forecast of August 18… they are starting final swell now.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Looking forward to seeing you in the fields!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 07/16/09

Blueberries EVERYWHERE!

There are blueberries EVERYWHERE! The bushes - all varieties - are loaded with fruit- the green, the blue and the sweet, plump berries that you want to pick. Here are a few tips:

THE SCIENCE OF PICKING: We have several varieties of blueberry that mature as the season progresses. The early varieties are Climax and Premier. Later ripening are Tifblue, Centurion, Powder Blue and Delight. All varieties ripen over a 6 to 8 week period of time. Right now, all of our varieties are ripening, so all the bushes are loaded with fruit. On any bush, at any time you pick, you will find green berries, blue berries, and plump berries.

THE SWEET SPOT: Sweetness in blueberries relates to maturity. The more mature, the sweeter is the berry. "Plumpness" is the key. You develop a feel for plump berries as you run your hand over the cluster. We encourage tasting so you can "hone" in on what is a sweet berry. If you feel guilty for tasting too much we have a "sin bucket." Proceeds of the sin bucket go to Hospice.

BLACKBERRIES"- We are picking Navaho and Chester in back of the house. The Chester variety ripens over a very long period of time and there are always lots of red and green berries with black ones hidden from you. You have to look for them. It is a steep hill and good shoes are required. In the morning the grass can be slippery. please be careful . and forgiving of us. if we suggest you should not pick on that hill. The Navaho variety is on either end of the field.It ripens a little ahead of the Chester.

We have cut the floracanes (canes that had fruit on them this June) out of the Choctaw and Prime Jim and Prime Jan Varieties. In the Prime Jim and Jan varieties the primo canes (this year's canes) are now flowering and should have berries in them in a month. We will start pruning the floracanes out of the Chickasaw variety this week. There are still big nice berries down low in the bush in the Chickasaw.

GRAPES TURN BLUE **BEFORE** THEY ARE READY TO BE PICKED: Several of you have remarked that the seedless grapes are turning blue. They are going through Veraison. It takes about 4 weeks till they get sweet even though they might appear to be ready. Actually the Venus variety, the ones on the left of the driveway coming in, will be ready in about 2 weeks. Ripe berries should be dark blue. After Venus will come Jupiter then Mars varieties ripening during August. In the Neptune variety, which are a yellow seedless, and last to ripen, I did not adequately control a disease known as black rot. We will see how much is left in late August and Early September when they ripen.

ELDERBERRIES: What few elderberries we have are beginning to ripen.

MUSCADINES: The muscadines appear to be doing fine and there should be lots and bronze and black ones. I am still forecasting mid to late August.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Looking forward to seeing you in the fields!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 06/27/09

Blueberries AND Blackberries are LOADED!

There are LOTS & LOTS of Blueberries and Blackberries!

BLUEBERRIES: We are now picking Climax and Premier varieties of blueberries. There are a few sweet blueberries in the Tifblue and Centurions. Pretty soon it will be crescendo! Picking time per gallon is low now. Some bushes are bending way over with fruit load. They need your help to get the weight off the bush! Blueberry season lasts a long time and we will have blueberries until late August or possibly even early September.

BLACKBERRIES: Kiowa and Chickasaw blackberries are loaded. There are still some prime Jim and Jan and they are very sweet. The Choctaw are about done but still some. The Navaho blackberries are just beginning along with the Georgia Gem where king berries are ripening. The Chester have a long ways to go and we are forecasting mid July for them.

PRICES: The prices this year are $1.75 per pound u-pick for blue and blackberries and that works out to be about half the price compared to pre-picked. Pre-picked berries are $5 per quart or $20 per gallon. That is about $4 cheaper than last year! We try to forecast pre-picked needs each day but if you want to be sure we will have pre-picked berries when you come, it is best to give us a call to make sure we will have them ready.

DRESS FOR THE WEATHER: Long sleeve loose fitting shirt, hat, long pants [cotton works well] and carry some water. When your sweat evaporates it helps to cool your body. If you are not sweating or sweating excessively it is time to get out of the sun. In this day of cell phones carry it with you to the field and if you feel bad, dizzy or have a problem call 350 9345 or 637 8041 and we will come help.

FIGS are forecasted for August 1 along with seedless grapes. Muscadines are still forecasted for August 18. The rain has been marvelous and we continue to get an inch a week! Perfect! The bushes look so great this year which bodes an even better crop next year.

Thank you for your support! Looking forward to seeing you in the fields!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 06/13/09

Blackberries Approaching PEAK
Blueberries have BEGUN!

We started picking blueberries on June 11- the earliest ever! We are picking the varieties Climax and Premier. We will have a limited supply of pre-picked blueberries. It is best to call ahead (864-350-9345) so as to make sure we have picked what you want. We pick early in the morning so a little lead-time is very helpful. The bushes have lots of lush green foliage so we are forecasting lots of sweet berries this year. The volume available to pick will increase steadily over the next month. We should have blueberries until late August or even early September.

The blackberries are coming on strong!. Picking conditions are good, approaching excellent, and PEAK OF SEASON will be here SOON!

The seedless table grapes are doing great! We anticipate starting Venus the end of July. Then we will pick Jupiter, Mars and Neptune during August and early September.

Summer figs will start around August 1. Zoe found a ripe breba (spring) fig so there are a few out there if anyone wants to try. It will be slow picking now but once the summer figs come in we will be loaded.

Muscadines are forecasted to ripen August 18.

Thank you for your support! Looking forward to seeing you in the fields!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 06/03/09

Open for Blackberries June 4
Closed Friday June 5
Regular Hours Begin Saturday June 6

We open for blackberry picking on Thursday June 4.

We will be closed Friday June 5.

We will be open Saturday June 6 from 8 AM to 6 PM and Sunday June 7 from 12 noon until dusk.

Starting Monday June 8 we will be open our regular schedule for the entire season. The regular schedule is from 8 AM until dusk Monday through Friday , 8 AM - 6 PM Saturday and 12 noon - dusk Sunday.

We will be picking Choctaw, Prime Jim And Prime Jan blackberries. We will not have any pre-picked berries available yet. We will advise by newsletter as soon as we begin to pre-pick.

Blueberries start June 18.

We are looking forward to a great harvest!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 05/28/09

Blackberries June 4
Get to Know Your Farmers- CFSA Farm Tours this weekend!
Blueberries June 18

It is official; we will open June 4, 2009 with blackberries. Blueberries are still forecasted at June 18. We have had marvelous growing conditions with lots of good rain… at least an inch a week. The bushes are so “happy” … they have a marvelous green glow about them and are bending over with their fruit load.

Get to Know Your Farmers - Carolina Farm Stewardship is sponsoring tours of 19 farms this weekend. For $30 a ticket you can tour all 19 farms with every one in your vehicle on just one ticket. Tours are from 1 to 6 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. With your ticket you will get a map to all farms so you can plan where you will go each day.

The tickets are available at The Market in Keowee Town on Route 11, at the CFSA web site, Bee Well Market in Pickens, Upstate Food Coop near Six Mile off of 137 headed toward Norris, Anderson farmers Market in downtown Anderson, At Whole Food in Greenville {also a Sponsor of the event} and 1038 Pinckney Rd in Pauline SC in Spartanburg county. Or you can just buy a ticket at one of the participating farms listed below.

  • Greenbrier Farms - Easley
  • Bee Well Honey - Pickens
  • The Happy Berry - Six Mile
  • Barrioz Natural Gardens - Central
  • Clemson University Heirloom Vegetable Garden - Clemson
  • Clemson University Student Organic Farm - Clemson
  • Chestnut Return - Seneca
  • Billy's Boer Goat Farm - Westminster
  • Tokeena Angus - Seneca
  • Lucky Acres Farm - Townville
  • Split Creek Farm - Anderson
  • Hardy Berry Farm - Anderson
  • Milky Way Farm - Starr
  • Bio Way Farm - Ware Shoals
  • Happy Cow Creamery - Pelzer
  • Parson Produce - Clinton
  • Bethel Trails Farm - Gray Court
  • Live Oak Farms - Woodruff
  • Sharon Rose Farm – Woodruff

See you in the fields!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 05/08/09

Blackberries June 3 or 4
Blueberries June 17 or 18

We keep getting excited here! We made it through Spring frost season with only some damage to blackberries and no damage to blueberries thanks to our new wind machine pictured on the home page. And we also had a very friendly spring weather-wise. We have gotten near perfect rainfall also and the berries are swelling nicely!

We are anticipating blackberries to start about June 3 or 4 th. Blueberries will start perhaps around the 17th or 18th of June. It has been cool and there is a heavy crop and the heavier the crop the slower it is to ripen.

There will be some early breba figs… no prediction yet… but the summer figs will start August 1.

The seedless table grapes are looking great! And we anticipate starting them in the end of July. The muscadines are looking good too and we are forecasting about the 18th of August for muscadine harvest to start. The crimson clover in the grapes did well reseeding itself and except for where the deer grazed it to a “nub” we will get about 70 pounds of nitrogen to acre from it.

Chickens are happy and we are selling the eggs at Amazing Savings in Six Mile. Ann and Lou did great with the pussy willows and other stems this winter and we are expanding our plantings and putting up a hoop greenhouse. Zoe will probably have a few vegetables for you on Monday afternoons this summer. We will let you know more when get closer.

Strawberries started April 18. See our last newsletter [below] for some local growers.

See you in the fields!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann, Walker and Juan

updated 04/17/09

Blackberries June 1, Blueberries June 15
Strawberries Begin Aprox April 18

Greetings from The Happy Berry!

We don’t do strawberries BUT

Strawberry season is here. Local growers advise that they will start picking April 18 or within a few days of the 18 of April. Although we have not had many frosts we have had cool wet weather that is slowing ripening. A few warm sunny days and they will ripen quickly now.

Some local growers:
Hunter Farms between Easley and Dacusville. If you take route 135 out of Easley just a little ways out of town you will see their sign that will turn you right and then almost immediately left. Then it is several miles and they are on the left. Eric Hunter is forecasting good picking by the 25 of April. His number is 864 859 2978 he is open 8 till 6 Monday thru Saturday.

Hardy Berry Farm is located on 232 Strawberry Road off of Dobbins Bridge Road 4 miles west of Anderson. Kevin says he will open on April 20. They are open 8 to 8 each day. They are also into fresh flour and several other berries including blue and blackberries like us. The number is 864 224 5441.

Beechwood Farm is located 204 Bates Bridge Road near Slater/Marietta SC. Their phone is 864 836 6075. They said that they would open on the 18 th of April but anticipate supply to be limited initially but there will be tons in just a few warm days. Like us at The Happy Berry they only take cash so no credit cards, thanks.

Happy Cow [330 Mckelvey Road, Pelzer, SC] will have strawberries this year. They are growing organically- one of two organic harvests that we know of for strawberries. They use lots of cow manure and it is a plastic culture system. Tom points out that they are not certified because of the cost but that they have not had anything put on them, not even organic plant pharmaceuticals. If you headed south on route 25 from Ware Place go 1.9 miles to the second left. That is Mckelvey Road and they will be one mile on the right. Tom Tratham said that depending on sunshine he will open 18 to 20 th of April - call 864 243 9699.

Callaham Orchards is located off highway 20 in the Cheddar community just outside of Belton SC. If you get to Winston you have gone to far. Andy said he will start on April 18 th with a limited supply but a few warm days and they will be loaded. Phone is 864 338 0810, web site, email

Rose Hill plantation also has organic strawberries, not certified, grown in a plastic house. They have 9000 plants so some times get picked out so call first 864 306 0303. They also have a very interesting store on site and things like Happy Cow milk. They are located on Three Bridges Road Easley SC. They have been picking for quite a while since they are in a greenhouse.

ABOUT US - At The Happy Berry we are forecasting blackberries to start about June 1 and blueberries to start about June 15. Our eggs are available at “Amazing Savings” Main street in Six Mile SC. We are very appreciative of all the nice rain… lets hope it keeps up. We are forecasting a great crop of blueberries this year. We got the wind machine up this winter but only had to use it on one night. We will try to get a picture up on the web site

On behalf of all of us local farmers…we appreciate your support! Come see us! Anytime!
Walker, for The Happy Berry Bunch: Zoe, BettyAnn, Ann,Walker and Juan

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