menu
The Happy Berry

Newsletter

2019 Newsletters

August 31 - Muscadines, Razzmatazz & Seedless Grapes

Muscadines are Peak of Season (but don't wait too long)
Both the Bullis (the black variety) and scuppernongs (the bronze variety) are at peak of season. But it won’t last too long so now is the time to come and get this super food of fruit. Super sweet and "oh so juicy" and we are loaded with lots of berries.

Nutraceutical Secret of the South
Muscadines are high fiber and high in antioxidants, especially ellagic acid and resveratrol. Ellagic acid has demonstrated anticarcinogenic properties in the colon, lungs and liver of mice. Resveratrol is reported to lower cholesterol levels. And our muscadines are almost organically produced. We do use pheromones to confuse the male grape root borer so he can not find the females but we do not use fungicides. Since no fungicide is used, when the skin is challenged by organisms it produces all those antioxidants and nutraceuticals that are good for you.

Don’t’ know what to do with muscadines?
Walker puts them on his cereal in the morning. He cuts the top off just above the seeds. Then with knife or grapefruit spoon pop the seed locuel out and half it again. They are also great finger snacks while you read or watch TV. They freeze easy and can make a great addition to your mixed fruit smoothies. Or have you tried Hull Pie? Check out the Hull Pie recipe on our website! YUM!


 

We will have a few persimmons picked and some Razzmatazz but quantity is limited.

Persimmons: If you have not tried the persimmons yet, we encourage you to give them a try. Ours are a non-astringent variety. They are so sweet, with no astringency, and you can eat them like an apple or wait until they are translucent red orange and eat them with a spoon. Check out the Persimmon Pudding recipe on our website! 

Persimmons are not typically available in grocery stores. If you do find them in the store, remember that ours are miles fresher and that the store variety is possibly the astringent variety. So please, Don’t judge our persimmons from something you tried at the store! Come check us out. We typically have a persimmon cut up for you to try at markets, or please ask if you want to try one at the farm. Supplies are limited, so we recommend calling first if you are making special trip.


There are still some Razzmatazz, the seedless muscadine
We think that Razzmatazz is the new “blueberry.” Not that it tastes like blueberries. It has a unique awesome taste. But it is small, it works in pancakes, muffins, and is great in cereal just as well as eating out of hand. Although there is no data yet, we think it is loaded with nutraceuticals too. 

Fall Hours 
Regular hours are 9am to 6pm except for Sundays.
Sunday hours are noon to 6pm. 

Come see us! Cooler temps are rumored to be moving in and it will be fabulous weather to come spend a day out on the farm!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

August 31 - Muscadines, Razzmatazz & Seedless Grapes

We are open regular hours Labor Day weekend.

8am to 6pm on Saturday, August 31.
Noon to 8pm on Sunday, September 1.
8am to 8pm on Monday, September 2.

Muscadines are Doing It!
Scuppernongs (the bronze muscadine) and Bullis (the black variety muscadine) are in. They are big, sweet and juicy.  Remember that you pick them one at a time. Select based on color, if a little soft...twist and pull. The little twist helps in picking berries by creating a dry scar. With a dry scar the muscadines will keep for a longer time in the refrigerator...weeks even!   Check out our "Picking Tips."

There are still seedless dessert grapes: 
Jupiter – purple, sweet and fragrant;
Mars – dark blue, sweet and concord-like;
Hope – greenish yellow and very sweet; and
Saturn – green to purplish, cunchy and moderately sweet.
Harvesting time has slowed but is worth the effort! These grapes are really sweet and tasty. Snack on them fresh or top your cereal. They freeze easy too – great to use for smoothies!

There should still be Razzmatazz, the seedless muscadine, for harvest this weekend.
The picking slowed this week but should improve with the forecasted nice weather. There are still a lot of Razzmatazz coming on.  We think that Razzmatazz is the new “blueberry.” Not that it tastes like blueberries. It has a unique awesome taste. But it is small, it works in pancakes, muffins, and is great in cereal just as well as eating out of hand.  Although there is no data yet, we think it is loaded with nutraceuticals too. 

There are still figs but you have to hunt for them. They are hiding behind the leaves.

There are a few primocane blackberries but they are scattered. You have to be willing to look for them.

Blueberries are all done for the season.

Persimmons are still forecasted to begin mid-September.

Please note that farm hours will change beginning Tuesday September 3, 2019.
Beginning Tuesday, September 3rd, regular hours will be 9am to 6pm except for Sundays.
Sunday hours will be noon to 6pm. 

Come see us on the farm! It is a beautiful weekend to get out in the fields and pick!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

 

July 30 - Peak of Season in Figs & Grapes

Figs are in and the picking won’t get any better than this!!
It is peak of season in the figs. If you are coming to pick your own, best picking is early in the morning.  We send pickers to pick figs everyday around 11am to clear the ripe fruit from the trees but figs are ripening so fast that we are having a hard time keeping up. Note that fully ripe figs will start to crack and ooze sugars that attract bees - so be on the watch for them. They are not interested in you unless you happen to trap one when you go to pick. I (Walker) will flick the fig to chase bees away before I pick. Some pickers will wear latex gloves. 

Figs are climacteric. That means that if picked after the stem starts to bend, they will continue to ripen after they are picked.   If you have never picked a fig, be sure to check out our website on how to pick figs. Figs are $3 per pound u-pick or  $8 per quart on-farm ($9 at the markets).

The Happy Berry Great Grape Sale
The Great Grape Sale is planned for Saturday August 3  8 AM to 5 PM
and Sunday August 3 from 12 noon to 6 PM. 
Bring your snips (scissors work) and your buckets.  We are reducing the price by 40 cents a pound for the you-pick. (Pre-Picked prices are not being discounted.)

It is peak of season in the seedless grapes!
Five (5) varieties are ripening and two more are "on deck."  A customer Favorite "Jupiter" is so sweet and fragrant.  Mars is a dark blue, sweet grape that some claim is reminiscent of Concord grape but without the seeds.  The Venus grape is another dark blue sweet grape that has a distinctive grape flavor that comes through in pies and jam. There are a few seed traces in the Venus grape. The seed traces are soft and edible, but our plan is to reduce our number of Venus plants until you say “stop”. We will be replacing them with Joy.  Joy is very dark blue, sweet and smaller oblong grape with great flavor.  Joy is a little later than Venus.  The other is Victoria Red, the only seeded grape on the farm.  It is sweet and juicy and only has 2 seeds. We have only 10 plants as a test plot.  We have noticed an uptick in interest.  We like it because of it resistance to disease which means less pest management.  Let us know what you think.

The last two varieties of grape, still to come, are Hope and Saturn.  Hope is a green/yellow grape, that is crunchy and sweet.  Hope may be ready in time for the Sale.  Saturn is another crunchy grape, purple in color and also very sweet. Saturn is the last of our grape varieties to ripen. 

Razzmatazz!
Well... we have a new seedless table grape-muscadine hybrid.  It is "Razzmatazz!"  This is a small dark red muscadine type grape that has an amazing flavor!  It has "Vinifera blood" in it. The plants, especially the first ones, were $99 per plant.  We are not sure how productive it will be... so the price is a little higher, $5 per pound u-pick and $9 per (one-pound) container at Farmers Markets.   When picking your own, please carry a separate container for the Razzmatazz.  We will have to separate at the scales if you don't.  You pick Razzmataz with snips, just as you do the seedless table grapes.  We think it may be available all the way until frost.  As we all gain experience we will let you know and change accordingly. 

This fall we will plant another variety, a small yellow seedless muscadine grape called "Oh My." It is getting rave reviews by the developer.   Both these grapes should reduce the need for pest management.

Blueberries Some...
Blueberries are still out there but the picking time per gallon is up significantly. Once we sell the pre-picked blueberries that we have in the cooler, we will longer have pre-picked blueberries.

Blackberries Some...
The volume of blackberries is winding down as the Chester finish up...  but still another week or so of picking.  The primo cane bearing are starting. The volume of primo cane harvest is small but should go all the way until frost! Be sure to call first if you are coming for pre-picked blackberries, as quantities are limited.

Muscadines are coming ...We just checked and they still look like 10 to 15 days out.  Still forecasting August 15 for harvest.

Persimmons are starting to get some color but they are still a good ways from being ready. We will keep you posted. 
 
Thank you for your support!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

 

June 26 - Peak of Season in Black AND Blue berries

Peak of Season in the Blackberries!
Blackberries are at Peak of Season right NOW and will continue at peak for about 2 more weeks.  After two weeks (aproximately July 15) we anticipate that picking will begin slowing until the end of July. Blackberry conditions should hold at slow from the end of July until frost in the Fall.

Blueberries Are Everywhere!
Blueberries are everywhere! Now picking all varieties.  We are predicting Peak of Season for the blueberries will begin this weekend, June 29, and should continue at peak for about 4 weeks. 

Open 4th of July!
The Fourth of July week is looking dry with great picking weather. We will be open all week, even on Thursday the 4th, so come get some fresh berries to include in your 4th of July gatherings!

Next Up - Table Grapes
Veraison has just stared in the grapes, especially in the Jupiter variety. Forecast is that we will start picking them between July 15 and July 20.

Figs - August 1
Looks like a big crop of figs. We are sticking to the August 1 forecast (for now).

Minor Hours Adjustment
In case you missed it in the last newsletter, we have defined "dusk" as 8pm. If you are here at the farm at 8pm, we will stay while you pick, but if there is no one in the fields at 8pm we will close the gates and go home.  Also note, Saturday hours are still 8am until 6pm. Google had it wrong if you had "googled" our hours but it appears to be corrected now.

Open Rain or Shine
Other than the severe drought in May, we have been holding low moisture tensions thanks to afternoon thunderstorms. Remember that we are open Rain or Shine - and that rain at your house does not necessarily mean it is raining at the farm.

Stay tuned to our Website home page for updates.
 
Thank you for your support!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

 

June 5 - Blue Begin June 8

Blackberries Improving Rapidly!
Blackberry picking has improved to good and should be excellent by this weekend, June 8.  Stay tuned to the website home page for the latest on picking conditions.


Blueberries - June 8!
Blueberry picking will start June 8, seven days earlier than expected. Picking will be poor and slow at first, but there will be blues out there for those who want to make the effort.  First up will be mostly the Climax variety, but there will be some Premier variety as well.  Stay tuned for updates.


Minor Hours Adjustment
After a lot of family debate, we have decided to define "dusk" as 8pm. If you are there at 8pm, we will stay while you pick, but if there is no one there at 8pm we will close the gates and go home.


Pre-picked Berries
In this early part of the season, we recommend calling first before you make a special trip for pre-picked berries. And if you are wanting more than a couple of gallons, it will be important to call first, and ask us to set them aside with your name on it.

Come see us in the fields!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

 

May 30- Opening Day is June 1

Blackberries Begin!
The Happy Berry will be open Saturday June 1, 2019 for blackberry picking. Picking conditions are being listed as poor to fair, depending on picking pressure. But we anticipate conditions to improve quickly. Stay tuned to the website home page for the latest on picking conditions.

Hours of Operation
Beginning June 1

  • Saturdays: 8am  to 6pm
  • Sundays:  Noon until dusk
  • Monday through Friday: 8am until dusk.  

Blueberries Are Up Next
A few blueberries have been observed in the Climax variety but they are mostly not ripe.  Forecast for harvest is moved up to open about June 12. Stay tuned for updates.

Think "Rain"
The drought is very intense and we desperately need rain. We are irrigating to save the crops and the plants.  

 

Hope to see you in the field this weekend!
Walker for the Happy Berry Bunch

 

May 20 - The Berries Are Coming!

In this newsletter – Strawberries (but not us), The Happy Berry Crop Report, 2019 Prices, How We Farm discussion, and farm tour dates.

STRAWBERRIES (But Not Us):
We do not do strawberries but we have friends that do.

  • Mile Creek Farm
    The newest strawberry farm is Mile Creek Farm right here in Six Mile on Mt Olivet Rd (Route 133) between Six Mile and Durham's Convenience Mart (Corner of 133 and 183). They are on Facebook and have a website .
  • Hunter Farms
    North of Easley and South of Dacusville. They also are on Facebook and have a website.
  • Berry Acres LLC
    On the west side of Anderson and they have a web site.
  • Callaham Orchards
    On the east side of Anderson and South of Greenville near Pelzer, and they have a website.
  • Sandy Flat Berry Patch
    On the north side of Greenville and has a web site.
  • Beechwood farms did not plant strawberries this year.

The Happy Berry Crop Report

  • Blackberries June 1 (and maybe sooner!)
    Stay tuned to our home page or Facebook page for the most current updates.
  • BLUEBERRIES Forecast - June 15
    Looking like a great crop in both the blackberries and blueberries!
  • SEEDLESS TABLE GRAPES - Forecast July 15-20
  • FIGS – Forecast August 1
    Should be the best year yet for figs- better than any of the past 4 years! Figs appear to have very little winter damage and with our expanded plantings we are expecting greater volume then in past seasons.
  • MUSCADINES - Forecast August 15
    In addition to our well established Scuppernong and Bullis muscadines, this year there will be seedless muscadines...Razzmatazz! We are also growing out in pots a new golden seedless Muscadine called "Oh My." The Oh My won’t be ready for harvest this year, but maybe next year?? We will transplant the Oh My from the pots to the field after November 1.
  • PERSIMMONS - Forecast September 15
  • OTHER MISCELLANEOUS:
    Some MULBERRY TREES have finally out grown Deer damage and we hope to have a few this season. We are propagating more to replace what the Deer have killed. The same is true with the persimmons. TEA PLANTS are growing. Many of the grafted CHESTNUT TREES are aborting at the graft union but the rootstocks are living. We just received two (2) OLIVE TREES from the north of Jordan as a gift from one of our customers. We are anxious to see how they will do here. The olive trees we have, the Ascolona, are currently having pollination problems because we have not found a cold hardy Olive to cross pollinate with the Ascolana. Other than the pollination problem, Ascolana appears to grow fairly well here.

Prices
We hate to do it, but prices will go up this year. The farm lives on the "knife’s edge" between profit and loss. The bottom line is our expenses are up, out-go exceeds income, and we have to take the prices up or we no longer meet our goal of being sustainable. Our 2019 Price Plan is:

2019 Prices

Pound
(You-pick)
Quart
(Pre-picked)
Gallon
(Pre-picked)
Blackberries $2.90 $7.00* $27.00
*At market $8.00 N/A
Blueberries $2.90 $7.00 $27.00
*At market $8.00 $29.00
Seedless grapes $2.90 $7.50 N/A
*At market $8.00 N/A
Figs $3.00 $8.00 N/A
*At market $9.00 N/A
Muscadines $2.90 $7.00 $27.00
*At market $7.00 N/A
Razzmatazz
Muscadines
$5.00 $8.00 per 1 pound container N/A
*At market $9.00 per 1 pound container N/A
Persimmons $3 PER POUND / *Pre-picked only
We love it when you bring your own containers.

HOW WE FARM
The mention of prices above brings up this issue of how we farm because it is part of what you are paying for. In this day of "the" climate crisis we want you to know we are sequestering more carbon than we use in production and we are working to do even better. For example, we have gone from less than 1/2% organic matter in our soil (in 1981) to 8-9% organic matter (38 years later!). Each 1% organic matter is equal to 20,000 lbs or 10 tons of carbon fixed per acre. Back of the envelope figuring estimates that this year we will have kept 15,200 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere in just the blueberries! My daughters caution me not go on for a long oration so I will stop here. But anytime you want to talk, just contact me!

It takes labor to farm this way and labor is our single biggest cost. If labor costs continue going up (and we think they will), we will have to keep raising costs. And we know you don’t want us to keep raising costs! So we are looking for other ideas to generate income. Would you, the customer, be interested in purchasing carbon credits to support our continuing efforts to sequester more carbon? Would there be interest in a Customer Supported Agriculture (CSA) with farm pick up only? We would love your feedback and/or any other ideas you might have for ways we can stay sustainable!

UPSTATE FARM TOURS - June 8 and 9:
We are a participating farm in the Upstate Farm Tours being organized by Uptown Greenwood. Tours will run on Saturday and Sunday June 8 and 9, from noon to 6 PM. You are invited. This would be a great time to come learn how we farm and how we sequester carbon. The tours will be a one hour walking tour and loaded with information. For more details about the Upstate Farm Tours, go to uptowngreenwood.com/uptown-market/upstate-farm-tour .