The Happy Berry


2020 Newsletters

August 29, 2020 - Figs Razzmatazz & Muscadines

It is Primocane season in the blackberries! Primocane fruiting allow us to have blackberries until first frost but the production per day is low. Primocanes only bear fruit at the tip of the canes (versus the Floracanes that bear fruit from bottom to the top of the cane).  Even though the volume is low you can take advantage of their availability while you are at the farm picking other fruits. 

You-Pick Blueberries - forecasted to end early September.  
You-pickers can still find bonanzas if they are willing to go out and scout. While it may take a little time to fill your buckets, these berries are “oh so sweet.”  

As of now, we no longer have pre-picked blueberries available and only once in a while Blackberies.  Picking time per gallon of berries has increased to the point where it costs more to pay the pickers than we can charge for the berries.

Seedless table grapes- 
We still have Hope and still Saturn but mostly only pre-picked. We are harvesting these as they ripen to get them in the cooler.  They won't keep on the vine because they are so sweet, they attract the bees and the bees eat holes in the fruit.  The holes promote fruit flies that also spread disease (sour rot).  Mars are near the end but still some.  Venus are gone.  Joy are gone -a lot of the Joy variety went to waste because of very non uniform ripening.  Jupiter (customer favorite) are gone - already picked out.  We have a new variety, Faith, in the ground and should get a look at its harvest next year.

Seedless Razzmatazz Muscadines
Razzmatazz, a small red seedless muscadine, is in and we are getting 8 or so gallons a day from 100 plants. Peak of season I think!   Most folks really love this berry despite the higher cost.  Volume is limited and we try to put off picking them until the you-pickers "get a shot" at them before 11:00 am in the morning.  Last year they had a long harvest season and it appears it will be a long one this year too.  Oh My, another seedless muscadine, have grown up to the wire so I think next year you will be able to get a taste.  We will be planting Oh Gosh, a blue-black seedless muscadine, this fall.

Muscadines(Sun Berries)
I am not sure I understand why but they seem to be running late this year.  We are picking Scuppernongs, the bronze/ yellow ones. The picking is fair and Improving rapidly.  Black muscadines, Bullis, are behind the Scup's but we are getting a few... I am sure they will pick up within a week. 

We just can’t seem to keep up with the demand for fresh figs! We continue to plant more figs every year, but it takes several years before the new plants become productive...  

We are at peak of fig season now but some of you have been discouraged that they seemed picked out.  I must admit that figs hide from you in the tree, and you do need to be a bit of a fig hunter.  This is compounded by the need to clear ripe figs from the tree every afternoon.  We try to keep the trees cleaned off so that we do not have a bee problem.  Figs are so sweet, and as they ripen and crack, they ooze sugar. That draws the bees, who with serrated tongue, will lap a conical hole into the fig. They can be hard to see and if you grab a bee burdened fig, they might sting you! Also recent rains have caused figs to burst...another reason for us to keep them cleaned off the tree.

2020 The Best Year Ever
Just looking at the bottom line, we are having a great season.  It is a welcome change, as we have barely made it out of the red most years since starting the farm.  

Why the struggle? Farming is not a widget business where you can get in quickly and nor can you get out quickly if things "go south."  It takes a long time to start a farm. (We are in our fortieth year.)  With a family farm such as ours, you need to have the capital investment that requires that you develop it over years while you work another job(s) to create that capital.  The plants themselves take a long time to grow and become fruitful.   Add in the planning and field preparation before planting and it can add 4 to 5 years sometimes more (clearing, amending soils, killing out uncontrollable weeds,  building infrastructure).  Then you have to struggle through the years before they reach full production and the years when full production is not reached because of weather or disease.  You have to "plod on" through the lean years no matter the reason.  

We have been blessed this year with almost perfect weather for berry growing.  We were fortunate that there was no spring frost this year; no really violent storms and no new invasive species of pest.  With one inch of rain per week it reduced our need for irrigation and kept the plants happy.  (We have seen years when our summer monthly water bills ran $3000 to $5000 dollars.)  And through stewardship, the land is becoming more productive!

Thank You!
So even in these unprecedented times, we have so much to be grateful for.  Thank you to all of you, our loyal customers, and your support on the farm. We would not be here without YOU!

PS – The forecast for Sunday is a beautiful afternoon – so we hope to see you in the fields!
Walker for The Happy Berry Bunch


It is the time of year when harvest conditions can change rapidly - 

Stay tuned to our website home page or our facebook page for more frequent updates.

Summer Hours

Monday - Friday: 8am until 8pm 
Saturday: 8am until 6pm 
Sunday: Noon until 8pm
We are open Rain or Shine.
And remember, just because it is raining at your house does not mean it is raining at the farm!

July 15, 2020 - Seedless Table Grapes Begin

Blueberries - You-Can't-Believe-It-Fabulous-Picking!
Blueberries are EVERYWHERE! This is peak of season and it won't get any better than this. Now is the time to load your fridge AND your freezer! Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C. They also contribute fiber, are low in calories, low in sodium and many consider blueberries to be a Neutriceutical.  And blueberries are SO easy to freeze- Pack clean, dry (dry is important) fresh blueberries in freezer containers and easy freeze for later use. Frozen blueberries can be used just like fresh berries because they do not lose texture with freezing.  Make mouth-watering blueberry pies for Thanksgiving!  Want a breath of summer in the middle of winter? Drop some frozen blueberries into your favorite pancake or muffin receipes. Make a frozen fruit smoothie. Add a handful to a hot bowl of oatmeal, or do what Walker does, and just put them frozen in your cereal. 

For more ideas and reipes, check out our After Picking Tips and Recipes on our web page.  

Seedless Table Grapes Have Started!
We are picking Jupiter and Venus, and Joy are just beginning. Venus is a dark blue concord like grape in appearance and taste. Joy seedless grapes are mixed in with the Venus. The Joy are also dark blue, but smaller, and have a marvelous delicate flavor.  The Joy cluster is elongated instead of pyramidal in shape. You won't find these grapes in the grocery stores. Most stores do not handle Jupiter or Joy grapes because these varieties are too delicate for them.  Next up varieties are Mars and Saturn.

Picking grapes is very different from picking other berries. You will need to bring snippers to cut grapes. Scissors work just fine. (Flower snippers are what we use.) Next you have to spend enough time to hunt the clusters that are ripe and ready. Then you snip the cluster from the vine.  It is important that you do not cut the vine. Please ask at the staff at the front porch and they will explain with diagrams. It is important to pick properly to prevent diseases that kill the entire grape vine. Check out How to Pick Grapes on our website for a general overview - but for the diagrams you will still need to check in with staff at the porch.

Still Blackberries
Blackberries are slowing but should still be in good supply until late July.

You-Pick as well as Pre-Picked. 
While some growers have opted out of you-pick because of the Covid situation, we are giving it a go. We have established a Covid policy which is on our website.  The procedures will slow down Check-in and Check-out.  We request that you please take time to read the policy before coming to the farm

More to Come!
Figs  -  August 1 
Seedless Muscadines - Early August
Regular Muscadines - Mid August.
Persimmons  - September 15 for availability. 

Stay tuned to our website home page or our facebook page for more frequent updates.

Summer Hours

Monday - Friday: 8am until 8pm 
Saturday: 8am until 6pm 
Sunday: Noon until 8pm
We are open Rain or Shine.
And remember, just because it is raining at your house does not mean it is raining at the farm!

Can't come to the farm?
Mile Creek Farm Market is on 183 just north of the four way Stop at 133 and 183. They grow their own veggies and also sell local produce from Six Mile area farmers, The Happy Berry included! Jennifer and Rodney are great people.

Further outside of Six Mile you can check out the Farmacy in Easley. Jessie, the Farmacist there, does a great job hunting down local grown fruits and vegatables to sell at her family store. Once again, Happy Berry berries included!

Further out still?  Check out the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery just outside of downtown Greenville,  located right on the trail of the same name. Mary is another Farmacist that does a great job hunting down local food. It is worth the trip to see what she has done- and of course, you can get Happy Berry berries there as well.

Thank you to all for your support! We hope to see you out there on the farm! 
The Happy Berry Bunch - Walker, Ann, Zoe and Betty-Ann

May 25, 2020 - Blackberries Begin May 28!

The field is LOADED with berries!
The crop this year is huge! We have been blessed with near perfect weather. There has not been a single frost that put any of our crops in peril. The rain this spring has been steady with one inch or more per week. In our favor for weather this year, this is neither a La Niña or El Niño year (which historically have been very erratic).

We will be doing You-Pick as well as Pre-Picked.
While some growers have opted out of you-pick because of the Covid situation, we are giving it a go. We have established a Covid policy which is on our website. The procedures will slow down Check-in and Check-out. We request that you please take time to read the policy before coming to the farm. The policy covers implementation on the farm, and is not just a re-statement of rules which are everywhere. (We welcome your feedback as well.)

Blackberries - Thursday May 28!
The blackberries are so loaded, the weight is breaking down the trellis that support them! Prime Ark 45 and Black Magic will be first, even ahead of Choctaw. A few shiners were observed in these varieties as of 5-15, but the cool weather slowed the ripening. We will open Thursday, May 28, 2020 for the first picking of the season. Initial hours will be 9am to Noon on May 28. Then we will give the field a rest for a day, and be open again on Saturday, May 30, 9am-6pm. Then another day of rest for harvest to recover, and open June 1, 8am to 8pm. Barring any unforeseens, we expect to be open on our regular schedule from June 1 going forward.

If you are coming for pre-picked berries, be sure to call or text first. Until we are in full production (in about 5-7 days) we may have limited pre-picked available. And with covid-19, we are anticipating the demand for pre-picked may be much higher. So please contact us first! Call or Text – use Walker’s phone – 864-350-9345.

Dwarf Black Mulberry are next up and we think will come into season about the same time as the blackberries. This is an experimental crop for us. We have been bringing them along for 8 years, but this is the first year that we have mulberries available for harvest, we hope. It is as new to us as it is to you! They are already sweet but size is small. The birds are enjoying as soon as the mulberries get any size! We will deploy distress calls and see how it works. Pick your own only for the moment. The picking will be slow. Bear with us while we learn. Please give us your feedback!

Despite very heavy pruning and hedging back last summer, blueberry bushes are also bending down with the weight of fruit. Fifty pounds per bush, maybe more! All varieties are loaded. We are forecasting between June 10 and 15 for first harvest. The berries are already large. Stay tuned to our home page for more frequent updates.

Seedless table grapes
We are forecasting the seedless table grapes to start July 15.

We have had some issues with Botryosphaeria complex dieback. This disease causes grape shoots to wilt or be stunted and the cordon (arm of the grapevine) dies back during the growing season. We think the problem could be that the plants are overbearing and consequently suffering from stress, so we did a little experimental thinning last year. This spring we thinned even more, pruning all plants to one shoot per spur with a max of 40 spurs per plant (depending on pruning weight). We hope the thinning will make for less stress as well as drier vines, because of less density of foliage, and hence less other diseases too.

Even with a perfect spring we had some varieties do poorly. We are weeding out the poor performers and will replace them with more reliable types. Still, the young trees have grown and a bigger crop than last year is expected. August 1 is the forecast.

Seedless muscadines
The Razzmatazz (dark red) have grown and showed no winter injury. (We were fortunate, as other growers were reporting some winter injury.) The plants are not at full production yet but there should be a lot more than last year. We have planted "Oh My" (yellow seedless) and have "Oh Gosh" (blue seedless) in pots for planting out this fall. We are forecasting early August.

Regular Muscadines
Bullis and scuppernongs have done well and will have a full crop. We are forecasting mid August.

Unfortunately, we have identified a new disease (new to our field) in the Persimmon crop. It is caused by a bacterium Xylella fastidious. It causes discoloration in the xylem (the “veins” that conduct water and nutrients) in young shoots and it plugs older xylem, which is all to say that it prevents nutrients and water from moving up the tree. The result being a dieback. We have initiated a control program which addresses the vector in the spring 3.5 months before harvest, but we are will still losing some trees that were probably infected prior to initiating the vector management program. As we remove dying trees we will replace them, but it will take time for the new trees to come into full production. We are finding it difficult to find replacement trees so there are still some dying trees in the field. Still, there are plenty of healthy trees, so we should have a good harvest, more than last year, and forecast September 15 for availability.

Help Wanted
Looking for summer work? Contact Walker at the farm for job descriptions and to find out if there is an opportunity that might be a fit for you.

It should be a great season, and we hope to see you out there on the farm!
The Happy Berry Bunch - Walker, Ann, Zoe and Betty-Ann