We closed for the picking
season on Sunday, 15 September.As
we usually do, however, we left the buckets hanging on the shed and welcome
anyone who would like to glean some of the last berries on the bushes to do
so for free.
There are still some
Elliott late variety berries left, but it is harder picking as they slowly
get picked out.There are still
berries ripening on the bushes and we’ll have Elliotts for a short while.
Spraying Advisory – we will
continue to spray for the Spotted Wing Drosophila fruit fly that has come
to Maine with our changing climate, and will be running our “trap line” to
see what the numbers of this pest are.When we spray, we ask that you do not go into the blueberry patch to
pick for at least 24 hours after spraying.
We sprayed Tuesday, 17
Sept, so please no picking until Thursday, 19 Sept.Thank you. When you do pick, we recommend
that you wash the berries before eating them.
At the time when the bees
finished pollinating the berry set looked like one of the best we’ve
had.However, mother nature did not
cooperate this year.We opened as we
usually do on the third Saturday in July, the same day as our Sebago Days
festival.This year, however, we
only had 6 rows that were ripe to pick instead of all our early varieties.
Then we were hit with
several veryhot and sunny days the
early varieties ripened seemingly overnight and the picking was glorious –
until the continuing hot weather resulted in over-ripe, soft berries that
fell off the bushes.I figure we
lost about 3 weeks of picking the early varieties this year because of it.
This is all part of the uncertainties of
farming, and the season this year will not be one of our best.There is always next year and I
appreciate all of you faithful and enthusiastic pickers who have visited us
Drosophila are back!
out picking blueberries you may have noticed some of the red SOLO cups
hanging on green metal posts scattered around the blueberry farm.These are traps designed to monitor the
presence of an unwelcome new pest that has arrived in Maine, thanks to
global warming.They are baited with
apple cider vinegar and collect insects drawn to them.
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) has been moving into Maine over the
last five years as the climate has changed and is something we’ve never had
to deal with here – we were too far north!This small fruit fly has the annoying habit of laying its eggs in
ripe fruit.The eggs then hatch into
white larvae which consume the fruit.
run the “trapline” every week and count the number of SWD captured in the
traps.The Agricultural Extension
Service has similar traps on farms around the state and send us a weekly
report of SWD findings.So far, the
numbers in our traps have been very small, but we have found a few ripe
berries with the white larvae in them which means that there are some SWD
at work in the berry patch.Untreated, the entire crop could be lost.
We spray once a week using primarily
Spinosad, a natural insecticide.Spinosad is a relatively new insecticide that is made up of two
complex organic compounds that are produced by certain microbes that were
first discovered in soil found at an abandoned rum factory.Spinosad is a broad-spectrum, organic
insecticide. The term "broad-spectrum" means that it is toxic to
a wide variety of insects. It is, however, relatively non-toxic to mammals
and beneficial insects, and has a short retention time on the berries.
Here is a video of our
blueberry farm that we had done to show it off.
Status of Varieties
Blue Crop – Picked Out
Berkeley – Picked Out
Jersey – Picked Out
Blue Gold – Picked Out
Little Giant – Picked Out
Elliott – A few berries left
Blueberries and Old Books?
We added a feature to our Crabtree's Collection
Old Books website in 2001 and every summer offer Pick-Your-Own
Blueberries at our Maine Farmhouse. Stories about of our blueberry
operation are linked to this page below. Check out the pictures of our
The first varieties of our highbush blueberries ripen around
mid-July, and we then open our Pick-Your-Own Blueberry (PYO)
operation to the public for the picking season. If you have been
following the Maine Farmhouse Journals you know how pleased and
proud we are of our old place here (see Bears
in the Blueberry Bushes), and the PYO Blueberry operation gives us a
chance to share a part of our experience with all of you.
When we purchased the Farmhouse in August 1998, one of the bonus
features was the extensive mature plantings of highbush blueberries
in the side field. The former owner, Dot, had planted and nurtured
hundreds of highbush blueberry bushes. They are now 37 years old,
and bear sweet, juicy blueberries the size of your thumb. The chest-high
bushes almost bend over under the weight of clusters of berries.
Since 1998 we have more than doubled the size of the berry patch with
new plantings and now have 1,500 bushes. We have also installed a drip
irrigation system and pamper the bushes with annual pruning, fertilizer
twice a year, and regular weeding and mowing. Our policy has been not to
use any pesticides on our bushes and encourage people to each the berries
right from the bushes to add to their experience. However, with the
advent of climate change a new invasive fruitfly has migrated into the
patch from the south that we've never had in Maine, forcing us to spray
toward the end of the picking season with an organic pesticide. We'll
post a notice when we have to do this, and then will recommend washing
the fruit before eating. Sorry!
We opened the berry patch as a Pick-your-own operation in 2001
and it has become a wonderful experience for hundreds of families every
summer. The picking is easy, and the berries are wonderful. There are
several different varieties that ripen at different times during the
summer, so there are blueberries to pick from mid-July until the end of
September most years. We look forward to seeing you during the summer
picking season - watch this page to see when the different varieties of highbush
blueberries are ripe and ready to pick!
Please call us if you have any questions or suggestions, and we hope
to see you at Crabtree's PYO Highbush Blueberries.
We are listed with the State of Maine"Get
Real Maine" for PYO Blueberries in CumberlandCounty.
We are also listed on under
Regional Attractions - "MaineLakes and Mountains