We're Closed for the 2020 Season!
We are now closed for picking this 2020 season and want to thank all of you who came and picked. A special thank you for all of you who respected the special things we asked you to do to stay safe during these times of the Pandemic. Everyone played nicely together, and we appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
As we usually do, we've left the buckets out hanging on the side of the blueberry shed for anyone who would like to glean whatever berries are left on the bushes. It will be hard picking but feel free to see what you can do. Free, of course. You'll need to bring a bag or container to bring home any berries you pick.
This year because of the
pandemic we asked everyone to maintain a 6-foot separation between
pickers and family groups and wash their hands. Masks are requested. Our new hand washing station has been very popular, and we sanitized buckets and surfaces
frequently. Thank you for your
understanding to help all of us stay safe during the blueberry season.
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 several 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. 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
We sprayed weekly during the picking season, 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.
The good news is that the spraying has been
effective, and we have reduced the infestation by 75% since we first
started running our trap line.
We posted notices at the blueberry shed with the dates that we
sprayed. Although the berries you pick will still be safe
to eat, as a precaution we will recommend that you wash them before eating
Status of Varieties
Blue Crop – Picked out
Berkeley – Picked out
Jersey – Picked out
Blue Gold – Picked out
Little Giant – Picked out
Elliott – Picked out
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.
Click on these links to get directions
to the farm, our hours of operation and prices,
information about the history of blueberries,
and tips on picking and storing blueberries as well as links to several blueberry recipe websites. Getting Ready for Blueberry Season tells about
some of the work that goes into having big, juicy blueberries for
picking. We also have pictures showing what the blueberry patch looks
like during the Quiet Seasons of autumn
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
Real Maine" for PYO Blueberries in Cumberland County.
We are also listed on under
Regional Attractions - "Maine
Lakes and Mountains
Allen and Penny
Maine Blueberry banner and Sebago Map created by
Allen F. Crabtree IV
This page was last updated September 23, 2020.
Copyright © 2002 - 2020 by Allen