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August 21, 2008

Opening day at the blueberry farm

This is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year: opening day at the blueberry farm. This is a beautiful and secluded farm with approx. 3,500 blueberry bushes.

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It has a designated handicap access row as well. We usually pick upwards of 30 lbs of berries every year for fresh eating, making jam and freezing for blueberry pies throughout the year. The blueberries were blue, crowds were few, and it wasn't even raining. The berries tasted great and we settled in for a few focused hours of picking and eating.

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After a couple hours, we recognized another devotee who gave a stern warning: Watch out for maggots. WHAT!? Gross. Then he showed us a berry with a tiny hole

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which, when opened, revealed a little, white, disgusting maggot.

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For more on the blueberry maggot (or blueberry fruit fly), read this info from the U of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Yes, it was true. Blueberry day was ruined. We started to pick again, but slower now, and no eating handfuls of berries. Barely registering 10 lbs of fruit, we quietly headed home to sort through them all and put the safe ones in the freezer, calculating silently how many maggots we had eaten that morning.

The chickens, on the other hand, loved the rejects, probably wondering who could have thought of such a delectable treat as a blueberry sheathed worm. This had to be something specifically created for them.

Just when you think you've found a fool-proof, pest proof, disease proof enterprise, along comes a maggot to bring things to a sudden halt. Farming is a tough business. Dave, the vegetable and fruit farmer down the street, reported yesterday that his crops have been hailed on several times this year, lettuce is rotting in the field, tomatoes aren't ripening because there hasn't been enough sunshine, 5 acres of pumpkins which should contain 40,000 lbs of fruit have almost none, and bees aren't pollinating because it has been so rainy. And, worst of all, he can't wait for this year to be over. Support your local farmer! The least we can do is buy the stuff that is growing this year. Click here to find a farmer's market near you.

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Posted by Mary Ellen at August 21, 2008 6:30 PM
Recent Comments

At http://www.pickyourown.org/massbluerasp.htm, there are lists of pick-your-own farms by county. We were blueberry picking in Central MA but I don't want to call them out because many farms have had trouble with the blueberry maggot, especially this year.

Posted by: Mary Ellen at August 27, 2008 10:47 AM

Where is the blueberry farm? I think we live near you and would love to PYO, maggots or no.

We have been supporting our local farmers almost exclusively: Farmer Dave's in Dracut, Verrill Farm in Concord, and Cucurbit Farm in Acton.

Posted by: korinthe at August 22, 2008 11:06 AM
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