Burning the Blueberry Bushes

News From the Blueberry Farm
By Benson Place in Heath, MA

Here at Benson Place we had an open winter here until two feet of snow arrived in late February! The sustained lack of plant protection may have been tough on some of the more wind exposed berry bushes, so please cross your fingers with us that plenty of fruit buds are still intact.

Every year we must prune back one third of the berry bushes, to keep growth vigorous and fruit easy to harvest with our hand held scoops. Fire is a traditional way to prune low bush blueberries, and it also adds immediate nutrients to the fields. Yesterday, Farmer Dave black lined the edge of one field in preparation for the coming sweeps of fire that are quite a sight to see. He burnt a swath of vegetation so that when an open fire gets set it will be safely contained. Contact him if you’d like to observe or help with the burn this year. (337-5340) Mowing fields is an ecological alternative to burning where the land is sufficiently flat and free of rocks. We hope to incorporate some mowing into future stewardship practices.

We have also resumed annual brush cutting and weeding, which we spread out over nine months of each year. This is one of our sustainable farm practices of which we are most proud and sometimes most tired from doing!

This year we hope to have enough available berry scoops for our ever growing number of pick your own customers.

We expect that fruit orders will be taken in the same fashion as they have been in years past, while we continue to look at alternative ways to best organize that process. June 15th would be a great time to begin placing your pre-orders. Pick your own will likely be organized the same as last year with appointments being made for weekdays and open season on the weekends.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Our Ninth Annual Wild Blueberry Jubilee will be held on Saturday, August 7th, 2010 from 2-8PM here on the farm in Heath, MA. As per usual, we expect to have great food and music, an interesting educational presentation, and the opportunity to pick fruit, walk the land, and connect with new and old friends. www.bensonplace.org

Photo credits: (c) Sienna Wildfield

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