Monthly Archives: May 2015

BLACKBERRY SEASON OPENS!

Ripening Blackberry SeasonTuesday June 2nd 2015 marks the very first opening of our Pick & Pay Blackberry season.  Look in the right hand sidebar to see the latest information about availability, hours and picking days.  (Phones or small screens may need to scroll down to view.)  We are totally new, so this is our very first picking season.  It’s exciting and a bit daunting.  We are anticipating having to make changes while we figure out customer response, how long the plants need to recover, and how to best deal with fickle weather patterns.  It will be an adventure, so we hope you plan to share it with us.

I took these photos of the ripening berries about 5 minutes ago, so everything is still soaked with rain.  The plants are loving it though, and the berries are clean.  We do not use any pesticides anyway.  We only farm with organic practices.  Blackberries are so good for you.  They are low in calories and high in antioxidants and contain numerous vitamins and minerals.  Health benefits shown through scientific studies report that they can help you fight against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.  Eating unprocessed, organic, farm fresh berries is especially healthy.  Click HERE for more information on the health benefits of eating Blackberries.

Blackberry Season looks great!You can see in this second photo that the Blackberry rows are covered with berries just waiting to ripen!  Come enjoy the easy pickings!  Check the sidebar for the latest info.

We have a special event series planned for a few Fridays in June and July, which you will probably be VERY INTERESTED in!  More on this shortly.

Cotton Candy Strawberries

Bowl of StrawberriesHeirloom StrawberryDid you know that an Heirloom Strawberry patch on a 90 degree day smells like cotton candy?  What a treat… here are a few pictures.  The berries are especially sweet if you time it right and pick and eat when the berry is totally ripe.  A lesson in patience for sure!  If you can, wait until that last bit of white has just turned red, then it’s perfect for picking.  Regular strawberries that you find in a grocery store are pointy on the end, and that pointy tip is usually what ripens last.  Heirloom berries are more rounded, so you have to look at the side that is hidden from the sun before you pick it, because that is what ripens last.  Not all strawberry plants within the same variety are equal.  In my berry patch, the most productive plants are the ones that I propagated last year.  This is their first year producing fruit and their fruit is larger than the berries produced by last years plants. That propagation experiment was a lot of work, but the results are delicious.  **Amaze your family and friends with the recipe below!

Strawberry Ice CreamEasy Three Minute Strawberry Ice Cream!…

There are way more things to make with strawberries than the usual jams and jellies.  This one is unbelievable.  Here is a recipe that is a really fast way to make strawberry ice cream.  You make it with FROZEN strawberries, so you could always have this ready to go.  There are only 2 other ingredients and those are sugar and heavy cream.  I got this from allrecipes.comEven though the recipe says you can use a blender, I don’t recommend it unless your strawberries are slightly thawed.  Use a food processor and have everything ready because this processes really fast.  Make a single recipe first, and if your food processor can handle it, then double the recipe.

Ingredients:
10 ounces frozen strawberries, which is about 2 or 2.5 cups.
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (this depends on the sweetness of your strawberries)

Directions:   Put strawberries and sugar into a food processor and roughly chop – do not over process this step, then with the processor running, slowly pour in the heavy cream until fluffy.  Serve immediately or scoop into a bowl and freeze.  The leafy sprig in the photo is mint.  It adds a fancy touch but is not required.  Here is another hint – freeze your freshly cleaned strawberries spread out on a cookie sheet first and then put them into a ziplock bag.  That way they freeze individually and you will be able to measure out what you need and put the rest back in the freezer.   Enjoy!

 

Blackberry Blossoms… stop, look, eat and listen!

Blackberry blossomsThe nutritional benefits of the wild blackberry and the wild blackberry plant were recognized by the American Indians. They used the berries, leaves and roots.  The berries were eaten raw, crushed and mixed with water or dried. The leaves and roots were used in medicinal teas. The blackberry root was especially important as it was used to combat dysentery.  Our farm land here in Troup County, Georgia was inhabited by both Cherokee and Creek Indians before 1838 when the government forced them to move West.  Oral histories describe ceremonies conducted here up until the 1960’s.  During a trip to Tahlequah, Oklahoma specifically to meet descendants of the Cherokee tribe, Doug gifted them with wild blackberry seeds harvested from our land.  They were genuinely grateful to have these seeds, and entrusted them to one of their best farmers there in Tahlequah.  Although great tasting, the wild varieties have lots of thorns and are difficult to pick.  On our farm, we cultivate thornless varieties that were developed at the University of Arkansas. They are Navaho, Ouachita, and Natchez. These plants are trellised and planted on flat terraces, which make them very easy to pick.

Green BlackberriesBlackberry blossoms are really beautiful.  Have you ever looked at one up close?  They start out as a pink bud and then slowly open up to reveal pink and white petals, then the petals turn completely white.  Honey bees love to visit these fragrant flowers which, of course, is beneficial to both the plant and the honeybee. The blossom gets pollinated, and the bee collects nectar and pollen for food.  Once the flower is pollinated, it slowly withers and the petals fall off.  You can see in the first photo, lower left, where a few of the earlier blossoms are already loosing their petals. The actual blackberry grows from the base of where the blossom was.  If you look in the second photo at the berries, you can see the filaments that were also part of the blossom.

Trellised BlackberriesCurrently, here in Georgia, we’ve passed the blossoming stage and are well on our way to picking and enjoying the fruit.  The berries are green right now as they continue to grow and be filled with nutrients.  They will slowly turn red and then ripen into the large, juicy, black berries you are familiar with around June.

What about listening to Blackberries?  This fruit is so great that numerous songs have been written about Blackberries, Blackberry Blossoms, Blackberry Wine, you name it!  A local Georgia Southern rock band called Blackberry Smoke is making the charts right now.  A classic old time Bluegrass song is called Blackberry Blossom.  Here is a particularly good rendition by Norman Blake and Tony Rice.  (You can buy their album on iTunes.)
Listen to “Blackberry Blossom” on Guitar below!