Monday, June 26, 2017

More Blackberries & Fewer Peaches Ripe Now

   Since my last blog post 1 week ago, many, many people came to buy peaches. 1400 lbs. sold in 26 hours, from Tues. evening June 20 to Wed. evening June 21. We harvest peaches each morning Mon.-Sat. and will have them for sale until early Aug., but some days fewer peaches are ripe, and we may sell out by late morning or early evening.
   Please do not arrive earlier than our opening time. We open at 7:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat. for berry pickers, but those who want only peaches should arrive after 9 a.m. to give our workers time to pick the peaches. We're closed from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m. We're open 7-9 p.m. each evening, but call 620-597-2450 in the afternoon to be sure we'll have peaches that evening.  We often have no peaches to sell on Sun. evening, since our workers do not pick peaches on Sun. morning.
   We'll harvest the greatest amount of peaches from July 5 to about July 31.  We grow 17 different peach varieties that provide a succession of ripening over 2 months.  Each variety ripens over a 10-day to 2-week period.  Our mid- to late-season peaches had less bud kill from spring frosts, so will have bigger crops than our earlier varieties.  We've already finished harvesting 'Early Redhaven', 'Surecrop' and  'Blazingstar'.  We're now harvesting 'Newhaven', 'Challenger' and 'Allstar'.  I give taste samples of the varieties ripe at each time.  All these peaches are freestone.
   Small amounts of peaches cost $1.30 per pound + tax.  We pick directly into 20-lb. boxes, which I then weigh to exactly 20.0 lbs., so you save $1.00 if you buy a 20-lb. box of peaches for $25.00 + tax (when we have them).  We also have many nice 2nds peaches with small hail-damaged spots or other surface damage, which sell for just $0.74 per pound + tax.
   Some purple raspberries are still ripe now and will continue to about July 8.  A few everbearing red and yellow raspberries are also ripening.  More raspberries ripen each day, so those who come to pick blackberries can often also pick a few pints of raspberries.
   Harvest of our earliest thornless blackberry variety, 'Natchez', has started getting heavier, but they're still being heavily picked.  'Natchez' produces very large crops of huge blackberries, so they are very easy to pick, and they will continue ripening for the next 3 weeks or so.  Sat. morning is of course our busiest day, and we got picked out on 'Natchez' and our other thornless blackberry varieties last Sat.  Weekday mornings are great times to come for those able to do so.  If you come on Sat. morning to pick blackberries, try to arrive by 8 or 8:30 a.m.
'Natchez'  thornless blackberry produces huge blackberries, and they will continue ripening for the next 3 weeks or so.
   Some customers are also picking 'Ouachita' and  'Triple Crown' blackberries, which have just started.  'Ouachita' berries are smaller with great flavor, great for fruit salads where a larger blackberry would be too big for the other fruits in the salad.  'Triple Crown' blackberries have the smallest seeds and are the juiciest, so they're especially good for making jams and jellies.
   All berries are sold pick-your-own only.  Pick-your-own raspberries cost $2.08 per pint + tax.  Thornless blackberries cost $2.55 per quart + tax, pick-your-own.  There are NO chiggers, and you can pick a quart of blackberries in 5 minutes.
   We provide containers, and just ask that you return the containers to us for reuse on your next trip to Brenda's Berries.  Please also bring back any peach boxes or other containers you previously got from us.  Some customers bring plastic or metal trays to place their blackberry quarts on to bring them home, which also helps.  Please do not bring bowls to dump the berries into, as that damages them, and we want the berries to stay in the quarts you picked them into until you get them home.
   Have your vehicle cleaned out so there's room to put trays of berries and peach boxes or bags.  These fruits travel best in open trays, where they receive air conditioning from the vehicle, not in a car trunk or in an ice chest, so don't take up room in the vehicle with an ice chest.  We keep our cooler at 50 F, ideal for peaches, as they can get chilling injury at temperatures below 50 F or if put directly on ice.  Once you get them home, both blackberries and peaches keep well for 10 days in a refrigerator.