Blueberry picking season at its summer peak
MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- It's mid-July, and picking season is at its peak at Blueberry Ranch.
John Nelson, owner of the farm, tells me the 110 acres of berries are doing well, despite a dry start to the season and rainy recent weeks.
"The farm's been here 60 years, and I've been here 45," he said. "This is one of the best crops we've ever had."
There is a good irrigation system in place, which helped with the dry weather earlier this year.
With all the rain, I was expecting some flooding between the rows of blueberry bushes. However, it was dry, thanks partially to worms.
"Being organic, there's a very high earthworm population," Nelson explained. "They drill these nice little holes, so we never have standing water."
The sandy loam soil also helps with drainage in the field, so flooding isn't an issue.
The berries stood the test, and are now ready to be picked. The farm offers U-Pick and prepicked, frozen options. They are open seven days a week.
When driving to the farm (the address is 54743 Buckeye Road in Mishawaka), you'll be directed to a long gravel drive. At the end of the driveway, there's a farmhouse where you can get a picking pail.
You don't need to bring your own pail, but I would recommend bringing a little bug spray for any mosquitoes you encounter.
The pails come with a bag inside, so you have a container to take the berries home.
If all goes well, workers at Blueberry Ranch tell me they hope to continue picking through early or even mid-August.
Nelson gave me a little advice for picking, since I was a first-timer. The trick is to cup your hands under them.
"The blue ones will roll off, whatever's ripe will fall off easily," the season picking pro explained. "The green ones will stay."
You can watch the video at the beginning of this article for a demonstration from Nelson on how to do this perfectly.
For more updates about picking dates, you can visit their website.