Pick Your Own Blueberries in Strafford, NH

blueberry plants

The Real Hunger Games!

Not the movie…the new cookbook recently written by Fifi O’Neill titled The Romantic Prairie CookbookRomantic Prairie Style Cookbook

which features many great farms and their recipes including two recipes from Berrybogg Farm.  Fifi and Mark Lohman came to the farm back in June of 2011 and we had a great time watching a photo shoot evolve during a 90 degree day which culminated with a huge thunderstorm and a power outage!  Despite the obstacles, the results are fantastic and the entire book is a work of art.  I can’t wait to try the Dark Chocolate Chip Raspberry cookies from Raspberry Fields Farm, the Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Lizzie McGraw, and Fifi’s own Tourtiere recipe which is a staple at the holidays in our neck of the woods.

March has been a busy month of pruning at the farm in temperatures sometimes 40 degrees above the norm for this time of year.  Time will tell what the increased temperatures will do to the plants this season but when we had a similar warm spring two years ago it pushed up our opening date by 10 days. However, warm temperatures or not, we will still hold our annual plant sale on May 5 and May 6 with lots of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry plants and peach trees for sale.  Stay tuned for more information.

This year we are planning on holding cooking classes in the new farm kitchen during the summer and fall with help from local caterer extraordinaire Chef Randy Brisson.  We will be updating the website with more information on these events but we hope to offer a wide range of classes using local ingredients and of course blueberries!

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Fun at the Plant Sale and A New Farm to Visit

We had a great turnout for the plant sale this weekend and sold out of everything except a few blueberry plants.  We plan on having more plants for sale this summer during the picking season.  As a result, we will not be open for the plant sale this Saturday, May 7. Thank you to everyone who came out Saturday and Sunday and braved the black flies!

Last week we paid a visit to a local Alpaca farm in Strafford.  Sometimes you don’t even realize what you have happening in your own town and this was true of our visit to the Green Alpaca located in Crown Point.  The owner, Val and her daughter Annie were so accommodating to our surprise visit and gave us the royal tour.  84 Alpacas and counting, chickens galore, 3 turkeys and 2 sweet donkeys!   Who knew all of this was only 15 minutes away.  Val and her family hope to encourage others to take up Alpaca farming…they even have a yurt on a hill overlooking the farm where you can vacation any time of the year…check them out and check out the Seacoast Eat Local calendar for more fun farm things to do in our area!


Annual Plant Sale and Pruning Tips

We have finally completed pruning all three blueberry fields (almost 6000 plants!) and now we are busy in preparation for the annual blueberry plant sale to be held this Saturday, April 30 ; Sunday, May 1 and if we still have plants May 7.  Hours are 9am to 2pm all three days. This year we will be offering the blueberry plant varieties Blueray, Patriot and the so-so-sweet Jersey.  We will also have Boyne raspberries and Fall Gold raspberries for sale as well as a small selection of peach trees and rhubarb.

It is still not too late for you to prune your own blueberry bushes.  At the farm, we try to complete pruning before the blossoms come out and also before the “dreaded” black fly appears.  We have included two videos below of pruning both small and large bushes which should help you get your own bushes into top shape for blueberry production.  Keep in mind that it is always helpful to give your plants a dose of fertilizer which can be done after the blossoms drop off.  Blueberries are an acid loving plant so an application of 7-7-7 can be sprinkled around the drip line of your bush.  Unfortunately, the birds will be your number 1 pest when the berries ripen so you need to learn to share or purchase a netting system from a garden center.  Don’t forget that blueberry plants are shallow rooted and love water so try and mulch around your plants with sawdust, bark mulch or even pine needles.

Finally, Anne is in the process of putting together a second cookbook for the farm and she would love to hear from any of you that would like to include your own special blueberry recipes.  You can send them through email (info@berryboggfarm.com) or drop a copy of your recipe with your name on it to Berrybogg Farm, 650 Province Rd. , Strafford, NH 03884.  We look forward to hearing from you!


Planting Time

We just received our shipment of two year old plants and they are ready to plant!  In the above picture, our dog Mac is checking out the new blueberry plants for a brief moment and then he was off on a search for tennis balls. 

This year we are offering the varieties Patriot and Blue Ray which are cold hardy plants to zone 3.  We grow about 600 Blue Rays in our second field and they have always been very successful producing large, sweet berries.   The Patriot variety is also a large, sweet berry but the plant itself does not grow as large as the Blue Ray.  We recommend two varieties for cross-pollination.

This year we have 3 sale dates for the blueberries and we will also be selling a limited number of raspberry plants.  Come visit us on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2 from 9am to 1pm and again on Saturday, May 8 from 9am to 1pm.  The blueberry plants will be selling for $14.95 and raspberry plants will be sold for $5 each.  Blueberry plants make a nice Mother’s Day gift and are a great native species to use in your landscaping.  Unfortunately, we will not be taking phone orders this year so it is first come, first serve.

If you are a member of Facebook, be sure to check out our new Facebook fan page created by my daughter.  We hope to post some of the customer pictures here during the season.


Pruning Time Again

Once again we are out in the fields pruning the blueberries and in the above picture, Mike is pruning dead canes from the blackberries.  The bushes look good and most of the snow has disappeared from the fields which has allowed us to start pruning sooner.  On Monday, March 22 we will be hosting a pruning workshop  for highbush blueberries which will take place from 4:30 to 7:30.  The workshop is sponsored by the UNH Cooperative Extension folks who will have several speakers talking about diseases and pests common to blueberries, pollination of blueberry plants and a pruning demonstration.  Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear as you never know what the weather can bring.


Fun at the Farmer’s Market

We had a great time at the Winter Farmer’s market held at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford.  This is a picture of Michael and his favorite mother-in-law prior to the opening.  Seacoast Eat Local and Wentworth Greenhouse have another farmer’s market scheduled for Saturday, December 5 http://www.seacoasteatlocal.org/winterfarmersmarkets/ .  We won’t be participating as we sold most of our frozen blueberries at the last market but there were many many great farms and vendors who will be returning.

For the past few weeks we have been busy pruning the blueberry bushes in our third field.  Most growers recommend that blueberry bushes can be pruned starting in March and continuing up to blossom time.  However, because of the number of bushes we need to prune and because of advice from other growers, we have started pruning in November and will continue until it gets too cold (for us and the bushes!)  We resume pruning in March and April which usually allows us the needed time to prune all 6000 plants.  Stay tuned for a pruning workshop which will be held at the farm sometime in March in conjunction with UNH Cooperative Extension.


Last Hurrah!

The blueberry season is officially over at Berrybogg Farm and overall the season was a success.  Definitely too much rain in July but August was much better and of course the berries seemed to do very well with all the rain.   Don’t forget that we will be selling blueberry plants in May so give us a call at 603-664-2100 before Mother’s Day and check our website for specific times and dates for blueberry plants.

We will leave you with a few pictures of the end of summer picking.

derrickandjudy

fatherand daughter

chuckandcin

pampicking

jackpicking

ringingthebell

Ringing the bell for the last customer to come out of the fields!  Below are  some of the last customers checking out!

last customers 09