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Crabtree's Pick-Your-Own Highbush Blueberries

703 Bridgton Road (Route 107)

Sebago, ME 04029-3344

Phone (207) 787-2730
Fax (207) 787-2531

E-Mail crabtree@crabcoll.com

[Blueberry Home Page] [Directions] [Hours and Prices]

[About Blueberries] [Blueberry Recipes] [Getting Ready for Blueberry Season] [ PYO Blueberries]

[Water for the Blueberries] [The Quiet Seasons] [E-mail ] [Crabtree's Collection Home Page]

 

Blueberry Picking Continues Strong

 


The 2017 Blueberry Picking season is wonderful! We reached our one-ton level of berries picked on July 30, and the two-ton level reached on August 8. We are closing in on three-tons picked and should reach it this weekend if picking continues as strong as it has.

The crowds of people picking have been great, and the weather has cooperated to give everyone a great picking experience.

There are some changes to report - first, our late variety Elliott berries are now starting to ripen and some folks have started to pick them. They are still a little tart, however, and need another week on the bushes before they sweeten up. Many folks like them a little tart because they are great in cooking.

Some of you have noticed the red plastic Solo cups around the blueberry patch. These cups are baited with apple cider vinegar to attract an unwelcome visitor to our farm - the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). With the changing climate this tiny fruit fly started showing up in Maine three years ago. The female lays her eggs in ripe blueberries and the eggs hatch into small larvae that consume the berry from the inside. I run my trap line every week and when a certain number of SWD show up in the traps it is the signal to begin spraying. We started spraying on Sunday, Aug 13, and will continue through the end of the berry season every 4 to 5 days. We don't like doing this, but it is necessary. The pesticides used are the most gentle I could find that would still control the pest, and berries are safe to eat after a short interval after the spraying, but we recommend that you wash your berries before eating them as a precaution.

In other disappointing news, the overabundance of berries this season has caused some of the early variety blueberries to get over ripe and go soft. They are still good to eat, and are still good for cooking, making syrup or jams, or smoothies. However, not all the early variety berries are still firm. This is affecting the Blue Crop, Berkely, and Jersey. The Little Giants and Elliots are not affected, so plan your picking accordingly. Sorry.

 

2017 - Status of Varieties

Blue Crop Good Picking
Berkeley Good Picking
Jersey Good Picking
Blue Gold Good Picking
Little Giant Good Picking
Elliott Some Ready to Pick

 

The Blue Crop were pink when this picture was taken and have now ripened to blue

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Blueberries and Old Books?

We added a feature to our Crabtree's Collection Old Books website in 2001 and every summer offer Pick-Your-Own Blueberries at our Maine Farmhouse. Stories about of our blueberry operation are linked to this page below. Check out the pictures of our place.

The first varieties of our highbush blueberries ripen around mid-July, and we then open our Pick-Your-Own Blueberry (PYO) operation to the public for the picking season. If you have been following the Maine Farmhouse Journals you know how pleased and proud we are of our old place here (see Bears in the Blueberry Bushes), and the PYO Blueberry operation gives us a chance to share a part of our experience with all of you.

Click on these links to get directions to the farm, our hours of operation and prices, information about the history of blueberries, and tips on picking and storing blueberries as well as links to several blueberry recipe websites. Getting Ready for Blueberry Season tells about some of the work that goes into having big, juicy blueberries for picking. We also have pictures showing what the blueberry patch looks like during the Quiet Seasons of autumn and winter.

When we purchased the Farmhouse in August 1998, one of the bonus features was the extensive mature plantings of highbush blueberries in the side field. The former owner, Dot, had planted and nurtured hundreds of highbush blueberry bushes. They are now 37 years old, and bear sweet, juicy blueberries the size of your thumb. The chest-high bushes almost bend over under the weight of clusters of berries.

Since 1998 we have more than doubled the size of the berry patch with new plantings and now have 1,500 bushes. We have also installed a drip irrigation system and pamper the bushes with annual pruning, fertilizer twice a year, and regular weeding and mowing. Our policy has been not to use any pesticides on our bushes and encourage people to each the berries right from the bushes to add to their experience. However, with the advent of climate change a new invasive fruitfly has migrated into the patch from the south that we've never had in Maine, forcing us to spray toward the end of the picking season with an organic pesticide. We'll post a notice when we have to do this, and then will recommend washing the fruit before eating. Sorry!

We opened the berry patch as a Pick-your-own operation in 2001 and it has become a wonderful experience for hundreds of families every summer. The picking is easy, and the berries are wonderful. There are several different varieties that ripen at different times during the summer, so there are blueberries to pick from mid-July until the end of September most years. We look forward to seeing you during the summer picking season - watch this page to see when the different varieties of highbush blueberries are ripe and ready to pick!

Please call us if you have any questions or suggestions, and we hope to see you at Crabtree's PYO Highbush Blueberries.

We are listed with the State of Maine "Get Real Maine" for PYO Blueberries in Cumberland County.

We are also listed on http://www.thingstodo.com/images/logo_40.gifunder Regional Attractions - "Maine Lakes and Mountains Region".

Allen and Penny Crabtree
(207) 787-2730

[Blueberry Home Page] [Directions] [Hours and Prices]

[About Blueberries] [Blueberry Recipes] [Getting Ready for Blueberry Season]
[Colby's Letter to Camp Laurel] [ PYO Blueberries]

[Water for the Blueberries] [The Quiet Seasons] [E-mail ] [Crabtree's Collection Home Page]


Maine Blueberry banner and Sebago Map created by Allen F. Crabtree IV

This page was last updated August 15, 2017.

Copyright 2002 - 2017 by Allen Crabtree