Yes, but we may ring a bell to call you out of the field if lightning is imminent. We ask you to use your discernment to avoid being struck by lightning. Please note that wet berries do not store well. They are best eaten or frozen promptly. While dry berries will stay fresh for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, not so for wet berries. To prevent wet berries from freezing as a lump, you must flash freeze them on cookie sheets which is not required for dry berries.
Do red berries ripen after picking?
Red berries may or may not turn blue; however, they do not continue to ripen off the bush. If you have picked some red berries, we suggest that you put them in pie or jam.
Do you raise any other farm products?
No. Our name says it all: Bryant's Blueberries.
Why can't I reach you by phone?
Both Louisville and Harrison County have 366-xxxx phone numbers. You must dial 1 812 366-3592.
Why are you not open every day?
Blueberries have become very popular which has increased our client base. Once the bushes have been thoroughly picked it takes time for berries to ripen. The green berries need to turn red; the red berries need to turn blue and the blue berries need time to sweeten. We currently try to pick on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We add days if enough ripe fruit is available (but never Sundays).
Do you have pre-picked fruit?
No. We haven't been able to do this for several years now.
Should I wash the berries before I freeze them?
If the berries are wet and you freeze them immediately, they will clump together. If the berries haven't been sprayed and there has been plenty of rain, we don't wash before freezing or before eating them from the freezer. If the berries have been sprayed and there has been no rain, we recommend that you wash the berries either before or after freezing.
Have your berries been sprayed?
During dormancy we apply lime sulfur to reduce phomopsis twig blight. During bloom and at petal fall we apply other fungicides to control phomopsis, alterneria and anthracnose (fruit rot diseases). Control of phomopsis twig blight is essential. In years with no fungicides I have lost as much as 40% to 50% of the crop. We are now facing an invasion of a new pest, the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SPW). Most fruit flies only lay their eggs into soft, overripe or otherwise damaged fruit. The SPW, however, has the ability to lay its eggs into any and every ripening fruit. They chose the same fruit that you would choose. This pest entered our country on the West Coast from Asia and has already spread to East Coast. We have traps to monitor the Spotted Wing Drosophila. This season we trapped our first SPW on July 11, 2014. Since most of the harvest is complete we have decided not to use any sprays for this pest. We recommend that you refrigerate your berries promptly and inspect for soft fruit (evidence that a SWD has laid her eggs in the berry).
Are your blueberries organic?
I have not certified the ground and the crop as organic for a several reasons. First, 'organic' doesn't mean no pesticides; it means approved pesticides, some of which are very toxic. Second, blueberries require an acid forming fertilizer, Amonium Sulphate, which is not 'organic.' Third, I do use herbicides to kill some of the weeds. Fourth, Lime Sulfur (which is considered organic) doesn't always give adequate control of phomopsis twig blight (which has caused crop losses of over 40% in the past).
What varieties do you have and in what order do they ripen?
We start with Duke, then quickly move on to BlueJay, BlueRay, Patriot, BlueCrop, Darrow, Brigitta and finally Coville.
When is the picking the best?
When no one else has already picked. So that would be the first day of the season and the first day of picking of each later variety (days we cannot predict).
How long will the season last?
It is difficult to predict with any certainty. In some years most of the fruit was picked in the first 3 weeks. In some years it has extended for 6 weeks or more. In the last couple of weeks we are often limited to only two varieties. Consequently in the last 2 weeks we are only open 1 or at most 2 days per week.
Do you sell blueberry plants? Where do you purchase your plants?
Generally not. I purchase from wholesale nurseries in Michigan and Oregon. Many local nurseries do not carry blueberry plants because of their mortality in early life. I suggest that you order from the catalogues like Starks Brothers or Kelly's. In recent years I have seen blueberry plants at local stores.
Which plants grow the best?
Duke, BlueRay and BlueJay seem to do better in our heavy soils. Avoid Collins, Bluetta and Spartan.
Which varieties are the sweetest?
This is a matter of taste. Most all varieties will get sweet if left on the bush long enough; but some are more forgiving if picked early. If you measured the acidity level, it would be highest in the late plants like Darrow and Late Blue. It would be lowest in Duke and BlueJay. Late Blues never get sweet and Duke and BlueJay are very forgiving.
Which berry freezes the best?
All freeze very well as long as they are dry. Some varieties do hold up better while being cooked. BlueJay is very firm when fresh and holds up well when cooked.
What do you do for the rest of the year?
Believe it or not there's more to raising blueberries than weighing your fruit. They must be watered, weeded, mulched and pruned. Pruning is the longest, hardest and coldest task. Each plant needs attention which can take up to 10 minutes per plant. With almost 8000 plants, well, you do the math. During tax season Dale does taxes and Diane has to complete the pruning before the bushes start to bud out in April.