Early Welcome for Bumper Blueberry Crop Foster’s Daily Democrat
Blueberry season has arrived in the region a little earlier this summer, thanks to a perfect combination of rain and hot weather. Even some longtime blueberry growers are somewhat surprised at how ripe and bountiful this year’s blueberry crop is turning out to be.
“It is a good crop. We’re usually one of the earliest as far as blueberries go,” said Anne Lake, owner of Berrybogg Farm in Strafford. “For us, it’s pretty much right on time.” Lake, whose family has owned the farm for 34 years, said blueberry picking began on July 11 this year, which was one day earlier than last summer. She believes the weather was perfect to create an early blueberry picking season.
“Blueberries love rain,” she said, “and they need nice, bright sunshine also.” The farm has three fields of blueberry bushes and sells plenty of blueberry pies, cakes, cookies, plants and ice cream, Lake said.
Rising fuel costs and concerns over food safety have people swarming their local farmers’ markets, joining CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) groups and sourcing local, humanely raised protein.
For farmer Diane Souther this trend has meant a sharp spike in business. “I can honestly say that over the past two seasons we’ve seen a 40-percent increase in sales at farmers’ markets and the farm stand we have,” Souther said. Souther owns Apple Hill Farm in Concord. There she offers pick-your-own berries, and grows produce like lettuce and peas. Souther began hitting the farmers’ market circuit seven years ago. Like most farmers, she saw it as a way to both promote her farm’s pick-your-own business and move produce. The result has been positive; Souther estimates that most of the farmers she speaks with are seeing a 25- to 40-percent increase in sales.
“A farmers’ market gives farmers the best word of mouth advertising. And with more people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint and get to know their local farmer, we are seeing more and more crowds at the farmers’ markets each week,” said Souther, who sells at markets in Concord, Manchester and Bedford.
NH Eat Local Week is coming August 3-9. How will you participate? Read more and sign up at www.nheatlocalweek.org >