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Blueberry season off to a soggy start

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:11 PM EDT
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HARTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - As the weather constantly changes here in New England, so do the crop seasons. Right now, it is blueberries that are ripe for the picking.

“I like that they can be half sweet but half sour at the same time,” said Marisol Gocález of California.

Gocález and her mom, Alicia Ramos, took a break from visiting family in Vermont to pick some fresh fruit. The Californians stopped by the Clay Hill Corners Farm in Hartland to fill up on blueberries. Pie and smoothies are in their future.

“I check them to make sure they are also nice and blue to make sure that none of them are purple or red and I like to make sure that they are not too squishy,” Gocález said.

Soft berries are a result of too much water, and this July, farmers say the region has seen a lot of rain. It’s a stark contrast to the recently passed strawberry season which was cut short due to hot, dry conditions.

“Some of the berries started to split, but not too many. We pick them as soon as they are ripe so that helps with that,” said Carol Stedman of Clay Hill Corners.

The Hartland farm also sells to local businesses. On rainy days, they’ve been picking the blueberries and drying them indoors under fans to keep their product up to high standards.

“Raspberries turn to mush. I’d hate to be a raspberry farm but blueberries within an hour or two, especially with this beautiful breeze, they will dry out and you can pick,” Stedman said.

But finding enough pickers has also been a challenge. There is usually high demand for pick-your-own berries on week one, but the rain is also keeping people away.

But as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Water is a sparse commodity in California.

“We are never in this rich of an environment as far as the green and the lush water and everything that is surrounding here, so she loves it. She loves the fact that there is so much to see,” Ramos said.

Farmers say the prime blueberry picking season will last for another two weeks, however, the season could extend until the end of August.

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