Blueberry farm finishing growing season strong, despite high temperatures
“We’ve actually done better towards the end of the season than we thought we would, and I think part of that is the people are just getting used to the heat.”
MINEOLA, Texas (KLTV) - Blueberry Ridge Farm on Highway 80 between Mineola and Hawkins will soon finish their blueberry harvest season at the end of July, and despite some obstacles with temperatures and lack of rainfall, the farm is finishing the season strong.
The farm has been in operation since 1992 by owners Jerry and Jill Graves, and it is the oldest organic blueberry farm in Texas.
“In 1992 we purchased the farm and immediately we were in the blueberry business, which I knew nothing about,” Jerry Graves, owner of Blueberry Ridge Farm, said.
Blueberry Ridge Farm runs as a U-Pick operation, where guests can pick up a bucket, head to the blueberry field and pick their own berries. They also offer berries already picked by the owners.
“We are primarily a U-Pick operation,” Graves said. “We do some pre-picked berries for the public, but basically the majority of what we do out here is U-Pick.”
A typical blueberry season lasts from June until the last week of July. This season, Graves attributes scorching, hot temperatures and water scarcity to bunches of blueberries being shriveled and small. However, the nearly 2,500 blueberry bushes at Blueberry Ridge Farm have water running everyday to ensure they are ready for production.
“They seem to do just fine up until about 95 to 98 degrees, and at that point if you don’t have water on them and you’re not getting some reasonable rainfall, they’ll start to see a little slight change in the way they’re producing,” Graves said.
Temperature also played a major role in last season’s harvest since the 2021 winter storm wiped out most of the crops in what Graves calls “the most significant loss ever.”
“We literally had almost no berries, which even in a freeze year we had berries, but that year was really unique for a lot of reasons,” Graves said.
With hotter temperatures, the blueberries are not the only ones unwilling to endure the heat. Attendance numbers have also been affected.
“The hotter it is the less people want to come out, and if they do come out, they generally buy less or pick less product because it just gets hot too quick,” Graves said.
Blueberry Ridge Farm is open until the end of July and is located on Highway 80 between Hawkins and Mineola.
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