National Blueberry Month!
It’s National Blueberry Month and to celebrate we visited a local blueberry farm called “Blueyah Blueberry Farm”. During our visit, we learned the ins and outs to operating a small business as well as growing delicious blueberries!
Blueyah Blueberry Farm is located near Oxford, Iowa owned by Jenna Hammerich and Eric Johnson. This U-pick blueberry farm offers three varieties of blueberries with over 300 blueberry bushes! A U-pick farm is exactly what it sounds like – you pick your own blueberries! Blueyah offers this peaceful and unique experience on a gorgeous rural property during the late summer months. While visiting this farm, we had the opportunity to learn all about blueberry farming.
Did you know that blueberry bushes can reach to be six feet tall? It takes blueberry bushes about 8 - 10 years to reach maturity, but will start to produce fruits at a young age. Blueberry plants love lots of sun and acidic soil, they also like to be planted with other blueberries, which allows for better pollination! We also learned that blueberry plants will tell you when they’re lacking nutrients. The leaves of blueberry bushes will begin to change in color depending on what nutrient they’re lacking such as iron, potassium, or phosphorus. Not only do they tell you what they need, but they rarely suffer from pests and diseases in our state! The biggests pests are Japanese Beetles and birds, although neither do any real damage to the plant.
Eric and Jenna told us all about their journey as blueberry farms. The farm began in 2012 after they visited another U-Pick farm and got inspired! By 2016, Blueyah Blueberry Farm was born and open to the public. Due to increasing popularity, Blueyah has begun to offer appointment slots that can be reserved for pickers. Appointments are priced at $5 a ticket ($4 of which will be returned with the first pound of blueberries you pick) and $5 per pound of blueberries. If you’re interested in picking your own fresh blueberries, visit www.blueyahblueberryfarm.com. There are hundreds of ways to indulge in these berries such as making a homemade jam, a batch of sweet muffins, or the way Eric and Jenna recommend – straight off the bush!
Blueberries as we know them were first domesticated in the early 1900’s, meaning that people couldn’t buy blueberries at the grocery store until the 20th century! This huge step in farming history was done because of two historical figures, Elizabeth Coleman White and Dr. Frederick Coville. During their journey to domesticate this plant, they collected over 120 wild blueberry bushes. Of those collected, only two met White and Coville’s standards based off of taste, color, shape, and maturation time. The pair used these two pushes to grow thousands of hybrid bushes, creating the 100+ blueberry varieties we indulge in today!
Blueyah Farm doesn’t just offer delicious, organic blueberries, but they also have two adorable llamas, yard games, and an experience that will leave memories that last a lifetime. Visit the local blueberry farm before the season’s over!