We started picking our earliest ripening berries, Tundra and Indigo Gem, on June 20, 2018. An early year as we’ve had consistent, warm weather.
6 year old Indigo Gem shown above. Shake and Drop has greatly increased harvesting rate – from 3-4 lbs/hour/person to 20-40 lbs/person. We still hand pick some berries for the best quality to supply our local stores for maximum shelf life.
We look forward to harvesting more upright bushes such as Aurora but the advantage to Indigo Gem is how early it ripens, even before Berry Smart Blue (Czech #17).
Blowing the debris off with a leaf blower is sufficient cleaning for wine/juice quality berries.
We acquired a used milk truck box for freezer/refrigeration as our approx 2 acres of honeyberries are now producing a lot of berries which we are now able to harvest in a more timely fashion. And cherry season is soon upon us as well.
It was nice to have a visit from an AgWeek reporter last week who wrote us up at minnesota-its-honeyberry-pickin-time (June 30, 2018). Mikkel and his wife came to pick honeyberries and went home with a story as well!
The Honeyberry Farm is also about community – the 10 year old twin boys pictured above started picking berries for us 2 years ago to earn money to go to the fair. They ride their bikes over and help pick to supply local stores. Tundra berries are light and bulky, filling up the pint containers in 5-8 minutes each by hand. Very early ripening, they don’t bleed and have a long shelf life, compensating for their lower yield of 3-5 lbs/bush.