Organic Blueberry Picking Path

Welcome Organic Blueberry Lovers.
Blueberries are ready to pick every month of June and only June.
Sign Up for Emails to receive your invitation.

Book your picking session on the Blueberry Booking Page.

Get seasonal crop harvest updates on the Timeline Page.

Stay on this Blueberry Path Page for best picking practices.

This page will be updated by the end of May 2024, but read on as you wish before then. We delight in sharing the Blueberry Path with you and feel heartfelt appreciation for your farmily support.

  • Experience all organic blueberry U pick sessions.
  • Choose from fresh picked annual vegetables.
  • Cut your own U cut flowers.
    • Food and flowers are grown organically (not certified).
  • Grow your own by taking home our registered nursery grown persimmon trees, figs, and other plants (not currently growing blueberry plants).

Blueberry Path amenities feature:

  • Relaxing waterfront views of natural springfed bodies of water.
  • Majestic Southern Live Oak tree canopy shade bathing with picnic tables.
  • Spring dipping for those who want to cool off.
  • Photo ops for amateur and professional photographers.

Deep Spring Farm rabbiteye blueberries begin to be ripe and ready to pick at the end of May. The blueberries become big and super sweet under long days of sunshine. The amount of ripe berries increases through June and peaks in ripe abundance around the summer solstice June 21. We invite you to make it a June weekly priority to pick gallons to stash in your freezer. Level up your food security and enjoy high vibration, sweet summer solstice energy year round.

We cherish getting to know you and want you to have a joyful experience that brings you back for more, this season and for years to come.

Blueberry Picking Best Practices

Leave No Trace Harvest is another name for our blueberry picking best practices which aim to cultivate local food shed resilience. Farm sustainability is rooted in everyone enjoying the growth process of working smarter together.

  1. Do your yoga: Picking beautiful berries is a meditation and a workout, like a mindful yoga practice. Be prepared to stand, walk, bend, twist, reach, crouch, squat, kneel, all along practicing gentleness with yourself and the plants and no hurry.
    • The bucket gets a little heavy as you go (it helps to start in back of patch and move towards front) and the temperatures usually heat up, all part of the Florida blueberry picking experience. Prepare to sweat. Wear clothes that you can wipe your hands on or bring a rag. We encourage hats and hydration. 
  2. Pick only ripe blueberries. Pick fully ripe berries while leaving no trace of negative impact (waste/damage) on the environment.
    • Ripe blueberries are big and blue all over, without a hint of red or pink. The biggest, bluest berries are the ripest and sweetest. Keep moving from plant to plant to find the big, all blue berries that need to be picked, not the ones that can keep ripening on plant. If you see a ripe berry, but can’t reach it without stepping on mulch, then it is not your berry.
      • Picking unripe and underripe berries shortens the season and negatively impacts farm economics. 
      • Quality and length of the harvest season is dependent on many factors, one of which is how gentle guests are with plants and the environment and how selective they are with berries picked.
    • Compromise: We accept that some people can’t/won’t take the time it takes to pick gently and pick fully ripe berries. We invite guests to take responsibility for the impact and be generous at checkout to cover the expense. Less careful pickers are welcome, simply pay more than the minimum at check out.
  3. Wear bucket to have both hands free. Unless physically unable, pickers are asked to use both hands to pick. Hands free is the way to pick so that both hands work together. Wear the belt and hang the container from the waist. Some people hang the container around the neck, or as a crossbody sling. Keep picked berries in the shade. 
  4. Pick berries into cup: We pick berries into a recycled cup container, and then pour the small cup of berries into bucket at waist. This picking method is vastly superior to picking into sieve like hands.
    • Position picking cup under ripe berries with one hand, then use thumbs + fingertips of other hand to gently twist/tickle/release/roll just the completely blue berries. Keeping cup under berries allows you to catch falling berries.
    • Using your eyes and two hands together will allow you to pick mostly ripe berries and few unripe ones.
    • No one handed picking unless you are physically unable to pick with both hands simultaneously.
    • Do not pluck berries (do the twist instead): plucking is a pulling action that causes other berries to drop and may break branches.
    • When picking multiple gallons, bring your full bucket back to Blueberry Gap to store in shade. We will transfer berries to take home container or give a new bucket to get your next gallon.
  5. Stay on flat pathwaysDo not step on mulch in raised blueberry beds. Do not step on sides of beds (where perhaps mulch has eroded away) because that encourages further erosion. Blueberry plants are shallow rooted and should not have roots disturbed. The drip irrigation system is under the mulch and keeping the mulch in place helps prevent weeds (which we pull by hand). Do not disturb/compress mulch, if you do, fix it. Even if there is a space between plants, it is not ok to cross between plants
  6. Pick with your eyes first. Scan the plant from the ground up: berries ripen from lower canes first and from the end of clusters. If you see fallen berries under the plant, it is a sign that there are ripe berries on the plant. Look for big and blue. Apply your eyes first, then your hands – that way you’ll be sure there is no hidden pollinator/wasp. Look behind you at the plant you just picked to see it from another angle. Are there ripe berries that weren’t apparent from other perspectives?
  7. Deadhead inedible berries as you go: Just like removing spent flower blooms, we remove spent berries as we go. Ripe berries can split with rainfall. Remove split and spent (ugly) berries from plants as you see them. A clean split is still a good to eat berry. Splits and softies (sunripened “raisins”) are great to eat while picking. A spent berry (shriveled, or ragged split or partially munched berry) should be tossed in the pathway (not under plants). More reasons to remove split berries from the plant: deter wasps and ants, help other berries ripen.
  8. Pick up dropped berries: Even with careful picking, it is inevitable that some ripe and underripe berries will drop due to hands/wind/rain/age. If you made it fall, it is your berry. Pick up ripe knocked berries for your bucket, or if not edible, toss in pathway. We want to keep the area under the plants clean to deter insects. It is not best practice to leave berries that you made drop under the plant: they either go in your bucket or in the pathway. If it is impossible to bend down for ripe berries that you caused to drop, be generous at checkout.
  9. Volume Control: With respect to fellow guests and neighbors, please keep voices conversational. We know berry picking can be exciting, but thanks for keeping the volume on low, and for not raising your voice unless it is an emergency.
  10. Tasting Policy/Fee: Eating berries while picking is part of the experience, and an expense. Eat as many as as you like and be generous/round up at check out. We tend to eat split and jammy (soft, slightly aged) berries for free and save the best berries for the bucket. 
  11. Weight: That gallon feels heavy! A gallon of blueberries varies in weight. 5lbs is the weight we go by when selling a pre picked gallon of picked berries.
  12. Storage: We store dry berries sealed in the fridge and may give berries a quick rinse before eating. It is your choice whether to rinse before freezing. If they will be consumed quickly, it doesn’t seem to make a difference in quality whether they are rinsed or not. If freezing for long term, it is best not to rinse as the skin seems to thicken and become rubbery.
  13. Why open mornings only? It is typically too hot to pick afternoons in June (berries too warm, losing hydration and softening in the heat as plants and people do). Berries picked warm do not keep as long as cool berries, and will often smush due to dehydration.
    • Late weekday afternoons into early eve may be available by request if you are a returning, skilled picker, meaning you have harvested at the farm before and we know you, and your schedule does not allow AM picking and the day is not too hot (perhaps overcast), and you are self sufficient (do not need our presence).
  14. Small Group Private Rentals: Groups are welcome to make a picking reservation for the patch, facilities and springfed pond use. It is typically great fun and productive time for clubs, colleagues, friends and family to pick, socialize, and relax together. Mon-Thurs weekday AM and PMs and sometimes Sundays (depending on weather and berry supply, $200 minimum) are available for small groups. Contact Leela to schedule.
  15. Five Star Reviews: We want your experience to be five stars every time, and appreciate your online reviews: Leave a review on Google. Feedback provided via email is appreciated so that we can continue to grow.
  16. Delicious Photos: We appreciate your photos of blueberry picking and the moreish food you create. Tag @deepspringfarmflorida on Instagram and @DeepSpringFarm on Facebook.

Blueberry Horticulture

2023: The majority of the crop are several varieties (Premier, Brightwell, Tifblue) of eleven year old rabbiteye blueberry plants grown using organic practices and no synthetic chemicals. They were grown 3 years in containers, and then planted in pine bark fines in a patch just under 2ac in 2015. A few smaller bushes scattered about are younger plants. Each year, the plants are organically fertilized. During fall/winter, the bushes are well pruned to favor fruiting canes. This is a time consuming process, but it prevents overfruiting and increases the size and quality of berries. Hand weeding is ongoing. The pathways are maintained by cultivation, mowing and weedeating. 

The plants need to be remulched with pine bark nuggets annually to maintain moisture, acidity, and prevent weeds. The cost of a semi truck load delivery and labor has not been able to be covered by crop income in recent years, thus we are seeing a lot of weedy invasive plant competition.

Please let us know if you want to contribute to get the patch back in shape.

Thank you for your time, trust and collaborative patronage.
Leela and Michael