CLEVER, Mo. –In some areas across the Ozarks farmers are seeing the best blueberry crop in memory.
However, some farmers weren’t optimistic going into this bloom season because of a late cold snap then early rising temperatures.
After little to no frost in 2017, and despite all the rain, Dale Burton says the blueberries are coming in strong, and new ones keep popping up everyday. But as they do, Burton says now’s the time to hit the fields.
The professional pickers’ fingers flew through rows of bushes in search of blueberries.
“It’s just wholesome fun to have without the stresses of everyday life,” explains Jennifer Mitchell.
Mitchell’s family had more blueberries in their bellies than in their buckets.
“It’s just great quality time together and we get to have more quality time at home whenever we use them and stuff.”
For kids blueberries are only part of the fun.
Amanda Dailey picked blueberries with her two daughters. She tells KOLR10,” I want my kids to know that they do come from bushes and that blueberries are grown and that there’s lots of hard work goes into it.”
Dailey and Mitchell are both teaching their children life lessons.
“It just helps them to become well rounded adults so that later on in life they can succeed themselves,” explains Mitchell.
Owner of Burton’s farm, Dale Burton says this is a great year for the crop. “It’s a bunker crop this year. Lots of berries.”
He says if a farmer is successful one year, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed the next time.
“It’s agriculture.Things can happen like death and destruction.”
Burton adds these crops depend heavily on one thing.
“The weather has been good, kept lots of moisture in here. We mulch with straw so we got a lot of moisture still underneath there and that’s really helped.”
Kristen Burton is Dale’s wife, she says,” It’s always a challenge. You just never know what to expect.”
Earlier in the year, Burton says the outlook was not good.
“Our biggest issue was just all of the rain and the flooding washed all of our mulch away on a lot of rows.”
Despite too much rain this spring the picking is “berry good.”
When families come to pick blueberries, Kristen says it’s the memories that families create that makes it worth it.
“It’s just fun watching these families do the same thing and their kids getting able to get out, get out of town, come out to the farm and just have that experience of picking a blueberry.”
Dale says the peak of the U-Pick blueberry season is now, but if the weather holds, he says they should have blueberries available into the July 4th weekend.
If you would like to bring your family out to Burton’s Farm, they are open Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The cost is $3 per pound.