What do I do with my berries after I've picked them?
Fresh picked berries can be refrigerated or frozen. If putting them in the refrigerator keep condensation away by giving the berries air. Use fresh blueberries that are completely dry when you pop them in the freezer. Don’t worry about rinsing the berries before you freeze them; simply place them in resealable plastic bags and store them on your freezer shelf. If stored properly, berries can last indefinitely.
How do I pick blueberries?
The most important thing when picking blueberries is to make sure they are ripe. They will be completely blue, with no pinkish tinge. Use your thumb and the berry should easily roll off into your hand. If the berry holds onto the branch, it's not ready to be picked. If you end up with some "pinkies", don't despair, you can leave them out on the countertop overnight and they will blue up! I call it "blue magic".
How do I pick lavender?
Get scissors from the lavender table over by the greenhouse. Choose a bloom you want to pick and go down below the 2nd or 3rd leaf on the stem. Cut below those leaves. Continue to cut 75-125 stems or a handful. Arrange your blooms and twine them up at the lavender table.
What can you do with lavender?
We have two kinds of lavender at Black and Blue Berry Farm. They are French lavenders and are called, "provence" and "grosso". Provence is a darker color and we use it more for fragrance on our farm. It can be used for culinary but we prefer the lighter colored Grosso lavender for cooking. Lavender can be enjoyed fresh or dried. When putting your fresh lavender in a vase do not fill your vase with water as it will make the stems of your lavender mold and turn black. To dry lavender you can bundle it and hang it upside down or leave it upright in a vase without water. After drying you can enjoy the buds in a sachet for your pillow or drawer. Create a wonderful fragrance for your shower by hanging lavender and eucalyptus. Dried lavender retains its fragrance for months as you can squeeze the buds to release the oil and relaxing fragrance up to 9 - 12 months. Culinary lavender can be used to flavor drinks and food. My favorite is lavender honey (like we sell in the Mercantile).
How do you keep the bugs away?
We don't spray our berries or lavender blooms with insecticides. In the past we had a lot of trouble with the Japanese Beetle. We decided to take out our blackberries because their vine seemed to attract them. When we replaced the blackberries with the lavender our insect population seemed to diminish. Later we discovered that lavender is a natural insect deterrent.
How long has Black and Blue Berry Farm been around?
Black and Blue Berry Farm is family owned and operated, The project unintentionally became a three-phased approach. Phase one being a planting that consisted of 900 blueberry plants of the Blue Crop, Patriot, and Blue Ray varieties and 100 Triple Crown Blackberry bushes the first year. In the Spring of 2012 we planted 1600 more blueberry plants and 600 blackberry plants (Navajo, Natchez, and Arapaho variety). Secondary to difficulty controlling insects, which are attracted to the blackberry fruit and vine, we decided to remove the blackberries and plant lavender in its place the Spring of 2019. We built the Berry Barn in 2012, which was operational in 2013.