• 52°

Local blueberries ripe for the pickin'

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
The hot and humid weather of summer could not dampen the group of blueberry pickers at Bryce Kepley’s blueberry farm.
There was nothing but smiles from both young and old as they reached for the bountiful fruit on bushes loaded with ripened berries. The attitude of the group was more of a party than that of labor.
A different scenario from last season, this season’s blueberry crop has survived late frosts with a bountiful crop.
Blueberries are now available at both Pinetop Farms in Salisbury and Randy Eliums’ blueberry farm in east Rowan. Ample rains earlier this summer, with cooler than normal nighttime temperatures have also provided perfect growing conditions for this seasons’ crop.
Blueberries began ripening in early July and are now at their peak, with about two or more weeks of harvest potential.
Blueberries have become very popular in this area, not only for their delicious fruit but because research has proven that the berry also produces antioxidants beneficial in reducing many types of cancers.
There are many types of cultivated blueberries capable of growing in our area, however, rabbiteye is the most popular plant grown in the Piedmont. Tifblue, Powderblue, Woodard and Climax are a few named varieties that adapt to our growing conditions.
An acid-loving plant, blueberries need growing conditions similar to azaleas, camellias and rhododendron. Well drained, low pH organic soils are preferred for maximum growth and development. These plants also need full sun, with an ample supply of water during droughts.
Because blueberries are relatively insect- and disease-free, little or no pesticides are needed for the crop. Kepley’s blueberry operation uses no pesticides and will be a certified organic operation in a couple of years.The only real competitor for the berries is the birds, which enjoy them as soon as they begin to ripen.
Kepley’s Pinetop Farms, located at 845 Majolica Road in Salisbury, offers pick-your-own or already picked berries. The operation is open on Saturdays only to allow berries a chance to fully ripen.
Contact Kepley at 704-637-7208 on Fridays for an update on the status of the berries. Randy Elium’s berries are pre-picked. Contact Elium at 704-636-2459 to place your order.
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Call 704-216-8970 or fax 704-216-8995.
Web sites:
http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu
http://www.rowanmastergardener.com
http://www.rowanhorticulture.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight