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Blueberries ready for picking

POINT ACONI  — Prince Mine Road low bush blueberry u-pick opened Thursday at 9 a.m. and will remain open each day until dusk while the berries last.

"We were getting a lot of calls from anxious pickers wondering when we were going to open," said u-pick owner Kevin Marsh. "This is the perfect time to pick, when all the berries are ripe. The biggest thing when it comes to the wild blueberries is to have the patience to let them get ripe."

Marsh has operated the wild, low bush u-pick the past five years, and for the previous 10 years sold his blueberries to a producer.

"I have three acres available for picking, and like other years I'm working on another field for next year," he said. "Even though these are low-bush, the more serious pickers can have their containers picked in a matter of an hour or so. The pickers who come here boast about the taste of the wild blueberry, that's what keeps them coming back each year."

Marsh said recent weather has translated into perfect growing conditions for blueberries.

"A lot of sun and some showers, it's been perfect," he said. "I expect we will be open for at least two weeks, but it all depends on the number of pickers. They could go quicker, it just depends and once they are gone, then we'll start work preparing next year's crop."

Wild blueberries won official distinction as Nova Scotia's provincial berry in 1995. Both low bush (wild) and high bush (cultivated) grow in Nova Scotia and are available at u-pick locations.

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