Low-bush blueberries are grown over a two year cycle. After pruning half of the field by mowing or straw
burning in the spring the field is left to grow and set flower buds in the fall. These buds (hopefully protected from the winter by deep snow) bloom in May and are pollinated by wild and honey bees in May. The field is literally a-buzz!
The blueberries begin to ripen by the beginning of August and continue to ripen throughout the month. We spend the majority of the growing season weeding by hand clipping and with a scythe. The ripe berries are then raked by hand (a family
affair) with a comb-like tool into field boxes and then run through an electric
winnower to be sorted into pints, quarts and freezer boxes.
We sell half of our crop fresh directly from the farm, locally at farmer’s markets, grocery stores etc. and we freeze the rest to sell year round. On the wood stove during the winter Jenny, working under her nick-name “Tin Penny Jenny,” makes a blueberry jam and a blueberry chutney.
Young Picker hard at work Spreading Straw Burning
After poor pollination in 2011 (due to a wet spring) we decided to keep bees in two top bar hives. As we are keeping bees primarily for pollination (not honey) the top bar approach seemed to fit best. This is our first time keeping bees so there is lots to learn. To learn more about top bar beekeeping visit www.goldstarhoneybees.com
The Queen in her Cage THE BEE YARD
We are also doing our best to encourage the native
pollinators (bumble bees etc.) that are well adapted to pollinating the
wild blueberry flower.