“Start planning some fun stuff” my mother-in-law texted me excitedly when we found out that they were going to be able to visit this summer. The pressure was on! Now Augusta, Georgia may be way bigger than my hometown in central Texas but it’s certainly not New York City and it can be a bit of an adventure finding new and unique things to do, especially since this wasn’t their first visit. So when I heard about the Blue House Farm out in Harlem, it sounded like it would be worth a try!
I was not disappointed! Y’all, we picked more than 30 pounds of blackberries and blueberries and the flowers - they have the most gorgeous cultivated sunflowers and zinnias that I could not pass up. I’m really a sucker for flowers so I was sold on the farm immediately when they were the first thing we saw when we drove up. The Blue House Farm is a u-pick facility where your berries are weighed and purchased by the pound for ridiculously reasonable prices.
Drive up to the farm and you’ll see the quintessential old, blue, country home, an easy-to-see sign, and a wheelbarrow filled with all sorts of beautiful plants. Drive through the gate, park (in the shade), and the sweet owners, friendly couple that are retired teachers will great you with a smile and get you started picking! I asked them what made them decide to start the Blue House Farm and their response: “Our goals were mainly to supplement our retirement income and keep ourselves busy. We have been extremely successful in the latter!” There’s no question about that! I can’t imagine how much hard work in the sun they must have to do behind the scenes to keep the farm ready for guests. Thankfully the greeting area is in the shade with lots of chairs and a great swing that offers a bit of respite on hot summer days.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with the berries, which essentiallyresulted in my inability to stop picking. Pick all the berries! Just in case! So, like I said, more than 30 pounds of berries later and a lot of sweat, and my in-laws finally talked me into being done. Here’s a tip, if you get the opportunity to do this, be smarter than me and do it early in the day! Do I sound like I’m harping on this? I am. It is hot!
The farm has multiple different varieties of blueberries but I’m no expert and I just thought they were all good. Thankfully they encourage sampling what you’re picking so you know what you’re picking is yummy! I guess because the weather has been so great this year, they still had blackberries too and of course I had to pick some of them as well. The best part: the variety of blackberries that they have planted is thornless!
I picked as many as I could and then picked some more! They weighed our berries and we chatted for a bit. I hadn’t thought about it, but apparently they get to serve all sorts of interesting people. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks berry picking is a fun activity to do with visitors.
That’s when I found out about the flowers. I assumed they were just for show but nope! They were so patient and told me all about the different kinds of flowers that they had, my favorite of which are apparently called Thumbelina Zinnias! My whole bouquet cost me less than $5 or $6, way cheaper than it would have been from a grocery store or flower shop! And the colors are phenomenal!
When I wrote this during the summer they were closed for the next month or two since berry season was over but they opened back up in during the Fall when their muscadines were ripe! I’ve yet to successfully make wine but I may have to give it another try next year! At least it won't be so hot!