It’s the bluest time of year, with bright oceans, warm skies and fresh local blueberries. And this July, Parsons Farms Produce has the local market cornered on U-pick berries.
Harvesting fruit makes farming a much more personal experience at the farm on Route 20 near Dagsboro.
“The experience of going out there and spending an hour or two on the farm and being outside … adds to the excitement of picking berries,” said farmer Paul Parsons. “You feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
Parsons Farm aims to be interactive, between the farm market, U-pick produce and its petting zoo.
The blueberry season began in mid-June with the small Chandler berry, but Parsons estimated the Duke berry will be ready any day now.
“When you buy from the store, you’re not really knowing where they came from. You know [these were] grown right here; you can pick out the biggest ones,” he said, which shouldn’t be hard. Dukes grow to the size of nickels.
Parsons Farm is also finishing up a brief black raspberry season.
Karl Berkey and his wife drove 45 minutes from Seaford to pick berries on a Saturday afternoon. Having already picked three quarts of black raspberries, they hoped to collect at least three times that much more before leaving.
“We were ambitious,” they acknowledged with a laugh, carrying a tray of containers.
Visions of homemade sorbet and cobbler floated through their conversation as they chose recipes for the fresh fruit. They also recalled the magic of picking berries as children.
Berkey said he saw the Parsons sign and later made a special trip to visit the market: “Why get them at the store when you can get them yourself?”
The blueberry season will last until the end of July, but Parsons said he expects a long future from the current plants. The farm has only harvested berries for a few years, but the plants should be in full production for at least 35 years.