Saturday, May 31, 2014

50 Pound Club and Blueberry Picker Extraordinaire

Today we had our first 50 Pound Club member make this goal.  Mrs. Williams and her granddaughter were here today and between them they picked 54 pounds.  This was Mrs. Williams' second visit for this year and I didn't think to ask her how many she picked the first time, but she made the goal first.  I have 2 other customers who are at 33 and 34 pounds respectively, but they haven't finished up yet.

I have to say this about Mrs. Williams.  When we first started harvesting, we were in the wholesale business like all of the large farms in Pender County.  We hired local workers to help harvest and we packed them for shipment across the country.  Mr. and Mrs. Williams were among the first workers that we had in those early years and they were two that picked for us multiple years in a row.  I can say with more than 20 years of blueberry harvesting experience that we have never had a better blueberry picker than Mrs. Williams!  She was fast but more importantly from my perspective, her berries were clean and ready for packing and I never had a single problem with her work product.  We have often compared other workers to her standard and only a few have met up to it but not a single one surpassed her in quality of work.  Thank you for your years of service and your dedication to quality.  We respect and admire you and we are glad that you have become a valued customer on our u-pick farming operation.

Of course, I have to say this about Mr. Williams, God rest his soul.  He picked a good bucket of berries too!  He was older though and when the Oneals were in the front field, he would come and bring a 5 gallon bucket and sit under the bush and pick.  We let the Williams' pick the front field because the Oneal variety has a spindly bush that you can see the berries through.  At that time the alternative was the Croatan variety that is more like a hedge and more difficult for this type of harvesting.  At that time we had 7 workers who harvested the Croatans and 2 Williams' who harvested the Oneals.  That was in the heyday of production at Farmer Mac's.  Both fields had bushes that you could disappear into because the plants were shoulder height, but from the bottom of the middles, they were above head height, so if you walked into the row, you would not be able to be seen from what is now the blueberry building.

We are also glad to be out of the wholesale business!  We never made money doing that because we were too small to compete with the major players in the industry.

Today's weather is perfect for picking blueberries.  Come on out with your friends, family members, or by yourself and enjoy a day outside with us in pristine southeastern North Carolina.


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