By Nicole Heubusch
With the new season of spring comes more opportunities to enjoy the weather and it is also the time that fruit is beginning to ripen. Blueberries are especially prominent this time of year, and are ready for picking anywhere from April to May. We’ve found different blueberry farms in the area, and each offer a fun way to spend the afternoon with your family and bring home delicious blueberries.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants which help fight cancer, aging, and heart disease. Blueberries can be eaten fresh, or be frozen to enjoy all year round. If you’re picking enough berries to last you through the summer, freezing your berries is also a great idea. Freezing the berries will not take away any of their rich antioxidants or flavor. The best way to freeze blueberries would be to lay them on a baking sheet and leave them in the freezer for about 8 hours so they don’t clump together. Then once they are frozen, you can put them away in a closed container until you’re ready to eat them. Don’t wash the berries before freezing though, which will leave the condensation on them while frozen.
Blueberries are great on their own, but are excellent additions to desserts. Pies, breads, muffins, pancakes and more can all be spruced up with a cup of fresh blueberries.
If you know of any other local blueberry u-picks and would like to see them featured, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you visit any of the farms, snap a picture with your blueberries and share it on the Osprey Observer’s Facebook page facebook.com/OspreyObserverFans or on Instagram (@OspreyObserver) post a picture and use the hashtag #OOBlueberries.
Lyna Berry Farms
Lyna Berry Farms typically has blueberries ready for picking around the second week of May. Its bucket price, 6 lbs., is $15 and it provides the buckets and take-away bags for connivance. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.–4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information and updates, visit facebook.com/lynaberryfarms. Lyna Berry Farms is located at 17928 Bill Taylor Rd. in Lithia and can be reached at 728-9132.
Keel & Curley
On Friday, April 24 through Sunday April 26 Keel & Curley will be hosting its 8th Annual Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival. It will have a blueberry u-pick that starts at 7 a.m. all three days. This is an all day event with free admission, free entertainment and 100 food and craft vendors. For more information, visit keelandcurleywinery.com. Keel & Curley is located at 5210 Thonotosassa Rd. in Plant City and can be reached at 752-9100.
Proctor’s Family Farm
Blueberries will most likely be ready at Proctor’s Family Farm in the middle of April, give or take a week. Its blueberry plants are already blooming and being pollinated by bees. Proctor’s will provide a bucket for picking and bags to take them home in. It also offers a barn to rest in, a portable restroom and even a few picnic tables if you can’t wait until you get home to eat some blueberries. This family friendly farm prides itself on its family friendly and fun environment. It is located at 7105 Kinard Rd. in Plant City. Visit proctorfamilyfarm.com or call 323-8822.
Blue Oak Farms
Blue Oak Farms has been in the area since 1997, and offerS a blueberry u-pick every spring, usually May through July. U-picks take place on Saturdays from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. and buckets and take home containers will be provided. It also offers pre-picked blueberries for $6 per lb. Blue Oak Farms is located at 4010 Powerline Rd. in Lithia. For more information, visit www.blueoakfarmsfl.com or call 239-478-3354.
Moody Blues Farm
Moody Blues Farm will be open for u-picks beginning in April. The exact start date will be announced on its Facebook page, facebook.com/moodybluesfarm, and prices will be $10 a lb. for u-pick and $12 a lb. for pre-picked fruit. For more information, visit moodybluesfarm.com or call 684-8468. Moody Blues Farm is located at 404 Cloverleaf Dr. in Lithia.
More Blueberry Farms:
Stafford Blueberries: 3111 John Moore Rd. in Brandon, 951-7981, www.facebook.com/pages/Stafford-Blueberries-LLC/275561825823698
Bonnie Blueberries: 201 Wendel Ave. in Lithia, 928-4736, www.bonnieblueberries.com