Calling all blueberry lovers. Lithia residents Lois Horn-Dias and Jose Dias are opening the gates of Blueberry Cottage Farms this month, offering two acres with approximately 2,000 plants for U-Pick.

“We are so excited to welcome our wonderful customers,” said Lois, a teacher in Lakeland. “Jose single-handedly built our farm in his spare time and we love nothing more than seeing others enjoy it.”

For 10 years, the farm’s berries were sold wholesale to commercial pickers Driscol and Clear Springs, but in 2016, after hosting charity events open to the public at the farm, the couple decided to transition to U-Pick and have not looked back.

“Working the charity events made us realize how much we loved seeing so many others enjoying Jose’s labor of love,” said Lois.

Lois posted on a local Facebook page, asking if residents would be interested in coming to U-Pick at their farm, and received an overwhelming response.

“In just two days we had almost 500 responses and more than 300 comments, and that was that,” she said. “Jose happily gave up selling commercially and we became a U-Pick farm.”

Blueberry Cottage Farms, which is seven miles and a 15-minute drive from FishHawk, offers three types of berries, Emeralds, Jewels and Millennials, and U-Pick is $4 a pound or $20 a bucket for cash or $4.20 a pound and $22 a bucket when paying with credit card. Buckets for picking and bags to take the berries home are supplied by the farm, which also has a port-a-potty and running water. An assortment of cold drinks are available for purchase. Lois suggests that visitors wear closed shoes and sunscreen.

“We are told by customers that our farm is picturesque, quiet and peaceful,” said Lois. “There is a lot of room between rows and a lot of room to park. But what really sets us apart is that we love our customers. Each day we open for U-Pick, we feel as if we are hosting a party.”

Blueberry Cottage Farms is located at 827 Old Welcome Rd. in Lithia. Hours vary as the season progresses, but U-Pick is typically open from 8:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings and Sunday openings are based on how much fruit is available. Weekday afternoon openings are often announced on the Facebook page.

For more information, search for Blueberry Cottage Farm on Facebook or call 390-1367.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.