Early Saturday morning, the sweet smell of berry blossoms wafted through my neighborhood, beckoning my family and I to follow it and find the source. We happily discovered that, just over a mile from my doorstep, sits Blueberry Bunch Farm. Florida’s southern most and Hendry county’s only blueberry farm, tends to approximately 60,000 blueberry bushes.
“Our love for heathy food and fruits lead us to purchase the farm 15 years ago. With our love for blueberries, hard work, and use of the newest technologies we’ve been expanding every year,” said Kristian Velasco, PR Manager at the farm. The farm is owned by Arthur Molzan, and run by some truly knowledgeable and dedicated employees.
Upon visiting, we were excited to find that this family-owned farm had recently opened its gates up as a U-pick farm. U-Pick is where customers can harvest the produce themselves.
“People can drop by the farm from 9am to 2pm Friday through Sunday to pick our delicious blueberries. We can’t wait to see everyone at the farm this season,” said Velasco.
The blueberries are $6.00/lb through U-pick, or $7.00/lb already picked for you. When we arrived, Jessica Molzan, the farm owner’s daughter and Velasco‘s wife, supplied us with a bucket lined with a biodegradable bag for collecting our berries. As my daughter began to stroll through the rows of berry bushes, her eyes widened, “They’re everywhere! So many berries,” she exclaimed. She was right, there were thousands upon thousands of blueberries in each row. The rows went on and on, spanning 29 acres.
A family in front of us were first timers to U-picking blueberries, so we watched, as they quickly learned how to pick the best ones. “Select plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. A berry with any hint of red isn’t fully ripened. White and green colored blueberries will not ripen after they are picked,” said Velasco, “Blueberries that have turned purple, red or blue-ish usually ripen after they are picked when stored at room temperature. Since blueberries hang on the bushes in clusters, the fastest way to pick them is hold your bucket under them in one hand and while cupping your other hand around gently pulling. They’ll drop into your bucket, while the unripe ones will remain attached to the bush.”
Children and families ran around filling their buckets, tasting some as they went, having a great time. At the weigh-in, we discovered the other family farm, in Arcadia, produced macadamia nuts. We sampled some of the nuts, which were absolutely exquisite, as they weighed our berry haul.
If you would like to try your hand at U-pick blueberries, Blueberry Bunch farm is open Friday through Sunday from 9-2 p.m and is located at 2754 Howard Rd in LaBelle, FL. They welcome everyone, and speak Danish, Spanish, and English. The farm has both a Facebook and Instagram account for you to follow for updates, and their website address is: www.blueberrybunchfarm.com/ You can also find their blueberries at Local Farmers markets in Lee County during February through April.