In late April, Jason Harper noticed what looked like a blanket of snow covering blueberry plants on his northwest Hall County farm.
Upon closer inspection, the white stuff was actually frost — a very hard one, as it turned out.
“Usually the bushes are hanging over, they’re so full of blueberries,” said Harper, owner of Cool Springs Blueberry Farm at 5975 Smith Mill Road.
“If I had to wager a guess, I’d say maybe we have 10% of our normal yield — maybe.”
What: Limited opportunity to pick blueberries
When: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, beginning June 26. The farm will close early if it runs out of berries.
Where: Cool Springs Blueberry Farm, 5975 Smith Mill Road
How much: $3.50 per pint, $7 per quart and $18 per gallon
More info: 770-535-7350 or coolspringsblueberryfarm.com
To adjust for the loss, the 5-acre farm has scaled back its you-pick season to 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays beginning June 26. The farm will have to “close early if we run out of berries that day,” according to its website.
Harper had planned to start you-pick this Saturday, June 19, but the blueberries weren’t ripe enough yet, he said on Monday, June 14.
Normally, the farm is open five days a week to you-pick customers.
Also, to help with lost income, the farm is planning outdoor movies and a fall festival — events the farm held before last year’s COVID-19 pandemic shut them down.
“One of the great byproducts of covid last year was we had a great season,” Harper said. “People were outside and we had so many new customers, so we were really looking forward to that momentum this year. And now, unfortunately, we’re going to have to turn some people away.”
Running out of berries is typically not a problem, Harper said.
“We usually end the season with blueberries left over,” he said. “This season, we’re worried because we think there’s going to be some pent-up demand. We’re worried we’re going to have a large showing on opening day and may not have enough berries for everyone to pick.”