2016… a look ahead

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…a tribute to the late Lowell Sterling, who taught us so much more than how to prune grapes We’re missing you this spring… (Photo taken in March 2011)

    Spring has sprung! Life at Firefly Berries has been busy since the middle of March, so we thought it was time to update our customers on all that is going on out at the farm and how the season ahead is shaping up.

     Our winter break ended in mid-March when we began the season by pruning our grapevines… 600+ vines in just four days of power pruning! In the past six years the quickest we have been done was 12 days… but with our two oldest boys able to prune without supervision this year, things went much faster! After pruning, we tied the fruiting vines that we kept… also a big job… 640 vines x 4-8 ties per vine = a lot of square knots. Again, this went much quicker this year with our 13, 11 and 8 year old boys helping. Only our four year old hasn’t learned the square not yet… maybe next year!

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Dean making sure the strawberry rows are planted the correct distance apart.

     Since grapevine pruning & tying we’ve continued to be busy outside whenever the weather was hospitable enough to do so. Other jobs completed in the past six weeks include grapevine pick up and hauling, planting 3000+ new baby strawberry plants, weeding raspberries, complete overhaul of our walk-in cooler, weeding of asparagus, pruning of blackberries, black raspberries & fruiting trees, removal & storing of irrigation hoses from our old raspberry field, raking straw off the strawberries, and making lots and lots of jam, jelly and popsicles to sell in the upcoming season. Needless to say when a rainy day arrives, we are usually ready for that rain to arrive so we can stay indoors for a much needed rest day!

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Hauling pruned canes & vines is always a lot of work. Here our 11 year old joins in with his trusty pitchfork.

     Looking ahead we are feeling positive about the 2016 season to come. May will bring the arrival of new blackberry canes and honeyberry bushes for us to plant, as well as the first strawberry blossoms and weeds, lots of weeds that will need to be pulled. May also is the beginning of our Knit in Nature nights (May 12 & 26 from 6-9 pm at the farm). This summer our outreach program (Firefly Hats for Hope Initiative-MN) will be focusing on three projects: purple hats for the Click for Babies campaign, mittens for the United Way Winter Clothing Drive and knitted knockers, an outreach program for women who have battled breast cancer. You can learn more about all these projects and how you can get involved with Firefly Hats for Hope Initiative-MN by clicking on the links above.

     June will bring fresh strawberries (right now expected to be “on schedule,” starting around June 15), as well as opportunities for tours and educational experiences out at the farm. This year we will be offering several Farm to Table classes for children ages 4-10. Check out our Educational Opportunities pages to learn more about all that we have to offer.

P6170069     Finally, though we may not be open for you pick raspberries this summer, we do plan to continue to sell at the Rochester Downtown Farmer’s Market, which begins already this coming Saturday, May 7 from 7:30 am – 12 noon. We plan to be at the market most weekends throughout the summer and early fall selling jams, jellies, honey, and fresh produce whenever it is available. May will feature rhubarb as our fresh produce, and possibly asparagus, depending on the crop and how much our family consumes!  And of course, June will bring the strawberries!

     As always we thank you for your continued support of our farm and our fruit. You can follow us online at our Facebook page, or through our website at www.fireflyberries.com. Or, you are always welcome to give us a call at 507-252-1309. We look forward to seeing you and sharing our love of yummy fruit with you in the coming weeks.