My first week in Rolla, Missouri, June of 2011 I heard about a U-Pick Blueberry farm. I was curious as I had never picked a blueberry in my life, and I was game for an outing. So I managed to convince one of my teen sons and my youngest son to accompany me south of town, off of Highway 63, to a County Road and there we found it, Brandywine Blueberry Farm. I was immediately impressed with the place. There were areas set aside for parking. The long, stone covered driveway winding its way through a sun-dappled woods reminded me of the home I grew up at in Ohio, which was a nice, sentimental moment for me. Then I saw the berry patches. Neatly planted, spaced, weed-free. We were handed sturdy white plastic buckets already lined with plastic berry bags in them. I also noticed a parking area set up for the handicapped, and portajohns in case a bathroom break might be needed. There was also a nice water station set up in the middle area of the patches, for thirsty berry pickers.
Picking these berries was not hard work at all, nor tedious. I’ve picked strawberries, which grow low to the ground, and can be hard on the back after awhile. I’ve also picked raspberries with their thorny stems and that isn’t fun to get poked and pricked as one hunts for juicy, red raspberries. These blueberries grow on bushes 4-5 feet in height, and not much stooping is needed to get at the fruits. No thorns on blueberry bushes either! After that first blueberry picking expedition, I’ve made it a point to go back each June and pick some blueberries at Brandywine Farm. This past Saturday was their second day in operation for the season. I talked with Dr. Marti, the owner of the farm for a bit of information about Brandywine. He said that the farm was started about 25 years ago by David and Mary Hinze. Mr. Hinze had been the History Department Chair at Rolla High School and had a long career there, teaching history. Mr. Hinze suddenly passed away in August of 2010 and the Marti family then came on the scene, buying the farm from Mrs. Hinze and taking over the operations of the Blueberry Farm. Dr. Marti also told me that if it weren’t for the hard work of his grandchildren, he didn’t know if the Blueberry farm would be able to keep going!
Click on this link to read all about Brandywine and it’s history, tips and information about blueberries, hours of operation, prices, and for some fun pictures and information on who really does all of the work at the farm. Then take yourself and your family on a nice outing and pick some blueberries! You will be glad that you did!