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farming practices

Blue Fruit Farm is certified organic by MOSA. Jim and Joyce are dedicated to organic principles and try to prevent pest and disease problems with a variety of management strategies. We take pride in innovations that protect the environment and water resources while producing abundant crops of nutritious, delicious fruit. 

Our fertility management strategies seek to not only nurture our plants, but also our surrounding environment. We strive every day to employ practices which build soil organic matter, prevent erosion, and protect our beautiful ecosystem. Pest management at Blue Fruit Farm focuses on monitoring and activities that prevent pests and diseases from becoming problems. Field sanitation is extremely important. Thus, when pruning we always remove the prunings from the field. If diseased, they are burned. If not, they are chipped and added to the compost. Pruning is also an important strategy for perennial fruits. Jim likes to think he is the sun shining down into the plant. We prune so there is good airflow through the plant. Low hanging branches that will touch the ground when it is heavy with fruit are cut back. We nurture the plethora of natural predatory insects and pollinators we have due to the biodiversity present in our surrounding environment. We have developed Pest and Disease Management Action Plans to help us understand the life cycle of the pest/disease and follow-through with a variety of strategies to prevent infestations and damage to fruits. These are used to train employees, as well.

We capture and store rainwater, which is used in our solar-powered irrigation system. We occasionally inject liquid kelp and fish emulsion in our irrigation system to fertilize our blueberries. All fruit crops receive a top-dressing of high quality compost annually. We make the compost on-farm from chipped tree and shrub prunings; grass clippings; and horse manure from a neighboring horse farm.

Our 5-acre field is protected from deer with an 8-foot high deer fence. An electric fence, placed 8 inches off the ground, is located just outside the deer fence, to deter raccoons. We also live trap raccoons, which can cause a lot of damage to fruit crops, especially blueberries. We use overhead netting to prevent birds from eating the fruit. These strategies allow us to harvest our fruit at peak ripeness and flavor!

All fruit is hand harvested, sorted, and placed in a walk in cooler to preserve flavors. The chilling of fruit also stops the development of any spotted wing drosophila eggs that may have been laid in the fruit.