Highbush blueberries, such as these seen Tuesday, July 20, at the Wilton Blueberry Farm are now ready for picking. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

REGION — Two area blueberry operations are now open for picking.

Mat and MiChel Bickford purchased the Wilton Blueberry Farm on the McLaughlin Road in Wilton last October while living in Kentucky.

The fields will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Hours Saturday and Sunday are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will not be open in the rain.

Berries will be weighed by the pound but the price hasn’t been set, Mat Bickford said Tuesday, July 20. Some containers may be available, but pickers should plan to bring their own, he noted.

Wilton Blueberry Farm has been sold and is now open for picking. New owners Mat and MiChel Bickford are seen picking blueberries Tuesday, July 20. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Some bush pruning was done in March, but with the move from Kentucky there hasn’t been much time this spring, Bickford said.

“I think the crop looks healthy, there wasn’t much winter damage,” he said. “Fifteen-twenty percent of the berries are starting to turn, the mid and late varieties are still green.”

Pickers will use the same driveway that has been used most recently although parking may be in a different spot this year, Bickford said. Pre-picked berries may be available, but inquiries should be made ahead of time, he noted.

The Bickfords plan to continue the library fundraiser begun by prior owners Jan Collins and Irv Faunce. The Bickfords may add more bushes in the future and are looking to add a commercial kitchen to provide another use for the berries. Mat spoke of relocating every other row of bushes in the big field to allow more space for mowing.

Wilton Blueberry Farm has three sections of blueberry plants. One is six rows of newer, larger varieties. One is 12 rows of mid and late ripening varieties while the other has 35 full rows with a shorter one in their midst. Each row is quite long with more than 70 bushes per row.

Most of the plants were set out in the late 1940s.

“I still have the original layout on paper,” Bickford said.

For more information call 207-645-4678.

In New Sharon, Grace and John Firth’s 26 Intervale Road operation is also open.

Picking hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12-6 p.m. Sunday. Picking is possible even if it is raining. The price is $2 per pound and pickers should bring their own containers.

The fields aren’t mowed, people are encouraged to wear long pants, according to a message on the answering machine Tuesday. The berries are quite ripe right now, it continued.

“There are about 4,000 bushes,” Grace Firth said during a later phone interview. “The fields are really messy. Caterpillars have gone through, just made a mess.”

There are times when the picking is self serve, but someone is there most of the time, she said.

“It’s an average crop this year, just the bushes look off from the caterpillar damage,” Firth said. “The berries are getting very ripe.”

For more information call 207-778-3904.

 

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