The sun beamed down on a seemingly endless swath of blueberry bushes, with dozens of foragers, young and old, peacefully patrolling for a fresh taste of summer in Rhode Island.
Monday was the first day of the blueberry picking season at Rocky Point Farm, and business was better than usual for Rhonda Shumaker and Joe Gouveia. They reported to have sold 640 pounds of blueberries to over 100 people on the first day of their sixth summer as owners of the farm.
Shumaker said that this year’s crop looks bigger than last year, when a late cold snap in April somewhat stunted the growth of the bushes. This year the bushes are flourishing, with bucket after bucket of berries being hauled onto the countertop for weighing by happy pickers. Many berries have yet to ripen, ensuring there will be plenty of berries to go around throughout the season.
The farm is open for picking seven days a week, 7 a.m. to noon and Thursday evenings from 4 p.m. to dusk, from July 10 and into August, or “until the berries are gone,” according to Gouveia. Berries cost $2.75 per pound if you pick your own and $4.60 a pound if you buy them pre-picked. Cash and credit cards are accepted. A small farm stand is set up with other farm-fresh products for sale.
Even with the late cold spell, the farm still managed to sell nine tons of blueberries last year, and so far Shumaker and Gouveia are selling ahead of their own projections. Shumaker anticipated that the “peak week,” where the ripest berries will be available, would be the week of July 23.