Warwick Neck farm has banner year for blueberries & pickers
The blueberries are here and so are the pickers.
By 9 a.m. last Thursday, cars lined Rocky Point Avenue and the rows of bushes at the Rocky Point Blueberry Farm were filled with pickers from toddlers to great-grandparents.
“We have a huge crop this year,” said Rhonda Shumaker, co-owner of the farm. “The blueberry gods have smiled down on us.”
With 2,300 bushes on the property, business is booming. At $2.50 per pound, the price is at its lowest.
Mark Garrison bought the Warwick Neck property in 1983, and soon after he and his late wife, Betty, started the blueberry farm. The Garrisons, who wanted to ensure that the land remained for agricultural uses, sold development rights to the Department of Environmental Management, which enabled Rhonda Shumaker and Joe Gouveia to acquire the farm in 2012.
“It’s very satisfying to see Rhonda and Joe making a success out of it,” said Garrison, who plans to make an appearance at the farm in the next few days.
The farm attracts people from Massachusetts and even Connecticut, and, of course, from throughout Rhode Island.
With the growing popularity of the nearby Rocky Point walking path, Shumaker and Gouveia hope people will stop by and see what they have to offer. The newest addition is a gift display located near the checkout. It features locally made crafts, pottery and fruit spreads.
“Frequent Picker Cards” are also offered for those persistent pickers.
When picking 10 pounds, 50 pounds or 100 pounds, you will receive 10 cents off per pound. The farm provides pickers with a regular-sized bucket (smaller-sized for the younger ones) lined with a plastic bag for the berries.
In 2012, the farm harvested 13 tons of blueberries; in 2013, 9 tons; and this year, they have hopes for 15 tons.
The farm opened on July 8. The season is projected to end somewhere in mid-to-late August. The farm is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 12 noon and Thursday evenings from 4 p.m. to dusk. The farm is open rain or shine and accepts major credit cards. To learn more, visit their website at rockypointblueberries.com or call 732-6206.
“What a day,” said co-owner Joe Gouveia, referring to the line that had formed at the checkout. Indeed, business was “berry good.”