The meterologist said that today is supposed to be a high of 91….that is today and for the next 5 days we should be above the 90 degree mark! After a warm winter, warm spring, I guess why wouldn’t it be a HOT summer?!
We have a new treat this summer using our Dole pineapple softserve – a Pineapple Float! It is so refreshing with the pineapple softserve mixed with the slightly tart Dole pineapple juice. And it is a GUILT FREE treat as all Dole softserve is is fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free and lactose free – and So Tasty!
It is hard to believe that next week will be MAY! Here in West MI the winter was especially mild, so it really feels like we went straight to spring from fall. We had two weeks of 80+ degree temperatures, so the blueberry bushes are blossoming ahead of schedule. The only problem is that the temperatures have returned to normal so that means many frosty nights for MI farmers to deal with.
Blueberries are only one of the many MI fruits with fragile blossoms susceptible to frost damage: apples, cherries, peaches, grapes, strawberries…and the list can go on. We pray for the many MI farmers experiencing sleepless nights fighting to save their crops this month and through May.
I am posting some photos taken showing the blueberry blossoms and what the irrigation water does to the bushes. The ice created by the irrigation actually creates a protective barrier for the fragile blossoms so the temp inside the ice remains at 32 degrees, even though the temp outside the ice may be 28 degrees (which would severely damage the fragile blossom).
We grow our strawberries in “stackers” so that they grow above ground in towers. Because of this there is no bending or kneeling required in picking the berries, so it is a very pleasant and clean picking experience! The strawberry field is also covered in a black greenhouse floor covering, so it is easy for strollers or wheelchairs to ride over.
We will be open rain or shine, the only reason we would close would be if there are severe storms. If the weather is questionnable – please call us first. The field will be open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, 10a-2p. Pricing will be the same as last year, $2.75 per pound. Please follow the signs from the James Street enterance to the parking area.
NEW this year is a raspberry u-pick. The raspberry field will be open during the same time as the strawberry u-pick, Tuesdays and Saturdays 10a-2p. Price will be $3.50 per pound, and each pint of raspberries is 1/2 pound ($1.75 per pint).
Parking will be at the same location as our strawberry u-pick, so just follow the signs from our James Street enterance to the parking area. Thank you!
On select mornings we also make our own homemade strawberry donuts. We offer them with regular glaze or chocolate glaze. Yes, we have “chocolate covered strawberry donuts.” You cannot get donuts like these anywhere else!
If you drive by our farm regularly, you may have noticed a new sign on the farm. The sign promotes that our farm is verified by the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) for the Farmstead System and Cropping System.
MAEAP verified farms help keep their land, water and air as healthy as the food they produce. MAEAP is a voluntary program, and MAEAP verified farms represent the highest standards of environmental stewardship and responsible agriculture. Bowerman Blueberries is proud to be one of them!
Here is a picture of our 2 NEW high tunnels we had built over our hydroponic strawberry field. High tunnels (essentially greenhouses that rely only on solar heating) look to be part of the “future of farming.” They protect crops from natural elements, extend growing seasons and aid in producing higher yields.
This year is a test year, and if all goes well, we will likely build more tunnels on the farm! There are more pictures to view on our Facebook page in the album “Spring on the Farm.”
Our rented honey bee hives came in this week as the blueberry blossoms are beginning to open. Last year our hives came before May, so that just shows how much this cool spring weather has affected the ripening process.
We love to see the honey bees come in. The work that the bees do helps us to have larger berries and more even ripening in the fields.
The following link is to a neat article about the honey bee industry in Michigan blueberries. Larry Hasselman is our “honey guy” who supplies our farm market with Hasselman’s Pure Michigan Honey all season long!
Now that it is April, we are working on cleaning out last year’s everbearing strawberry plants and planting new ones.
We are always asked why we replant when the strawberry plants themselves are everbearing. By the end of our hydroponic strawberry season the plants tend to “run out of gas” and get “tired.” The Michigan winters also take a toll on the plants and require us to plant new each year.
It is a huge job as we now grow approximately 19,000 plants in our hydroponic strawberry field.
We are having a GRAND OPENING celebration for our new farm market built this spring! It is on Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th of July! Red Kingman from WHTC Holland’s Hometown Radio Station will be doing a LIVE remote from the market Friday morning. Stop in to sign up for your chance to win a set of electric bikes or a set of kayaks from WHTC, The Van and Reliable Sport.
We will also have different in-house specials on produce until the products are sold out! We will have various samples of our specialty food items from local MICHIGAN businesses. These products include: blueberry mustards, deli-style pickles, Stone-house Artisan bread, scone mixes, muffin mixes, blueberry vinaigrette, and MUCH MORE!
We also have LOTS of fresh blueberries, melons, tomatoes, green beans, squash, sweet corn, lettuce, potatoes, onions and MORE!!