Several days before I left for Minnesota, I got up early (at least, I thought it was early at the time) to go blueberrying with my Dad. So, we hit the road at 7:30am to drive out through Six Mile to The Happy Berry, where my family picks billions of berries, every summer. We mostly pick blueberries, but sometimes blackberries, too.
On the way, we drove down good ol’ Booger Branch, before making our last two turns into the berry farm’s driveway. When we were little, my brothers and I thought living on a street of that name would be awesome. Just to be able to write it on your return address.
My brain remained quite bleary until we were actually at the farm, and then we went up to the front porch to be greeted by the cheerful owners. Walker is everlastingly cheerful, and I could hear him loud and clear, even after I’d gone a ways down the hill. At a distance, his voice reminded me a bit of Burl Ives, but up close, he beams upon each customer, asking them which area they had picked from, and complimented them on their collection of berries.
The sun was still climbing into the sky, so the bushes were still coated in dew, as you’ll see. The bushes were absolutely loaded down, but not all of them were yet ripe. So, you look for the sections that are loaded down to with the blue ones, and leave the red and green to keep ripening. In a week or two, the berries that you see in these pictures will be fully blue and ready to be eaten.
I passed several blackberry bushes, on the way to my section, so I stopped to take some pictures. Some people only drive out to The Happy Berry, just to buy berries that have already been picked for them. They pay extra, but if you’re patient, you can bring home plenty of your own, handpicked (and cheaper).
We only stayed at the farm for two hours, so Dad and I each picked two gallons (~6lbs a gallon). My sneakers got completely soaked, and I had to leave them to dry in the sun, for several days. But despite my years away from picking berries, it’s not too difficult. The tricks is to pick into a small pint (or is it a quart?) container, and once you’ve filled it, pour it into the big bucket. You feel like you’re getting somewhere, filling the small container, and then the big one fills up fast, seemingly.
Among other things, The Happy Berry grows muscadines and figs, also. So, I wasn’t surprised to see Muscadine and Scuppernong Jam for sale, up at the main building. Though, I’ll admit, I had to go look up scuppernong, because I hadn’t remembered that it’s a variety of grape.
Having taken a closer look at their website, I’ve found that there’s a bunch of history related to that land, though I don’t have time to look at it in depth. Take a look at the website for more information, but I guess was a battle from the Cherokee Indian War (way back in time), and it was down the road from the Cherokee’s capital.
The main building is an old tenant house from back in the Revolutionary times, or thereabouts. It’s burned down at least once in those years, but the whole area has some serious history. Also, their website has a link for Walker Miller’s writeup of it all. I will have to take a look, when I have a moment.
Now, that I’ve left home, I’m not getting to dig into the bowls and bowls of blueberries that my family works their way through (they freeze a lot of them, too). But there’s nothing like filling up a bowl of them, and chowing down while you’re reading a book.
If you’ve never been berry picking, or you live in the area, and have never visited, drop by and see what The Happy Berry has to offer! We’ve been going there for at least twenty years now, and it just keeps getting better!