The blueberries were ripe and ready.

And between the public and 25 workers, there was plenty of picking going at the Blueberries of Daviess County, 1401Hill Bridge Road last week.

The mild June temperatures were a plus for Toby Luckett, a Beechmont resident, who was carefully plucking and placing some of her annual supply of blueberries into a small white bucket, which can hold up to 6 pounds of blueberries.

"Today's the best weather I've ever picked -- it's cool weather," Luckett said. "It's usually not this cool in June."

Luckett said this was her first trip this year to the blueberry farm but it likely won't be her last.

"I usually come back three or four times a season," Luckett said. "I usually have a freezer full before it's over. …I usually take home eight to 10 buckets a season, I guess."

Blueberries of Daviess County is owned and operated by farmers Nancy and Royce McCormick.

The McCormicks started selling blueberries 18 years ago with 1 acre of blueberries and have grown the operation to 3 acres.

Nancy McCormick said the blueberries replaced the tobacco they used to raise.

"We were looking for an alternate crop and nobody was doing blueberries," said McCormick, whose family still plants corn and soybeans. "So we decided to start growing blueberries."

And in those nearly two decades, the blueberry farm has survived hail storms and freezes that have damaged or destroyed the crop.

Despite some setbacks, McCormick said blueberries have been a good addition to the overall farm operation.

"My production keeps increasing as my plants keep getting bigger and older," she said.

To help the blueberry growing process, McCormick also keeps honeybees nearby to help with the pollination.

"I have eight beehives and I'm always learning with that," she said.

Once the blueberry bushes start to bear fruit, a white netting is placed over and around the bush areas, covering them like a tent to allow customers to easily walk the rows. The netting prevents birds, rabbits and other animals from eating into the blueberry production.

Taking advantage of the day was Dot Hodges of Masonville. She brought her 7-year-old granddaughter, Marissa Grant, to pick blueberries for the first time.

Hodges said she uses the blueberries in various recipes but also as a healthy snack for her granddaughter. Blueberries are considered an antioxidant and they're also a source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese, which contributes to bone health.

"I usually just buy the blueberries at the farmers market or just buy them here (already picked)," Hodges said. "But this year I thought Marissa might want a new experience and she loves blueberries."

The McCormicks have planted different varieties of blueberry bushes that allow them to have a longer season, which can run from late May through the end of July.

McCormick said the blueberries came in a little later than normal.

"They were probably about a week off," she said. "I think it's because of the cool, wet spring we had."

Currently, Blueberries of Daviess County is open four days a week -- Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday -- from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The U-Pick price is $3.75 per pound and already picked is $6 per pound. The farm also sells fresh honey from its beehives and homemade blueberry jam.

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer, 270-691-7299.

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