Sights from Opening Day 2022

Opening Day for 2022 picking at Pack House Farm was Saturday, June 18th. This was a couple of weeks earlier than we had anticipated, so we weren’t completely ready for visitors. We have added a new covered area for sales and relaxing in the shade – so no more working under a tailgating tent!

We plan to be open every Saturday 8am to Noon between now and the end of July. We are no longer picking by appointment only. Depending on how the berries come in, we’ll be opening for a few “Twilight Picking” sessions too. The best place to find out about those are on Facebook – or feel free to give us a call. I love talking about berries!

Here are a few things to plan on when coming out to pick berries:

  • Wear closed-toed shoes and be on alert for fire ants
  • Apply sunscreen and bug spray
  • We take cash and venmo (still figuring the credit card thing out)
  • We have honey, jams, jellies, and salad dressings available too
  • Blueberries are $5 per pint container
  • Blackberries (pre-picked only) will be available in July
  • Feel free to ask questions – and have fun!

Our goal is to provide fresh picked fun and a connection to agriculture through our farm. We work all year long so that we can share this with others for a few short weeks each summer. We hope you will come out and join us!

2021 Picking Protocols

Berries are turning color and will soon be ready for picking!  Below are our 2021 Picking Protocols:

  • Picking will continue to be by appointment only. This will give your family lots of space in the field!  We plan to allow up to 5 families per hour.  The sign-up form will be posted to Facebook for each day that we’re open.  Of course, weather is subject to change. We anticipate Saturday June 19th to be our opening day this season.
  • Blueberries are $4 per pint U-pick.  Blueberries and blackberries are $5 per pint pre-picked and subject to availability.  We accept cash, Venmo, or PayPal.  We will also have cold water and other treats available for purchase.
  • We will supply baskets for picking and pint-containers to take your berries home in.  You can bring your own picking containers and we will portion them out into pints at check-out.
  • We know that times have been tough for many families. While we cannot accept EBT, we would like to offer $2 a pint (up to 4 pints). Please discreetly show us your EBT card at check-out.  
  • Parking is to the right of the red barn.  We will have a sign this year at the driveway.
  • No pets please, but children are welcome! After all, we all know it’s hard to resist eating a berry or two off the bush.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes and don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Feel free to call us at 919-210-6574 if you have any questions.

Blueberry & Bacon Pizza

One of our favorite pizza joints in Cary closed a few years ago, and we’ve missed their unique flavor combinations (hello, pimento cheese & jalapeno pizza).  When the first berries started turning deep blue this year, we created a pizza that would’ve been worthy of their fantastic menu!

Blueberry & Bacon Pizza

  • Ingredients
    • Pre-Made pizza crust (you could also use a pie crust – that’s what we had!)
    • Precooked Bacon, crumbled
    • 1 pint Fresh Blueberries
    • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese 
    • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese 
    • 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
    • Dash of Garlic Salt
    • Dash of dried Basil (as much or as little as you like) 
    • Sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes
    • Arugula (optional garnish)
  • Directions
    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
    • Stretch out pizza dough and place on baking sheet
    • Generously sprinkle garlic salt, dried basil, and red pepper flakes on dough
    • Cover dough with thin layer of ricotta cheese, leaving edges bare for crust
    • Place crumbled bacon, thinly sliced red onion, and blueberries onto pizza
    • Top pizza with Mozzarella cheese
    • Bake in preheated oven at 425 for 15 minutes (or until crust is done and cheese is melted)
    • Optional: cover with Arugula prior to serving
    • Enjoy!

Tips for Picking & Handling Fresh Blueberries

Whether you have visited Pack House Farm, another local pick-your-own farm, or are selecting berries at the grocery store, these tips will help you get the best berries this summer!

  • Size doesn’t equal ripeness, it’s all about color! Ripe berries are deep blue-purple to blue-black in color.
  • You may notice that some berries will have a cloudy appearance, called “bloom”. This film is a waxy silver-white substance that protects the berry. Bonus – it helps keep the berries juicy!
  • Look for berries that are firm and smooth-skinned. When picking, leave those that the birds have pecked on for their snack!
  • Blueberries will continue to ripen once picked, but only if they have already started turning blue. Let the green and pink ones wait a little longer.
  • Reddish berries are not completely ripe, and may be bitter. These are best used in baking with additional sweetener. (Hello muffins, cakes, and pies!)
  • Wash your berries just before eating or tossing in a recipe. 
  • Get your berries into a refrigerator as soon as you can. An airtight container is recommended and always put a paper towel in to soak up any extra moisture.
  • In the refrigerator, berries will keep for a week to 10 days.

Wishing you the berry best this summer!

Blueberry Day at the State Farmers Market!

My earliest childhood memory is helping my grandparents sell sweet corn and other produce at a Farmers Market in Carrboro, NC. Thirty-some years later, one of my favorite things to do is visit a Farmers Market. I’m sure it is the combination of business, agriculture, and salt-of-the earth people that attracts me to any Farmers Market or road-side produce stand I pass.

Today was Blueberry day at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh and I made time to visit. I enjoyed browsing, sampling, and buying local North Carolina products. Blueberries were on full display! A few of photos of my experience are below.

Take time to visit a Farmers Market this summer! Encourage your friends and family to do the same by sharing this information. If you’re in Raleigh, a calendar of special events at the State Farmers Market can be found here.

May 2019 – Update

May was a hot, dry month in Central NC. We had to irrigate a little early this year. Blueberries are starting to get a little color – hope to have some ready by mid-June. The bees are working the 2019 blackberry crop like it’s their job (which it is). Speaking of bees – the first honey crop is in the works! Hoping for a few rainshowers in June!

Got To Be NC Festival

If you’re looking something fun to do this weekend, look no further than the Got To Be NC Festival at the Fairgrounds in Raleigh! Follow this link for more information and a schedule of events. It’s like the NC State Fair, but smaller and no admission fee! Make sure you stay for the tractor parade – you never know who you might see!

April 2019 – Update

To be honest, life and rain have gotten in the way of spending a lot of time in Chatham lately.  After the Plane Pull and before church, we put in a couple hours at the farm.

The blooms are starting to turn into fruit. So excited that there may be a harvest this year! Mocking birds, you are on warning, and I have good aim. A few more rows have been added, so we’re sitting at almost to 200 bushes. Spread a little mulch, and did a couple row markers. Since blackberry sonker (See our Recipes page) is one of my most favorite things, excited to see the 4 new blackberry rows thriving. Checked on the bees, but didn’t find Beeatrice (👸). They are so much fun to watch! Dropped my first frame and got one sting – not so fun.

Gorgeous and perfect day!!

– Preppy Bumpkin