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Unseasonably wet spring results in bounty of blueberries at 3 Birds Berry Farm

Ripe clusters of fruit, ready for picking sooner

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A Blacksburg U-pick berry farm, 3 Birds Berry Farm, is open more than a week earlier than usual after an unseasonable wet spring led to earlier ripening of fruit. 

Owners Irene Lamb and her husband, Bill Sembello walked through the farm Friday to look at the bounty of fruit. They said, if there was ever a time to pick your own blueberries, it's now.

"There's a lot of berries that want to be picked up," Sembello said.

An unseasonably wet spring -- the ninth-wettest May on record in Blacksburg, resulted in the best blueberries yet for 3 Birds Berry Farm, which is now in its seventh season. 

"It's just been an exceptional weatherwise season," he said. "Perfect moisture, perfect temperatures, perfect bounty."

The couple said its main blueberry field, which consists of 20 rows with more than 1,800 bushes, on what's known as Blueberry Hill, is ripe and ready for picking. 

The only challenge is getting people out sooner than they may typically come to pick. The farm does not use pesticides, which means volume picking is essential to the health of the farm, Lamb explained.  

"Mother Nature is an excellent teacher of patience and humility. This isn't patient but this is the humble part.  We just need folks to come out and pick," Sembello said.

Unpicked berries that are left for too long could get overripe or invite pests.

All the elements came together this season, between the rain and heat, to create perfect clusters of fruit.

"Our care schedule for the berries and the weather schedule and the temperature schedule have all come together and made a bountyless harvest. If you've been waiting for an easy time for picking that time is now." 

The farm also has blackberries and raspberries for picking. They'll be ready later this summer.

The farm, which is located at 1876 Brooksfield Rd, Blacksburg has a handicapped-accessbile path available so people with mobility issues can pick throughout the season.

The farm is open Mondays from 6 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays 7 a.m. to noon and 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday 7 a.m. to noon and 3 to 5 p.m., Thursdays 7 a.m. to noon and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon and 3 to 5 p.m.. It's closed on Friday and Sunday.