Friday, April 13, 2012

Brenda's Berry Farm

April in Florida means the season is ripe for picking a dark blue commodity that used to be associated with colder north climates, blueberries. This sweet little berry, rich with fiber and full of anti-oxidants, has moved south.
The University of Florida launched a blueberry breeding program in 1976 and it produced three strains of southern highbush blueberries developed for Florida’s mild climate. Thirty years later these efforts have bloomed, so to speak. 
Pasco County now boasts numerous commercial blueberry farms and several of them are you U-Pick patches. One is Brenda’s Berry Barn. Located on Hudson Road three miles east of little Road. The Short family has a U-Pick farm which backs up to Brenda’s son Brad’s commercial farm.  What’s the difference? Brad’s produces more than 80,000 pounds of berries while Brenda’s hosts people from around the world who pick the 30,000 pounds her farm produces. 
Brenda Short

International you say? Yes, on a recent morning the Gottwald Family from Berlin, Germany stopped by and harvested ten pounds of berries to enjoy while on vacation here in Pasco. Later that day tourists from Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia stopped by to pick a few pounds, according to Brenda.
You can also purchase fresh berries that Brenda has ready for you. Visitors can also pick up a bottle of blueberry syrup or jam to satisfy their sweet tooth. Brenda has also written a children’s story about her berry farm and it makes a nice memento for time spent in the patch picking our own dark blueberries full of bliss with your family.
In an effort to increase the knowledge of blueberry farms in Pasco, local farmers have put to together the Blueberry Jerry Jamboree in memory of Brenda’s husband Jerry and there son Justin she lost several years ago. The jamboree on April 27-29, features none other than a blueberry pancake breakfast (Sat & Sunday), puppet shows, a ham dinner, face-painting, balloons and music and lots of blueberries.
If you want to strike up a conversation with Brenda when you visit ask her about her Blueberry Cobbler.

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