It was a beautiful day on Sunday - sunny and warm, but with low humidity - and we decided sort of on the spur of the moment to go berry picking. We were hoping for raspberries, even though the season is just about over. As we drove through nearby Suffield, we lucked out: Kuras Farms on Mountain Road was advertising raspberries and blueberries, ready-to-go or pick-your-own. At many of the local farms and farm stands, the raspberry season has already ended. Last year's unusually warm winter gave perennials like berries an early start, and the recent hot and rainless weeks have not been kind to growers.
We pulled in the gravel driveway and stopped at the sales shed and were told that the blueberries were in full swing, and there were still some raspberries available in fields near the top of the hill behind the barns. Off we went, following the farm's dirt tote road on it's winding path to the berry fields.
Blueberry season is in full swing, and we passed row upon row of highbush blueberry plants heavy with fruit. But since we were totally focused on raspberries, we decided to return later in the week for blueberry picking.
The path turns steep as the road climbs the hill to the raspberry fields. I was grateful for the traction of our SUV though the roadway was well-packed and dry, so we never needed 4 wheel drive. The road does get rough in a couple places, though, so be careful if you come in a low-slung car - keep your speed low and watch for ruts carefully.
We parked on a level, grassy spot and started the short hike to the raspberry rows. On the way I noticed a single row of blackberries to the left, and headed over to gather a basket of them while Lynnafred and Maryanne went for the raspberries. It didn't take us long to fill three two-quart baskets with berries.
The view east across the Connecticut River Valley from the raspberry fields was breathtaking on such a clear day.
Driving the road to the fields is a delight to the eye, and the farm is truly a local treasure. There are meadows with wildflowers, ponds, and fields of crops. Barn swallows flit along the grassy fields and dip into the ponds as they zip by. We felt somewhat honored that the farms owners choose to share their beautiful landscape with us by opening up the farm for pick-your-own enthusiasts, rather than just offer a roadside farmstand. The kids working the picking and sales shacks are friendly and helpful. Visiting here is just a wonderful experience.
Raspberry season is just about over, so if you plan to go you should do it very soon. It looks like the blueberries will be there for a little while yet. The Kurases also sell vegetables grown there.
Kuras Farms LLC
1901 Mountain Road
West Suffield CT 06093
I remember killing a lot of blackberry bushes in central Louisiana as a teenager. Now that they cost roughly $6 a pint at the local grocery store in south Arizona, I feel bad for killing them.
It was my job though. I worked for a lot of cattle farmers throughout high school. One of my jobs was to spray herbicide along fences. Grass and bushes would degrade the fencing over time, and it would bring cows to the fences. When the cows lean on the fences to get to the grass and bushes on the other side, they would break them. So it was best just to kill all the plants on the fence line.
I remember times that I would eat probably pounds of blackberries in a day. I would come up on a big thicket of bushes in the middle of the woods and fill my t-shirt with wild berries. Then whatever I couldn’t hold got sprayed with poison. By the time I finished eating that bunch, I’d come up on some more bushes for a refill.
I’m not too worried about them though. It seemed like every year new bushes grew where the old ones were. I like to believe that there is another teenager back home enjoying all the fresh wild blackberries he can handle, just before murdering the plant.
I am SO jealous. I love blackberries but they don't seem to grow well here. Though mulberries grow like weeds and so do the tiny super flavourful wild strawberries.
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