Blueberry Fields of Stillwater LLC
9450 Mendel Road North Stillwater, MN 55082
What to know before your visit:
Why do you want us to use BFS picking supplies? We want to minimize the risk of transporting insects and viruses from other farms into our blueberry field. Please pick into a cardboard flat and then take it home. For smaller amounts, pick up one of our buckets, place a plastic bag inside, and then take just the bag home with you. In the past we've allowed people to bring their own containers, but COVID guidelines mandate that we have customers use the containers we provide.
How can I pick on a hot day? Dress for the weather. Hats, plus light colored, loose fitting clothes are best. Sunscreen is advised. Cold water is available in the field. Bring your own water bottle (No glass) to your picking area, which makes it easier to stay hydrated. We offer shady picnic areas for snack breaks and picnics. Portable toilet and hand washing station are available.
Do you allow children? Yes, but please read our Children’s Policy before coming to the field to make it a positive experience for everyone.
Picking fresh blueberries with children is a wonderful way to pass on the tradition to the next generation. We welcome well supervised children. Over the last years, we've enjoyed seeing families laughing and picking berries together in the blueberry field. Many grandparents bring their grandchildren as a special outing. Guidelines:
• Their first experiences may need to be short and sweet. Depending on their age, it may be helpful to bring their own water bottle, snack, and a few small toys.
• Dress them for the weather. Hats plus loose fitting and light colored clothing are best. Take breaks as needed in our shady picnic areas.
• Please remind children to pick while they are here and eat their blueberries at home. MN Dept. of Ag recommends washing all produce before eating (especially important in preventing Covid-19). We provide a berry washing station for a snack on the way home!
• For their safety, children must be next to an adult at all times. Young children must pick on the same bush as an adult. Please assist them to prevent dropped berries.
• If your child has special needs, please contact us before coming to the field. We will discuss if and how we can assist you in meeting their needs.
• We request that children and adults respect our bushes by walking only on the walkways. Please do not let your children walk on the mulch or run between bushes. Shallow blueberries roots and irrigation lines are under the mulch. Thank you!
Information about food and health safety:
Can we sample the blueberries? MN Dept. of AG recommends washing all fresh produce before eating and also discourages eating in the field because of COVID. If you choose, sample a few but please enjoy your berries after washing them. Near the port-a-potty, there is a hand washing station with bags for rinsing a few blueberries for a snack on the way home!
Blueberry Fields of Stillwater holds Food Safety as our highest priority. We are committed to following the latest guidelines as outlined by MN Dept of Agriculture and USDA Food Produce Rule.
Guests, please help us with this goal by:
~Washing your hands before picking berries and after using the portable toilet and any time they are soiled. Hand washing stations are available in the field.
~Use our new picking supplies. Do not bring any used picking boxes to our field.
~Do not put any berries from the ground into your picking container.
~Pick all ripe fruit off of a bush before moving to next bush to decrease the amount of dropped fruit which can decay, grown germs, and draw insects/wasps.
~Chill or freeze blueberries ASAP. Bring a cooler with ice to chill sun warmed berries on your drive home.
~No pets in field.
In response to COVID-19: Stay home if you're feeling sick, have a fever, or a cough. Masks are optional in the field. Make sure to wash hands before and after picking. Only handle the food you will be purchasing (other than culled berries which will be fed to the chickens in order to prevent fruit flies in the field).
The MN Department of Agriculture discourages eating your berries before bringing them home and washing them.
What to know about picking:
Why do you include “or until all ripe berries have been picked” in your posted hours? As a pick your own farm, we have no control over the number of customers that come each day. Some days we have enough people to pick the field early so then we update website, phone line, and sign at the end of the driveway to say we are closed. We apologize and do our best to only open when we have an abundant harvest and to post our closing as soon as possible. Best advice is “Come early.”
Why can't we pick anywhere we want to? Simple answer: birds. Netting is vital or the birds take bites and leave juicy, messy berries. So we have to pick a complete row and then recover for protection.
How do I pick blueberries? With your hand under them, roll the berries with your thumbs and fingers, letting drop into your hand. If you notice berries dropping onto the mulch, stop and remember to keep your hand underneath them. Pick all blue berries (large and small) on the top and front side of the bush first. Then separate the branches, opening the middle of the bush to get the hidden clusters. End by lifting the lower branches to pick any berries that might be lower to the ground. Make sure all ripe blueberries are picked off the bush before moving to the next bush and leave a clean starting point for the next customer.
Why do you encourage everyone to pick all the ripe fruit before going to the next bush? 1. This ensures a fresh harvest in a couple of days for the next customer picking. Practice kindness. 2. Picking all the ripe fruit decreases the amount of ripe fruit dropping on the ground which in turn naturally decreases the chances of pests in our blueberry field. Thank you for helping with pest control!
Information about caring for your berries:
Will my berries be OK in the car while I have lunch in Stillwater? Please bring a cooler with ice to preserve the nutrition and flavor of your berries. Chill or freeze as soon as possible.
How do I care for my blueberries? Upon arrival home, roll berries on a dish towel to remove any stems or leaves. Then chill or freeze berries as soon as possible to maintain high nutrition and flavor. To refrigerator, store dry, unwashed berries in an open top container. To freeze, pour dry, unwashed berries onto a shallow pan to freeze before pouring into freezer containers or bags and closing tightly. When ready to use, rinse with cool water and enjoy!
Information about our field:
What is the big deal about bees? Every blueberry blossom must be visited by a bee to become a berry. We are creating beautiful pollinator habitats. Bees may still be in the field, so we post a caution to anyone with bee allergies.
Why are there rock bags next to your bushes? We use them as weights for netting and winter row covers.
What are our growing practices? Our mission is to grow fresh, local, flavorful, nutrient-rich blueberries in a beautiful and peaceful setting. No chemical pesticides or insecticides or herbicides are ever used here. Blueberries from Blueberry Fields of Stillwater are grown naturally! Our blueberries are grown in mulch beds where we've added compost, peat moss, and fish fertilizers to increase the biological activity, and lots of mulch to decompose and increase organic matter. Then each year, our bushes are fed with more composted poultry manure, fish fertilizers, compost teas, and other nutrients.We are experimenting with growing our blueberries with Essential Oils. All of our practices help create our flavorful, nutrient-rich blueberries! For Blueberry Growing Tips: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/blueberries-for-home-landscapes/
Do you have pre-picked berries? If you are unable to join us in the field for picking you have the option to order berries for pick up one or more days in advance. Depending on conditions in the field we may not be able to accommodate all orders. This option is very limited this season due to staffing shortages, requests will be considered on a one to one basis. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about pre-picked berries.
If you are wondering how many blueberries you want picked, here are the amounts needed for different recipes:
One Pound of Blueberries: 3 to 3.5 cups
Blueberry Pie: 4 cups of blueberries
Blueberry Muffins: 2 cups of blueberries
Anything else I should know? For Safety: Please No Pets, No Glass in field. This is a working farm. Ground may be uneven. We close for thunder, lightning, and rain. If there is a light drizzle without a storm forecast, we may keep picking.