Friday, June 15, 2012

Totally Texas -- Berries blue and beautiful

Blueberry Hill Farms, Inc.

10268 FM 314

Edom, Texas


The boys were amazed blueberries came in so many colors. But just pick the blue ones, we cautioned. The pink and green ones, although lovely to look at, aren’t ripe. It was my first experience picking blueberries -- their first picking berries of any kind -- and I was glad to find the beautiful blues, unlike the blackberries I was familiar with, don’t have thorns.

And it was so easy. The bushes were in the three to four-foot range -- easily accessible to children’s hands. Blueberry Hill owner Chuck Arena, by himself in the farm store on a Wednesday afternoon, told us the biggest berries were in the center of the bushes. I found the twiggy growth in the center made the berries there a little less easy to reach, but worth the effort. The boys picked happily from the tops and bottoms.

Blueberry Hill’s website, cautioned us to wear closed-toe shoes and bring sunglasses and a cooler for the berries. The shop provides picking baskets and bags the berries in freezer bags for customers to take home. A level-full basket holds a gallon of berries, selling for $14. For less than full baskets, you pay by weight. My family spent $4 for our pickings -- the boys’ enthusiasm exceeded their picking skill. Of course, we also bought glasses of blueberry-lemonade to refresh the pickers, and a pie, and jam from the farm store’s plentiful supplies.

Blueberry Hill is about seventy miles east of Dallas, where East Texas’ acidic soils support blueberry production. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including Father’s Day and July 4th. Arena estimated the farm has about three more weeks left of the berries’ six-week production period, with berries ripening earlier than usual this year because of the mild winter.

Hail storms pummeling the Dallas area during our visit but missed Edom, and this weekend’s forecast -- highs in the low 90’s, and only isolated chances for rain, also looks good for berry pickers.

The season for blackberries, the farm’s other pick-your-own fruit, is over, although there should be some blackberries in the store this weekend.

Since you’ll probably also want to visit the art and antique shops in Edom and possibly even in neighboring Ben Wheeler, remember many of them have limited hours, especially during the week. See for information about shops, dining and events.


Closer to Dallas, Terrell’s Ham Orchards, reported its only pick-your-own fruit, blackberries, were also almost gone. But orchard’s specialty -- peaches -- were in abundant supply in its store. It’s open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily, through August 15, at 11939 County Road 309 outside Terrell, if you want to drop by on your way to or from Blueberry Hill. See for details.

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