Friday, July 25, 2003/lk
By SCOTT BECKER
Blueberries are not something new to the Hood River Valley, but they’re also not something commonly associated with Hood River like apples and pears.
“The season started a week early this year,” said Roger Nelson of Nelson’s Blueberry farm, who sells fresh blueberries. “They usually don’t last long,” he said. “As soon as we pick them people buy them.”
“Blueberries are very labor intensive,” said Nelson. “You need a lot of fertilizer, mulch, water and the picking is very tedious because the berries don’t ripen at the same time. The production goes on a bell-curve. It starts out small and works its way up through the peak of the season and works it’s way down towards the end.”
The season usually ends around the third week of August.
Grave’s Orchard, a new blueberry farm in Odell, was visited by the OSU-Mid Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s field day agricultural tour on Thursday to show people options for fruit production in the area. The blueberry plants at Grave’s Orchard were just planted this spring and there will be no harvest until next summer. They will harvest their berries specifically to be dried for use in the Gorge Delights pear bars.