Scott and Amy Turner
Membership and U-Pick Details
The membership concept.
Every year, we think how we can make your organic blueberry u-pick experience even better. Our ideal is that you have a high quality picking experience to go along with our tremendously tasty certified organic berries.
How does this sound?Again this year, in an effort to make our berries more accessible to our customers and to foster a relaxed picking atmosphere,
Come when you want. Stay as long as you like. Enjoy the cool evenings. (Or the cool early mornings. Or the heat of the day if you're headed to the river afterwards!) Hear the birds sing.
Blue Dog Farm will be open entirely as a membership u-pick farm.
As soon as those berries are ripe, our members will be coming at their convenience to pick. You, too, can become a member because though memberships will be limited, we can comfortably serve a few more this summer.
How much does a membership cost? How can we become members? What does it include? Membership costs $30 ($25 for payment made before July 1).
You still pay for your berries by the pound each time you come to pick, and there is an honor system and self-service component to membership, but what you get is access when YOU want to come and a relaxed and peaceful picking experience. We know you love coming out when it works for you! What we want is to create for you a special category of customer called "member" that grants you nearly unlimited access to our blueberry fields during the season. (Early evening picking is the BEST! Bring your picnic dinner.)
How does it work? Those best and most motivated customers know our routines (or can easily learn them). You know where the buckets are. You’re willing to wipe them out and put them away when you’re done. You can operate a scale and record your sale. You feel comfortable roaming in the fields until you find berries you like. You can help yourselves and will leave or mail a check. You relish the idea of stewarding this farm with us. We want members who have the skill and fortitude and sense of ownership to generally help themselves. That is a large part of what puts the sustainable into this farm.3. The membership self-service approach -- Along with a come-when-you-want schedule comes some self service. We’ll have step by step instructions posted in the tent. So start there when you come. We will have buckets for you to use and boxes for taking your berries home, as usual, but we definitely want to encourage members to bring their own containers or re-use the boxes to take berries home. We have our buckets available for picking and boxes and markers so you can label your boxes and keep your berries in the shade in the tent until you're ready to check out.
Don’t misconstrue us: we LOVE seeing you. As much as possible, you will find us or a farm helper in the tent. And we hope to have time to actually VISIT with you. But we won’t be there dawn to dark (though you could be!) And if we’re not there, you’ll be prepared to get your berries anyway because you will have reviewed our information here and in the tent.
Other details of membership:
1. Come anytime -- You may come any day at any time there is daylight.
2. Join at the farm -- You may wait to join until you come out after we start picking. Memberships will be $25 until July 1 and $30 after that. We have New Member Signup forms in the tent on a clipboard.
OR, even easier, email us with:
Your NameWe'll respond back, and you're in! Once the season starts, you'll be out picking yummy organic blueberries!
Your Street Address
Your Email Address
Your Phone Number
and tell us you've reveiwed our policies and want to be a member.
4. Tent staffing -- Sometimes, one of us or our friends or neighbors are also in the field and tent and can help and answer questions. Other members can also often answer questions. But remember, folks, picking blueberries and paying for them is not rocket science! Your ability to do for yourself helps us maintain a farm that is as accessible to you as possible. If no one is staffing the tent, you will need to weigh, record your sale on the check out sheet, pay, wipe out your buckets and restack them for the next members. You can do it!!
5. Pay by check or Paypal –- We won’t have a cash box in the field for making change. Please do NOT plan to pay with cash. Be prepared with a check to pay for your berries ($3.10/lb) and leave it in the box in the checkout tent – or send us a check or pay after the fact by Paypal if that feels more secure. There is a place to indicate on the checkout sheet if you are mailing a check or using Paypal.
6. Open and close the gate -- Speaking of security, sometimes we have the gate to the fields closed with a sign welcoming members. You may need to open the gate and close it behind your car as you come in and go out. If the gate's closed when you come, just come in and close it behind yourself. Same going out. If the gate is open, you may leave it open.
7. Parking -– If you’ve been out before, you know that folks park on the right side of the lane, angle in parking in front of the blueberry rows. There may not be signs. Focus on parking where the ground is flat! There is a good place to turn around, if you need, across the creek on the left side of the lane just past the port-a-potty but before the greenhouse. Since we won’t always be staffing the tent, we won’t be able to pull/push you out of sketchy parking spots, so avoid them. So far, we’re noticing that members are coming far enough apart that parking is a breeze!
8. Dogs -– We like dogs. We named our farm after a dog, (good old Friday, rest in peace) and when we go picking in our fields, we like to take our current blue dog Petey. If you choose to bring your (polite) dog and to take him/her out of your vehicle, please have the dog on a short leash and keep him/her with you at all times. No elimination in the blueberry fields!
9. Kids -– We like kids and want you to bring your kids. When we have opened for public u-pick, we have noticed that kids often come drifting into the tent and some are not monitored by their adults for lengthy periods. Sometimes these kids start kid-like behaviors (attempting to snack out of customers’ boxes, draining the drinking water or using 7,984 dixie cups, throwing berries, and, well, you can imagine.) We’re thinking this won’t really be an issue with our members, but we did want to remind that children need to be supervised so as not to bother others or their berries or misuse the supplies in the self-service area (the tent).
10. Friends -- Yes! bring your friends with you. Anyone who's interested in organic blueberries and supporting small farms is welcome with you. Maybe they'll want to be a member in their own right next year. Many of our best customers come to us through our best customers. Your membership is for your household to come whenever and as many times as you want and any and all friends that you bring with you.
Other u-pick details:
There is little shade in the field -- that sun helps the berries grow. But for people, it's good to bring a hat and wear your sunscreen. If you get over hot, you are welcome to come sit in the shade in the blueberry tent, or find some shade at the field borders in our "wildlife habitat" areas. (Or exercise your membership privileges and come when it's cooler!)
We have a portable toilet available, hand sanitizer, and drinking water.
We have buckets available for you to pick into and boxes available for you to take your berries home.
For payment, We accept checks only, but we will also take cash and make change on any public u-pick days. (FYI, we had no public upick days in 2014 and don't anticipate any in 2015.)
This is a farm. You can drive to the field, but there are places in the field where the ground is uneven, and occasionally, the blackberries or nettles intrude. Be prepared with shoes and watch your step.
This is a farm. There are insects here, including stinging ones. Occasionally, there are wasps in the bushes. Leave them alone. Feel free to show us if you find a wasp nest and we will try to remove it so it doesn't surprise someone else, but some will get missed.
We have cows and pigs in our fields also. The cow and pig fences are electric. Please do not touch and monitor your children. Observe the animals from a distance and from outside the fencing.
You may certainly snack as you pick and figure out what you like in terms of variety and ripeness. We figure the price per pound based on you enjoying snacking as you pick.
That said, please do pay for what you pick, rather than throwing on the ground unripe berries. In other words, pick carefully. A ripe blueberry is fully blue all the way around to the stem end. Check it before you pick it. Leave the unripe ones for another customer on a later day. Once you pick a berry, we appreciate you putting it in your bucket and paying for it and not throwing it on the ground. With practice, you'll get better at figuring what's ripe!
Take care with buckets of picked berries and guard that they don't get tipped. If they get tipped, you don't get to enjoy all that you picked and we don't get paid for them. We advise bringing your full-ish buckets to the tent where you can put them safely in a box in the shade marked with your name.
There can be a lot of waste in u-pick for which we the farmers do not get compensated. We ask that you respect our work to bring you this organic food.
However, (there's always a however!) we are not saying you should feel you have to take blueberries that are bird-pecked or soft or shriveled or that are already lying on the ground. Those are not the ones for you.
Please monitor your children in the field. There is also creek on the property near the berry fields. It it mostly well vegetated, but it could be a hazard to young children who wander too far.
We have some tenant farmers, Neil and Jayme, here for their third year and who grow vegetables on some of our land and in the greenhouse. Details on their farm operation here: Present Tense Farm. If you see them, say hi!
Feel free to bring a blanket for a picnic and walk up and down the farm lane. Members, make yourselves at home.
We're looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you this season!
Thanks for listening and supporting local organic family farms!