Thursday, January 17, 2013

Brooman Revisited

Last year, around this time, the co driver's quilting group met at Brooman on the Clyde River for a family day.
This year we did the same but with a twist.
We all met at the Clyde River Berry Farm first.

It was a fairly bone jarring drive over the mountain range into the river valley along a route we have never taken before. This area is predominantly state forest and the dirt roads are used for transporting timber out and get pretty chewed up by the big trucks. And  since we haven't had much rain, it was very dusty as well.

The berry farm produces mainly blueberries but has a range of others as well including strawberries, raspberries and loganberries. It is a commercial farm which has PYO facilities for the tourists who flock to our area for the summer holidays.

The blueberries here are all low chill Florida high bush cultivars developed in the USA way back when but improved to the current standard by Ralph Sharpe of the University of Florida in the 1950s.
While doing my horticultural course I did my thesis on blueberry production and fully intended that the farm would be a commercial blueberry enterprise. Suffice to say it didn't happen for all sorts of economic and technical reasons.

                   We spent about an hour walking the rows, picking the fruit and having a sneaky taste now and again.
Then we headed for the weigh in. The cost was about half of what we pay in the supermarket.
It seemed we overdid it a bit with 2.5kg but we will freeze most of them for muffin and smoothie production.
And the Farm makes the best berry ice cream cones there too. Worth the trip just for one of those.
Then it was onto our friends' place on the river at Brooman for a picnic lunch and a bit of a fish.
It was a total reprise of last year ie. wonderful setting, warm sunny weather, great company, good food........and no fish, not even one bite!

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