There are three ways to help out at the farm, and get a great deal on your berries:
In the pre-season (and possibly a bit beyond!)
1. By pruning berry bushes or doing other light farm work. Every 2 hours of pruning, weeding, etc. earns a 5% discount off of your pick-your-own (PYO) berries in 2016, up to a maximum of 50% off for 20 hours of help. Your discount will apply to all types of berry picking, this year only, for as long as they last. Pruning may go until late May in the case of raspberries, other light work is ongoing (and on and on in the case of weeding!)
The discount you earn applies only to PYO berries, not to pre-picked berries or other store merchandise, and it is for your personal needs, not for resale. Also, though the discount applies specifically to the person who has done the volunteer work, it might be more fun to share your discount with picking-friend(s)/family by dividing the discount percentage by the number of people picking — for example, you can share a 30% discount with one other person by each getting a 15% discount, or with two other people by each getting a 10% discount, etc. Sharing the discount applies only when you are present, not as a “lend” for others to come and pick.
If you are interested, call 802-767-3989 at the farm, or 802-767-9385 after hours, or you can write to us via the Contact Us page.
During the season
2. By picking berries-for-berries. If you pass our Quality Test* and if the fruit is abundant, you may keep one third of what you pick (2 parts to us, 1 part to you). This offer applies to blueberries, but not necessarily to raspberries (we are in transition and planting new crops) or blackberries (which in general ripen too slowly for us to have excess).
3. By picking berries-for-pay. If you pass the Quality Test* and the fruit is abundant, we pay by the pound. The rates are variable depending on abundance of crop, but a typical rate is $3.00 per lb for raspberries, and $1.50 per lb for blueberries. We pay by check, once per week.
Please check the Ripening Calendar to see when the fruit should be ripe.
If you would like to pick for us, as in 2 and 3 above, please call ahead to arrange it — 802-767-3989 at the farm, or 802-767-9385 after hours, or write to us via the Contact Page. These picking deals will generally be available as long as the weather is fine. But if we have an excess of picked fruit already, or if the harvest is not abundant at that time, we may not be able to offer these deals.
Please also note that we do not pick raspberries in wet conditions as it tends to encourage the spread of common fungal diseases.
*So what is The Quality Test?
Gotta have one, but don’t panic! It’s simple: You will be asked to pick a small quantity of fruit–a tray in the case of raspberries, a half-gallon bucket in the case of blueberries. If the fruit you bring in is ripe, and is free of squished berries, stems, leaves or other debris you are welcome to continue. If you don’t pass the test, you then buy what you picked at the retail price. It’s the Pottery Barn rule: “if you break it, you buy it”. Picking quality berries is not that hard to do, but it requires care and patience. Berries, including blueberries, must be picked one by one to avoid causing damage.
Hope to see you down at the farm!