Blueberry Ridge Farm
Blueberry Ridge Farm | 19711 SW Conzelmann Road Sherwood OR 97140 us | +1.5036255178
How We Farm
Here at Blueberry Ridge Farm in Sherwood, Oregon we follow Good Agricultural Practices and are organic certified by US Department of Agriculture and Oregon Tilth. We also, are Kosher certified.
We are lucky enough to farm in an area where there are hawks and other predatory birds to help control and scare away pests that damage our crops. Bats are very important in the control of insects, and have found a great place to roost; in the eves located at the end of our processing building. We also, are using drones. Over the years, we have brought in ladybugs to eat aphids and other insects.
Roses are planted at the ends of the rows to aid in pollination and to beautify the farm. Grass is planted between the rows of our organic blueberry plants. Once a week we mow between the rows. The main challenge to our plants is weed control, because weeds compete with our blueberry plants for water and nutrients. One of the best methods of grass and weed control is using sawdust. Being organic calls for NO use of pesticides or herbicides, which can carry these chemicals from under the plants to the stems, leaves and blueberries even if they are not present at the time of application. We pull weeds by hand, or use hoes and commercial weed whackers. Over the years, we have been experimenting with a hot water system that compares to results from Roundup on conventional blueberry fields. Data is collected using our hot water system with results working faster then chemicals with the same effectiveness. After an average of 45 days, no annual weeds survived our hot water, but a few perennials had grown from taproots. Target weeds in our test included annual bluegrass, ryegrass, clover, dandelion and blackberries. Normally, treated vegetation blackened and died within 24-30 hours, but some species took several days to show symptoms. The broader and thinner the leaf, the quicker the reaction will be seen. Treatments applied in hot sunny weather are quicker then, applications during cooler wet weather. Using this hot water weed treatment does not pose a danger to our organic blueberry plants plus it is an economically viable alternative to herbicides.
We leave the organic blueberries on the bushes longer, letting them fully ripen. We harvest at the perfect time, when the berries are at their peak of flavor for maximum taste and nutrition. We dehydrate our organic blueberries WITHOUT INFUSING sugar or fruit juices, we keep them 100% NATURAL. To retain all the valuable nutrients we dry our organic blueberries at a low temperature. This is different from how other processers dry their fruit. When the fruit is dried at a high temperature, the healthy enzymes are destroyed. Our dehydration process removes moisture from the berries by moving heated air across trays of organic blueberries to take them to their desired moisture level. When the organic blueberries are at the desired moisture level for our customer, we place the berries in containers to equalize the moisture level. At this point, we carry out a final inspection of the dried organic blueberries and vacuum seal them using nitrogen flush. This seals in the freshness, stabilizes the moisture, preventing mold and maintains the great organic blueberry taste. It takes approximately 6 pounds of fresh blueberries to make 1 pound of Blueberry Ridge Farm’s organic dried blueberries.
During harvest, we start picking after mid-night while the organic blueberries are cool. This is important to us because once the blueberries are picked the temperature inside the berries starts to rise, so the clock is ticking. After harvesting the berries, we take them to our processing building where we use our equipment to clean, de-stem and inspect for quality berries. We then put the blueberries into food grade plastic bags and place them into 30-pound boxes. The boxes are then placed in organic cold storage.