Whether you enjoy eating them on your oatmeal or cooking them into a cobbler, blueberries are ripe and ready for picking at Moody Blues Farm, 404 Cloverleaf Drive, Lithia.
According to Matt Moody, there are plenty of blueberries to go around this year, and residents are invited to pick their own April 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"We will more than likely be open the weekend of April 28th and 29th as well but need to see how plentiful the fruit is leading up to then and beyond," said Moody.
Matt and Laurie Moody opened their doors for the pleasure of public picking for pies, jellies and smoothies last weekend for the third year.
Although they've lived at the farm off County Road 39 for 15 years, the Moodys, fifth-generation Floridians, originally raised cattle, horses and two children on the 12-acre property.
But now, 2 1/2 acres are planted in certified blueberries with a total of seven acres certified for future expansion.
"We wanted to go organic," said Laurie Moody. "We didn't want to use any pesticides or chemicals because our grandchildren are out here playing all the time. I wanted them eating only healthy things. We also wanted to produce the highest quality, healthiest and tastiest blueberry possible for our family and friends. It's more difficult and costly to grow organic blueberries, but it's worth it."
She noted that there's only a six- to eight-week window when blueberries are available.
"It's a short season," she said. During that time, it takes the entire family, including the Moodys' grown daughter and son, to manage the U-pick operation.
The Moodys grow six varieties of berries including Winsor, Emerald, Abundance and Jewel. The berries vary in taste and appearance.
The old barn on the property underwent a facelift and now accommodates an area for checking customers out. A line of rocking chairs look out over the property and give weary blueberry pickers a place to rest.
Because the Moodys want to ensure there are enough berries to go around, they only take reservations for pickers.