LONG BEACH — A little hand reached through the branches and pulled out a plump blueberry and dropped it in the pail with a ‘plunk.’ It didn’t take three-year-old Olive Leonov long to learn the art of picking blueberries after watching mom and dad for a few minutes.
Late July marked the start of the summer harvest at Cranguyma Farms, the fifth-generation working blueberry, cranberry and holly farm owned by the Glenn family beside Sandridge Road in Long Beach.
For more than 60 years, the seven-acre ‘u-pick’ blueberry patch has provided a sweet summer activity. The five varieties of organic blueberries grown at the farm ripen at different times beginning with the Weymouth and Rancocas in July and continuing all summer long with Pemberton, Jersey and Dixie in August. Blueberries, along with their tart cousin, the cranberry, are among the few fruits native to North America. This year the harvest officially opened Friday, July 23 to eager pickers.
“It’s the perfect social-distancing event,” said Igor Leonov, 35, who came with his wife Jennifer, 3-year-old daughter Olive and their energetic 13-year-old Yorkie named Kenzie, part of a family ‘coastal road trip’ from Westport.
The ongoing covid-19 pandemic has made some, like the Leonovs, reconsider summer travel plans, with more choosing road trips closer to home and socially distanced activities that limit their potential exposure to the virus. The family planned to pick enough berries to make bake a pie and a batch of muffins before freezing the rest, Igor said.
At the end of the picking the berries are weighed and sold for $2.50 a pound under the honor system in the blueberry shed. The blueberries are ready for harvest from July through October. The farm, located at 3206 113th St. in Long Beach, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and admission is free.