Being outside with family and friends is a good thing. What about picking berries?
“As long as you’re not cheek to jowl, being outside is good,” says Dr. Tom Frieden, an infectious disease physician and former director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Frieden doesn’t mention picking blueberries in his list of fun things to do in this age of COVID-19, but Andy Pearson is convinced there’s no better place to be than his family’s blueberry farm, Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm, 30 minutes from Kingwood at FM1314 and Moorhead Road.
Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm web page says it all: The first pick-your-own blueberries farm in Texas, family owned and operated, located between Kingwood and The Woodlands, and more than 20 different varieties of blueberries on 20 acres of land. “We grow ‘em. You pick ‘em.”
“This is a great place for families to come out to and spend time together,” Pearson said. “You can’t be on your cell phone and pick berries, too. It’s just neat to walk through the fields and hear families talk to each other.”
Pearson is a proud third-generation blueberry picker.
“I didn’t really have any choice,” he said. “I grew up in a family that loved blueberries. I’ve been eating them fresh my whole life.”
Pearson has been working the blueberry farm his whole life. His first job was to break up the plant root balls. His mom made sure he baled hay and fixed fences, too. He moved to the bucket line, then cashier, “… kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” he said.
“This is a family enterprise, something my grandfather started and now my uncle is caretaker,” Pearson said. “My grandfather, Albert Moorhead, bought the property outside of Conroe ages ago. He was an elementary school principal in Conroe ISD, but his second love was gardening. Texas A&M’s Agriculture Department wanted to develop blueberries that could be grown in the south.”
Following Texas A&M’s advice, Moorhead planted 20 Southern Blueberries on his property which, through trial and error, survived and thrived. As the blueberries flourished, Moorhead cleared out more land, planting more varieties of blueberries.
“Grandpa would invite his fellow teachers to come out and pick their own berries,” Pearson said. “They brought their friends and families. Everybody told him he should open to the public and charge and that’s how Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm was born.”
Moorhead passed away in 1996 but the farm continues to blossom.
“Our farm is a real family occasion for generations of families. The grandkids who came here with their grandparents now are bringing their grandkids to pick blueberries,” Pearson said.
Some families have made the annual trek for 30 years, sometimes two or three times during the same season. When they step foot on the farm, they will have at least 20 different varieties of blueberries to choose from, depending on which week of the season they decide to visit. Pearson explained that different plants produce berries at different times and, with 2020 being an average year, he says this season will last five to eight weeks.
“With 20 acres we’ve got lots of room, so I can’t think of a better place to be. We’re making the experience as ‘touchless’ as possible,” he said. “The office is set up to maintain a 6-foot distance. We are spacing everything out. Our lines are spaced, and we have markers just like the ones you see in the grocery store. We have got disinfectants available. Bring your own bucket.”
The cost is $3 a pound, cash or checks, no credit or debit cards. The blueberries are ready for picking daily from 6:30 a.m. until dark as long as the berries last.
“It all depends on the berries. Last year, we finished on July 20. Sometimes we are done by the Fourth,” Pearson says.
Check out the farm’s web page and friend them on Facebook. All the information is there, including measures taken for COVID-19.
Part of the fun, besides picking blueberries with family and friends, is following the posts on Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm web page at moorheadsbueberryfarm.com or sayblueberry.com and Facebook page at moorhead’sblueberryfarm. Subscribe to blueberry farm news posts for updates written by their very own berrymaster.
Emails in your inbox = blueberries in your belly!