Blueberry Culture Basics:
Blueberries thrive in high organic soils with a relatively low pH. In our area, they typically start bloom in late February and finish in early April. As soil temperatures warm and daytime temperatures increase, bloom is immediately followed by leaf push and shoot renewals. Strong leaf push, root growth, and shoot growth is important to supply the plant with the required solar collection resources and nutrient mining tools to ripen fruit. Along with carefully monitored irrigation, the fruit begins to size through cell division followed by cell enlargement. Careful management through this period in conjunction with canopy detailed management is critical to develop and create a delicious berry. Our Stockton CA blueberry farming harvest typically starts in mid-May and is quickly over by late June. Our fruit is delicately hand harvested by highly skilled workers once blueberry farming season starts.
Pruning may or may not be performed in July or August depending upon the plant vigor and other appropriate management decisions.
The plants will again build new wood and roots for next year’s crop until the weather cools in November. At this point the bushes rest in wait of the warmer Spring temperatures.
We use river water for irrigation and do not draw from groundwater sources. This eliminates the contribution to the ever decreasing groundwater tables in California. No additives or chemicals are injected into our water unlike many competitors.
Our blueberry plants are crop balanced. What this means is plant growth is appropriate for the bush spacing; and, the leaf area versus the amount of fruit are in proper proportion. In other words, we do not stress our bushes with more fruit than it can handle. This maximizes the potential for very large flavorful fruit. Excessively small fruit is cumbersome for our workers to pick and it usually means the plant is trying to tell us that it is overbearing. Nobody is happy.
Our place in the farming system – relationships.
Delta Blue Blueberries is determined to build honest and open relationships with the environment, customers, workers, and distributors. We feel there are unlimited rewards in working with the overall dynamic system of agriculture, the world’s resources, and the people around us. We do this by developing responsible relationships between all these pieces. From the friendly hosts you will encounter at our Farmers Market booths to the clam-shell artwork you will see on the shelf at your favorite fine foods store, you will be confident knowing it was all originated from a collaborative effort. Delta Blue Blueberries wants you to feel confident that the flavor, nutritionally packed fruit came from a total team effort that stands for sound ethical treatment of the people and environment we all live.
Delta Blue Blueberries are hand harvested, hand pruned, and hand packaged. It is a labor intensive commitment on our part but we feel this is necessary to deliver the highest quality fruit to you. This takes good team work and skilled workers to help us make it happen. We feel it is very important to treat our workers with respect as well as a safe, comfortable, working environment. Additionally, we like to pay our workers a little extra than other growers because of their advanced skills, attention to detail, and dedication to the ranch. We work in cooperation with our workers as well by seeking their ideas on ways to improve processes and working environments for the overall betterment of Delta Blue Blueberries.
The blueberries season is quite demanding on us and our workers because we know how critical it is to pick fruit at the proper time. We are dedicated to provide the customer with mature, flavorful, long-shelf life fruit. CA blueberry farming requires careful monitoring during the ripening period which allows us to selectively hand pick individual berries from the cluster. Over ripe, under ripe, or defective fruit are eliminated from the harvested lot which provides the customer with the highest quality fruit and decreasing sorting costs post-harvest. These cost savings are passed on to our customers.
Climate and Fruit Quality
Delta Blue Blueberries is located in the San Joaquin Delta region in Northern California. Aside from the naturally high organic soils preferred by blueberries, the daytime temperatures in the area are regulated by cool maritime breezes that originate off the Pacific coast of California. Cooler night time temperatures play a key role in berry color development. These intense colors in our fruit contain much of the antioxidant powers in a blueberry. These cooler temperatures also help mature the tiny seeds in the berry which also contain high levels of antioxidants. The regulated temperatures additionally aid in a uniform rate of ripening which in turn significantly limits the potential of defective fruit. Heat spikes and long periods of hot weather can damage blueberries. Overall, the soils and climate surrounding Delta Blue Blueberries is ideal to the production of high quality blueberries.