If your only experience picking blackberries is the wild kind, you will definitely appreciate a trip to Dr. Young’s Pond Berry Farm in Angier.
“So easy to pick!” declared Patricia Smith, 67, who along with her grandsons, Vincent, 9, and Garrett, 6, each had a gallon bucket full of large, ripe blackberries. Smith, who is from upstate New York, was visiting her grandsons who live near Fayetteville. Recalling her previous wild blackberry picking forays, she said, “We would be all scratched up.”
Instead of wading into a wild blackberry patch wearing long pants and long sleeves in the sweaty summer heat, customers stroll down wide rows of trellised blackberries and raspberries to fill buckets at this pick-your-own farm.
Betty and Stan Trustman bought these 30 acres (15 acres of which is the pond) along N.C. 210 in 1977. They expect berries to be available for picking until mid- to late July. Since Stan grew up in a family that owned a fruit and vegetable market in New York state, Betty said he could not resist planting a garden. In 1988, his interest turned to berries.
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The couple and their four children planted four rows of blackberries; Stan and their two sons dug the trenches while Betty and their two daughters laid the irrigation pipes. Four rows have grown to 4 acres with about 20 rows of blackberries, including the classic tart-sweet Natchez and the low-acid Osage varieties, three rows of raspberries and about 20 rows of blueberry bushes.
This is the best year the Trustmans have seen for blueberries. With overhead irrigation, their berries survived the two late frosts this spring. Right now, the limbs on those bushes are weighed down with berries. “It’s never been like this,” Stan said.
About owning a pick-your-own farm for almost 30 years, the couple, who used to own the Leather and Wood Limited store at Crabtree Valley Mall, say they enjoy different aspects of the endeavor.
“Every year in the spring when we see we have a crop that’s going to make it, it’s really exciting,” Stan said. “It takes a lot of work to get to that point.”
Meanwhile, Betty, 68, enjoys the customers’ reactions: “They aren’t shopping. They are coming to have an experience.”
Beyond the fun of picking, the fruit not only tastes good, it is good for you. “I’m 76 years old,” Stan quipped. “I’m out here eating berries all the time. I’m not doing too bad.”
Dr. Young’s Pond Berry Farm is at 10865 N.C. 210, Angier. Directions: From Raleigh, take exit 319 off Interstate 40, turn right onto N.C. 210 and the farm is about 8 miles down on the right.
Note: There are some rules of the rows at this farm; don’t leave children unsupervised and make sure that children don’t pick berries for throwing instead of eating.
Hours: 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Price: $4 per pound for blackberries and blueberries; $7 per pound for raspberries.
Info: 919-639-6360, dryoungspondberryfarm.com
Blackberry Cream Pie
From Betty and Stan Trustman of Dr. Young’s Pond Berry Farm in Angier.
1 cup and 2 tablespoon sugars, divided
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
4 cups blackberries
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine 1 cup sugar, sour cream, flour and salt in a medium bowl.
Line pie plate with crust, top with blackberries and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Pour sour cream mixture over berries.
Combine bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon melted butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of pie. Bake for 1 hour or until center of pie is firm. When cool, refrigerate.
Yield: 8-10 servings.