Eight-year-old Bree MacHenry doesn’t have a favorite fruit, but if she did, it would probably be blueberries.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten one carton of blueberries in one sitting,” she said.
Bree and her father, Brett MacHenry, of Cortland were two of those getting their blueberries Saturday on the first day of blueberry season at Hall’s Hill Blueberry Farm in Cortlandville.
People brought their own buckets to pick, owner Jeffrey Hall said. When they finished, they paid at a weigh station near the entrance.
“I have to speculate, because of COVID, with so many people being locked in, they want to get out and experience nature,” Hall said. This included an 88-year old man who had not left his home since March and called to ask about picking berries a day earlier for health concerns, which Hall abided.
To follow COVID guidelines, visitors were required to wear masks and could not wash off berries. That had to be done by employees in the gated weigh station.
“The biggest thing is protecting employees,” he said. Visitors though seemed happy to be out and getting some fresh fruit.
“It’s been pretty great,” said Kellie Lamoreau of McLean. Lamoreau said she was amazed at all the cars in the parking lot when she arrived Saturday morning, saying there were “about 10,000.”
Brett MacHenry said the berries that he and Bree picked Saturday would be used for various blueberry pie and jam recipes.
“These are blueberries worth picking,” said Karen Zimmer of Ithaca.
Zimmer had filled about an eighth of a clear, one-gallon plastic water jug with berries. She said she planned to go home with 10 pounds of blueberries Saturday so she could have a whole freezer full of blueberries and “have blueberry pie whenever.”
The season runs daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Aug. 8, according to the farm’s website.
Hall said that after the season’s end, unpicked berries will then be picked and taken by volunteers from the Food Bank of Central New York.