By U.S. ArmyJune 19, 2009
FORT BENNING GA - I havenAca,!a,,ct found Blueberry Hill, but I have found blueberry heaven, and itAca,!a,,cs nearby.
A & J Farms in Harris County has between 600 to 700 blueberry bushes on about an acre of the 55-acre farm in Pine Mountain. COL(R) Jack and Anne Story have grown blueberries for about 15 years, with a Aca,!A"u pickAca,!A? option for consumers the last 12 or 13. Heaven.
The blueberry season started June 11 and should last about four weeks, said Jack, who was the executive officer for Martin Army Community Hospital when the Storys were stationed at Fort Benning.
Aca,!A"The best tour I had was at Benning,Aca,!A? Jack said. The StorysAca,!a,,c farm is about 45 miles from post, and Jack recommends traveling I-185 to Hopewell Church Road, Exit 30, to avoid the road construction on Veterans Parkway, also known as Highway 27.
The majority of the blueberries come from the bushes Anne grew when the couple lived in Buena Vista, Ga. They grow four varieties: climax, tifblue, premier and Woodard.
The Woodard, Jack said, is his favorite because you can eat it when itAca,!a,,cs not quite ripe and wonAca,!a,,ct get a bitter taste. He tells customers to eat all they want while theyAca,!a,,cre picking because the berries arenAca,!a,,ct sprayed and Aca,!A"itAca,!a,,cs not fun to pick if you donAca,!a,,ct eat Aca,!a,,cem as you go.Aca,!A?
I spent all of Saturday morning picking four gallons of berries in the quietness of a beautiful morning. I didnAca,!a,,ct notice other pickers and only stopped after the sixth phone call and third text from my 17-year-old daughter. It was a very good morning.
My co-workers, Jenn Gunn and Kristen Molinaro, also picked berries Saturday. Kristen said the Storys expect to harvest 800 bushels this year. Jenn said the directions from last yearAca,!a,,cs article werenAca,!a,,ct precise enough and asked me to let everyone know when they exit I-185 at Hopewell Church Road, turn right. Anne said she tells everyone itAca,!a,,cs about five miles to a four-way stop. Turn left on Hamilton Pleasant Grove Road. There are Aca,!A"u-pickAca,!A? signs.
The Storys also sell picked berries at a $17 a gallon. Neighborhood children who want to earn spending money are paid to pick the berries, but only in the mornings because it gets too hot out there in the afternoon, Anne said.
The Storys, both 75, no longer work at Callaway Gardens or make jams or jellies to sell. Growing blueberries and muscadines in August while managing the farm keeps them busy, Jack said.
Aca,!A"You have to keep going,Aca,!A? Jack said. Aca,!A"If you donAca,!a,,ct, you die.Aca,!A?