Gather your own blueberries at Whittier u-pick farm
There are few things sweeter in the summer than freshly picked blueberries. The mountains of Western North Carolina provide a perfect environment for blueberries, which actually grow wild in some areas.
If you’re looking to fill a bucket, one of the best ways to do that is to head the u-pick blueberry farm in Whittier, where the plants are plentiful.
Just follow the signs that will lead you up and around a gravel road to the farm, where you park, head up to the porch, grab a yellow bucket and then wander into the fields of blueberry plants to start harvesting.
Once you’ve collected your fill, just head back onto the porch, weigh your bucket, and leave your money in the jar.
It’s not unlikely that you might bump into John Boaze, owner of the farm, on his tractor.
Boaze said he started the farm with 1 acre of blueberry plants in 1978.
“It’s a hobby,” he said.
He also sells at the farmers market in Bryson City and in Sylva and said he’s put up about 14-15,000 pounds of berries this year.
Prior to retirement, Boaze ran an environmental consulting firm from Whittier that at its height employed 100 people.
Boaze was approached by Don Bunn who worked with the Cooperative Extension Office over 30 years ago. He told him Tennessee Valley Authority had a grant to pay him to grow mushrooms or blueberries on his property. Boaze went with the blueberries, planting 128 plants and it grew from there.
There are eight varieties of blueberries designed to fruit from late June through early September. They get about 3,000 visits to the farm a year with people visiting from as far away as Russia.
For questions, contact Boaze after 5 p.m. by calling 497-7253.
Directions: Take exit 72 off US 74, turn left, cross bridge and railroad tracks, turn left, take next right onto Tarhelia Heights, go 0.5 mile to Water Tower Lane on left.