Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reserve berries? Please visit the Reserve Berries page of the website on or soon after July 5th to reserve berries or click here to schedule a PYO berry appointment.

Artwork by Sonny Crawford

What are your weekend PYO hours? We are open for PYO with an arrival time from 9am-2pm on weekends. There can be long waits on weekends for use of our rakes and sorting machines. Please feel free to bring a picnic, musical instrument, a game, etc. and enjoy this beautiful land while you wait.

Are your berries organic? Yes – as of 2015, our berries are certified organic. The fields owned by the Benson Place have been organically managed since 2001. A small amount of herbicide was sprayed in the past on a few areas of the fields that we lease, but no chemicals have been used since 2010.

Aren’t all wild blueberries essentially organic? Lowbush blueberries can be considered wild in that the barrens that they are farmed are indigenous ecosystems – they were here before we were farming them. Over 90% of wild blueberry farms in North America are managed with a long list of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides which harm native pollinators and other vulnerable plant and animal populations, introduce toxins to our bodies, as well compromise the nutritional composition of the blueberries.

How many quarts are in a twenty pound box? A quart of blueberries weighs about 1.4 pounds. A twenty pound box, therefore, is about 14 quarts of berries.

burning blueberries with propane

What are your farming practices? We aim towards sustainable management of our fields, including organic practices as well as reducing the use of fossil fuels. The 35 acres of blueberry fields are managed almost entirely with human power. We burn the fields every spring on a rotation, a traditional practice to triennially rejuvenate the blueberry plants. We also believe in sharing the harvest with the bears, birds and other wildlife for whom the low-bush blueberry is an important food source. We have completed the first phase, and have begun the second phase, of a long-term pollinator habitat project to create additional habitat for our native bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. Please visit the Our Methods page for more information.

Can I visit the farm on the off-season? Yes! You are welcome to come walk the land at any time. There is a trail easement held by the Franklin Land Trust and created by the previous owners of the farm, Dave Gott and Ted Watt, that allows anyone to come and walk the farm roads. Please park at the barn or on the road and stay on the farm roads. Leashed dogs are also welcome as long as they also stay out of the fields. In the winter, feel free to cross-country ski or snowshoe. For more information feel free to call us: (413) 337-5340.

I received a box with pink and purple berries in it. Are these unripe? No! Some of the berries in our fields are naturally magenta in color when they are ripe. Other naturally occurring varieties may be black, purple, whitish-red, or bluish-silver.

What happens if I don’t show up?  If you are unable to pick up your berries on the date and time you scheduled for, please call us and let us know. If you are scheduled to pick up at the farm, we can usually keep them in the walk-in cooler for a $2 added fee. However, if you miss your pickup at one of the alternate locations and the berries have already left the farm, you are responsible to pay for them as they may not return to our walk-in cooler until the following day. If you need to cancel a pre-pick or a u-pick reservation, 24 hours notice is greatly appreciated. This way we can make the berries available to others.

What is the price difference between pre-pick and u-pick? The u-pick price for 2022 is $3 per pound. This puts a 20 pound box at $60 (about $4.29 per quart). The pre-pick prices are $80 ($4 per pound) for a 20 pound box (about $5.70 per quart), $43 ($4.30 per pound) for a ten pound box (about $6.14 per quart), and $23 ($4.60 per pound) for a 5 pound box (about $6.57 pound quart).

lowbush blueberries harvesting the benson place
Photo by Ezra Christi

How long does it take to pick berries? What is the process? It usually takes a leisurely hour and a half to two hours for a couple of people to pick and sort a twenty pound box, shorter if you’re motivated to go fast. This includes a 5-15 minute walk out to the berry field we are picking in, hand raking the berries, walking back and using the sorting machine. This process can take much longer on the weekends due to waits for the rakes and sorting machines (see above question on weekend PYO hours). Most people enjoy planning for some additional time to walk the land and enjoy the views.

I am coming with an elder who isn’t able to walk far to harvest berries. Can you accommodate us? We save some picking closer to the house and parking area for folks who cannot walk as far. This usually would mean a 3-5 minute walk. Please feel free to call ahead the day or two before you are coming to see if we still have this picking available.

What happens if it rains on my picking or pick-up day? We do shut down in heavy rains and thunderstorms because wet harvesting conditions make for mushy berries. If this happens, we will call and reschedule a different pick-up/picking date, if there are still slots available. In this scenario, we do our best to accommodate.

Can berries be frozen or flash-frozen for me? We do not have the facilities to flash-freeze berries. If we have freezer space, we may be able to freeze your berries for a $2 fee per box.