Freeze postpones East Texas blueberry harvest - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Freeze postpones East Texas blueberry harvest

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Echo Springs Blueberry Farm (Source: KLTV Staff) Echo Springs Blueberry Farm (Source: KLTV Staff)
MURCHISON, TX - This year’s harsh winter had East Texas blueberry farmers worried about their crops. The late freeze in March postponed the blueberry harvest.

Ivan Vaseleniuck of Echo Springs Blueberry Farm says his berries were just starting to mature when the freeze hit.

“What we're looking at now is about at least the first week of June that we're going to have a crop at all,” he said.

Vaseleniuck says he doesn't have a water system, so there was nothing he could do to protect his 53 acres of blueberries. He says coating the crop with water and allowing it to freeze keeps the actual berries from freezing.

“I have to let Mother Nature take care of it. The crop will be sweeter this year on account of it having a lot more time in the heat to mature. The hotter the sun is, believe it or not, the sweeter the berry will be,” he said.

That's good news for the thousands of people who will visit Echo Springs to pick berries. This year, that includes blackberries and pink lemonade berries, which are actually a type of blueberry.

“[The] first picking is not going to be the best picking. The berry's going to be excellent, but I’m talking about the abundance of berries,” said Vaseleniuck.

The freeze did take out some of his crop, but he hopes there will be plenty of blueberries to go around.

The Echo Springs Blueberry Farm and their store open Friday, May 23. If you plan to pick your own blueberries, be sure to visit after the end of May. They say their blueberries will be at their finest after the first week of June.

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