VALE â€“ Planting blueberries is no easy task.
Henry Helms, owner of Helms Christmas Tree Farm in Vale, is waiting for his blueberries to ripen.
The Christmas Tree Farm, which has been in business since 1978, will offer pick-your-own-blueberries in 2006.
â€œThey should be in good demand,â€ Helms said. â€œEverybody loves blueberries.â€
There were 206 bushes planted last year.
Several factors, including the dry weather, have led to the delay in their ripening.
Helms promises to offer the blueberries for half to two-thirds the price offered at a grocery store.
There will be four different types of blueberries available including, powderblue, tifblue, premiere and delight.
Although there is a difference in each, Helms said the average person would not notice a change in taste.
Deciding what type of blueberries to grow was really a matter of deciding which would grow best in Lincoln County.
â€œThe four types that I chose were the ones that are best adapted for this area,â€ Helms said.
The blueberry season runs from June to August.
Any leftover blueberries will be given to Larry Cagle, a vintner who runs Woodmill Vineyard in Vale.
A Web site is another project that Helms is working on. It will list all the blueberry and tree information, as well as the pumpkins they offer during the fall harvest season.
The Web site is expected to be up and running by fall or early next spring.
Helms said he is excited to launch his new blueberry career.
â€œI felt blueberries were a good investment for supply and demand,â€ Helms said. â€œPlus there are not that many people who grow blueberries.â€
A blueberry book will also be available, which will include recipes for almost anything that you can make out of blueberries.
â€œThere is just a whole list of things from jams, jellies and wonderful desserts,â€ Helms said.
Helms Christmas Tree Farm is located at 1151 John Beam Road. For more information call 704-276-1835.
by Amy Wadsworth