Parish Family Farm was founded in 2011 with a vision to produce the highest quality blueberry possible for both fresh market and U-Pick operations.
We are currently producing 5 acres of Southern Highbush Blueberries including 7 different varieties. We recently cleared 5 additional acres and we are shooting to have it planted by December 2016. All blueberry varieties at our farm were developed by the University of Florida and were selected for traits like firmness, taste, and earliness. Our varieties include Emeral, Jewel, Windsor, Primadonna, Kestrel, Farthing, and Meadowlark.
Our water supply comes from a deep well capable of producing up to 1000 gallons of water per minute. Water is the heart of blueberry farming and they thrive with regular irrigation. Blueberries are acid loving plants and require a substantial amount of organic material such as pine bark to flourish. Blueberry plants grow best when the soil ph is between 4 and 5. Keeping soil ph down is one of the greatest challenges we face here in central Florida as blueberry growers. Soil here in central Florida typically has a ph between 6.5 and 7. Our bushes are planted in pure pine bark beds. We currently have approximately 12,000 blueberry bushes planted at our farm which required over 20 tractor trailer loads of mulch! Planting in pure pine bark is very costly to the grower, however the plants thrive producing large beautiful berries with outstanding flavor.
Overhead irrigation is required in commercial blueberry production. Both a hard freeze and/or frost can cause major damage to the crop. When temperatures become critical overhead irrigation must be ran through the night in order to protect the berries. The accumulation of ice will actually keep the berries warmer than the surrounding air. Approximately 100 gallons of water per minute/per acre is needed for frost protection. Late freezes in February and March usually require protection.