Produce Overview

Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Sweet corn, Tomatoes, and Seedless Watermelon are our main crops.  We strive for healthy, sustainable farming practices.

For the latest recent news bulletins on these primary crops, see Farm Headlines. We and customers have posted recipes for many of our products.

To focus on a specific crop, select its News & Views page using the menu at left or from the complete Crop Calendar, which includes many crops not featured on this page.


Mini-Calendar for Farm Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
at Plow Creek Farm
Approximate Date Crop How Sold
late May - late June Strawberries Market, U-Pick, Orders
late June - early August Blueberries Market, U-Pick, Orders
July & August Blackberries Market, U-Pick, Orders
July & August Sweet Corn Market
Mid July - October Raspberries Market, U-Pick, Orders
July - September Tomatoes Market
July - September Watermelons, Cantaloupe Market
go to complete Crop Calendar


Strawberries
Large Jewel strawberry Strawberry picking season begins between mid-May to the second week of June, depending on the weather. Picking lasts three or four weeks. See our Strawberry News when the season approaches for schedules and crop reports.

We regularly get comments on how our strawberries are the best strawberries people have ever tasted.

Our strawberries are certified naturally grown, the grassroots alternative to certified organic strawberries, following the OMRI organic standards.

You may pick your own strawberries, order strawberries in bulk, or buy strawberries at our farmers' markets.

2017

For 2017 we expect to be picking 35 (500 foot) rows of strawberries covering about 1.4 acres.

Early Season (7 rows) Early Mid Season (3 rows) Mid Season (22 rows)
Late Season (3 rows) (10%)

Varieties


Earliglow yields deep red uniformly colored berries known for their sweet flavor.  They are usually the earliest to ripen.  Many of us here think they are the best tasting.  But after the first picking, later berries are often pretty small.  Many think the extra work is worth it.  They're great for making jams and jelly.

Galetta (new for 2016) ripens early with very large, deep red fruit that is symmetrical and round. Flavor is quite variable with weather but tends toward tart - a good dessert berry. We have found it to be a good early producer. It is rapidly growing in popularity.

L'Amour (new for 2016) proved its reputation for excellent fruit quality - firm, bright red berries with excellent flavor. Long, round conic shape with a fancy calyx makes them very attractive. L'Amour is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions and is very vigorous. Losing size as midseason varieties come in, it is not the most productive variety, but a good consistent performer.

Flavorfest (new for 2016) is one of the newest and most promising varieties available. Customer response in 2016 was almost entirely positive. Berries are large with an attractive bright red color and a plump, rounded wedge appearance. Flavor is not as complex as Jewel, but quite sweet and satisfying even to long-time U-Pickers and resident connoisserus here. It has a long harvest period, good yield potential and holds size well through the season. Plants are vigorous and have shown excellent leaf disease resistance. In fall 2015 and 2016, these were the healthiest plants in our field.

Jewel has large, excellent quality fruit, especially delicious for desserts and for freezing. Later in the season, berries become smaller but maintain Jewel's satifying balance of sweetness and tartness. This variety is also admired for its appearance: bright red with primary berries wedge-shaped and later berries mostly conical. Jewel has been the midseason standard throughout much of the country for decades, including here at Plow Creek.

Rutgers Scarlet (new for 2017) is a new release from the Rutgers breeding program. This variety was bred specifically to supply outstanding berry quality and exceptional flavor to a local market. It has generated quite a bit of excitement out East, and was rated by our plant supplier as "some of the best flavor out of any of the varieties that we offer."

AC Valley Sunset - starts and lasts later in the season than our other varieties. Berries are lighter red, shiny and very large. Flavor and yield are very good most years, but can be hindered by excess rain.



Blueberries    Pictures    News    How to pick blueberries
Blueberries Close Up Plow Creek Farm has 15 varieties of blueberries, ripening usually from mid to late June into August or September. We have 28 rows, averaging about 250 feet long. In 2011 and 2012 late frosts greatly hurt blueberry production. The 2012 drought damaged some bushes, but most of the bushes were loaded again in 2013. The 2014 harvest was very small across much of the Midwest, including here, following extreme cold that killed blueberry branches. Production was better in 2015 and we expect continued recovery if weather is anywhere near normal.

You may pick your own bluewberries, order blueberries in bulk, or buy blueberries at our farmers' markets. Be be sure to check our schedule before coming to pick.

Many people come back year after year to pick blueberries on our very peaceful Blueberry Hill. We get great reports about their flavor. People are learning about newly discovered health benefits of blueberries.

We use the blueberries in jam, pies, muffins, and fresh and frozen on cereal.

Varieties

  • 2 rows Bluetta
  • 4 rows Bluejay
  • 3 rows Spartan
  • 3 rows Blueray
  • 7 1/2 rows Bluecrop
  • 1 1/2 rows Jersey
  • 1 1/2 rows Coville
  • 1 1/2 rows Elliot
  • They ripen roughly in this order, from west to east. There are also a number of large scattered Late Blue, plus some smaller bushes of Duke, Toro, Nelson, Aurora, and Elizabeth.




    Blackberries    Pictures   News 
    Big blackberries!

    2014

    Early 2014 was exceptionally cold, and killed about 90% of the older blackberry floricanes and all of the floricanes of the new 2013 planting. Floricanes are the second year canes that would produce fruit. We may bring a few to market, but it looks unlikely that we will open for limited picking. We do not expect this to hurt the plants permanantly, just this year's crop. Our older blackberries, up on Blueberry Hill, had been attacked by blackberry rosette disease. The most effective organic way to combat this is to mow them down, skipping a year's crop so we did not have blackberries available in 2012. The 2012 drought hurt them, but gave a fair crop in 2013 and we have hope for a good crop in 2015.

    In spring 2013 we planted two 400 foot rows of new blackberries in the field by our strawberry plants. These are mostly thornless varieties said to be resistant to blackberry rosette disease. We planted Arapaho, Navaho,Ouachita, Apache, and Chester. These rows also include some Boysenberry and Loganberry, which are blackberry-raspberry hybrids that look pretty much like blackberries, but a different flavor. These should start have started bearing berries in 2014 but froze. It will probably be a few years for full production.

    Blackberries have been rated the antioxidant champ.

    Our older blackberry plants, up Blueberry Hill, are the thorny ones,
    so dress appropriately for the challenge.

    A shirt ripped by blackberry thorns
    Wear extra sturdy clothes or those you don't mind being ripped.




    Raspberries

    Schedule and news | Picking Guide
    Raspberries Close Up
    One of the bigger bushes of our new planting
    Most of our older red raspberry plants had died or outlived their productive lifespan, so in Spring 2013 we planted a new acre of raspberries in the field by our strawberries. These surprised us by bearing well the first year, so we expect to have excellent quantities for 2014. The planting includes 6 varieties designed to have ripe berries from July until they freeze in the fall. We'll have to wait and see to be sure, but we expect we may be open for picking red raspberries much of that season.

    We again expect an abundant crop of Red Raspberries for 2015 U-Pick. Initially in June and early July, there is only enough for market sales. Keep checking the Raspberry News page for field reports and U-Pick schedule as the season progresses.

    Once the season is in full swing, you may pick your own raspberries, order raspberries in bulk, or buy raspberries at our farmers' markets.
    Picking in the new raspberry patch
    Picking in our new patch

    Varieties

    • Nova
    • Encore
    • Joan J
    • Jacyln
    • Himbo-Top
    • Caroline



    Watermelon    Pictures    News
    Our Specialty is Seedless Watermelon. They are harder to get started, and so cost a little more, but they are sure worth it! Our seedless varieties for 2014 are Sorbet, Ruby, and Harmony. We also have traditional red watermelons with seeds, including Sangria (one of the tastiest varieties) Moon and Stars, and Lantha.

    Our watermelons are ripe in August and September.

    Watermelons are high in nutrients such as vitamin C,lycopene and antioxidants.


    Muskmelon

    Muskmelons ripen in July and August, before the main crop of watermelon. In 2014 we are growing Hannah's choice and Halona.

    Muskmelons are also high in health benefits.


    Sweet Corn    Pictures    News
    Temptation Sween Corn Ear

    2015

    Starting in July, you can find sweet corn at our farmer's markets and sometimes at our market barn.




    Tomatoes    Pictures    News

    2014

    We have some of the earliest field-grown tomatoes around.  We plant very early, covering our rows to protect against the cold.  We believe delicious homegrown early tomatoes are worth the extra labor and costs.
    Our 2014 crop includes ten varieties of tomatoes. 

    Peppers    News

    2014


    In 2014, Plow Creek will again have a variety of peppers, both hot and sweet.

    Sweet Peppers

    Hot Peppers






top