Rainy start to summer forces Knoxville berry farms to open late

Rainy start to summer forces Knoxville berry farms to open late

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Thanks to the combo of rain and sun, berries are now juicy and plump. Thanks to the combo of rain and sun, berries are now juicy and plump.
"They are loaded right now. It's really great picking right now," said Alice Beauchene. "They are loaded right now. It's really great picking right now," said Alice Beauchene.
"I'm out here with my five kiddos. We're getting our weekly dose of blueberries," said Joy Andrews of Knoxville. "I'm out here with my five kiddos. We're getting our weekly dose of blueberries," said Joy Andrews of Knoxville.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The recent warm July weather means people across East Tennessee are getting outside and enjoying some sunshine.

One place that's seeing a lot of action right now is pick-your-own berry farms.

Some berry farmers in Knoxville say they're more thankful than ever to have customers out picking, after a rainy start to the summer forced them to open a lot later in the year than they normally do.

The rain has affected their crops in more ways than one.

At the Beauchene family's farm in Knoxville, Beau Bleu Limousin Farm on Tuesday, many local families could be seen making their way down the rows of blueberries and blackberries, filling up their buckets with ripe fruit.

"I'm out here with my five kiddos. We're getting our weekly dose of blueberries," said Joy Andrews of Knoxville.

Those pickers are a welcomed sight to the Beauchenes, who say it's been a long time coming this summer.

The unusually rainy kick-off to summer forced them to open weeks later this year.

"Weird weather. Weird weather. Rain keeps getting in the way. Floods us out," said Alice Beauchene, who owns the berry farm with her husband Roy.

The berries just weren't ready. They didn't get the sunlight they needed to grow.

"They just weren't ripening. If you don't have anything ripe, there's nothing to pick yet," said Beauchene. "With the rain, there wasn't as much sun."

But now that rain is gone.

And after a few weeks of a lot more sun, the berries are back in business.

"They are loaded right now. It's really great picking right now," said Beauchene.

These farmers say the rain actually left behind one big perk.

Their berry plants are bursting with larger, more abundant crops.

"Oh yeah, they're full and they're full every time we come," said Andrews.

The amount and size of the fruit this year is not only good for business, but it's also good for the locals who Beauchene says have been calling just about every week, all summer long, anxious to get their hands on some fresh, local produce.

"Are the blueberries ready yet? Are the blueberries ready yet?" said Beauchene.

The answer is now definitely yes, both to the delight of the farmers and the pickers.

"We have so many great customers. We're glad to see them again," said Beauchene.

"Yummy!" said Madison Andrews, 7, of Knoxville, biting into a blueberry.

If the weather cooperates, the Beauchenes hope to stay open a little later into the summer to help make up for the weeks they lost due to the rain.

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