What a difference one week makes. This time last week there relatively few ripe Blueberries, but this week our Upper Peninsula Blueberries and ripening fast! Here in Marquette County the blueberries are abundant this year. I believe this is due to a combination of cool temperatures and ample rain. This has to be one of the wettest summers on record. Hardly a day has gone by without at least a short shower of rain.
Upper Peninsula Blueberries are highly sought after by locals and tourists alike so here are some do’s and don’ts. Public lands are open to picking blueberries unless otherwise denoted. You will see people picking along the roadsides all summer long. Also you can pick on CFR lands. The key is to know where these lands are. A plat book helps and these are readily available at sporting goods shops, the County Clerk’s office and many Soil & Water Conservation District offices. Verifying land ownership before picking is a must and may save you a lot of hassle.
If you are going to pick on private property, ask the owner’s permission. It only takes a minute and many property owners will say yes. Last year a group of pickers parked in front of my brother-in-laws house, walked into his backyard and started picking. Now that is poor blueberry educate! Ask before you pick and don’t be hesitant to give the property owner some of the harvest. It is always appreciated.
If you are out picking and running across others doing the same, give them some space. Unless you are invited to pick find a patch of your own to pick in. They are everywhere. Yesterday my daughter and I hand-picked a half gallon of Upper Peninsula blueberries in about twenty minutes and didn’t move thirty feet. Good patches are not hard to come by so be cordial. I invite folks to share my patch so I get to talk with them, but that is just me.
If you don’t want to be carried away by Yooper Mosquitos bring bug dope. A head net is good. A suite of body armor is even better. This year I’ve been using “Don’t Bug Me Butter” that I bought at Bait Plus in Gwinn. The stuff is all natural and works great, though it doesn’t smell very manly. I suppose that’s a good thing. A little bit goes a long way and it keeps the mosquitoes away.
So to recant know where you are picking. If you are on public access lands your are golden. If you intend to pick on private land, ask permission and share a bit of your bounty with the owner. Be friendly and where bug dope. I hope this helps that you harvest plenty of Upper Peninsula blueberries this summer.