RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – While inflation is impacting what you pay for food at the grocery store, a local farmer is making some changes to deal with economic realities.
Hickory Bluff Berry Farms for years has offered a chance to pick your own strawberries. But you’ll soon have the chance to pick other produce in an effort to help you – and them – save money and time.
Lowcountry farmer Michael Parker listed off many of the items grown at the farm in Ridgeville.
“We grow strawberries, blueberries, blackberries – we grow a large variety of produce. We do green zucchini, golden zucchini, Zephyr squash; we grow lots of tomatoes and okra,” he said.
Since opening in 2008, they had strawberries available for U-Pick; but because it has become harder and harder to find people to help harvest their produce, they decided to make a change.
“We’ve actually implemented something this year to try and help with that. With the cost of labor going up and the lack of labor being able to help us, we’ve had to adjust,” Parker explained.
They have a new business model moving forward.
“Most of the produce that we generally pick and sell to large distributors, we’re not picking now till you pick and that allows the everyday person to bring the kids out or come out and select what they want at a fraction of the cost at the store or even here at the stand.”
You can pick the produce, not including the berries, for just a flat rate of $1.50 per pound.
“I like all of our produce; it’s $1.50 a pound. People [can] dig their own potatoes, pick their squash, go pick their own cucumbers.”
Parker went on to say, “We’re trying to shave cost as much as we can. We’ve changed the way that we farm- we’re not spraying the toxic pesticides and chemicals and stuff as much anymore because it costs so much to get it.”
Parker said they are trying their best as farmers to feed as many people as they can at an affordable price.
The Hickory Bluff Berry Farms is open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM until 5 PM. They may open Friday nights from time to time.