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Take your pick: Vancleave’s Spring Lake Berry Farm

If you’re familiar with Blueberry Heaven U-Pick in Vancleave, then you’re guaranteed to love Spring Lake Berry Farm as they were planted by the same people! Located at 17100 Spring Lake Drive East in Vancleave, Martha and Henry Turner are proud owners of over 1900 blueberry plants, with Rabbiteye varieties of Brightwell, Tifblue, and Premier berries.

Originally a commercial farm in 1982, the Turners started their blueberry journey with over 6,000 bushes.

“I did all the work myself, and I had some high school boys help me plant them… It was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life,” Mr. Turner said.

Their fruits, both fresh and frozen, were seen in different markets and grocery stores before the farm was later converted to a U-Pick-It after the produce market was flooded by numerous foreign suppliers. To make upkeep a little bit easier, the back half of the farm was sold to another Vancleave resident and eventually became Blueberry Heaven.

 

Rows and rows of berry bushes create a nice shade for pickers.

 

The beautiful property offers a lot more than just berry picking. If you happen to see it on the way in, Spring Lake—from which the berry farm got its name—is a refreshing sight and welcome break from Vancleave’s tree-lined roads. In addition to the history-filled rows of blueberries for the public’s picking, the Turners also have lemon, satsuma, and fig trees for personal use. The charming couple spends a lot of time in their home gardens; Mr. Henry takes careful care of his vegetables while Mrs. Martha tends to her flower garden walk. Guests of the berry farm are also welcome to walk through the garden.

These southern berries have made their way to countless dining tables near and far.

“We used to have a girl that lived in Alaska, and they would come and pick berries and take them back,” Mrs. Turner said.

However, this year’s cooler spring, short frost, and last season’s pruning have caused the crop to shrink in number. As a result, the berry farm’s closing date for this year is still up in the air.

“Usually, if it’s a good year, we start the first of June and close right after the fourth of July. This year, we don’t know. It just depends on what the berries do,” Mrs. Turner continued.

 

Ripe blueberries up close.

 

In your visit, you may have the unexpected delight of hearing stories of past hayrides in the Turners’ backwoods and Sunday school meetings in Mrs. Martha’s garden. Community involvement means a great deal to this retired couple, and it makes their work all the more enjoyable. They’re expecting to see plenty of fruit on their blueberry bushes next summer, so if you’re not able to make it to the farm this year, be sure to stay up-to-date with their Facebook page to see when the season will open again. Happy picking!

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Written by Stephanie Huynh

A recent graduate and Valedictorian of Gautier High School in Gautier, MS, Stephanie has joined the Our MS Home team as a Summer 2021 intern. This year, she was named an All-Mississippi High School Journalist by the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association. Outside of writing, her interests include painting, design, and baking.

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