We grow and sell organic blueberries and aronia berries; optimum quality fruit packed full of vital nutrients.
Preparing the Fields
In 2014, we began to diversify into organic blueberries for commercial sales. Blueberries grow very well in boggy, acid soil and like plenty of rainfall and don’t mind the cold; they are perfectly suited to the conditions at Derry Duff. It has been a lot of work to prepare the marginal land for optimal blueberry production; planting windbreaks, removing rocks, installing drainage, creating raised beds, nurturing the plants from plugs in pots, as well as building a reservoir and connecting it to an irrigation and fertigation system, which drip feeds every plant. This work has now been completed over about four acres and thousands of blueberry plants have been planted out, with plenty more to go.
Growing the Blueberries
To suppress weed growth around the blueberries, we use ramial woodchip (chipped smaller twigs and leaves, rather than trunk) that has an ideal carbon-nitrogen ratio to promote fungal growth, that improves the soil and helps plants to absorb nutrients, resulting in healthier, disease free bushes. We are experimenting with using geese and chickens to graze the grass in between the raised beds. We hope to produce premier quality organic meat as a by-product of the blueberries, rather than wasting the grass and using diesel mowers. There is a long lead time in producing fruit, but the bushes have already provided enough fruit to supply local shops in the past two years, with yields expected to increase exponentially.
As well as being delicious, blueberries have amazing health benefits; being high in phytonutrients, powerful antioxidants that have been shown to prevent a wide range of diseases associated with metabolic syndrome (heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and even dementia). Happily, the flavour from these fresh organic blueberries is more intense than those imported!
We have also planted hundreds of aronia plants (sometimes known as chokeberries). North American Indians prized these berries, which are native to their area, for their health benefits. They contain one of the highest phytonutrient contents of any fruit (five times higher than blueberries). Recent scientific studies have shown that they have a wide range of health benefits; including anti-diabetic effects, improving blood fat profiles (increasing HDL and lowering LDL), reducing blood pressure and most excitingly of all, slowing the progression of cognitive decline in pre-dementia. Our berries are currently used by our Phyterberry brand to create juice packed full of polyphenols.
Buying Blueberries & Aronia Juice
Blueberries are ready for picking in late July, August and September. Please contact us, if you or your business are interested in purchasing organic, Irish blueberries for immediate consumption, or for freezing, (they do not clump together when frozen and are delicious straight from the freezer or defrosted). If you are interested in growing your own blueberries, we have a wide range of varieties which can be purchased in pots, ready to plant out. Please contact us to see what we have available. Aronia juice can be purchased through Phyterberry.