About Local Food

Qualla Berry Farm is part of a loose community of growers and marketers throughout western NC who are seeking to provide locally grown food to people who live and visit  the mountains. We are helping to develop ways to keep our rural land in agricultural production. We are listed in the Local Food Guide produced by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. For more about U-Pick farms, tailgate markets, and community supported agriculture growers, see their website: www.buyappalachian.org

News and Blog

Karen and John's Blogs
Posted 10/18/2009 12:58pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Looks like tonight is the freeze.  No bugs today, too windy.  Lots of raspberries to pick.  Come and get the last of the berries before they are gone for this season.  I am out picking all afternoon and you are welcome for a final upick.  Come get a pound or two before dark.

Off to get in the peppers, basil, flowers, and raspberries.


Posted 10/14/2009 8:29am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

October is really starting to show its colors in the leaves.  Deep yellow pawpaw tree leaves and red leaves of dogwoods contrasts the cold damp day with gray sky and rain moving in and out and back again.  Raspberries got picked hard yesterday and may be the best ever fall berries of memory.  Thanks to all the pickers who showed up.  We froze four full trays worth yesterday and are eating fresh berries daily.  Yum.  We are closed again until our dancing relationship with the weather and the raspberry bushes indicates there are enough ripe berries for re-opening the upick.

Posted 10/13/2009 10:16am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Hi Raspberry friends,

Today Tuesday Oct 13th upick is now open. Raspberries! Lots!  Survived the rain and we are open for Self Service Upick today all day. Raspberries weight in at 4.25 per pound.  There are lots of gnats and no breeze so wear a hat and bug spray.  I will be in and out all day so you will be on your own.  Enjoy the quiet and dont mind the dogs if they bark but please dont bring your animals because my Wooly dog(the sheltie mix)and Blind Bingo(black min pinscher mix) get too willing to fight and behave very territorially whenever we are around, especially me.  Instructions are at the canvas tent. Today is a window of opportunity, the clearing before another rain.  One early bird picker is here already.  We are set up for self service and the berries are great.  Dew and damp was still on the berries this morning but they are very pickable now. I feel so humbled because I thought they would totally mold and fall off during the rain like they did earlier in the season.  This morning in the gray fog clung the glittering jewels looking fine, such pretty red colors dotting the bushes...raspberries ripe for the picking.  If you can make the time, today is the day.  More weather and the frost is pending. Call for updates today ,389-3551,if you come later in the day in case we get picked out.

Karen(and John)

Posted 10/12/2009 7:08am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
The weatherman was right.  It is a lovely wet heavy rain and I do remember drought. We are so sad to lose so many berries however.   Yesterday we worked on other projects and did not notice the berries were suddenly loaded again and perfect for a big upick day.  This rain will destroy them when they are at their peak.  Funny about nature... just goes along doing what nature does and if we miss the window of opportunity, that crop is gone.  Tomorrow we will survey the situation and may open Tuesday if there are berries worth picking.
Karen and John
Posted 10/11/2009 8:39pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
There are suddenly a LOT of beautiful berries so I will open the raspberry upick this Monday October 12th if you call me to let me know you are coming and get here before the rain.  Our number is 828-389-3551. I was surprised by how many big ripe raspberries had suddenly appeared today and there were NO bugs swarming around my head because of the breeze.  Please bring a cap and some regular or herbal bug spray if you want to pick without gnats abuzzing your face.  We have some herbal bug spray as well. Also, rig for yourself a good berry basket devised to put around your waist or hang around your neck if you want to pick hands free.  We have some plastic containers and provide the shallow cardboard boxes (the ones that drinks come in,we collect them from around town at gas stations and Ingles)but sometimes are running low in our supply. John just informed me we have boxes. Yall come! We decided to reopen to see if we can pick em all out before the rain comes in again. Some were amazingly huge and really really sweet. I will be out picking too!
Karen and John
Posted 10/7/2009 3:27pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Dear Raspberry Lovers,

We will be open for a final U-pick this Thursday evening October 8th from 5:00 til 7:00 PM. We still have lots of berries!

Rain is expected this Saturday, October 10th and frost is likely for next week. Thanks to all for a great year!

John and Karen
Qualla Berry Farm
Posted 10/1/2009 8:09am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

We had a upick last night, Wednesday.  Wonderful to hear the sound of kids playing in the berries.  We have lost a lot of the crop in the rains in the last two weeks. Hope for sunshine and warmth without frost and we will have more pickable berries by Monday October 5th. 

Posted 9/29/2009 8:19pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
We are opening for a special upick this Wednesday, September 30th from 5:30 til dark around 7pm.  The cool weather is slowing down ripening but there are good berries and we are so grateful for the sunshine.  Qualla Berry Farm upick will be closed after Wednesday until we return from the National Storytelling Festival.  We have been making a pilgrimage for stories to rejuvenate our spirits for 28 years in Jonesboro, Tennessee.  Our house/dog sitters will be around but unavailable for managing the upick.  The John C Campbell Folk School is having an equally wonderful Fall Fesival this weekend and you can learn more at www.folkschool.org about this event.  We will continue to watch the weather and the berries to keep you posted about the upick.  With luck, the frost will hold off and we will have a big berry picking next week.  Have fun and hope to see you soon.
Karen and John
Posted 9/26/2009 7:09am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
Berry Lovers!
It's 8 AM Saturday the 26th and the gate is open. Please come pick before the rain gets here. We'll be open til 12 today unless it starts to rain more than a sprinkle. We have lots of nice raspberries!
John & Karen
Qualla Berry Farm
Posted 9/25/2009 10:37am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
Dear Berry Lovers-
We continue to dodge raindrops but the raspberries are coming in. They are big and beautiful right now but we're losing some to the rain.
There will be a special U-Pick Friday 9-25 10AM-12:30PM and regular hours Sat 9-26 9AM-12PM, weather permitting.
John and Karen