Weather extremes across Tennessee in the past year have caused blueberry shortages in parts of the state, but not at Tidwell's Berry Farm in Rhea County.
"It was a mad house this morning. Pretty busy," says Emily Tidwell, co-owner of the farm.
She was almost sold out of blueberries Tuesday by the time Channel 3 arrived around noon. It was touch and go through the growing season. Drought, followed by a late winter freeze, then lots of spring rain were big concerns, but everything turned out well.
"The blueberries were luckily not blooming when we had the freeze. They can stand pretty severe temperatures," explains Tidwell.
A lot of loyal customers stopped by to scoop up as many of the blue gems as possible.
"Blueberries are nothing like the strawberry frenzy. It's a little more civilized," says Tidwell with a chuckle.
She says some of them buy 10 to 15 gallons at a time, stocking them in their freezers to last the rest of the year.
"One guy was here yesterday and said "Just in time! I only have two bags left"," adds Tidwell.
Delores Galyon has been a repeat customer for many years and can't live without blueberries. She's happy the crop came in full and healthy.
"This is a gallon," says Galyon, showing us her large sack of berries. "I love blueberries and blueberry cobbler. And besides, they're good for you."
To a certain degree the success of the blueberries has made up for fewer peaches and the Tidwell's decision not to grow their star crop, one she and her husband, Ray, had been famous for since the mid-1980s. They've enjoyed reuniting with those who have kept their business going.
"Especially after not having strawberries this year, taking that little break, it's very nice to see everybody again," says Tidwell.
Even though it's the last year for peaches for the Tidwells, they say they will resume selling strawberries in 2018.They also say the farm will be open Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays through July. Call first to find out what's available that day. The number is 423-365-9300.