Friday, January 11, 2008

Blackberry Planting Frenzy

I was talking with the county agent in Cleveland county (about 90 miles west of Cabarrus County) about a year ago and he said he suspected there would be 100 acres of blackberries planted in Cleveland County during 2007. This week I asked the actual count. It was 150 acres. He suspects there will be an additional 150 acres planted in 2008.
I don't forsee very much acreage being planted in Cabarrus County. If a person planted 10 acres, that person should be prepared to hire 70 workers during picking season.
At any given time the total number of people in Cabarrus County willing to work that hard and who don't have a job is probably less than 70. I moved to the Charlotte area during the recession in the early 80's. I remember a guy telling me in 1986 that anybody who really wanted to work during that depression never had to leave town. It has pretty much been that way ever since. There have been people working at jobs they didn't enjoy, or a jobs where they wished they were paid more, but anybody who wanted to work hasn't had to leave town. When cuts down on the number of people who would want to pick blackberries.
Twenty years ago there were people willing to pick blacberries and strawberries for the fun of picking them and the ability to save a little money. In 1986 there were 4 pick your own strawberry operations in Cabarrus County. Today there are none and while strawberries could be a profitable crop, you better plan on hiring somebody to pick them.

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