Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lake Jem Nursery Thornless Blackberries, Mount Dora, Florida CLOSED

There's nothing like freshly picked blackberries. But Florida grown thornless berries are more tart than ones grown in colder climates. They have been hybridized to grow with less chill time, according to farmer Eve Carter, co-owner of Lake Jem Nursery in Mount Dora, Florida.
Eve Carter of Lake Jem Nursery, Mt Dora, Fla.
I visited her 15-acre Central Florida property earlier this month. One to two acres has been dedicated to blackberry plants. Lake Jem Nursery started growing blackberries seven years ago when there wasn't much competition from other farms.

Lake Jem Nursery thornless blackberry field, Mt. Dora, Fla
She and her husband Rick were in the ornamental plant business selling to commercial nurseries when the crash came. "We had thousands of plants and no market to sell them in. Then we decided to grow something people liked to eat," said Carter. It took five years for their vines to bear fruit.

Florida grown thornless blackberries at Lake Jem Nursery,
Mt. Dora, Fla.
"The first year, we tried to pick and sell the berries to local restaurants and stores but it was too hard," she said. Then last year they opened as a u-pick grove and sales were really good. "This year it's just sticks and berries. Last year there were a lot of leaves and bushes," said Carter pointing to the field.

I picked six pounds of berries in 95 degree heat along with a few dozen other hungry  customers.

Their daughter, Loren Carter, is mentally handicapped and has been participating in the Special Olympics for years. If you say "Special Olympics" when paying for your berries, Eve will donate money to the organization and you'll get a 50 cent/pound discount.

To find out more about Lake Jem Nursery's blackberry picking availability and location you can go to

Or call 352-223-4445

Update May 2017: Now Closed

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