Not only has blueberry picking process changed over the years, so has how we process the blueberries.
When we first started out, we had a five foot black belt (because that made it so easy to see blueberries) that did not move. We would sit on the porch of the lower farm, pour berries out by hand, a quart at a time. You'd be looking for clumps, green berries and any berries that were damaged.
The berries collect in the hopper where they are then dropped down to the lower pick-over belt. On the way, fans blow air up, removing the too small or unripe berries. The clumps and berries that have gotten crushed are collected by a screen.
Even with all of the automation, you still need individuals on the lower belt to give the berries a final review. They look for any green berries, clumps, remove stems and generally make sure that the berries are of the highest quality.
Finally, the picked over berries are poured into quarts and pints. The berries are then delivered to various farmers’ markets across the area, various grocery stories, and our own farm stand.