Golden Acres Ranch in Jefferson County, FL is hosting the 10th Annual Mayhaw Berry Festival on May 7 and 8, 2016. It’s a free, family oriented event, with a petting area, hayrides, local crafts, art, food–and of course, mayhaw jelly!
Golden Acres, located at 704 Barnes Road, Monticello, is a 60-acre, working goat and sheep ranch, and the largest, native Mayhaw Berry Stand in Jefferson County. It’s a fabulous farm experience for the whole family that you won’t soon forget!
About Mayhaw berries, from the Golden Acres website:
“Mayhaw trees are a type of Hawthorne and they only grow in a few states here in the south. They grow in natural wet areas, not because they need all that water, but for protection from fire. The amount of water in the “pond” varies from season to season and year to year. Sometimes it’s just muddy and other times we can float a canoe in between the trees. We keep the area cleared of fallen branches and undergrowth, and protect it from goats and sheep with fencing.
Turns out this property has the largest stand of accessible Mayhaw Trees in Jefferson County. With the help of the Agriculture Department at FAMU, we carefully and naturally manage this wet area without chemicals or mechanical equipment. Berries are harvested each year by hand during our Mayhaw Berry Farm Festival.
Mayhaw Berries are great for making a wonderful jelly known only here in the south. There seem to be several varieties in the stand with berries from light yellow to very deep red. Some trees have very small berries while others are larger than cranberries. These native trees are prolific with berries every spring, especially since we started keeping bees on the property.
The normal harvest time is around May 1 to May 21 which is when we have our annual Mayhaw Berry Farm Festival. Every year we come up with better ways to harvest the berries. One year, we harvested 700 pounds! We have also developed a system for cleaning and drying them before they are packaged and frozen. We pack them in four-pound (1-gallon-bag) packages and will store them frozen for up to 2 years. I’ve been told they can stay frozen longer, but have not tested that theory since they sell out so fast.
We also make Mayhaw Berry Jelly for those that like the flavor but not the work. There are many recipes available on the internet so I won’t bore you with mine, but the ingredients are simple: berries, organic pectin, and organic sugar.
If you do want to learn how to make Mayhaw Berry Jelly for yourself we have two videos that teach you how. Check out our Jelly Making Videos page.”