Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quick hits: Blackberries, wine sellers seeing green, and white squirrels

The Napa Valley of blackberries?
"People weren't that interested in buying blackberries 25 years ago, said Kings Mountain farmer Ervin Lineberger.

"Most people picked 'em wild, he said, and didn't put much value on what they called the 'tame' varieties. Dewberries and boysenberries were what people wanted.

"That's changed," writes the Charlotte Observer. "Now the berry business is brisk as their health benefits make news. And Lincoln County farmers are getting in.

"About a dozen longtime Lincoln farmers have signed up to grow blackberries for SunnyRidge Farms, a Florida-based international berry seller. The company also plans to open a distribution center early next year north of Fallston around the intersection of N.C. 18 and N.C. 27, said production manager Stanley Scarborough.

" 'Lincoln County hopefully someday will be the Napa Valley of blackberries,' he said. ..."

Holiday season big for wine sales
"Christmas is a time when North Carolina’s wine industry benefits from their products being used as holiday presents all across the state," says News 14 Carolina.

" 'We love holidays because people are here and they are collecting and adding wines to take to parties, to take as house gifts, as presents,' said Lenna Hobson with RagApple Lassie Vineyards. 'Just general Christmas gifting, if you will, but they've also built in some time for them so they're also coming to taste wine and to have a good time.'

"With more than 60 wineries across the state, many residents are snapping up bottles. ..."

Brevard's famous white squirrels branch out
"Driving along, you see a flash of white, tail twitching, darting through a lawn or scurrying up a tree.

"You do a double take, slow down to get a better look. Sure enough, it's a squirrel, but snowy white instead of the usual gray with white underneath.

"But you're not in Brevard, where the rare white squirrel is plentiful and famous enough to have a festival and gift shop named after it, or even in Transylvania County," writes the Hendersonville Times-News.

"Readers report dozens of white squirrel sightings in Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Etowah, Horse-Shoe, Mills River and across much of Henderson County. Local legend has it the squirrels colonized the Brevard area in the 1950s from a pet white squirrel or squirrels that escaped. The snowy critters now make up about 25 percent of all squirrels in Brevard, according to the White Squirrel Research Institute, run by Bob Glesener, Brevard College associate professor of ecology/biology, emeritus.

"And they are spreading. ..."

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