Blueberries are ready for picking, with area farms open to customers who want to take some of Maine’s favorite fruit home.

The season started last week in central Maine, with reports of a good crop, said David Yarborough, blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. While many farms in the area offer highbush blueberries that are ready now, the barrens Down East will likely be ready for harvesting next week, he said.

He recommended that those who pick their own look for berries that are fully blue and give one a taste.

“When you pick your own, you know it’s fresh,” he said.

At R&L Berry Farm in Readfield, owner Richard Reed said there are “plenty of berries to pick.”

“Bring sunscreen,” he said. “It gets hot down there.”

The farm, located at 22 Berry Road off Plains Road, offers highbush blueberries for $2.50 a pint or $5 a quart.

The message machine at Wagner’s Maple Sugar House in South China indicates the blueberries are ready to be picked at their farm, where the price is $4 a quart. The farm is located at 448 Vassalboro Road.

Steep Hill Farm, at 26 Clyde Wells Road in Fayette, also offers highbush berries for sale. Owner George Joseph said they grow four varieties that range in size and taste. They started picking July 26 and expect the season to last four or five weeks.

“The season is running a little later than usual because of the cold spring,” he said. “I think the pickings are pretty excellent.”

The cost at the pick your own farm is $4 a quart. He suggested calling 685-4155 or checking the farm’s website at www.maineblueberryfarm.com to see if they are ready before you go. They don’t allow the blueberries to be picked in the rain, and sometimes need to allow a day or two for the crop to regenerate.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry offers a complete list of farms at <URL destination=”http://www.getrealmaine.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/findafarm.main/”>www.getrealmaine.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/findafarm.main.