If growing the ideal strawberry is truly an art form, Bush–N–Vine has spent years perfecting the "culture" of horticulture.
Too much water? It’s gonna be mush. Not enough? Hard as a rock.
Bob and Sam Hall at Bush–N–Vine in York, S.C., have long been working years, endlessly trying to perfect the brilliant ’berry.
"There’s a fine line you have to walk sometimes," said Sam Hall, a 2010 Agriculture Economics graduate from Clemson. "You water it a little bit less, it sweetens it."
"Seems simple, let’s cut off the water. Unfortunately, the plant still has to have water."
And so it goes.
But Sam and Bob, who started Bush–N–Vine 32 years ago before his senior year at Clemson, are not about to stop trying to perfect the process.
What started as three weeks of harvesting has evolved into 28-30 weeks of strawberry harvest thanks to innovative techniques like drip irrigation and above–ground tunnels, implemented in 2005. "It’s a greenhouse without the heat," Sam explains the tunnels.
"You have to get into the mind of a strawberry plant," Sam said. "You have to figure out what makes them tick."
What makes Bush–N–Vine tick is not just Sam and Bob, but the extended Hall family, including Elizabeth, Heather, Benjamin, Susan, Ruth Anne, Mary and Lindsey, who all pitch in during the busy harvest season.
And considering the variety of fruits and veggies – Bush–N–Vine grows everything from cabbage, spinach and summer squash to peaches, eggplant and sweet corn – there’s rarely a down season at the farm just off Highway 321.
"We do almost anything and everything," Sam said. "If it can be grown."