FAYETTE — Clusters of grape-size blueberries bow branches on the 1,500 high-bush plants at Steep Hill Farm. The ripened fruit hangs at an easy picking level. No bending required, no rakes needed.

Bob Panit and Shirley Jackson picked two pies’ worth of the Patriot and Northland varieties on a visit this week. “My wife’s gone to the truck to get a bucket so we can eat some instead of just cooking them all,” Panit said.

The couple from New Hampshire spend summer at a camp in Mount Vernon, and visit the blueberry farm each year.

Two other regulars, Jutta and Willi Hartung of Augusta, carted out six quarts. “They’re going into the freezer and they’ll come out off-and-on during the winter,” Jutta Hartung said.

“Every year we come. It’s the best place to pick blueberries,” Willi Hartung said. “I’m on the fourth quart and haven’t moved from this bush yet.”

Both couples opted to pick early Tuesday, when dew drops pooled like rain on the shiny green leaves.

Blueberry season — about six weeks — picks up as strawberry season wanes. This is high season for the 6- to 7-foot-high blueberry bushes — a little earlier than normal, said George Joseph, who owns Steep Hill Farm with his wife, Brenda.

He is a retired school superintendent; she retired as a special education director.

“It’s a hobby gone crazy,” George Joseph said.

David T. Handley of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension said the latest census numbers show that Maine has more than 100 acres of pick-your-own blueberries, and he thinks the actual number may be closer to 200 acres.

Locations for picking your own produce in Maine can be found at: www.pickyourown.org/ME.htm