01 Aug Our Humble Beginnings
It’s time to tell you about our farm. My husband, Russ, and I bought this acreage in 1985, and the real draw for me was the turn of the century house. Along with the house came ten acres of bare land. We had it assessed by an agricultural specialist, and before you know it, we had four acres of berries planted. Since then, we have planted two more acres.
Berry planting is more complex than I had thought! First, the earth gets tilled and measured for rows, then each row gets mounded and ready for planting. After the plants are in the ground, we cover the dirt around the plants with sawdust. We have many friends and family to thank for a field well-planted!
It took three years before we could start picking, so 1989 was an exciting year for us. We shipped our first berries to a processing plant in an old one-ton truck that was first used in the prairies, and then for years by my father. It was history in the making, and that truck has quite a story to tell.
We cleaned all the berries by hand, and I have fond memories (along with memories of panicky moments) of a sea of pails, full of blueberries at the end of the day and a passel of family and friends who came to help. And sometimes a pizza party ensued. Two years ago we bought a cleaning machine, so life is much easier for us.
Along the way, we had three children, who are now young adults. They grew up in the blueberry field. They, at many times, I’m sure, felt gypped when their friends went off to the lake and they were stuck at the farm, but our kids were all good sports and ended up with a good work ethic.
The last twenty-five years have afforded us the opportunity to make many new friends. We have pickers who come year after year. Through new friends, I have learned to enjoy Indian food, and I know how to make a pretty good Indian chai now, which I share with the pickers most afternoons. They have become my friends!
We also have customers which return every year and we are very thankful for their patronage. They too are friends that I look forward to seeing every year catching up with.
As a child, I never imagined becoming a blueberry farmer, but it has become an integral part of our family’s story, and I am thankful every day for the blessings it gives me!