You are currently viewing How We Began

How We Began

  • Post author:
  • Post last modified:June 6, 2022

It all started in 2014, I had been looking for a house to move into when I retire. This one caught my eyes. On visiting the house I found out the house came with four acres of blueberries and one acre of apple and pear trees. What do I know about farming blueberries? I have been a chemist for all my adult life. Under the promise of the owner that he will teach me. Furthermore I have pear and cherry trees in my backyard although I did not pay much attention to them and they are still there all these years. How hard will it be. I took the plunge.
So it came the first u-pick season in 2015. Under the supervision of the former owner, we started selling blueberries. All the customers said they like our all natural no spray blueberries. Two weeks into the season, little white worms started crawling out of the berries in the buckets. and customers disappeared.
So, the first lesson on blueberry farming is that customers like no-spray blueberries. They don’t like wormy blueberries. What to do? I asked my teacher, the farmer. He said that I can sell cheaply to sell all the berries before the bugs come or to spray organic sprays, but it will be expensive. Before the second season came along to show how, he was gone.
Pests, Pesticides and Organic.
To fight off the eggs laying Spotted Wing Drosophila (their eggs hatch into white worms) I tried coffee, compost tea and neem oil. None of them really worked. The field was eventually overrun by the flies. I finally succumbed to using the commercial organic insecticide made of chrysanthemum and neem tree extracts.
I observed in spring a lot of flowers turn brown and do not bloom. A lot of blooms produce dry hard nuggets instead of blueberries. This is caused by fungal pathogens. On a wet spring, this fungal disease destroys almost 70% of one of our 2 cultivars. According to the former owner, he has no organic solutions to combat this fungal disease. The effective solution is a non-organic fungicide used by most conventional blueberry farmers in the NW. I figure spraying in spring, this fungicide should have been destroyed by summer picking season.
So, there you have it. We are selling a 90% organic mold free, worm free “healthy” blueberry.