Many of the blueberry bushes on our farm were planted by John’s grandfather in the late 1930’s and 1940’s after he bought the land from the granddaughter of the original settler who pioneered fruit farming in the nineteenth century Allegan County. Over the past decades, the number of acres dedicated to blueberries continued to increase, until we now manage forty-acres comprised of three varieties, Jerseys, Rubels, and Blue Crop. During the halcyon days when Organic Growers of Michigan flourished, we served as certification chairmen, and in 1989, John represented OGM at the first nationwide meeting to discuss the national organic standards.
For almost forty years, we have tapped our sugar bush each spring and boiled maple syrup so that we can offer the elixir to our customers who come to pick strawberries and blueberries. When the winters are mild, our peach and apricot trees yield their sweet fruits. Most visitors enjoy gazing at our large garden where I grow a wide assortment of vegetables that will fill mason jars or our freezer. The old roses and other flowers scent the air while I am weeding.
In 1985, with the help of a hundred friends, we raised the framework for our large timber-framed barn, where we hold our summer solstice party. Our team of oxen, milk goats and chickens abide in a smaller barn behind our 1850’s style yellow house. A wind generator sits on the red tower rising from Pleasant Hill, but solar panels provide most of our electricity.
While pruning, mowing between the rows and caring for our blueberry bushes occupies much of our time, we also love to play tradition Irish and Scottish fiddle tunes, read and write books, piece quilts, and visit with friends at bountiful potlucks.