We Come from Chickens
Spring on the farm is an absolutely delightful time. In about a month we'll start to see the lovely white blueberry bells. The plants and energy here are still calm as everyone comes out of their winter hibernation. We've been working away pruning the plants while the birds and flowers return, preparing our products in weekly batches, and have been loving the warmer air and the sunshiny days.
When we first bought the farm in 2011, we originally wanted to use the processing facility for pastured-poultry. We'd been processing poultry over in Kingston before moving here and had a small feed-business. Harley raised poultry and eggs for over 28 years and was known as Mr. Chicken over in Kingston. When we realized we couldn't get someone to rent the blueberries and transition them to organic, we let go of the chicken dream (except for a few for eggs) and chose to give organic blueberry farming a try.
We started with, essentially, graduate school for blueberry farming. We got help from historically organic farms. Cascadian Farms was one of them, which is one of the first organic blueberry farms in the country. They heard we were going organic and offered to help. We got training from other farms with a lot of experience. We initially went to nearly every workshop that we could that had anything to do with organics and blueberries.
Now we've become the farm that other new organic farms approach to find out what are we doing here. We've been successful at raising production and at keeping disease and harmful insects at bay. We're fairly innovative in some of the things we try in the field (and now the kitchen). We've grown into a farm that can pass on that information to the other farmers wanting to do the same organic transition. It took us a few years to get berry production back up, and once we did, that's when we started experimenting with value-added organic blueberry products. We're so glad we did even though we'll always have a soft spot for chickens and love nothing more than fresh eggs in the morning.
To hear more about our story, listen or read our interview about Bow Hill HERE.