Our family had been living in the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula in the UP when Israel was moved back downstate in 2011. We began looking for homes in the Lansing area with land. We knew it would be an adjustment being back in civilization, especially for our three young boys, so living in the country was a non-negotiable. We found the perfect home here in DeWitt, Michigan.
In the listing, it mentioned there were fruit orchards and trails throughout the 7 acres of land. We noticed the many fruit trees scattered on the property. However, it wasn’t until the day of closing when the previous owner (who never actually lived in the home) mentioned that there were 2 acres of blueberries on the south side of the property that she never touched. We were in shock. We had no clue they were there! We were ecstatic.
However, when we moved in, we scoped out the blueberry orchard and quickly realized why it wasn’t even mentioned in the property listing. It was unbelievably overgrown. We got to know our awesome neighbors and they filled us in on how many years ago, the original owner had a passion for growing fruit and they were very successful. Unfortunately, when the owner passed away, the family decided to sell the property. Since then, no one had maintained the fruit trees and bushes. It made sense why the blueberries were suffocating from grown trees and thick vines that were nearly choking the life out of them.
So, we found ourselves walking into somewhat of a dilemma. We knew we wanted to revive the blueberry bushes, but we weren’t sure if we had the time or energy to work on them…especially this year! We decided to start somewhere and just do the best we could. When spring arrived, we began our Sunday work bees which consisted of chainsawing trees, yanking out vines, removing dead branches, pruning, and trying to make some semblance of rows again. My parents started coming nearly every weekend to help save the blueberries. My mom, Grace, spent hours out there. We’d even have to force her to come in and eat! Without her, we wouldn’t have blueberries today!
We were thrilled to see the transformation (-and I’m kicking myself for not taking a before and after pic)! To eventually see the flowers bloom and turn into blueberries was priceless. Initially, we were thinking to just harvest the berries for ourselves since we weren’t sure what the outcome would be. But we were shocked at how many blueberries were growing and decided it would be appropriate to open up shop! Even better, we’ve kept everything all-natural with no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or sprays. We have the healthiest blueberries in town!
To make a long story short, our blueberry orchard is still a work in progress. Our goal is to eventually bring it back to its glory days when everyone in town waited for when that U-Pick sign was pounded into the front yard!
We thank you for supporting us and we’re so glad we can offer this healthy, incredible super-food to our community. Come get them before the birds do!