BEHIND THE SCENES
Our farming story began in 2013. Mowing our five-acre field for 20 years just plain got old, so we thought, "Why not farm it?" But what to farm? We talked to a local farmer and he gave us this advice: Grow something that others don't grow. "BLUEBERRIES!" we thought, and off we went.
Our research showed that blueberries like high acid, low pH, loamy soil that drains well. We had clay and rocks - not a good start. We decided to have our field plowed under so we could start with a blank slate. From the beginning, we knew this would be a five-year project, and each year we picked away at it. Joann learned how to operate the turbo-powered, 43 horsepower, four-wheel drive hydrostatic John Deere tractor. She took right to it and has been the best farm help Chuck has ever had.
To kick off our transition from field to farm, we had 1,000 feet of drainage tile installed to combat a large wet area in the field. We also enjoyed (not) picking out the thousands of rocks we uncovered in the process. Since our soil was so inhospitable for blueberry bushes, we decided to make our own. We mixed 300 yards of sand with a tractor trailer load of peat moss and used the mixture to build raised bed rows for the bushes. That job took a whole summer. The next year, we added needed nutrients to our soil to adjust its pH level. We also installed a massive pond-fed drip irrigation system and planted grass seed between the raised beds.
Finally, in the spring of 2016, 2,817 bushes arrived on a tractor trailer from Michigan. In one day, a handful of people, some of whom had never met, planted the entire field - and even had fun doing it! Like most of our work on Star Farm thus far, with some planning and the right attitude, anything is possible! Our next big job was to mulch around the bushes. We bought a used side discharge silage wagon and spread 300 yards of the stuff. Later that year, we installed an eight-foot deer fence around the farm.
Our bushes have been producing berries for the last two years, but we picked them early each year to promote bush growth. But now, in 2018 - five years after this journey began - it's time to enjoy the (literal) fruits of our labor and share them with you.
- Chuck and JoAnn, The Star Farmers
These blueberries didn't plant themselves! Here, we chronicle our five-year Star Farm journey!