When longtime organic gardener Delores Green retired from teaching, she wanted to turn her hobby into a small business.
“I wanted to be outside growing things,” she says.
Delores and her husband, Ronny, searched for a crop they could grow organically on land they owned in Monticello. They settled on blueberries and opened Green Meadows Farm for its first u-pick season in 2008.
“Everyone thought I was crazy,” she recalls. “My friends all loved coming over for free blueberries, but they said, ‘Do you really think people will come out here and pay to pick them?’ I said, ‘Yes, I truly do.'”
Fast-forward to the 2011 season, where 1,600 bushes on the Greens’ five organic-certified acres pumped out 7,000 pounds of berries — and the whole plot isn’t even planted yet. She says 99 percent of their berries go to u-pick. Some become homemade blueberry ice cream, iced tea or lemonade, which visitors can buy as a pick-me-up after their exploits in the fields. The four- to six-week picking season usually starts in June and ends in July.
“We’ve never advertised,” Delores says. “I have an email list, and we’re on localharvest.org, but we’ve never taken out a paid advertisement. It’s mostly just word of mouth.”
One reason Green Meadows is so popular is that the berries are grown organically. The Greens are always willing to help new organic growers figure out how to get their plants to thrive. This video sheds some light on the other green strategies the farm uses to minimize water use, keep up the soil quality and provide a home for wildlife amid their two-dozen varieties of blueberries.