Terri Weijohn loves blueberries. She loves them fresh. She loves them canned. She loves them in pies, in smoothies, in anything.
“We freeze them. We do jams. We do syrups. We have some good recipes for cobblers and pies, muffins, all those kinds of things,” she says.
Living among 14 acres of the blue fruit, you’d think Terri, her husband, Jeff, and their three sons would be sick of them, but they’re not.
Apparently, you can’t burn out on blueberries.
“We get spoiled,” says the owner of Blueberry Hill Berries in Wapato. “It’s hard for us in the winter to go buy blueberries just at the store ... because we can tell if they’re not really fresh. We don’t seem to get tired of them.”
The Weijohns planted the first of their bushes in 2000 and began planting for commercial growing in 2003. Now, the farm is divided into two sections: U-pick bushes that are open to the public six days a week and a section for commercial production.
A third-generation farmer, Jeff Weijohn and his wife originally focused on apples and grapes, but moved to blueberries to “do something a little different,” Terri says.
“We wanted to do something that was a little bit easier to work with,” she says. “We try to really grow a quality product that we’d want to buy ourselves and do more direct sales.”
These days, Blueberry Hill Berries opens for picking in late June and continues through August, depending on the season. The farm is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Friday. The varities of berries grown on the farm were selected to stagger the harvest season so berries are available all summer, Terri says. Though most people can’t tell the difference among the varities.
“I have one variety that has, I wouldn’t call it tart, it has just a really strong blueberry flavor. And it holds that flavor for a long time,” she says. “Some people taste them and say, ‘Oh, it just tastes like a blueberry,’ some people see a big difference.”
The Weijohns also sell their fruit, along with smoothies and a rhubarb blueberry sauce, at the Yakima Farmers’ Market. She says they only pick the most ripe fruit for sale. The berries sell for $1.60 a pound.
“Any fruit, if you pick it when it’s nice and ripe, it just tastes so good,” she says.
The Weijohns are also working to build a commercial kitchen at the farm in order to offer their favorite blueberry products to the public.
After 10 years of living among the berries, they’ve got plenty of recipes to share.
“Some people just like trying new things and figuring out something different,” Terri says. “We like to do that.”
• Contact Savannah Tranchell at 509-577-7752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.