I watched the young boy walk up to the blueberry plant, and saw the light go on in his mind. He turned to his Dad with wonder in his eyes. I could tell he had figured it out, and that moment is what makes my job so rewarding.
“This is where blueberries come from isn’t it?”
His Dad laughed and indulgently nodded. “Yes, Eric, this is where blueberries come from. Would you like to help the blueberries grow?”
The boy’s eyes went wide. “Daddy, could we? Can we have our own blueberry tree?”
The man grinned. “Son, it’s actually a plant, but yes, we can do that.” They both looked at me, and we began to talk about how it would work for them to adopt a blueberry plant and help it grow.
It happens that way many times for me here at Skylark Farms. A family will pull up in a car, obviously out for a drive in the country, stopping at our roadside stand to buy some fruit. It’s a source of pride for me that we can give them healthy fresh fruit and much more – a chance to learn about farming. I’ve watched over the years as kids have grown less aware of the farming process. The kids I grew up around knew what life on the farm meant. When we had chicken for dinner, everyone knew that one of the hens in the roost had died to provide our meal. The fruit that was in our lunchboxes came from our trees and was likely picked by us. But kids seem to be losing that connection.
Our Proudly Owned Family Farm
Our farm is located on the Saanich Peninsula, just outside of Victoria, BC. Our family has owned this farm since the 1940s, when my Grandfather bought the original 10 acres, while working at the Yarrow Shipyards for 35 cents a day. He and my grandmother moved into a home with only a couple of light bulbs, no indoor toilet and no running water. My grandparents settled in to the farm lifestyle and made friends with the locals, though there weren’t many around back then. When he was 17 my Uncle Stuart bought the farm next to my Grandparents.
When I was born, my parents lived in a little cottage that still stands on the farm today. My parents later bought the farm next door to my uncle, and I began driving tractors and trucks at an early age. Boy, did I think I was something special driving a tractor when I was 12. (My wife Dana will tell you I still get the same kick out of driving a tractor today). Working the farm is something our family has enjoyed since my Grandfather made that first land purchase, and we take great pride in what we have built.
Sharing The Farm Experience
Like I said, I’ve seen that the kids these days don’t have the same connection to the land that the kids I grew up with did. We started our Seasonal Plant Ownership Program to offer families, but children in particular, the chance to own a part of nature, and reap the rewards. The kids really get into it when they adopt a blueberry plant – they take ownership, and want to come out to our open houses to watch that plant and see how it’s doing, to make sure it’s being tended correctly.
It’s when the kids get the chance to actually pick blueberries that the whole experience really sinks in for them. I’ve never seen a child yet who could resist eating one of the berries they just pulled from the plant. You can see it in their eyes when they taste the freshness of the fruit that they helped nurture. All the talk about the health benefits of blueberries will go right by them – and it could be a long talk because the health benefits are numerous – but tasting that fresh, healthy local fruit seems to change the kids. They are now in some small way connected to the farm life.
You can find out how to adopt a blueberry plant now, and more about our Seasonal Blueberry Plant Ownership Program, at our Skylark Farms website – and don’t forget to check out our fantastic blueberry recipes. Or if you’re in the neighborhood during harvest season, stop by our fruit stand. We’ll tell you all about blueberries, and there’s a good chance you will adopt a blueberry plant (or two or three) of your own for next season.
Father & Son,Farm Pictures, Fruit Stand © Skylark Farms
Picking Blueberries Wikimedia – Creative Commons
Guest Author Bio
Scott Armour owns and manages Skylark Farms, and lives there with his wife Dana and son Nicholas. His roots in this land go back to the original purchase by his grandfather, and Scott grew up working on the farm. After several years of city living, Scott missed the country, and also wanted his son Nicholas to have the opportunity to experience farm life. In 2010, the family returned to Skylark Farms. Scott is now excitedly engaged in their Seasonal Plant Ownership Program, to allow others to share in a bit of the experience of working a farm, watching crops grow, and reaping the rewards.
Farm website: Skylark Farms
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