About Blue Fruit Farm

Located in beautiful SE Minnesota in an area known as the Driftless Region, home to rugged bluffs, hardwood forests, trout streams, and native prairie remnants, Blue Fruit Farm rests atop the ridge accessed by Wiscoy Valley Road. It is surrounded by woods on the south and re-established native prairie on the north and west. To the east are fallow fields. The field is isolated from sources of pesticide contamination, as no water run-off from non-organic fields is possible. Blue Fruit Farm exists as part of the Wiscoy Valley Community Land Cooperative, a 360-acre organically-managed land cooperative with 20 adult members where Jim and Joyce have been members since the early 1980's, and the land has been organic since the mid-1970's.

 

Blue Fruit Farm covers 5 acres of certified organic blueberries, elderberries, aronia berries, black currants, blue plums, honey berries, jostaberries, juneberries, and cherry plums. Formerly utilized for organic vegetable production which we farmed in the 1980's when we raised organic vegetables and helped start the thriving Winona Farmers Market, the land now known as Blue Fruit Farm sat in fallow for several years before we began cultivating the land in 2008. This process began by amending the soil, planting cover crops, and creation of initial business plans. In 2009, we began planting, starting with about 800 blueberry shrubs, a few cherry plums, 2 rows of juneberries and a row of aronia berries. In 2011, we expanded blueberry planting on the east side of our operation, and added black currants, elderberries, and blue plum trees. We continued to plant additional blueberries in the 2012 season, along with several Black Ice plum trees, and more aronia and elderberries.

 

As you may have guessed from this timeline, planting has continued seasonally as we add a wider variety of crops and cultivars, and replace weaker varieties with those we find to be better suited for our site. For instance, one row of black currants was replaced completely due to its susceptibility to powdery mildew, giving us room to plant experimental shrubs such as juneberries and jostaberries. We removed the jostaberries in the Fall 2016 as determined they, although tasty, weren't commercially salable. We are continuing to plant more honeyberries as replacement stock for dead blueberries and jostaberry area. New variety of honey berry is Cinderella, a good pollinator for Tundra and Borealis.

 

Learn more about our soil preparation, cover cropping, pest management, and more in our Farming Practices section.