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  #1  
Old 08-16-2005, 01:01 AM
cmac2012's Avatar
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Blueberry farm for sale -- Olympia, WA

Oh man, say it ain't so, the spread I've dreamed about for years is for sale and thain't no way I'm gonna be able to buy it. Old man Fischer died a couple years back and his kids apparently don't have a devotion to the berries like he did. I believe he planted the patch and it meant a lot to him:

http://www.upicker.com/

He ran it as a U-pick patch exclusively as far as I know, at least since the late 80s when I first went there. There's something magical about going to the patch early in the morning and having blueberries for your breakfast. Try eating only berries for a couple days. Oh man, cleans you out real good -- like a bear.

This place would be great for a healing retreat. It's on 11 acres, about 3 of them blueberries, surrounding by woods. Who knows, maybe someone reading this is looking for a place to retire, will buy it, and hire me when I'm old and crippled to tend the bushes. Aye, there'd be a great reward.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:10 AM
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Didn't know about that place, but it's down about three or four lots from where my old German auto repair biz was established on Friendly Grove.

My family loves to head out and pick all the blueberries we can FOR FREE at the old farm out on Steamboat Island Rd. The Thurston County Landtrust purchased the site some years ago and now it's open for community members to partake of the bountiful harvest.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:25 AM
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Hey Zz, I was wondering if that title would bring you out. Yeah, Steamboat Island Rd. blueberries....oh man. I haven't been around much since the landtrust got hold of it (thank God) but I'd like to check it out. It was getting harder and harder to get good berries there. It's amazing how much it's changed since the late 80s.

The Fischer farm is not bad. They don't spray; the founder, Fischer told me that he used a bit of rhododendron fertilizer on the bushes early in the spring and that was it. Oh well. They still do, I understand.

But the berries....oh man. They be some good berries thar.

Blueberries: the queen of fruit.

Oh hey, while we're on the great Northwest, here's a larger copy of my near indecipherable new avatar, drawn by Seattle cartoonist and Oly High alum, Jon Strongbow, an old bud of mine from the coffee house open mike days. The street scene is from Seattle, 5th Ave, I think.
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If this is tea, please bring me some coffee. But if this is coffee, please bring me some tea. - Abe Lincoln

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Last edited by cmac2012; 08-16-2005 at 01:33 AM.
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  #4  
Old 08-16-2005, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 123c
There was a few places like that in North Bend I went to all the time, when I was living in Snoqualmie. It's been so many years since I have been to those palces, I doubt they are still there, and some large million dollar house...
That's what I'm a feared could happen at Fischer's place. The berries themselves are on lowland, boggy type soil. With any luck, they'll survive all of this and remain a blueberry U-Pick place.

On t'other hand, developers around Oly, WA are hungry for land, and it wouldn't surprise me if they tried to dry out those bogs and build something on it.
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If this is tea, please bring me some coffee. But if this is coffee, please bring me some tea. - Abe Lincoln

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Old 08-16-2005, 10:38 AM
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Thanks for the link. I love blueberries, especially frozen ones, but I haven’t picked them before last weekend. There were scads of em at about 6,000' during my hike. There were lots of raspberries and one pea sized strawberry, too. When a tyke, my mom took the kids to pick strawberries around Portland. I remember being under the relentless sun and eating most of what I picked, but still collecting a few boxes and getting something like a 3 cents per box for my efforts. 25 years later I happened by a strawberry patch one day and had a berry good feast. Nothing like freshly picked fruit. Ah, sweet memories.

I didn’t see a reference to the sale price of the farm but was curious as how one could actually make a living by growing and selling blueberries. At Costco you can buy a frozen 5 lb bag of em for a few dollars. At Carpineto’s you can get a fresh flat for about $10. I typically will buy about 10 lbs and store them in the freezer in gallon sized glass jars then pop blueberrycicles through the winter months.

Retiring to fruit farm sounds cool.

BTW I like the avatar! I think the car in the background is my former Jeep.
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Last edited by Lebenz; 08-16-2005 at 11:05 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2005, 10:43 AM
MedMech
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We've been picking razberrys and mulberrys all summer, I think we might head up to the UP to get Blueberrys, I love those things, we do have some wild strawberry but their hard to come by.
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebenz
Thanks for the link. I love blueberries, especially frozen ones, but I haven’t picked them before last weekend. There were scads of em at about 6,000' during my hike. There were lots of raspberries and one pea sized strawberry, too. When a tyke, my mom took the kids to pick strawberries around Portland. I remember being under the relentless sun and eating most of what I picked, but still collecting a few boxes and getting something like a 3 cents per box for my efforts. 25 years later I happened by a strawberry patch one day and had a berry good feast. Nothing like freshly picked fruit. Ah, sweet memories.

I didn’t see a reference to the sale price of the farm but was curious as how one could actually make a living by growing and selling blueberries. At Costco you can buy a frozen 5 lb bag of em for a few dollars. At Carpineto’s you can get a fresh flat for about $10. I typically will buy about 10 lbs and store them in the freezer in gallon sized glass jars then pop blueberrycicles through the winter months.

Retiring to fruit farm sounds cool.

BTW I like the avatar! I think the car in the background is my former Jeep.
My sister mentioned $600,000 but it seems low. I mean 11 acres?! The house is non-descript and no spring chicken and the outbuildings don't have much value.

I don't imagine they make too much on the berries. I think it's easier for them to do it U-pick. That way they don't have to deal with newer child labor regulations. My mother grew up in Oly and kids would regularly make a little summer money by picking berries. Not sure if that's legal now.

I've always thought retiring on a fruit farm might be nifty. The U-pick thing brought them a lot of social contact as well. Everybody loved old Fischer. He was a sweet ol' fart.
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Old 08-17-2005, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMech
We've been picking razberrys and mulberrys all summer, I think we might head up to the UP to get Blueberrys, I love those things, we do have some wild strawberry but their hard to come by.
Something about picking wild berries -- gets back to the primal hunter-gatherer thing I guess. I picked wild blueberries up in Alaska one summer when my friend got married up there. They say you have to be careful you don't compete with bears.

The patch Zz mentioned feels more wild than the Fischer's place. It was once a commercial farm but hasn't been cultivated or pruned in something like 40 plus years. You have to slog through some serious brush sometimes but you can find good berries, though vast reaches of the patch no longer produce. You can fill your tummy a lot quicker at Fischer's and hey, time is money.
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If this is tea, please bring me some coffee. But if this is coffee, please bring me some tea. - Abe Lincoln

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Old 08-17-2005, 03:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narwhal
I worked a while at a blueberry farm in Charleston, SC. My job was to check the bags the migrant workers would turn in each day and get the rocks, pig iron and other weighty stuff out of the bags before they got weighed. It sucked, and I had to watch my back all the time.
Damn, dude. "Hey S A, why you wanna mess w' me? You wanna mess with my stuff?!" Watch your back is right. (Never did understand where that "S A" pronounced "essay" thing comes from)
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If this is tea, please bring me some coffee. But if this is coffee, please bring me some tea. - Abe Lincoln

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  #10  
Old 08-17-2005, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012
My sister mentioned $600,000 but it seems low. I mean 11 acres?! The house is non-descript and no spring chicken and the outbuildings don't have much value.

I don't imagine they make too much on the berries. I think it's easier for them to do it U-pick. That way they don't have to deal with newer child labor regulations. My mother grew up in Oly and kids would regularly make a little summer money by picking berries. Not sure if that's legal now.
600 could easily be right in there. It largely depends on the buildings and if there is other value for the property. I've been looking at some places in Enumclaw with about the same amount of property and the value ranges from a below 600, to a lot above, but all depends on the buildings.

Didn’t think about the laws related to children picking berries. What irony! Guess it’s easier to make a U pick or bring in folks from south of the border than to take a chance at cheezing off CPS and/or the folks at L&I.
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Old 08-17-2005, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H2O2
Didn't know about that place, but it's down about three or four lots from where my old German auto repair biz was established on Friendly Grove.
For how long did you have an auto repair shop? How come you stopped?
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:33 AM
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I co-founded the biz and stayed with it for the first two years, but quickly burned out. It's still running quite well by my former biz partner. I really enjoyed helping customers by patiently explaining the issues we encountered with their cars, and was good at the hands-on problem solving stuff, but the handling money thing...not so much. I'm much better suited to do service oriented work in the nonprofit and public sectors.
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 123c
I remember picking strawberries out towards Fall City when I was younger also, I wonder if that place is still there also
I haven't been to Fall City for a long time but heard it has suffered the crush of population increases along with everything else in the area. Tough to keep a berry farm when the pick'ns for condos and business offices are so ripe.

So much of this has happened that many counties added ordinances mandating that farm land can't be rezoned for residential/commercial purposes. Of course then someone agrees to buy the area a small park and typically the city agrees to change the zoning laws so that 80 acres of farm land see their last crop. IIRC, that's how the MS Redmond campus expanded from their original 80 acre tract back in the mid-80s, and continues to do so. Cash crops. Verrrrry attractive
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H2O2
Didn't know about that place, but it's down about three or four lots from where my old German auto repair biz was established on Friendly Grove.
I'll have to check that out next time I'm up there. I don't remember seeing a biz like that in the neighborhood.

From around '98 to '03 I'd go up every summer, following the migratory route of the great billed blueberry bush. Doesn't look like I'm going to make it this year but things might break here soon.

Last Christmas, I tried the Craigslist carpool scene up to Seattle and back and got a full car both ways. Cost me a few bucks for gas and the oil change plus wear and tear of course. It was kinda fun. Took me back to the road trips of my hippie days. I might try to pull that off in a week or two, we'll see. Don't know how long the berries will last.

There's another paid U-pick spot up north of Priest Point Park: Giles family runs it -- they're in the phone book. It's not as nice as Fischer's, but the berries seem to last longer at their place.
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If this is tea, please bring me some coffee. But if this is coffee, please bring me some tea. - Abe Lincoln

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Old 08-17-2005, 02:59 PM
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I'm holding out for Manor Farm, but the pigs won't sell...
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:59 PM
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