On June 30, 2017, East Central Florida’s favorite pick-your-own Blueberry Farm changed ownership and is now called Ever After Farms. It all began in 2008 when David Holland realized his dream of owning and operating his very own blueberry farm. In the subsequent nine years, he created a very special place in the local community that has become a tradition for locals to visit during season. “I bring my kids every year and they absolutely love it,” remarked Lindsay from New Smyrna Beach.
To a commercial agricultural professional, it is referred to as a high density blueberry site because Mr. Holland managed to neatly pack more than 36,000 bushes into 13 beautiful acres. In season, which typically runs from mid April to mid June, people from all over Florida descend upon the farm located at 4400 Bouganvilla Drive in Mims and pick as many blueberries as they can get their hands on. “Knowing where my food is coming from is very important to me and when I am picking the berries myself, I know exactly where it came from,” noted Diane from Oak Hill.
David made the decision to sell his farm after very careful consideration. “It was just time,” said David, “and the Farm was ready for the right new owner to take over and carry on the torch.” Those new owners are first time farmers who are diving in head first. “We always wanted to be farmers, our kids love blueberries and we are excited about all the ups and downs that come with a blueberry farm,” commented Monica.
Ever After Farms intends to continue to offer visitors the opportunity pick their own blueberries, or what is often referred to as “U-Pick”. The pick-your-own-produce model has become increasingly popular with many farmers across Florida choosing to allow the general public to pick their own fruits and vegetables rather than harvest all the crops and sell to wholesalers. “U Pick is a win-win for everyone involved and provides consumers with an insider look at how their food is grown,” noted Ryan Atwood, a blueberry farmer in Clermont.
But with the 2017 season having just ended, it will be another 10 months before Ever After Farms will see blueberries again. “It’s certainly delayed gratification,” observed Monica, “because all the work we are doing these next several months we won’t see the results of until mid 2018.” That is the life of a farmer though, investing an entire year of work to hopefully produce a marketable crop.