Monday, November 18, 2019

Park’s Blueberries celebrating 40 years

Park’s Blueberries, between Bothwell and Thamesville on Longwoods Road (Hwy. 2) are celebrating 40 years in ‘berry goodness’ this year.

Hope Parks, the co-owner of the business, said, they are celebrating 40 years of planting blueberries at the location this spring.

Hope said the business was started by her husband’s parents, Bill and Dianne Parks and their four young kids.

“It just started with a few acres of blueberries,” she said.

“They began in Shedden. They started planting in 1977 to 1978. Blueberries are delicate. Once they are rooted there they do not like being transplanted. So when they moved some of the plants here, they did not grow as well as they wanted them to. So they planted another variety in 1979.”

Hope said some of their plants are 40 years old.

“They are still fruiting beautifully,” she said.

“It is amazing what has been done in the last 40 years, when it began as just a dream. Diane Parks loves blueberries. She is a genius and hardworking, a very good combination that made the farm grow.”

Hope added: “Blueberry bushes need at least five years to be able to have fruit. They will flower right away but you get the flowers out of them because you don’t want them to be that immature when they bear fruit. So within five years you have to keep on cutting the flowers and pruning them. There is a lot of energy and money that go into growing blueberries. It is not for impatient people. It is a wait.”

Hope said frozen blueberries are always available as well.

“When we pack our blueberries in the peak season, we always make sure we have a few left for us for baking and to sell the following spring because it is the best way to have your own blueberries that are ripened and straight to the freezer. They taste amazing. There is no additives or added sugar in our blueberries. It’s very natural.”

Hope said they will be having their annual turkey dinner on Easter weekend.

“We are open for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Once we are open we don’t close until December 24… every single day from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Cafe closes at 5:30 p.m.”

Hope added: “We are thankful for the support that family, friends, staff and loyal customers have been giving us for 40 years. When Parks was hit by the tornado, it bounced back and is still here. Parks hard work, dedication and by the grace of God we are here. This is also possible because we have been supported .”

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