When Brian and Dawn McFadden made an offer on their Mossyrock home, their interest was more about the great bass fishing at Riffe Lake nearby than the decades-old blueberry bushes on the property.
“I wasn’t looking for a blueberry farm or to farm at all but the area was gorgeous,” Brian McFadden said of finding their property.
After moving in, the McFaddens learned their new home on Damron Road in Mossyrock was the former site of Grose’s Blueberry Farm. Along with Aldrich’s Berry Farm and Anderson Blueberry Farm (now Pan American Berry Growers), Grose’s Blueberry Farm,started in the early 1950s and was one of three original blueberry farms in this East Lewis County community that celebrates its love affair with blueberries with an annual community festival.
“It was the history of this place,” McFadden said of what changed his mind about becoming a blueberry farmer.
With the help of some online seminars through Oregon State University and some encouragement from their fellow Mossyrock blueberry growers, the McFaddens opened to the public three years ago as McFadden Family Farm, Starry Nights Blueberries. At 3.5 acres and between 700-800 blueberry bushes, they are the smallest of the three Mossyrock-area blueberry farms but no less beloved, with many annual visitors who seek them out each year. Brian just made the decision in April to become a full-time farmer and the McFaddens have plans to soon offer other organic produce as well as add more amenities for farm visitors.
“It’s beautiful. People love it. Families love it,” McFadden said.
It’s finally blueberry season in Southwest Washington, where there are at least six local farms to choose from to taste the little blue gems of summer. A particularly cold and wet spring this year meant farmers were waiting on their crops to ripen for just a little longer than usual. While some local blueberry farms were getting ready to complete their season this time last year, some are just kicking off their seasons this year. Bunker Creek Berries in Adna, will officially kick off its u-pick season on Aug. 6. Aldrich Berry Farms & Nursery, Mossyrock’s oldest blueberry farm, didn’t start selling berries until the second week of July this year. Wisten Aldrich, whose husband, Glenn, helped plant the first blueberry plants on the property in 1944, said it is the latest start to the blueberry season recorded at the farm.
“Everything is late this year. All the crops are late,” she said.
But the late start this year didn’t affect the number of berries. Local blueberry farmers report similar crop sizes this year to previous years, meaning visitors just get to enjoy the blues for a little further into the late summer this year. At Pan American Blueberries in Mossyrock, they expect their farm stand to be open until Labor Day weekend and Aldrich said they’ll likely start offering the late season ‘blue crops’ this coming week, meaning they’re only about halfway through the season now. McFadden said he believes their season could last at least until the last week of August, especially if there are a few rain showers along the way.
“We’ve still got green berries out there,” he said.
Which also means there are plenty of berries to be had if you plan to attend the Mossyrock Blueberry Festival and Civil War Reenactment this weekend. All three Mossyrock berry farms will be open regular hours both Saturday and Sunday during the Blueberry Festival activities.
Where to Get Local Blueberries
Aldrich Berry Farms
190 Aldrich Road, Mossyrock
Offers blueberries and other farm products at their farm stand.
Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, including during the Blueberry Festival.
Black River Blues
17132 Moon Road SW, Rochester
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day
U-pick or farm stand offers fresh and frozen blueberries as well as honey, candles, flowers and barn quilts. Cash or check only
Blackriverblues.com or @BlackRiverBluesBlueberryFarm on Facebook
Bunker Creek Berry Patch
214 Bunker Creek Road, Adna
Open: daily 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. starting Aug. 6
Offers u-pick as well as fresh and frozen picked berries. Bring your own containers for u-pick. Call at least one day ahead for large pick-up orders
@BunkerCreekBerryPatch on Facebook
McFadden Family Farm, Starry Nights Blueberries
156 Damron Road, Mossyrock
Open: daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Offers u-pick and already picked berries
Mcfadden-family-farm.business.site or @starrynightsblueberries on Facebook
Mossyrock Blueberry Festival and Civil War Reenactment
Aug. 6-7 throughout Mossyrock
For a full list of activities during the weekend event go to mossyrockfestivals.org or Mossyrock Blueberry Festival on Facebook.
Pan American Berry Growers
212 Klickitat Creek Road, Mossyrock
Farm stand open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays selling blueberries, blackberries, honey, jams and other items
Pbgblues.com or @PBGMossyrock on Facebook