Michigan Blueberry Farm Tour 2022
Aug 24, 2022
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This post is sponsored by our partners at North Bay Produce.
Blueberry farm tour 2022: back to some of our favorites
We are so thankful that North Bay Produce invited us back to the blueberry farms to tour some of our favorites from years past. It was such a fun experience seeing the growth and changes since our last trip to these farms in 2020. We absolutely LOVE touring these blueberry farms and meeting the people behind the scenes. Plus, we are always excited to “taste test” the blueberries right from the bush. It’s as fresh as you can get!
Past Michigan Blueberry Farm Tours
During our first stop, we met with Kelly Reenders, one of the family owners of Crossroads Blueberry Farm in West Olive, MI. Here we were able to watch some of the production line as the blueberries took their trip from cooler to packaging. When the blueberries arrive at the plant, they are labeled and placed in refrigeration so they can start to firm up before packing. Once ready for packaging, they are sent on a conveyor belt for sorting. Bruised, off-color, and berries with defects are sorted in seconds while top-quality berries go on to be packed for North Bay.
Our next stop was to visit Lakeside Pic-N-Pac in Holland, MI. Here we were able to go out in the fields and also tour the packing house with Owner, Brent Baumann.
While we were out on the farm, we got a chance to see bushes in various stages. At Lakeside, they utilize both hand-picking and a harvester to pick their blueberries. It was interesting to see the different shapes of bushes throughout the farm. Some are more vertical while others are more round and full. The shape of the bush helps determine whether they will hand pick or use the harvester. And throughout the off season, employees prune and shape the blueberry bushes for the next season.
Like all agriculture, the growth and production of blueberries are subject to weather. If Michigan experiences hot weather early in the season, it can encourage the blueberry buds to open prematurely, potentially damaging the fruit before it has a chance to develop. They heavily rely on the cool breeze and close proximity to Lake Michigan to help them grow slowly as spring turns to summer.
Lakeside also has their packing facility on the farm. Here they carefully pick the best-quality blueberries to be packed and shipped under the North Bay label.
Bowerman Blueberry Farm in Holland, MI was our final tour stop. They have been farming since 1954, and currently tend to over 90 acres of blueberries. Visitors in July through August can enjoy a fun U-Pick experience. Nearly 75% of all the blueberries are sold fresh.
Bowerman’s farm market store has expanded. It was one of the great surprises on our visit this year. During the Michigan harvest season, Bowerman sells already picked blueberries in a variety of sizes. But the market offers more than just fresh blueberries. They offer other in-season local produce. They still have so many of our favorite blueberry treats and are stocked daily with fresh donuts, breads, pies, ice cream and more. It is also full of jams, salsas, snacks and fun gifts as well.
Another great treat that we got to visit was the Bowerman’s on 8th in downtown Holland. It is a dine-in and carryout bakery & cafe. Every menu item incorporates blueberries directly from Bowerman Blueberry Farms.
Blueberry Farm Tour 2022: Michigan Blues
Collectively, Michigan grows nearly 65 million pounds of juicy blueberry goodness each year. That is just over 32% of the total North American crop! Blueberry season usually runs late June through early October in Michigan, so summer is the perfect time to visit a blueberry farm.
Blueberries are one of those small pleasures that bring so much tasty joy. After all, what’s more satisfying than piercing the tender flesh of a blueberry and experiencing the gush of juicy sweetness?
Blueberries may be small but they pack a big nutritional punch. They are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients, which give them their namesake’s blue color. Just one cup contains more than 30% of the suggested daily intake of fiber but only 80 calories. They are a good source of vitamin C, manganese, and potassium.
Studies show that blueberries contribute to a healthy body, including a healthy heart, brain, gut, and insulin health. Blueberries are always a smart choice. You can always feel good about grabbing a healthy handful of blueberries!
About North Bay Produce
North Bay Produce is an international grower-owned, year-round fresh produce marketing and distribution cooperative. They’re headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, a state famous for its blueberries. We’re proud to partner with a company committed to providing the highest quality seasonal produce and focused on safety and social responsibility. Not only are their blueberries good and good for you, but you can also feel good about feeding your family with their produce!
North Bay Produce is interested in sustainable farming while helping their farmers be progressive and reinvest in their farms’ future. They are passionate about what they grow and the land that it is grown on.
North Bay’s grower-owners have vested interests in making sure North Bay provides the best quality produce to the world. This means incorporating the best practices to assure great flavor, appearance, shelf-life, and more. And North Bay stress doing so with the highest standards of food safety.
Blueberry Recipes we love
Blueberry Ice Cream Bread
A fun and festive dessert that the whole family will love. You only need 3 ingredients to make this special dessert that the whole family will love. Find the full recipe here.
Blueberry Chia Mousse
Blueberry BBQ Sauce
This Homemade Blueberry BBQ Sauce is perfect for serving with chicken, pork chops or even ribs! Plus, it is very simple to make in a matter of minutes. Find the recipe here.
Warm Blueberry and Snow Pea Salad
This sweet and savory dish is sure to be a hit. You only need 5 ingredients and a matter or minutes to pull this all together. Find the full recipe here.
You can easily enjoy a protein-packed, nutrient-dense salad that will keep you full all day. It will keep hunger at bay and protect you from an afternoon snack attack. Find the recipe here.
Looking for more blueberry recipe inspiration? North Bay Produce has many more great ideas that you can easily explore on their recipe catalog on their website.
If you are like us and just can’t get enough of their deliciousness, consider freezing blueberries to extend the season. It’s easy to do! First, remove blueberry stems, wash, and dry berries. Then, place berries on a clean baking sheet. Try not to let fruits touch, and do not stack berries. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a few hours, or until frozen through. Remove the baking sheet and transfer berries into a freezer bag. Tightly seal the bag of berries and freeze for up to 12 months.