C h i l d s B l u e b e r r y F a r m
A Mountaintop Perfect for Blueberries!
Childs Blueberries uses only Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) approved products and is the only pest free organic blueberry farm in Cattaraugus County.
Childs motto: Under Promise--Over Deliver
For the best tasting, sorted 3 times, fresh picked and organically grown pest free blueberries buy Childs Blueberries. Foremost in Quality!
FROZEN BLUEBERRIES FOR SALE THIS SATURDAY, 11-9-2013, IN EAST AURORA from 7 to 1! Carrie and I will be bringing Childs Organic Frozen Blueberries to market this Saturday on dry ice in coolers. $9.00 per bag. Special--6 bags for $50. There will also be Blueberry Pepper Glaze & Dipping Sauce, Peach Topping and Blueberry Jam. If you want to do us A FAVOR, tweet or share this with friends. UPDATE--Thanks for the business. We sold all the frozen berries we brought plus a bunch of frozen elderberries!
We welcome you to experience superbly flavored blueberries. Our berries are grown in soil never touched by the glaciers @ 2400 feet. Blueberries grow wild on mountain tops like ours and that is one factor in why these berries taste so good and grow so well. Blueberries can be grown in the flatlands by chemically adjusting the soil but the difference is noticeable from those grown on our hill. How big is the farm? When we start weeding at the first row and go up and down each row until we reach the last bush on the last row--we have traveled more than 4 miles--about 10,000 bushes.
But that is not the whole story as to why Childs Blueberries taste so much better than the "other guys" who grow their berries in the flatlands.
WHAT ORGANIC IS AND WHY CHILDS BLUEBERRIES IS ORGANIC
Childs Blueberries uses only Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) approved products.
Pesticide is defined as herbicides, fungicides & insecticides. Knowledge is power--read on!
Fertilizer--Rather than use petroleum based fertilizers like 10-10-10, we use OMRI approved organic manure, which is ten times more effective and healthy than petroleum based fertilizers. The Scoop--Most farms have killed the microbes in their soil with pesticides and without microbes, the plants cannot uptake nutrients from dead soil so it just runs off into the streams, rivers and lakes or pollutes the ground water (see high rates of leukemia in Midwest tied to fertilizer contamination of ground water) doing no good at all. Childs Blueberries uses organic fertilizers like kelp, emulsified trout, molasses and chicken manure that is slow release and feeds the microbes in the soil so that the bush is health and the fruit tasty and firm.
Herbicide--Rather than use Monsanto's Roundup, we use OMRI approved Citrus Oil, Weed Wacker, & Hand Weeding. The Scoop--Roundup is sprayed in the soil before planting to kill weeds so that essentially you have a "brown field" prior to planting with nothing to compete for the crop the farmer wants to grow. No studies say that Roundup is bad for us in limited quantities and it has been approved by the US government for use; however, Europeans (EU) disagree with the US government and significantly restrict Roundup's use. A doctor friend of mine said this five years ago over wine on New Year's, "someday they will look back at Roundup and say it is to us what lead pipes for drinking water was to the Romans. I don't have any studies to base that on but is just what I think. We are careful to avoid it." Update--a Wall Street Journal blog out of Brussels points to a new study that finds Roundup traces in human urine. You decide but Childs Blueberries decision is not to use it.
Fungicide--I have no trust for imported food products from Latin America, China, Brazil, etc. and it bothers me that frozen vegetables and fruits do not have to be labeled with "country of origin"--thanks to the big food company lobby. You could easily be eating frozen blueberries bought in a store or used in a smoothie that were grown in China. Last year, they found fungicide residual that "exceeds limits" in orange juice imported from Brazil. US farmers use this same fungicide that does not allow harvest for 42 days after application. The fungicides are absorbed by the leaves where it travels to the unripe fruit (in this case an orange) and then helps prevent mold, blisters, scabs and such as the fruit ripens. The Scoop--Childs Blueberries uses OMRI approved Lime Sulfur during dormancy in the off season. Organic approved lime reacts with sulfur to form a caustic reaction that kills fungi.
Insecticide--The Asian Fruit Fly (also know as the Spotted Wing Drosophila-SWD) is an invasive fruit fly that puts worms in soft fruits and tree fruits. It has swept across the US and this means a tremendous increase in the way insecticides are applied by farmers. Any fruits must be washed more today than yesterday. The Scoop--Childs Blueberries is isolated on the highest hill in Humphrey, NY. The hill is so high, the glaciers did not cover it and that just happens to be why blueberries grow so well on our farm. They like our type of soil. If we are invaded by this SWD pest, which we have early warning monitoring traps set for, we are ready with OMRI approved insecticides. One such organic product that works with SWD and that Japanese beetles don't like, is derived from the seed of the chrysanthemum flower, which has a naturally occurring insecticide in the shell. It costs $525 per gallon (diluted to about $140 per acre of blueberries) and works against SWD. The downside--just as SWD has reached most farms in America, our isolation will not protect us forever. Every time I have picked up a basket of organic blueberries in the store, I have seen this worm on their blueberries inside the package. That is the problem with a conglomerate farm trying to be organic--too big to micromanage, well. Childs Blueberries may be small but we are Foremost in Quality Fruit®.
Conclusion--It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat some illnesses which when compared with the cost of organically grown food makes organic seem cheap. Domestically grown organic (imported non-EU organic can be a farce) is an option you may wish to consider more often. The larger the farm--the more "space suit" type chemicals are needed. Know your farmer by frequenting local farm markets and storing up for the off season. Make food a higher priority to safeguard your own, and those you love's, personal health You see grocery stores trying to make local a priority because they know this is important and although it is difficult for them, I admire their attempt. It should tell you how important it is to know the local, small family farmer--like Childs Blueberries.
"Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food." Hippocrates
Since seeing our commercial on TV and reading about us here, some folks have expressed an interest in our biographies. Here they are, briefly.
Biography of the farmers, in order--Daniel, Carrie, Bob and Audrey:
Dan Childs, 2010 Dan Childs (47), Tom Childs (19), Bob Childs -Mr. Blueberry, 76.
In this photograph, I am in Downtown Buffalo and sold a 1/4 ton of blueberries in 6 hours. Normally I have 1-2 helpers but this day it was a one man show due to last minute illness.
I began "farming" at age 6 picking wild berries at our farm in Humphrey and selling them door to door in South Buffalo and then again in East Aurora when we relocated there in 1967. I was always selling things from peanut brittle and pizzas to produce and at school, I had a school store of candy and popcorn selling out of my locker. I planted summer squash and developed a route in East Aurora where I delivered the squash weekly by bike to customers and sold the surplus in front of the Loblaw's store or at the old EA railroad station. In the early 70's my mother started taking orders via Pennysaver ads for fresh picked blueberries from the farm. We planted many blueberries in the 70's at the farm in Humphrey and in 1985, Childs Blueberries was formed by my father. In 1986, I had a decision to make at age 26--to continue climbing the career ladder in management in corporate America (which meant re-locating) or putting my roots down on the farm, teaching and joining the farm business. I decided on teaching and farming and have never regretted it. Mom felt they could use the help on the farm so I started there picking 6 days a week. Teachers may have summers off but it is without pay, I soon learned so this money really came in handy. I was the first to work and the last to leave and these were very lean years as we started the Childs Blueberry Farm business basically from scratch. Our total sales that second season was less than we sell 25 years later in one Saturday market. My third year and the businesses fourth, I took over the East Aurora Farmers Market while Mom and Dad expanded into North Tonawanda Farmers Market off Robinson Street. That meant, for me, picking 5 days a week and marketing 1 day per week. As the business grew, eventually I was marketing Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and managing the rest of the time. Starting at the bottom of a business and working up has advantages in that I am a better boss today because there is nothing on the farm I have not done or would not do. Basically, I apprenticed with Bob Childs, my father, before taking over the head partner position in 2006-20 years later. I have read pretty much every document ever printed on blueberries at least once so I have both a formal education on farming plus the "school of hard knocks" education that life doles out.
I teach 5-12 grade business and computers at a rural school in Allegany County--Scio Central School. I have managed the Spirit of Christmas Toys for Tots program for 24 years and advised the Future Business Leaders of America Club. The club has sent CARE packages to active duty soldiers every year since Operation Desert Storm. I was also a finalist in 2003 for New York State Teacher of the Year.
Carrie Childs--1997 Carrie Childs, 2010
Carrie is currently serving her third term as the Humphrey Town Supervisor. She decided to run because our taxes on the farm had increased 22% in two years and were slated to go up another 11% with no end in sight. The towns assessment had dropped to 47% so the state was determining the rate increases. The reason the assessment fell to 47% is that people all complain that their house is assessed for too much--say $50,000 but when they sell it, they would get $75,000 and that causes the whole towns assessment to drop in the states eyes. The only way to regain control for the town was a re-assessment, as unpleasant as they are, and Carrie managed that causing the overall tax levy in the town to drop by more than 4%. Carrie has also computerized the town accounting and payroll. She also manages the town website, Humphreytownship.com
Carrie says "I am no politician" and indeed she is not. She has no agenda except to help out the town in a nearly volunteer position. A few nut case, self-serving, south bound end of a north bound mule types, don't appreciate or know how to handle a person in politics with no "agenda". I believe Humphrey has been blessed to get a retired human resource specialist like Carrie to serve them.
Carrie grew up in Sanborn, NY and graduated from Niagara Wheatfield, a lifetime member of the National Honor Society. She has worked for various companies as an administrative assistant, office manager, and Human Resources generalist. She received certification as a Professional in Human Resources in 2003. Her years of experience in "corporate America" have served Childs Blueberry Farm well in the continuing growth of our family business. When Daniel and Carrie met in 1999, she claimed that she didn't like blueberries, but once she tasted a "Childs Blueberry", she became a blueberry fan. Prior to that all she had tasted, like so many other people, were store brand blueberries that lacked flavor and that fresh sweetness folks have become used to getting from Childs. Daniel & Carrie were married September 2, 2000. Since Carrie came on board, sales and production have continued to grow.
Daniel and Carrie's hobby is ballroom dancing for which they make much time during the blueberry off season. They have performed in several recitals and as their friend and dance teacher says, are really pros since slipping a two dollar bill into Daniel's pocket after the first show. "See, now that you have been paid, you are a professional!" :)
Bob in 2009 at age 78, still working a full day and loving it.
Audrey & Bob Childs, 56 in 1987. The would earn the name Mr. & Mrs. Blueberry from their customers.
In 1960, Bob planted his first blueberries in his backyard in S. Buffalo. Audrey and Bob decided to buy land in the Southern Tier and purchased 54 acres where they planted 20 more blueberries. In 1975, on a new parcel of land, Bob and Audrey planted 500 more blueberries and declared he would someday retire and sell blueberries. Audrey was rather skeptical but had faith and indeed, in 1983, Bob did take an early retirement from New York Telephone. How exciting when they sold 50 pounds of blueberries at the East Aurora Farmers Market in 1985 generating $175 in sales. Most customers knew standard fruits and vegetables but what were these little blue berries? "Can we eat them?" "What do you do with them?" Bob and Audrey printed little recipes for muffins and pie and handed them out at market. They tried to create a "blue" motif for their farmers market stand and dressed in matching clothes. After two years, sales had tripled at East Aurora's Saturday market. In 1988, Bob and Audrey turned the East Aurora market over to son Daniel and moved to new territory--North Tonawanda on Robinson St. off Colvin. This was a hucksters market, where much of the produce was bought and re-sold. Customers who knew the market knew which vendors were really "farmers" and grew what they sold and which were "re-sellers". Bob and Audrey also expanded into the Downtown Buffalo market on Thursday. Bob's vision for direct marketing and growing top quality blueberries became a reality. Interesting that a product like blueberries that was not even sold in grocery stores in 1985, has since become a household fruit. Bob was a bit ahead of his time. In the acclaimed book, Highbush Blueberries the acknowledgements lists many doctors of agriculture and then Bob Childs, grower. He is very proud to be included in that list for his practical, real world knowledge of blueberries and blueberry farming.
Bob entered the army at age 17 and served as a radio man in Korea during that war. He was part of the group of soldiers that forged through N. Korea up to the Chosen Reservoir where the Chinese flooded across the Korean border and entered the war forcing American troops to withdraw back to the beaches, ships and S. Korea. For most of my life, the US government denied this ever happened so when I would tell my teachers about this, they would say, "The United States never did that." Essentially, the message was, "Your dad is telling stories" Now all that is declassified and of course, true.
Bob was the middle weight Golden Gloves boxing champion. After Korea, he spent two weeks in Japan and then was shipped to Nevada where he donned a radioactivity badge and "invaded" 17 nuclear blasts before his badge indicated he had absorbed enough radioactivity to be discharged. The idea was to blow up a nuclear bomb in the desert either underground or on platforms and then the soldiers tried to navigate to a destination or target using a Geiger counter. It was deemed that nuclear bombs could not be used as tactical weapons against a "million man army" as a result of these tests. Bob, at age 79, feels he was lucky because he got to hold the Geiger counter whereas most of the
men did not and perhaps that is why he has not noticeably suffered from the 17 different nuclear blasts that went off less than 1/2 a mile from his location or maybe it is all the blueberries he eats and blueberry wine he drinks. Thanks to the GI bill, Bob was able to be the first of his family to go to college graduating from Erie Community College with a degree in Electricity. Married August 7, 1954 to Audrey Thompson, Bob went to work at NY Tel/AT&T. His friends were making three times that at Bethlehem Steel but Bob felt the phone company had a better future. Audrey worked as a secretary at the same time.
Audrey retired from the East Aurora school system in 1983. She worked as a cafeteria monitor and teachers aide. Audrey test marketed blueberries in the early 70's by sending her kids door to door with berries and also by placing ads in the EA Penny saver for pre-picked berries available by advanced order. Audrey works side by side with Bob at markets and at the farm. She has kept the fields mowed like a lawn for all these years and has never missed a market. Audrey is the one who started handing out "recipes of the week" which later morphed into Daniel's annual "Recipes to Rave About" newsletter. Audrey continues to mow, co-manage the You Pick with Bob and go to the Saturday market in North Tonawanda.
Thanks for taking an interest in our family and our farm. Have you checked out our recipes?
All Rights Reserved. Copy, duplication, use in any way forbidden without express permission of Daniel M. Childs. Childs Blueberries ©® 1983, Taste the Difference ©® 2004, Taste the Top Quality Difference ©® 2004, The Blueberry Ranch©1986, Childs Blueberry Ranch©1986, Childs Blueberry & Buffalo Ranch©2012, Blueberry & Buffalo Ranch©2012, Recipes to Rave About ©® 1986, 100% Everything Nice ©® 1984 , Heaven on Earth ©® 2004, Foremost in Quality ©® 1989, Foremost in Quality Fruit ©® 1989 , Wa Tera Swo©2008 Onondaga for "Land of Happy Dreams", Sweetest Blueberries on the Planet ©2009, Field of Shame ©2010.