Childs Blueberry Farm
Childs motto: Under Promise--Over Deliver
Childs Blueberries--real hands in the dirt family farmers
Multi-regional, multi country USDA organic farms are mass spraying organic insecticides and fungicides because they are too large to micromanage the field like Cornell University teaches with IPM. This MASS ORGANIC SPRAYING builds up tolerance in the pests ultimately hurting all of us. It is a classic example of big business trying to do what they can't do well--at least for long, and usually at a price to society.
CHILDS BLUEBERRIES SET UP AT FARMERS MARKETS IN OLEAN, EAST AURORA, WILLIAMSVILLE & NORTH TONAWANDA
Businesses that supply grocery stores with conventional and organic fruits are machine harvesting the berries by batting the then bruised berries off the bush (scarring of bushes require fungicides (organic or conventional) to stop disease) and in order for the berries to fall when machine picked, the bush must be pretty much totally ripe. To get a pretty much totally ripe bush about 20% of the berries are over ripe and rancid in flavor--that is part of the reason most the frozen (bruised, overripe, heavily sprayed, not labeled with country of origin) blueberries just don't cut it. Also, many processed berries are soaked in a peroxide type solution prior to freezing. Another downside to the machine harvesters is they knock a bunch of berries to the ground, which like a dirty kitchen is a breeding ground for pests. The answer--spray lots and lots of insecticides--organic or conventional.
These USDA Organic blueberries are laden with sprays, machine picked, bruised, old, stemmy, some over ripe and generally lacking flavor--I know as I have tried them. $4.98 IS TO A 6 OZ PACKAGE AS $10.87 IS TO A PINT (4.4 OZ IS $14.83 A PINT) This is what the grocery business would charge you all the time if they could JUST GET RID OF US PESKY INDEPENDENT FAMILY FARMERS
Here is our pint
WITH CHILDS BLUEBERRIES, IT'S A FULL PINT AND YOU WON'T HAVE TO THROW ANY AWAY--SORTED THREE TIMES BY PEOPLE!
CHILDS BLUEBERRIES ARE HAND PICKED BY AMERICANS AT THE TRUE PEAK OF RIPENESS
CHILDS BLUEBERRIES ARE IRRIGATED WITH SURFACE WATER (POND) SO AS NOT TO DRAIN THE UNDERGROUND AQUIFERS
CHILDS BLUEBERRIES ARE GROWN WHERE THE GLACIERS NEVER HIT MEANING THAT THE SOIL IS PERFECT FOR GROWING BLUEBERRIES--IF WE PLANT CORN, IT GROWS KNEE HIGH. THE GROCERY STORE BERRIES ARE GROWN IN FLATLANDS WITH THE WRONG SOIL THAT HAS BEEN CHEMICALLY ADJUSTED SO BLUEBERRIES WILL GROW BUT THE FLAVOR IS JUST NOT GOOD. IF YOU SEE BLUEBERRIES AND CORN PLANTED IN THE SAME AREA THEN YOU NEED TO TRY SOME OF OUR BERRIES AND FIND OUT WHAT A GOOD BLUEBERRY IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE--FLATLAND BLUEBERRIES ARE NOT IT!
WITH CHILDS BLUEBERRIES--No insecticides unless we apply it as a preventative measure after finding a single pest in our pheromone traps and by nipping it in the bud by constant monitoring, we can avoid the trap the big grocery chain supplier USDA farms are in of mass spraying insecticides weekly. If I did find a pest in one of our traps, I would spray at night so as not to harm the bees (USDA Organic berries you buy in the store are sprayed during the day on a weekly basis by airplane or huge sprayers) and of course, I would use the expensive organic certified insecticide but only as needed since my farm is small enough to monitor using Cornell's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) pheromone approach. Most farms have killed the microbes in their soil with INSECTICIDES 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 SOIL IS ALIVE AND CAN UPTAKE NUTRIENTS HELPING WITH THE SUPERIOR FLAVOR!
AND LAST, TYPICAL OF BIG BUSINESS--THE GROCERY STORE MULTI REGIONAL ORGANIC FRUIT SUPPLIERS WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO "GO ORGANIC" MASSIVELY (MASS MASS MASS) SPRAY THE NEONICOTINOIDS AND THEN WAIT THE THREE YEARS TO BE USDA ORGANIC CERTIFIED--THE PROBLEM IS, THESE CHEMICALS HAVE A HALF LIFE AND THREE YEARS IS NOT ENOUGH. THIS AGAIN BRINGS YOU BACK TO WHY YOU SHOULD STOCK UP FROM A FARMER LIKE CHILDS BLUEBERRIES. I CAN'T WATCH THE TV COMMERCIALS THE BIG CHAINS PUT ON, KNOWING WHAT I KNOW, WITHOUT GRIMACING AT THEIR MISDIRECTION OF OUR CITIZENS.
The answer is a supporting local family farmers with your business
Granddaughter working with Farmer Dan--the van was full at 7 a.m. and empty by noon. Thank you North Tonawanda!
We appreciate your business past and future.
NEXT IS OUR
1. TV COMMERCIAL--WHAT DO YOU THINK?
2. OUR FARM MARKET LOCATIONS
3. MORE ON BEYOND ORGANIC© FARMING PRACTICES BY CHILDS BLUEBERRIES
4. BIOGRAPHY OF THE FARMERS...
We are in Peak Season
Frozen Organic Elderberries--$20 per bag--28 oz.
Bags are BPA free, double thick freezer bags. Four cups-two pints-28 oz.--per bag
MARKETS--JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER
North Tonawanda Robinson Street Market; Thursday & Saturdays, 7-1
East Aurora Farmers Market; Wednesday & Saturdays 7-1
Downtown Buffalo Country Market: Thursdays, 8-1
Williamsville Market at the Mill; Saturdays, 8-1
Olean REAP Market; Saturdays, 8-2
Direct Purchase at the Farm; M-F 9 to 6.
Frozen Blueberries Pickup at the Farm--Call Carrie 716 557 2334
Quantity Discount Offered During Peak Season Only--Update on Website.
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 12,000 bushes.
Herbicide--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. Roundup is kept in locked cases and you have to have a permit and sign it out to buy it in the EU. In the USA, they sell it in Walmart. 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.
"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 with his market neighbor, Elmer at the North Tonawanda Farmers Market. I remember when Elmer was just a youngster in his 80's. I was set up across from him at NT on Thursdays and Joe the Cucumber man was immediately to my right. I was only in my early 30's--a mere child compared to these two old timers and I learned much of my marketing acumen from them. Joe, who always reminded me of Bill Cosby, has passed on but could he ever regal his customers with stories. Every once in a while he would bellow out across the market to some customer of his--"don't buy from the them! They are hucksters" I was glad to be on Joe's good side. Elmer celebrated his 101st birthday this year. Time has marched on as Elmer's granddaughter, Carly has taken over much of his market but you still see him there. Elmer told me "when I was 5, my dad and I used to ride to this very market and it took 2 hours to get here because it was a horse pulling the wagon" So Elmer has been going to this very market for 96 years! I am pleased and proud to know Elmer and now that Bob and Audrey have retired to run the UPICK operation, I am back at NT after a 5 year hiatus--including Saturdays. As much as I appreciate the great NT Childs Blueberries customers--I know they miss my Mom and Dad being there. All I can say is I will do my best to carry on their proud tradition at NT! Dan Childs
Dan Childs with Flash, 8-2014. Eating Childs Blueberries makes a "super hero" out of all of us!
So this summer, I was in Downtown Buffalo at the market and the brother of our school librarian stopped by dressed as a SUPER HERO. It
made the day that much more fun! No one can eat Childs Blueberries as fast as Flash!
Record setting day at East Aurora Farmers Market. The truck could not have been filled any higher! Thanks customers.
We have frozen available. Contact Carrie to work out details.
1993 Childs Blueberry Farm facing north toward Buffalo, NY
Williamsville Market at the Mill
"Best tasting, sweetest darn blueberry on the planet or my names not Farmer Dan!"
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.
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 the 1960's we bought this mountaintop in Humphrey, NY and my Dad called in the Conservation Dept. representative to analyze the farm soil and such. The rep said to Dad, "your soil is a five" My Dad eagerly asked, is that good? The rep replied, "well, soil is measured on a 1 to 5 scale and 1 is good." So Dad in disappointment asked, "what can I do with this soil". The rep remarked, "dynamite it". Dad and Mom were strolling through the "worthless" farm contemplating what to do next when they noticed WILD BLUEBERRIES growing everywhere. In the 60's, if you could not grow corn or tomatoes, to a rep the soil was worthless but it turns out that our soil, that the glaciers never amalgamated is the most perfect soil in the world for growing blueberries. If we grow corn, it reaches knee high but blueberries--they flourish! One mountain range over is Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park and the glaciers never touched there either.
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, BEYOND ORGANIC© 2014, Organic IPM©, 2014 .