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!
Bob and Audrey & Dan and Carrie
Childs Organic IPM© Blueberry Farm
FROZEN BLUEBERRIES FOR SALE: Childs Organic Frozen Blueberries--$9.00 per bag--28 oz. Special--6 bags for $50 frozen berries
Frozen Organic Elderberries--$20 per bag--28 oz.
Bags are BPA free, double thick freezer bags. Four cups-two pints-28 oz.--per bag
Frozen Blueberries Pickup at the Farm--See Contact Information.
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 716 557 233-sold out until Fall 2014.
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.
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.
Pesticide is defined as herbicides, fungicides & insecticides.
DEAD BEES--Imidacloprid (is a systemic insecticide which acts as an insect neurotoxin and belongs to a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids (which act on the central nervous system) is used by many farmers; especially huge farms where the farmer is more a tractor jockey than a "hands in the dirt" kind of farmer. This chemical is sprayed on the soil or on the plants and kills a whole lots of nastiness fast. The trouble is, it kills the BEES, too. Another trouble is it lingers in the soil with a half life. Another trouble is, it is not good for people. We have a wonderful vibrant honey and bee population that illustrates our farm is a healthy place for all--including people. Come buy our berries or visit our You Pick. We welcome you to both. We appreciate your business!
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 SETS CHILDS BLUEBERRIES APART?
Childs Blueberries uses only Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) approved products.
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 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. 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.
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. Because of the excessive rain in the Pacific Northwest, fruits from there (you are seeing more and more from there in the local stores here in WNY) have huge quantities of fungicides applied to stop mold, mummy berry, anthracnose, etc. The Scoop--Childs Blueberries uses OMRI approved fungicide applied during dormancy when no fruit is on the bush. How good is that!!!
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. Fifty percent of the time I have pick up a basket of organic blueberries in the grocery 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®. Most farmers don't want to spend the money to buy organic insecticides but we do it because we know it matters to you--our customers...not to mention, it matters to us.
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 or if the farm is in the Pacific Northwest with excessive rain--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. Most of all, frequent farmers markets so the grocery chains don't have an oligopoly on the food supply. The only reason you get "apples for 99 cents" is because grocery chains are transporting seconds from Washington State to flood the market when the local New York apples are in. This discourages people who go to the farmers market and see apples for more than 99 cents and say, "I could get them cheaper at the store". Of course, three weeks later, the store price is much higher than the farmer was ever asking at the farmers market. I tracked this one year from spring to fall and sent the grocery chain flyers to the attorney general and showed how all the "specials" at the grocery chains were synced against local peak season for fruits and vegetables AND that in some cases, the stores were selling below cost. This is what John D. Rockefeller did to grow his empire and it has since been made against the law. Evidently Attorney General Spitzer did not want to tangle with grocery chains over this as his resources were tied up at the time targeting the prostitution rings. Again, only the farmers markets stops prices from sky rocketing for food so be sure to teach your children to use them! You get better quality, talk right to the grower and in most cases, get a better price. Right now (December) blueberries are over $12.50 per pint unit cost and they are imported from countries with no regulations and labor that works dirt cheap. That is what you would always be paying without the farmers markets keeping the grocery chains honest. Just now a little devil appeared on my shoulder---hmmm, sabotage the farmers markets so they all go out of business...the grocery chains offer to buy my entire crop each year so I have nothing to sell at markets...their mark up is 30% so if all the farmers were gone, I could get 70% of $12.50 per pint....hmmm....maybe I am looking at this the wrong way. What do you think? Imagine--without farmers markets you would be paying winter prices for produce all year long. Believe 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, 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.