Tom and Evangeline Reed opened their pick-your-own organic Sanctuary Blueberry Farm to the public May 2018 after planting its first berry bushes in 2013.
“We’d been having friends come out and pick as a little private group since the beginning,” Evangeline said. “Last year was our trial run opening to the public. Last year, we didn’t even know if we’d have enough berries to come pick, but as the plants grow it’s becoming clear, yes, we can have as many people as will come.”
The farm is home to 7,300 blueberry bushes on 10 acres—formerly hay fields—with the couple’s red barn and farmhouse at the back of the drive, where visitors can weigh in and pay for their berries for $4 a pound.
Tom said the couple began planting the blueberry bushes by the thousand in sections, and can point pickers to areas ripening each day.
Evangeline said 600 visitors came by the farm last year, spending an average of $25 each.
“We don’t just grow organic because it’s a thing. We actually live that lifestyle,” Evangeline said. “We’re very toxin-free in our home and want to teach other people how to do that, too.”
The farm has three full-time employees who hand-weed or till instead of using Roundup like other farms, which is linked to carcinogens. The Reeds also installed an irrigation pond and dug a well for the bushes.
“Irrigation was the hardest challenge—setting it up to collect the runoff—so if it rains really hard the runoff goes into the pond, and it gets pumped back up here to the plants,” Evangeline said. “The pond’s really nice, mineral-rich water. … It’s almost like extra fertilization.”
She said their biggest success has been creating the blueberry farm with no farming background.
“We want to build a place where people can create memories with their family, where neighbors can be neighbors, and eventually we want to do a lot of fun classes out here to bring the community together,” Evangeline said. “I want people to come in and see who we are as people, and trust us so we can make friends—not just say ‘Let’s go pick blueberries,’ but ‘Let’s go see our friends at the blueberry farm.’”
The Sanctuary Blueberry Farm
18430 Kinkaid Road W., Montgomery
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-noon, 5-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 7 a.m.-8 p.m.* through ripening season (the last week of May through the month of June)
*Check the website for daily updates on ripe berries.