Bow Hill Blueberries, formerly the Anderson Blueberry Farm in Bow, WA –– the oldest blueberry farm in Skagit County –– is under new ownership and back in action for the season! Read on to learn what’s new on the old property, and how you and your family can share in the bounty!
It’s mid-August and the blueberry season is in full swing at Bow Hill Blueberries. Just in time for the harvest rush, new owners Susan and Harley Soltes have made sure the old farm is ready for guests –– some are long time customers of the property. Susan says that community members and blueberry pickers from near and far seem very excited to have the old farm back in operation.
But it sure isn’t the same farm it used to be. Bow Hill Blueberries is now officially Certified Transitional (transitioning from conventional production to organic growing methods). Additionally, Susan and Harley have struck up a partnership with Cedar Grove Compost and WISErganic: both companies are donating their compost products for an “Urban Acre” of blueberries. Cedar Grove and WISErganic lend fertility to the farm by shipping up composted waste from Seattle. WISErganic makes Certified Organic liquid fertilizer from PCC Co-op’s food scraps and Cedar Grove Compost is made from Seattle’s yard waste. Nourished by nutritive waste from the city, the Urban Acre is incredibly fertile and produces the very large, blue berries that people like to eat on cereal. The acre has become the most popular U-pick area on the farm. City dwellers can now journey up to Bow, and reap the returns of their soil investments.
For local blueberry eaters, the All-You-Can-Eat Grazing Pass (think backstage pass) is another inventive new development that gives bikers, hikers, and neighbors a chance to freely wander into the fields and sample all the different varieties as often as they want! Once taboo, snacking in the fields (and eating more than you place in your bucket) is now not only sanctioned, but encouraged at Bow Hill Blueberries!
Not everything is new, though. At 65 years old, the farm has some heirloom varieties of blueberries that can’t be found anywhere else. These are varieties known for their unique flavors and have been replaced in most commercial fields because they don’t work well with mechanized harvesting methods, or don’t produce large enough yields per acre to be considered commercially viable. Unfortunately, excellent flavor is often traded for such efficiency. Not at Bow Hill, though. Susan proudly reflects, “We had one large berry buyer tell us we had ‘obsolete’ varieties!” Well, more for us, then!
Drop by sometime when you’re in the area. Susan and Harley would love to show you around the new-fangled old farm, and share their delicious and bountiful berries with you!