Jennifer Moonsong Jobe Publishing Regional – For many, the American dream consists of having a picturesque family farm. For the Cash Family at Blueberry Hills Farm and Nursery that dream is a reality.
Hope and Chris Cash purchased the farm in 2012.
Part of the appeal was that they didn’t have to start from scratch, since the property had established 26-year-old blueberry bushes. “We were open to a change in scenery at the time and had looked into blueberries a few years back. We decided purchasing an established farm would allow us to produce more berries faster and become a staple for families to visit us each year,” Hope said.
The farm has been successful, but even picture perfect farm dreams in the rolling hills of Kentucky involve a lot of hard work, and some bittersweet realities.
“My biggest challenge is keeping machinery working,” she said. “I am not a mechanic and do not enjoy tinkering. I have learned to be faithful to complete the tasks I can, to find patience for the tasks undone, and find solace in the satisfaction I have done what I can.”
Unlike more routine career paths, blueberry farming doesn’t have a set routine.
“My to-do list changes constantly based on the weather and what is most important to accomplish. I enjoy mowing with the ridding mower or bush-hog. It is great to see the farm looking clean at the end of the day.”
It’s that sense of accomplishment that keeps the cash family moving ahead through good times and bad.
“Weed eating is not my favorite, but has become tolerable as I have learned how to start the thing without killing myself,” Cash said playfully.
“We have about 3,000 bushes to weed eat around and we try to do this twice a season. The past two seasons have been bare bones, as Chris has been on the road driving a truck and I was pregnant or just had a baby and didn’t have my energy back yet.”
Challenges aside, Hope is still planning for the future with a lot of faith in what can be accomplished.
“I hope to get the field looking good this year and do a lot of pruning this winter, and I hope that my children see the hard work we do and as they grow are able to join in and find pride in the work they do. I want them to understand the value of a dollar, and be able to push through problems with a good attitude.
Life is not perfect, but it is what you make it. I think your hands, your attitude, and work ethic determine the outcome.”
Taking pride in her work is very important to Cash.
“While we are not certified Organic, we try to spray responsibly. For the past 3 years, we have not sprayed the blueberry crop. We have seen an increase in the spotted wing dysphoria, which is a particularly devastating insect who injects eggs in unripe berries. We may choose to spray this year depending on the progression of that insect in our field,” she said
Most importantly, they want their customers to know that they can come to them with any questions they have.
“We encourage our customers to ask about sprays used and when we spray. We are always open to share details of the when and whys,” she said.
Although the blueberries alone are a massive amount of work, blueberries are not the only thing being grown at Blueberry Hills Farm and Nursery.
“This year we sold perennials and annuals, iris, strawberries, are selling blueberries, and we will sell tomatoes. We have a few annuals left such as tomatoes, Petunias and Dahlias, as well as a few spikes and asparagus fern,” Cash said.
They are also making table top arrangements/flower pots for summer get-togethers, like red and white combos for the fourth of July.
Blueberry Hills Farm and Nursery is selling blueberries from the Farm Monday through Friday 7-5 or by appointment, and the Bounty of the Barrens Market Saturday’s at the Glasgow square 8-12.
Customers who want to pick their own berries and immerse themselves in the farm experience can do so, and pre-picked berries are 4.50 per lb. (5 and 10# boxes available.)
“We do sell pints and quarts as well for $5 and $8, respectively. The season started late this year so we should be picking through the first couple weeks of July.”
To contact Hope call 270-432-4455 (HILL), 270-261-1360 or 270-404-0805 Chris’s Smart phone, or visit facebook.com/blueberryhillsfarmandnursery “Sometimes the only way to get a hold of me is coming by and honking your horn,” Cash said.
But that’s okay, customers are welcome at the farm.