Nested in the heart of Lake Hills is a small yet bountiful 14-acre stretch of land called Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm. Open to the public for two months during the summer, anyone can stop by, grab a bucket and pick away. No matter what part of that time frame one may decide to go, they will be sure to find plenty of bushes lush with ripe blueberries.
The Cha family has owned the blueberry patches for twelve years. All five of their children help out in shifts with managing the produce. Besides the blueberry bushes, they ship in fruits and vegetables from various farms in Yakima. They offer everything from fresh herbs and squash to all sorts of greens. The best things to buy to quench summer’s thirst are their peaches and plums, they pack a whole lot more flavor than any I’ve bought from a grocery store.
Blueberry picking always brings about feelings of nostalgia for me as I have been doing it since I was a child. Even now I just want to kick off my shoes and feel the lush grass beneath my feet as I search through the branches. It’s always rewarding to hear the satisfying pop when blueberries are pulled off the vine and the drum of them dropping into the bucket.
This is the perfect place for a stroll, picnic or picking fresh blueberries for anyone of any age. The trail is level ground and wide with plenty of room for bikes, strollers and big groups. Whether you stand tall or short, another characteristic that makes it so great is that quite a few areas of the blueberry bushes are wheelchair accessible where the bushes are in reach of the beaten path.
Taking a visit to Larsen Lake, one will see all sorts of small animals and you may even spot some of them munching on fallen berries. This is such a good place to get one’s daily dose of nature without having to travel far out of the suburbs. Oftentimes I will bike there to find a nook in the bushes that leads to the lake so I can read in solitude. Other times, I like to walk around and see all the smiling faces of people walking by.
One of the many people I’ve encountered was a young woman named Elizabeth who was enjoying the blueberry picking service with her two kids when I arrived. She stated “we moved here five years ago. The first time we picked blueberries here we immediately realized how amazing it is, there are so many reasons why we keep coming back. The price is better than what you find in a grocery store, the fruit is fresher and we get to build precious memories.” As we spoke, her kids ran around gleefully making the blueberry-picking into a game of who could pick the most.
The blueberry farm is a place that I, and many others, hope sticks around for a long time. It brings friends and family, even strangers together to form valuable memories. On top of that it shows youth the fun and importance of healthy eating. It’s accessible for a huge scope of people and virtually anyone is able to go and take part.