Just as the sun broke the horizon I arrived to Buchan’s Blueberry Hill–the morning dew still fresh on the acres of blueberry bushes. Ben Buchan rode up on his ATV and Lori Buchan stepped out of the industrial kitchen with a welcoming smile. The pair wasted no time in greeting us and offering a tour of their land.
First were the many gardens, raised beds on the outskirts of the blueberry patches. They contained swiss chard, rhubarb, herbs, tomatoes and more. After traversing the gardens we were led inside to see how Lori’s treats were made. One of her newest creations is a blueberry ice cream, and after showing us the machine she offered up a delicious spoonful.
The Buchan’s are well-known in this area for their blueberries and when we left the kitchen we walked out in the bushes. Each bush held hundreds, maybe thousands, of bright indigo spheres and as we continued on we noticed that the ground beneath us felt soft and spongy. Ben told us that this sensation came from the peat — put into the soil to help give the nutrients and acidity that blueberries need.
Workers were scattered about the fields hand picking buckets of blueberries that would later go to the sorting belt. I popped a couple fresh blueberries into my mouth and it was time to end our visit, but as we walked back through the fields I asked a little more about Ben & Lori. Ben Buchan was raised on the farm and Lori has been farming for about eight years now. Their favorite part is the fresh air and being outside, but it’s always hard wondering how the crops will do each year. As we said goodbye, Ben and Lori informed me that the farm was now open for u-pick season. And I can safely say, after tasting their delicious blueberries, I’ll be making a return trip.
Find more information and the listing for Buchan’s Blueberry Hill at localdifference.org
Kyle Huggett works for SEEDS as a Renewable and Sustainable Energy Educator in addition to facilitating several farm visits a month to the vendors that participate in Traverse City’s Sara Hardy Farmers Market.