Aptos, Monterey, Del Monte, Carmel (May through June)
Five varieties of blueberries: Star, Legacy, Misty, Reka, and Sierra, available May – July.
Mark is a fourth generation raisin farmer and he and Kim have been farming on their own for over 20 years. In 1997, Mark and Kimberly decided to diversify their farming business and try something new. They leased five acres from a friend and planted four varieties of blueberries as an experiment. As they were one of the only farmers in the region planting blueberries, they had to do a lot of research to determine which plants would thrive and the best production methods for their locale. Mark and Kimberly get help from their daughters, Johannah, Elizabeth, and Olivia, along with two year-round, part-time employees and about 30 seasonal employees.
Several dozen bee hives in the center of the blueberry field pollinate the plants. “No bees, no berries,” says Kim. “We love to see the joyful look on people’s faces when they sample our berries for the first time. They ask why our berries are so flavorful. The answer: our plants are very well cared for and happy.”
Farmland: 15 acres of blueberries grown and 350 acres of raisin vineyards located in Caruthers, grown conventionally.
Soil: Very sandy soil built up with mulching. Blueberries require acidic soil and the Sorensens create this environment by adding acidic amendments and nitrogen through the drip irrigation system.
Weed Control: Herbicides are applied during the blueberry dormant season. During the growing season, the Sorensens weed by hand and use a mower.
Pest Management: There are no insect pests. Flying metallic tape is used to to protect the crops against birds and owl boxes control the gopher population.
Water Use: Blueberries require a lot of water. Water is obtained from on-site wells and drip irrigation is powered by electricity.