Lisa runs the farm now. Her father, Wayne, is handing the reins over to her and she’s building on the foundation he and the generations before had built. While Wayne focused on modernizing the farm with a mechanical harvester, cooler and sorting line conveyor, Lisa is emphasizing marketing and promotion using the internet, social media and her extensive network of contacts.
Once the Denise has hand harvested the berries they go into a cooler that Wayne built from a refrigerator truck body and a Walmart air conditioner. Cooling helps firm them up the berries for handling on the sorting line. Here Lisa explains about harvesting as we see the fresh pack sorting line in operation.
The sorting line allows Lisa to sell the berries to retail customers, Helen’s restaurant and a fresh pack distributor who takes them to Massachusetts and Connecticut. As Lisa said, once the berries reach peak the Wayne will get the mechanical harvester out on the barrens and begin harvesting for the processor. Each farm contracts with a processor. For Welch Farm it’s Wyman’s, a Maine based processor. These berries are harvested into colorful plastic boxes and by the road for the Wyman’s truck to pick up. These berries will be canned or frozen and shipped throughout the country. Sometime in early December the processors will get together and calculate the total harvest and set the price they’ll pay the farmers. In mid-December Lisa will get a check from Wyman’s and will find out whether the farm made or lost money for the year. Then she’ll begin planning for the next season.
Welch Farm survives because of the hard work and ingenuity of the Hanscom family. If you want to see Maine as is was 50 years ago this place may be for you. It is well beyond the well worn tourist destinations of southern and mid-coast Maine. Lisa rents primitive cabins and dry camping RV spots on the farm to diversify her income. You can reach her at:
186 Roque Bluffs Rd.
Roque Bluffs, ME 04654
Thanks for all of the blueberries. Can you explain why they’re twice as expensive in Sydney as London, when Australia is th e third biggest agricultural producer in the world? Love, Robin.