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Higher Taste Blueberry Farm celebrates 60 years

Ava, with her grandmother and sister Trinity, holds out a blueberry at Higher Taste Blueberry Farm, in a neighborhood between Federal Way and Auburn. - Raechel Dawson, the Mirror
Ava, with her grandmother and sister Trinity, holds out a blueberry at Higher Taste Blueberry Farm, in a neighborhood between Federal Way and Auburn.
— image credit: Raechel Dawson, the Mirror

At the edge of Lake Dolloff sits five acres of organic blueberries ready to be picked.

A girl named Ava holds up a blueberry and plops it in her mouth.

She’s been coming to the farm with her grandmother and sisters for about two years.

The blueberries at Higher Taste Blueberry Farm are nestled in a neighborhood between Federal Way and Auburn and sell for $2.50 a pound if picked, $5 already picked.

Blueberry farm owner Mary King said this season marks the 60th anniversary the berries were planted and they’re currently in their prime.

A married couple, the Olsons, bought the property along with three-and-a-half acres across the street 60 years ago and planted all of the trees themselves, King recalls.

The two harvested the berries and also used it to make blueberry jam. King said she still has some of the recipes.

The wife owned the property until she was 93 years old, King said.

Then in 1998 the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a Hindu religious organization, owned the property until 2000 when it was sold to a man who grew up around the farm. He owned the land for five years, keeping a cow on the property and later Indian Brahman cattle and race horses that would compete at Emerald Downs.

But in 2005, the farm’s 51st anniversary, he sold King the five acres and kept the remaining three-and-a-half acres until just recently.

“I was originally looking for some acreage on a lake and I ran into this,” King said. “I thought it was interesting so I bought it. I liked that it was organic.”

King would spend the next nine years and 10 seasons tending to the rows of blueberry bushes.

“It’s a year-round thing,” she said. “During the winter … it’s organic so everything has to be done by hand.”

King often requests volunteer help in pulling invasive species from the bushes because she doesn’t use chemicals and pesticides since they are organic.

But, she adds, volunteers get to pick for free in the summer and the deal still stands.

King also sells organic honey that customers buy for their allergies.

“We have beehives right here on the farm,” she said. “That’s been pretty popular. This is the third year now that we’ve been selling honey.”

King said the blueberry season ranges from July to September, with a few varieties making their way in late June and lasting until early October. She opens her farm seven days a week for picking between 10 a.m. and dusk but will often close early, around 3 p.m., if it gets too hot. For more information about the Higher Taste Blueberry Farm or to volunteer, contact King at 206-579-0214.

Higher Taste Blueberry Farm is located at 30431 38th Ave. S. in Auburn.

 

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