Volunteers restore Hylebos Blueberry Farm for upcoming season

Last Saturday, master gardeners Jim and Donna Cox led a pruning seminar to spruce up a local blueberry farm.

When springtime rolls around, dozens of community members help to fix up the Hylebos Blueberry Farm in preparation of the upcoming season.

On March 6, Jim and Donna Cox, master gardeners from Federal Way’s Light of Christ Church community garden, led the second-annual Pruning Seminar.

Attendees were given instructions, then set off into the farm to practice on the blueberry bushes. The South King Tool Library provided tools for participants, and Boy Scout Troop 361 worked together with the Federal Way Parks Department to complete the farm’s fence.

“We continue to see great progress. Last year we enjoyed seeing many people drop by and pick berries,” said Shelley Pauls, local resident and founder of We Love Our City nonprofit. “We look forward to an even better crop this year.”

Helping hands included the Kent Roaster Starbucks team, Christ’s Church youth group, We Love Our City volunteers and community members.

In spring 2018, volunteers met with the Federal Way Parks Department to devise a plan to restore the historic Hylebos Blueberry Farm.

Since then, hundreds of volunteer hours have been devoted to removing overgrown blackberry bushes along with weeding, tilling, pruning, fertilizing, planting new bushes, introducing Mason bees, building fences and installing an irrigation system, Pauls said.

In October 2019, the city opened a connector trail from Brooklake Community Center to the West Hylebos Wetlands Boardwalk trail, linking the blueberry farm property to the 125 acres of serene wetlands of Federal Way.

While details of the farm’s original owner are difficult to track down, some volunteers have corroborated that the farm was planted by Air Force retiree Brian Allen in the 1960s.

The Hylebos Blueberry Farm is located at 630 S. 356th Street in Federal Way.

Members of Boy Scouts Troop 361 help rebuild the farm’s fence on March 6.

Members of Boy Scouts Troop 361 help rebuild the farm’s fence on March 6.

Photo courtesy of Shelley Pauls

Photo courtesy of Shelley Pauls