Author Topic: Family traditions take root at berry farm  (Read 990 times)

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Offline Little Feather

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Family traditions take root at berry farm
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 02:48:36 AM »

If you’ve lived in the Ozarks very long, you know it’s almost picking time.

June ushers in blueberry and blackberry season and the area is ripe with you-pick farms.

At Persimmon Hill Berry Farm in Lampe, people flock to the fields to pick their own fruit and feast on the farm’s oversize “Thunder Muffins,” one of the biggest and best blueberry muffins around.

It’s a tradition for many families.

The 75-acre-farm is owned by Earnie and Martha Bohner.

“The object of the game is for people to come in and enjoy the real Ozarks,” Earnie said. “They come out here and enjoy nature and pick berries and are doing something productive while they’ve having fun. People are happy when they’re here. It’s a fun deal.”

When the Bohners’ children — Reid and Savannah — were little, the kids would tug their red Radio wagons full of blueberries from the field to customers’ cars.

“They thought they were big stuff,” said Martha.

The children are grown now but sometimes come back to help out in the summer.
Farming family

The Bohners bought the land — which is spotted with persimmon trees — in 1982. They were living in Seattle at the time, and Earnie dreamed of owning a berry farm. Earnie, a Glendale High School graduate, wanted to get back to his roots.

Martha is from South Carolina and the two met while working at the Centers for Disease Control in Kansas City. He followed her to Seattle.

Earnie’s father kept cattle in Rogersville and Earnie always loved the outdoors, so the family moved back to the Ozarks.

Farming isn’t easy: 2007 was a “punishing year,” and there have been a spate of bad ones since. Last year’s drought resulted in a pitiful crop.

“That beat everyone up,” Earnie said.

But that’s life on a farm, Martha added.

“You have good years and bad years,” she said. “We diversify so we’re not depending on any one thing.”

Luckily, the berries made it through this last freeze and Bohner expects to have ripe fruit by the second week of June — sooner if it stays warm.

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Want to go?

Persimmon Hill Farm is located at 367 Persimmon Hill Lane in Lampe. Call for updates to see when the berries are ripe: 417-779-5443. Owner Earnie Bohner estimates the berries will be ready by the second week of June. The farm is open daily and has a restaurant that is open for lunch. For more information, go online to http://www.persimmonhill.com/