Our names are TJ and Marcia Bear. While Marcia grew up right here on Wyatt Dr just a mile up the road from where we presently live, I grew up in Ohio with non ag background. We were married in 01 just three days after the September 11 attacks. We are blessed with three children, ages 11, 9 and 1 year old.
Bear Fruit was born in 2005 as an extension to our small grass seed operation. We were looking for a way to “intense crop” a little of our ground with something that would complement our existing grass seed crops. Also we wanted both the satisfaction of growing a food crop, and of getting to know our neighbors and community better. We marketed our first crop mostly thru u-pick, but gradually expanded into other outlets, including Farmer’s markets, and grocery stores.
We experienced many rewards from that first effort at fruit crops. We enjoyed growing (and eating) a tasty, nutritious, food crop. We enjoyed meeting neighbors from both the Harrisburg/Junction City area, as well as many from Eugene, Corvallis, and other places across the U.S. Perhaps the most satisfying part of all is simply watching the expression on people’s faces when they pop that first juicy blueberry of the season in their mouth. Almost everyone says the same thing:
“Wow I just had some last week from Safeway that looked really nice, but these taste like a real blueberry”!
In Spring of 07 we had the opportunity to take over the lease on a neighboring 2.5 acre blueberry patch. To do so we would need to pretty much withdraw from the grass seed and focus on fruit and direct marketing. Since we enjoyed what we’d already experienced, and since it gave us the opportunity to expand our business, we opted to try it!
The blueberry farm was originally developed by Mark and Lori Whitham (Pristine Fruits) and their young sons Chase and Kyle. Mark built the existing house at the new site in and planted blueberries, raspberries, and lingonberries. Later he sold the property to a neighbor in order to pursue opportunities with his work as a food scientist. Many of our existing customers are people who knew and became friends of Mark and Lori and their sons.
After Pristine Fruits came Gene and Janette Hursh, who leased the blueberries and house for three years, and called it Blueberry Ridge. Then in winter/spring of 07 Gene and Janette decided to pursue other opportunities and left the house and “patch” open for lease again. We were next up. Since we already had the Bear Fruit name, we opted to change the name yet again. Fortunately for us, all those loyal customers from previous years knew where the patch was, and when blueberry time came, they came looking for blueberries, whether or not they recognized the sign at the end of the road!
If you are a previous customer, we thank you sincerely for your patronage and hope to serve you in the future. If you are a new customer, we invite you out to the “end of the road” to enjoy the expansive views, the great people, fresh air, and of course, the best blueberries the Willamette Valley has to offer. We are located on the same street as Detering Orchards, and many who come out for a “day in the country” visit both places as well as Johnson’s green house just up the road.