The Rapidian

After more than 60 years growing, Lindberg Blueberries stays sweet

The Lindberg family centennial farm in Coopersville continues to produce a "good quality berry," growing for the local community.
Almost ready blueberries at the centennial Lindberg family farm.

Almost ready blueberries at the centennial Lindberg family farm. /Amy Hinman

About Lindberg Blueberries

Located in: Coopersville

Operated by: The Lindberg Family (Jeff and Brenda, along with their children Billy, Becky and Sarah)

Specializes in: Blueberries

Where to find them: YMCA Farmers Market and the GVSU Farmers Market

Farmer's Advice:
Brenda Lindberg:"Soil is important!"

Billy Lindberg: "Blueberries like acidic soil, so it’s kind of hard to plant blueberries in your backyard."

Brenda Lindberg: "So come here instead!"

 

The Lindberg Family at their centennial family farm. (l-r: Sarah, Becky, Billy, Brenda and Jeff Lindberg.)

The Lindberg Family at their centennial family farm. (l-r: Sarah, Becky, Billy, Brenda and Jeff Lindberg.) /Amy Hinman

While none of the original blueberry bushes remain at the centennial Lindberg farm in Coopersville, the family tradition of fruit growing remains. 

“Grandpa started planting blueberries in the 1950s,” explains Jeff Lindberg, who currently operates the farm with his three children and wife Brenda. “[My parents] bought this place from their dad's uncle in the 40s and they had owned it a long time before that.”

Even though the Lindberg children are “unsure of what the future holds” in regards to the family farm, they maintain that helping out is something they enjoy. With Billy Lindberg, blueberry farming is something he takes seriously.

“I’m a graduate student at MSU right now, researching blueberry production,” says Billy Lindberg. “I’ve done one experiment out here, and other experiments on other west Michigan farms, and across the state.”

In collaboration with Michigan State University, the Lindbergs are able to incorporate environmentally friendly ways of running their farm. 

“We have entomologists that come out and set traps for different pests, and then they tell us when the number of different pests are increasing,” explains Billy Lindberg. “That way, we can formulate a spray strategy so we can keep the numbers down; but with the traps, we can reduce the number of times we spray.”

Due to Billy Lindberg's involvement with research at Michigan State, the family says that they have “learned a lot” from him. They continue using more sustainable practices like not watering during the heat of the day to reduce excess evaporation. They also grow several new varieties of berries, specially developed to be hardier, sweeter and easier to pick.

The support for their berries is something that the Lindberg family has seen develop over the years. Brenda Lindberg, an employee at Grand Valley State University, says that the relationships built around blueberries are enjoyable.

“I work at Grand Valley, and I would say the people there are very loyal to local farms," she says. "Usually when people come [to the market], I tell them to come out to the farm, and they do! And they keep coming! So it’s really fun to build those relationships.”

The Lindbergs also focus on hiring workers from the area during the summer, something that gives the workers a chance to learn how to grow, and not just earn money.

“We hire local kids to work, and we have a few Grand Valley students too. We like to give them a chance to learn skills and a first chance at a job, and get them started,” says Becky LIndberg. 

The relationships that the Lindbergs built around their blueberries, from the workers to the shoppers at the market, is something that the family maintains they enjoy. Even though blueberry season can get hectic, time and dedication shown by customers is still fun. 

“Sometimes you get a ‘U-picker’ and they come once,” says Becky Lindberg. “And then they come for years and years and years.”

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