The Blueberry Patch, Mansfield, Ohio

HARVESTING NATURE'S BOUNTY, STAFF, TASTE BUDS, USA MAINLAND — By on June 8, 2011 at 17:52

Story by Milli Thornton. Photos Copyright © Milli Thornton.

NINETY MINUTES by car from Cleveland in the western foothills of the Allegheny Plateau is the small city of Mansfield, Ohio. Sleepy as it sounds, with a population of 50,000, Mansfield is worth the drive if you’re looking for a diversity of leisure activities: everything from ghost hunting to the Biblewalk Wax Museum (includes a rare bible collection) to the thrills of vintage car racing.

I’ve got lots more to tell you about Mansfield in upcoming posts—including some cult movie tour tips—but first let’s visit The Blueberry Patch.

The Blueberry Patch is the biggest operation of its kind in Ohio. “We’ve come a long way, baby!” the website says proudly. “From a shanty to Ohio’s largest blueberry farm. Now celebrating our 30th year!”

Up-to-the-minute news from @Blueberry_Patch on Twitter:

Blueberry Bushes are nearing the end of bloom & pollination looks good! A nice crop is expected to be ready to pick the first week of July!

Welcoming front entrance for The Blueberry Patch

Welcoming front entrance for The Blueberry Patch

The Blueberry Patch is actually in Lexington (10 minutes south of Mansfield), which is also the home of the Lexington Blueberry Festival. To be held August 18-21 this year, the festival has more to offer than just blueberries and the things made from blueberries. With fireworks, a parade, a pageant, a silent auction, nine bands (including three national acts), rides and other activities for the kids, there’s fun to be had even for those who don’t care much for blueberries.

Halloween is a fun time, too, as The BOOberry Patch hosts a haunted wagon ride known as “A Tour of Tales.” New this year is Muster’s Haunted Trail. Do you dare to leave the safety of the wagon and survive the dark, twisting paths? Billed as a Berry Haunting Experience, the scarefest includes Muster’s Maze, a classic (and now restored) carnival attraction.

Buckets of blueberries for sale

Buckets of blueberries for sale

The property comprises almost 70 acres and is a diverse business, including a gift shop, cafe and coffee roastery, greenhouse and blueberry fields in the public section, with an extensive commercial nursery off behind the trees that boasts a new 1200 sq. ft. greenhouse.

Customers can buy pre-picked buckets of blueberries (3 pounds for $15; 6 pounds for $28) or do “U-Pick” for blueberries or raspberries during harvest season, which typically runs from July to September. Better still, take home some bushes to grow your own for the ultimate in fresh pancake ingredients (one-gallon pots $9.95; three-gallon pots $28.95). A handy guide posted above the potted bushes tells you how to select for cross-pollination and what the pH of your soil should be.

Herbs and flowers in the nursery

Herbs and flowers in the nursery

The Blueberry Patch grows over 27 varieties of blueberries, each with their own ripening times, which “helps us extend the season as long as possible.” Blueberry bushes can live for up to 80 years and a mature bush will yield 10 pounds or more.

Along with stocking up on blueberry bushes, the nursery and greenhouse will give you more happy dilemmas about what to take home. House plants, flowers, herbs, ferns, garden furniture and statuary . . . and that doesn’t even touch the explosion of choices inside the gift shop or on the front patio.

Ferns and garden statues galore

Ferns and garden statues galore

Milliver’s Travels will take you through Blossoms Cafe and the gift shop in separate posts later this summer. Till then, if you want to buy luscious buckets of blueberries or choose your own potted bushes to grow at home, here’s how to find The Blueberry Patch:

Just 2.2 Miles off I-71 at Exit 169
1285 W. Hanley Rd
Mansfield, OH 44904
Phone: 419-884-1797
http://www.theblueberrypatch.org

Hours of Operation:
Fall/Winter
Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-5
Spring/Summer
(May 1st – Sept 1st)
Mon-Sat 9-7, Sun 11-5

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RELATED TOPICS

Picking Blueberries in Charleston, Tennessee

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Milli Thornton

Milli Thornton


Milli Thornton (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at the Fear of Writing Blog and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse Coaching Service.


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    17 Comments

  • Julia
    Twitter: wordsxo
    says:

    I love blueberries! But once again, even though Maine is famous for them & much like maple syruping, I have never been blueberry picking (unless you count the three blueberry bushes in my back yard)!! This post reminds me, however, that I must go to a blueberry farm and pick some this summer! We definitely don’t have anything like The Blueberry Patch, but I think we have some pick your own spots! Can’t wait to hear about the cult movie tour tips!

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      I’ve never been blueberry picking myself but I did go huckleberry picking quite often with my family as a kid in Montana. Huckleberry pancakes are divine!

      If you have time for a little more reading, here’s a post from one of my guests who got to go blueberry picking – and thought she wouldn’t like it because she had never cared for blueberries:

      Picking Blueberries in Charleston, Tennessee

  • Roona says:

    Wow Milli! What an awesome pic of the nursery…I love gardening and one of my dreams is to create a huge flower garden with herbs as the sidekick so to speak and I am drooling over this picture…awesome article and pics…have done strawberry and apple picking in Ohio but didn’t get around to blueberries. I am also intrigued about the vintage car racing that you mentioned…if you at anytime explore that…do let me know!
    Roona

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      Roona – Strawberry and apple picking in Ohio sounds fun!

      Glad you liked my picture of the nursery. I could only show a part of it – the place was an absolute riot of color and temptations, both inside and out.

      Brian and I might go to a vintage car race in Mansfield on June 24. I’ll let you know if I do that story.

  • ronald says:

    Nice post on blueberries Milli. It made me reminisce about my young years leaving my home in Montreal and visiting my French Grandmother in the summers.

    The two of us would go to the Alpine Forests near Megève French alps and pick blueberries there. We would pick for hours and not hear a single sound, it was so quiet! We would come back with baskets of fresh, wild blueberries that stained our hands purple.

    The objective was for Memère to make jelly, jams & blueberry liqueur. Those were the times I remember the most fondly when I think of her.

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      Ronald, thanks for sharing those memories. I went into a peaceful zone while reading your comment. What an incredible experience, picking blueberries with your grandmother in the French Alps. Just to hear that kind of quiet again would be heavenly.

      I’ve never considered that there might be a liqueur made from blueberries. I’d be curious to try that!

      I’m pleased you liked my story. Mucho thanks for reading!

  • I love how they have brought themselves into the 21st Century by the website statement, “From a shanty to Ohio’s largest blueberry farm. Now celebrating our 30th year!” Yet, “We’ve come a long way, baby!” beckons back several decades. All this reminds me of the timelessness of nature, which just keeps growing and dying year after year while us humans are ever re-inventing ourselves.

    The Blueberry Festival sounds like a lot of fun. It’s amazing that the sleepy little town of Mansfield is such a jumpin’ place in and around it.

    This reminds me of the agri torismo businesses I’ve heard about in Italy. The Blueberry Patch has found a way to thrive in our modern world of competitive environments by offering farming and a whole lot more.

    I am really enjoying your tours of Mansfield and surroundings Milli.

    catherine

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      Catherine, that’s a great comparison with agriturismo businesses in Italy. I looked it up and found this definition:

      “A combination of the words for ‘agriculture’ and ‘tourism’ in Italian.”

      Although there are no lodgings for visitors to vacation in, this part was also true of The Blueberry Patch: “An Italian agriturismo will usually serve foods to guests prepared from raw materials produced on the farm. Some will allow the guest to actually participate in the activities surrounding the farm.”

      Customers can eat dishes made with blueberries in the cafe and/or go pick berries themselves on the hillside. It’s a thriving little business with its many aspects. They’d been so busy catering parties for a few days right before we got there, they were plum out of blueberry pie! :D

  • Betsy
    Twitter: betsy_v
    says:

    We have a blueberry fest, here in Montrose Pa. But not as big. I try to pick every year. That way I have frozen Blueberries all year for smoothies, pancakes, pies and muffins.
    This is the kind of place, I could spend hours, just looking around! especially the nursery!

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      Hey, Betsy, I saw that your Montrose Blueberry Festival is coming up on Aug 5 and 6. If that doesn’t conflict with your Disney travel dates, and if you go a’pickin’ this year, feel free to do a story for Milliver’s as our Pennsylvania Blueberry Correspondent. :D

      I see Montrose also has a Chocolate & Wine Festival. That’s not till next May but, depending on where I’m living at that stage (we don’t intend to stay in Ohio), maybe I’ll pop into town for that. I’m between five and six hours drive from you. Are there other activities or tourist attractions worth coming to Montrose for?

  • Betsy
    Twitter: betsy_v
    says:

    Milli,
    I have been to both. They are on the small side. The wine & choc. fest is bigger with much more to offer then the blueberry fest.The wine fest has a lot of wineries come, and some tents with choc. goods to sample. There are also crafts and jewelry, live bands, and fair type foods.
    The blueberry fest is basically a lot of people/commities selling their baked goods made with blueberries, and blueberry themed items. It only takes up the town square, where the wine fest takes up streets.
    Montrose is a beautiful little town, with wonderful old houses, but there isn’t a whole lot of events happening. The blueberry fest and the wine and choc. fest are the big ones.
    I live about a 10-12 min. drive from town. If you like waterfalls, we have a 600 acre state park right at the end of my road. It has hiking trails and three waterfalls. There are fun swimming holes at the bottom of each one. Its a beautiful park with one of the only virgin forest left in Pa.
    Id be happy to write an article or 2 about any of the Fests, or Montrose/area in the future. It would be a pleasure!

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      That state park sounds like just the kind of place Brian and I love! I’d be happy to get a story from you on the state park, as well as the festivals plus anything about the Montrose area that makes you want to write. :)

      P.S. Sounds like you picked the coolest place to live, right next to the hiking trails, waterfalls and swimming holes.

      • Betsy
        Twitter: betsy_v
        says:

        Well if you do make it to my neck of the woods, Id be glad to show you around….No very cosmopolitan, but very scenic. I have quite a few albums of the area in my Picasa. I’ll email you a link… you can poke around any time you’d like!

        • Milli Thornton
          Twitter: millivrstravels
          says:

          Thanks for the tour guide invite. We do drive through Pennsylvania quite a bit to get to other places (and Brian does a lot of biz trips to NJ) but usually never that far north.

          I’ll look forward to the Picasa link. :)

  • Ann
    Twitter: AnnHolly
    says:

    I would absolutely swoon if I had a bucket that big full of blueberries! I have the most amazing blueberry recipe ever…..one day – I’m gonna blog it!

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: millivrstravels
      says:

      I hope you’ll consider blogging it for Milliver’s Travels. I never set out to but MT is starting to specialize in blueberry stories! We’ve had one from Tennessee, one from Ohio, and Betsy might be doing one from Pennsylvania. Having a recipe-type story would make a great addition. :)

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