The Blueberry Patch, Mansfield, OhioHARVESTING NATURE'S BOUNTY, STAFF, TASTE BUDS, USA MAINLAND — By Milli Thornton 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!
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.
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.
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.
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
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-5
(May 1st – Sept 1st)
Mon-Sat 9-7, Sun 11-5
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.