The Chronicle -

By Richard Heyman
Columnist for The Creswell Chronicle 

The largest producer of blueberry plants is in our own backyard

 

October 18, 2018

Blueberries. The biggest blueberry nursery in the country, perhaps in the world, is right here in our neighborhood - and they don't sell a single blueberry.

No, they produce and sell millions of starter plants all over the world. Fall Creek Farm and Nursery is a 40-year old corporation founded by Mr. Dave Brazelton, in the community of Fall Creek, obviously, about 12 miles from Creswell alongside the McKenzie River.

Barbara and I had a conducted tour of the facility, and it was one of the most interesting and educational visits we have had in ages. What we learned is that the plants are all started from clippings from the various blueberry plants. These clippings are manually placed in petri dishes and in a laboratory under controlled temperature, humidity and light to start growing.

To view the process of starting the plants, we went to a climate controlled laboratory where we had to don white lab smocks, white shoes and hairnet to be sure we did no bring any bacteria into the building. There were five women who very carefully placed the clippings in the dishes to start their growth; each tech starts over 4,000 plants per day. After an incubation period the three or four inch plants are placed in pots in trays and placed in green houses. After more growth the plants are placed in large groups and continue to grow. Clippings are made of the mature plants to start the process over again.

For sale of the approximately 80 different varieties, many of which have been developed by Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, orders are taken and the particular variety is started and grown so that they are ready to be shipped in one to three years.

The farm has over five million plants growing at all times. By the way, minimum order is 700 plants.

This is truly a very large operation; the Fall Creek Farm & Nursery has over 100 acres and has numerous green houses for the growth. Also, there are several more farms in the U.S. and in Mexico, Peru, the Netherlands and Spain, all owned by Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, producing plants.

We wish to thank the management team for allowing us the privilege to view this great operation. Furthermore, our guide, Mr. Jerry Fascinato, the maintenance manager, explained so much to us. Tony Shireman is the lab manager who made certain to answer our many questions, and explained the timing and coordination required to facilitate sales and shipping, protecting plants and more.

This was a very interesting and educational visit, and we thank the personnel responsible for a lovely experience.

 
 

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