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Whitney Ranch Blueberries

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Ralph Whitney is our first grower to participate in the 1964 Olympics for water polo! Ralph and Rachel Whitney moved to California 25 years ago because his fellow water polo friend had property in Santa Barbara.  They partnered with their friend and a few other investors to begin growing lemons and avocados in Carpinteria. The ranch is located about 1 mile inland from the ocean in a small valley with very few pests. They have never needed to use any pesticides which made their move to becoming certified organic that much easier. In 1999 they disbanded, took their 10 acres and begin working with a farm advisor to started experimenting with blueberry varieties. Originally they planted 5,000 blueberry bushes on 2.5 acres and now they have 10,000 bushes on 3 acres with some of the original 2001 varieties still producing.

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Rachel and Ralph Whitney

In order to grow blueberries there must be bees. Whitney Ranch has a symbiotic relationship with the almond growers from the central San Joaquin Valley. The almond growers need a place to store their bees during the winter and the Whitney’s need the bees to pollinate their blueberries.  Whitney Ranch was abuzz with so many bees that the ranch is now covered in a blanket of blossoms and fruit. The mild weather in Carpinteria allows their blueberries to ripen over a longer period of time and to develop a more complex flavor.  When Ralph and Rachel are not growing blueberries they can be found “driving off into the sunset” on their motorcycles or in their motor home.

Buying and storing tips: 
Look for firm, dry, plump and smooth skinned berries. The silvery bloom on the outside of the berry is a sign of freshness!

Fun Fact: 
California produced 7,112,515 pounds of organic blueberries in 2014

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