Southern Delaware’s newest U-Pick offers unique experience

Terry RogersBusiness, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

Some of the delicious raspberries available from Messick’s Berry Farm

Yolanda Messick grew up farming, she explained that she helped pay her way through college with strawberries sold at her family peach orchard. She and her husband, Rodney, were both raised in farm families, and they have raised their sons, Joshua and Jacob, surrounded by farm life as well. Rodney, who is a talented grain farmer, managed the grain operation while she worked as a Middle School Science Teacher and a seasonal crop consultant.

“Our sons, Joshua, 24, and Jacob, 15, both love farm life,” Messick said. “Both have their own strengths and interests when it comes to the farm. Joshua has helped his Dad since he was very young and is interested in expanding his farming career and knowledge in Agriculture. Jacob, our youngest son, enjoys being outside and loves the peacefulness of farming.”

Messick, a Delaware native, began observing the changes of population in Delaware. More people became interested in locally sourced nutritious food. She saw that residents and visitors were visiting local farms and she felt that a small berry farm would have a place in the area. Because she grew up on a peach orchard and had experience growing strawberries, she and her family knew what it would take for the farm to succeed, so they decided to create a unique experience for everyone. Messick was adamant that the new berry farm should be handicap accessible for all appropriate ages to enjoy. Messick’s Berry Farm offers a convenient, comfortable, and wheelchair accessible UPick experience. However, she states that they could not have created the farm without help from many people.

“Rebecca Eadie, Josh’s girlfriend, takes care of the marketing and has worked alongside of us and is always encouraging us,” Messick said. “My nieces and nephews were lending hands, along with many close friends and others. We appreciated every bit of help we received.” During spring break, Messick explained that 23 students from five different local schools and FFA chapters came to work at the farm during construction. “It was impressive seeing the local youth’s desire to learn and be hands on.” Messick stated.

Currently, the farm is offering UPick strawberries and raspberries, but they do plan to expand. Make sure to follow their journey to see what they have instore for next upcoming season. The berries will be available through fall and strawberries will then return in May.

“We are observing our fruit yield and readiness to determine how often we are open,” Messick said. “Soon, we hope to have more set hours offering one night a week and two day time hours of picking during the weekend. We are encouraging people to watch our Facebook page for daily announcements. Interest throughout the community has been positive, and as always, we wouldn’t be able to do this without our community’s support.”

The farm offers quart containers and buckets for UPick. Raspberries are sold by the pint while strawberries are sold by the quart and roughly four-quart pails (dependent on strawberry sizes). Market price determines what the berries will sell for each season. Messick asks that people check the Facebook page for their location when they are ready to come pick berries.

“I would like our sons to get the credit for this venture,” Messick said. “They are working so well and are ambitious about this opportunity to grow our 3RD generation farm all while connecting and encouraging our community’s youth to get involved in Agriculture.”

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