Pink lemonade blues: Sublimity grower offers a sweeter berry

August 2014 Posted in Food & Drink
Mark and Annette Jensen and family raise Pink Lemonade Blueberries on their farm near Sublimity.

Mark and Annette Jensen and family raise Pink Lemonade Blueberries on their farm near Sublimity.

By Kristine Thomas 

Sublimity residents Mark and Annette Jensen are used to people looking at them like they said something wrong when they talk about their newest variety of blueberries at Jensen’s Blueberries in Sublimity.

“When we tell people we grow Pink Lemonade Blueberries, they look at us like they are confused,” Annette said. “We have been told many times by people that they have never heard of a Pink Lemonade Blueberry. We tell people it tastes like strawberry lemonade.”

“They are twice as sweet as a regular blueberry,” Mark added.

Their 13-year-old grandson, Justice, who helps out on their blueberry farm, said Pink Lemonade Blueberries taste more like “candy.”

To their knowledge, the Jensens are the only blueberry farm that sells the Pink Lemonade Blueberry in Oregon. They also grow Legacy, Dukes, Blue Crop and Chandlers. This is their second year of offering the Pink Lemonade variety. Their farm at 8485 Anderson Road, S.E. in Sublimity is open 9 am. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“Each blueberry we grow has a different taste,” Mark said, adding they offer both U-pick and custom pick.

The Jensens first saw the Pink Lemonade Blueberry plant at a garden show in Albany.

“We like novelty plants so we thought we would try growing them,” Annette said.

Pink Lemonade Blueberries

The Pink Lemonade Blueberry generally is ripe around the last week of July and lasts a few weeks into August, Annette said.

She works for Marion County Children’s Mental Health’s New Solutions. “We advocate for services for families,” she said, adding her job can be stressful so she turns to gardening as a way to relax. Mark works for ODOT highway maintenance in Albany.

“We decided to plant blueberries as a kind of retirement,” Mark said. “We originally thought about planting Christmas trees but we learned we couldn’t go wrong with blueberries.”

Gregarious and keen on hospitality and old-fashioned service, the Jensens encourage their customers to taste the blueberries in the field, offer free water and suntan lotion, and even offer recipe advice. As a treat, they served the Pink Lemonade blueberries drizzled with white chocolate and a favorite recipe of Annette’s mom, the late Mary Baribeau, a blueberry buckle heritage recipe.

Grandchildren, Mychalea, 16; Justice, 13; and Austin, 10, visit the Jensens’ farm each summer from Baker City.

“We figure the farm is a good way for our grandchildren to have a summer job,” Annette said. “Plus we enjoy seeing families come out and pick and seeing moms with strollers or their young children.”

Laughing, Mark said he has heard scientists are experimenting with a white blueberry.

“If that happens, we could have red, white and blue blueberries for Fourth of July,” Annette said.

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