Mike and Deb Yennie
The Yennies purchased their berry farm in Hubbard County in 2010. The farm had been abandoned for 10 years due to severe damage from winter kill. Plants were mostly dead but were trying to come back. Mike and Deb say, "with hard work and God's hand," they managed to return the farm to business in 2012. Today, the family has 4,000 berry plants in 77 rows on three acres.
The Yennie berry operation is a you-pick farm open for four to six weeks during harvest season running from mid-July to mid-August. Mike and Deb also employ fruit pickers to harvest fruit to sell to local stores and customers and they invite area youth to pick to earn income. The family holds several fund-raising events for various community groups each year.
The farm is operated by Mike and Deb and Deb’s daughter, Danielle Knudsen. Deb’s two granddaughters, Aleana and Mikenlea, help run the farm’s food stand. Other family members also help with various chores around the operation including picking, pruning and farm maintenance.
Each year, the Yennies give the proceeds of their best day of harvest to a Christian charity, a practice based on the Biblical verse in the book of Nehemiah. The Yennies credit the practice for the farm’s name: First Fruits Blueberry Farms. The family also provides berries to local police, nursing homes and other community groups and holds a yearly Children’s Day dedicated to kids and daycare centers.