Wish Farms Betting Big on Organic Blueberries
Central Florida-based Wish Farms, a longtime year-round grower/marketer of berries, is celebrating the unveiling of its new, state-of-the-art organic blueberry farm (“Misty Organics”) located in Alturas, FL. Named for the operation’s mascot, Misty the Garden Pixie, the ambitious project began as an idea in 2014.
The 20-acre farm sits on a south facing slope that overlooks a lake front. This geographical arrangement, coupled with the use of high tunnels, creates a greenhouse effect. The high tunnels not only provide freeze protection for the crop, they also provide higher growing temperatures during cooler periods. The cover also protects the crop from rain, hail, and general moisture. According to JC Clinard, Wish Farms’ COO, “It took us a year just to find the perfect plot of land.”
Misty Organics’ entire crop is grown in containers, allowing for spatial flexibility. As a result, there are more than twice the number of plants per acre than a typical blueberry farm. Additionally, the farm showcases high-tech soil moisture sensors and drip irrigation that drastically reduces water usage. With more than seven blueberry varieties featured, the team can also observe which varieties perform on output and quality.
Demand for organic blueberries continues to grow. As South American blueberry production starts falling off in late February, supply can be tight until the Southeastern U.S. ramps up in late April. Company officials hope the addition of Misty Organics will fill the gap during that window of opportunity.
“We’re excited to continue innovating as a company,” stated Wish Farms’ CEO Gary Wishnatzki. “By extending the Florida growing season, we can continue providing consumers with high-quality, domestic blueberries.”