Meet Margie of Hunter Farms

Hunter Farm in Sparta Tennessee.

Blueberry season is drawing to a close and thankfully Margie had a moment during her busiest time of year to give us the story of Hunter Farms.  Hunter Farms is one of the main blueberry and beef cattle farms in the area. Margie’s husband David is the third generation to live at Hunter Farms. It was purchased by his grandfather in the 1930’s and now is the home to fourth and fifth generations of the family.  They are known for their blueberries, angus beef, and poultry.

After reading about Hunter Farms, try this blueberry and spinach pizza with white sauce by Emma Chapman. An absolutely delicious combination of savory and sweet.

Margie, what is a typical day like on the blueberry farm? How long is your harvest season?

June and July are the busiest times for the blueberry portion of our farm. Picking begins at 5:30, and with 2 acres, there are more berries than we can pick ourselves, so we hire a family from Cookeville to pick for us. They have worked for us for about 3 seasons.

Generally, the blueberries start coming in early to mid-June. They will peak around the 4th of July and will continue through early August.

We have 3 different varieties that we pick: Premier, Tiff Blue and Climax. Most blueberry bushes require a pollinator and Climax is the one we use.

Blueberry and Spinach Pizza by Emma Chapman

Here at Farmhouse to Flea Market we are big advocates of shopping for local produce. Do you have other friends that are farmers? What kind of items do you prefer to buy locally?

Hunter Farms has always been advocates for buying products from local farms, whether it is produce or meat. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has a listing on the Pick Tennessee Products website for locally grown produce and farm based meats. The site is broken down by divisions of the state and then by county, so it’s easy to find what you are looking for. We have several friends that sell beef, pork, lamb and goat locally. All of the farm based meats are processed at a USDA inspected facility so they can sell individual cuts.

We raise our own beef and sometimes we will sell a half of a beef, when we are going to have one processed for ourselves. We try to support other local farmers by buying melons and other produce we don’t grow ourselves through the summer months.

Blueberry plants getting ripe. Hunter Farm in Sparta Tennessee.

I didn’t know about the Pick Tennessee products site! I will definitely use that. Is your farm a family endeavor?

Hunter Farms is a family operation. David takes care of the beef, poultry and hay aspect of the farm, and Lorie, along with her husband Lee and their children, take care of the blueberries. The children also raise some peppers and tomatoes that they sell at the farmer’s markets.

Your blueberry cheesecake looks delicious! What are some of your favorite ways to use blueberries?

I have a recipe for a really good no-bake blueberry cheesecake that I make during the summer. Another favorite blueberry recipe is blueberry zucchini bread. The grandkids like it, and it’s a way to get them to eat zucchini without them knowing it!

I always put some blueberries in the freezer to enjoy through the winter months in cobblers or smoothies. And having some on hand to make blueberry jam for gifts is also handy.

Where can we buy your blueberries?

Our blueberries are available already picked at the farm or you can find us at various local farmer’s markets. The main farmer’s markets that we sell blueberries are on Saturdays at Cookeville, McMinnville and Smithville. During peak season we also go to the Rutherford County Farmers Market in Murfreesboro on Tuesdays and Fridays. The best way to know where to find us is follow us on Facebook. We post when and where we will be with fresh blueberries!

{ Photograph of a Spinach and Blueberry Pizza by Emma Chapman}