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A Letter from Emily at The Schott Family Farm

I grew up on my family’s farm in the Mid-Willamette Valley with my parents and my four siblings – three older brothers and my younger sister. Our farm has always been a magical place for me. I treasure the memories I have of playing in the blueberry patch while my mom, grandmothers, brothers, aunts, and cousins picked berries from the bushes that are thirty years older than I am. I was excited when I became old enough to begin working in the field with them. It felt just like when my brothers would let me play basketball or baseball with them – working alongside them felt like such a privilege. 

As the years passed by, I never grew tired of working with the berries. I learned how to work hard and I loved being outside with my family. It was the best summertime job! We’d tell stories, play games, and create memories together while picking blueberries. We never had the intent of making a fortune so we took our berries to a wholesale fresh market outlet and local canneries, which always felt like a waste for these wonderful berries. I went on to study Exercise and Sports Science at Oregon State University and worked in the fitness industry for a few years upon graduating. My husband and I moved to California for a short while, and during this time the market price for blueberries fell dramatically. As my parents discussed what to do with the field and contemplated doing away with the berries altogether, I suggested they keep the field until I moved home and found a way to bring the berries directly to markets myself. I wasn’t ready to put the blueberries behind me, and I saw a great opportunity to share our berries with people in the way blueberries are best enjoyed – freshly picked from the farm.

We moved home in 2017 and spent that summer in farmers markets for the first time. We took our lumps that first summer, but we learned a lot, met many wonderful people, and I discovered that I wanted to continue to pursue this dream of reviving the farm. During the summer of 2018, we began to develop meaningful relationships and found that people were seeking us out each week for more of our berries. I fell in love with the authentic and supportive community that defines the farmers markets in the Northwest. 

This summer is our fourth year in markets and I couldn’t be more excited to be here today. It brings me a great amount of joy to work with my parents on a daily basis and to share our blueberries with you. Thanks for being a part of my dream!