Hi, my name is Robert Sobieski, owner of Sobieski's River Valley Farm in Whately Massachusetts. My family has been cultivating high bush blueberries for 46 years, over time adding up to 10,000 bushes in total that I now care for. The extreme freeze event in the early morning hours on May 18, 2023 significantly impacted our farm, resulting in a devastating crop loss. Looking back merely a week ago, when the bushes were in full bloom with the promise of a beautiful crop, to what we are facing now - acres of brown and shriveled up blossoms and fruit with an estimated 75-80% loss...it feels like a cruel dream. Our family relies on our blueberry crop - not only does it provide income for us, our employees, and support the local economy, but it is a part of us - and we know the traditions you have created every summer whether with pick-your-own, buying berries at the stand, or through one of our farm partners, it is part of YOU too.
We've certainly faced challenges, it's what farming is about - problem solving, adapting, and persevering to bring a crop to harvest. The weather is unpredictable, with extreme weather events occurring more often farming is becoming increasingly difficult, whether it be prolonged drought, excessive rain, or extreme temperature fluctuations - milder winters usher in earlier growth stages putting the bushes in danger of critical temperatures. Unfortunately, a loss of this magnitude cannot be overcome without financial help. We have invested almost an entire year of work to make this year's harvest possible, with another year of work yet to be done to ensure the health of the bushes for the possibility of a bountiful crop next year.
With your help, the funds donated will be used not only to sustain daily farm operations but will also help support our efforts of investing in frost/freeze protection equipment.
Growing blueberries is our life, we look forward to every stage of the plant's development, but especially the bounty of the harvest - a time when we get to share the fruits of our labor with the community and contribute to the important local food supply. Please consider contributing to help the farm persevere through this unprecedented farm season, thank you.