LA PORTE, Ind. — Berry season is in full swing at Blueberry
Dunes, a family-owned business in northern Indiana.
The property has a rich history in blueberry growing. Berry
fields were planted in 1936 and expanded in the ‘50s.
Don Kepler, current owner of Blueberry Dunes, took over the
property in 1998. Now, the farm has 25 acres dedicated to producing blueberries.
“It’s the early part of the season, and it seems like it is
going well,” Kepler said. “The berries are doing well. We’re surrounded by a
forest, which cuts wind damage down. It’s a very good place to grow
Kepler said that the groundwater in the fields protects the
berries from damage.
“We had a really notable drought five years ago, and they
didn’t even show stress,” he said. “Some other nearby blueberry farms had to
irrigate or lose some plants. Our plants didn’t look like anything was
Blueberries typically are harvested July through August.
They thrive in the soils of northern Indiana, where blueberry farms and stands
can be found scattered throughout the region.
Blueberry Dunes sells fresh blueberries by the pound, as
well as honey, jellies and jams. Visitors can save money by picking the berries
Kepler said that many visitors come from Chicago to pick
blueberries and spend the day outside. People also can rent the property for
events including weddings, parties and get-togethers.
“The barn is now a venue where we can do events and
weddings,” Kepler said. “We have picnic tables used by people for dinner
parties. There’s more of that than we did in our earlier years.”
Sue Albertson, an employee at Blueberry Dunes, has been
around the blueberries since before the farm was owned by Kepler. She’s been
picking berries from the age of 5.
“It’s really busy — we have to direct traffic on weekends,”
she said. “They come camping. The kids can play by the pond. They have picnics
in the back, and they just make a whole day when they come. They meet their
families here, and we have a lot of get-togethers here.”
Albertson said there always has been a crowd at Blueberry
“This farm is one of the most friendly,” she said. “As far
as the pickers, the people that come here, they return year after year with
their family. It’s always really busy — and not just blueberry time, but after