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Berry farm brings together sweet fruit and history

by Aurora Sain
asain@recordcourier.com
Pietro Accardi, originally of Torino, Italy, picks Triple Crown blackberries Thursday morning at the Jacobs Family Berry Farm.
Brad Coman |

A small berry farm nestled in Gardnerville brings a mixture of fresh fruit and a slice of history.

The Jacobs’ Family Berry Farm has 1,000 raspberry and blackberry plants that contribute to their supply of fresh and frozen berries, jams and syrups.

The farm was established in 1872, and sold several times before the current owners purchased it in 2002. The property has many of the original buildings and structures including the barn and the creamery.

In addition to selling berries, the property is also rented out for various events such as weddings, dinners and nonprofit events. It is a popular venue for weddings, so the Jacobs’ limited them to eight per year, with 2016 filling up fast.

They pride themselves on being herbicide and pesticide free, and taking extraordinary care of their berries for a better taste.

“We find that people can recognize the difference in taste,” said co-owner Jack Jacobs. “We put a lot more attention into our berry plants.”

In addition to the berries, the Jacobs’ farm is also home to 25 beehives with around 125,000 bees.

The bees help to pollinate the berries, and also turn a profit when their honey is sold.

The jams, syrup, and honey can be picked up directly at the farm, or at the Quail Cottage Antique shop.

The antique shop is the side project of co-owner Diana Jacobs, and her business partner Mary Frank.

Both armed with a passion for antiques, they opened their store in 2012 with the hope of selling home décor, china and vintage items.

One of their big sellers is the Jacobs’ farm honey, with one of their regular customers coming in and buying 2 quarts at a time for the months he works on an oilrig, said Frank.

Both Jack and Diana came to Gardnerville after working in the California Bay Area. As a human resources executive and a civil engineer, they had little knowledge of what it took to run a farm. The property had previously been used as a ranch and a dairy, before the Jacobs’ turned it into a berry farm.

“We thought, let’s try to grow something that people love,” said Jacobs.

The Jacobs’ offer a berry subscription program where you can select how many berries you want and pick them up each week of the season. The subscription program helps out the berry farm because the amount is paid in full at the start of the season. The options are 4 pints of berries for 10 weeks at $280 or 2 pints of berries for 10 weeks at $150.

They also have frozen berries that are sold during the off-season to be used in smoothies, pies and various other meals. Frozen berries are $10 a pound.

“We take care of our berries, so the price may seem like it is more than the going store rate,” said Jacobs. “But by supporting us you keep small farmers alive.”

Berry season runs from mid-July to September, weather permitting.