Daniel Welch, 13, reaches over a row of strawberries Monday to pick the big, juicy ones as part of his summer job at Bell’s Farm in Coupeville. The farm is hosting it’s inaugural Strawberry Daze community event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 1 at Bell’s Farm, 892 N. West Beach Road. Photo by Daniel Warn/Whidbey News-Times

Farm’s Strawberry Daze July 1 uniting food, fun

Bell’s Farm will be digging into its roots in event planning with its inaugural Strawberry Daze, a festival designed to connect folks to their food.

“We want people to see the farm and see where their food comes from,” said Paige Mueller, Bell’s Farm director of marketing. “I think that connection to food has been lost.”

Bell’s Farm is perhaps known best for its acres of strawberries, which it sells to local stores and consumers.

Strawberry Daze, Mueller’s brainchild, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 1 at Bell’s Farm.

The festival will feature a petting zoo, family friendly-activities and local vendors, not to mention the rows and rows of “u-pick” strawberries.

As it happens, Mueller actually grew up on the farm with her brother, Trevor. Their parents, Frank and Renee Mueller, own the farm. Generations ago, Frank Mueller’s maternal grandmother helped start the farm, which has been part of the Coupeville community since.

For those that don’t want to pick their own strawberries, Bells Farm employs pickers, ages 12 and older, throughout the harvesting season, which began last week and will last approximately four six weeks.

The pickers work several times a week to ensure that regional stores get the freshest berries possible, says Paige Mueller.

“Our berries are really sweet and really fresh,” she said. “A lot of the berries you get in the store are made to be shipped other places so ours don’t last as long as the ones you would get at the regular grocery store, but the flavor is there.”

Strawberry pickers and Oak Harbor residents Daniel Welch, 13, Emma Edwards, 13, and Haley Riffel, 14, each said the work is both fun and challenging.

Riffel said that she picks throughout the summer to earn money for college. Welch said he wants to buy a Nintendo 2DS and Edwards said she has her eye on her “very own laptop.”

“I never knew it would be this hard for them to pick the berries and stock them,” Edwards said. “I just thought they randomly just appeared in the store.”

Bell’s Farm is located at 892 N. West Beach Road, near Coupeville

 

From left: Emma Edwards, 13, and Haley Riffel, 14, show off the grime on there hands after some hard work picking strawberries Monday as part of their summer jobs at Bell’s Farm in Coupeville. Photo by Daniel Warn/Whidbey News-Times

Emma Edwards, a 14-year-old Oak Harbor resident, picks a strawberry Monday for her summer job at Bell’s Farm in Coupeville. Photo by Daniel Warn/Whidbey News-Times