It looks like there won’t be strawberry fields forever for Hafner’s U-Pick.
According to a June 6 post on the farm’s Facebook page, the Hafners will be selling their operations because co-owner Paul Hafner “has some serious health issues.”
While the Hafners have put three parcels totaling 202 acres on the market, both the strawberry and blueberry U-pick fields will be open this summer. Rick Stellingwerf of Riverside U-Pick is leasing the strawberry field, and Tony Emmi is leasing the blueberry field.
Emmi could not be reached for comment, but according to the Hafner’s U-Pick Facebook page, the blueberry field will be open in July.
Stellingwerf opened the Hafner field for the season earlier this month, and his Riverside U-Pick field on Pendergast Road in Phoenix opened last week. He intends to take over the Hafners’ U-pick pumpkin field this fall.
“The idea is to try to run it for a year and see how things go,” Stellingwerf said.
Stellingwerf has a one-year lease on the Hafner field and said he is open to purchasing it depending on how successful sales are this year.
This year’s growing season has been a struggle, Stellingwerf said, due to the wet spring.
“It’s been hard getting everything to grow and get things right,” he said. “Hopefully we can just get some nicer weather.”
Stellingwerf said he began doing business with Paul Hafner about five years ago, harvesting Hafner’s soybeans. Hafner helped him start his own berry patch.
“The business grew, the friendship grew,” Stellingwerf said.
When Hafner fell ill, the two “tossed back and forth some ideas,” and Stellingwerf ended up renting the strawberry field.
The Hafners are selling three parcels of land: 1801 W. Genesee Road, 1830 W. Genesee Road and 8663 Fenner Road. According to landandfarm.com and landsofamerica.com, the list price for the three properties is $1,225,000.
The Hafners could not be reached for comment, but they wrote on their Facebook page:
“This has been a difficult decision. We plan to spend more time with our children and three grandchildren. God loves each of us and will see us through all the problems of this world. We have a hope of eternal life with Him someday. We have enjoyed serving you through the years.”
Hafner’s devotees can still pick strawberries at Hafner’s U-Pick at 1801 W. Genesee Road in Baldwinsville and Riverside U-Pick at 323 Pendergast Road in Phoenix. The fields are open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Visit facebook.com/RiversideUpick or call (315) 591-5976.
Emmi Farms’ strawberry U-pick field, at 1482 W. Genesee Road in Baldwinsville, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Visit facebook.com/EmmisFarmMarket or call (315) 635-7529.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.
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