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News / Business / Clark County Business

Beaudoin sons carry on tradition at Joe’s Place Farms in east Vancouver

By Will Campbell, Columbian Associate Editor
Published: June 2, 2021, 6:03am
4 Photos
Scott Beaudoin, left, and Mike Beaudoin talk about the future of strawberries at Joe's Place Farms. Although the farm store is no longer open, the brothers are carrying on with a U-pick operation.
Scott Beaudoin, left, and Mike Beaudoin talk about the future of strawberries at Joe's Place Farms. Although the farm store is no longer open, the brothers are carrying on with a U-pick operation. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

East Vancouver landmark Joe’s Place Farms is continuing on after its founder, Joe Beaudoin, retired and handed off a few parcels of berries and peaches to his two sons.

At Northeast 18th Street and 125th Avenue, Joe’s sons Scott and Mike looked across the 2-acre strawberry field, which had its opening day Wednesday. The field is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the season will close when the berries run out in about six weeks. The remaining farm also includes about 400 peach trees at the corner of Northeast 18th Street and 112th Avenue.

“We took this over a year ago,” said Scott Beaudoin, 58, whose full-time job is general manager of Schurman Machine in Ridgefield. “We want to see how much we can handle.”

“Dad likes it a lot,” said Mike Beaudoin, 52, who works for Boeing. “It takes the pressure off of him. We figured: Let’s give it a shot.”

Visitors to Joe’s Place Farms must park in a field across Northeast 130th Avenue under some power lines. From there, they can head to the fields to pick their strawberries, raspberries and marionberries using their own containers. The Beaudoin brothers set the prices at $2.75 per pound for less than 10 pounds and $2.25 per pound for more than 10 pounds.

Picking hours end at 1 p.m. because the sun heats the berries so much that they begin to melt, making the picking difficult, Scott Beaudoin said. And with a few extra-hot days, the whole crop could be ruined, so he advised pickers to plan to come sooner rather than later.

Farming legacy

Joe Beaudoin, 80, began his farming legacy by planting a crop of strawberries during World War II on farmland in Vancouver. Much of the 8-acre main farm, including the former farm store along Northeast 112th Avenue, is under a plan for housing development.

Joe Beaudoin said he’s glad that his sons were able to take over and have an interest in what’s left of the farm. This year, he sees community members who are glad that Mike and Scott are taking it over.

“They’re elated that they can still get strawberries,” he said. “It’s our biggest love. We love all the customers we had. That was what it was all about. Producing joy for the community.”

The brothers said they weren’t sure how many years they will be able to continue the U-pick farm, but this year will help them decide.

Armando Razo Lopez, a worker at the farm for nearly 21 years, told The Columbian with his daughter Gabriela Razo Leon translating that he was sad when he found out Joe Beaudoin was retiring, but when he returned this year to work for Mike and Scott, he felt very happy.

“Compared to all the other years, it’s been more lonely because we had a larger group of workers,” said Razo Lopez, 50. “I’ve been very grateful to be able to work there for so long, even through the hard times.”

There are still a number of options to pick fruits and vegetables in Clark County, but Joe’s Place is one of the oldest and closest to the city center.

Having the opportunity to get outside and gather local produce is by no means a new idea, but U-pick farms saw a resurgence during the pandemic, which has caused people to avoid going to indoor public places, according to Scott and Mike Beaudoin. The brothers also plan on hosting a pumpkin patch this year in October after seeing the success from last year.

When Joe’s Place Farms announced it was coming back this year with a limited number of acres, customers on its Facebook page were excited, to say the least.

“Thank you for being there,” wrote Jim DeFord on a Facebook post. “I thought Joe’s strawberries were gone for good. It’s so refreshing to know they’re still here. For a while at least. We will savor every strawberry we can get our hands on! Our strawberry shortcake tonight was delicious!”