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.
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!”