John Jacobson

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

John Jacobson, his brother and their four sisters grow amazing apples—and strawberries, too, which they first put in because, well, they thought they didn’t have enough to do.

“My brother and I were running the orchard and finding ourselves with time on our hands in the summer, and we thought strawberries would be simple to grow,” he says. “Boy, were we surprised! They’re a lot of work if you’re serious about them.”

He’s proud of the fact that the work he puts into the berries pays off in plump, juicy, flavorful fruit. “One reason our strawberries taste so good is that we’re a local grower and we can afford to pick them at the height of their redness, firmness, and flavor,” he says. “If you have to ship strawberries a long distance, you pick early, before the berries are at their best.”

Jacobson carefully irrigates the berries, protects them from frost and controls weeds using the most natural methods possible. And just as importantly, he sprays his strawberries with nutrients, not chemicals. “We spray the leaves with minerals like calcium,” he says, “because keeping the plants healthy as they grow is the most important thing in producing a great strawberry.”