By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Lawn & Garden | Issue: April 2016
Gwen and Gerald Gay, owners of Huldy’s Farm, at the Cherry Street Farmers Market in 2012.
Are you looking for a fun, wholesome activity the whole family will enjoy? Take pleasure in a day picking berries at Huldy’s Farm, a family owned and operated berry farm in Inola, about 30 minutes east of Tulsa. Pack a picnic, have a wonderful time picking berries in the sunshine, and reap the benefits when you return home. Make a blackberry pie, whip up a blueberry smoothie, or can your own strawberry jam – the possibilities are endless. “We are on a peaceful patch of land easily accessible from Highway 412,” said owner Gwen Gay. “If the Good Lord permits, strawberries may be ready late April, the blueberries should be available late May through early July, and the blackberries ready June through early August.”
The farm is prepared to accommodate visitors, with tables and chairs located near the picking area, folding seats available for a $1 rental fee to use while picking, free bottled water, and portable toilets. Huldy’s welcomes birthday parties and family reunions, and customers are always welcome to bring their own picnic lunches and snacks.
Huldy’s Farm has a unique history. Marty Johnson grew up on the land where the farm is located, at the corner of 4195 Road and 590 Road. Marty retired as a Tulsa Police Officer and was working in the Human Resources Department at the City of Tulsa, and his wife, Gwen, was a Human Resources Director at Kaiser-Francis Oil Company. As Marty and Gwen were approaching retirement, Gwen began thinking about the possibility of having a blueberry farm, as her uncle had a small farm in Louisiana. The couple jumped into the venture and began preparing the land in the summer of 2005. However, only a few short months later, Marty was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma to the brain. Gwen and their daughter, Erin, dropped everything to take care of Marty, who passed away in May 2007.
About a year later, Gwen and Erin met for lunch, and Gwen asked Erin what she thought about restarting the blueberry farm idea. Erin was supportive, and the berry farm journey was reignited.
Erin chose the name for the berry farm. Her grandparents had owned a 1955 Chevy Truck named Huldy – a nickname for a woman prophetess briefly mentioned in the Bible named Huldah who was strong in her faith in God. In March 2010, again with the help of Erin, friends, neighbors, and Gwen’s Sunday School Class, the first patch of blueberries were planted.
In 2011, Gwen met and married Gerald Gay, and in the following years, they added blackberries and strawberries to the farm.
Life threw another curve to the family in March of 2014, when Gwen was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Though she had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation during the remainder of the year, she was determined to keep the berry farm going. In addition to helping Gerald take care of Gwen, Erin helped pick berries for customers and ran the “berry hut,” where customers pick up buckets for picking, return to pay for their berries and have them packaged for taking home. “I am so grateful for all of the help by my family, friends, and employees during my recovery. The farm would not have succeeded without them,” she said.
Huldy’s Farm will have booths at the Tulsa Farmers Markets this season: Wednesdays at the Brookside Market at 41st and Peoria (Whole Foods parking lot) and Saturdays at the Cherry Street Market at 15th and Peoria. You can also find Huldy’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
When the berries are ready for picking, Huldy’s Farm will be open Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments may be scheduled for other times. Please call Gwen before coming to confirm the farm is open and the berries are available.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.
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