By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2015
The Thunderbird Berry Farm “Family” includes: (back row) Antonio De La O, Jack Schlekeway, Owner Don Hansen, Eric Hansen, Kip Karney and (front row) Jocelyn Hansen, Vicki Karney, Jessica Hansen and Kristen Davis.
Thunderbird Berry Farm is a family-owned and -operated business that was begun in the summer of 2005 by Don Hansen. Today there are four generations of Hansons involved in one way or another with running the beautiful berry farm located east of Broken Arrow at Kenosha (71st Street) & 321st E. Ave. The business was begun with the growing of blueberries and has expanded to include blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, hay and cage free eggs plus several vegetables including onions, squash, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus and okra. And new for this year, Thunderbird Berry Farm is selling jelly and jam products that are made in a state licensed kitchen. In addition to the Berry Farm, Don also raises beef cattle on his land and produces corn, soy bean, milo and baled hay.
“We run Thunderbird Berry Farm as not only a place to come and pick your own berries, but as a place where families feel welcomed,” says Don. “Efforts are made to ensure that every visitor experiences a good time while on our land and we’ve provided a place for kids to play while the adults are picking berries. We’ve also kept the price of our ‘you-pick-’em berries’ at $3 per pound for over ten years now.” If you don’t care to pick your own, pre-picked berries are $4.50 per pound (when available). Don also makes this offer to every customer…”Pick two buckets for me and the third one’s yours for free.” Now you can’t beat a deal like that!
When WWII ended, Don came to Tulsa with his best friend from High School in South Dakota to attend Tulsa University. His friend’s Uncle just happened to be Dean M.M. Hargrove, head of the College of Business Administration. Don and his friend lived at Dean Hargrove’s home their first year at TU. Receiving his Geology degree from the University, Don had a career in the oil business from 1950-1990. With South Dakota roots in farming and ranching, he also began acquiring farm land and cattle during that time and continued doing so for 63 years.
Don planted his first patch of blueberries in 2000 realizing that it would take five years for the plants to mature and begin producing. The rest is history. Today the family business includes operating the Thunderbird Berry Farm and selling products at the Broken Arrow Rose District Farmers’ Market.
Thunderbird Berry Farm has been super busy with the official kick off of the strawberry season. The Farm is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. With only five strawberry rows at the farm this year, it is first come, first serve! The recommendation is that you make the trip now if you have not already done so. When you come, don’t forget your boots and gloves and bring the family. It’s really exciting when the strawberries start blooming!
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Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.