It's blueberry season in Southwest Florida, so gather the family and head out to Down South
Blues, grab a bucket and fill it up with five different delicious varieties of locally grown berries.
Down South Blues, located in Arcadia, is owned and operated by Jerod and Lisa Gross.
They've had the farm for about 10 years.
Lisa's uncle, Ken Patterson, owns several large blueberry farms in the area. In 2007 they
moved from the busy Naples area to small-town Arcadia. Jerod had the opportunity to make
a career change and work for Island Grove Farm.
"We just had our son, and we were looking for a different, more relaxed lifestyle," said Jerod,
who was born and raised in Punta Gorda.
They planted 28 acres of blueberry plants and hoped for the best. The first couple of years
were challenging for the young farmers, but the crop is thriving today.
Every single blueberry is hand-picked, so between maintenance of the land, like weeding and
watering and the labor costs to pay pickers, each acre requires between $8,000 and $9,000 a
year to sustain.
26GASPARILLA ISLAND May/June 2018