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California Heartland


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  Season 8 - Episode 807







In the rolling hills of Sonoma County lies Green Valley Farm…a farm that has a history as colorful as the specialty crop it grows. Blueberries have been thriving on this farm in Sebastopol since 1942 thanks to a Wisconsin woman who was a true-blue fan of this sweet and tart treat. Bruce Goetz, the owner of Green Valley Farm, says, "I have to blame it on my grandmother and my grandmother's name was Elizabeth. She had an idea that she would like to have some blueberries when we moved here. Then my father, instead of getting a couple of plants, ended up ordering 2,000 plants." The rest is history, but it took time for Grandma Goetz to convince people that her blueberry patch would be a success. That's because people told her it wasn't cold enough in California to grow blueberries. However, she proved them wrong and decades later the bushes she planted now produce ten tons of blueberries a year.

Because blueberries ripen at different stages, each bush is gently handpicked four to six times during harvest season in June and July. It's extremely labor intensive and expensive especially when some unwelcome visitors nibble on the berries. Birds are a big problem for blueberry farmers. That's why a large net is in place to protect these valuable bushes.

Blueberries are not only full of flavor, they're packed with health benefits. They're high in vitamin A, phytochemicals, and flavonoids. Researchers at the University of Illinois have connected the antioxidant properties of blueberry flavonoids with preventing certain types of cancer. In addition, scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging have found in animal studies that flavonoids reversed effects of conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Now that we've tempted your tastebuds, here's a way to make blueberries a part of your family's sweet summertime traditions.

Blueberry Pie Recipe (From Green Valley Farm)

1. 10" baked pie shell
Mix in saucepan: 3 cups blueberries
1/2 cube butter
4 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice

Cook on the stovetop until the juice is released from

Add: 3 Tbs. flour
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix these four ingredients together well and add to the first 3 ingredients. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens (if necessary add a little more flour). Remove from heat and let cool.

Add: 3 cups raw blueberries
Mix gently and pour into baked pie shell.
Serve plain, with whipped cream or ice cream.


For more information on Green Valley Farm, call (707) 887-7496. or via e-mail at



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