Our farm, Rain Dance Farms, is in Buna. Our main crop is blueberries, but we also have a mayhaw orchard that we recently enlarged by 3.5 more acres. Rain Dance Farms also grows blackberries, figs, muscadines, a few pears, and 3 vegetable gardens with tomatoes, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, squash, potatoes, corn, peas, beans, and okra.
The crop that we mainly sell is blueberries. Most of the other things we eat, use in our jams and jellies, or share with family and friends.
We do sell a few of the veggies when we have too many to deal with at one time; such as banana peppers (they seem to come in all at once) or sweet 100 (cherry) tomatoes.
Sutton’s Sweets started as a product of the farm approximately 7 years ago. It has since grown to include mayhaw, muscadine, blueberry jelly, blueberry jam, blackberry jelly, peach preserves, pear butter, figs, strawberry fig, jalapeno jelly, and jal-a-blue jelly (blueberry jalapeno). We also sell sugar-free blueberry jam, sugar-free pear butter, and sugar-free strawberry fig. We use our own fruit and buy from local farmers when they are harvesting. Only the peaches are not from East Texas as it is too hot for peach orchards here. We get peaches from Fairfield, Texas or Georgia.
We are a licensed food manufacturer in the state of Texas and we have our own commercial kitchen right here on the farm. Last year, I went to school at A&M and earned a food processor license so that we can sell pickles and canned veggies. We are inspected by the Texas Health Department and we do test our water regularly.
We sell our jams, jellies, and juice at HEB on Dowlen in Beaumont, Many Pearls and Country Lane Antique Mall in Lumberton, The Cut Above in Buna, and we are in the process of moving into the HEB Mid County Store on Hwy 365 and Twin City. We do ship all over the country. We make gift baskets for all occasions. We have also done our 1.5oz samples for wedding and convention gifts. They make an excellent “remember me” gift. We can even put your name or event right on the label with our required information.
For those who are really health conscious, we sell pure blueberry juice extract. This juice is steamed off the fruit and then canned in pint and quart jars. Since it is pure and no water has been added to it, you can take 1 tablespoon a day to equal eating ½ cup of blueberries. It can also be used to make juice drinks, smoothies, jelly, or anything you use juice in. Of course, it is very healthy and does help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
This is our busy time of year. We just finished our mayhaw harvest. (Don’t know why they are called mayhaws-they ripen in April and seem to get earlier each year)
We are now on to the blueberry harvest and that will go on until the end of June. We do sell our berries at the Farmers Markets when we have them. Last year we had so many return customers we didn’t have them at market but a couple of times. We sell them in pint clamshells or in gallon bags. Note: When you buy blueberries, don’t wash them before you freeze them or they will get mushy. Wash them when you take them out of the freezer. They wash really well when frozen and you will not lose the juice that you will when you let them thaw completely.
We love the Farmers Market. It gives us a chance to talk to people, meet our customers, get to know other farmers, buy from other farmers, and just have a great time! Come see us and enjoy tasting our products. We always have plenty of samples for everyone to try and let us know how we are doing. We want to hear from you.
Sharon and Larry Harkness