A Holistic Approach
Holistic farming works with nature
We currently use organic-approved farming products and are moving the entire orchard to holistic farming practices over the next few years.
Often, even organic growing is done with a reactive focus, in the same way that conventional growing is done (but using organic-approved products).
We feel a responsibility to our customers and family to grow our produce in the best way possible. For that reason, we use a proactive approach that boosts the plant's own immune capabilities through natural conditioning. This method uses the pest life cycle against itself to reduce pests before they start.
With these proactive measures, we are able to produce the best possible fruit for you, in the best possible way for the environment. Learn more about our approach and methods, by visiting Grow Organic Apples.
Who We Are
Blue Jay Orchard currently produces blueberries, apples, sweet cider, and honey using holistic growing practices.
We invite you to to come enjoy the scenic grounds and peaceful atmosphere while picking your own fruit and visiting the farm market.
Blue Jay Orchard has been in operation since the 1940s.
A.J. Soika began planting standard size apple trees, 40 per acre.
As the trees matured and the fruit flourished there were too many apples. A.J. implemented a new model with the first pick-your-own apples in Ohio.
Lowell and Mary Evans with their daughters, Brenda (12), Shandra (7), and Gretchen (6), purchased the orchard from 82-year old A.J. Soika after being mentored for one year.
Lowell and Mary began planting semi-dwarf trees, 100-150 per acre.
Lowell and Mary planted strawberries and peaches to expand the product offering.
After a few seasons, the strawberries were removed and replaced with blueberries watered by drip irrigation from the onsite artesian well.
Lowell and Mary added additional apples, peaches, and blueberries. Netting was installed around the blueberries to keep the birds from the crop. Lowell retired from Geauga Hospital Laboratories in 2000. Mary retired from the Post Office after years of delivering the mail in 2003. They both then focused on the orchard full time.
Joe and Sandee Orlowski, with their six children, purchased the orchard from Mary and Lowell at a property auction.
Joe and Sandee decide to move the growing model from conventional to holistic. Holistic specialist, Michael Phillips, is brought in to guide the conversion.