It is no secret that I have long had an affinity for the Carson Valley.
Many times here on the pages of ACES I have written about the wonderful golf at places like Genoa Lakes, the great lodging at the Carson Valley Inn or top-notch Basque dining at places like JB’s.
The last time I was in the area, my eyes were opened to a new place to visit that adds even more luster to the area. The Jacobs Family Berry Farm in Gardnerville, Nevada (not far from the Carson Valley Inn or the Historian Inn) is a working farm that grows raspberries and blackberries for sale and has become a can’t miss on my local itinerary.
In 2002 Jack and Diana Jacobs purchased the Lampe Ranch, a property that had been in use since 1887. The purchase included five acres, consisting of the house, barn, dairy, bunkhouse and several other buildings.
“We bought the property in 2002 as a place for Diana’s parents to live, and a place for us to retire,” said Jack, an engineer who worked in the Bay Area at the time.
When the two moved up in 2005, the property alfalfa was growing and the market wasn’t what they wanted given the work that would go into the harvesting.
“We looked at what might be fun for the kids and grand-kids to be part of,” explained Jack. “We looked at the value of blackberries and raspberries. We thought we would get between 6,000-10,000 pounds and get around $10 per pound. That sounded like a good idea so we re-named the ranch the “Jacobs Family Berry Farm.”
They harvested their first berry crops in 2010, but they wondered what they could do with their barn on the scenic property. They hit upon weddings.
The Jacobs had their first wedding on the property in 2011 and now have eight scheduled for 2016 – the maximum they want to have a year.
“It’s a lot of work to have a wedding and we are getting too old,” said Jack with a laugh.
Held either outdoors on the property with plenty of lush lawn space available, or in the barn, a wedding there promises to be a special event.
But it’s the berries that has put the property on the map. In 2012 they sold their first shipment of berries and have embraced the learning curve that came with the “farming of the berries.”
“We learned that 10,000 pounds was a bit optimistic,” said Jack. “We are getting between 3,000 to 4,000 pounds and that’s still a lot. We are getting about $16 a pound. “
But the Jacobs Family Berry Farm is much more than a place to buy berries or go to a wedding.
The property is testament to the history with buildings dating to the original farm. The bunkhouse, dairy and even an original outhouse are some of the historic sights guests are able to see. You can come and be wowed by the fresh, chemical-free berries, but you will equally enjoy the chance to step back in history when on the ranch.
And if you want the berries, they are sold only on site.
“The point is, we want people to visit the property,” said Jack. “It’s an experience for all that visit.”
For more information go to www.jacobsberries.com
By Dennis Miller