Proud of East Texas: Echo Springs Blueberries - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proud of East Texas: Echo Springs Blueberries

Source: KLTV Staff Source: KLTV Staff

When Phyllis and Ivan Vaseleniuck bought Echo Springs Blueberry Farm in 2000, their family thought they were crazy.

But now, 16 years later, Echo Springs is one of the biggest blueberry farms in Texas, producing more than 400,000 pounds of blueberries annually.

The blueberry farm is located on FM 607 between Brownsboro and Murchison. Phyllis says when they bought the farm, they knew absolutely nothing about blueberry farming.

"My husband was a developer and I was a psychologist, so this is like a major career change," she said.

A career change that has proved to be wildly successful.

"Last year, we had over 6,000 people come here from all over the world and pick blueberries and blackberries, so we've become a tourist attraction," said Phyllis.

The pick-your-own berries are only one aspect of the farm.

"About 200,000 pounds go to the store and the other berries, whatever I have left, goes to Dallas wholesellers," Ivan said.

Ivan employs about 40 workers in the processing barn, where they sort the berries for quality and size. Seven workers help out in the "Best Little Blueberry Store in Texas," where bread, pies, cookies and muffins are baked, starting at four in the morning.

One of the newer uses of Echo Springs blueberries is by a wine company.

"They bought them and the first year he produced the wine, it got the second prize at the International Wine Festival," Phyllis said. "The following year, it got the golden star prize for the blueberry wine."

The Texas Tea Company also ships beverages made from Echo Springs blueberries throughout the U.S.

"There's Brownsboro Blueberry Tea and there's the Brownsboro Blueberry Lemonade," said Phyllis.

The Vaseleniucks say the natural springs that water their 90,000 blueberry bushes are one reason for the high quality of their berries.

But of course the 'Best Little Blueberry Store in Texas,' filled with its tasty jams, jellies, syrups and baked goods, is a popular stopover. 

In fact, you can find just about anything your taste buds desire at the store, including a variety of sugarless products.

"My husband is diabetic, so I went into making diabetic jams, and this entire shelf is made without any sugar." she said.

Echo Spring Blueberry Farm is open until August, and then again around Thanksgiving and Christmas time for holiday shoppers. The farm is located at 7235 FM 607 in Henderson County.

On Saturday, June 18, the farm officially opens with a blueberry extravaganza and wine festival.

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