A very berry good time

Some areas of the nation honor garlic, others strawberries or barbecue — on Whidbey it’s the world-renowned Loganberry.

The sky rocketing temperatures brought a crowd of close to 4,000 attendants each day Saturday and Sunday to the annual Loganberry Festival at the Greenbank Farm, according to the farm’s executive director Laura Blankenship.

“I’ve really seen this festival grow up, and we’ve really had to put a lot of energy into it,” Blankenship said. “The Loganberry Festival has turned into such a great community celebration. It’s just a low key place where people can sit down on a hay bale and chat.”

It is the seventh year the Greenbank Farm Management group has organized the Logan Berry Festival. Before that, it is unclear exactly when the festival began, according to Greenbank Farm executive director Laura Blankenship. When Chateau Ste. Michelle bought the farm during the 1970s they began holding a festival as a marketing tool for the nation’s largest loganberry winery.

Each year it is a mix of food, music, arts and community — all circled around the Loganberry. This year a dozen wineries brought their finest crafted wines. Whidbey Pies Cafe sold tastey Loganberry treats. Over 50 crafts people peddled their wares. Berry pickers who worked the fields during the Greenbank Farm’s heyday reminisced at the reunion tent. Food vendors and non profits also numbered almost a dozen each.

A children’s area complete with a dunk tank, bowling, basketball and more was organized by the Whidbey Evangelical Free Church. This was one of the first years there was an area designated for the kids where they could have fun and enjoyment of their own, according to Greenbank Farm executive director Laura Blankenship.

The Loganberry — a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry — was borne Aug. 1881 when Judge J.H. Logan planted seeds in his garden near Santa Cruz, Calif.. He planted two varieties of blackberry (the Aughinbaugh and the Texas Early) and happened to plant them closely to an old variety of red raspberry, the Red Antwerp. A hybrid resulted, similar to the Aughinbaugh but larger and stronger. The first of this unintentional cross was tasted May 31, 1883.

In the future for the farm is expansion as renovations including a kitchen will be added in the second barn. And a third barn is slated to be constructed by June 2005.

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