Harvesting of blueberries began this week at Mutiny Bay Blues in Freeland. The farm is hosting Saturday’s Bluesberry Festival, a fundraiser for South Whidbey Commons. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Harvesting of blueberries began this week at Mutiny Bay Blues in Freeland. The farm is hosting Saturday’s Bluesberry Festival, a fundraiser for South Whidbey Commons. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Blues, berries, fun and fundraising at Saturday festival

Mutiny Bay Blues Farm hosts Commons Cafe event

Get ready to be blue this Saturday.

The first annual Bluesberry Festival, featuring musicians, barbecue, a beer and wine garden and many a blueberry-tasting delight, takes place in Freeland off Highway 525 at Mutiny Bay Blues blueberry farm on Cameron Road.

The family-friendly event from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 21, is a fundraiser for South Whidbey Commons/Commons Cafe and Books, a popular gathering spot in Langley that teaches culinary and barista skills to youth.

Students can earn school and/or volunteer credit at the Commons as they learn restaurant and customer service skills. Many of the trainees have gone on to work in local restaurants and businesses.

Tickets are $20 for adults over the age of 21, $10 for 11-20 year-olds and free for children under 10.

Scheduled to perform are Muse and eye, LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends and The Hot Club of Troy.

While a line-up of three bands plays the blues, they’ll be blues in many forms to sip, nip, savor and sup: blueberry pie, blueberry lemonade, fresh plump blueberries just plucked from the field, maybe even blueberry liquor and a few other offerings of very berry blue fruit.

“They’re just ready to be picked this week,” said Britt Fletcher, owner of Mutiny Bay Blues, which is known for its organically grown, plump and robust blueberries. It supplies Seattle’s chain of PCC Natural Markets, and its berries are found on the shelves and plates of local grocery stores and restaurants and inside Whidbey Pies.

The 180-acre farm is a mix of cattle, feed, honey bees and rows and rows of berry plants that provide a bright green and deep blue hue among drab fields of bundled hay.

“I think we’ll have a total crop of 125,000 pounds this season,” Fletcher said, “which is a lot since the plants are still not fully mature.”

Blueberries grow on 20 acres. They were planted in 2011 and first picked in 2014. The farm is certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and it follows guidelines known as Good Agricultural Practices.

Duke are the first variety to ripen, followed by Draper and then Liberty, Fletcher explained. The farm also grows another dozen varieties in test rows.

Berries that don’t make the cut during sorting and packing end up making happy cows.

“They love them. It’s a stampede,” Fletcher said. “You’ve never seen cows move so fast.”

The Bluesberry Festival will include the farm’s pavilion near the highway, which is usually a farm stand, and a nearby field.

Mutiny Bay Distillery, while not an official part of the festival, benefits by proximity as it’s located next to the pavilion.

“We’ll be open during the festival doing our usual tastings and tours,” said Scott Stallman, who, along with his parents Rod and Kathy Stallman, have been distilling small-batch, premium whiskey in an old horse barn for more than a year. They also make coffee liqueur and blueberry liqueur and are delving into the spirit of gin next.

The Bluesberry Festival is one of two major fundraising events planned this year to keep the nonprofit training program, cafe and book store perking.

The hope is that Bluesberry becomes an annual event, said Cathy W. Rooks, president of Commons board of directors.

“Our current budget is in the $325,000 range and we need to consistently raise about $35,000 to support the training and other programs,” she said.

Currently, there’s 21 employees at Commons Cafe, including five who began as trainees. There’s also 11 trainees and 11 volunteers, Rooks said.

Roaming Radish will be the site of the second fundraiser on Nov. 10. The catering company and gastropub in the woods of South Whidbey is setting up the beer and wine garden for the Bluesberry Festival.

Private donations are paying for most of the festival expenses so proceeds directly benefit the Commons.

Bluesberry Festival

  • Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 21 at Mutiny Bay Blues Farm off Highway 525 on Cameron Road.
  • Features three local bands and blueberry-themed food and beverages. Benefits South Whidbey Commons that will be selling barbecue, veggie options and desserts. Beer and wine for sale.
  • Parking available off Bush Point Road. The event is on the route of Island Transit buses, which now operate on Saturdays.
  • Tickets available at South Whidbey Commons, 124 Second Street, Langley or online: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3511706
  • More information: South Whidbey Commons: www.southwhidbeycommons.org
  • Mutiny Bay Blues: www.mutinybayblues.com
Organically grown and certified blueberries from Mutiny Bay Blues are distributed to stores and restaurants around Seattle, Mukilteo, Langley and Coupeville and are baked into Whidbey Pies. Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Organically grown and certified blueberries from Mutiny Bay Blues are distributed to stores and restaurants around Seattle, Mukilteo, Langley and Coupeville and are baked into Whidbey Pies. Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Blueberries are round and plump and just picked at Mutiny Bay Blues, a Freeland farm that’s hosting Saturday’s Bluesberry Festival. The fundraiser for South Whidbey Commons features music and blueberry-themed eats and treats, drinks and desserts.

Blueberries are round and plump and just picked at Mutiny Bay Blues, a Freeland farm that’s hosting Saturday’s Bluesberry Festival. The fundraiser for South Whidbey Commons features music and blueberry-themed eats and treats, drinks and desserts.

Mutiny Bay Blues owner Britt Fletcher loads blueberries into the company truck Monday.

Mutiny Bay Blues owner Britt Fletcher loads blueberries into the company truck Monday.

Emelia Stahl prepares an iced latte at South Whidbey Commons Cafe and Books, a popular gathering spot in Langley. Run by a nonprofit organization, the cafe teaches barista and culinary skills to youth. The staff will be preparing and selling food at Saturday’s debut Bluesberry Festival, which may become an annual Commons fundraiser.

Emelia Stahl prepares an iced latte at South Whidbey Commons Cafe and Books, a popular gathering spot in Langley. Run by a nonprofit organization, the cafe teaches barista and culinary skills to youth. The staff will be preparing and selling food at Saturday’s debut Bluesberry Festival, which may become an annual Commons fundraiser.

More in Life

Senior Justin Moberly participates in the parade.
South Whidbey’s class of ’21 celebrates with parade

For a city known for its parades, not much jollification has happened… Continue reading

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Kathy Hawn has had a police scanner for most of her life. She’s gained a following on Facebook for posting what she hears called over the radio.
Woman listens to police scanner so you don’t have to

Kathy Hawn posts all 911 emergency dispatches she hears in her Facebook group, Alert Whidbey 2.0.

Amanda Ferrara poses with ball python Lemon and bearded dragon Drogon. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey woman has warm heart for cold-blooded critters

Amanda Ferrara owns 14 scaly friends of her own, each with its own unique personality.

Photo provided
New member Charles LaFond works on a pottery creation at Freeland Art Studios.
Cooperative studio in Freeland holding open house

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, June 5.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Charlie Kimmel feeds Silkie rooster Beatbox and some of his feathered friends.
Beatbox is a one-rooster welcoming committee

The friendly rooster resides on a North Whidbey farm.

Photo provided
Rockin’ a Hard Place: A tale about who we are: the life of Chief Charlie Snakelum

In late May, many of us on the Rock enjoy celebrating Whidbey’s… Continue reading

Sarah Lord treats Ember the cat at Best Friends Veterinary Center March 30, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Best Friends)
Cat finds home with vet who saved her

After treating a feline house fire victim, a veterinarian kept the cat as her own.

COPY
Langley scene abuzz with new coffee shop

A pair of millennials have opened the newest business in downtown Langley.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Brittany Darby helps raise a wall at Habitat for Humanity of Island County’s two townhomes on Southeast 10th Avenue in Oak Harbor during the Women Build event Saturday.
Women Build: Lending some muscle to Habitat for Humanity

Forty women and some men volunteered for Habitat’s Women Build 2021 event this past weekend.

Members of the public and Whidbey Island Rocks are encouraged to paint and hide stones with Garry oak designs or other local flora and fauna this week in preparation for a hunt Saturday. Photo by Jane Geddes
Island rock hunt celebrates Oak Harbor ‘Year of the Oak’

Whidbey Island Rocks is encouraging people to paint stones with Garry oaks before a hunt Saturday.

"In the Orchard"
Gallery’s June show to feature work of artist Doug Hansen

The theme for Whidbey Art Gallery’s June show is “Recycle: Vision Out-of-the-box.”

Langley resident makes honor roll at Whitworth

Langley resident EZEKIEL PIERSON achieved Provost’s Honor Roll status for the spring… Continue reading