It’s true! In the late 1980’s I had a successful dental practice, a nice home, no children, a new red sports car, white carpet in the house, braces on my teeth, and no hobbies other than golf and politics. All of the gurus even back then were talking about how important it was to have balance in my life. To others it seemed like I worked too much so I decided to start a hobby. I wanted something that I liked doing, was interesting, and as usual for me – something outside the box. I always have liked building and growing nice things in the garden so I decided to become a genteel blueberry farmer! I spent a couple of years researching how to do it. At that time no one had heard of growing blueberries in Texas. I discovered that blueberries are in the Azalea family. They like acid sandy soil, lots of clear water with no mineral salts, and that they do not like to compete with weeds. The water is the interesting part. Blueberries will build up salt deposits if there is a trace of various salts in the water. They will thrive at first but after a few years the salts build up and the plant declines.
I had a friend that owned a former sand and gravel pit near Cleveland, Texas that had artisan water springs that filled up the pits. He turned it into a resort called Land-O-Lakes. I asked him about leasing a corner of the resort so that I could have a built in market for the blueberries I was going to raise. My friends and patients Madalene Hill and Gwyen Barclay lost their Hilltop Herb Farm and restaurant to a tornado and a fire at that time and I convinced them to open back up inside the resort.
I had the water and the soil tested by Stephen F. Austin University and the results came back that it was a go! So I cleared three acres of mature pine forest. Turned up the soil, ran drip irrigation systems and dug a well. We planted over 2,900 yearling blueberry plants! This is called intensive farming because we put a lot of plants in a relatively small space. The well was very shallow because it too flowed without a pump! I mixed fertilizer in the water (like Miracle Grow) as it went out through the lines. The plants grew and the first summer I had a small crop of blueberries! We had a pick your own operation to guests of the resort and the rest of the berries went to the restaurant for all kinds of interesting fresh uses as well as wonderful desserts and jellies.
Remember the part about no children, white carpets, and a red sports car? Well there must have been something else in the water because my daughter Emily was born that first year! This picture is of Emily helping me out at the blueberry farm. She literally grew up on blueberries and loved to go out to the farm and eat the berries right off of the bush. You cannot imagine what those dirty diapers looked and smelled like in the early years!
Just like blueberries, if your teeth aren’t properly taken of over the course of time they will begin to decline. This is why it’s so important to regularly have a checkup just stay ahead of problems before they begin. Don’t hesitate to contact an expert blueberry farmer…errr I mean dentist like myself today!
Call (713) 592-9300 and experience the LifeSmiles difference!
Dr Mitchmore is active in the community. He serves as Vice-Chairman of the Montrose Management District. His passion is Dentistry. He has also been a City Councilman and Chairman of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Charitable Foundation, Give Back A Smile. The foundation helps survivors of intimate partner abuse regain their smile. You can find out more about him at www. LifeSmiles.us or call (713) 592-9300 today!