Meet Carl Russell

“We are working harder than we were thirty years ago,” says Emily Russell, co-owner of Russell’s Blueberries and Book Barn. Carl and Emily Russell have been operating their twenty-four acre blueberry farm in Freeland, Michigan since they purchased the farm from a retiring couple in 1985. At the time, the farm suffered from neglect due to the advanced age of the previous owners.

Carl Russell tries out the new seat on the back of the sprayer. 

                During the last thirty years, Carl and Emily have developed the farm’s blueberry crop to provide some of the sweetest and juiciest blueberries in the Midwest with travelers making day trips from as far away as Chicago to buy a year’s supply of their crop. Carl focuses on minimizing sprays and targets only the necessary pests using a specially adapted sprayer and trusted employee, Ron Pierce.

                “I don’t feel old, but when the Pope talks about being at an elderly age, and we’re the same age as the Pope, it makes me realize we are getting into that elderly stage,” laughs Emily.

                Ron had built a seat on the back of the sprayer for him to use while he and Carl targeted pest control. “The seat was very uncomfortable, unsafe, and did not look nice at all,” Emily said.

Carl Russell models the new seat on his tractor which was installed by Ned Stoller, Michigan AgrAbility.

                  Ned Stoller, Michigan AgrAbility Engineer, helped the Russells obtain and install a safe, comfortable seat for the sprayer as well as a new seat with arm rests for the tractor so Russell will be better able to pull himself up on the tractor. Funding was provided through Easter Seals for the project.

                “The seats look nice and are so helpful,” Emily said. “We have never received anything for free. It is just so nice to get a little help in a year when we can really use it.”

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015