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      Blueberry farms are booming

      For most, blueberry picking is a summertime treat and pastime, but for the Gierke family, come the end of July, it's a way of life.

      For the past eight years, the Gierkes have owned and operated their own "pick and pay" blueberry patch. It started out as a hobby that soon developed into their own personal booming blueberry business and now boasts 3,500 bushes.

      "When we bought the place, we weren't looking for a blueberry farm, but we ended up with this, and once blueberry season hits, it's crazy. It's a full-time job," said farm owner Lynn Gierke.

      The Gierkes opened their farm to the public for this first time all season July 28-30, sending 2,100 pounds of blueberries home with pickers.

      Each pound rakes in two dollars, and when repeat customers are picking 22 pounds at time, the baskets add up quickly.

      "This has been the only place we've picked blueberries. A friend of ours recommended it, and we came up here because we knew it was 'you-pick.' We came back from Armstrong Creek in Wisconsin, so it's a good drive for us. It's definitely worth it," said blueberry picker, Wally Leja.

      The Gierkes are expecting a ripe year for the berries, and they're open to anyone looking to pick through the summer.