Arriving at Gentry Farms in Gray Court and being greeted by the friendly and enthusiastic Farmer Mike Gault, was the equivalent of getting to visit your favorite uncle. We didn’t want to leave, especially after Farmer Mike let us pick and eat fresh blueberries while we got to see his farm! We highly recommend visiting for the pick-your-own experience and getting to meet Mike’s two furry farm hands, Gentry and Lily Beth.
Mike Gault and his wife, Lisa, bought the land that was previously owned by Bill Gentry (the farm’s namesake) in 2009. Both families have solid histories in both Gray Court and Fountain Inn. If you’ve lived in the Upstate for a while, you might recognize what was formally Gentry’s Hardware in downtown Gray Court or visited Gault’s Service Station in Fountain Inn that Mike and his family have run since 1975.
Approaching retirement, Mike knew that he wanted to enjoy life as a farmer, and originally purchased Gentry Farm to raise cattle on. Gentry Farm sat dormant for 8 years before Mike took over, so little to his knowledge the land came with over 10,000 blueberry bushes. On a fateful day, a staff member from the Clemson Agriculture department came across the notice that the land had taken new ownership and called Mike to let him know about the sweet berry deal that he had just acquired! After learning that the blueberry bushes had been around for over 25 years, Farmer Mike says that he just HAD to keep it going. He cleared up the land, inspected the bushes and now has over 3,500 berry bushes that are well over 30 years old and going strong!
The well established, Certified SC Grown blueberry bushes produce some of the sweetest and most beautiful berries that we have ever tasted. Due to the age of the bushes, Farmer Mike has absolutely NO NEED FOR CHEMICALS OR SPRAYS! His theory is that they have survived this long without tampering, so why would there be a need to change a good thing. The soil at Gentry Farms gets tested regularly by Clemson Extension and he hasn’t had to add fertilizer or any other minerals to the soil in over two years. At this point, he knows by trial and error, by sight and touch when the optimum time for harvest is. It’s pretty impressive!
The blueberries are super fresh when they arrive at SRCG, with the majority of them being picked the morning of delivery. We got to drive around the property with Mike and Gentry and see the beautiful gallons of berries coming straight from the field to the shed where the moisture from them is dried using screens and fans. No high tech machinery needed when you have such a beautiful product to begin with!
Farmer Mike has such a big heart and we hope that you get to meet him some day, he never meets a stranger and you will immediately feel like his best friend. He puts so much love and positivity into his business and says that Gentry Farms exists for the people and the community. He also raises cattle and has over 60 right now, but says he will never be able to bring himself to eat them because they are “his girls.” Can he turn our hearts to mush anymore?!
We are so lucky to have so many farmers in this area that are truly passionate about farming and community. Farmer Mike is a gem and someone that we get excited to see every time he delivers his delicious berries! Come fill your bellies on berries!
**FUN FACT** People not only visit Gentry Farms for the blueberries, but for a dose of history as well. As we were driving around the property he pointed out a graveyard that dates back to the American Revolution that people from all over the country come to visit that are the ancestors of Martin Dial. So cool!