At 89 years old, Ben Dziuba wanted to start a blueberry farm. His daughter and son-in-law promised to help him make it happen.
Over three years, Berries & Blooms at High Horizons Farm got rolling in Tunkhannock, right on the land Dziuba purchased in 1974 to raise cows on his days off from flying planes.
For at least 20 years, there hasn’t been an operational farm on his land.
“I always loved this place and to do something to give a reason to keep it was important to me and to him,” said his daughter Jennifer Kozlansky. “He didn’t want to see it sold and now it’s become our lifestyle.”
Kozlansky formed a “dream team” with her father, who is now 92, and husband Scott to get their farming venture off the ground. Earlier this month, High Horizons finally opened to the public, offering a family-friendly summer farm experience with a picturesque view.
This week, Kathlyn Fisher of Tunkhannock and her children took advantage of the “U-Pick” option at High Horizons’ 4-acre blueberry field.
“It’s wonderful,” Fisher said. “It’s nice to get the kids out. Our son’s been researching what he wants to make with all the blueberries afterwards.”
Pickers can choose between buckets which hold 2.5 or 5 pounds with set prices rather than weighing in before paying. Bring the bucket back for a discount on your next pick.
The farm uses no systemic pesticides or herbicides, Jennifer said.
Visitors could experience the farm’s flower fields, cut fresh flowers and take photos. Photographers can inquire about private sessions. One field is entirely sunflowers, while the other features a colorful floral variety.
The farm also sells two sizes of herbal bouquets scented with basil, mint or lemon.
People wanted to cut flowers from her pollinator habitats, to which she responded, “No, that’s for the bees.” However, it gave her the idea to plant additional flowers just for guests.
“Professionally grown, local flowers are the gold standard of the floral industry,” she said. “There’s nothing like fresh, locally grown flowers.”
None of this progress happened overnight. Over three years, each member of the dream team brought their own strengths to the table, such as Dziuba’s mind for engineering.
There was a learning curve involved, too, as no one had experience with blueberry farming. Scott recalled a brief stint as a teenage farmhand, but didn’t stick with it.
“We were in multiple businesses, printing industry, manufacturing, advertising,” he said. The couple also cares for Jennifer’s parents, especially her mother who has dementia. “There’s nothing like seeing fruit come from the earth, giving it to people and seeing them enjoy it.”
They appreciate anyone trying to sustain an agricultural business these days, which has become even more challenging in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wondered if we should even do it but the local community has been excellent and supportive,” Scott said.
The family anticipates keeping the blueberry field open at least through the second week of August. However, their flower fields and farm stand will stay open “until frost.”
“We’re so appreciative of the community supporting us so much and coming out here,” Jennifer said. “We’ve been given a lot of love already and it means a lot because it’s been so many years of work to get to this point.”
High Horizons Farm is open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to sunset on 128 Dziuba Lane in Tunkhannock. For updates and more information, find the farm on Facebook and Instagram.
High Horizons has also donated sunflowers for the Dietrich Theater to sell as a fundraiser. Pre-order flowers through Thursday, June 30 by calling 570-836-1022, ext. 3. On Saturday, Aug. 1 from noon to 3 p.m., the theater plans to sell leftovers from the pre-order.