While growing up just south of Grand Rapids, we always had a large garden with many vegetables along with strawberries and raspberries. One of the problems we had at home was the small seedy strawberries that seemed to dominate our strawberry patch. While taking classes at the University in horticulture, I discovered the problem that caused my family's small seedy berries. After college the berry patch was started with the help of friends and many family members. Our first planting of strawberries was done by hand, one plant at a time and watering each one as we planted them. We now have a planter which makes that job a lot easier. Loran and Margaret Lavalier, my parents, were a big help in starting the farm. They spent countless hours helping with the weeding, with customers and in picking the berries. Also my siblings all played a part in different aspects of the farm. Some in their tasting of the berries, to ensure the high quality I was told. :) Others, through their hard work and expertise in so many areas. They continue to help in so many ways. My own family, Carol, Emily, Andy and Joseph all have put in many hours helping to make the farm what it is today. Their help has been greatly appreciated.
Lavalier's Berry Patch was a goal I envisioned after completing my horticulture degree from the University of Minnesota. The farm was started during my second year of teaching in Elk River. For 32 years I taught elementary students for nine months of the year and farmed for the other three months in Grand Rapids. Our children were all active in sports and kept Carol and me hopping trying to get to all of their activities. In 2010 I retired from teaching, shortly after, our youngest finished high school. Now I spend a little more time at the farm in a more relaxed state knowing I don't have to run back for a tennis match or hockey game.