Husband and wife team, Larry Martin Sr.and Jenni Martin moved to Kentucky
from Michigan in March, 1995. Larry grew up in Grand Junction, MI, known as the
"Blueberry Capitol" and the home of the Michigan Blueberry Growers Association.
From a young age, Larry worked in the blueberry fields with his duties expanding
along with his age and experience. By the time he was ready for college, he knew
every aspect of a blueberry farm from planting to harvest. You name it, he had
done it - many times!
Larry went on to college becoming a Department of Natural Resources Officer.
Later, he married and had two sons. Being a very driven person, he began looking
for something new and, of course, profitable. The lure of blueberries was
strong, so he purchased a blueberry farm that he had worked on growing up that
contained many of his boyhood memories.
Together, Larry and Jenni worked the farm, started a blueberry nursery, and
were "surviving." In 1995, after having lost both their mothers, they followed a
dream and moved to Kentucky. It was no small move. They drove away with five
U-Haul trucks, some stacked to the ceiling with blueberry plants and others with
personal belongings. They could not believe how happy the blueberry plants were
in Kentucky's climate - they were growing like weeds! They continued to expand
their product. According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at
the time of their move, Larry and Jenni had brought more blueberry bushes with
them than were in the entire state of Kentucky to that date! Word soon spread
and people wanted to see what these "Northeners" were doing, and often wanted to
purchase a few plants on their visits. Jenny took a job in nursing care and
later worked at a toll booth while Larry stayed home and planted, planted,
planted - thousands of blueberry bushes. Meanwhile, during a layoff, Jenni
decided to see what she could do with the business on the internet.
With Jenni's blueberry growing experience and a desire to learn even more,
she continued her research and their nursery, Bluegrass Blueberries, grew. It
wasn't long before they began to receive speaking invitations on blueberries. To
date, they have shared their experiences via television, radio, newspapers and
agricultural events. Larry has worked with University of Kentucky, Western
Kentucky University, UK Extension agencies and the Kentucky Department of
Agriculture. In 2002, Kentucky Blueberry Growers Association (KBGA) was launched
with a simple survey, membership drive, a newsletter and a meeting. The KBGA has
since grown into 200+ members within Kentucky and even some surrounding states.
Each year since, the KBGA has hosted the family-friendly Kentucky Blueberry
Festival in downtown Edmonton and is a favorite of Metcalfe County residents and
beyond. You can now visit KBGA's warehouse at 1103 W. Stockton St. in Edmonton,
KY. Larry and Jenni are members of Grace Union Baptist Church in Edmonton, Ky,
and continue to enjoy God's blessings.