In 1968 The Rowe's planted their first strawberries harvesting some for retail sales but mostly as a U-Pick operation.
The business grew and soon neighboring farmers started their own U-Pick strawberry farms.
In 1976 they decided to get together as a group to advertise and approached area community leaders with the idea of having a Strawberry Festival.

The Belleville National Strawberry Festival was then created.
In the beginning there was an agreement with the growers that the festival would not sell whole strawberries, only processed berries, this would then hopefully get people to become customers at one of the farms.

They called themselves "The Belleville - Ypsilanti Strawberry Growers Assn." and started a hotline for people to call for picking information.
There were 5 farms in the group and at the peak there were over 100 acres of strawberries grown between them.
We at Rowe's always had the most strawberries of the group topping out at 45 acres.

We are the only farm of the group still in operation and continue to have the most acreage dedicated to U-Pick strawberries in the state of Michigan.

The wagon loads of strawberries were picked by the churches to process into jams, make pies and anything you can think of strawberry to be sold at the festival.

Some things never change. The last two pictures are of Glenn and his mentor John Shetenhelm spreading straw on the berries for the winter.
We still use the same tractor and although the spreader has a few modifications and a different motor (more power) it is pretty much the same as it was back then.