Farm History

Roy Peak, father to Pamela Johnson, completed a genealogy certificate program from the University of Washington in 2001. He used his new skills to research the history of the blueberry farm. A simplified version of the history he wrote is provided here.

Timothy and Pamela Johnson, 2000 to Present

The Johnsons bought the farm in November 2000. Their first summer, they added a u-pick sunflower garden. The old coffee cans were also replaced with easy-to-clean plastic buckets. For many years, Pamela’s father, Roy Peak, worked in the office each summer, offering the advice “Pick a berry. If you like the taste, keep on picking.”

The Johnsons do not live at the farm, but rent the house along with the half acre around it. The Johnsons care for the farm on weekends, since both work full time. Timothy grew up in Lake Forrest Park, north of Seattle. He met his wife, Pamela, at the University of Washington in 1980. They built a house outside of Duvall in 1989, and have two children. 

Many people return to the farm each year who remember the prior owners, the Lydons, and share their stories. Occasionally, we also have older customers with memories of the Ruddells. We hope you build your own memories when you come.

Larry and Bette Lydon, 1968 to 2000

A local boy, Larry G. Lydon attended first grade in 1924 in Carnation, Washington. He graduated from Queen Anne High School in Seattle in 1936, and then attended the University of Portland. His college education was interrupted by his call to join the Navy and begin officer training. On December 7, 1941, he was having breakfast aboard the USS San Francisco at Pearl Harbor when Japan attacked. He survived the attack, and served in the Pacific aboard Navy ships at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. He finished his college degree with honors after the war.

Larry Lydon returned to the area in 1964 with his wife Bette and their three children. Larry worked as a PE teacher and coach at Tolt High School in Carnation. He also taught driver’s education.

In May 1968, Larry and Bette Lydon purchased the blueberry farm. Larry added the pond below the south field, which he stocked with trout. He also enclosed the carport turning it into another room, and using it as the farm office. Customers who picked at the farm during this time remember using coffee cans (with nylons for ropes) as buckets.

After 32 years of caring for the blueberry bushes, the Lydons sold the farm. They then moved to Vancouver, Washington to be closer to family. Larry passed away September 2015. Bette passed away June 2016, a few weeks before her 96th birthday.

Charles and Claire Ruddell, 1963 to 1968

Prior to buying the blueberry farm, Charles and Claire Ruddell purchased 40 acres from the Tweeds just north of the farm in 1958. Interestingly, part of the north blueberry field was on the 40 acres that the Ruddells had purchased. With the purchase of the farm from the Walkers in 1963, the fields were reunited again under one owner.

The following advertisement appeared in the Duvall newspaper, the Carnavall Reporter: “Blueberries –22c lb. or Upick 15 c lb. Ruddell’s Sterling 8-2313,” on August 1961. The same advertisement was repeated three more times that year.

The Ruddells built a new 5-room house in 1964, east of the south field, which you can currently see today. The Ruddells had 7 children: 4 boys and 3 girls. They operated the farm for the next five years, adding a shed for storage. They sold the farm in 1968. Charles Ruddell died in 1977 and is buried in Kirkland, Washington. Claire passed away in 1985.

Odie and Virginia Walker, 1961 to 1963

Virginia L. and Odie B. Walker took ownership of the blueberry fields for consideration of “love and affection” in a Quit Claim Deed from John Close. Virginia was the oldest daughter of John Close and grew up with the farm. In 1963, they sold the property to the Ruddells. Not much else is known about the Walkers.

John and Mabel Close, 1936 to 1961

John Close purchased 40 acres of undeveloped land in 1936. He built a 4-room house in 1937 for his wife, Mabel, and two girls: Virginia and Maxine. The house still stands just west of Kelly Road. Sometime in the 1940s, John Close cleared the brush from his land and planted two fields of blueberries. The north field, currently called the “back field,” had approximately 760 bushes. Similarly, the south field along Kelly Road had some 320 bushes.

In 1955, someone placed three advertisements for u-pick blueberries in the local Carnavall Reporter newspaper. Each read the same: “For Sale: Blueberries, 6 miles east of Duvall on Kelly road. Phone Duvall 874.”

In 1952, John Close gave away 10 acres to George B. and Dorothy A. Tweed in consideration of “love and affection.” This land included part of the north blueberry field.

In August 1961, John Close, a retired widower, signed over to his oldest daughter and son-in-law, Virginia and Odie Walker, the ownership of the blueberry fields and some land east of Kelly Road. The sale did not include the land and family home on the west side of Kelly Road. John Close died in Bellevue, Washington, in June 1966. He was 70 years old when he died.