Anna’s Garden was the dream of Steve McIntyre, and he didn’t even know it. Circumstances led him to become friends with Gerald Mixon, a Florida Hall of Fame inductee. That meeting led to visiting a blueberry farm, reading a book about blueberries, having some cutover timber land, preparing that land, meeting Gerard Krewer, and planting blueberry bushes in Wilcox County, Georgia. Hank Cook, Steve’s son-in-law, was drawn into the project as a co-owner. Beth McQuaig, a retired English teacher, began as the Food Safety Coordinator and found herself a farm manager, when she was tasked with planting a five-acre field of blueberries. She later became the wife of Steve McIntyre and continues to work on the farm.
Fast forward about 11 years and Anna’s Garden has grown into a 74-acre blueberry farm. Our farm grows highbush and rabbit eye blueberries. We began hand picking four acres in 2015, and now in 2023 machine harvest 74 acres and market with Dole Berry Company. The changes have been gradual but steady. Employees have come and gone, but the original owners are committed to the success of Anna’s Garden, named after Anna Cook, the granddaughter of Steve, and the daughter of Hank and Leah Cook.
Farm manager, Bradley Peterson is on sight every day, making certain that the fertilizer is running, the irrigation has no leaks, the weeds are under control, and the possible disease threats are caught early. Harvest season begins in late April, and there is no rest for the weary until the end of July. It takes all of the family, including daughter Leah Cook and grandchildren Anna Cook and Samuel Cook, as well as hired workers to ensure that the blueberries are harvested in a timely manner and sent to market or sold to local customers.
The dream continues and hopefully Anna’s Garden will provide a Boost of Blue for generations to come.
We pride ourselves in providing delicious, quality blueberries for Dole Berry Company as well as our supportive local customers. Our Food Safety audit is a yearly happening that analyzes our best farm practices in all areas of the farm from planting to harvesting. Beth McQuaig-McIntyre oversees the food safety program for Anna’s Garden.