Mr. John Sauer moved to DeMotte, IN from Cedar Lake, IN in 1943. He brought six blueberry plants and brought them with him to DeMotte. He had received information on what type of soil was needed, as well as how to care for blueberry plants, from the Earlman Plantation in Michigan. He planted those six plants in what would later become our farm – Eenigenburg’s Blueberries. Because of this, we have the distinct honor of being the first blueberry farm in all of the DeMotte area.
Mr. Sauer started root cuttings in peat moss from propagation boxes so that he could further expand his fields. He later became a licensed nurseryman in the state of Indiana, and that designation allowed him to sell plants to other farmers in the area, who then started their farms. Many of the plants sold by Mr. Sauer came from those initial six plants that he brought to DeMotte.
Ernie Eenigenburg bought the initial farm on the East side of DeMotte in l956, when Mr. Sauer’s retired. By 1956 the farm was 13 years old and had approximately 8 acres of blueberries. Ernie and his wife Alice continued to expand his farm, as did many other local blueberry growers. He started another farm on the North side of town, and built a house there for his family. Ernie and Alice had five children who spent many hours working on both blueberry farms – Robert (Bob), Pat, Richard, Donna, and Sheila.
In 1966, the eldest Eenigenburg son – Bob – married Barbara Werth. In 1967 Bob and Barb had their first daughter – Laura. In 1968 Barb and Bob began to manage the East farm. In 1970 Bob and Barb had their second daughter – Marcia. It was that summer when Ernie asked them to take over the East farm completely so that Alice didn’t have to run back and forth between farms. A rental agreement was drawn up at that point in 1970. Bob and Barb would manage day-to-day operations of the farm. In exchange, they would keep a portion of the farm proceeds, and pay Ernie and Alice a percent of their net earnings each year. This agreement was a long-term agreement, and would remain intact until Ernie and Alice both passed away.
In 1973 Bob and Barb had their third daughter – Kathleen.
Ernie passed away in 1985, and Alice passed away 9 years later in 1994. At that point, Bob and Barb Eenigenburg became the sole owners of the East farm, now known as Eenigenburg’s Blueberries. Ernie and Alice’s youngest daughter Sheila and her late husband Jack DeBoer became the owners of the North farm, now known as Eenigenburg’s Berry Farm.
Both of the farms continue to be owned and operated by the Eenigenburg families. On the East side, Barb's daughters and grandchildren now operate the farm for Barb.
Chronology of Events:
1943 First plant bushes planted on East blueberry farm by Mr. John Sauer
1956 Mr. Sauer retires – Ernie and Alice Eenigenburg purchase the farm
1966 Bob and Barb Eenigenburg marry
1968 Bob and Barb begin managing the East farm
Today - East farm still owned and operated by Eenigenburg family