Dean and Judy Henry received NARBA’s Distinguished Service Award in February, 2015. This is an edited text of the presentation.
Dean and Judy Henry celebrated 40 years of growing berries this past year in 2014 at their family-owned Berry Patch Farm, located near Nevada in central Iowa.
The Berry Patch is known in Iowa for its fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables, and innovative production techniques. Customers and friends visit their farm market regularly and buy pre picked produce or pick their own or buy from the farm at various farmers markets throughout Iowa. There are now generations of Iowa families who associate fresh, tasty, berries with the Berry Patch Farm. Dean, Judy, and their son Mike, a key part of the farm, grow both primocane- and floricane-fruiting raspberries and blackberries, as well as strawberries, blueberries, red and black currants and gooseberries. They also raise apples, cherries, and pumpkins.
Dean and Judy Henry and their son, Mike, at Berry Patch Farm.
Judy and Dean are known for their willingness to train the next generation – they are both wonderful educators. Judy was a preschool teacher for many years and she is still loved by the many children who visit the farm with their parents or on tours. Dean taught for many years at Des Moines Area Community College, and they have hired countless students workers, who learn about horticulture and agriculture while they are earning money to use for college. Both Dean and Judy have been incredibly giving of their personal time to help and participate in grower organizations – including the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association. In Iowa, they have been active members in the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and Practical Farmers of Iowa, hosting many field days over the years.
Dean, Judy and Mike have always used production practices which benefit the environment. They were early pioneers in the use of cover crops and rotations to build soil quality, and their efforts were recognized when they received the Soil Conservation District Award. Dean and Judy adopted integrated pest management techniques very early on their farm and efficiently use drip irrigation. Whenever possible, organic production practices are used. Restaurants and local food systems are proud to serve and sell Dean and Judy’s berries, and their fruit is often “showcased” in menus and featured items.
The Henrys have had a long-lasting impact on the growing of berries in North America. They have shared their bountiful harvests with generations of customers, taught countless children and young adults about agriculture and berries, and encouraged and supported their communities and fellow growers in positive ways.
Dean and Judy have been members of NARBA since at least 1997 – 18 years. Dean Henry served as Region 6 Representative on the NARBA Executive Council 2006 through 2009 and in 2010, Dean became a member of our North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation’s Research Committee, which reviews proposals for the committee. Dean and Judy have attended numerous NARBA conferences, probably presented at several of them, and have always been ready to help out and be active participants in the organization.
See the list of all NARBA Distinguished Service Award winners.