Bruce Roberts’ maternal grandfather, Ernest Dodge, bought the house, barn, and over 300 acres in 1907 for his upcoming marriage to Ethel Rhodes in 1908. (The cost was $600.00!) He and his uncle added to the house and barn. The original house and barn are to the back and are believed to be built in the 1880’s or earlier. (The town hall in Chesterfield burnt down at the turn of the century and the records went with it!) Ernest spoke of riding by the house as a child and he was born in 1884.
Ernest had 30 dairy cows - all to be milked by hand! He also raised crops and ran a maple sugar farm (for 50 years) that is now called “Krug Sugarbush” and is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In the 1950’s, John Roberts, son-in-law of Ernest and Ethel, bought some land from them and planted blueberry bushes. He was a schoolteacher and the blueberries became his ‘summer job’. The farm was commercial picking only. Young and old from the surrounding area were able to make some extra money picking blueberries for the farm. Originally the blueberries were sent to Springfield, but the past 20 years they have been sent to the Boston market. In 2008, due to the $4.00 + price tag on a gallon of gas, no blueberries were sent to market.
Bruce grew up helping his father on the blueberry farm and it became his passion. Unfortunately, being a farmer is not a profitable profession, so he became a registered nurse. That way he could work evenings at the hospital and work the berries during the day.
Frequently, people would stop by to ask if they could pick the berries. Bruce started the pick-your-own portion of the farm in 1981. In 2000, he planted 2 rows of raspberries for pick-your-own. The response was very enthusiastic so in 2009, he added 4 more rows!