Published May 4, 2017

Member Spotlight — Bill and Betty Kimble, of Pella

By Tamsyn Jones

Bill and Betty Kimble
Members since 1989
Pella, IA

Bill and Betty Kimble raise vegetables, fruits and bees on their 40-acre farm near Pella. Berries have been central enterprises on the farm.

In the past, the Kimbles had up to 2 acres of land in strawberry and blueberry production, marketed both as U-pick and pre-pick.

They now have about a half-acre of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. “We cut things back to just what I can take care of,” Bill says. “I have some customers that pick up on the farm, and some at the Pella Farmers Market.”

Until a few years ago, the Kimbles also used to do some custom grazing on their land.

Bill served as a mentor to past Savings Incentive Program enrollee Matt Roe, of Terraceberry Farm, who was part of the SIP Class of 2015.

“I could tell Matt what not to do,” Bill says. “I failed at blueberries four times. Luckily, it was just three plants at a time. I never grew to the institutional, wholesale production scale – the scale as Matt is exploring. I couldn’t get consistency of supply, and never pursued it.

“We had been at various levels of production over 25 years, from an eighth of an acre to 2 acres of strawberries.”

In addition to farming, Bill used to work as a 6th-grade math and language arts teacher at Pella Christian Grade School. While he has retired from teaching, he and Betty continue to farm.

Their short-term goals include increasing income and profit. Their long-term goal is to continue farming for another 10 years.