By E.I. Hillin
On South Czech Hall Road, past the train tracks, visitors can find long rows of what the Colston family describes as fruits of the spirit, the kind you can eat.
Leslie Wakefield brought her family to Agape House Berry Farm for the first time to pick strawberries. She said she was impressed and so was her 13-month-old daughter, Makenna, as she carried a bucket full of berries with a strawberry juice-smeared grin.
“She clearly enjoyed it,” Wakefield said.
After hearing about the U-Pick berry farm from friends, Wakefield said she wanted to check it out.
“We wanted to support the local community,” Wakefield said. “It’s family-friendly fun.”
Agape House Berry Farm, 10912 S. Czech Hall Road, is a family owned and operated U-Pick berry farm owned by Pati Colston and John Colston. The farm is open for business for the second year and the fruits are visibly plentiful.
“We’ve been very prayerful and we give God all the glory,” Pati Colston said. “We believe his blessings are on our farm.”
The word “Agape” means love in Greek. The farm’s name was inspired by 1 Corinthians 13, a passage describing love. For the Colstons, love is the main component in their farming practice. When they decided to invest in the berry-picking business, Colston said she expected hard work and long hours, but she didn’t predict just how much she would enjoy it.
“I never knew I would love farming like this,” she said.
During the first harvest a year ago, blackberries were the main attraction. This season strawberries were added to the selection. Visitors can grab a bucket and pick their own strawberries Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The blackberries are not ready for harvest yet. Colston said they are expecting them to be ready in early June. With the rise of the summer heat, the hours will change to Tuesday and Thursday 7 a.m. to noon, Wednesday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reaping the fruits of the spirit has required hard work and investment from the Colstons. Pati Colston took time off from her full-time job to help operate the farm during berry season. John Colston owns a sand-blasting business in addition to working on the farm. The family also recruited their grown children to help out on the farm. Jamie Colston, Jonathon Colston, and Julie Long help with operations.
The Department of Agriculture and Agritourism helped the Colstons open and promote Agape House Berry Farm. Oklahoma State University and local farmers also helped to guide the Colstons on their first-time farm journey.
“We are learning a lot believe me,” she said. “I have a whole new appreciation for farmers.”
Preparing, planting, and nurturing the plants may take time and patience, but for the Colstons it’s a rewarding experience.
“When the kids come up with strawberry juice running down their mouth you realize it’s all worth it,” she said. “That’s what we’d hoped for.”