Super Senior: Richard & Jennie Gilbert

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 5:01 PM EDT
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WEST DANVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - In West Danville, blueberries are bursting from the bushes at Silver Fox Farm.

“He picks faster than I do,” said Jennie Gilbert, who along with her husband, Richard, runs the farm.

And it’s the busy season for the couple. The husband and wife team manages 3,000 blueberry bushes, something they’ve done for the last 30 years. “I’d go crazy if I’m not working,” Richard said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Who’s the boss here?

Richard Gilbert: Both are.

Jennie Gilbert: Both of us.

They’ve been together for close to six decades. “She was a poor girl when I married her,” Richard said. “And what we got, we earned together.”

The berries are sold by the pint or pick your own. Sampling is ok. “We want kids and people to eat. There’s plenty to eat,” Jennie said.

Richard says the more they eat, the more they pick -- a win-win.

The couple not only sells the blueberries but also promotes them for health reasons. Jennie was diagnosed with acute leukemia at 50. “I wasn’t expected to make it,” Jennie said. She credits her doctors and the antioxidants in the blueberries for keeping her alive. “They’re my cure and I got to keep eating them to keep going.”

Now 78, Jennie preaches the power of her produce.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You really promote blueberries. You’re a true believer.

Jennie Gilbert: Because they’re the cure of my illness.

It’s also truly a family business. Daughter Cynthia is helping up on the hill. “My dad was always there for her, always had her back. And that’s the example that we were raised with,” Cynthia said.

Hard work, and a little “down on the farm” advice from Richard. “If you say, ‘You can’t,’ You made up your... you’ve blocked your mind,” he said. “You say you don’t know how and you keep thinking about it, you’ll come up with a way.

Richard, now 81, also works in the woods logging with his son. “We get questions once in a while, ‘Why do you quit at 4 o’clock in the afternoon?’ But sometimes we get tired and we like to go home, have supper,” Richard said.

Chances are, there will be a blueberry pie on the side.