As a boy, Thayne Tagge would come to Bear Lake to water-ski with his family each summer. He knew how wonderful the Bear Lake Raspberries were and decided one summer to bring some to Salt Lake to sell.
He was dating Cari at the time and she had just gotten back from Israel study abroad. He suggested she bring down some raspberries too. The Bear Lake Raspberry season would last only 2 to 3 weeks each August. In 1982 Thayne would go up each morning and pick up 50 cases of raspberries and sell them in sugarhouse.
Cari was not a morning person (she is now) and would go up to Bear Lake each night and sleep in her mom’s station wagon. She would bring down 50 cases of raspberries to the old 7-11 in Holladay (now Great Harvest Bread). They would back up their cars, open the trunks and put up banner paper that would read Fresh Bear Lake Raspberries.
They were married in 1983 and continued to bring fresh Bear Lake Raspberries to Salt Lake each summer. They originally named their business Berry Nice and have continued to sell at these two locations for the last 25 years. Each summer Cari would add additional raspberry stands and go to the farmers markets. Thayne was a CPA at Peat, Marwick and would take his vacation each year during the raspberry season. Cari had four children in those years and they all grew up helping pick, load, and sell raspberries.
Cari’s family is from Brigham City. Her great grandfather was Ross Bowen who founded the Indian School. Her grandparents and her father were born in Brigham City. Cari grew up knowing how amazing the peaches were in Brigham City.
By 1995 the Tagge’s had six fruit stands. It was then that Cari suggested they pick up some peaches from Brigham City to sell at their stands as well. They met Paul Sumida who owned a fruit stand on Highway 89 (Fruit Way). They would purchase peaches from him each day and sell them at their stands. Thayne and Paul became friends and the next year Paul asked Thayne to buy his 38-acre orchard. Paul said he would work with Thayne for one year and teach him how to farm. Thayne quit Peat, Marwick and became a full time farmer. They bought the orchard in 1997 and changed their business name to Thayne and Cari Tagge’s Famous Fruit.
Now that the Tagge’s had all this fruit being grown Cari had to add more fruit stands. In 1998 Bear Lake Raspberries were struggling because of a plant virus, so the Tagges bought 10 more acres across the street in Perry to grow raspberries and blackberries.
In 2003 Thayne purchased the 30-acre Perry family farm in Willard. The Perry family wanted to sell it to someone who would use it to farm and not build houses. Since then the Tagges have planted over 2500 trees on that property.
The Tagge’s fruit stands have gone through many changes throughout the years. We used to be able to pull up to a location without a business license and sell. We have hired many teenagers, college students, and moms to help us sell each summer. Our season went from three weeks each summer to a hectic four months of selling. Thayne knows how to fix tractors, prune, thin, fertilize and this summer just put in a drip irrigation system on 28 acres of our land.
Learning to farm has been bittersweet. IT IS A LOT OF WORK. Thayne and Cari work around 80 hours each week during the harvest. Thayne has to water in the middle of the night and load trucks at 3:30 some mornings. We plant seeds in our green house in March and then plant over 12,000 tomato plants and other row crops in May. But the joy of farming, to Thayne, is working the land. He loves working hard and literally seeing the fruits of his labor. He will call Cari at dusk while he is cultivating and tell her how beautiful Willard Bay is when the sun is setting. They both have a crazy work ethic and are proud that all four of their children know how to work hard and will finish the job no matter how dirty or how long it takes.
A family business is fun, but sometimes you are together too much and take your pressure out on each other. Our children are amazing, and help us do what ever is needed. It has been so rewarding to grow our own produce and have our customers appreciate the work that we do. We have many loyal customers that have bought from us for the last 25 years. We are proud to be a first generation farming family.