Starting Monday, July 11, and available while supplies last, the popular GrahamBerries are back at Abilis! These delicious farm-fresh organic blueberries are sold at several locations around Greenwich, including Abilis Gardens & Gifts, The Café at Greenwich Library, the Island Beach Concession stand, the Cos Cob Firehouse, the Old Greenwich Farmers Market and with other Abilis partners throughout town such as Boxcar Cantina, who uses the GrahamBerries in special GrahamBerries Blueberry Margaritas. GrahamBerries come from a unique partnership with “Blueberry Hill,” an organic blueberry farm in upstate New York owned by Peter and Phillippa Orzulak, whose son Graham is an Abilis program participant. GrahamBerries are available in pint size for $6 and quart size for $10. Orders can be placed in advance at Abilis Gardens & Gifts by calling 203-531-GIFT or in-person at all of the locations.
“Everyone at Abilis loves GrahamBerries season,” said Amy Montimurro, CEO and president of Abilis. “GrahamBerries are a summer staple for Graham and other Abilis program participants, who sell the berries throughout town. The ability to sell the berries has become part of our Abilis Competitive Employment Program, which helps provide positive work experiences for adults with special needs and disabilities. Selling the GrahamBerries is both fun and empowering for our Abilis community members and we love that we’ve been able to partner with the Orzulak’s on this important initiative.”
The Orzulak’s and their team pick the blueberries, package them and personally transport them to Greenwich, where Graham and his team of blueberry sales staff set up locations around town. The GrahamBerries are available while supplies last. Locations, hours and dates the GrahamBerries will be sold are:
Abilis Gardens & Gifts: M-F, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 50 Glenville Street, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Cos Cob Firehouse: M-F, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., 200 E Putnam Ave, Cos Cob, Connecticut.
Island Beach Concession: M-Sun, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Old Greenwich Farmer’s Market: Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., 38 West End Ave, Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Café at Greenwich Library: M-F, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sat, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., 101 W. Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Graham, for whom GrahamBerries are named, has been a long-time Abilis program participant. He was diagnosed as an infant with Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system. Graham started with Abilis in the Early Intervention services in the Abilis Birth to Three program. As Graham approached adulthood, his family wanted him to have opportunities to be more independent and that included a job. Abilis helped coordinate an individualized day program, residential living and an employment plan, which included selling and delivering organic blueberries from his family’s farm.
“We knew that having a child with special needs would require some creative thinking when it came time for our son to have a job,” said Philippa Orzulak, Graham’s mother. “As our son was graduating school and was ready to work, we started thinking outside the box and worked with the Abilis Competitive Employment team to come up with some work that Graham could do. He started with a paper shredding business and then serviced two snack machines. We started our organic blueberry farm in 2011 and decided that extending the blueberry sales to the clients of Abilis would be a good way to help individuals interact with customers, perfect their sales techniques and learn new job skills. Now after selling the blueberries locally for several years, Graham is often referred to as ‘the Blueberry Mayor of Greenwich.’”
Abilis’ Competitive Employment Program was designed to work with individuals to create customized career plans that build upon their interests and skills and offer avenues toward employment in the community. Abilis’ businesses that are part of the Competitive Employment program include Abilis Gardens & Gifts, Abilis Café, Abilis landscaping and shredding, GrahamBerries, The Café at Greenwich Library, Island Beach Concession, The Café at Darien Library and Dante’s Café at the New Canaan YMCA. Abilis also partners with more than 100 other local businesses as part of its Competitive Employment Program and works with partners such as Coffee for Good, Gregorys, Stop and Shop, Boxcar Cantina, Home Depot and many others to provide job training and meaningful jobs for its Abilis community.
Abilis is a 501c3 non-profit organization that supports more than 800 individuals with disabilities and their families from birth throughout their lives. Founded in 1951, Abilis is a leader serving the special needs community in Fairfield County, Connecticut, in towns including Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport and Wilton. The organization has a long-standing reputation for individualized, high quality care. For more information, visit www.abilis.us, or follow on Facebook @Abilis, Inc., Instagram @abilis_us or Twitter @Abilis.