Divine Balance Fruit Salad began at the 1978 Oregon Country Fair as an enterprise of Om Farm, a commune near the Fern Ridge Reservoir. Paul Fuller helped run the booth that first year and settled into an old canning shed at Om Farm. Judy Herbert, who grew up in Noti, joined Om Farm in 1980 after she and Paul fell in love. The group grew an organic garden and canned its bounty with a 44-quart pressure canner Paul had purchased with an inheritance.
Paul and Judy married in 1983 and moved to their own place in 1985 before their son Zach was born. Paul took a Lane Community College class in refrigeration work and used recycled equipment to build a cooler for Thistlebrook Farm. Soon he was building coolers for Organically Grown Cooperative and natural food stores all around town.
In 1995, Paul switched to farming with Judy. At their new property, they created Sweet Creek Foods, selling their pickles and sauces in glass jars at the Farmers Market in Eugene. In 2006, Sweet Creek Foods began delivering to local grocery stores. Sweet Creek Foods also jars produce for other farmers and small food businesses, giving an added-value boost to the local economy.
In 2005, Paul and a small crew built “Chillville” to store cold food for booths at the Oregon Country Fair. This year, Paul and Judy will once again join friends to run the Divine Balance Fruit Salad booth, four decades after it began.