Thursday, June 11, 2009

Berry Picking - Hooray!

These days, many people are asking where they can go to pick healthy, wholesome, spray-free berries. Strawberries are hiding just around the corner, almost ready to be...well, devoured :) The key is finding a good local farm to meet our berry-eating needs. The biggest misconception is that you have to go somewhere that has organic certification. Only large farms that sell to corporations can afford to pay for the certification. Nowadays, there are many farms growing "certified organic" produce simply because there is such a hot market for them, yet the farms themselves are still industrial, heavily mechanized, may exploit workers, and may not employ sustainable farming methods. Though the produce may be "organic", the way in which it came into the world still feeds into the exploitative, industrial model which puts emphasis on the end result rather than on how it got there. 

Smaller local farms are often run by families who are intimately connected with their land and put a lot more care and love into their crops. The best way to figure out which farm is best for you is by making a list of the local options and then visiting them one by one, getting a feel for the place and tasting the goods :) Sometimes you can even meet the farmers and really get to know exactly where your food comes from. 

In the greater Vancouver area, my favourite place for berry picking is Krause Berry Farms. Not only are they extremely ethical and deeply respectful of the land which they farm, but their berries are out of this world! Going berry-picking there is like a little trip to paradise. They also have a little bakery and you can sit on the porch eating shortcake, pies, and old-fashioned milkshakes if that's what your heart desires! I love the energy of the place and greatly look forward to going there again this summer. 

Krause Berry Farms aims to open on June 18, as long as the weather cooperates :) That's in just a short week! I will take my camera on my first day out there and take lots of pictures of delectable, sunshine loving, wholesome strawberries :) And I will eat them! 

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