A Berry Tour

a berry tour
This past spring, I tried to grow strawberries. I thought it would be so amazing to pick juicy berries right from my own yard, but that didn’t exactly work out. I recently had the chance to learn why during a trip to Driscoll’s berry farms with the Whole Foods produce team. In a quick one-day California visit, I think I ate my weight in (darn good) berries. Of course, I like to buy local as much as possible, but we have harsh summers here and my fruit options are sometimes pretty limited.

2-2a berry tour

I thought I’d share just few notes from the trip that I personally found interesting:

– I was surprised to learn that Driscoll’s growers are all contracted independent farmers. Berries are picked straight from the field and arrive at Whole Foods within about 4 days. I think I expected to see one giant farm and a bunch of machines, but that was not the case. We visited three farms and met with owners who were really passionate about the craft of organic farming.

– The demand for organics is higher than ever before, which is good because it means more effort is being spent to convert conventional farms to organic. (Land that is already organic in these ideal areas is hard to come by). It’s a long expensive process that takes at least 3 years for the soil to adapt. So it’s a huge benefit for an independent organic farmer to partner with Driscoll’s for support during the transition. (source: Roy Fuentes, of Fuentes organic berry farms).

– Each container of berries has a code you can type in that will tell you exactly what farm those specific berries came from. They use this as a tool to track down a specific crop if someone writes in with a problem. I think it’s nice because I find peace of mind in knowing where my food comes from.

– Berries need to be grown in temperate environments – sunny days, cool nights, no dramatic shifts in temperature. Which explains my bitter & seedy local strawberries – Texas isn’t “temperate.”

a couple of fun facts:

– Ladybugs are used as one method of pest control in organic growing.
– Blackberries, straight off the vine, taste like candy.

and a few recipes:

Strawberry Balsamic Crostini
Strawberry Quinoa & Feta Salad
Mixed Berry Oat Crisp

Special thanks to Whole Foods and Driscoll’s for sending me on this trip.


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.

15 comments

  1. Emma from coconutandberries.com on said:

    How nice to see that there are still independent farmers out there. I’d love to grow my own strawberries some day- luckily they do well here in England, but for now I’m happy to go berry picking at the local farm 🙂

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I was pleasantly surprised, especially for such a large company.

      Jealous 🙂 We’re in a huge drought (here in Austin) so it’s been a rough season for all local fruit.

  2. t from halfbakedharvest.com on said:

    So jealous of your trip! Looks and sounds like and amazing time. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      not a bad way to spend a day, that’s for sure 🙂

  3. Nice to know you visited the farms here in California where they have the best of berries. We enjoy berry picking a lot during summers, but the sad thing is to see how much of these go of waste.

  4. What an informative trip!! I love that you can track your berries back to a specific farm.

  5. I can’t wait to look up the birthplace of my next tub of strawberries! How very cool!
    -Emily K.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I think it’s so neat that they do that 🙂

  6. Milynn from loveandwhimsyblog.com on said:

    How fun! I love the composition of your post!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thanks! I couldn’t resist a little strawberry pattern 🙂

  7. I’m trying to grow strawberries this year (in IL) and it just isn’t working very well. Now I know it’s probably due to the dramatic temperature fluctuations we’ve been having. Kind of disappointing because I love strawberries, but I guess I’ll just stick to store bought. Nice to now they come in so quick from the farms.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Another thing I learned that they can’t get rained on. (didn’t realize that while I was trying to grow mine).

      • Didn’t know that either! Sounds like I’ll just leave the strawberry growing to the experts.

        • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

          I know, my thoughts exactly… I’ll stick to my herbs and chile peppers 🙂

  8. Emily on said:

    Good to know! here I am enjoying a few Driscoll strawberries – I purchased them from Whole Foods Monday evening. Yesterday and today I was struck by just how darn beautiful they are. I’m happy to know more about Driscoll and I will happily buy from them in the future knowing they are actually a team of organic farmers – can’t wait to look up my carton tonight!
    Emily

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *