Do you remember those little wild strawberries you picked as a kid--so sweet or that peach you took a bite of and the delicious juice ran down your cheek or a blueberry that was so good, you just kept eating them one after another? It is so easy to forget because you buy fruit that looks good but tastes oh so blah. Get to a market and buy from the folks who sell truly local, fresh picked produce. There is no match for it, in my opinion!
A little girl came up to our farm market stand not too long ago with her mother and I offered her a blueberry from our sample basket. Her mother apologized saying, "she doesn't like blueberries" but just then the little girl reached in and took a beautiful, Childs blueberry from the basket and moments later exclaimed, "Mama, I do like blueberries." Now that is enough to make any farmer smile!
Farming is hard work with few shortcuts to do it right. If you take the time to read what follows you will have a better understanding of why SO MANY people buy from local farmers--where they meet the grower face to face--and can ask questions.
At Childs Blueberries & Buffalo Ranch, we continue to do it right, as we have for over 30 years.
FREEZING: To freeze Childs Blueberries, place in our freezer bag (thicker & higher quality plastic than regular freezer bags) and that is it. The berries will come out like little marbles. Place berries in your smoothie, pancakes, cereal or recipes all winter long. If you wish to rinse them, do so when you take them out.
SCARY HEALTH NOTE: Most mass produced, machine picked berries including frozen Maine (misnomer alert) “Wild” berries are imported berries from China, Chili, Peru, Argentina, etc and are basically harvested in the equivalent to "sweatshop" working conditions. They have fungicides, herbicides and pesticides on them. Those berries you need to wash well, dry on paper towels, and freeze individually on cookie sheets and then place in the freezer but frankly, we would not give them our dogs, much less our family. Imported “organics” are not certified according to USA standards and there are endless stories of abuse but because of a loophole in the labeling law, the imports are "packed" or "distributed" and they list a USA company, even though the product is grown in a third world country, to mislead the consumer--it worked, but now you know!
SOME REASONS CHILDS Pest Free BLUEBERRIES TASTE SO GOOD
#1 PEST FREE BERRIES
Childs Blueberries has always used Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM teaches us to use pheromone traps and if a pest is caught in the trap, to nip the problem in the bud with a mild spray thus solving the pest problem before it multiplies into zillions, basically the same premise as preventative medicine keeping our berries PEST FREE. Childs says the spray used is the mildest-200% milder than the spray used on 99% of the certified organic produce-but ONLY IF we catch a pest in the pheromone trap. We are beyond organic and often use no spray at all. ONLY a small family farm like ours, managed by the owner on a daily basis, can micromanage a farm like this and thus provide the safest and best blueberry available.
#2 NO OVERRIPE OR UNDERRIPE BERRIES
GIANT machine harvesters like out of a SciFi movie are quick at harvesting but they bat the berry off the bush causing damage to the berry shortening shelf life and damage the blueberry bush causing need for either conventional or organic fungicides to protect against infection or death of the bush. There is also excessive waste with machine harvesters which is breeding ground for pests and 40% of the harvest is not at the peak ripeness for maximum flavor benefits meaning some are under ripe and tart and some are over ripe and rancid. These low quality, machine harvested berries are available as loss leaders at many stores--our problem is convincing people to try one of our blueberries because so many people, after a rancid blueberry say, "I don't like blueberries".
#3 MEANINGLESS "ORGANIC" STAMP ON FROZEN BLUEBERRIES SOLD IN STORES
At least in the USA, a government inspector intermittently shows up at market--buys 16 pints of berries and sends them to a laboratory for testing and then sends the grower back a statement of findings. Childs Blueberries findings have always come back perfect for no pesticide because we follow what Cornell University teaches.
Food to be frozen can be grown anywhere on the planet because of big foods lobby against accurate labeling country of origin. Instead, the label says "packed" in the USA (not grown in USA) that is because they are bringing in berries grown in foreign soil, where chemicals long outlawed in the USA (some with half-lives that will remain in the soil for eons) are still sometimes used, and seldom are imported foods checked at the border for pesticide residual or pesticide type. Foreign "organic certification" can be meaningless due to lack of oversight of the organic process in foreign countries. With frozen, the sign may say, "organic" but odds are, it is just sales puffery--BUT you have NO WAY OF KNOWING!
#4 BERRIES ARE FRESH
IF WE DON'T SELL THEM THE FIRST DAY AT MARKET THEY GO IN THE FREEZER OR INTO JAM. When I pick up a pint of blueberries at the store, I sort out what we would discard and that amounts to 1/3 to 1/2 the package. So if you paid $3.50 for that pint, to get a full pint you would have to multiply that dollar amount by 2. Many of those berries were picked 2-3 weeks ago. Our berries are picked, sorted and sent right to market where you purchase them. People ask me, "What should I do with the store bought berries we got on sale last week. They taste so bad. Can I give them to my dog?" I ask, "is your dog your friend?"
#5 UNIQUE SOIL
Naturally acidic because the glaciers stopped below our mountaintop and by not amalgamating the soil, left soil that is PERFECT for blueberries. Our soil has all the micronutrients a blueberry needs and our soil microbes are alive so the bush can uptake those nutrients. The result is a blueberry that tastes significantly better than those grown in flatlands or sandy areas and a berry that is nutrient dense.
Over the last 25+ years we have put enough hardwood sawdust on each bush to reach the top of a first floor building and these natural nutrients and organic matter lend to a tasty berry and healthy bush!
The better the pollination, the larger and sweeter the berry--We have three stables of honey bees and a plenthora of bumble bees--if you see a field full of bees- you know the farmer is doing it right because SO MANY farmers have killed their bees with organic or conventional chemicals. Yes, the 961 sprays certified organic farms are allowed to use and still be certified do kill bees and the lazy farmer is one who choses to spray during the daytime rather than at night when the bees are protected in the hive.
#8 PICK THE FIELD CLEAN
Machines knock 40% of the crop to the ground creating a breeding ground for pests. It would be like leaving dirty dishes in your sink and the garbage in your kitchen can for weeks or months. Our American pickers leave very little behind so we have essentially a "clean kitchen" in our fields.
#9 SOIL SECRETS
Childs Blueberries uses a custom blend of fertilizer that is like a vitamin for blueberries that we special order containing Nitrogen, Potassium, Selenium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, etc. For 30 years we have sent leaf samples to a laboratory for analysis and that tells us what our soil needs for the perfect blueberry.
Also, our soil is alive so the fertilizer is effectively up taken by our plants--there are more living microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on this planet and chemicals can kill them effectively creating a "dead zone" where plants starve unable to uptake the nutrients without the microbes help. Worse yet, since the plants can't use the nutrients, they erode into our streams and lakes causing algae growth...all because the soil was killed by the chemicals certified organic farms are using or conventional farms are using. Why not do what Childs Blueberries has always done--listen to Cornell or Rutgers Universities?
Childs Blueberries uses buried trickle irrigation and a swimming pool filter system to clean pond water for the trickle irrigation so as not to deplete ground water supplies. This is just good farming practices although seldom utilized by mass production farms where they deplete the ground water misusing it by spraying it in the air where 80% can evaporate.
#10 "THERE IS HONOR IN PRODUCING"
Said Childs Blueberries founder, Bob Childs in reference to being a farmer who sells what he grows. We take pride in providing an "old world" quality product where craftsman like attention is given to the detail of growing a superb blueberry.