Although we both, James and Audrey, were born and raised on a farm, we have spent most of our adult life as teachers. Teaching Elementary through College. Health and nutrition have always been a very important part of our professional life at high school as well as at College.
Switching careers in 1982,we ran a sheep operation (400+ ewes), combined with finishing hogs. The hogs were for the manure as much as the cash flow. Sold out in 1990 after discovering there was not much of a future in either sheep or hogs on P.E. Island. Moved back to Ontario to start a Discount Bookstore in Belleville, which we did till 2003 when we sold the store and “retired” onto our 40 acres on Hwy 62 at the intersection with the Frankford Road where we have been experimenting with different ways of growing different kinds of strawberries. Our main focus has on the one hand been on trying to reduce the use of pesticides and using alternative ways, and on the other hand growing strawberries that are higher in antioxidants to give a longer shelf life. Cle de Champs, St. Laurent, Chambly, St. Pierre and Harmony, all fit the bill. They can stay on the table for 4-5 days without going bad. Our main “pesticide” is now hydrogen peroxide, which is sold as Oxidate or StorOx in Canada and can handle most fungi without any harm and without leaving any residue. South of the border it is OMRI certified. Added benefit is that plants love the extra oxygen molecule.
We experimented with plastic mulches: regular, bio-degradable, photo-degradable. and with and without drip line. We have discovered that we definitely want to continue with mulch, but probably not with plastic, degradable or otherwise. This year (2011) we will plant another acre of St. Laurent and one experimental one V151, with a mulch of wood chips, combined with a light application of Devrinol (pre-emergent) under the mulch, which is environmentally more responsible than using Roundup. (We are not organic but we farm with limited use of pesticides). We will have approx. three acres in production in 2011.
Farm has two access points on Hwy 62 to facilitate the marketing.
New Products: In our continuing search for a better quality product we are adding two new fruits that are extremely high in antioxidants : tart cherries and haskaps.This year we will be planting the first batch (approx.400) of about 2000 cherry shrubs and the first batch of Haskap (Lonicera caerulea) (approx. 300) . Both have been developed by the University of Saskatchewan. Cherries are related to the Montmorency tart cherry, but are of a shrub form (6-8 ft) and have Brix levels over 17 (some as high as 22), in other words they are quite sweet. They are mainly of the Romance series. Haskaps are also in shrub form and the fruit could be compared to a large oblong blueberry with a taste of a raspberry-blueberry.
Both fruit are extremely high in Polyphenols (5 x the ORAC value of blueberries), Anthocyanins and other antioxidants. There is already a size-able amount of scientific evidence that the cherries can be used by people with arthritis-related issues, gout, diabetes type ll, and anything else related to the metabolic syndrome. (http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/10/6993/pdf )In addition, cherries and cherry drinks are being used to prevent sports related injuries. Both will in due time be available for U-pick as well. There will be some fruit in 2012, but we expect to start promoting and selling in 2013. We will keep you informed.
In the start-up most of our product will be sold through our own stand on Hwy 62 and through the Belleville No Frills store. Eventually we will try to make them available all through the year in dried or frozen and de-pitted form.