James and Audrey Pott grow fruits and berries on their farm in Foxboro. Strawberries are first to ripen in mid June and then Haskap berries and later cherries. Find out about their philosophy and how they grow fruit with out using chemicals. Picking starts at 8 a.m. each day, not Sunday and the market stall opens at 10 am each day except Sunday. The strawberry season is three weeks long and the Haskap season five weeks. Find out about their philosophy and how they grow fruit without using chemicals.
“We experimented with plastic mulches: regular, bio-degradable, photo-degradable. and with and without drip line,” said James Pott. “We have discovered that we definitely want to continue with mulch, but probably not with plastic, degradable or otherwise. So have started with wood chips. It has turned out there is quite a bit available for free if you register with local companies that do tree clearing and maintenance and such.
We had a wide variety of tart cherries including Romance Series: Juliet, Romeo, Cupid and Carmine Jewel, but we are down to just two kinds now. The earlier one the Crimson Passion and the later variety, the Cupid. These Tart Cherries are not exactly either tart or sour. Sugar levels are ranging from a low of 14 % Brix (Carmine Jewel) to a high of in the low twenties. Compare that to a strawberry that usually comes in at not higher than 10 Brix. The well know bright red tart cherry (pie cherry) called Montmorency usually averages not more than 12 Brix (sugar) in a warm summer. The nice part of these cherries is that they are shrubs of 6 to 7 feet high and when loaded with cherries (average 30 lbs. per shrub) they have a drooping habit which makes for easy picking. Cherries are dark red to almost black. The earliest one, Carmine Jewel is ready for picking at the end of July. Cherries will stay on the bush for at least two weeks, with three to four no exception. Other varieties follow in the month of August, into September. We are done picking by the second half of August. We have a pitter on the premises. For people who pick for the freezer to have cherries all winter in the yogurt, or breakfast cereal, we recommend to take the pits out before freezing since the pits dull the fresh taste of the cherry. These are the fruits that everybody should have in their regular diet because of their health promoting properties. It is also one of the few fruits that can give you a healthy restful sleep because a cup of these will give you all the melatonin you need. They have the same anti inflammatory qualities as aspirin and other non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. Anti-Inflammatory-Properties-of-Tart-Cherry, Tart-cherry-juice-for-body-pain-in-runners.
This coming year (2021) will most likely be our last year to grow strawberries. The haskap has become our main crop and well deserved. Once people discover the berry, they want nothing else. People now camp overnight to do enough picking to last them through the winter. The first booking for 2021 already came in inn early March. The beauty of the haskap berry is that it can be used in so many ways. Fresh of the bush, in a salad (veggie or fruit), as a dessert, in a pie or in ice cream. The juice is like a good wine without the alcohol. And yes, you can make a great wine with it. And of course above all, it is called the fruit of longevity by the Japanese who have grown the plant for centuries.
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. Audrey as a Masters in Health and Nutrition and James as a Masters Psychologist. 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, 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.” As mentioned we have begun to scale back our strawberry operation, while the haskap and the tart cherry as well as the saskatoons are beginning to come into their own.
In our continuing search for a better quality product we have added two new fruits that are extremely high in antioxidants :black currants and aronia. They all, just as the haskaps come in shrub form. All 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. In addition, cherries and cherry drinks are being used to prevent sports related injuries, and haskap juice is already being used at parties as healthy and enjoyable replacement for other drinks, while still being able to drive home safely and legally.
In the start-up most of our product will be sold through our own stand on Hwy 62. Eventually we will try to make them available all through the year in dried or frozen and, for the cherries, in de-pitted form. Frozen haskaps will be available as long as there is supply. Farm has two access points on Hwy 62 to facilitate the marketing.