This blog is a place to share my passion for cooking and inspire people to cook more from scratch. With six people in the family, cooking is something that is always on my mind. I want to share some of my favorite foods and recipes and share more about traditional diets (like the kind of food our great, great, great grandmothers would have made). Right now I am fascinated with fermented vegetables, coconuts, seafood with a cerviche twist and organ meats... although maybe not all in the same meal!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever!

Picking the lovely berries at Whitted Bowers Farm in Cedar Grove, NC
Now is the time of year to enjoy fresh strawberries so eat up!  My daughter and I had a wonderful time picking just over twenty pounds of fresh strawberries recently at Whitted Bowers Farm , a certified biodynamic and organic farm in Cedar Grove, North Carolina.  If you don't get up to the farm in a hurry (they say they may close this year's U Pick by May 18th), you may still be able to buy some at the Carrboro Farmers' Market.  In fact this Saturday the 14th is the Strawberry Jamboree at the market which should be a wonderful chance to taste a wide variety of different berries. 

A nice view of the berry fields!
A close up of the fresh picked berries
There's just something so tasty about red, ripe, juicy strawberries!  If you've tasted some of the bland ones from the supermarkets in mid winter and compare it to a fresh from the farm juicy Whitted Bowers berry, you can wonder how they are even called the same thing!  It just goes to show that there is a "season" for everything and that try as hard as we may to outsmart mother nature and have strawberries all year long, there is really no way to beat the unique joy of eating a food at the peak of its season.  


As if just the joy of a peak season strawberry isn't enough to celebrate on its own, the Whitted Bowers strawberries are extra fabulous for another reason.  Not only are they organic, but they are also biodynamic!  Now perhaps that doesn't mean much to you, but I think it should for several reasons.  First of all, strawberries are one of those foods on the Dirty Dozen list, meaning that they are in the top 12 foods for having pesticide contamination on the food if not organic.  You can see a link to find out the other top 12 offenders from this CNN Link to the Dirty Dozen most pesticide exposed fruits and vegetables.  So for me personally, I really go out of my way to buy organic strawberries or I just don't eat them.  

But the even more exciting thing about Whitted Bowers' berries and food in general is that they also go the extra MILE to be certified by the Demeter association for biodynamics.  Now to explain all about biodynamics would be a whole blog post in itself, but perhaps at first glance it is just good to know that the certification standards for Demeter exceed the standards of the US National Organic Program and the Stellar Organic Certification program.  Rob Bowers, from Whitted Bowers Farm, once described it to me briefly as biodynamics being that the farmer pays attention to everything when it comes to farming.  He wants to know what the planets are doing, he wants to know that the land is being nourished between seasons, and he wants to learn as much about the natural cycle of nature as possible to be able to farm in harmony with nature.  The Demeter association says Biodynamic farming is a holistic and regenerative farming system that is focused on soil health, the integration of plants and animals, and biodiversity. It seeks to create a farm system that is minimally dependant on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable.  To learn more about biodynamics, you can click here.  There are also a lot of recommended readings from the site at Whitted Bowers farm.


In celebration of all things strawberry, let me leave you with a link to one of my favorite children's books that is read on utube at this link:  The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear.  Yes, indeed, there's only one way to keep that red, ripe strawberry from the big hungry bear.... we'll cut it in two, share half with me, and we'll both eat it all up!

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