Hillberry: A Family Blueberry Farm Is Born

By Kristie Snyder,

GreenLeaf Editor

hillberry-smFor Pat Hickey and Karin Dahlander of Hillberry, farming is a family affair. The couple owns a young blueberry farm perched on a beautiful hillside in Berkshire, running it with the help of their parents, children, and friends. This year, for the first time, they are marketing their fresh blueberries in GreenStar's Produce Department.

Neither Pat nor Karin has a farming background (they are both former GreenStar employees — Pat still works a sub shift now and then). But as owners of prime farmland in Berkshire, they knew they wanted to put the land into production. They settled on perennial crops, and a consultation with Cornell Cooperative Extension and soil maps of the area pointed to blueberries as a crop likely to succeed. The idea "felt right," according to Pat — they liked the idea of farming a crop that is less subject to pest and disease pressure than other fruits, and thus well-suited to organic practices. They researched blueberry culture for two years while cover cropping the ground that would receive the plants, and Hillberry was born. (Their ten-year-old daughter Willa contributed the name. "We have berries on a hill!" she said.)

Pat and Karin's four children, Willa, Emmitt, August, and Winter, form an integral part of the farm. Willa and Emmitt help with picking and looking after their younger brothers. ("We have the cutest blueberry pickers," Pat's mother, Carol, pointed out.) On a recent visit to the farm, Willa noticed a plant with some discolored leaves and pointed it out to her father, who suggested it might indicate some sort of mineral deficiency in the soil. "This field is for the kids," Karin said. "It's something to come back to and be able to make an honest living at."

Read more: Hillberry: A Family Blueberry Farm Is Born

 

Stone fruit recall!

stone-fruit-recallGreenStar has pulled all stonefruit related to the packaging company associated with a possible listeria contamination. We only had a few cases of nectarines from "Sweet 2 Eat". If you have any fruit with a Sweet 2 Eat sticker, please return it to our store for a full refund.

Kid Stuff

By Joe Romano, 

Marketing Manager

brussel-sproutsIt's bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children's health than the pediatrician.

— Meryl Streep

For centuries adults have been telling kids to eat healthier foods.

Maybe we should be showing them healthy food, instead. Researchers from Iowa State University conducted a study at a summer camp for children ages 6-12 with diabetes. They used a bright, colorful, rotating digital display that featured an image of a salad. The researchers found that the kid's salad consumption increased by as much as 90 percent!

They were offered all the usual fare, like tacos, sloppy joes, fruits and vegetables; the option of a salad bar was simply added to the menu, along with the attractive signage.

"The cool effect that we found and didn't expect was with boys," said Laura Smarandescu, an assistant professor of marketing at Iowa State. "It makes sense because boys like video games and interact more with technology. We noticed many boys stopping to look at the display and their behavior seemed to be more influenced by the presence of the display."

Read more: Kid Stuff

 

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New in Produce

Local is (the new) Back!

Andrew Hernandez,
Produce Manager

Local produce is back! Look for Good Life's asparagus, and local greens from Blue Heron and Remembrance.

It's hard to believe it's May — spring is fully upon us and the weather is delightful. It seems like just yesterday we were in the cold grim grip of February's icy grasp, but this month marks the beginning of the bounty of local produce! The Good Life Farm brings us asparagus (check out their "Asparaganza" celebration on May 23), while Blue Heron Farm will have spinach by the end of the month and continues to offer their wonderful seedlings. Remembrance Farm brings us their packaged arugula, spicy greens mix, baby kale, tatsoi, and field greens, ready for your immediate consumption. So consume and enjoy, and be mindful of how lucky we are to have all of this wonderful food from such wonderful farms and farmers, and their hardworking staff. And don't forget, we're stocked with all the soil, growing mix, and compost for all of your home gardening needs.

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