As I have mentioned many times over, I am a big believer in buying local produce. I don’t just support local farming because I want to help local business, I also do it because the local produce here in Canada is fantastic. So when the producers of strawberries and raspberries of Quebec invited me to a ‘pick your own strawberries’ event, I was incredibly happy to attend.
Have you ever gone strawberry picking? It’s a really nice family activity. Bringing your children to discover a local farm is educational and fun. Not only do they learn what a farm is really like, but it gives them a deeper appreciation for the food they eat. I know ever since my children started visiting farms, we discuss our food and how it was grown and how to take care of it and enjoy it.
There is something to be said for getting on your knees and picking the strawberries yourself. I was able to experience first-hand the feeling of picking each strawberry to fill a basket. And when children do that, there is an obvious pride that comes from seeing a basket full of their own pickings.
This time, I went to Ferme Cormier alone while the boys were in their last week of school. Don’t worry, I went home with yummy stuff for them.
Did you know?
- There are over 200 strawberry and raspberry farms in Quebec. So if you are lucky to be in Quebec during picking season, you will be able to fine one.
- There are 11 different varieties of Quebec strawberries available at different times during picking season. Each farmer chooses their varieties based on their sun availability, their tastes and their clients.
- Picking season runs from the very end of June to the middle of October. That gives you plenty of time to plan a day with your family!
- If you thought strawberries in your home meant eating strawberries in a bowl or making jam, think again. There are tons of different recipes you can use strawberries with. For recipe ideas, you can visit their website (please note: this website is in French only).
Here is one of the simplest ever that you will love. Strawberry juice is out-of-this-world delicious and ridiculously simple. Here is was you need to do:
If you have frozen some strawberries with the purpose to make a pie, try this: when you have the berries out to thaw, strain the juice into a bowl. That juice is golden! Add a little sugar and you have a delicious drink.
If you don’t have frozen strawberries, simply use a blender to puree your strawberries and add water and ice if you find it too thick. This is equally delicious.
The Cormier Farm was the gracious host of an informative tour and lunch (all made with local produce). Here are some pictures of my day:
Are Quebec strawberries pesticide-free?
Of course, I wondered about this as well. Here was the answer I was given: “As any other production/culture, strawberries producers use pesticides and herbicides, but only when it’s necessary, mostly at the beginning and the end of the season. If you want to find organic producers, you can visit the organic section of our website. The CARTV website also lists every organic producer in Quebec.”
When to Visit with the Kids
Plan to visit early in the day. Our visit ran in the morning before lunch and it was a perfect temperature. Summer afternoons on the farm are hot, so it’s not the best for young children, which will make their exepreince less enjoyable.
Be sure to pick up more produce and baked goods at the farm shop. I left with a box of groceries for the kids and we ate it all. The taste of local farmed food is so much better so grab it when you are there. And be sure to stock up and freeze berries at end of season.
And for my own peace of mindI will say this. If you are not able to make it to a farm to pick strawberies, or it’s not your thing, do yourself a favour a buy local at your grocery store. The quality is clear and you will taste the difference.
Special thanks to Iogo and Oatbox, the local farmers that collaborated for our delicious lunch, and the Ferme Cormier family.