Delicious AND Nutritional?

Blueberrries

Today on the blog we’ve got a special guest. The team over at Thrive Fitness has agreed to speak with us, specifically Angela who is not only a personal trainer in Burnaby, BC but also a nutritionist. We’re going to be talking about Berries (what else?) and the powerful impacts they can have on your health. Take it away Angela!

Everyone knows fruit is healthy, but I’ve found that explaining the science of it all helps my clients grasp a better understanding of why it’s incredibly important that they eat their fruit (and of course veggies!). Today I’m excited to discuss specifically about berries.

First off, if you have access to in season berries you’d be nuts not to go for it. Ideally buy it at the farmers market because the fewer miles it travels the better it’s going to be for you! Generally speaking, if it doesn’t have to travel as far there will be less toxins on it. An extremely important factor when deciding where to buy your produce. And if you can get it organic all the better. Most of us take for granted how many pesticides are sprayed on fruit and vegetables and the implications that such pesticides have on our body. Because the idea of organic and pesticides isn’t a terribly old idea there ins’t enough information to really give us concrete evidence one way or another in terms of the overall impact.

My philosophy at the grocery store has always been if you can’t pronounce or don’t know what an ingredient is then you shouldn’t put it in your mouth. You wouldn’t spray a cleaner in your mouth that is loaded with chemicals so why would you eat produce that is riddled with foreign substances? Essentially all you’re doing is overloading the body with unnecessary toxins that have a negative impact.

Mmmm Berries

One the buzz words going around the health and fitness world is “antioxidants”. It comes up all the time and while it gets tossed around with far too much frequency we shouldn’t ignore it. This is a massive generalization (antioxidants) and covers a huge range of compounds which all have different implications. For instance some help the immune system, others help to fight cancer cells while others might fight disease. Flavonoids for example are found in Strawberries and Blueberries. They help us stay sharp as we age fighting cognitive decline, something that we often take for granted until we start having issues with memory loss.

Berries are packed full of vitamins and minerals as well. They’re often contain high sugar content but because it’s a naturally occurring sugar it doesn’t have the same damaging effect that white sugar has on the body. That said, don’t overdue it because at the end of the day it is sugar!

Enjoy your blueberries :) (or Raspberries!)

Fruit, Fruit and More Fruit

Fruit Berries - Perfect For SmoothiesWe often get asked, “what do you do with all the fruit that doesn’t get picked”.

We eat it of course. Duh :)

But in all seriousness, we’re not often left with an overwhelming amount of fruit to consume. Usually it’s enough that we can eat it all up while it’s in season. Of course, we make delicious homemade jams which we sell out of our store which helps a great deal relieving the burden of excess fruit. Our jam has made waves across the nation and we ship it all across the country to restaurants looking for the finest jams. Usually this takes care of the fruit issue (ps: it’s not really an issue. Whens the last time you said “I have too many delicious blackberries I can’t eat them all”?) Yeah we’ve never said that either.

If we have a surprisingly slow year we have to get a little bit creative. Mom can only make so much jam and we’re not about to outsource it to a factory, that goes against what we’re all about. Making a quick buck while sacrificing integrity is something we will never do. We’ve turned down weddings because we felt like that particular wedding wouldn’t be a good fit (or that particular bride was particularly rude – excuse me but just because you’re getting married doesn’t give you the right to be a raging b*tch).

So when we get a massive surplus we freeze a ton of fruit. We make a ton of delicious green smoothies and we make an overwhelming number of pies. We also donate fruit every year, and when we have a particularly awesome year we just donate a little bit more. In years past we’ve done the “we-pick” as opposed to the “u-pick” to try and get rid of fruit and while it worked to some extent it really wasn’t worth it.

What would you suggest we do with excess fruit? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Great Ways For Farmers to Earn Extra Money

Being a farmer is tough, mainly because land is expensive, and if you live in an area with a poor climate, you are unable to use your main asset for a portion of the year. Some farmers are able to grow crops all year long, but not everyone has that luxury so many farmers and their families seek out extra sources of income. There is a common saying that goes something like this:

The secret to a successful farmer is a wife who works in town

The joke is that most farmers cant make enough money from the goods that they farm to survive, so one of the members of the family has to get a job in town. Of course, this is not always true but typically can be.

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Even though famers who live in poor climates have some of their land unable to produce crops during the winter, that does not mean they can not make any money off of it. There are plenty of other things that farmers can do during the growing off season to earn a bit of cash from their land and build up a bit of savings. Here are some good ones.

1) Hunting – Many farms have what a lot of hunters need (and want) –  a sizeable amount of land! Many hunters need to get access to public land through private land, or if there is no access, they need permission to hunt on private land from the land owner so that they will be able to fill their freezer for the winter. Often times, land owners can cash in on this deal many different ways – they get a stipend from the state game and fish or natural resources office if a game animal is harvested on their place (usually 15-20% of the total cost of the tag). Not only can the landowner make a bit of extra cash off of the tag fee, but they can also make a bit of money from the hunters – either in the form of leasing their land to an outfitter or by charging hunters a small fee to access. Many hunters gladly will pay if a farmer has good wildlife resources on their property. You do need to be careful about this though, because if you over sell one year you will end up with nothing the next year. There are plenty of different hunting websites to find hunters in your area that you can look at, and one of my favorite hunting websites is hunting insight.

2) Tours/Events – There are many people that have not been on a farm before, and always are curious about how farms work and what people do on a farm (shocking, right?). If you are interested, you can offer your farm for tours to locals or a local school and take the kids around when production has halted in the fall. You can tell them about what you do and how you do it, the equipment that you use and everything else you do on a day to day basis as a farmer. There are also events that you can hold at your farm. Some of the more popular ones are obviously concerts, but also corn mazes and other holiday themed activities. These events have been growing in popularity, and since farmers have lots of land at their disposal they can create a good environment for these types of things. Even better if you can get a good concert series to your place every year – a sure thing dose of extra cash!

3) Passion Events - This is another one of the many things available to farmers because of the large amount of land they own. You can read more about side hustles for farming at the modern farmer, but an amusement park is one of the better ideas. There are also opportunities if you are willing to host weddings or do something with your farm that you are passionate about. There are many different things that you could do to bring in a bit of extra revenue during the down season, and it is up to you to go out and find it. One thing that we recommend is that you find something that you enjoy doing – that way it wont feel like work when you’re doing it. Make sure it makes a bit of money, but dont pick a project because you think it will make a lot of money. Pick one you enjoy and see if that will make a lot of money – like go cart racing or something similar.

Living on a farm can be tough, and cash can get tight. There are a lot of ways for farmers to generate extra revenue in just a bit of time using the assets they already have. If this is the difference between saving and losing your farm, you should always try something. Even if you end up failing, at least you can say that you tried.

Image Flickr User Egan Snow.