Another weekend coming up, and lots and lots of activities to do. First of all, strawberries. The picking season for strawberries in New England is June, and it is such a short season, so get picking! Our family’s favorite is Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, MA
(http://wardsberryfarm.com/PYO.html), mostly because it is so close to our house and the fruit is so good. There is also a small petting zoo, playground, and farm store on the premises, so lots of other things to do. Pro tip: Check out their delicious ice cream-containing smoothies. Or just check out the ice cream. Still not healthy (see post from last week), but very delicious. Another option for strawberries that we have been to is the Belkin Lookout Farm: http://lookoutfarm.com/u-pick/season-calendar/, bigger farm, tends to be more crowded, but also more to do.
Now to answer one of the more commonly asked questions: neither Belkin Lookout Farm nor Ward’s Berry Farm are organic, although they both use sustainable farming practices. Scientists have found that produce that is grown under “organic conditions” has roughly the same concentrations of toxic pollutants as those that are grown under more standard conditions, often because the organic pesticides are less effective and therefore have to be used in higher quantities. Also, the plants that are not treated with pesticides are more stressed by the insects and other pests, and therefore naturally produce higher quantities of toxins that can be harmful to people as well.
For some scientific articles on this topic, check out: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87559129.2016.1196490 and https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/0272-4332.212114.
What about the “Dirty Dozen” of produce, you may be thinking? Strawberries are right on top of the list, according to the Environmental Working Group (see: http://time.com/5234787/dirty-dozen-pesticides/). This may be true, but this kind of list doesn’t measure pesticides that are “organic” and are used in higher quantities and can still be toxic, nor does it measure the naturally produced toxins that plants make when they are under attack by insects and other pests.
Bottom line: What should you do about strawberry picking and eating and the chemical exposure, though? Do your own research, talk to medical professionals and scientists that you trust, and make your own decisions. For our family, we eat non-organic strawberries and we can’t get enough of them.
Happy strawberry eating, readers! Have a great weekend!