Friday, July 25, 2014

strawberry farms forever

a few tuesdays ago, we took a little road trip out to Viva Farms in Washington's Skagit Valley to meet the farmers who are growing the strawberries for the delicious strawberry sorbet that's in all of our shops right now. i think it's my favorite sorbet we've ever had, and i'm pretty excited about these farmers, so i wanted to go check it out.  
Viva Farms is a farm incubator that helps farmers get their start. they sublease small amounts of their 33 acres to new farmers and help them with equipment, education, marketing, and start-up loans. many of the farmers are first-generation immigrants from all over the world (one Viva farmer came to Washington from Iraq and has a PhD in agriculture), and they even have a program to help U.S. veterans start farming. stepping onto the land, we could just feel that it was a community.
we met Leigh, Viva's Farm to Community Fellow, in front of the farm offices, and she introduced us to Rob, who is helping Viva grow through marketing a relationships to buyers (like us!) we joked a bit and then headed out to see the farms.

Viva has seventeen individual farms on its property, so some of the farms are pretty small. the photo below is of a single farm. i exclaimed that it doesn't look much bigger than my mom's kitchen garden on Whidbey! but each farm is farmed by its owner, and each farm has a business plan, a marketing plan, and operates like any other, larger farm. i loved how this farm had flowers planted at the end of each row to attract pollinators.

many of Viva's farms grow strawberries -- including these little white strawberries that tasted amazing!

we got to meet Martina, the owner of the farm growing all of our strawberries for our sorbet. Martina doesn't speak much English, but it was so nice to meet her and thank her for her gorgeous berries.

and then we got to head out into the field and taste a few!

i think the best part of the day was chatting with Leigh and Rob about next year. we hope to be able to buy all the berries they can grow for us, and start to use Viva's berries in our strawberry and balsamic strawberry ice creams year-round. they are such an amazing organization to partner with. as a company, we're in a really weird spot right now, where we need too many ingredients for a lot of small farms, but we really want to have these close, special relationships with all of our farmers. i'll keep you all posted as we source next year's berries ...

p.s. strawberry sorbet is in shops through the weekend. we transition to blackberry sorbet on monday, so grab a scoop of this delicious flavor before it's gone!

♥ molly moon


Sarita Role said...

So awesome! Thank you for supporting local farmers!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sarita! We think what you're doing is awesome, too! ♥