never wanted to be a farmer. That is precisely why I don't
understand how I find myself crawling on my hands and
knees, pulling weeds from strawberry fields year after
year. One row down, only seven more acres to go. How did
I get here?
Our family was happily living in the suburbs of Ottawa,
Ontario, with dad gone to an office job every weekday
and mom at home raising four children. But the land must
have been calling my parents, because, for some reason,
they rented acreage and planted 1,000 semi-dwarf apple
here are the worthwhile results of the planning and hard
work that goes into each season at the berry farm.
In 1981, they bought a 30-acre farm in Kanata, Ontario (American
zone 4/Canadian zone 5a). We moved in, carefully replanting
all the trees. But apple trees don't produce fruit until they
are seven years old, and we needed a crop to sell. The answer,
according to my fruit-farming grandfather, was strawberries,
which take only one year to mature before they can be harvested.
We took a chance by planting two acres. Within five years, we
began to turn a profit and identified our land as a berry farm
rather than just an orchard.
And our customers love our strawberries! But I often wonder
how much they know about what goes on behind the farm gates
during the months before they can sink their teeth into a fresh,
juicy berry? Most people don't realize that we begin planning
for the summer growing season in February and March, deciding
on goals, hiring staff and ordering the new plantings that will
bear fruit the following year.