See How it’s Done: Katy and Her Grandkids Visit a Farm
Last Resort Farm brings us local strawberries and tons of food knowledge!
We’re at wonderful Last Resort Farm in Monkton, VT; me and four of my grandkids, my daughter, Nina, our Produce Category Manager, Keith, and his twin boys. It’s strawberry season and they’re in full swing for the summer! But first: you might be wondering why we’re here.
When I started Healthy Living, I quickly realized that many of the kids who came in with their parents had very little idea where food came from. Where was it grown? HOW was it grown? And what does it take for that food to eventually end up on our shelves?
Sometimes it felt like kids thought cookies grew on trees, and we made strawberries in our back room! Which is why we’re here at this beautiful farm: to change that narrative and show kids the effort, dedication, and love that goes into the fantastic food brought to us by our local farmers and producers.
Perfect Picking Weather
Eugenie Doyle, the co-owner/farmer, generously took time out of her super busy (and hot!) day to show us how it’s done. Almost immediately, the kids listened attentively as Eugenie explained the process of planting, growing, picking, harvesting, storing, packaging, and getting those amazing berries to Healthy Living!
It’s so important for younger generations (and everyone) to see firsthand the MANY steps it takes to get those delicious berries to us. They don’t magically appear—there are countless devoted farmers, field workers, truck drivers, (and more!) working together, pouring so much of their hearts into every harvest.
I asked Eugenie how hard she works, “Not as hard as them!” she says with a laugh, gesturing to her staff picking berries next to us. “But that’s because I’m old—I used to work as hard as them!”
Getting Our Starts—Together
Eugenie Doyle and Sam Burr began Last Resort farm in the 1980s, around the same time I opened the first Healthy Living store in Blue Mall. I remember Eugenie walking in way back when and asking if I wanted to buy a flat of raspberries. Of course, I said yes!
They switched from conventional to certified organic as they became more aware of the danger of some pesticides, and because they believe deeply in the chemical-free raising of food in healthy soil. That’s the basis of real organic production.
At the time, people told them that growing fruit organically was impossible, yet they gave it a go anyway, and the rest is (delicious) history! Reminds me a lot of when I first started out. People thought I was nuts because the health food industry didn’t even exist and most of the products in my tiny store were foreign to them. But, like Eugenie and Sam, I took the plunge because I believed people wanted healthy alternatives to the overly processed stuff on supermarket shelves.
Their son, Silas, grew up on the farm and is now the manager and lease-to-owner. “Sam and I work for him!” Eugenie says with excitement. But not every kid has a front-row seat like he does, which is why bringing our young ones to farms and showing them what goes into the food they’re eating is so important to me.
Planting Seeds of Knowledge
As if she’s not busy enough, Eugenie is also a published author. “I harbor the fantasy that if everyone knows the value of close connection to land, to food, they will want to preserve it!” she explains. “Children, I believe, are the chief fans and beneficiaries of the farming life; they’re featured prominently in my writing.”
After asking questions, picking berries in the hot sun, and satisfying our tummies, it was time to head home. Just by being at the farm and seeing Eugenie and her staff in action, I could tell these kids had a better understanding of how much hard work it takes to grow the food they love.
For me, it was all so gratifying to show even one small group of kids how our produce finds its way into the little green berry baskets they casually pick up at Healthy Living. Seeing the people behind this crucial work and understanding how much goes into it will just make every berry taste that much more delicious.
Many thanks to Eugenie and Last Resort Farm for showing this next generation the joys of farming the food we eat!
May your summer be as sweet as these strawberries!
Gluten-Free Strawberry Spoon Cake
Simple to make and my favorite way to use the strawberry bounty. As a lover of all-things-food, I’m always on the lookout for great recipes. With both of my kids on gluten-free diets, I’ve adapted this one from the NY Times. It’s a winner!
1 stick of butter, melted
~1 cup strawberries, hulled
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
Vanilla ice cream for serving
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- Mash the berries to release all their juices and stir in 1/3 cup of the brown sugar. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, milk, and salt. Add flour and baking powder and whisk until all the lumps are out and it’s totally smooth. Let rest for about 5 minutes. Transfer the batter to the baking dish and spread evenly.
- Spoon strawberries and juices over the top of the cake batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool 3-5 minutes before serving in bowls with ice cream.