Locally grown food is popular these days, with health professionals, chefs and nutritionists singing the praises of eating food that’s grown as close to the dining table as possible.
There are many farms in the Spokane area where visitors can pick fruit and vegetables from the field.
At Carver Farms in Spokane Valley, the sweet scent of strawberries hung in the hot air last week, as customers picked up plastic buckets and headed out to the field to pick.
“They are getting the very last of the strawberries here,” said Joanne Carver, who owns the farm with her husband, Marv Carver. “The very hot weather we’ve had just kind of made them shrivel up.”
At Carver Farms, pickers will find vegetables, strawberries and raspberries.
“Compared to most of the farms at Green Bluff, we are the veggie people,” said Carver, who’s had the farm open to the u-pick crowd since 1978.
On 120 acres the Carvers grow beans, beets, many varieties of corn, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes and potatoes.
“This year we are also doing Christmas trees,” Joanne Carver said. “We will have people come out in the fall and mark the tree they want, then come and cut it in December.”
Fall is dedicated to pumpkins and hayrides, yet what’s available for picking at what time depends on a lot of things.
“We can’t really do anything about the weather and the seasons,” Joanne Carver said. “Some crops do better some years. It really varies a lot, so we ask that people call ahead before they come out. That way we can tell them what’s going on.”
Carver Farms is one of the only u-pick places left in Spokane Valley, she said, reminiscing about a time where there were many more farms around.
“It’s just changed a lot out here,” she said.
Pickers don’t need a lot of equipment to get going.
“Wear your grubbies because you’ll probably get dirty out there in the field,” Carver said. “We have people show up in their swimsuits – I wouldn’t recommend that, especially not if you are picking corn. You’ll get paper cuts all over.”
Buckets are available at the farm, and some customers bring in piles of paper and plastic bags to be recycled for those who don’t bring their own.
“We have the best customers, they make it all worth it,” she said.
Carver Farms also has thousands of gladioluses available for cutting from mid-July until the first frost.
“Some people come out here just to see the flowers,” Carver said.
Carver Farms also sells honey produced by bees on the farm.
“Growing so many different things can be a lot of work,” she said, “but we just love what we do.”