I love what I do. I really do. I get to deal with some of the greatest people in the world — farmers.
And part of what I do I get to enjoy the many, many products that our farming community produces.
This week I got started on my topic by reading an article that made me mad. It came from a web blog called Organic Food Focus and they were attacking one of my favorite foods (I really should stop writing that because anyone who knows me knows I LOVE ALL FOOD!) that being blueberries. The article was dogging blueberries for their use of pesticides — and start by saying that … “blueberries have 52 pesticide residues found on them.” And then offered ways to remove those pesticides to become an organic alternative or equivalent.
So, I quickly contacted Steve and Lisa Beilstein from the Blueberry Patch in Mansfield, Ohio, to helped clarify those claims being made. Steve and Lisa own Ohio’s Premier Blueberry Plantation, The Blueberry Patch. They propagate hundreds of thousands of new blueberry plants every year. I have purchased their plants.
Steve has been growing blueberries for 34 years now and his business has expanded to include a gift shop, cafe, greenhouse and winery. The Beilsteins sell their plants to countless farms and home gardens across the nation and into Canada.
“If it’s not grown organic, you cannot make it organic,” said Steve. “And to make claims that blueberries have 52 pesticides on them makes me question who would pay for such a test, who is certified to take the tests, and what is the testing procedure?”
“Yes, we use pesticides, fungicides and herbicides to control our weeds, bugs and conditions of the plants but with all of those each is tested stringently and all residue is mitigated and gone by harvest.”
What’s cool is that Steve is right there in the testing, offering 30 to 40 bushes for chemical companies to use for experiments annually on his farm.”These companies that I work with spend years and years of testing, and millions of dollars to bring these products to market and to provide safe methods to protect the crop and to protect the consumer — so for someone to claim that there are 52 pesticides found on blueberries and not back it up, it’s ridiculous.”
There is nothing wrong with rinsing off your fruits and fresh veggies when you get home before you use them, eat them or store them. But don’t be scared into thinking that these products are not meant to be sold to you as is.
I say go out and pick those blueberries and raise high those muffins in defiance to all those who try to ruin our brother farmers — can I get and AMEN … and a cup of joe to go with that?
The facts: Blueberries provide benefits to your health, beautify any yard, meet a wide variety of cooking needs, and require little maintenance. Various scientific studies indicate that blueberries contain unsurpassed levels of antioxidants, aid your body in combating urinary tract infections, reduce cholesterol, and enhance short-term memory.
The mature fruit of the blueberry plant can range from pink through blues to dark purple; Blueberries and the plants’ fall foliage add a riot of reds, oranges and yellows to your yard.
In the kitchen, blueberry recipes include not only the traditional muffins and pancakes, but also a wide variety of beverages, deserts, and baked goods, including breads, puddings, salads, ice cream, and even gingerbread. Unlike many fruit plants, blueberry bushes are both easy to plant and require little maintenance once successfully planted. A few hours to prepare the soil and with proper care your blueberry plants will enjoy decades of production.
Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!
The writer is the owner of Wilson 1 Communications. He is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years and the co-host and producer of “In Ohio Country Today,” a nationally recognized television show, and offers radio commentary and ag reports including locally for 92.1, the Frog WFGF Lima.