Recently a co-worker asked me, “If you could only eat one kind of fruit for the rest of your life, what would it be?” I was quiet for a moment, looked deep into my soul, and then said, “Blueberries.” Hypothetical questions don’t usually have correct answers, but we both knew I nailed that one.
People in these parts have feasted on them for thousands of years, and if you’ve hiked the North Cascades in September when the trails are lined with ripe huckleberries then you’ve probably enjoyed this local bounty as well.
These days we don’t have to brave the mountain wilderness for fresh produce, thanks to Pete Dykstra of Hopewell Farm and his 16 acres of blueberry bushes nestled at the base of Sumas Mountain. I journeyed out to this picturesque field and walked the rows already abundant with dainty bell-shaped flowers that will become my breakfast. While there I chatted with Lisa Dykstra, Hopewell’s sales rep and the youngest of four Dykstra generations to farm this land.
As we talked I got a sense of how diversified Hopewell Farm has become over the years due largely to the prodigious efforts and entrepreneurial spirit of Pete.
Besides their famous blueberries and carrots, they grow a variety of other vegetables, medicinal herbs, and seed crops. They operate a dairy farm and grow their own silage for the cows that in turn produce compost for the fields. They even maintain wild habitat for beneficial predators such as hawks, kestrels, and owls.
The evidence of their holistic approach was all around me …
… honey bees buzzed in their hives at the end of every row, happy cows played beyond the fence line, and Lisa spoke glowingly about being on the forefront of progressive efforts.
Hopewell is certified organic, GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified, and receives outstanding scores for worker satisfaction. In Pete’s own words this means, “The fields are healthy, they produce great crops, and there is life in the soil.”
And if you’re wondering what all this means for you, my patient Co-op shopper, it means the most delicious blueberries you are likely to eat this summer—fresh, hand-picked, and delivered farmer direct to our shelves for your culinary pleasure.