Sustainability Update by Jenna Keany
Two weeks ago, Keany hosted “a day on the farm” for customers interested in learning about the intricate, arduous, work farmers do to bring the freshest and most flavorful products to their establishments. Each farm on the tour was a longtime partner of Keany Produce & Gourmet, supplying a variety of products throughout the local season in Maryland and Virginia year after year- some for over 35 years. After a few weeks of heavy rain, all farmers stressed the gravity of recent weather in relation to their harvest; some lost entire fields of berries, while others attributed it for the overall delay in the local season. One farm in particular, Westmoreland Berry Farm in Colonial Beach, Virginia, stressed the significant losses of cherries due to the rain (too much rain makes the cherries swell with excess water and split), however they were thrilled to say their berries would be available this growing season. With 900 total acres on the Northern Neck, Virginia, Westmoreland uses roughly 100 acres to grow seven varieties of blackberries, blue, red, and yellow raspberries, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, and pumpkins in the Fall. Similar to Keany, Westmoreland Berry Farm is a family-owned company, celebrating their 35th anniversary this year.
Located on the Rappahannock River, Westmoreland has embraced the recently-popularized agritourism industry, offering pick-your-own berries, wagon rides through the fields, and even interactive sessions with their famous goats on their one-of-a-kind goat walk. As a longtime family-owned farm, Westmoreland is actively involved with their community, whether it is providing community farmers markets with their produce or offering free ice cream cones to dads on Father’s Day. Westmoreland has shown impressive dedication to sustainable farming over the years, including the creation of an expansive water catchment pond used for irrigation and the incredible donation of 729 acres of land to the Nature Conservancy for the creation of Voorhees Nature Preserve, named after Susan Hunt’s (the now owner) father. The land resides along the Rappahannock River, and is used for recreational hiking, bird watching, and environmental research by nearby universities. Keany is proud to have developed such close ties to Westmoreland, as sustainability and environmental stewardship are top priorities to us as well.
Currently, Westmoreland is supplying Keany with beautiful, plump, blackberries (#02119); contact your Account Executive today to put in your order and support this incredible local farm!