Berry Good Farms Barkin' Biscuits - Berry Good Treats for a Berry Good Cause
Sometimes you come across a product so amazing that you literally can’t believe how you didn’t know about it sooner. That’s how I felt when we came across Barkin’ Biscuits. These treats are made as part of a vocational training program at the North Florida School of Special Education (NFSSE), located in Jacksonville, FL. For those who don’t know, when I’m not hiking with my dogs, I’m coaching Special Olympics gymnastics. So, a brand that combines advancing the lives of people with disAbilities with delicious dog treats? Sign me up!!
First, of course, whatever one wants to know: are the treats any good? I can emphatically say, YES. As most people know, Griffin is not super picky when it comes to treats, and she enjoyed all three flavors that we tried — peanut butter, carrot sweet potato, and wheatgrass herb. After Griffin gave all three flavors her approval, we went in for the Boston test. The Boston test is the true test of deliciousness since she seldom eats anything that isn’t meat flavored. However, Boston absolutely loved the carrot sweet potato flavor. If you’re thinking of trying these treats, I highly recommend the variety pack, but if you must narrow it down to just one, the carrot and sweet potato are definitely the way to go. I should add, we brought these treats with us as a hiking snack with a friend who has a one-year old Golden Doodle, Mabel. Mabel loved the treats, too.
Importantly, the treats are all natural, made from ingredients at the school’s farm, Berry Good Farms. I always look for limited ingredient treats, and these make the cut. Also, each package comes with a hand-signed certificate verifying that your order was “packaged with care.” It’s a really nice touch!
Now that you know the treats are good, here’s why you should buy them: they support a VERY worthy cause. The NFSSE’s mission is to improve the lives of students with moderate intellectual disabilities through the achievement of academic, vocational, and social skills. Moderate intellectual disabilities are things like Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Traumatic Brain Injury. The Barkin’ Biscuits program at the school allows students to learn to follow a recipe, mix ingredients, bake, weigh and package the treats. These are important job skills that easily translate into the community. According to the most recent federal statistics, only 1 in 5 people with a disability is employed. Many people with disabilities give up on finding employment, weary of hearing the word “no” repeatedly. This is why translatable skills, such as baking, are especially important for people with intellectual disabilities. The training is overseen by instructors, job coaches and community volunteers.
As I mentioned up front, this is a cause that’s very near and dear to my heart. I was a gymnast growing up, and after an injury cut my own competitive career short, I found a way to stay involved in the sport through coaching Special Olympics. In the 20+ years that I’ve been involved, I’ve brought athletes all over the country and the world to national and world games competitions. And, most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about patience and determination through my athletes. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. If you want to read more about my background with Special Olympics gymnastics, check out this profile Washington Post Magazine did a few years back.
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to dog treats these days. An important factor for me in choosing treats is working with ethical brands that share the same values we do. Barkin’ Biscuits are, quite literally, a perfect match for us in this regard. We encourage everyone to give them a try.
And — one final note about awesome brands. We were introduced to these treats by the amazing Steve, creator of the amazing Bunji Ball, also a Jacksonville, FL resident. For more about the amazing Bunji Ball, be sure to check out our past review here.