Monday, April 19, 2010

A Good Laugh! Who Says Farming isn't Fun?

As fellow farmer Brad says, with a CSA farm, you have to keep a good sense of humor....

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April Showers on the Farm

Farmer Jack and his nephew, farmer Larry, bring out the "big guns" to get more rows ready for warm season planting after a wet winter kept JD out of the fields to keep the weeds cultivated.

As I listen to the rain gently falling outside, I am happy. After all of that rain we endured this past fall and winter, I wondered if I could be happy to see it rain again, but it is in perfect timing this round. Many of our warm season things are in the ground and I'm sure they are welcoming this drink from Above and the cooler temps are good for the cool season things still to harvest and enjoy.

The Swiss Chard, collards, beets, carrots, radishes, lettuces, green mustard and a single row of broccoli the rabbits missed (whew), are enjoying this spring season. The tomatoes are in with the cucumbers, melons, some zucchini and soon peppers go in, gonna try some watermelon this year and even that popcorn I wanted to try will go in out near the onions this week. Summer squash, winter squash, and if it ever warms up enough to get enough of them germinated, I'll plant eggplant, too. I love eggplant!

The Irish potatoes are finally popping up so we may get some after all - was really afraid they'd all drowned but it looks like only one variety rotted out and the rest were just treading water. We replanted where the yellow finn failed and will see if we can at least get some "new" potatoes out of this late planting before it gets hot out. Work share members Paula and Jake showed no mercy to the weeds in the potato patch yesterday - great job!

The summer onions are sure enjoying the drink and soon we can thin out and have some "spring" onions.

Someone had asked for us to grow green beans and I hadn't planned that but I have some seeds we'll try. The two varieties of beans we tried didn't do well for us last year and I'm not sure why so we'll just try a different variety and let them grow up the trellis after the snow peas which are still pretty small but a few of the plants that made it through the winter are producing. Just enough to munch on as you walk by.

The strawberries that survived the monsoons of this past winter are blooming and starting to fruit. Not a ton of them by any means, but our CSA potluck may be a good time to graze....

Part of our warm season garden area
just freshly bedded up and ready for planting this week.
After Larry and Jack got done plowing and tilling the ground with the big tractor, I was able to bed up the area and will get it laid out with drip tape and start planting as soon as Monday, if the beds aren't too wet after this rain. The soil usually drains pretty well and it was dry enough for long enough that I think we're back in good shape for normal drainage again. I just hope it came down gently enough not to wash out the beds and need them re-raised. If I have to get the tractor back out there, it will delay things a few days. April is the month to get as much as you can in the ground and I'm working as much as I can to get that done.

Our irrigation control system was fried during a storm over the winter. Herb says that lightening must have struck nearby as our circuit board is toast. He's got to re-build it now and until then when I water I'm forced to stink up the place with a gas pump. We'll get back up and running soon I think. Herb wants to rebuild the thermometer and other fun gadgets, too, so we can have our own little weather monitoring set up out here that you'll be able to see on line.

We've had our share of ups and downs, late starts and set backs, but this spring seems to be agreeing with farming so far and I'm looking forward to sharing a bountiful harvest soon with my CSA family.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It Makes A Difference!

One of my CSA member families took advantage of the nice sunny day last Saturday and popped in at the farm to pick up their weekly share instead of waiting for the remote drop off later on.

The whole family rolled up their sleeves and joined other impromtu volunteer members as we were shorthanded that morning getting the harvest ready for pick ups. They prepared and washed the cabbage and greens leaves from the harvest, dried all of the leaves in the spinner, fed chickens and took a walk out to see the emerging spring gardens. Everyone working side by side chit chatting and getting to know each other for an hour or so.

Apparently, it left an impression as I rec'd this note yesterday and I wanted to share it, because this, my fellow farmers and friends, is why we do what we do;

"My son said he hated vegetables. When he was a baby we used to give him all kinds of veggies and he loved them. Then, three years ago, at age 6 he declared war on veggies other than carrots, broccoli or artichokes. That was until last week's visit to Marie's farm! I braised greens, made salads, chopped up green garlic on pizza and pasta, and last night, made a vegetable medley with the cabbage, artichoke hearts, garlic, chickpeas, green peas and a little white wine. My son ate it all and and declared: "vegetables taste great when you know who grows them and when you help cleaning them. Weren't the chickens funny?". I concur. :-)"

I thanked my member for sharing this with me, it really made my day and I'll keep it handy to remind myself on those long hard days, why it is I do what I do.

I hope it is an inspiration to others to support local farmers face to face, take your kids with you to see the farms and see the food where it is grown and give them opportunity to help in some way.

Thank you for supporting local agriculture - it makes a difference.

Real, Clean, Fresh, Local, Food

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Did You Call?

The time is drawing nearer and nearer to when your food choices may very well be limited to only the big, strong and powerful corporate farming industry.

The way the "food safety" bill is written, it suggests increased regulations and record-keeping obligations that could destroy small businesses, (which is what a small, family farm is), that bring food to local communities.

In particular, the reliance on hazard analysis and risk-based preventative controls, a concept similar to “HACCP”, will harm small food producers and not likely increase the food safety anyway as it has failed in the meat industry to do.

HACCP has already proven to be an overwhelming burden for a significant number of small, regional meat processors across the country. Applying a HACCP-type system to small, local foods processors could drive them out of business, reducing consumers’ options to buy fresh, local foods.

The major foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls have all been caused by the large, industrial food system. Small, local food producers have not contributed to the highly publicized outbreaks. Yet S. 510 subjects the small, local food system to the same, broad federal regulatory oversight that would apply to the industrial food system.


The FDA has its hands full enough and does not belong on the farm. S. 510 calls for FDA regulation of how farms grow and harvest produce. (Really? Farms have been around since WAY before the FDA) Given this government agency’s track record, it is likely that the regulations will discriminate against small, organic, and diversified farms. The House version of the bill directs FDA to consider the impact of its rulemaking on small-scale and diversified farms, but there are no enforceable limits or protections for small diversified and organic farms from inappropriate and burdensome federal rules.

Food safety and security both come from a diversified, vibrant local food system. Local foods give consumers the choice to buy from producers they know, creating a transparent, accountable food system without federal government oversight. State and local laws, which are often size-specific rather than one-size-fits-all, are more appropriate for local food producers.

Please, if you value your farmer's markets, small farmer/rancher friends, and your choices for where to get your local food - contact Senator's Hutchison and Cornyn TODAY - and send this to out of state friends as well.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!