Friday, October 28, 2011

Learning About Food Safety

Did you know that improperly stored baked potatoes can harbor the bacteria that causes botulism? If you've inadvertently left a lonely baked potato in the oven after dinner, you could have provided the bacterium the perfect medium to grow and multiply to unsafe levels.
I learned about this and other food safety information by completing the Serv-Safe certification course offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension. I have been interested in learning about food safety so that, as farmers who grow vegetables and fruits, we are aware of potential contaminants.
I took the course through the efforts of the Potter County Education Council. If you're not familiar with the Ed Council, take a look at its website ( to learn about the many educational opportunities available in our locale.
Speaking of the Ed Council, the course instructor suggested that we also investigate GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) training. He would offer the four-hour course through the Ed Council if ten folks showed interest.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gray Skies and Rain - Again!

Even I have to acknowledge that summer is long gone! Having been away for most of September, I was kind of pretending that time had stood still while I was gone and I would come back to tomatoes still growing on the vine, sweet corn on the stalk and fresh basil in the garden. Alas, it was just a daydream. We're working furiously to get all the potatoes harvested. Our new (old) one-row potato picker, purchased at auction from the Amish community here in Potter County, has met with limited success and the persistent rain (where were you last summer when we needed you?) hasn't helped much.
I still have carrots (planted late in the season) and shallots in the ground and will hold off on harvesting them until a real freeze is imminent. I should have quantities available for sale.
We made a small batch of apple cider on Sunday using our Northern Spy apples combined with Yellow Delicious. It is superb! More about apples and cider in future posts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It's potato harvest time here on Crandall Hill and we're also very busy wrapping up the growing season. I could not resist posting this picture of our grandson Rowan in his garden in Heppner, Oregon. As you can see, both hands are full of potatoes!