Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lettuce From The Greenhouse

I've been boasting to my friends about our winter lettuce crop so I'm posting a photo below as proof. I am also posting this especially to boast to my brother Chris and his wife Connie who live in Arkansas to point out that they're not the only ones with seeds in the ground already!

We planted some of last year's leftover lettuce mix seeds in Vermont Compost Company's Fort Vee - All Purpose Compost Based Potting Mix a couple of weeks ago and set them under grow lights in the sunny space of our heated "greenhouse" space in the shop.  These luscious baby greens are a true harbinger of spring.
Having the greenhouse space coupled with the high tunnel should allow us the opportunity to grow greens all year round. While we didn't plant enough in the greenhouse for sale at this time, we will have greens for sale at the Farmer's Market when it opens Memorial Day weekend. And, as always, you may contact us directly if you'd like us to grow greens - or other vegetables - especially for you.

Rural Thursday Blog Hop:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Seeds Ordered!

I've spent the past couple of days closed away in my office surrounded by seed catalogs.
The catalogs are full of beautiful photos and glowing descriptions. How can one resist rhetoric like "bushels of delectable, snackable, stuffable, grillable peppers" or "the first time we bit into one of these red beauties it tasted like we had drizzled the tiny pearl fruit with honey." To a farmer, words like "upright habit makes for clean production and easy harvesting" and "greatly improved, easy to grow and two weeks earlier than most varieties" are very appealing.

Yesterday I would have told you that my seed ordering was complete but this morning in writing this post, I am once again being seduced by a tomato that "just begs to be eaten right off the vine" and this pumpkin "If you want the best pie pumpkin for cooking, then put down your food mill and get ready to scoop out virtually stringless, smoth and brilliant orange meat!"
Maybe it's time to look out the window at the blowing snow to bring myself back to reality!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Farming For The Future

Arthur took a couple of days last week to attend the Farming For The Future Conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture held in State College. It was an exhilirating experience! He brought home a renewed spirit and lots of new knowledge. He also brought home recordings of some of the speeches that particularly moved him.
Brian Snyder, Executive Director of PASA, entitled his speech "Standing On The Shoulders of Giants" (and no, he was not referring to the Jolly Green Giant!) and I am excerpting a bit of his speech here:
 “. . . an industry-led group called the USFRA, which stands for the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, that burst onto the scene this past summer pledging to spend $30M/year 'to lead the dialogue on how food is grown and raised in America' according to Bob Stallman, who chairs the USFRA and is also president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. ...
“In a training presentation acquired by some friends and forwarded to me, I was astounded to find that this new organization is advising farmers to talk with the public regarding just about everything except for how they farm. One slide in particular advises them to avoid what they called “language landmines” and technical “process-oriented” language.
“That same slide is specific in recommending that farmers not use words like Technology, Innovation, GMOs, Antibiotics, Hormones, Pesticides, Fertilizer and Nitrogen. On another slide they talk about ditching the technical talk and, instead, using language that is more “natural,” including words like preventing, nurturing, resilient, healthy and – this is the kicker – better tasting.
“They recommend that farmers not talk about big, lofty ideas like feeding the world anymore, and also emphasize the need to adopt a strategy of continuous improvement, which is something they rather directly ripped off from the language of sustainable certification.
“So here is the gist of the good advice for farmers from the USFRA . . . don’t talk to consumers about what you’re doing on your farms; ask them how they feel about their food.”
We're more than happy to talk to you about how we farm - in fact we encourage you to talk to us and no topics are off limits! In my experience with the other growers in our Potter County Growers group, I find it's hard to shut us up when we're talking food!

Arthur will be sharing more about the PASA Conference in future blog posts and if you'd like to read Brian Snyder's entire speech, here's the link:

Here's another link that tells you more about the USFRA.

Don't forget to hop over to Homestead Revival!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Marketing Vegetables?

I'll bet that almost everyone recognizes this advertising icon! The Green Giant (he didn't become jolly until later) was the brainchild of an advertising executive from the Minnesota Valley Canning Company from LeSueur, MN in the late 1920s.  He was not an overnight success and it took a couple of redesigns before he shed his scowl and bearskin outfit to become the smiling, leafy mascot we know today. The canning company took his name in the 1950s and now Green Giant is a vegetable processing subsidiary of food giant (no pun intended) General Mills.
I'm the little person in the foreground, walking up the path to visit this 55-ft. behemoth which is located at the midpoint of Interstate 90 Blue Earth, Minnesota. Arthur and I were two of the 10,000+ folks who visited this small park in Blue Earth, Minnesota last year.
As I scanned through the photo library to retrieve a photo to accompany this post, I was originally looking for a picture of me standing up on the pedestal with the Giant. However, this picture really better tells the story. We're the little guys, carefully tending our vegetable patches and orchards in the shadow of the giants.