Saturday, October 31, 2009

Because Issue 2 passed in 2009...

Watch this hilarious but scary video about Issue 2 from our friends at George Jones Memorial Farm,

Here are farmers at the Shaker Square farmers market.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Issue 2 - anouther farmer's point of view

I received an email this weekend from a group I am involved with which shared an email from a local livestock farmer.

Hi Everyone,
We've been asked by quite a few people about our opinion on Issue 2. I sat here trying to write an email that tells you why we do NOT think Issue 2 is a good idea, and was looking around for sources to cite. I found does a much better job of accurately informing you about this issue than I felt I could.

How can this issue effect small family farms? For instance: if the appointed board rules that pastured poultry poses a health risk to confined chicken in large houses because of birds landing on our farm and flying to a factory farm, they will be eliminating pastured poultry. When the avian flu hit Virginia a few years ago, this really was an issue for pastured poultry farmers. Had they had Issue 2 in Virginia at that time, the state could've eliminated the pastured poultry operations without further protest. The modern conventional thought is already leaning in favor of the factory raised animal rather than the sustainable small farm model, so we're thinking their rules will be biased away from the sustainable farming practices that we employ. There is nothing to stop them from ruling against organic, sustainable farming practices!
Please take a few minutes to acquaint yourself with the information below
(in the link above). The Vote Yes people have definitely used very appealing wording in their ad campaigns, but we think Issue 2 has a potentially damaging effect on truly small, local family farms.

We agree. A vote for issue 2 in not a vote for the small family farm. Instead it is a vote to put big agribusiness interests in our state constitution. And put their decisions above those of our elected legislator or state department of agriculture.

Tell your friends for sure, or we will see Issue 2 win easily. Afterall, who is against small family farms and taking care of livestock?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CSA schedule.

Just a reminder to all our members. We are in the last two weeks of pickup.

If you are a every other week member, your last pickup will be the next pickup (except for Wendsday people who came yesterday, then that was your last pickup.)

If you are a weekly member your last day will either be the 28th or November first.


A long day of work for hubby, over 1000 feet of garlic and 150 feet of french shallots in the ground. We were a little late (about a week) but hopefully the weather behaves. This weekend we will mulch them...

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Fall hills...


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three years...

Today is our third year anniversary.

Three years ago tonight we were running around like crazy people getting ready for Saturday's big event in our barn. We were cooking and cleaning and being generally insane. There was no Spa day for this bride. Instead my sister had to come and literally pull me out of the barn 90 minutes before the ceremony. "YOU HAVE TO GO GET READY!" But wait! I am still thickening the stew and we have to light the candles! "NO! NOW!"

Hubby was even worse. Guests were arriving when his sister pulled him off the mower. "YOU HAVE TO GO GET READY!" But... "NO! NOW!"

We had a lucky beautiful day. It stormed and was cold on the day before and the day after, for us though it was beautiful.

Kind of a metaphor for our lives the past three years together. So many things have happened, so much sadness has come into our lives. The death of both my parents, loss of a pregnancy, medical emergencies and hospitalizations. Through it all he has been my rock, and without him I fear I would have crumbled.

It has not been all sadness, far from it, I have found my soul mate, and though I want to whack him sometimes (OK, often!) he is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and together we are building a new life. One which is better then either of us could have done on our own.

Today is our anniversary and I am sitting in the sorting shed waiting for the last couple members. One of my friends said she thought it was sad we would not do something tonight. But, honestly, we are doing something, as we do with every CSA pickup day, we are taking steps to making our life together better. To growing our farm, where we will soon (not a hint not that soon people!) grow our family. Where we can be in the good times and the bad. If we have to wait a day or two to eat an expensive meal, it does not matter.

Here is hoping for better years to come, together.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Strange Organic Post of the day...

Did you know that only 5-10% of organic veggies in this country are grown with organic seed. Did you even know there was such a thing? Obviously, organic seed comes from plants which were grown organically and are not treated (with non-organic) seed treatments.

So I wonder, how important is it to most organic eaters that their food be grown with organic seed. Not being certified organic, for us it is not a huge deal and about 10-15% of our seed each year is organic. For farms who are certified they have to get organic seed where it is commercially available (and not a huge premium, it is something like 25% more.)

As we are starting to think about next year, stuff like this is coming to our minds more and more. And this morning I was reading an article in a Veggie Farmer magazine that made us talk about it. I think most consumers don't really worry about organic seed, or even think about it. We think about it, for a couple reasons.

First, although we don't always buy organic seed we want to be pretty careful about seed treatments. We don't want our seeds soaked in chemicals. There are organic seed treatments and those are life savers, helping mainly with seeds germinating and growing healthy in cold damp spring soil.

Then there is, in my mind, the main benefit of organic seed. The seed's parents were grown under organic conditions, so hopefully the plant that results will be better tolerant of an organic life. Better able to handle stress, fight off bugs, and resist disease. And while this is a nice benefit of organic seed, it is usually not enough to make us buy a variety we would not otherwise get. There are so many variables to factor in to selections, organic seeds is just one little piece, at least for us.

Then there is the coming wave of organic seeds, grown specifically for organic growers. These have promise. The article I mentioned talked about carrot varieties being grown specifically for early growth of the carrot tops. Wow, would that be nice! Carrots are a bit of challenge to grow sustainably because their tops grow SO SLOW. Every weed in the world is established before the carrot looks like more then a tiny fern, and since their leaves are so small, any weed competition is a problem... If the tops grew faster we would spend fewer hours weeding the carrots! Things like this would push us to buy more organic seed.

For now, we will keep using the organic/ conventional label on our seed as just one of many factors we consider when deciding what to grow, a huge challenge every year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ready for Frosts

Two and a half weeks left in the season and a handful of frosts in the forcast. Hopefully the row cover does it's job.

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Sounds like a simple enough task.

This week we need to mow the back field.

Well, the back field is about four tenths of a mile long, and a couple hundred feet wide at the narrowest spot, and we have a 5 foot brush hog.

As I type this, sitting at my desk, my farmer hubby is on the tractor driving in BIG circles, again.

Yesterday he got about 5 acres (?) mowed in 5 hours. We are guessing all in all it is about 25 hours of work, some of that is our fault because we waited until it got a bit tall to mow, the cost of diesel and the time. Eventually we will be planting in this field, but for now we just have to keep it from falling into succession (the forest around it starting to take it over.) We are thinking our first year of putting a little stuff back here will be next year, but we have this water problem. There is none in this field, so it will have to be hauled in, no nice huge cistern to look towards. Water back here will be the big issue, and we are thinking about ways to tackle it. Our first plans are for hoop houses, so those beds will not require as much water.

The second issue is fencing this 20 acre monster. It might have been possible to make the outline of the field more irregular, but I don't know how! We will probably fence it in pieces for specific things. Time will tell....

Monday, October 12, 2009

I love fall...

Such a beautiful fall day! Farming in the fall is the best. Field work feels so nice, when the cool winds blow and the smell of fall is in the air. The urgency of spring is absent and the hope for a new year is starting.

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I love fall...

Such a beautiful fall day! Farming in the fall is the best. Field work feels so nice, when the cool winds blow and the smell of fall is in the air. The urgency of spring is absent and the hope for a new year is starting.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Update on local family...

Many of you may remember a year ago I talked about the surprising (shocking) case of a local family, running an organic food co-op being raided by a SWAT team and held for 6 hours in their home while computers, food, and other personal items were taken.

Their case goes to trail this week. But it is not them who is on trail, it is the state and local officials who are on trial. World Net Daily Reports "The state and county are accused of 119 counts, including unlawful search and seizure, illegal use of state police power, taking of private property without compensation, failure to provide due process and equal protection and a multitude of constitutional rights violations, including the right to grow and eat one's own food and offer it to others."

Read about it here...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Got your attention? But according to some you are putting your life at risk with every salad (or veggie) until the government steps in.

I was reading an article from the Chicago Tribune today, and came across this great quote in reference to leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, ect):

  • "These items are grown outdoors in fields with dirt. It's probably impossible to grow them without contact with a food-borne pathogen," said Craig Hedberg, a professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health."
Mr. Craig Hedberg may not realize this since he is in the School of Public Health and not the Agriculture College but the following items in addition to greens also are grown with contact with the ground: potatoes, garlic, radishes, turnips, beets, cucumbers, summer squash, winter squash, melons, many tomatoes, and lots more!

FARMERS GROW IN THE DIRT. Dirt, by it's very nature is not clean, it is dirty. It is dirt.

The article goes on to say "Greens are especially vulnerable for several reasons, including that they are grown so close to the ground -- unlike, say, fruit from trees ."

So I suggest we stop eating all veggies and switch to fruit. But the question is can we still eat berries, they are kind of in the middle.

Bad growing and handling practices are a problem. But regulation which imposes the same rules on me, who grows 1000' of lettuce a year, cuts fresh heads, washes them with clean fresh water, and gets it to my end user in less then 24 hours as someone who grows a 100+ acres of lettuce, processes in factory like conditions and sends it for distribution to wholesalers where we hope it will be sold within a week-ish is silly. I mean STUPID! MORONIC!

(deep breath)

Let's take the same train of thought into your kitchen. We know restaurant fires used to be a bad thing, that is why we now have code imposed hood systems, with major ventilation and fire suppression built in. These are expensive units, expensive to buy, install, and maintain. But these units save lots of lives (and buildings) each year. They are such a good idea I think that we should mandate every home to have one over their stove (and microwave.) After all, you do the same thing, you cook food. Also you need to install NSF surfaces, 3 bowl sinks, grease traps, and let the health department inspect you every few months. It is for your own safety!

That is pretty ridiculous, you probably agree (or else you would not be reading my blog.) And imposing the same rules on small farmers as on large agri-businesses is equally as ridiculous.

Info from Cornucopia Institute here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Issue 2

I know, I know. You want me to blog about the farm and not silly legislation! But here is one you get to actually vote for, YOURSELF. Here is one you get to tell your friends and neighbors about, to educate those around you. And we can make a real difference.

On the ballot this November 3rd you will see Issue 2. It will say:
And you will think to yourself. "Why, yeah! I support the care and health of livestock animals!" And you will reach for the "Yes" ____ (button, lever, chad, scantron bubble (however, we are voting this time!))

A yes vote is a mistake, in my opinion. You are voting to create a board, primarily of industry insiders (the ones who run CAFOs and Battery Chicken houses now) who will set standards that every farmer will have to follow. Rules that are probably not even applicable to people like me with 24 chickens...

The Humane Society of the United States says "It’s designed to favor large factory farms, not family farmers, Issue 2 is opposed by the Ohio Farmers Union, the Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance, League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio League of Humane Voters, and the Ohio Sierra Club. The editorial boards of Ohio’s major newspapers—including the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, and Dayton Daily News—all oppose this effort to enshrine the agribusiness lobby’s favored oversight system in the state’s constitution."

Other groups which oppose Issue 2 are the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (the certifying organization for Organic in Ohio), Northeast Ohio's chapter of Slow Food, and the Innovative Farmers of Ohio (an organization for small, sustainable growers).

The Journal of Whole Food and Nutritional Health says "Factory Farmers are promoting this constitutional amendment as a way to protect them from criticism by the Humane Society and PETA and other people who may question their treatment of animals.... Do not be fooled by the misleading language of this proposal. It protects large, industrial farms that confine hundreds and even thousands of animals for rapid growth using antibiotics, hormones, and unnatural habitats. Vote NO on Issue 2"

We have about a month to make sure everyone we know knows about this issue, so I will try to talk about it about once a week until then, interspersed with lots of farm photos and news.

Until then, think about this. Many of us are doing what we can to limit how much meat we eat from CAFOs or Battery Chicken Houses. So why would we support a bill which puts that very industry in charge of animal care regulations in our state, in our state constitution?


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Today on the farm...

I both love and hate the fall. The weather this time of year, when it is not raining or frosting, is my favorite. Cool breezes, fresh air, chilly enough to dress warm but not so cold that you feel cold if you dress right.

Today we slept in, ate a wonderful breakfast, and started picking around noon. Everything went pretty fast, as things tend to when you have enough of it in the ground and are not hunting for more radishes which are ready! Everything, that is, except the leeks. Leeks are a bit of a pain in the butt.

For one thing, it has been raining, so they are muddy and require a lot of washing. Also, the roots have to trimed, the tops cut, and (often) the outer layer or two has to be stripped so they look nice. All of that takes time. Today it took over an hour. And when it is even a little chilly that time means something, because your hands get wet and cold...

But, soon enough they were done. We lifted the celery cover for the first time since Wednesday's frost and they looked perfect, so we picked from under the cover, and made sure the cover was back on. We were set up for pickup by 2:30. I think that is a new record, but picking and set up tends to go quicker in the fall when a lot of the time was spent a month ago, picking onions or potatoes, or a week ago picking squash. Storage items make pickup days a lot easier.

I sent CSA-farmer-hubby to the field to hunt for a handful of carrots which might be ready, while I went inside to start supper... Braised Beef shanks... Yummy, and a reason to use my brand new enameled cast iron dishes. I love the fall and fall food!

So in a couple minutes I get to go inside and eat wonderful food, with our own garlic, carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes & drink a nice glass of wine. We may even start a fire to really cement the "it's fall" feeling. For desert we will have local apple pie...

((contented sigh))

Oct. 4 Share

Today's share... 5 apples (from a local orchard), 7 hot peppers, 1 acorn squash, a bunch of leeks, 5 small white onions, a bunch of radishes, 4 largeish slicing tomatoes,. 2 sweet peppers, a head of young celery, a head of garlic, a small head off cabbage.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Light frost...

Yesterday evening, when I was sitting in the sorting shed shivering, Farmer Hubby started a fire in the fireplace! The first fire of the year, and, to be honest and forthright in my telling of this, it is probably always a good idea that I am not in the house for the first fire of the year.
For some reason last year we had wasps in the chimney and when we went to light the fire they decided to dive bomb the living room. For some reason they were not happy. Oh, and did I mention I am allergic to many stinging insects (nice for a farmer, no?)

So, I guess, it was OK. We had three people no-show last night, which is always a little disappointing especially as we had beautiful celery to give them. Oh well, more celery for me!

It was so nice to come in after pickup and enjoy the fire with a glass of Ohio Concord wine. (I know, I know! But it is just so sweet and yummy and I have one heck of a sweet tooth!) I love this time of year, the fires, the food, the trees, just everything. Well, almost everything!

When I went to my car this morning there was frost on the roof, so I guess fall is officially here! My thermometer read 36, so hopefully the frost stayed really light. The next seven days lows are supposed to be in the 40s, so we are fine until then. After that a handful of nights in the mid-30s, and then back up into the 40s. A light frost we can handle, hopefully harder ones hold off a bit longer.