Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hello Community Supported Agriculture members.
Welcome to a season of fresh eating!
CSA starts one week from today on Wednesday May 16th!  Pickup is from 4-6pm at your location: please follow this link for your personal membership details. >>>>>>>>

We will send you another email with pickup logistics and detail soon....but this is the fun farm email! Enjoy the photos.

Every week you will receive a member newsletter with recipes, farm news, and a list your seasonal vegetables.  

 The fields are lush with delicious vegetables ready to harvest.  The early warm and dry weather helped us to get a jump on the season preparing the field.  We even have stayed ahead of the weeds (recent rain might change that though).

Heirloom lettuce...nice early spring varieties!  We planted them in mid March.  Some vegetables for CSA were started from seed as early as February.  We have so many great spring veggies in the gardens for you.

Crop Circles:  This spring has found us busy as usual with some exciting new projects that will help us keep growing more and better vegetables.  We saw an example of a mini-sprinkler irrigation system at a friend’s farm that is perfect for some of our favorite small crops.  The system uses one feeder tube for a bed that we puncture about every 5 feet.  Then we place sprinklers that stand about 1 ft off the ground and emit a mist in a 3 foot crop circle.  It makes gently watering a large area so easy.  Right now we are using it to get better germination and growth with carrots, beets, lettuce mix, arugula, and radishes. 

I'm holding bok choy, behind me is red and green lettuce, then a solid patch of kale, and then the metal hoops of the hoophouse.

   Lettuce mix, arugula, and radishes are all ready now for your first several boxes.  Beets and carrots are all growing away out there for harvest in June.  We hope the misters will also help us extend the harvest season of some of our more delicate crops because the mist of the water can be used to help cool the plants on hot afternoons in late June.

The plastic goes on the hoop house.  The tomatoes will be safe from blight in this giant umbrella.

Preventative medicine: Our other big vegetable project has been the construction of two hoop houses for tomato umbrellas.  Another filed trip to a different friend’s farm inspired the construction of the hoops.  By preventing the rain from splashing on the leaves of the tomatoes and the soil around the plants, we naturally control blight (a common fungus) from reducing the tomato crop and potentially killing the plants.  A bit of clever engineering prevents the use of chemical fungicides.  No toxic residue on our crops!

Fastening the giant hoophouse kites for us!

Organic grains are “GM”- Free: Organic grains are never genetically engineered.  We are excited to replace our non-medicated, conventional grains with certified organic grains for all our animals.  Not only is the organic feed free of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, the fresh feed is made of cracked, multi-grains.  Wheat, flax seeds, barley, roasted soybeans, winter peas, corn, and alfalfa mixed with a kelp based mineral supplement make a wholesome balanced diet for the animals.  A healthier mix of multi-grain feed is healthier eggs and meat from our farm.  

Checking on the sheep, hens, and guard dog.  The chicken palace is in the background.

Chicken palace: The hens have a chicken palace now.   Our free range hens are living in a spacious coop that is built on a hay wagon with all the amenities a chicken could desire: large doors  for outdoor access, tall roosts, a self-feeding trough for organic grain, hanging drinkers, fluffy wood shavings, and cozy nest boxes.  But, I think the chicken’s favorite part is the foraging trips through the tall grass in the pasture. The hens went on a road trip in their new coop on wheels.  For the first time, we have hens at our leased farmland 1 mile up Silver Creek from us! 


Organic food is never genetically engineered...

More about genetically engineered crops... 

Our nation's food supply is genetically engineered: Almost 85% of the soy and corn grown in the United States is genetically engineered or GE.  And it's what the nation's animals eat.  GE foods like corn and soy are in the food that we eat every day...Unless you eat organic foods.  Even rice, canola, and cotton are GE. 

GE foods means we use round-up every time we eat non-organic corn products, soy products, or grocery store meat. Genetically engineered soy and corn and soy are also called “round-up” ready.  This mean that the crops have been modified to withstand the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in round up, so that round up can be used for weed control.  The ease of weed control with roundup ready plants and roundup has led an increase in the amount and frequency of roundup use.  While glyphosate itself is quickly broken down in the soil, the effects of the remaining herbicide compounds are poorly understood.  In addition, roundup and other commercial mixtures of glyphosate almost always contain other “inactive” ingredients.  These ingredients are listed as inactive because they don’t contribute to the stated purpose of the product.  However, this does not mean that they don’t have other effects in the soil. 
Human experiment: The long term effects of glyphosate use in the soil, plant, animal, and human biology are extremely poorly understood.  These plants have only been on the market for about 12 years and only in extremely widespread use for an even shorter time.  There are little to no long term studies tracking the effects over time.  Even worse, Monsanto, and other large corporations who own both the seed technology and the sprays that go with the seed, do their very best to prevent further studies.  The first obvious long term effect has already begun to appear in farmers fields.  Weeds are becoming resistant to glyphosate because of the persistent over use of the chemical.  This will require the application of heavier doses and the introduction of new, more toxic, chemicals. 
Toxic Soils:  There are many other long term effects of the chemical that have been suggested by other studies: Glyphosate binds soil nutrients, preventing weeds and crop plants from proper uptake.  This reduces the nutrients available in the harvested crop, reducing its value for animal or human food;  round up and other chemicals damage soil biology creating dead soils where plants are far more prone to disease and pests-prompting the further use of other chemicals; roundup in combination with other chemicals reacts in unknown ways that have been suspected of contributing to the large losses in honey bee colonies; and there are some suggestions that long term consumption of GMO crops by lab animals and livestock causes infertility and abortions as well as reducing the vigor of those animals that do survive. 
Legal Colonization of Agriculture: In addition, Monsanto and other large agro-chemical companies seek to achieve total control of seed genetics and accompanying products through patenting of life.  They have successfully prevented farmers form saving seed through lawsuits as well as the introduction of terminator genes into their plants (these make all the resulting crop infertile and thus useless as seed).  They work closely with regulatory agencies to prevent rules and laws that seek to prevent or even slow the release of new products.  In short, they seek to make farmers consumers of their product that rely completely on the company for their seed, fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide.
Genetically modified plants, their accompanying use of poisons, and he corporate structure used to push their use are all opposite of the goals of organic agriculture and our farm.  We want to work with the soil to create a healthier, more diverse, and more vibrant soil biology.  A healthy soil will carry through to healthy plants, and so to healthy animals and healthy people.  The use of certified organic, non-GMO feed allows us to continue that goal in a broader way, supporting other organic farmers growing real food using techniques to build their soils.  We hope you will enjoy the food as much as the animals do!

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