Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What about that word "Organic"

For those of you who live around my farm there was a great article about the black dirt region in the Sunday Times Herald Record, our local daily paper . The article included the statement that my farm is the only certified organic farm in the area. At this point in time my farm is not certified organic. We are Certified Naturally Grown and are applying for organic certification for our farm. We have signed the farmers pledge. We held open house on our farm on June 16th for the members of the public to inspect our farm as to our growing practices.

So what separates us from an organic farmer? Why do we not yet have organic certification on our farm?

We do everything an organic farmer does and more. Thanks to our farming practices our farm has come into a balance that is amazing. Natural predators like lady bugs thrive on our farm and we didn't introduce any to the environment. For our sweet corn we use a predator wasp called trychograma to eat the bugs that none of us like to see in our corn. Our colorado potato beetles and larva are removed by hand - here are pictures of the volunteers who came out to help with this project.

We have struggled with the question of certifying organic for many years now. Customers have begged us not to certify if the cost of the produce will go up. Personally I question how can I certify my farm when I have no clue what is in the water that so frequently floods my land? There is no provision for this as far as I am aware in any of the organic guidelines. Anyone who certifies their farm organic in a region that is composed of wetlands must seriously ponder the ethics in this regard. Anyone who certifies organic, has no buffer zones and farms next to conventional farmer neighbors who arial spray must also seriously ponder the ethics in this issue. Anyone who uses materials from nonorganic sources as a basis for their compost should consider what the consequences of their actions are.

I have given this long consideration and have come to realize that I cannot control the flood waters any more than I can control the acid rain. I can however control what I do and do not do on my farm. Being the only farmer in an area 75% surrounded by land that is either not farmed or owned by farmers who believe in the same philosphies I do makes it easier to carry on the land stewardship practices my family has become known for and is proud to carry on.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Why I farm

I had the distinct honor and pleasure of speaking at Stone Barns over in Westchester today. I was part of a panel of 4 farmers, all of us women, our topic was "Why we Farm". In preparing for this I thought about it quite a bit. I grew up on my farm, my parents, their parents, their parents and their parents were farmers so I guess you could say I was born to do this. I am totally in love with my farm, to me she possesses a magical beauty that in many ways can't be explained. When I make my daily rounds of the fields I am always amazed at the living spirit that thrives here. The landscape is always changing as only a living creature can, early in the morning on these hot summer days there is a misty fog in the air that is so primeval. I can almost see the mastodons munching away on the vegetation that sustained them here when the region was a glacial lake. And even when we are experiencing horrific flood conditions as we did this past April her fierce beauty shines through, keeping alive the promise of a thriving growing season.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Greetings from the farm

July 5th already, hard to believe that half the year is gone by. We're busy harvesting all sorts of summer squashes, sugar snap peas, greens, beets, garlic, herbs and all other sorts of goodies. The cucumbers are in full blossom and we've been picking squash blossoms as well. Recipes are starting to come in from all around the area for all of those great goodies we're bringing in from the fields. At this time of year it seems that the news is all about scapes - I didn't realize just how much garlic we had planted last fall until the scape harvest came in - 3 bin box fulls!!!!!! So we're trying to most anything we can with them. One of my favorites so far has been to fry them in tempura batter and then serve them with garlic jelly for a dipping sauce!!! They make an awesome pesto and we've been enjoying them roasted in the oven with olive oil and sea salt. We've also roasted them with balsamic vinegar - YUMMY!!!!!!