Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We've moved!

This blog is retiring.

Our new, permanent home is thecornucopiacsa.com.

See you there!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recently someone I know was criticized for ...

Recently participants of area farmers markets were invited to set up a “farmers market” at a showing of Farmageddon. Farmageddon is a film, which takes a look at current methods of agriculture. Some thought that vendors should not participate because films like this one demonize one method of production. Their position that there is a market for products produced under many different methods and that producers can market and promote products without criticizing someone else’s production or practices.

I took the time to view the trailer and read the comments from those who have seen the documentary. It seems to me that the point of the film is to highlight the lack of choice, the reduction in the freedom to choose products that may be best for us or our families. It is the increasing concentration of ownership of land, production, processing and distribution in smaller and smaller numbers of large companies with ties to governing bodies that deny opportunities to young farmers, new farmers, or new ideas or the restoration of ancient traditional foods of value.

I would like to market my products without defaming the conventional or current accepted practice farmers in my county, they are only doing what the co-op, extension, seed, chemical and processing companies say is best for them at the present time. They are very good at what they do. In order to move my product at a price that allows our business to be sustainable my consumer is interested why we do what we do. It would be my turn to highlight the differences and to accentuate the role of what I call bigger, faster, cheaper. The economy of scale in production has a major impact. I pay more to butcher 1 # of chicken than the restaurants and stores in Sioux Falls pay for a 1# of chicken. So it begs the question why I bother. I bother because it tastes better; it is better for me and the bird. It creates jobs for me and my family, and the local processor. It keeps the profits in our communities and we don't need federal or state program dollars to do it.

I think the folks that will attend this event for the most part have already been exposed to films like Fresh and Food Inc. Their minds are already open to looking outside the box for their food so I would think it would a good place for producers that differentiate themselves from the mainstream to present their practices and possibly the product of their farm.

If we keep doing what we have always done we will get the same results. In agriculture that means fewer and fewer producers producing more and more of the same resulting in no choice for consumers. In 1980 there were more than 50,000 farms producing pigs in Iowa, today there are fewer than 10,000 yet producing more pigs. There is less variety, essentially only one method of production. If anyone tries anything different they are labeled a threat. Across the country bigger faster cheaper means smaller rural towns, closed schools, banks, post offices and generally a lower standard of living for those not holding ownership stake in the method of production.

I could go on. My point is it is better to participate in the discussion and highlight our strengths and let consumers make their choice. The reason these films and books like them are written is because the consumers right to choose is being limited.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Let it snow! It might not be much it is a start.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A new year, an new season!

Happy New Year! Oh, my what a mild start to winter. Quite a contrast to the last 4 or 5 years. We took most of December "off" from daily farm activity. Took advantage of some mild weather and cleaned up a couple of dead trees. We enjoyed time with children, visited with friends and now we begin a new season.
This time of year there are lots of events and meetings we can go to and recently we spent a day at Western Missouri State at a vegetable growers conference. One of the take aways for us is a new to us method of dealing with cucumber beetle. We are going to plant a trap crop to capture those little critters. We met some new people, reconnected with growers we have met before and gained some insight.
The seed potatoes, sweet potato slips are ordered, and the seed list is just about ready to be called into our 2 main suppliers. We are reviewing our crop rotations, evaluating some varieties and looking for some new ones to try.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 17 of 18!

Wow, I was just getting used to it being August and September happens this week. Time moves so fast, it seems like we just got started with this season, it goes so rapidly. I washed some French Fingerlings this afternoon and they reminded me of small smooth stones on a beach on one of the great lakes! Just right size, the shape of them did that, and they taste good too! We had a little rain this morning, first measurable precipitation since when? July 1? We had a lot of trouble with seeds germinating in early August, this past week lettuce, salad greens, carrots, beets are all popping up! What a pleasant change. Tomatoes continue to frustrate us, recently we noticed all regular red tomatoes developed a "cat face" on the top, thinking what did I do now, I did a little reading and sure enough when it is very hot at the time a blossom turns into a little tomato, the fruit develops a "cat face". We will plant them earlier next year to avoid it. I think I have heard my self or someone else say next year about a dozen times this week. The small "cherry" tomato plants didn't mind the heat and continue to grow.

We got manure spread and worked in on our large east garden. We plan on planting strawberry plants there late in September. We missed not having strawberries this year. We have garlic, onions and shallots in the barn, we are beginning to see the end of potato digging. We have three varieties left, one we set aside as a storage potato.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomato season

Yes, the tomatoes are FINALLY ripening in numbers. They still have a long way to go after a late start from our cool spring, and we are hoping that the weather will continue to be good so that we get some decent production before any hard frosts hit. Enjoy the taste of summer!

We need our bags back! (and boxes) - PLEASE. Every week, it seems, we lose a few of one or the other. If you have a bag, or two or three, sitting at home we need you to return them! That little flat piece holding the bottom of the bag in place is missing in a few, also. Even if last week's box is falling apart and could go in the recycling we really appreciate it if you would return those so that WE can throw them out and know exactly how many are still in use.

If you forget your bag or box this week could you please ask us to put your items in plastic bags to take home so we can keep the bag or box and have enough for next week. Thanks!

KMEG Channel 14 personality Erika Thomas does a program called Your Hometown Farmer on Thursday mornings on her news cast sometime between 5 and 7 am. She was here today with a camera man and interviewed us. She needs to shrink 3 hours of visiting into a 2 minute 45 second segment. She will let us know when it airs - likely in about 3 weeks.

Today John took out two rows of zucchini plants and began to remove cucumber plants. They certainly didn't earn their keep this year. We'll add some compost and begin a late season seeding of greens or radishes.

Janna is peeling bad (a.k.a. cracked) tomatoes this evening, there is a pot of something cooking on the stove. This is the bliss of wanting to eat well in winter, you need to stay up late in summer to get it all done.

This week in the bag you'll find:
Beans - whole shares will also have some little filet beans (very tender - don't overcook them)
Eggplant - try this sliced, breaded and fried or baked as an appetizer - YUM. It's also nice as a layer in your lasagna to replace one of the noodle layers
Onion - if you find your onions are getting a little ahead of you, chop them to the size you like and freeze them, then later when you are in a hurry, you can grab them out of the freezer ready to add to any dish you are cooking.
Cherry Tomatoes

Eggplant Appetizer (I am trying to remember what the girls did, so I hope I remember it all)

1-2 beaten eggs
Flour, salt, pepper, a little Italian seasoning or other herbs/spices of your choice.
(you could also just use pre-seasoned bread crumbs instead of the above mix)
Slice the eggplant (we sliced them about 1/4" thick) and pat the pieces dry, dip in beaten egg and then the dry mix. Fry in hot oil, or bake in the oven. Probably 375-400 until nice and golden brown. Be sure to flip them to brown both sides. If you fry them have several layers of paper towel ready to drain them on when they come out of the pan. I think these would also be good with a little parmesan cheese added to the breading. (try not to burn your mouth - we couldn't wait for them to cool before eating them)

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Already!

Hi Everyone,

This week we have been planting broccoli, lettuce and watering the beets and carrots that germinated last week. We have some issues with beans, zucchini, cucumbers not producing like they should. We think that they dropped flowers during the hot days in July so there is little fruit. The yield on beans has been very poor on the first two plantings. We have two more plantings up and growing.

The tomatoes are starting to turn, both in the tunnel and outdoors. The mid to late season potato plants are starting to show that they are done growing so we see some different varieties in the next month. The carrots that we seeded in early July never germinated so we will have a gap for a week or more on carrots. The ones seeded last wednesday are up already. This past week and for the next day or three we will be getting all the onions out for storage. The onion crop is much better than last years!

We really liked the weather today and would like more of the same. The students are thinking that school is around the corner. One went to Dordt to clean her room and move in some things, the high school students are taking time for fall sport practice. I don't think I am ready for this.

Thank you to those that have sent in checks for the fall subscription.

In the bags this week we have;
Red Thumb potatoes...ultimate oven fries

Whole shares should also find carrots and zucchini in their boxes.