Friday, November 22, 2013

It's been about five months since the opening of the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm.  While it's been an immense amount of work and planning, at this season of Thanksgiving, we are thankful for this dream come true!  We are blessed with great volunteers who devote their time and energy to keep the market running and  great local growers and producers who call it home each Saturday. 

Thank you, Lafayette, for supporting local growers and fresh, healthy food choices EVERY Saturday (rain or shine)!  As always, it's a pleasure to grow for you.  But the real fun is, we are just warming up.

Keep Growing!
Mark & Mary

November 2013
November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

July 2013

Opening Bell at the Lafayette Market with Mayor Durel, his father, Mark and Madeleine, and several Board Members and Vendors.
June 2013

Introducing the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm
Board Members
May 2013

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Growing the Old Fashioned Way

Growing for our members and for market has taught us to make the absolute most of what is harvestable when it is harvestable.  It makes up for the times when the weather changes on a dime,  and transforms the crop outlook in just a matter of days.   Of course, those variations are the beauty of a diverse, sustainable farm.  Diversity and sustainability are invariably linked - for we cannot have one without the other.  

Sometimes I ponder if farming a single crop of cane, soybeans, or corn might get just a little mundane.  The crops go in in just a matter of days and come out just the same.  What is there to do between planting and harvest?  Managing "inputs" become the highlight.  It falsely satisfies man's innate need to work the land.  The farmer is no longer growing.  He is  preventing growth.  Where is the logic in that?  Many farmers would agree that preventing weeds and pests is desirable; but I would argue that the satisfaction of stopping something cannot be as great as being a part of watching something thrive.  

As for those "inputs," what if they were referred to by their real names on a daily basis? The silver lining around conventional agriculture would quickly fade.  I imagine Mark heading out for his day's work telling me, "I'm going out to apply the... azinphos-methyl,  thiobencarb, Leptophos, Mephosfolan,  Thionazin."

Just the notion of that reality sends chills down my spine.  I confess I can't tell you much about these pesticides except that by the end of 2012 most will be "banned substances."  Honestly, it is enough for me that I can't pronouce them.  I feel blessed that our daily routine looks a bit more like this:   "Mary, I have plot A under cover with cow peas...kale and beets are going into B and C."  Call me old fashioned, but cow peas, kale and beets are pronouncable, consumable and natural.  

Before I begin to sound "organic-ier than thou" I will acknowledge that as of 2008, less than 1% of farmland in the US was certified organic (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service,  But as for how we will move forward with our tiny corner of the world, we will grow tasty food and we will leave the land better than we found it.  We will revel in the highs, and hang on to our shovels with both hands during the lows.    

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spring Quartet

When the quartet of blueberries, tomatoes, basil and cucumbers ripen in their own tasty symphony, we know we are experiencing full-fledged spring! Ah, Mother Nature plays the very best tunes.  Indeed, spring is bursting forth in every direction!    And she is calling a bit earlier than last year.   Much to our delight and the surprise of our children, they picked the first berries on May 3, a full two weeks earlier than last year!  Our youngest begged for a blueberry pie, but unfortunately, we gobbled up that too-small pint before any could make it into a pie filling.  Beginning today, there will be enough to share at the Market and with our City Farm Members, but we are still waiting impatiently for the first pie of the season.

The rest of the quartet is thriving thanks to our farm system plan, which called for cover cropping plots B & C for the entire fall season. That nutrient-rich rest has paid off.  What was once lawn, begging to be mowed is now filled with various squashes, zucchini, cucumber, corn, beans, tomatoes and more.  We still have plenty of lawn here at the farm, and we look forward to the day when all will be converted to cultivated crops.