Cascadian Farm Organic Goodness

WELCOME TO OUR ALMANAC! READ ABOUT ALL THINGS ECO FROM ORGANIC VEGGIE
GARDEN TIPS TO GREEN FAMILY ACTIVITIES.

GOOD QUESTIONS

Why do you grow organic?

Working directly with farmers to increase organic acreage & help them with technical advice is a means to transform agriculture to organic methods.

What is your best organic tip?

Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You'll get wonderful, healthy organic produce each week of the growing season for your family; you'll support a local organic farmer; you'll know who grows your food and how they grow it; you'll be directly contributing to improving the environment in your community. It's a total "feel good!"

What is your favorite book on organics?

Core Truths: Serving Up the Science Behind Organic Agriculture

What is your favorite quote?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

If you had to decide, what would you be: animal, plant, or mineral?

Animal. Plants & minerals don't have brains.

 

Here are a few updates from Jim about what happens on the Farm after fall harvest.

 September: Cover crops go in to help build the soil during the winter. A mix of rye grain and vetch are planted. They will grow to little sprouts throughout the winter and then on the first warm days of spring, they start quickly growing.  They will eventually (late spring) be worked back into the soil and the organic matter and nitrogen they produce will be in the soil, available for the summer’s crops.

 October: The first weekend is marked by a Harvest Festival, which includes Farm tours on a wagon, scarecrow making, and lots of pumpkins. Harvesting is done and the pumpkin patch is in full swing for people to pick their own.

Starting in November, Jim buttons up last bits of weeding, and starts pruning the blueberry, raspberry and kiwi bushes. This will continue throughout most of the winter, as weather permits. Rains and snow come, and it’s a quiet(er) time on the Farm as the land rests and gears up for another planting season.

 

Did you get to see Cascadian Farm on Chefs A' Field this weekend? I understand, with all family and feasting time, it might have slipped your mind… But, don't worry because you can still watch the episode any time on the Chefs A’ Field website.

And, here’s a final bonus recipe for you from Chef Christine Keff from the Flying Fish Restaurant in Seattle. She’s cooked up a tasty looking Blueberry Granola Crisp featuring Cascadian Farm Blueberries and Granola...

 

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Just a reminder that Saturday night, Chefs A’ Field will be featuring Cascadian Farm and the Flying Fish Restaurant in Seattle.  Check your local PBS listings for show times.

 

 Here’s the second recipe from Chef Christine Keff, Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream, featured in this week’s episode. I cannot even describe how amazing this ice cream is—rich and creamy, with a bit of tartness from the blueberries. Enjoy!

 

 

 

One of my favorite things about the Farm (aside from the blueberries) is all of the stories surrounding the early days. During my visit, I spoke with many wonderful people who took the time to share early Cascadian Farm stories with me—from the first crops that were grown, to interesting methods of weed control. This week, I want to bring you a story about that very topic—weed control. Organic farming is about working in harmony with nature, meaning that sometimes a little creativity and ingenuity is needed to control weeds in a natural way.

The following story was shared with me by Don Smith, a fellow blogger and a Graphic Designer for Cascadian Farm...

This is one important question that I posed to many of the people working at Cascadian Farm during my time in Washington State. And, in general, I feel like this is a great entry question to ask when starting to consider organic products.

What does organic mean? Is organic actually better than natural? If so, why? Craig Weakley was the man who answered all these questions (and many, many more) about the meaning of organic. Craig is the Director of Agriculture and Sustainability at Cascadian Farm, a fellow blogger and is extremely well versed in the ways of organic. Take a look below and see what he has to say about the organic vs. natural conversation.In the end, I hope you find that a topic that may have seemed clear as mud is actually pretty simple to understand.

 

The reason I started wanting to learn so much about organic for the sake of my health. Why put chemicals into my body when I don’t need to? Why not continually try to find ways to improve my health through food?  

The more I am learning about organic food, the more I am realizing how self-centric and small this viewpoint is. We become interested in things that relate to us, as they relate to us. It makes complete sense for my path into organic to be as a result of health, as a result of how we lead a healthier lifestyle. However, the more time I spend with organic and talking to people passion about organic, a striking penchant toward organic emerges—organic is not about one of us individually, it’s about us being connected to each other, to the Earth, and to the future. It’s about us being  a responsible steward of natural systems and supporting organic farmers and educators who are leaving the Earth a better place than they found it.

The blueberries grown on Cascadian Farm were one of the most magical elements of my visit there.  Part of the charm of the blueberries is their delicious taste and the number of varieties available on the Farm (Spartan, Toro, Bluecrop, Jersey and Patriot).  The other piece is how the blueberries, and most of the fruit at the Farm is pollinated.

Very basically, blueberries need bees need to pollinate them.  The bees move from blueberry flower to blueberry flower, and are essential to pollinating not only the blueberries, but also the strawberries and raspberries on the Farm. Pollination is not a new concept by any means, but Farmer Jim Meyer doesn’t just rely on his native pollinators, he brings in an extra supply.

Each day our agriculture staff strives to assist Cascadian Farm growers to improve their farming operations. One research and extension program aims to improve pest control methods in vegetables using beneficial insects. As with any biological control program the aim is to attract and retain the beneficial insects (this is our organic pest control) in close proximity to the crop. By providing them with habitat and adequate and easily available food, we can encourage a diverse range of beneficial and pollinator insects to visit the field. We know pest populations will vary with each crop, location, environment and season, so building diversity helps to deal with any variation in pest population within a growing season.

"The soil is the stomach of the plant." 

-Aristotle

This quote is the basis for a lot that goes on at Cascadian Farm. Basically, a famers feeds the soil, the soil feeds the plant, and the plant feeds the people.

Each year Jim makes one huge pile, about 200 cubic yards, of compost. The pile is made out of grass clippings from the Farm and sawdust brought in from a nearby town. In order to turn the compost pile, Jim uses 2 tractors and a manure spreader. He scoops the compost up and throws it in the manure spreader, than the spreader throws it out the backend and eventually builds itself over again, 10 yards away.

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