All of this unseasonable, 70 degree weather has me thinking of spring and farmers’ market season. While going outside and planting seeds in all my garden beds already might not be the smartest thing to do, I am surely dreaming of the delicious seasonal produce coming in the year ahead. One of the main things I’m thinking about is which CSA (community supported agriculture) share I will invest in this year.
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Last week, Cara issued her radish challenge, and over the weekend I wholeheartedly accepted. I picked up some gorgeous misato radishes from Blue Moon Farm in Urbana, and pulled out my new woodland creature and barnyard animal cookie cutters (from an unorthodox approach to Christmas cookie season over the holidays).
Excitement fills the air! Farmers are gathering from across the region to discuss organic grains and how we grow this industry. I, personally, am brimming with anticipation of meeting the amazing farmers who are dedicated to growing organic grains in Illinois and Indiana. It takes a special person to commit to transitioning to organic production. It can be a lonely and confusing endeavor.
Three easy ways to love your farmer, and one fun challenge!
Sometimes, in the fall, I like to talk about how even though I really dislike winter, I look forward to the break.
I have waxed poetic on several of my blog posts about our BCS 2-wheel tractor. It allows us to engage in a number of non-standard farming pursuits, and it also really excels as an all-around farming/yard tractor. These tractors are used extensively in Europe where parcels are much smaller, and the land has more interesting terrain.
Oh grants - I know grant applications are intimidating, especially if you've never written one before. We all hear the horrors of lengthy applications, multiple forms, unclear directions, etc.... but if you have an idea, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare your idea for a grant application, no matter the format or specific opportunity instructions.
Last week I spoke on a panel at the Illinois Specialty Crop, Agritourism, and Organic Conference in Springfield. It was the final session of the Farmers' Market Vendor Boot Camp block, and the panel focused on the different types of advisory boards farmers' markets around Central Illinois use. We talked a lot about the different ways we all get input from our vendors and other stakeholders to build a successful farmers' market community.
I am so pleased that the days are beginning to lengthen, the sun rising ever so marginally earlier and setting slightly later. It is breathing life into these wintery days. Even though the days are short in light, they are most definitely long in activity! For, my friends, it is now full-on workshop and conference season!!
This time of year can be rough for those of us who love to grow food. We have passed the fall relief stage (remember when we were waiting for that hard freeze so we could finally pull the tomato plants?), we were excited to use some of our preserved summer bounty for holiday cooking, we tackled some of those indoor projects that we had put off for the first half of the year. Now it is just the countdown to April when we can get the 2017 seedlings in the ground.