Posts Tagged ‘donations’

AutumnSaladBehold a beautiful autumn salad made up almost entirely of vegetables included in our final Stone’s Throw Farm summer share box of the season, way back in mid-October. Salad artist:  friend and farm member Alisa DeRider. Looks good enough to eat!

I love it when farm members send me photos or stories of what they did with their veggies — otherwise I have no idea what happens to them when they leave the farm. For example, after she got her canning tomatoes, Jane sent me a photo of her Stone’s Throw Farm tomato sauce simmering on the stove (as well as enthusiastic & encouraging notes on a regular basis — not that she’s the only one to do so!). I’m happy to receive any and all recipes that people have tried and liked, and I really appreciate it when farm members respond to questions I’ve posed in the weekly newsletter (e.g., how do you like this new variety of ___?)

stoveOnce a year, I get to see and taste what the professionals would do with some of our produce at Farmers Take the Stove. Your friendly neighborhood chefs cook up the best local foods dinner around using ingredients donated by local food producers. Some of us amateurs bring our best dishes, too. This year’s meal is coming up on Thursday, November 14, at Peace Church in Duluth. Get all the details (or contribute to the cause if you can’t make it) at lssfa.org.

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The Easter bunny came early at Stone’s Throw Farm this year, but he didn’t bring candy. He brought salvaged lumber, fence posts, tin, a pig hut and feeder, and a space heater for the greenhouse. OK, the bunny — or bunnies — that I’m referring to are my parents. They brought their truck and trailer up from Iowa this past weekend with a load of supplies for the farm. Having passed on the trip last weekend due in part to rain in the forecast, they were a bit disappointed by the wind, cold, and snow we received this weekend, but they survived.

Some of the stuff they brought from their farm, but quite a bit of it was from my grandpa’s place. My parents helped him take out a bunch of fencing last fall, and he also donated an old set of bleachers that they used to set up for farm sales. The bleacher lumber turned out to be Douglas fir, so we might save some of that for a higher purpose. My dad painstakingly removed all the iron from the wood before bringing it to us (with a little help from my mom). Thanks, guys.

We whiled away the hours by stacking the lumber, fixing the deer fence, setting up a pig pen, seeding beets in plug trays, refreshing my memory on plow hydraulics, and modifying the two-row cultivator so I can cultivate the pathways between beds with it. I’d say it was a productive weekend!

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Local farmers will take the stage at Amazing Grace Cafe in Duluth on Friday, March 25th at 7 pm. The event is a fundraiser for the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association, so there’s a suggested donation of $10. I went last year and it was entertaining — farmers were singing amusing songs in tune, playing guitar and other instruments with actual skill, and generally raising a ruckus. I believe there’s been some fantastic storytelling in years past — this is the 9th annual stage-taking.

Mark your calendars if you want to be entertained instead of fed by farmers for a change. If you can’t make it to the show but you want to support the local non-profit organization that supports farmers like me, you can donate online. Thanks!

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Happiness is a loaf of Dave Hanlon’s homemade bread. Anyone who has experienced it knows what I’m talking about:  it’s the best bread money can’t buy. Sometimes donations will get you a slice or two, though. That’s because Dave — one of the most generous people I know — bakes for some good causes, including a couple of my favorites:  Trust in the Land, which benefits Northern Communities Land Trust, and the Sustainable Farming Association’s Annual Meeting.

I missed Trust in the Land this year, but at the SFA annual meeting last month we got an update on the Duluth Community Farm, a project that has been talked about for a while but might actually happen in the near future. According to the DCF’s website:

The Duluth Community Farm (DCF) is a community based, sustainably developed, urban edge agricultural social enterprise organization devoted to education around food and farming and the cultivation of new farmers.  The long term vision of the Duluth Community Farm consists of a food and agricultural employment incubator and educational site that provides a mix of internships and support for beginning farmers, and education to school age pupils and college students. The DCF is accepting applications for onsite farmers and proposals by interested onsite organizational tenants. Please see www.duluthcommunityfarm.org for more information.”

I’ve heard about Intervale, a farm incubator in Vermont that the DCF is modeling this place after (at least in part), so I was interested to hear that the executive director of the Intervale Center will be at UMD February 18th. I hope to attend.  There are some other good topics in their speaker series on New Food Regionalism, so check it out.

The deadline for applying to be the inaugural farmer at DCF is March 21, 2011. I hope the organizers find the right person to lead the charge.

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Plenty of people have told me that every farm needs a pickup truck. Some of the best veggie farmers I know don’t have one, so I don’t believe it. Trucks sure are nice to have, though. You can carry around a little horse manure in the back like Dave does (you never know when you might need some) and just hose it out when the manure’s gone. You can let boards dangle off the tailgate without worrying about closing the back door like with a van. You can tow things with it. Yup, trucks are handy to have.

I’m super excited to have a truck now, but not just any truck. This 1989 (I think — Alan said it’s old enough to drink) GMC Sierra was a gift from Elden’s mom, Diane, and her husband, Alan. They’ve been taking good care of it, not only because they’re good vehicle owners, but also for sentimental reasons.

The truck originally was Elden’s great-uncle Dale’s truck. Dale was a life-long farmer in Tuttle, N.D., and toward the end of his life, he wanted to buy a new vehicle, Diane told me. She said he really didn’t drive it much, but did spend a lot of time as a passenger in the truck. Diane laughed when explaining that Dale asked her if she thought the bright orange stripes on the sides of the pickup (barely visible in the photos, above the red paint) were “too sporty.”

I’ll try not to let driving such a flashy vehicle go to my head.

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Kale seedlings


I seeded some tomatoes and peppers, celeriac, and brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) on Wednesday, and already some seedlings are emerging. The brassicas germinate very quickly. I had some room left in the germination station after seeding the veggies, so I started some flowers, too — the marigolds greeted me this morning. Outside in the portable hoophouse, the onions and leeks have perked up after finally getting some real sunlight.

My friend Cree of Chelsea Morning Farm stopped by yesterday and seemed to think setting up the little hoophouse here was a good idea. Thanks for the encouragement, Cree! It was great to finally get a chance to chat. One of the many hats Cree wears is facilitator of our local Farm Beginnings program, which was very helpful to Elden and me as we made plans for Stone’s Throw Farm. If you’d like to support farmer education in this area, you can make a contribution to the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association. Thank you!

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This stack of buckets sitting by our garage is a daily reminder of all the help I’ve received to get to this point. The three gentlemen involved in procuring and delivering this stash of multi-purpose, highly-essential carry-alls are exceptionally generous people. Then again, I seem to run into a lot of people like that around here — I guess Paul, Eric, and Dave aren’t that special after all. (Just kidding, guys — thank you! Stop by with donations any time!) 

The donated buckets also remind me of all the miscellaneous supplies needed on a farm that a person doesn’t necessarily think of when making “to-get” lists ….  I find myself quick to correct anyone who says that Elden and I “bought a farm” — we’re making it into a farm, yes, but we bought land. It’s not like my parents’ farm, which was (somewhat shabbily, upon purchase) equipped with a well, barns, sheds, and miscellaneous items that no one bothered to clean out of those sheds.

My parents understand. When my dad sent a truckload of machinery to me last fall, he also sent hitch pins, spare parts, a log chain … you name it, he sent it, even a pliers and crescent wrench in the tractor’s toolbox (I already had a pliers and wrench, but it was sweet and thoughtful nonetheless). I’m lucky to have so many people out there thinking about the buckets of buckets it takes to run a farm.

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