Clowdis brothers try their hand at organic tobacco

CM-MR-2-Clowdis-1bby Karl H. Kazaks

SAXE, VA — It’s been several years since the Clowdis brothers raised tobacco — and this year was the first time they grew organic tobacco — but Zach and Rob are glad to be growing leaf again.

“I like it,” said Zach. “We used to raise dark tobacco. Organic is more labor intensive — everything has to be hand-pulled — and there’s a whole lot more paperwork.”

“We never used the bunk barns before,” said Rob. “We’re still learning.”

Knowing when to adjust the temperatures in a curing barn — not letting it get too cold and sweat, not letting it get too hot and scald — “takes a while getting used to,” Zach said. “I go more by feel than anything.” [Read more…]

16th World Percheron Congress — Superbowl of the draft horse world

CF4-MR-4-Percheron511by Laura Rodley

You want the best on your team if you’re planning on competing in the World Percheron Congress. When Jane Gray of Trippcrest Farm in Harrison, Maine wanted someone to train her horses for the event in 2010, she contacted Chad and Rhonda Cole of Pennwood Percherons in Center Hall, PA and secured them as her trainers. Gray’s horses won. [Read more…]

Farmers, beware!

CM-MR-2-Beware1165by Steve Wagner

Pennsylvania State Representative Mindy Fee is wrapping up her first term in the General Assembly. In those two years she has tattooed her dynamic presence on the hearts and minds of her constituents. Born with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy and ideas, Fee fittingly was assigned at the beginning of her term to the House Agriculture Committee and came up with the notion of periodic Farmer’s Breakfasts at a restaurant in Manheim, PA. The breakfasts are sponsored by Penn-Ag Industries. [Read more…]

Postharvest produce: storage wars

CEW-MR-1-Postharvest produceby Tamara Scully

Keeping produce fresh may be more challenging than growing it. Without proper storage, even the most fruitful harvest is going to be a bust. From high-tech refrigeration units and monitors to basic root cellars, successful storage depends on keeping produce fresh and healthy, and is the key to maximizing profits. [Read more…]

Round three at the 2014 World Percheron Congress

CM-MR-4-WorldPerch 1044by Laura Rodley

The coliseum shook as 11 mare six-horse hitch teams entered the ring on the final night of the 16th World Percheron Congress. Except for the elegance of the horses, their drivers and their carriages, it could have been a scene from the Wild West of yesteryear with the drivers wearing cowboy hats, working the reins hard. However, there was no scruffiness allowed here. The judges looked for not just how well the teams were matched, but also how well they worked together as they chose the World Champion Mare Six-Horse Hitch Team at the Eastern States Exposition Center in Springfield, MA on Saturday, Oct. 11. [Read more…]