Soil health is increasingly being recognized as a key factor in plant health and yield, and is the key to successful non-chemical growing. When the soil structure is optimal and left intact, the soil microbial activity is thriving, and carbon is sequestered, the conditions are perfect for crop production. But what if you grow a crop that requires soil disturbances for planting and harvesting? How can soil health be optimized when the soil has to be disturbed? [Read more…]
On July 24 the Windham County Food and Agriculture Council sponsored a tour of the Pakulis Farm in Brooklyn, CT. This tour was designed to give attendees the opportunity to observe firsthand some of the recent updates that have taken place on this operation.
Dawn Pindell, of the USDA Farm Service Agency, introduced the farm owners Sandy and Lou Brodeur, who presented an overview of the hay/vegetable farm. Hay growing, harvesting and sales are Lou’s responsibility, while the vegetable side of the business falls to Sandy. [Read more…]
July 19 and 20 provided perfect weather for the 18th Annual Zagray Farm Museum Summer Show — an educational family event dedicated to providing a place where the public can explore the evolution of farm life and machinery.
This near 200-acre farm located in eastern Connecticut was set up very much like a fair for this event. There were rows and rows of farm equipment, engine displays, antique vehicles, a tag sale and a swap meet. Plenty of food was provided, as was country music by Jane Haynes and Friends. A kids’ sandbox was set up with toys and pedal tractors to promote interest from the younger crowd. Small to large tractors were driven around freely during the day by event-goers, giving them a true feel for 19th and early 20th century running equipment. [Read more…]
When Gray Dog’s Farm owners Ross and Alicia Hackerson bought their 80 acres in Huntington, MA, it was just forest, with nothing cleared and no house. They have since cleared 14 acres using silvopasture methods, leaving desired hardwoods to produce a mast for the pigs to eat, and shade for the calves, chickens and pigs that supply meat for their CSA. They sell wholesale and retail to stores and restaurants, including Greenfield’s Market, Bistro Les Gras in Northampton, Aunt Kathie’s Kitchen in West Springfield and farmers markets and residents. [Read more…]
There was a time when a dairy farmer’s biggest concern about manure was whether the gutter cleaner was functional, if the tractor might break down or if there was a spare hand to send to the field with a spreader full of manure. The chemistry of that manure was probably not at the top of the farmer’s mind.
Although farmers have been using manure to their advantage for centuries, increased knowledge about the impact of manure on the environment has led to science-based research and legislation that dictates how manure must be handled. [Read more…]