More on Summer Pests
Last week I wrote about hornworms. The Alabama IPM Newsletter has a good compilation of articles on tomato worms and various other insect pests. Hopefully you don’t need to read up about all of these!
Hang in there! Be careful what you wish for in terms of early frosts!
The August issue of Growing for Market is out. The lead article is Serving the Underserved by Jane Tanner. It’s about small farms connecting with people who are struggling financially and cannot easily feed their families good food. Examples include people working for food, gleaning finished crops, farms donating to shelters and other organizations, accepting SNAP cards at farmers markets, and an incentive program to encourage people to use SNAP entitlements to buy produce. Posting a photo of a SNAP card at your booth can help people using the cards feel welcome. The author encourages farmers to take flyers to distribute in the waiting rooms of agencies where people enroll for SNAP, WIC and other benefits. A approach used in central Texas is to post photos of available produce on popular Facebook groups for Spanish speakers that otherwise feature cars and jewelry for sale. The article is packed with ideas.
Ellen Polishuk’s Farmer to farmer Profile this issue features Shiloh Avery and Jason Roehrig of Tumbling Shoals Farm in NC. Here’s the very short version:
Tumbling Shoals Farm
3 acres certified organic
7 high tunnels ( one heated)
1 Haygrove tunnel
66 % FM, 26% C SA, 8 % wholesale
2018 is year 1 1 for this farm.
Ellen visited in mid-March, on the farm crew’s first work day of the year, when there was snow on the ground. The farmers made a thoughtful review of their first ten years, and a plan for the future. They decided to expand in 2017 to increase net farm income and quality of life. This involves hiring one more full-time worker for the season, for a total of five; building a heated high tunnel (for early tomatoes); and providing a four-day-weekend paid vacation for each employee during the dog days of August. Not everything went according to plan. Terrible wet spring weather led them to the somewhat desperate decision to also work a winter season too, to meet their income goal. This didn’t meet their quality of life goal, as you can imagine! The original investor for the heated hoophouse fell through, but they were able to finance it themselves. Everyone benefitted enormously from the little August break. For 2018 they are going to focus on their most profitable crops (they dropped strawberries, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, winter squash and cut flowers.) Ellen commended them for their bravery in taking the difficult decision to drop “loser crops”. I know what that’s like. As Ellen says
” There is history to battle, habits to break, customer wishes to deny, and maybe even some ego to wrestle with.”
The article continues with info on addressing soil fertility outside and in the tunnels, buying selected machinery, and running a Lean packing shed. For more photos from Ellen’s visit, go to tinyurl.com/y7r8vr5a.
For more information go to Ellen Polishuk’s website. (Her new book Start Your Farm will be out soon, and I will review it on my blog.)
The next article is on when to call in a book-keeper and when a CPA, by Morgan Houk. “Why are we asking ourselves to be our own financial advisors too?” We have many other hats, we don’t need this one. Rowan Steele writes “Working Together: Oregon multi-agency farmer development program grows farmers.” This is about providing opportunities for the next generation of farmers, and lowering the average age of Oregon farmers below 60, ensuring that food production continues, and that the land is well cared for. Doug Trott writes about protected culture flower planning, from am exposed hillside in west-central Minnesota. Flower growers everywhere will get encouragement from this careful farm research and practice.
Anyone who is looking at a broken hose can read this and gather what’s needed to get that hose back into service. Next hot sunny day (when hoses are more flexible) find half-an-hour to solve your hose problems
Year-Round Hoophouse Book Update
The Twin Oaks Indexing Crew has finished indexing my new book. Very thoroughly, I’m happy to say – what farmer has time to deal with a poor index when they are in a hurry?
All the typesetting is done. Next stop is at the printers. This will take five to six weeks. From the printers it goes to the warehouses, then out to the stores. I should have copies for sale at the beginning of November! I sign all the copies I sell direct through my website and at sustainable agriculture conferences and similar events I attend. Yes, it is possible to buy the book for less money, but you don’t get a signed copy, and you won’t have the warm heart that comes from knowing you helped support a small scale farmer and author. The amount that an author gets for a copy of the book sold depends on the price the buyer paid and the price the supplier paid. And there’s also the library for those with not enough money to buy.