Category Archives: Farm Report

Join a CSA and you’re going to know A LOT about the food source

I received Riverland Currents this morning, the weekly newsletter from the CSA (community supported agriculture) I joined this year. It was interesting, though not exactly what I was expecting. Actually, I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe news about how a tractor broke down, the weather was too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, or maybe even photos showing off the sun tans the farmers have already developed?

Instead, the newsletter had a lot of talk about maggots of all varieties: seed corn maggots and cabbage root maggots, among others (the photo above is of maggots eating broccoli roots). The details about maggots and their prevention!

This has been a threat for us every year so over the last 2 years we developed a system to deal with cabbage root maggots which involves getting row cover on the crop the very same day we put it in the ground. The row cover acts as a physical barrier preventing adult maggot flies from laying eggs on the plants that in turn hatch into maggot larvae and feed on the roots of the young seedlings. After two years of great success using this row cover method this year we inexplicably were still hit hard with root maggots underneath the row cover.

Impressive stuff. I guess that’s part of what you pay for with a CSA share: information about the food source. Though I never thought about maggot news. When you’re shopping in a big grocery store with little signs proclaiming “local produce!”, they never mention maggots next to the photo of some hardscrabble Farmer Brown.

Photo by mcav0y and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Farm stand map for Western Massachusetts

There are a lot of small farm or garden stands in Western Mass. I drive or cycle by them all the time (in season): little tables set up in front of a house with berries, asparagus, corn, sometimes flowers … all kinds of things that are grown locally.

Often times these stands are off the main street you might be driving on, but only 30 seconds out of your way. Take for example Route 9 in Hadley; off the top of my head I can think of 6 little tables set up 30 seconds driving off Route 9.

These little operations get business based on traffic driving by … until now.

This year I would love to see how much business we can give these little operations. The trick is to know where they are and some of the produce they normally carry. I’ll need your help to create this map.

Contribute

Please spread the word about the map. Post it on your site if you’d like. And if you’re a grower, or otherwise have a contribution to the map, please leave the relevant information in the comments below; leave the exact address with a brief note about what the stand normally stocks and I’ll add it to the Google map. I’ve started the map off with some little stands near my house in Sunderland.

Let’s support our local growers and see how locally we can eat this summer.

Do you need some reasons why eating locally is important? Check out 7 things being a locavore can do for you.


View Western Mass Farm Stands in a larger map

Photo used with permission by Sandra Pipczynski

Farm Report – 20 March 2010 – before the first spear

Asparagus is going to start popping soon in the Pioneer Valley. But what does it look like before you buy it at your local farm stand? Check out the video.

Also, did you know that a popular movie and book begins its narrative in Western Mass? The Mosquito Coast, written by Paul Theroux (then made into a movie starring Harrison Ford) begins in Hatfield, MA, with the local asparagus growing and picking culture as a backdrop.

Photo (CC) by surfma

New Daily Video Podcast: Farm Report

I’ve been thinking about doing a daily video podcast for a while now, inspired by two different people: ZeFrank (very popular daily video before people were really doing such things) and David Lynch (his daily [kind of] weather report).

I now present to you, Farm Report. Why Farm Report? I live on a farm. They’re interesting because it’s a natural food factory.

In addition to farming I’ll probably report on other experiences, but rather than confuse the hell out of you by creating a different show for each of my interests, let’s call this Farm Report.

If you’re interested, 3 tools are being used to create Farm Report: a Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera, a Sima video light, and an Audio Technica lavalier microphone.

Enjoy and leave a comment with suggestions.