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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

FARMLAND is coming to theatres!

This week the documentary Farmland comes to theatres. You won't want to pass up the opportunity to see it this Thursday, May 1st. It will be showing in Indianapolis at the Landmark Keystone Theatre. Check here for show time and ticket information. Check here to find a theatre near you.

Photo courtesy Farmland on Facebook 

I had the opportunity to see the movie last month as a premier viewing and from a farmer's perspective I thought it was great! It is real life and honest. A true look into the day to day production of our nation's food. The farmers in this documentary represent a wide range of American agriculture. You will hear from ranchers, chicken and hog producers, commodity farmers, organic produce farmers and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce farm. I really like that the film included several different aspects of agriculture. These farmers take you into their lives and share the passion they have for agriculture. You will see how they work as a family on a daily basis. They will share the challenges they face. You will also see the hard work these farmers put into their dream doing what they love. You will laugh and you will cry, as you have been there too. Through a lot of the film, you will nod your head in agreement for you have also witnessed what these farmers are talking about.

Although this documentary is fantastic from a farmer's standpoint, its not really "for" farmers, but for consumers. To have an insight of how their food is produced. The farmers in the film all come from different backgrounds how they became involved in agriculture, whether starting up on their own or
 who are responsible for running the farm that has been passed down through generations. I encourage everyone to see this documentary. These young farmers will touch base on the current topics in agriculture. They may not agree on everything but it is obvious they all share their goal to produce a great product for the consumers.

Again, the movie comes out May 1st. If you haven't seen the trailer for the film, check out the Facebook page or the Farmland website. I encourage anyone who is skeptical about farming practices to go see it if you can. I also suggest farmers to take a break from the field and also see it. (There is rain in the forecast for Thursday in Indiana).

Scott and I
Crystal from Kellner Farms at the preview.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Potatoes Are In The Ground!

Have you heard the old rule of thumb for planting potatoes is around Good Friday? This gardening folklore dates back to the Irish potato famine and revolves around the moon phases.

With the Old Farmer's Almanac suggestion, we try to plant around Good Friday every year depending on the temperatures and the weather we are having. Fortunately it was later this year with the long cold winter we had. Glad Spring finally rolled around! We welcomed it with wide open arms as we were tired of seeing the white fluffy stuff and having cold temps. While the old wives' tale may work for some years, it is important to keep in mind that it may not be the right time every year. Depending on when Good Friday falls each year, the ground may be too cold to plant. Potatoes can tolerate cooler temps, but the soil temperature should not be too cold. You can definitely still plant them later in the season also.

Photo courtesy of eBay

This year we purchased an old but "new to us" Champion potato planter. My husband made a few modifications to it. Last weekend we gave it a shot and he said "it works pretty slick." We planted 1,000 pounds of potatoes including, Yukon Gold, Russet, and Red. This weekend we finished up with another 500 pounds of Red and Katahdin. This summer it will get a new paint job.

Freshly dug potatoes taste amazing! They store great also. Try growing some yourself or seek out a local farmer or the farmers market for some when they are ready as early as mid June most years. You won't regret it!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What you do get done IS what matters most!

Sunday Share - Yesterday's sunrise taken on The Backroad (4/26/14)

Often times we get too caught up in trying to get so much done in one day. I know I am guilty of that for sure. I am a task setter, a list maker. It feels great to cross things off my to do list whatever it may be, things on the farm, kids activities, errands to run, craft orders to fill, etc.

But I always don't get everything done.

This quote is a great reminder that it isn't important if you don't get everything done. It's the things you do get done that matter most. Feel proud of the things you did get accomplished in the day. What you do get done IS what matters.

 The others can wait for the next day.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Growing Veggies on Our Farm and You Can Too

My husband and I have always been around growing vegetables. Growing up, my mom always had a good size garden that we ate off of all summer long and even enjoyed homegrown produce after gardening season with stuff she had canned. My husband grandparents and uncle also did the same. There is a long history of growing vegetables in both of our families.

Being on the farm has always been a way of life for us, as we are both come from farm families. In our dating years, we had a small garden that we tended too. After college I was working at a local floral shop and the owner was interested in some straw, and corn shocks for her Fall display. We were able to provide those to her. This was the beginning of Walker Farms where we thought the next year we would grow pumpkins to supply garden shops and retail places with pumpkins to sell. With this we also decided to grow some produce. I don't remember what we started out growing for our first season of produce but this was when we also started selling at the local farmers market.
This was in 2006.

2013 Farmers Market Season
We started with just a small section of land and are now up to 15 acres. We seem to add a little more every year. We grow 8 acres of pumpkins and 7 of produce. We are not a large farm by any means but at a good size right now that we can handle. We sell at the local farmers market and some that are about an hour away. It is so rewarding to hear how people enjoyed the produce they purchased from you and interacting with the public with their questions. It is neat to see people comment "Oh I didn't know on onion grew that way with green stuff coming out the top" or "I didn't know pak choi could be grown around here."

2013 Green Beans

Having a CSA is a large part of our business. We enjoy providing our members with produce they are familiar with and some that they may have not tried before. The following week, I love to hear what they did with their eggplant or kohlrabi, etc. It is nice to share recipes!
2013 Kale

Don't be afraid to grow your own produce if you have space that allows. If not you can even try growing a patio tomato! There's nothing like a fresh tomato right off the vine! I love them!! If you have more than you will eat before they start going bad, can or freeze them. It is a lot of work for some of the vegetables, but you wont regret that you did it when you are enjoying sweet corn, green beans, homemade salsa, and beets in the winter time. The list goes on as to what you can freeze and can. The planting season is just starting or hasn't even in a lot of places, why not give gardening a shot?!

Canning pickles 2013

This is part 3 of a 3 part blog series. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Find a Farmers Market/CSA Near You

Are you wanting to join a CSA for fresh weekly produce but not sure if there is a farm close to you that provides a CSA program?
Some of our  CSA shares from 2013 season and Indiana corn and Fall Squash from 2013

Being a CSA member is a great way to get locally grown produce that is fresh and provides members a wide variety of produce to enjoy. It shows support to your local farmer and local economy. CSAs or Community Supported Agriculture programs and farmers markets are on the rise throughout the United States as the population is striving to eat healthier and gain more knowledge about where their food comes from and how it is grown.
A great tool to find farmers markets or produce farms near you are some of the search engines geared towards farms. One being Local Harvest. Here you can search for farms and farmers markets that are local to you. You can also search for a certain product you are looking for, rather it be beef, produce, honey, eggs, and the list goes on. Or you can search for farms, CSAs, or farmers markets by location. With this technology, farms can list their products for a small fee every year and gain advertisement for their farm. Farms can list their CSA information and websites. Farmers markets can be listed with details about the market such as times and vendors. It is a great tool for consumers to find what they are looking for that is local. 
The mobile version of Local Harvest

With consumers so interested in where their food comes from and how it is grown, this provides key examples for farmers to show them using social media. Another great tool for consumers to take advantage of.
With this technology the consumer can see close to first hand the ways that farmers produce their crop. Facebook, Instagram, twitter, websites and blogs all provide ways that the consumer can get a inside view at farm happenings and production. Many farms use one or several forms of these to help advertise and share their product. Find the local farm you buy from on these social media sites and follow them. Farmers post about their daily production. For example, I posted on my Instagram and Facebook page about cutting potatoes today getting them ready to plant. Consumers can use these sites to follow their favorite farms and farms they support. Farms that take advantage of these social media sites like putting the information and photos out there also.
 Facebook and Instagram post today

This post is part of a 3 part series. Part one is here. Check back tomorrow for a little overview of our farm in part 3.
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