farmer beat

Along with the rise in popularity of the farm-to-table movement, the number of microbreweries has skyrocketed across the country. According to the New York State Brewers Association, the number of microbreweries in New York state has increased from 38 in 2003 to 140 today. Your beer may be brewed locally, but have you ever thought about where that brewery got its ingredients? Most breweries have their hops shipped from the Pacific Northwest or Europe. Increasingly, breweries are seeking out local hops, and New York farmers are responding. "A decade ago, New York growers planted perhaps 5 acres of hops statewide, according to Cornell University's cooperative-extension division. Now, 140...
Masumoto Family Farm in Fresno, California has created an innovative adopt-a-tree program that gives people the opportunity to pick their own heirloom peaches and nectarines while providing money up-front for the farm. Civil Eats explains, "The adopt-a-tree concept arose because the family had several acres of old-growth Elberta peaches, which were just too fragile to sell into the wholesale market. Rather than start selling the fruit at farmers' markets, they decided to invite eaters out to the farm." The family's new cookbook, The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm came out earier this summer and offers classic dessert recipes like peach cobbler as well as...
By Diane Wyatt, founder of Green Mountain Yogurt When we first got Clover, she was barely 5 days old.  She fit nicely in the back of our minivan, looking bony and frail and in my uneducated opinion, rather small for a baby cow considering her mother had to weigh close to 1000lbs. She was awfully cute though and I couldn't help but feel pride welling up inside of me as I realized I was to become the proud mother of this needy little thing who was anxiously trying to get its next meal by sucking on my fingers.   I paid the Jersey farmer $100 while taking mental notes on what he told me she required for feed, care, housing, etc. At least I had the housing part figured out since I...
It's pumpkin harvest time! If you haven't yet picked up one of those large orange winter squashes to brighten up your front porch for Halloween, a few pie pumpkins for seasonal desserts or an armload of tiny pumpkins and festive gourds to grace your dining table, this weekend will provide the perfect opportunity to do so. Take a trip to a local farm to pick pumpkins, get lost in a corn maze, drink a mug of hot apple cider, enjoy hearty cider donuts, spend time outside with friends and family, and take advantage of the lovely autumn weather while it lasts.   Our team has selected a sampling of farms from across the country that grow pumpkins—many of which also offer a pick-your-own...
The Big Green Bus spent the past three nights at Gales Meadow Farm in Forest Grove, Oregon, while doing day events 45 minutes away in Portland. Gales Meadow is on a small plot of agricultural land tucked up against a wooded hillside, and has that calm, practical air that seems to accompany hard work and stewardship for the land. Chickens wander through the yard and you can't always tell where wildflower meadows end and planted rows begin - but there are barns full of drying garlic and produce orders being filled every day. We spent our last day in the area working at the farm, preparing beds and planting kale and collard green starters. The rows we prepared had just produced a crop of...
"There are two things you must see today: piglets and treehouses," said Josh, our tour guide. Sounds like fun, right? The young boys girls on the farm tour with me were ecstatic! And so our exploration of D Acres of New Hampshire Permaculture Farm & Educational Homestead began. Joshua Traught, executive director and farm manager at D Acres, led our small troupe through the woods, down narrows paths, in and out of greenhouses, treehouses, outdoor kitchens and beyond. This is how I spent my afternoon on Sunday, May 6th, and a splendid afternoon it was! As implied by their full name, D Acres is a not-for-profit permaculture farm and educational homestead in Dorchester, New Hampshire, right...
A great recent piece in the New York Times speaks to just a few of the ever-mounting challenges facing America’s dairy farms. As they are exposed to the inherent fluctuations in milk and feed markets, it’s become exceedingly challenging to predict profit margins with any reasonable amount of accuracy. That leaves many dairy farmers at best among the working poor, if not completely out of business. Fulper Farms, a New Jersey dairy farm examined in the piece, illustrates how value-added products and new business models are becoming more than nice to have. Making artisan cheese, for instance, isn’t just a way to build the farm’s brand; it could be the key to its very survival. And starting a...
Like his friend Dean Carlson, who we recently profiled, Jon McConaughy has over a decade of experience in the finance industry. Also like Carlson, McConaughy says his business experience developed his decision-making ability, particularly when working with limited information. While running Double Brook Farm in Hopewell, New Jersey, McConaughy says he finds himself making loads of decisions on a daily basis. “As a farmer, you spend much of your day trying to work through problems, trying to make it better and more efficient, and that’s very similar to finance,” he says. But his biggest and most critical decision? To jump into farming with the same zeal and ambition with which he approached...
Like many bright young college graduates, Dean Carlson gravitated toward a career in finance. He spent 15 years as a successful bond trader for Philadelphia-based Susquehanna International Group but eventually decided to pursue an interest in farming.  And so, in 2009, Carlson left his firm and the comfort of the familiar. “I was just going to take some time off,” he says. “I had no real exposure to agriculture, but I’d been thinking of buying a farm for an investment.”  Carlson traveled to Iowa, where he anticipated growing corn and soybeans. But in the process of conducting research on the agricultural system, the Pennsylvania native began reading up on sustainable farming...
'Tis the season! The season for egg nog by the fire, gingerbread cookies, holiday parties and Christmas trees. If you haven't picked out a tree just yet, this weekend is a great time to visit a local pine tree farm to find the perfect evergreen to make your holiday celebrations more festive. Find tree farms near you on FarmPlate.com > >  FarmPlate lists more than 200 tree farms across the country, so hopefully you'll find one near you. Whether you enjoy Christmas trees for their history in religious traditions or appreciate a lovely Yule tree to mark the winter solstice, the smell of pine is sure to warm your home this month! Read more about the history of Christmas trees...
It's turkey time! If you haven't yet reserved a turkey to grace your Thanksgiving table, now is the time to order one from a local farm. Whether this is your first year buying a local turkey or you have been supporting small farms for years, FarmPlate can help you find the perfect bird for the centerpiece of your feast.  Our team has selected a sampling of small farms across the country that grow and sell heritage breed, organic, free-range and pastured turkeys and game birds. We have included a few key words that each farm uses to describe their turkeys. Check out their FarmPlate listings for more information.     NORTHEASTBailey Turkey Farm (Lyme, NH) - pasturedNo-View Farm...
The large snowfall over much of the northeast at the end of October did more than just knock out power and disrupt trick-or-treating—it left many farmers scrambling to finish up their usual fall clean-up and get ready for winter. Jeff and Renee Cantara of New Roots Farm in Newmarket, New Hampshire, put out a call for help from their local community by organizing a crop mob last weekend. With the promise of a beautiful fall day and some farm-raised BBQ for lunch, about ten volunteers gathered at the farm on Sunday morning. "Organic farming on the seacoast isn't all just gorgeous people standing around munching brocolli rabe and meditating on the relative merits of green manure. There's a...
Earlier this month I set out with a friend on a local wheat tour of the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts (read about it here). At our first stop, Hungry Ghost Bread, we discovered that, despite a rising interest in baking with local grains, sourcing them can be tough. Wheat once grew in abundance in the Valley, but much of the knowledge about sustainable wheat production has been lost over the years.  As demand continues to rise, however, a resurgence is starting.  A growing number of Valley farmers now grow wheat. To find out how they’re bringing back this lost tradition, we headed to the field to talk with two farmers growing grains locally. Harvesting Success Located “...
If you took a stroll around the Butler University intramural athletic fields just nine months ago, you would have seen nothing but soccer fields, tennis courts, gleaming bleachers, and acres of green turf grass-a barren desert in terms of biodiversity and productivity. But if you walked the same path in July, you would have found a plot of colorful heirloom tomatoes, a perimeter fence draped with multi-colored pole beans, a patch full of 20-pound watermelons and juicy muskmelons, and rows of other delicious fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs, many of which the typical grocery-store shopper has never beheld. [caption id="attachment_5210" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Cucumbers...
"Cloudland." The name rings a little '60s psychedelic, but it's generations older than that. The farm was already called Cloudland Farm back when the Emmons family purchased the property in 1908. Today, Cathy and Bill Emmons and their three children work the hilly farm in North Pomfret, Vermont. Once a dairy farm, Cloudland is now home to Black Angus beef cattle, pastured poultry, pigs, horses, a certified tree farm and the Cloudland Farm Country Market. Most visitors to the farm and market arrive by car, driving the four miles up Cloudland Road from River Road in Woodstock. "They come to buy our roasting chickens, local beef and specialty sausages," says Cathy Emmons. "Our beef cattle are...