Edgewood Farm Organics Newsletter - Conservation Teaming with Organic Agriculture

(Written Sept. 15th)

Happy Delivery Day Comrades!

Time flew by last week with a jam packed schedule.  I didn’t want to rush through a newsletter so here it is!  Thanks for waiting. 

The weather has been a rollercoaster to us all, whether in the farm fields, battling Zeka in Florida or holding down the fort back at Clarke’s home bases.  Wow.  This year shall be declared “the year of the insect invasion!”  I know we all are secretly or in my case, openly, hoping for an extremely cold winter.  The daily temperatures under 80 degrees and much cooler nights have been refreshing; the 90 degree days can hibernate until next summer please!  Heavy rain has held off in the Princeton area this week although there’s an 80% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow.

In the field, crops are growing, crops are dying.  That’s the cold hard truth about it all, and a very smelly truth at that.  Rotting tomatoes and zucchinis have an odor that greets me boldly and lingers on my hands until I have time to scrub it away.  The peppers are holding in there but worry not, I’m giving everyone a break from them this week.  The first planting of fall radishes are looking great and more are being planted as well as spinach and turnips.  I will attempt a few plantings of salad mix; the rabbits seem to be obeying the electricity these days.

In preparation for next year there is much to look forward to.  Young and aspiring farmers face many challenges; land availability is one of the greatest concerns.  Next year will bring many unique challenges but the fortune that faces us overpowers any of that.  We have regenerated, fertile, available land.

Next year 8 acres of our beautifully established prairie comes out of the Conservation Resource Program it’s been in for 10-15 years.  As farmers we naturally look at the land as possibility for growth.  The new land available is primo for agriculture production, at the same time it is a beautiful and thriving native landscape.  How can we incorporate the established landscape with our agriculture lay-out?  We were intrigued by the concept and possibilities of Conservation teaming with Organic Agriculture in a symbiotic relationship.  It turns out that there are passionate professionals fighting the good fight in this arena; Xerces Society to name one.

Visit the Xerces Society webpage, view their research, and listen to their lectures.  We contacted them with this objective in mind: we want to create prairie and plant management systems that support native insect populations, while also enhancing farm production through this reestablishment of essential plants, pollinators and beneficial predatory insects.

Currently, we are brainstorming, researching, sketching out maps, and reaching out to other farmers who share our outlook.  We know that next year we will have native prairie borders around the 8 aces of production as well as smaller strips in between beds and rows of beneficial flower varieties.  Ultimately we want to eliminate the use of pesticide sprays.  Organic or not, it is unnatural and we will rest easier knowing that someday we will not rely on any external, “chemical” inputs.  This type of farming will take several years to establish and reap the benefits of the beneficial insects and plants; we feel strongly about creating a system that not only works on our farm but is also something that we can share and promote to future farmers. 

What to expect in the box on September 15th:

Swiss Chard – thanks to Paul Fritz from Saint Charles.

Sweet Potatoes – from Plow Creek Farm in Tiskilwa, IL!!  Next year Edgewood will grow our own!

Patty Pans – one last last last harvest, until next year of course……

Spicy Salad Mix – arugula, spicy greens, and kale.  Garden/Lunt will be in the boxes, Campus on counter

Oregano – a special treat from Mom’s awesome herb garden!

*As always, wash veggies before indulging.

*I expect to be at Garden Ave. by 2:30pm, then Lunt then Campus by 3:30-4pm.

Recipes:

Sweet taters and Oregano

https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=585024

Sweet taters, Swiss Chard and Quinoa

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sweet-potato-swiss-chard-and-quinoa-gratin-11436

Curried Sweet taters with fresh greens and chickpeas

http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/curried-sweet-potatoes-with-chard-and-chickpeas/

Savor the taste of the seasons transitioning!   Fall is just around the bend……

 

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organic