Sisters Hill Farm uses innovative washing equipment and storage systems designed by head farmer David Hambleton. His height-adjustable farm equipment accommodates his 6 ft. 7 in. build. With a quick adjustment, the pallet jacks, root washers or wash tables can be set for ergonomically-correct use by all his apprentices, including those closer to 5 ft. tall. Hambleton described his efficient washroom equipment, layout and practices at the New England Vegetable & Fruit Growers Conference. [Read more…]
Thriving farmers markets have loyal customers and great vendors. The customers spend money, return regularly and bring friends. Successful vendors bring great products, friendly smiles and the right pricing, week after week.
During the Rhode Island Farmers Market Manager Conference held at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, RI, a brainstorming session revealed contribution to a successful market and what may be holding it back. [Read more…]
The “Young Nurseryman of the Year” award was presented to Melissa Minto of Watson Farm by the Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association. Shannon Brawley, RINLA executive director said, “This prestigious award is given to promising young people in the agricultural and plant based industries.”
Jean Cotta, co-owner of Portsmouth Nursery in Portsmouth, RI, presented the Award to Melissa at the 2014 RINLA Winter Conference held at the University of Rhode Island.
Melissa was born and raised at historic Watson Farm in Jamestown where she spent her childhood immersed in farming, animal husbandry and exploring nature. Watson Farm is owned by Historic New England and provides sustainable agriculture education. Melissa has a spirited commitment to working landscapes and the beauty of nature. Her upbringing nurtured her passion for agricultural education and encouraged her to pursue a career in environmental stewardship. [Read more…]
When Gary Machado’s grandparents arrived in Auburn, CA, from the Azores Islands in 1923, they spent their life savings — $800 — on a 17-acre farm. The property was already planted in fruit trees, which continued to thrive under the care of several generations until fire blight devastated the pear trees in 1964.
Changes are in the works for western pear growers: in recommended rootstocks, in growing methods, in harvesting methods, and in marketing. “Several rootstocks have performed reasonably well under western U.S. growing conditions,” according to Rachel Elkins, pomology farm advisor for the University of Californi Cooperative Extension in Lake and Mendocino Counties. “OHxF87 is the most widely adopted of the ‘new’ rootstocks, which are more precocious and somewhat smaller, although they don’t necessarily maintain good fruit size as they age because the rootstocks are less vigorous.
Celebration was in order at the Midwestern Organic and Sustainable (MOSES) Farming Conference in February. The 25th anniversary of the conference brought remarkable growth. The 2014 convention attracted over 3,400 people from 43 states, including Alaska. Seven foreign countries, including four Canadian Provinces, were also represented. [Read more…]
Two North Dakota brothers, their wives, and children, who farm together at Prairie Road Organic Farm and Seed in Fullerton, ND, were chosen as 2014 Organic Farmers of the Year. The award was presented to David and Ginger Podoll and Dan and Theresa Podoll at the Midwest Organic Farming (MOSES) Conference earlier this year. [Read more…]
If a farm is located just 10 miles from downtown St. Louis and surrounded by development, can it thrive? The Thies family would say yes. Despite rapid growth in the area, Thies Farm has been in continual use for fruit and vegetable production since 1885 when Dave Thies’s great-great-grandfather purchased it. Today, fifth-generation growers Dave and his brother Darrell operate three properties to supply the metropolitan St. Louis area with fresh fruits and vegetables. [Read more…]
The Illinois State Horticulture Society sponsored its 25th Annual Illinois Cider Contest, held in conjunction with the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism and Organic Conference on Jan. 9 in Springfield, IL. Schwartz Orchards, located at Centralia, IL, produced the number one overall rated cider at this year’s contest, repeating its 2008 win in both the National and Illinois contests. Tom Schwartz pressed his winning cider for this year’s contests with a bladder press using only Jonathan apples.
by Sanne Kure-Jensen
“A well-maintained blueberry bush should outlive the grower,” said David Handley, vegetable and small fruit specialist with UMaine Extension.
For peak production, Handley recommended blueberry bushes be maintained in a “state of continual adolescence.” Handley says the best way to maintain optimal blueberry production is with routine winter pruning. [Read more…]