Thursday, February 21, 2013

Take Up Your Spade-links for aspiring farmers

February marks my yearly pilgrimage to the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture's (PASA) Farming for the Future Conference.  The conference is always an inspiration and I will blog more about this amazing event in the near future. What struck me this year, is the number of first timers to the conference, which is an encouraging fact.  We need more people joining the good food movement. 
If you have an interest in farming I want to urge you to begin it now or at least start exploring the idea.  As Becky Krestschmann, one of the winners of Sustainable Ag Leadership Award given at this year's PASA conference, said in her acceptance speech (Becky and her husband Don have a very large CSA outside of Pittsburgh, PA)
"You can not think your way into a new way of living, you must live your way into a new way of thinking"
The amount of information and resources that is now available to aspiring farmers is yet another hopeful sign.  The movement is growing and support is growing, to quote the Sara Watkin's song from the video above "take up your spade and break ground."
Below I have listed a number of links that new and want-to-be farmers might find helpful:  

and for those who just want to start a backyard garden or increase their homesteading skills:

Take Up Your Spade
Sun is up, a new day is before you

Sun is up, wake your sleepy soul
Sun is up, hold on to what is home
Take up your spade and break ground
Shake off your shoes, leave yesterday behind you
Shake off your shoes, but forget not where you've been
Shake off your shoes, forgive and be forgiven
Take up your spade and break ground
Give thanks for all that you've been given
Give thanks for who you can become
Give thanks for each moment and every crumb
Take up your spade and break ground
Break ground
Break ground
Break ground

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fighting the Late Winter Blues-Freesia and Citrus

I have to admit this time of year can be a little frustrating--stuck between winter and the knowledge that Spring is just around the corner, I get antsy.  I long for warm weather and spring, however I know it will bring with it a lot of hard work and an end to my winter socializing.  Its hard to find balance and contentment during this transition time.  The days are getting longer, bulbs are popping through the semi-frozen ground; yet it is still a little too early to be doing much outdoor garden preparation.  The drab landscape can seem a little depressing and the weather can be positively schizophrenic.  
There is however a very bright, colorful and wonderful smelling up side to mid-February--the magnificent Freesias from Barnard's Orchards (click here to view facebook album of freesia).    In fact this is my favorite time to visit the area orchard stores like Glenn Willow and Barnard's Orchard.  Their shelves are stocked with autumn harvested apples, flowers from local greenhouse like Rosazza's and delicious citrus.  Obviously the citrus is not grown locally, however our local orchard managers seem particular skilled at picking out the most delicious varieties.  Winter is the season for citrus and below are a number of links to citrus recipes and information. Like the bright pastels of freesia, the citrus can provide the same sort of antedote to the winter dolmdrums--some much needed excitement, the culinary balance to the visual beauty of the winter greenhouse flowers.  Sweet, juicy and full of vitamin C; what could be a better late winter pick me up. Enjoy our local orchards, winter flowers and the magic of winter citrus.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cheese, Flowers and Fruit-Additional Share Options at Inverbrook

For the last couple of years we have been pleased to offer a number of CSA (community supported agriculture) options from nearby farms in addition to our own vegetable CSA.  These options include cheese from HillacresPride, fruit from North Star Orchard and flowers from Three Bird Bouquets.  If you want to increase your consumption of local food and flowers, I strongly suggest you check out the links to the various farms and CSA options.  By the time mid-summer rolls around you can fill your kitchen with local vegetables, herbs, fruit, cheeses and flowers with just one simple visit to Inverbrook Farm each week.  Plus you will be supporting four local family farms with just one trip.  If you are looking for the perfect Valentines or birthday present for the locavore in your life, consider one or all of these options.  Not only will you be giving the gift of delicious cheese, fruit and beautiful flowers, you will be contributing to a strong local agricultural community.
You do NOT have to be an Inverbrook CSA member to pick up any of the various CSA options, although they complement each other very well.  These farms all make their deliveries on Wednesdays (the flowers are also delivered on Mondays and the cheese can last through until Monday) throughout the season; however the frequency, start and end dates are all different for each of the farms represented.  I encourage you to explore the links below and learn about the diverse and delicious CSA choices:
I want to do a little extra push for the delicious Hillacres Pride cheese shares because we need a minimum of 15 shares to make their delivery to the farm worth while.  Here are two links/reviews about Hillacres: 
I hope you will consider joining one or more of these farm options.  When late summer arrives and you are able to pair that amazing tasting apple from North Star Orchard with an aged cheddar from Hillacres Pride all made more enjoyable with the presence of a beautiful Three Bird Bouquet filled with sunflowers, zinnias and fragrant tuber roses--you we be happy that you took advantage of this opportunity.