NOFA-NY Blog

Our blog is a great way to stay current on organic farming, gardening, certification, policy, and community information and issues that we regularly share. We help you stay on top of everything that relates to technical and practical organic farming and gardening, timely and important legislative policies, field days, conferences, consumer issues, and more.

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2018 Farm Bill Moves Forward

2018 Farm Bill Moves Forward

Good work, all! The Farm Bill was passed by the Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 87-13, and passed on Wednesday by a vote of 369-47 in the House of Representatives. The bill has big wins for organic! Our thanks to the “Big Four” in the House and Senate, as well as the many organic and other congressional champions who were instrumental in advancing organic and preventing various environmental and food access poison pills. 

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Guest Post: Alternative Fuels for the Future

Guest Post: Alternative Fuels for the Future

Editor’s note: this blog is a guest post written by Kathryn Patterson at Ally Charter Bus, one of the sponsors of NOFA-NY’s 2019 Winter Conference.

If you take a bus down the U.S. northeastern countryside to visit local organic farms, there's a high probability you'll see a variety of new-wave farming techniques, practices, and environmentally-friendly farming equipment. But have you ever wondered how the farming industry could be altering the future of modern transportation? Organic farms are opening up a channel of more eco-friendly biofuel options to harness energy and power in new and exciting ways.

 

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USDA Does the Right Thing – Listens to the NOSB!

USDA Does the Right Thing – Listens to the NOSB!

A story of Paper Pots and Origin of Livestock

Last month, the USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met in St. Paul for their semi-annual meeting. The NOSB is a 15 member volunteer Advisory Board to the National Organic Program (NOP) which has legal authority for organic standards and the materials allowed to be used in the USDA Organic Label.1

NOSB meets twice per year in a public forum to discuss issues relevant to the organic industry and vote on final recommendations. As always, there was a huge agenda, lots of controversy, and many discussions about all things organic standards.2

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Diversifying NOFA-NY

Diversifying NOFA-NY

By Elizabeth Henderson, Member of NOFA-NY Board of Directors

In our newly completed Strategic Plan, NOFA-NY sets out this fine vision: A just and resilient farming system grounded in a diverse community now and for future generations. Yet NOFA-NY is a largely white organization - not too surprising since farm ownership in the US is predominately white. As millions of family scale farmers have gone out of business over the past 50 years, farmers of color have been five times as likely as white farmers to lose their land due to multiple forms of discrimination. So how do we change the complexion of NOFA-NY? How can our organization, and the organic farming community it represents, better reflect the diverse population of our state? How can we navigate the delicate balance needed to support our present membership, while avoiding tokenism, condescension and do-goodism?

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A New Legal Resource for Small New York Farms: Pace Law School’s Food and Beverage Law Clinic

By Jonathan Brown, Director, Food and Beverage Law Clinic & Member of NOFA-NY Board of Directors

Small farms must navigate a variety of legal matters in building successful, resilient operations. Some of these are typical for any small business: formalizing business structures, negotiating contracts, and properly hiring employees, for example. But farms also operate in a complex regulatory space and face unique legal issues relating to food safety, labeling, land use, land access, and more. This list only gets longer when CSA operations, agritourism, farm-to-institution sales, value-added processing, and other new business models come into play. Unfortunately, farms are far less likely to use legal services than other small businesses. According to Farm Commons, only about 10% of surveyed small farmers used legal services, as compared to 70% of small business generally, a gap that was attributed both to lack of available services and to a perception that most lawyers do not understand the issues that farmers face.

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3 Questions in 3 Minutes

Share your message with organic milk consumers at NODPA’s Farmers’ Storytelling Booth

By late winter, when cabin fever is beginning to set in, the best thing I can do is head to a farmer meeting or organic dairy conference. It’s a terrific opportunity to network, learn from, and build relationships with other farmers. If there’s only one take-away I have from all the conversations I’ve been having this winter, it’s this: We need to tell our own story.5a2211422ea30 fullsizeoutput 31ae small

Frustration and anxiety abounds, it seems, under the burden of record-low organic milk prices, a spineless NOP, and fake organic mega-farms flooding the market with cheap commodities (and yes- I do mean actually fake), not to mention plant-based beverages marketed like real milk.

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2018 Winter Conference Special Events

2018 Winter Conference Special Events

Now that registration is open for the Winter Conference, we wanted to share a couple of the exciting special events that will be coming your way!

WC 2018 Logo

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Cover Crops: Pro Tips for Best Results

Cover Crops: Pro Tips for Best Results
Thank you to Vail Dixon & our friends at Simple Soil Solutions for this awesome post! Make sure to see Vail present some great information at our upcoming Winter Conference! Make sure to check out the special offer below.

Your soil does NOT want to be bare through the winter! If there are spaces between your plants, think of them as holes in your sweater and rain jacket! Any system is only as good as its weakest link, so anywhere that the cold air, rain drops and wind can get to your soil without a carbon blanket (a cover of dead or living plant material) are areas where your system will shut down and cause you problems next year.

In my experience, the better-quality cover you grow, the better-quality feed for soil microbes, and also the better-quality cash crop you will have next season. And yet, all too often, despite best intentions, I see cover crops struggle and fail to provide the benefits they could, because they were not cared for like a cash crop.

 

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High Tunnel Tomatoes Field Day - Early & Mid-season Management for Optimal Health and Productivity

High Tunnel Tomatoes Field Day - Early & Mid-season Management for Optimal Health and Productivity

On July 12, NOFA-NY presented an on-farm field day at Slack Hollow Farm in Argyle, NY. After a short introduction to the farm, farm history and farming philosophy by Slack Hollow Farm host farmer Seth Jacobs, Jud Reid and Amy Ivy (both CCE) moved to the Tomato high tunnels and provided an excellent primer on long term soil health and fertility management in high tunnels. Emphasis was on the importance of soil and foliar testing in making nutrient mgmt decisions, the importance of understanding crop dynamics and variable nutrient needs through the season, and the impact of working in a controlled environment vs. the field.  

Jacobs spoke about management decisions he makes to enable a good crop, the importance of taking labor out of the equation to imb2ap3 medium Slack Hollow Farm1prove profitability, especially as applied to weed control, and the tools he is using, especially flaming and a Williams toolbar set up on a cultivating tractor equipped with belly mount basket weeders to keep beds weed free. He utilizes a standard bed design and row spacing across the farm to minimize the need for tooling adjustments. He demonstrated a custom made 3-row flame weeder in garlic and explained how he utilizes it in combination with flaming.  Seth also spoke about trellised high tunnel cucumber production, doing a succession of cukes in the high tunnel, balancing high tunnel cuke production with field production, succession planting in the field and using succession planting as a disease management strategy - pick each planting for two weeks and move to the next planting.  Jaimin Patel Ph.D, and Leora Radetsky from the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institure, RPI, spoke briefly about research they are conducting using UV-B light to control Basil Downy Mildew.  "Using light to control Downy Mildew, especially in Controlled Environment (Greenhouse or High Tunnel) culture of Basil has a lot of potential. “ 

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Reflections on the 2017 NOFA-NY Winter Conference

Reflections on the 2017 NOFA-NY Winter Conference

The NOFA-NY 35th Winter Conference is complete and we are in the processing stage. It was a whirlwind three days! As my first time at the conference as Executive Director, I was amazed at the enthusiasm of participants, the knowledge of the presenters, and the commitment by the NOFA-NY staff to make the conference successful! I was heartened by the true spirit of cooperation by the Saratoga Springs Hilton and City Center to work with us and ensure it ran as smoothly as possible. The food was outstanding, thanks to all our food donors and chefs. It all left me greatly inspired.

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Selling at Farmers Markets

Port Washington Farmers mkt organic

It's that time of year again! 

For many market farmers, spring work includes getting prepared for a new Farmers Market season and planning how to be more efficient, sell more and make more money through selling at Farmers Markets. The New York Farmers Market Federation  has done some good work in benchmarking how much different types of farms can expect to sell at a farmers market, appropriate levels of staffing, marketing needs, and pricing.  All of this material has been collected in a series of webinars entitled the “Brown Bag Lunch Series: Farmers Market Benchmarks.”   

Sales

The benchmarking studies found significant regional differences in sales and also significant differences based on what the farmer was bringing to market. Sales for specialty farmers on a statewide basis ranged from $225/day for sellers specializing in fresh cut and dried flowers, to $1113/day for farmers specializing in fruit. Sales also varied significantly by region, with Niagara region farms averaging $325/day compared to farms in the Upper Hudson Valley which averaged $1654/day.

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New York Organic Action Plan

Guest Blogger Tracy Frisch attended our Winter Conference and sent in this report.

You know the old adage– If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s hard to figure out how to get there.Liz Henderson and group WC2016

Since 1983 when NOFA-NY was founded, organic farming, food access and research have grown impressively. Yet you’d probably agree that there’s still a tremendous amount more to accomplish to realize the dream of organic agriculture.

So where’s our organic movement going? What are the most important things to achieve, and what do we need to do to get there? Ask yourself these questions, and you’ll come up with lots of ideas but no clear answer. So what’s next? 

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Think Differently: Dairy & Field Crop Conference Keynote John Kempf Speaks from Experience

Extraordinarily successful farmers think differently.  John Kempf is one of those farmers. You can tell just by looking at his title on his company website, Advancing  Eco Agriculture: FOUNDER AND VISION BUILDER. 

We are thrilled to have John share his inspiration at our Dairy & Field Crop Conference on Wednesday, March 16 from 8:30 am – 5 pm.  John’s keynote at 1:15 pm—"A Different Perspective on Agriculture”—is for the entrepreneurs, the farmers on the cutting edge, the calculated risk takers, and those who love achieving the impossible.

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Winter Conference Thank-You!

Winter Conference Thank-You!

To everyone who attended, presented, sponsored, worked, exhibited, volunteered, and donated food for our 2016 NOFA-NY Winter Conference (our 34th annual), we want to give you a huge thanks!! As you know, our Winter Conference is a huge event, with close to 1000 people, and everyone plays a part in its success.

Local_Economies_Project_copy_copy_copy_copy.jpgA special thank you to Patron, Local Economies Project, and to Winter Conference Sponsors Johnny's Selected Seeds, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Country Folks, NYSSFPA, and Brandt.

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Additional thanks goes to sponsors Albert Lea Seed Organics, Bejo, Fertrell, Stonyfield Organic, ValentKreher's, Agri-Dynamics, Farm Credit East, Wild for Salmon, Hudson Valley Seed Library, USDA, Agriculture Counts, Vermont Compost, Watershed Agricultural Council, and Wegmans

If you were at the conference and haven't had the opportunity to submit your evaluation, please take a few minutes to do so. We have an overall conference evaluation here and specific workshop evaluations here. We count on your feedback to continue improving, so please fill these out.

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WINTER CONFERENCE URBAN FARMING: Mushroom Cultivation Methods

Mushroom cultivation for food and medicine is a progressive and 10455698_779104102146445_223868833291702764_nexciting portion of the agricultural system. They can be an interesting niche and make for some added diversification in the ever-changing landscape of modern farming.

For the urban farmer with limited space, mushroom cultivation can be a profitable endeavor. From edible to medicinal, mushrooms can be cultivated in a number of ways and marketed from fresh to added-value products.

From 8 -9:15 am on Saturday's Urban Farming Track, join Olga Tzogas from Rochester NY’s Smugtown Mushrooms and learn direct methods of mushroom cultivation. web-SMUGTOWN-master

Learn how to set up a fruiting room, lab, and the appropriate mediums for a growing substrate. Olga will review the benefits and challenges of indoor cultivation and how immersing yourself within the community not only lends itself to direct sales, but helps strengthen community ties. In her words, “cultures around cultivation.”

imgresMore and more studies are proving the positive symbiosis between mushrooms and human health. Many of these fungi have been cultured and administered for millennia. Olga will demonstrate how Smugtown Mushrooms not only provides Rochester chefs with high-demand fresh mushrooms, she will also examine the potential of growing for medicinal markets.

Whether considering fungi for profit or to enjoy cultivation for personal use, this presentation will certainly lead you in right direction.
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A Shared Vision of Sustainable Agriculture in New York

Cecilia Bowerman, NOFA-NY's Membership Coordinator, shares her thoughts about why giving to NOFA-NY is meaningful, powerful, and appropriate to the season.

At this point in the day you’re probably aware that it’s Giving Tuesday, a national day dedicated to philanthropy. This new addition seems positioned to balance the previous days dedicated to consumption: feasting with our families to celebrate all that we are thankful for, and the frenzied holiday shopping the following Friday and Monday.

This blog is a collection of NOFA-NY stories, from those who care about the success of organic and sustainable agriculture in every corner of New York State. I was invited to consider what it is I appreciate about today; why Giving Tuesday (and its social-media trending twin, #givingtuesday) matters. Mainly, for me, it’s that today is a concentrated effort (an effective one it seems) to raise our national consciousness to reflect on the causes we care about. And not just to think of them, but to take action and show our support. I recently returned to New York State, my home state, after an 8 year hiatus. I wanted to come back to live near my family, and I wanted to work for NOFA-NY because I care about where our food comes from. I want to help ensure that more food is produced without the use of harmful chemicals, that there are easy ways to engage with and support local farmers, and that consumers can continue to vote with their purchases.

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It takes each and every one of us to do this work. You might consider a gift to NOFA-NY this holiday season for any number of reasons. Perhaps it was a valuable learning experience you had at one of our conferences, or out on the farm at a field day this past year. Perhaps it is because you recognize creating policies that support a sustainable food and farm system rely on the strength of our collective voice. Perhaps it is that you simply want to enjoy good, healthy food grown by a nearby farmer.  The point is you are not alone. Today is your day to give a gift to an organization you care about. Whether it’s NOFA-NY, or some other cause you consider worthy, let’s come together this Giving Tuesday to contribute to the greater good. We are glad to be considered a worthy cause by so many of you. And we couldn’t do this work without you. Thank you.

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You can learn more about carrying forward our vision to support a healthy future for us all, or join those who have already made a gift to NOFA-NY this holiday season.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION


NOFA-NY is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. A copy of the NOFA-NY latest annual report may be obtained, upon request, from the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York New York 10271.
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Fungi and Bacteria and Viruses, Oh My!

Maryellen Sheehan, NOFA-NY’s Fruit and Vegetable Coordinator and co-owner of Hartwood Farm in Fenner, NY, shares with us some of her experiences growing organically in 2014, plus invites the organic producer community to learn together on October 21st.

After moving to NY from a high-elevation frost pocket in NH (average 95 days frost-free), I belatedly realized the sole advantage of a super short growing season—frost kills your plants before disease has time to off them!  Switching to farm in the lower Hudson Valley’s vaguely tropical 160 frost-free day season was both amazing (so many new crops to grow!) and educational (twice the warm weather hosts exponentially more insects and disease to kill plants!).

While my inner scientist remains fascinated by finding and identifying all the new plagues offing our plants at Hartwood Farm in Fenner, NY (new this year: Swede midge, bacterial spot, and the undetermined soil funk that melted 3 plantings of lettuce), the market farmer part of me does not enjoy these new discoveries.  The NOFA-NY technical assistance part of me dreads hearing about the challenges faced by some of our members this season, but that part of me is able to take action by planning educational events for growers who, like me, face all sorts of unexpected challenges each year.  At the end of each season, and throughout the winter, we have the opportunity to reflect on the diseases that impacted our community and learn what practices and controls are proving most effective.IMG_5721

We have dedicated researchers and educators committed to helping organic and IPM growers identify their problems and find effective control options.  On Tuesday, October 21st, Cornell’s Chris Smart, Abby Seaman, Meg McGrath, and Sarah Pethybridge will join up to teach organic management for bacterial and fungal pathogens, soil borne disease, and late blight.  It will be a full and informative day with plenty of time to ask questions—we hope to see you there!  There is no other way to get this small-group access to these great (and busy) researchers; at $25 for the full day, including lunch, it’s worth the day off the farm.  Register HERE or read the full workshop description HERE!

Why think about diseases now?  Since organic control options are based on prevention, now is really the best time to plan for potential problems!  In the heat of the summer, most of us won’t have the time to research and shop around frantically for last minute insect and disease controls.  In the mid-winter, a lot of the daily challenges have faded (and some of us even attempt to go on vacation, leaving less time to learn and plan).  During the late winter and spring, growers are busy enough going to conferences and conventions, seeding, planting, and doing a thousand other things, so it can be difficult to think about preventative sprays and staying on top of a disease control program.  It’s easier when you pre-program that into your schedule by planning for it before any of next season’s action.  Variety selection, field layout, and soil amendments all affect your crops as well, and you certainly need to account for all of that before you open those gorgeous seed catalogs in the winter.  Our instructors at both October events are planning to give great information about these strategies, from organically-approved sprays to soil-building for robust plants at our October events.

004For a little teaser about organic disease management concepts, UVM’s Vern Grubinger has a short article that really hits on the key points here: http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/diseasemanagement.html.  There are often multiple pest, disease and climate-related concerns that confuse and confound farmers.  While a great resource to help learn disease identification is the Vegetable MD website: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/, I’d still recommend you come to our workshops with any photos, data, or questions about what you experienced this past season.  With many farmers and plant pathologists in one room, we’re bound to learn what’s trending in terms of organic production problems.

Hopefully these resources help you as you get started thinking about next year’s potential crop health challenges, and we hope to see you in Geneva on October 21st!

On October 30th, we’ll tackle many of the same issues, but hone in on some marketing and variety research as well, all related to the diverse and appealing Brassica plant family.
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When Worlds Colllide: Your Health and (Mis) Use of Antibiotics in Livestock

[caption id="attachment_245" align="alignleft" width="225"]Pastured dairy cow raised antibiotic-free Pastured dairy cow raised antibiotic-free


As many of you know, in May of this year I transcended a 30+ year career in health care to join the organic and sustainable food and farming movement as Executive Director of NOFA-NY.  During my decades in health care, misuse and overuse of antibiotics was a major public health issue, an area of significant focus and concern for those of us who saw firsthand how overuse and improper use of antibiotics to treat human illness was having a horrible and unintended consequence on our health.  New breeds of antibiotic resistant and sometimes deadly “super bugs”  such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) were becoming prevalent in hospitals and spreading in the wider community.   It is horrible to watch someone contract an antibiotic-resistant illness suffer such health consequences.  More than 2 million people in the United States suffer from antibiotic-resistant diseases every year, and more than 20,000 die from them annually.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have taken this seriously and for years have included consumer and provider education regarding antibiotic use on their website.   The problem is not small, and despite the best efforts of many health care professionals, public health officials, and consumers, it continues to grow.

When I started my job with NOFA-NY, I thought I was leaving behind the public health impacts of antibiotics.  I avoid antibiotics when possible and use them responsibly when required.  I eat mainly vegetarian, and when I do eat meat or dairy I ensure that it's at least antibiotic free, if not certified organic (which means no antibiotics have been used).  Krys Cail’s article in the Fall 2014 Issue of NOFA-NYs  New York Organic News surprised even me, a veteran of the healthcare industry and a self-proclaimed responsible eater!  I was shocked to learn that the use of antibiotics in livestock (even that which I choose not to eat) is potentially affecting my health and your health, too.   A whopping  80% of antibiotic drugs, by weight, are used in the livestock industry!  The driving force behind this high use of antibiotics in conventional agriculture is the practice of feeding livestock low doses of antibiotics routinely in order to prevent illness in crowded living conditions and to promote growth.  In her article titled, “Foolish Practice,” Krys Cail, an agricultural development consultant and active member of NOFA-NY’s policy committee, describes the current issues and impacts of antibiotics in conventional agriculture and the health consequences this can have for all of us – even those of us who are vegetarians or who eat organic, antibiotic-free meat and dairy whenever possible.

Not one to take this lightly, I went to the health care providers' “bible” – back to the CDC website.  There I found a strong alarm:
Antibiotics must be used judiciously in humans and animals because both uses contribute to the emergence, persistence, and spread of resistant bacteria. Resistant bacteria in food-producing animals are of particular concern. Food animals serve as a reservoir of resistant pathogens and resistance mechanisms that can directly or indirectly result in antibiotic resistant infections in humans.”

“Scientists around the world have provided strong evidence that antibiotic use in food-producing animals can have a negative impact on public health.”

In fact, a 2013 study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found conclusive evidence that a person’s risk of contracting MRSA is significantly higher if he or she lives near a conventional hog farm or near a field fertilized with manure from a conventional hog farm.  This is just one of many examples of how the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock impacts public health.

100_0399We know that all farmers, both conventional and those who practice organic and sustainable methods, want to produce healthy, good food.  Many conventional farmers who feed antibiotics routinely to their animals would prefer to stop doing so.  However, until the practice is banned, market competition acts as enough pressure to force these farmers to feed antibiotics routinely to prevent illness and encourage animal growth in line with their peers' production.  This is not about hurting or blaming farmers.   It is not about appropriate use of antibiotics to treat illness.  It is about preventing mis-use and overuse of antibiotics in animals as well as people for the health and well-being of both.   If you would like to take action on this issue, you can check out Food & Water Watch’s campaign.

 
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A Chef, a Famer and a Child Transform a Field at Katchkie Farm and the Sylvia Center

[caption id="attachment_161" align="alignleft" width="225"]Flowering Bok Choy at Katchkie Farm Flowering Bok Choy at Katchkie Farm


Inspiring was the first word that entered my mind as I drove into Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, NY.  What had been a tangled mess of scrub brush, weeds, and rocks just 7 years ago had been transformed to a vibrant, year round organic farm certified by NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC.  As I pulled in the drive and stepped out to meet my guide, Julie Cerny, my eyes quickly feasted on the rows of vegetables and flowers, brimming greenhouse, and the bordering woodland preserve.  Julie explained to me that the transformation was made possible by the imagination of chef Liz Neumark, owner of the catering company Great Performances, the vision of farm manager Bob Walker, and the lively energy of children and young adults participating in the on-site Sylvia Center.

Katchkie Farm is dedicated to building connections between food professionals, families, and healthy delicious local food. Katchkie prides itself in holistic stewardship of the land and its bounty, celebrating local flavors, and through its partnership with the Sylvia Center, inspiring children to eat well.

Katchkie supplies Great Performances with fresh produce for special events, as well as farmer’s markets and Great Performance’s cafes.  This focus on farm to restaurant meant a few pleasant surprises for me. I was treated to the taste of my first summer tomato from the high tunnel, a sample of an unbelievably sweet strawberry from a field – and perhaps my favorite, a nibble of a flower from a bok choy that had been let go specifically for the purpose of providing edible flowers for salads.  They are a lovely yellow and taste like a brassica.  Katchkie also supplies an 800 member CSA.

Katchkie Farm also hosts the Sylvia Center, which is a non-profit organization that works with over 1000 youth and their families each year.  Through its garden-to-table program, the Sylvia Center inspires young people to discover good nutrition on the farm and in the kitchen.  Julie toured me around the rainbow shaped garden, where children and young adults are able to taste fresh food right out of the garden and learn to plant, tend, harvest and cook food for their own fresh meals.  A popular spot is the amazing wood-fired pizza oven, designed in the French style and impressively stationed in the nearby gazebo overlooking a pond and meadows.  I had to stop and admire the flowering bee garden that made up part of the rainbow.

[caption id="attachment_162" align="alignright" width="225"]Pizza oven at the Sylvia Center Pizza oven at the Sylvia Center


At the end of my visit, Julie helpfully gave me a copy of a calendar with tips on eating locally grown food year round.  For more information about Katchkie Farm and the Sylvia Center, you can check out their website at www.katchkiefarm.com.
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On the Trail at Once Again Nut Butter

 

The best cookies, and gluten free!The best cookies, and gluten free!

My nose knew I had arrived at my destination well before my eyes.  As I came through the four corners in the charming village of Nunda, NY, the gently sweet aroma of lightly roasted nuts wafted through my car.  Just ahead was the Once Again Nut Butter production facility and I was excited to visit the home of my favorite crunchy peanut butter.  I was soon to learn that Once Again Nut Butter is about more than peanuts!

Once Again Nut Butter’s motto is “We Spread Integrity”.  I wasn’t too sure what that meant until I toured the facility and talked with Gael Orr, Communications Manager. It soon became to clear to me that when you purchase a jar of Once Again, you partner in a mission to make the world a better place – from the ground up!

Once Again was founded in 1976 by Jeremy Thaler and Constance Potter. A friend mentioned to them the idea of purchasing a small, used coffee roaster and trying to roast bulk nuts.  Production began in an 800 square foot space in their basement and the rest is history!  Today Once Again is located in a 27,000 square foot state of the art food production facility.  From its humble beginnings, Once Again has grown to become a national market leader in production of organic and natural nut butters and boasts food safety and quality management practices that have earned it Safe Quality Foods (SQF) 2000 Level 3 Certification - the highest Safe Quality Foods Qualification that can be attained.

Touring the pristine production areas I could see what makes these nut and seed butters among the best in the world.  Nuts were toasted fresh and immediately ground into the appropriate nut butter and packaged.   And everyone was smiling – the organization is 100% employee owned and democratically managed, and was among the first Certified Fair Labor Practice organizations in the country.

Gael explained to me that Once Again sees itself as being a mission-oriented company that also makes great tasting nut butters!   This means that Once Again is involved in helping make the world a better place – from helping the local Rotary to addressing issues of poverty by paying fair prices for commodities and starting farm co-ops in developing economies.   As a healthy food pioneer, Once Again helped develop the organic peanut growing standards for the United States and they are currently supporting regional beekeepers from family farms and assisting United States organic sunflower growers with crop development.

Before I left, I decided to ask Gael for advice on a problem I was facing – it was all employee staff meeting at NOFA-NY this week, and the theme of the pot-luck was “gluten-free”.  Since being told of the goal of gluten free, of course all I could think of was food laden with gluten!  Gael gave me a recipe booklet of gluten free treats made with Once Again products, and a handy pack of nut butters to try.  The Once again Cashew Butter is a staff favorite and we learned it is great on apples.  I actually baked the gluten free Trail Mix Cookie recipe from the Once Again Nut Butter recipe book as my dish to pass.  Those cookies were so good there was not a crumb left!

Thank you Gael for the tour and to everyone at Once Again Nut Butter!  For more information about Once Again Nut Butter including the Trail Mix Cookie recipe, you can check out their website at www.OnceAgainNutButter.com.

 

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