Article in Acres USA this Month

I had an article published in the fabulous Acres USA magazine this month about our SARE funded project to make dehydrated vegetables like kale chips on our farm. Acres is a great magazine for ecological and sustainable farming ideas of all kinds and it has been in print for the past 40 years! We still have one more  year to work on the grant and get our new products ready for market.   I plan to write more about what happens with the dryer this coming season and post some recipe ideas. Here is a link to a my article in …

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Winter Farm ABCs

I took my children on a walk on the farm this winter in search of all of the hidden letters of the alphabet on our farm both in natural and built structures. I got this idea from the Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson where a photographer did the same thing in a city, using buildings and benches. Our version could be called Winter Alphabet Farm, I imagine we could come up with a whole new one in summer. This was something I thought would be so much harder than it was, I expected it might take several hikes and …

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Farmers Dream in Winter

During the spring, summer and fall farm seasons it is easy for farmers to lose touch with one another. Everyone get really busy and conversations tend to be focused on immediate needs like engines failing, extreme weather forecasts or what local chefs need now. Winter is when farmers have time to plan, think, dream and socialize. Many of us are ordering seeds, planning upcoming seasons, adjusting websites and doing bigger picture thinking and planning. Winter is also the most popular time for farmers to get together for meetings. Maryland farmers gathered for two important meetings this past month, the Future …

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My Goodbye to Pete Seeger

As a mom, there have only been a handful of times I have let my children see me cry. Yesterday, when I learned of the death of the great Pete Seeger, was one of those times. When I tried to explain who he was and some of the things he stood for, I could not complete my sentences. So I turned to YouTube and let Pete speak and sing for himself. Within minutes, my 4-year-old was dancing to “If I Had a Hammer,” and then we were all singing “We Are Not Afraid, To-day.” And of course, since we are …

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Note to a Young Jewish Farmers by Scott Hertzberg

I am very inspired by the budding Jewish intentional communities movement. As someone who has farmed for more than a decade and thought a lot about past Jewish farming communities in America and how to build ones today, I’d like to share some thoughts on developing communities based around agriculture. My first suggestion, which has been made by others, is to stay close to the city, even right in a city.  Jewish farming communities in the past near metropolitan areas thrived for a generation or more (Petaluma CA; Farmingdale; NJ Lebanon CT area, among other places), while those far out …

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The Giant Menorah that Almost Fell

We stood shivering in a hotel parking lot waiting for the lighting of a giant outdoor menorah. It was my first public menorah lighting and I was in full “mom mode,” pulling up hoods, chasing dropped dreidels, handing out gelt, and sort of pretending to be excited–but we were really there for the children. Since we live on a farm outside of Jewish community, they need to see that Hanukkah doesn’t just happen at our house and at their grandparents’ house. There were a few brief speakers and I was feeling pretty distracted, thinking of the Thai restaurant right across the …

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Turkey in Disguise

When I was in middle school, there was a group of farm kids who wore letterman jackets with the word “Farmer” on the back instead of “Football”.  I remember them all leaning against the brick building at recess in their matching jackets looking intimidating. They were all boys. I thought the farm kids were a little scary, tough, and course.  In hindsight I cheer for these kids, proud to grow up on farms way back in the 80’s long before farmer was equated with hipster or anything remotely cool. But at the time, I had nothing to do with the …

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Welcome to Our Winter Flophouse

The rushed Jewish holidays and fall chill make this November feel much more like December.  For anyone who has missed the excitement, the first night of Chanukah is the same as thanksgiving this year. It will not happen again for about seventy thousand years, so there has been lots of hype and strange recipes floating around. Hard frosts have made instant memories out of so many plants, cosmos and basil, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. We are still pulling off the last tomatoes (from another hoophouse), but they are mealy and sad now. But look, hope grows in our new hoophouse …

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Fear the Turtle: FDA’s One Sided Food Safety Regulations

The FDA is accepting public comments through November 15th on a draft set of regulations based on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Shining a spotlight on food safety is a great idea and something that consumer advocates have been working toward for a long time. Clearly there are safety problems with our nation’s food system, and we have seen what happens when unsafe food gets into the marketplace. Unfortunately, the draft rules have some real problems and could undermine small vegetable farms like my own. Please take action by hopping over to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s website where …

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Catching up and Getting ready for Sukkot

The weather has changed suddenly from the last of the summer heat to perfect autumn days with a slight nip in the air, mornings for fleece jackets at the bus stop that you will will be shed by recess. My blog has been very quiet lately, many hurdles getting in the way of regular writing.  And once I lose momentum, it is harder to get started again.  But I want to write and writing begets writing,  so here goes! So in the way of catch up, I want to share a wonderful article that ran in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz …

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