eNews June 2012

In this edition:

Upcoming Events

Upstate Farm Tour – THIS WEEKEND (Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd & 3rd, 2012 from 1-6 PM on both days)

BARN STORM TOUR for LOCAL FOOD

CFSA’s Advocates for Organic Farming at 2012 NC Legislative Breakfast

Old Salem Cobblestone Market Opens to Great Fanfare

Farm and Food Stories on the Sweet Potato, CFSA’s blog!

The Piedmont Farm Tour: A Glimpse of the Work Behind our Food

by Kristi of 30 Pounds of Apples blog

 

Mushrooms everywhere!” – A Visit to Mushroom Mountain

by Jennifer Sparks

 

Lucky Acres Farm on the Upstate Farm Tour

by Diana Vossbrinck, CFSA’s SC and Charlotte Area Regional Coordinator

A Visit to Gibson Farms

by Janette Wesley, Slow Food Upstate

A Commitment to Farm to School

by Jennifer MacDougall, Healthy Active Communities Senior Program Officer, BCBSNC Foundation

 

Making the Most of Your Dirt

by Danielle of eatbreathblog.com

2012 Wheat Harvest Has Begun
by Jennifer Lapidus, CFSA’s Organic Grains Program Coordinator

New Farmers Market Opening in Anderson, SC with Help from CFSA

CFSA’s Diana Vossbrinck Elected Vice-Chair of SC Food Policy Council

CFSA Attends Prestigious Kellogg Foundation Conference

Local Foods Feast Sponsorships Now Available!

GrowFood Carolina, a New Food Hub in Charleston, SC

Introducing the Newest Additions to the CFSA Team!

CFSA’s New Organic Production Handbook

Find the Perfect Farm Intern or Internship

 

ACTION ALERTS:

We Saved the Salad Greens in NC, BUT The Issue is Coming to SC Next!

Farm Bill Action Picks Up in Congress

 

EXPERT TIP

Keeping Pasture-raised Meat Chickens Healthy and Happy in the Summer Heat

by Eric Soderholm, Organic Transition Coordinator

UPCOMING EVENTS:

6th Annual Upstate Farm Tour

June 2-3, 2012

Farms open 1-6 PM both days

WEBSITE

Cobblestone Farmers’ Markets

Downtown Market – Tuesdays,  10am to 1pm,  at 3rd and Patterson (across the street from Krankies Coffee)

NEW Old Salem Market – Saturdays, 9am-12pm (next to the Single Brothers Garden)

http://www.facebook.com/CobblestoneFarmersMarket

http://www.oldsalem.org/farmersmarket

COMING SOON: Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s High Country Farm Tour happening this August 4-5.  http://www.brwia.org/

SAVE THE DATES FOR THESE CFSA EVENTS:Social Media for Farmers WorkshopsAugust 14 – Forsyth County

August 16 – Chatham County

Eastern Triangle Farm Tour – Sept. 15-16, 2012
Sustainable Ag Conference – Oct 26 – 28, 2012 in Greenville, SC

Local Food Feast – Oct. 26, 2012 at the Sustainable Ag. Conference in Greenville, SC

CFSA NEWS:

Don’t Miss the Upstate Farm Tour THIS WEEKEND:

Fabulous farms (7 new ones!), Mini-workshops, and Local Food

June 2-3, 2012

Farms open from 1-6pm

WEBSITE

> Buy Tickets

Upstate Farm Tour – THIS WEEKEND!

WHAT: The 6th Annual Upstate Farm Tour Co-Sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Whole Foods Market

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd & 3rd, 2012 from 1-6 PM on both days

WHERE: 24 farms throughout Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, & Spartanburg Counties

COST: The cost to tour all farms on both days is $25 per vehicle in advance, and $30 (or $10 per farm) tour weekend (available for purchase at all of the farms).

Advance tickets can be purchased online at: WEBSITE or at Whole Foods Market, 100 Woodruff Road in Greenville.

MORE INFORMATION:Complete information about the tour and the farms, with interactive maps and contact information, plus tour tickets are available at: WEBSITE

ABOUT THE TOUR: The 6th annual Upstate Farm Tour, sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Whole Foods Market, features 24 farms, including seven farms new to the tour this year. Tour farms featuring delicious, farm-fresh produce from berries, to mushrooms and Hydroponic tomatoes. Come see all kinds of wonderful animals, including buffalo, alpacas, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, turkeys, and fancy breed chickens. There will also be herbs, cut flowers, two dairy farms, worms, a grits mill, and much more!

The tour is self-guided.  Visit any farm in any order.  And, don’t forget to take a cooler so that you can take home some of the farm fresh products for sale at many farms!  No pets allowed. Rain or shine.

LOCAL FOOD ON THE TOUR :  The Upstate Farm Tour will also feature on-farm dining.  New to the tour in 2012 – a dessert stop!  Pastry chef, Lisa Marvel of Marvelous Pies will be serving up sweets, homemade with love and local ingredients, at Red Fern Farm.  Guests will also want to visit Split Creek Farm, where Chef Joe Fredette of Summa Joe’s Searing Pans will be cooking up BBQ Chicken Sandwich Plates and Roasted Veggie Lasagna for lunch or early supper.  Children’s portions available.  Meals and desserts served Noon – 5 PM.  Cash & checks only for meals and desserts, please.

WORKSHOPS:  The Upstate Farm Tour is partnering with Slow Food Upstate to offer unique and informative mini-workshops to tour guests:

  • Parsons Produce, Saturday June 2 only, 1-6 pm: “The Gift of Bees” a look at how much farms rely on this incredible pollinator; what you can do in your own backyard to help; a tasting of honey varietals, and how to identify what is tasted.
  • Bio-Way Farms, Sunday June 3 only, 1-6 pm: “How to Eat like a Native” Discover all the great Native Plants at Bio-Way Farms.   From hunter-gatherer to the Farmer’s Market, join Renato Vicario for a look at the delicious foods from our region and how to prepare them.  Learn about American Groundnut, Sassafras and Nettles, Jerusalem Artichokes, as well as about native pollinators and what native plants are particularly good for them.

“Come out to see how Upstate farmers are working the land in a way that protects our natural resources for generations to come and enjoy a day of fun on the farm.  It’s a great way to learn about where your food comes from and support the farmer who grows it!” said Roland McReynolds, CFSA Executive Director.

Proceeds from the tour support the work of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

 

 

BARN STORM TOUR FOR LOCAL FOOD TOUR

Raising Public Engagement in Local and Organic Food and Farming and Enabling Farmers to Expand Local Food Marketing

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association will embark on a Barn Storm Local Food Tour of the Carolinas this summer, visiting farmers markets, farm-to-fork eateries, and other local food institutions. We intend to create a huge buzz around local food and sustainable farms—and we invite you to participate!

The Barn Storm Tour aims to expand markets and increase sales for farmers by helping growers utilize the soon-to-launch CFSA Local Food Finder, an online resource connecting consumers to local food purveyors, growers and more. The Local Food Finder has tremendous potential for farmers to reach a broader consumer market and strengthen their farm loyalty. We also aim to raise awareness of the 2012 Federal Farm Bill and engage grassroots support for comprehensive reforms that relate to local, organic agriculture.

The Barn Storm Tour will highlight the good food work happening across the region, igniting more engagement in the local food and organic farming movement. We will heavily employ social media/website/media relations to spread the word and promote the tour. We will document our tour as it happens with photos, blog posts, short videos, and social media feeds, to compound the energy, excitement and community support that the events will generate.

Interested in Participating? Contact Victoria Bouloubasis or call the CFSA office at (919)542-2402.

 

CFSA’s Advocates for Organic Farming at 2012 Legislative Breakfast

On May 29, CFSA welcomed legislators and guests for the 5th annual organic breakfast at the General Assembly cafeteria. Heather Barnes, organic marketing specialist with the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, provided an overview of the organic certification process and the organic certification cost share program. CFSA Member George Teague told the audience about his work with the Organic Valley dairy cooperative and the benefits his family gained by transitioning to organic production methods.

Attendees enjoyed a hearty Southern breakfast of eggs, sausage and biscuits – all grown and raised in North Carolina.  A special thanks to farms who donated: Richard Holcomb & Family, Coon Rock Farm: eggs; Traci Nachtrab & Family, Lucky 3 Farm: sausage;
Susie & Al Newberry, Newberry’s Blueberries: blueberries; John Vollmer, Vollmer Farm: strawberries; Gerry Cohn, Organic Valley: milk, half & half, butter; Sandi Kronick, Eastern Carolina Organics: sweet potatoes; Jennifer Lapidus, Carolina Ground: freshly milled biscuit flour from NC grown soft wheat; Fred Miller, Hilltop Farms: strawberries.  Special thanks to
Raymond Goodman, R3Photography.

Here is a short excerpt from the opening remarks by CFSA Executive Director, Roland McReynolds:

CFSA has been doing this event for six years, and every year I have been able to say that organic food sales continue to grow faster than overall food sales, reaching over $30 billion in 2011, a 9% increase over 2010.

Since 2000, organic food sales have increased at least 8%, and as much as 20%, every single year, despite the ongoing recession.

12% of all US fruit and vegetable sales are organic. NC farmers are increasing their market share in the organic sector, and NC is in the top 10 the nation in production of organic eggs, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, summer squash, strawberries and tobacco,.

NC’s owes its strong heritage of small family farms in significant part to tobacco, which was a high value crop that any size of farm could make a good living on.  Organic foods represent the same high value market opportunity for today’s small, medium and large NC farms.

California continues to dominate the organic sector, but NC farms and businesses are positioned to take significant market share from California as people begin look for food that is not only organic but local and regional, and as the price of diesel fuel remains persistently high.  Growth of organic agriculture in NC means new jobs and higher incomes in rural communities and across the state

Another measure of the economic growth in local, organic farming is the increased attendance at events like CFSA’s annual Conference, which last year saw record attendance of almost 1,300 people; 70% of the farmers attending had five years or less experience, showing that organics is bringing new people into agriculture.  And CFSA’s farm tours have helped increasing numbers of consumers find local sustainable farms, drawing over 18,000 farm visits in the last year.

Two of the most important things that the state of NC does to support organic farming and all of NC agriculture is conducting research on our family of state-run research farms, and marketing support through the Dept. of Ag and CS; we recognize that you are currently going through the budget adjustment process, and the state’s organic industry is grateful for the funding that the research stations and marketing support received in the biennial budget; We urge the continuation of that level of support for these important programs.

 

Old Salem Cobblestone Market Opens to Great Fanfare

We had a fantastic opening for the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers market on May 12th and are now open TWO days a week for the rest of the season.  It’s easier than ever to shop and eat locally all week long!

Market Hours:

Downtown Cobblestone Market

Tuesdays 10 am – 1 pm

Located at 3rd Street & Patterson Avenue on the cobblestones across the street from Krankies Coffee in downtown Winston-Salem

 

Old Salem Cobblestone Market

Saturdays 9am-12pm

Located next to the Single Brothers Garden behind T. Bagge Merchant in Old Salem

We hope to see you there!

  • For all the latest on the markets, ‘like’ their Facebook page
  • Read more about the farmers’ market opening at Old Salem in this excellent blog post and photo gallery from Locally Grown News

 

Farm and Food Stories on the Sweet Potato, CFSA’s blog!

Check out great new stories posted this month on the blog – www.carolinafarmstewardsblog.org

> While you’re there, sign up for our RSS feed or subscribe by email!

The Piedmont Farm Tour: A Glimpse of the Work Behind our Food

by Kristi of 30 Pounds of Apples blog

Most weekends, my schedule is built around my weekly pilgrimage to the Durham Farmers Market. The crowded aisles, tables heavy with seasonal bounty, festive melodies echoing through the pavilion: it is far more than a weekly grocery trip.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of farmers market shopping is the chance to speak to the farmers and ranchers responsible for producing the food I buy each week. So when I heard about the Annual Piedmont Farm Tour, a whole weekend when local farms open their barns and their fields to the public, I jumped at the chance to meet these farmers on their own turf and see the lands they cultivate.

Mushrooms everywhere!” – A Visit to Mushroom Mountain

by Jennifer Sparks

Editor’s Note: Don’t miss Mushroom Mountain on the Upstate Farm Tour, June 2-3, 2012!

Tucked away just a short distance off Highway 123 in Liberty, South Carolina, a local mushroom farm has a big story to tell. Off a small side street, it sits back from the road and is easily missed the first time, but with one quick turnaround I found it and received a very warm welcome, both from the owners and one of the friendliest dogs on earth, appropriately named Enoki. Sitting down to a shaded picnic table with fresh cold watermelon slices and local blueberries, I was told the story behind this unique experiment that the owner and farmer/scientist believes can heal a plethora of human and environmental ills. The operation is Mushroom Mountain and the farmer/scientist is Tradd Cotter, who got his start in his late teens when his mother suggested he go to work on a local mushroom farm on John’s Island, SC. From the beginning, he was hooked and has been studying the art of identifying and cultivating mushrooms for over 15 years, spending the last 3 years building up his farm on its current site. The property includes “the world’s first interpretive mushroom farm” complete with walking trails, composting, and “mycogardening” demonstration areas, all of which we toured together and he described each in promising and expert detail.

 

Lucky Acres Farm on the Upstate Farm Tour

by Diana Vossbrinck, CFSA’s SC and Charlotte Area Regional Coordinator

Editor’s Note: Don’t miss your chance to meet Cleopatra, Cinderella, Sokrates and Joe and Gloria Williams of Lucky Acres Farm on this year’s Upstate Farm tour, June 2-3!

Cleopatra. Cinderella. Sokrates. They make interesting family portraits, covering the walls of the back parlor in Joe and Gloria Williams’ home. Joe points to each picture in turn, naming them with a twinkle in his eye, much like any proud papa. Displayed are the alpacas of Lucky Acres Farm, where these beautiful, gentle creatures are indeed a part of the family.

 

A Visit to Gibson Farms

by Janette Wesley, Slow Food Upstate

Editor’s Note: Visit Leland, Big Boy, Boss Lady, and all the other characters at Gibson Farms on the CFSA Upstate Farm Tour, June 2-3. Don’t forget to bring your coolers to take home some delectable beef!

It was a bucolic winter day, with cerulean blue skies laced in high white clouds, waves of purple mountains in the background. Gibson Farms’ 180-acres of green rolling hills topped with black and white-faced Angus cattle looked like brides and a groom on a verdant half moon cake.

We watched as a big red one strolled by or a creamy white one glimmered in the bright February sun. The visit restored the slow in “Slow Food” – a peaceful and stimulating experience.

A Commitment to Farm to School

by Jennifer MacDougall, Healthy Active Communities Senior Program Officer, BCBSNC Foundation

North Carolina is a state known for its agriculture. Apples, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, sweet potatoes and more-from the mountains to the coast- the quality and variety of produce grown in our state is astounding. Unfortunately, North Carolina is also known as a state with high rates of childhood obesity. A state where one in three children is obese or at risk of becoming obese, and a state where more than 40 percent of children ages 5-10 and more than 80 percent of high school youth do not eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

Making the Most of Your Dirt

by Danielle of eatbreathblog.com

Gardening is one way to become one with nature and offers a meditation-like experience. Unfortunately, not every piece of land offers an ideal place to plant fruits, vegetables or flowers. Because of this, it may take some effort to create your organic garden oasis from scratch.

A garden can be as small as a countertop or as large as an acre. It can be placed in the back corner of your yard or on a large section of your property. Make sure the space you select is somewhere that’s large enough for what you want to plan, will receive enough sunlight (approximately five hours a day for most plants), and can easily be watered.

 > Interested in writing Carolina sustainable farm and food stories for our blog?  Email Amy at amy@

 

2012 Wheat Harvest Has Begun

by Jennifer Lapidus, CFSA’s Organic Grains Program Coordinator

Grower, Kenny Haines informed me yesterday that Billy Carter of Carter Farms in the Sandhills of NC began cutting his TAM 303 this past weekend. TAM 303, though a sad moniker for this regionally adapted hard red winter (bread) wheat (one of USDA-ARS wheat breeder, Dr. David Marshall’s, varieties), was the first of the wheats that our bakers tried when the prospect of working with NC grown grains first surfaced. It’s been over three years since that initial meeting when us bakers pulled chairs into a circle and began discussing the concept of working directly with NC growers. Outside the confines of our bakeries, where fermentation times, hydration, and dough performance rule, we could entertain the idea– the possibility– of working with bread flour grown in the Carolinas. That first meeting took place just after the profound spike in the price of wheat, later coined the 2008 Wheat Crisis, which was a big impetus for us– it pushed us to consider stepping outside our comfort zone and take a good long look at our reliance on commodity flours. Even still, it was not until we actually tried the flour made with NC-grown TAM 303 that the momentum for this project gained ground. And now here we are this many years later, actually doing it.

Kenny said our Turkey wheat (a heritage variety) and NuEast (another of Dr Marshall’s regionally adapted modern varieties) are just turning from green to a golden hue. Once harvested, samples of the grain will be tested for protein, falling numbers (a test that indicates if there is any level of sprout damage), micotoxins, moisture, and test weight.

Joe Lindley, of Lindley Mills in Graham, NC, has offered to do thorough lab testing on the grain. I want to give a big thank you to Joe for this offer, as he continues to show his commitment to NC growers and bakers alike. He is producing an NC-grown TAM 303 roller-milled flour, a foundational flour which is the perfect complement to the stone ground flours Carolina Ground is turning out. We certainly have it good here in the Carolinas.

> For the latest on Carolina Ground, check out their blog – http://ncobfp.blogspot.com/

 

New Farmers Market Opening in Anderson, SC with Help from CFSA

On June 5, the Anderson Area Farm and Food Association will open its Farmers Market at the Filling Station at 302 E. Whitner St. From 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings through Aug. 28, the market will bring vendors from all over the Upstate to Anderson. Located between McDuffie and Fant streets across from Battlecat Sports, the market will offer not only fresh produce, but also freshly made food products.

“There will be lots of produce. We have tons of farmers coming in,” said CFSA’s Regional Coordinator, Diana Vossbrinck, who is helping to get the market up and running. “But we are also going to have some of food products from the restaurants and stores that people have been missing, like Grits and Groceries, Split Creek Farm.”

“Among the fresh produce vendors will be small farms from all over the area,” she said, “like Putney Farm from Honea Path and Dairy O’s Natural Garden in Central.”  The farm stalls will feature everything from eggs and herbs to heirloom vegetables to certified organic produce.

For anyone interested in buying local, it’s a great companion to the Anderson County Farmers Market, located just 3 blocks away on Murray Avenue with regular sessions on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

But for the backyard gardeners, is a resource of another kind.

“These are all farmers who have the idea that part of the reason why they want to be a part of this market and this organization is to share this vision that this is about community and part of this is teaching people how to grow their own food,” she said. “These are resources for anyone who has their own garden on how to grow something in your own backyard. This market only enhances the opportunity to grow more fresh produce in the area.”

> Read the full story in the Anderson Independent Mail.

 

CFSA’s Diana Vossbrinck Elected Vice-Chair of SC Food Policy Council

Beginning in March 2005, volunteers formed a steering committee to begin the discussion and exploration of creating a statewide food policy council that would work towards the improvement and expansion of healthier and more informed food choices by South Carolinians. As a result of the steering committee findings, on March 17, 2006, the SC Food Policy Council (FPC) held its first general membership meeting and continued to meet throughout the year.

General members of the FPC include representatives from state government agencies, university faculty members, agricultural commodity associations, food banks, farmers, elected officials, and agribusiness representatives – including CFSA’s very own, Diana Vossbrinck, who has been elected as vice-chair.  Friend of CFSA, David Lamie of Clemson University, was elected as chair.

The purpose of the organization is to provide a forum for stakeholders in the food, health and agricultural sectors to share ideas, collaborate on solutions and research, investigate and report on the food systems in South Carolina, the sustainability of agriculture in South Carolina and how it affects the people of South Carolina.

The FPC serves as a forum for members to share their concerns as well as their progress on related programs and initiatives that are related to the food system here in South Carolina. The networking opportunities and the information shared at these meetings have greatly benefited many of the members of the Council as they work towards the goals of continued growth, promotion and protection of a healthy agricultural industry and a safe and plentiful food supply in South Carolina.

The SC Food Policy Council has recently received funding from the Lowcountry Housing Trust to host a workshop focused on:  Increasing access to fresh produce in Food Deserts in SC.  This workshop will be hosted in the Columbia area in the Fall of 2012.  More details to be forthcoming.

The members of the 2012 SC Food Policy Council are:

Teresa Hill – SC Department of Health & Environmental Control

Kevin Elliot – University of SC

Diana Vossbrink, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Woody Swink, McCall Farms

Joe Watson, Watsonia Peaches

Ana Parra, Hub City Farmers Market in Spartanburg, SC

Nikki Seibert, Lowcountry Local First

Dave Lamie, Clemson University

Lisa Turansky, Coastal Conservation League

> Anyone interested in joining the SC Food Policy Council and/or being placed on the email list to receive more information about the upcoming workshop can contact Beth Crocker at bcrocker@scda.sc.gov.

> Learn more about the council at https://agriculture.sc.gov/content.aspx?ContentID=697

 

 

CFSA Attends Prestigious Kellogg Foundation Conference

On May 22-24, Shivaugn Rayl, Director of Sustainable Food NC, joined more than 600 participants at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s 11th Food & Community Conference in Asheville, NC. See http://www.wkkf.org/what-we-support/healthy-kids/food-and-community/conference.aspx for more information about the conference, the program, participants, and video archives of many of the sessions. If you have any questions about the conference, contact Shivaugn.

 

Local Foods Feast Sponsorships Now Available!

Save the Date: CFSA Local Foods Feast, 6:30 pm, Friday, Oct 26, 2012

Hyatt Regency, Greenville, SC

Want to do more to support local food and organic farms? Want to enjoy amazing, local organic food?

Be part of the CFSA Local Foods Feast. This magical, mouthwatering meal made with only the best in-season, sustainably grown ingredients supplied by local farms is one of the highlights of CFSA’s annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference.

The evening features keynote speaker Debra Eschmeyer – FoodCorps founder and recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in recognition of her school food reform efforts. A go-to expert on food systems and policy, Debra is also an organic farmer and a phenomenal speaker!

The Feast can be purchased without registering for the full conference.  Proceeds from the event support the CFSA’s work to help sustainable family farms thrive in the Carolinas.

Support your local farmers by becoming a Local Foods Feast Sponsor. Contact Alice Alexander or call 919-824-4799. All sponsors will be recognized in our publications.

$1,000 – Local Foods Feast Bountiful Sponsor – Table of 10, and CFSA membership; OR 4 tickets and one conference scholarship for a young farmer, and CFSA membership

$500 – Local Foods Feast Abundant Sponsor – 4 tickets, and one year CFSA membership

$250 – Local Foods Feast Plentiful Sponsor – 2 tickets, one year CFSA membership

$50 general tickets for non-conference participants will be available July 16th.

 

GrowFood Carolina, a New Food Hub in Charleston, SC

The GrowFood Carolina Warehouse is in full swing! As South Carolina’s only food hub catering to small farms, it has already become a great asset to local farmers, even in its first seven months of operation. The project is supported by the Coastal Conservation League and markets produce from farmers within 120 miles of their warehouse in Charleston. Check out their mission:

“GrowFood Carolina’s mission is to help link local farmers to local and regional markets by providing adequate infrastructure and coordination so that fresh produce can move seamlessly from local farmers’ land to consumers’ hands.

GrowFood Carolina provides marketing, warehousing, and distribution functions for local farmers, in addition to liability insurance, regulatory compliance and sales coordination. Providing meaningful opportunities to rural farmers strengthens and secures the future of our regional food supply and ensures that local rural lands remain in agricultural use. The added benefit of reinvigorating our farmers is that you get the freshest and most sustainably farmed produce on the market. When you buy produce with the GrowFood Carolina label on it, you know that you are getting a product that was hand-picked by a local farmer within days of your purchase.”

Want to learn more? Check out the following links:

An excellent article detailing GrowFood Carolina’s efforts

http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/growfood-carolina-takes-root-downtown-and-makes-cooking-local-easy-for-chefs/Content?oid=4062073

GrowFood Carolina’s website/blog:

http://growfoodcarolina.com/

 

Introducing the Newest Members of Our Team!

We are proud to be able to hire our former intern, Jared Cates, as our new Community Mobilizer. Jared is a native of Chapel Hill and a recent graduate of the UNC School of Social Work, where he received his Master’s degree. Jared has been working in the non-profit sector since his graduation from Appalachian State University in 2003. His previous experience includes two AmeriCorps terms with Chatham Habitat for Humanity, coordinating a juvenile community service program at Volunteers for Youth in Orange County and assisting with shelter and emergency aid services at the Salvation Army of Wake County.  Jared is looking forward to being a champion for sustainable food and farm policies.

Victoria Bouloubasis will be our intrepid Barn Storm Tour coordinator. She is a freelance journalist who focuses on telling the stories of people who love food: from organic farmers to migrant farmworkers and food truck vendors to someone’s favorite abuela. She is most interested in the cultural symbolism associated with our favorite meals, the fight for fair food access and sustainable food systems. Her experience includes various stints on small, organic farms, where she developed a huge fondness for goats. She finally learned how to drive a tractor last year in a far-off field in Pittsboro.

Our summer intern, Sarah Campbell, is a graduate student at UNC-CH School of Social Work and Duke Divinity School.  This summer Sarah is working on preparations for CFSA’s annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference.  She is passionate about working on community organizing, education, and advocacy for social justice and environmental sustainability.  Originally from southwest Florida, Sarah is happy that she now lives in a state known for one of her favorite foods, sweet potatoes!  In her free time, Sarah enjoys yoga, running, cooking, gardening, and going to outdoor festivals and live music concerts. 

CFSA’s NEW Organic Production Handbook

This new resource includes invaluable information about organic practices, NOP regulations, EQIP conservation practices that support organic operations, organic nutrient management, ecological weed management, and a list of key

resources.

> Learn more and download.

Find the Perfect Intern or Internship!

CFSA’s Internship Referral Service

Post your Fall Internships NOW!

CFSA’s on-line Internship Referrral Service connects sustainable farms throughout the Carolinas with aspiring farmers looking for hands-on learning opportunities.

CFSA Member Farmers: Post your NC and SC internship openings for free.

Students: Find your dream farm internship in the Carolinas!

Post Your Farm Internship Openings:  http://bit.ly/exw1I4

> Not yet a CFSA member? Join online to take advantage of our Internship Referral Service – just one of many member benefits!

Students: Find your dream farm internship!

> For more information, please contact Diana Vossbrinck.

ACTION ALERTS

We Saved the Salad Greens!

In last month’s e-News we told you about an urgent grassroots campaign to prevent small NC farms from losing restaurants as a customer for lettuces, spinach and other leafy greens.  Hundreds of people called, wrote and attended public meetings, and NC government heard us loud and clear.  CFSA is pleased to announce that the state has changed its policy, and will not impose industrial-scale food safety rules on small farms selling direct to restaurants.  Thanks to you, we saved the salad greens!

And for SC folks, read on, because this issue is coming to you soon!

Salad mixes, lettuces, arugula, spinach, chard, kale, and other leafy greens are important crops for hundreds of small sustainable farms, and restaurants are an important customer for those crops.  NC’s Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) proposed Food Code had threatened to cut most small farms off from the restaurant market for these leafy greens crops, because it treated raw leafy greens cut from farmers’ fields as a ‘hazardous food.’  The Food Code requires hazardous foods to be delivered to restaurants at a temperature of 41 degrees F.  Small farms work hard to keep leafy greens cool for delivery to customers, but can’t afford the expensive equipment necessary to deliver at that low temperature.

Thanks to massive public outcry, DHHS has reevaluated its hazardous food definition, and has recognized that the act of harvesting leafy greens is not a threat to public health.  They published this Cut Leafy Greens Ruling May 2012 announcing their interpretation.

Now our local farms can continue to provide restaurants with the freshest, healthiest, most delicious leafy greens available.  Farmers keep customers, restaurants keep quality ingredients, and our local, organic food community keeps getting stronger.  CFSA is proud to have led this successful fight, and we thank you for taking action and for saving the salad greens.

South Carolina is NEXT:  The state Dept. of Health and Environmental Control is planning to adopt the same Food Code by 2013.  Stay tuned for more information about how to save SC’s salad greens.

 

Farm Bill Action Picks Up in Congress

America’s quinquennial exercise in food and farm policy, the Farm Bill, is now under discussion in the US Congress, with the Senate set to debate its version of the bill next week.  The initial bill approved by the Senate Ag Committee has several major problems, and a grassroots push is need for several amendments:

Tester Amendment:  Jon Tester, the Senate’s only organic farmer, is seeking to enhance farmer access to regionally-adapted, non-GMO plant seeds and animal breeds.  His amendment would direct more public research dollars toward classical breeding projects.

Brown/Nelson Amendment:  The Senate Ag Committee’s bill ends ‘direct payments’ to farmers for growing certain commodity crops, and this amendment from Sherrod Brown and Ben Nelson would use the savings to continue funding for:

  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which provides grants for training, education, and other support for beginning farmers and ranchers.  BFRDP has provided scholarships for young farmers to attend CFSA’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference, helped Clemson and NC State increase their support for beginning farmers, and funded projects by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, the Organic Growers School and the Interfaith Food Shuttle;
  • 2501 Program which supports outreach, training, and coordination with socially disadvantaged producers, to rectify decades of institutional discrimination by the US Dept. of Agriculture;
  • Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG), which provides grants to farmers or groups of farmers to increase their share of consumers’ food dollars.  VAPG awardees in the Carolinas have included Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Chapel Hill Creamery, an organic soybean crushing facility in Pantego, NC, Nooherooka Natural Beef, Sunburst Trout Co., and organic dairy farmers in Mt. Ulla, NC.  This program has helped more farmers bring more local, organic food to market.
  • Rural Micro-Entrepreneurship Assistance Program (RMAP) which offers resources to groups to do entrepreneurial lending in rural communities.

 

Without these amendments, BFRDP will be cut more than 100% from current levels, and 2501, VAPG and RMAP will be completely eliminated.  Call your Senators today and ask them to support the Tester and Brown/Nelson Amendments to the Farm Bill.  Find contact info here.

EXPERT TIP: Keeping pasture-raised meat chickens healthy and happy in the summer heat

Eric Soderholm, Organic Transition Coordinator

Meat birds on pasture can be a beautiful thing. One on my favorite sites during daily livestock chores in the past has been watching how enthusiastically our chickens devoured the lush vegetation (and the many insects therein) on a new piece of ground. As glorious as the rewards in flavor can be, it is important to remember that raising meat chickens on pasture without proper advanced planning can be labor intensive and extremely frustrating. Profit margins are already very thin and taking the time to plan and get suggestions from other growers will help ensure the health and happiness of your birds from hatching to harvest. While I am certainly no expert on pastured meat bird production, the extreme heat we encountered in the past few summers has taught me a number of lessons on how to be a better chicken caretaker. Here are a few quick tips:

  • If you order chicks in from a hatchery, they have spent the first day of their lives in a tiny box without provisions. Upon arrival, I dip each chick’s beak in water and tilt its head back to be sure that they get hydrated. Some farmers use sugar water and I have worked with others that add Bach’s Rescue Remedy to the mix for an immunity boost. It’s a good idea to have food and water set up in the brooder when you release them.
  • Keep a thermometer in your brooder to monitor the temperature. The ideal environmental temperature for chicks in their first week is about 95° F and 5° lower each week thereafter. Chicks can self-regulate their body temperature if you provide them with an environment with warmer and cooler areas. Inside the main brooder area, it can be helpful to have an inner box made out of plywood, with no floor and raised up about four inches off the ground on 2×4 legs. This box can be outfitted with a heat lamp or two and insulated with foam board. This offers your chicks a warm place to congregate during cooler periods and an escape to the open area when temperatures rise.
  • In the heat of the summer, proper ventilation in your brooder is a must. Opening windows or doors and turning on box fans can be a routine chore mid-morning when things start to heat up. However, be sure to restrict access of predators like hawks, cats, raccoons and snakes that could make an easy snack out of your little ones.
  • Chicks are ready to meet the pasture soon after their first feathers come in, usually about 2-3 weeks. In the past I built chicken tractors about 2 feet tall, framed out of wood and enclosed with chicken wire. Half of the flat roof is covered with sheet metal or a tarp for shade and the other half is covered with chicken wire. However, when temperatures soar into the 90s for several weeks, I’ve experiences terribly high mortality rates in our flocks despite having access to lots of fresh water. I think that these structures, despite seeming fairly open-air, trap too much heat during summer warm spells. I have become a fan of livestock panel coops as a home-base and shade for chickens with an additional area to free range outside of the coop enclosed by electric poultry netting. Panel coops are still lightweight but are much taller and allow for better air circulation.
  • If you slaughter your own chickens on-farm, summer heat can really take its toll and threaten the safety of your product. If you keep your birds in poultry crate before slaughter be sure that they are held in a shaded area with good ventilation. Try to avoid stacking crates on top of one another when it is really hot as this could lead to heat exhaustion. It is important to have an adequate amount of ice on hand to cool birds to the recommended 40° F after they have been slaughtered and eviscerated. When temperatures are around 80° F outside, expect to use approximately 1.5 lbs of ice per bird for cooling in your chill tank. This number can go up drastically at higher temperature. Ice can be expensive but it is well worth the assurance of a safe product. If you have the freezer space, you can make your own blocks of ice in sanitized buckets. Block ice melts much more slowly due to its smaller surface area to mass ratio.

> Have questions or your own suggestions about keeping meat chickens cool during the summer? Please don’t hesitate to share them. Contact Eric.

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