Harvest Hastings ran a very successful Farmer to farmer workshop about pasture management with Jack Kyle from OMAFRA at Harvest Hastings members Richard and Ann Barber's farm in Stirling-Rawdon. You can listen to what he said at Pasture Management. Roger Barrett from Barretts Farm and Family Centre was there to advise on fencing. Since then we have been much better at moving our cows from one field to another. Once the grass gets down to about three inches we try and move the cows on. We have five cows, a bull and a calf on 15 acres of pasture. This amount of pasture could support a higher number of cows so grass is apt to go to seed. Cows don't like to take coarse grass when young grass is available so we have been cutting the grass after the cows have been moved. We are also taking hay off some of the paddocks and will put the cows back on them in October. By managing your pasture you can extend the grazing season and therefore reduce the amount of hay you have to feed in the winter.
Do check Pasture Management and hear what Jack Kyle has to say. He is the pasture management specialist with OMAFRA. See also Pasture Pluses by Jack Kyle a presentation he made at Farmsmart Conference at the University of Guelph.
Jeff and Jen Ferguson love the fact that their customers believe in what they do on our farm as well as how they do it.
"We often get praises on how good our meat tastes,"" said Jeff. "We have put together some recipes that we use all the time and even some I have invented over the years. We can appreciate how busy people’s lives can be and ours is no different. I especially like the slow cooker recipes because they are time saving and tasty. Hope you enjoy these recipes and that you think locally when you buy the ingredients. It not only supports farmers and communities but tastes great as well, enjoy!!"
Tom Brown of Clemmens, North Carolina, became interested in finding and saving heritage apples in 1999. As he says on his Apple Search website,"Heritage Apples are the apples of our grandparents and great-grandparents. Their uses were varied, for drying, frying, fresh eating, Halloween treats, baking, brandy, cider (hard and sweet), vinegar, livestock feed, and much more. The diversity of their shapes, sizes, colors, textures, tastes and times of ripening was amazing. For every early farm family an extensive orchard was essential. As more and more land was settled, a well developed orchard was a sure sign that civilization had reached the American frontier."
To date Tom Brown says over 900 apple varieties have been discovered, with an actual original tree being found in each case. The apple trees are saved for future generations to enjoy by donations of scionwood to heritage apple nurseries and preservation orchards, plus trees are grafted for return to their original counties.
He helped us find out more about the heritage 100 year old Gano apple trees at the Pigden Farm in Madoc Township. Harvest Hastings is planning a campaign to protect our heritage apples and raise awareness about prunning and granting apples. The Hastigns County Museum of Agricultural Heritage has a display about what was once a flourishing apple industry in this area.
More and more people are interested in heritage vegetables and some are discovered heritage apples. The townships along the Bay of Quinte had some of the earliest apple orchards in Upper Canada. You can still find ancient apple trees in farm yards or along field boundaries.
County of Hastings Historical Altas 1878
Terry Marsden of the Sustainable Places Research Institute and School of City and Regional Planning, University of Cardiff, Wales spoke at the Sustainable Local Food Systems in Europe and the Americas: Lessons for Policy and Practice conference in Ottawa on March 3. He highlighted the issues facing society; peak oil, water shortages, competition for land, loss of biodiversity, loss of topsoil, green house gases and the huge waste of food. He calls for a transition into an ecologically based economy, with water and waste minimization, and low carbon use.
Prof. Marsden describes the current agricultural system as being in crisis with the introduction of genetically modified organisms, and a growing divide between urban and rural. He calls for a transition or re-grounding to a new, more locally based system.
Much of what he said in Ottawa is in this paper Food System Futures: system transformations and constructed marginalities.
Harvest Hastings members met the Food Security Network of Hastings and Prince Edward counties at Grills Orchards on February 17 to find new ways of making local food available to those facing food insecurity,
We built a new small barn last year and as we did I was not at all clear how water would be supplied for the animals all year.
What is a city? A question I was asked as part of a university entrance interview some forty years ago. I was reminded of it the other day as I was cleaning the barn.
In our race to consume and grow we have become more remote and have been losing track of our actions and the consequences... At the same time as we consume more we rely more on others resulting in, it seems, more buffering.
I am focusing this two-part installment on things remote due to its core importance to everything else I want to explore on this journey. In this and subsequent discussions I will advocate for a judicious and ethical use of buffers as, you will see, we need them just not too many of them.