FOOD & AGRICULTURE
Notes on Saving Seeds:
Long-time Potsdam, NY gardener Mary-Ann Cateforis shares her years of experience and experimentation with us in this detailed and entertaining "white paper" on seed saving! Click here to view!
Also, a general, non-local, but amazing resource that covers planting, inbreeding, harvest and processing seeds of many varieties is HERE.
Notes on Planting Seedlings & Transplants:
Dulli Tengeler has been gardening at Birdsfoot Farm for 20 years and shares with you the basics of plant starts. Click here to view!
Much more information also available here:
Scroll down to the "Gardening & Food Preservation" area for many resources!
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Local Bees & BeeKeeping
Join our Bee Discussion Groups for Novices, or Advanced and/or All Natural (chemical-free) beekeepers on the 4th Wednesday of the month -- also, click here to view our Resource page,
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Hints about soil types and more! (click on title above to view this Sub-Page)
UShare Vegetable Information Sheets
Very thorough informational sheets on over a dozen of the more popular garden veggies in the North Country, pulled together from different sources by the UShare garden group at the Canton, NY Unitarian-Universalist Church.
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning
Click here to view these 7 documents covering both water-bath and pressure canning of all manner of foodstuffs, including meat, acidic foods, fruits, vegetables, pickled foods, jams and jellies.
Interested in Raising Chickens?
Click here for a pretty good little primer on how-to and what to expect.
Eggs from hens raised where they can eat seeds, grass and bugs are far more nutritious than eggs from confined hens in factory farms. MOTHER EARTH NEWS research shows that eggs from hens raised on pasture have:
For detailed information on the attributes of over 75 chicken breeds, check out this link.
Food, Cooking & Nutrition
Food traditions brought to you by the Weston A. Price Foundation. www.westonaprice.org.
Note that some vegetarians are not happy with the philosophy of this organization. Other folks in the area are into it. We include all resources that may be of value to you, and let you determine how best to use the information provided.
Small-scale Grain Growing
This book review and other links will give you some "food for thought" on growing grains in your own backyard! www.ethicurean.com/2009/02/04/small-scale-grain-raising.
Note that some celiacs sufferers may not be happy with this information. Other folks in the area are into it. We include all resources that may be of value to you, and let you determine how best to use the information provided.
Inter-planting Crops for Variable Harvest is Easy!
The folks at the Seed Library share some tips with you on how, what and when to plant to keep your crops productive all season long!
Note that some "future primitives" are not happy with what farming has done to/for our civilization. Other folks in the area are into it. We include all resources that may be of value to you, and let you determine how best to use the information provided.
Home Maple Syrup Production
Boiling Down: It is recommended that you build a simple outdoor stove for boiling down - it is not recommended to do (most) of it in the house, unless you like peeling wallpaper, sugar-laden steam condensation on everything in your house, or trying to clean overboiled sugars out of every nook and cranny of your stove when you get that phone call or the kid takes a fall, etc.
There's a good chance one of these things will happen - for every gallon of syrup you make, about 40 gallons of water must boil off in to the environment; where will it all go?
Check out the easy outdoor stove they show you how to make at this site: www.tapmytrees.com/coprsap.html.
Another informative site: http://ohioline.osu.edu/for-fact/0036.html.
Neither site talks much about why you should finish off the syrup in the kitchen instead of outdoors though. Here's the scoop: you need to VERY carefully regulate the temperature just before bottling. Where we are, in the St. Lawrence River Valley, if it goes over 219 degrees, it will crystallize in the jar, and be a bit of wasted effort (not entirely, but not nice pourable stuff for your pancakes!)
The idea is to get it up to 217, 218 degrees outdoors on a wood fire (which is harder to regulate the temp) and then move it indoors and "finish it" with a more easily regulated stove temperature, with the thermometer stuck right in it until you see it hit the magic 219; then remove from heat and bottle quickly. If you accidentally go over 219 before bottling, no worries! Add more sap and bring it back up to temperature. (Adjust your boiling point for your elevation, of course.)
Thanks to Old Market Farm Hardy Roses (plus select northern-hardy berry bushes, fruit trees, hops and garlic) for some local "flavor" in writing this up!
Note that some diabetics may not be happy with this information. Other folks in the area drink raw sap straight from the tree. We include all resources that may be of value to you, and let you determine how best to use the information provided.
G. M. O. ’s
("Genetically Modified Organisms" being added to our food):
Learn about the various products that do and do not contain GMO’s. www.nongmopoject.org
A tutorial and tips on GMO's and how to avoid them as much as possible. Includes a Shopper's Guide of companies and products committed to being GMO-free, by category of foodstuff. Print-able 20 page guide from The Center for Food Safety is here: http://truefoodnow.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/cfs-shoppers-guide.pdf. The Shoppers’ Guide is also on a free app for iPhone and Androids (see page 20 of Guide).
...BEFORE IT HAD A NAME:
"Value Added" means foods that are processed (canned, frozen, dried, smoked, etc.)
SPIN-Farming 2.0: Production Planning & Crop Profiles
quantifies exactly how much money a farmer can generate for 40 crops
grown on less than an acre. SPIN stands for “small plot intensive,” and
it is a system that combines intensive production with a direct
marketing business model. The book is available on the website, either
as a download or hard copy. The SLP isn't endorsing this system (we
haven't used it), but it does sound interesting. Here's the site for
more information: http://www.spinfarming.com/
A FREE online course for beginning farmers, "Acquiring Your Farm" takes farm seekers through a comprehensive,step-by-step investigation of options and strategies focused on access to land and farms. There are 7 topic modules. Each topic is loaded with content, plus stories and resources. Every topic includes tools, worksheets and checklists. The course is designed so that each learner can come away with a customized farm acquisition action plan.
Start2Farm.gov is a new (March 2012) website for beginning farmers, a USDA-Farm Bureau collaboration to develop a Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse for new and beginning farmers.
Agricultural Agencies and Helpful Organizations
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
is a comprehensive working lands conservation program designed to
protect and improve natural resources and the environment for
generations to come. CSP provides technical and financial assistance to
farmers to actively manage and maintain existing systems and to
implement additional conservation activities on land.
Farmers Market Federation of New York: www.nyfarmersmarket.com
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: http://sustainableagriculturecoalition.org
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: The latest in sustainable agriculture and organic farming news, events, and funding opportunities. www.attra.ncat.org
New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets: www.agmkt.state.ny.us
Northern New York Agricultural Development Program: The site offers informational resources, press releases and fact sheet for a wide variety farming topics. www.nnyagdev.org
NY Farms!: www.nyfarms.info
Small Farm Resources: www.smallfarms.cornell.edu/pages/resources/organizations/orgs.cfm
Sustainable Farming: Know your Farmer, How the USDA Can help: USDA
programs/grants can be confusing and most Farmers and rural
conservation / development groups are unaware of what the USDA has to
United States Department of Agriculture: www.usda.gov