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Changes at CSA Farmers Market

Hi All!!

This is the  year for change!  Maybe too much at one time, there is actually a reason for the changes.

What the changes will eventually mean for you!  Website–Pre-orders of berries in large quantities, more reasonably priced home deliveries, rewards points for customers who order regularly, having the ability to go to your account and see if your invoice is paid.  We will be able to develop a better recipe section, the ability to see the actual status of your order and how it was paid.  Customers can stop at the on farm store and buy what they want.  The list is actually of advantages is actually quite long.

We are moving our office into a building next to where we pack orders and our walk in cooler is stored.  The building was built right after World War 2 and it takes Dale about a month to cut enough wood just to heat the building.  Hopefully this year we will actually be able to get to the ceiling to work on it, so possibly we can cut down on how much it takes to heat the building.

We also put a store front in the building where the office is, since there are a lot of local people who want to stop by the farm and purchase items.  Each week the store gets a little better and we are working on our signage, when we have time.

We have changed the relationship with the participating farmers.  The original agreement was never fair.  One farmer who might have $40 worth of spice sells was expected to put in the same amount of time and percentage for the market as the farmer who had $700 worth of meat sells.  The farmers that did their share of work or more often did not have time to grow and had fewer sells, where as others ones grew more and had more sells, but did less.  The new relationship is determining the work requirements and percentages given to operate the market more based on actual sells, the types of the products and the actual participation (example like helping at farmers markets etc. which many of them never did.)

The website; with this we are going in the right direction; it is just that we hit some BIG BIG road blocks.  The person that was working on the website went on Maternity leave (she had a beautiful baby girl) and the person that was to help take over was somewhat a fish out of water and some actions had some unintended consequences that set us back by a lot.  After the last big crash I came to the conclusion that I must learn as much as I can about how these content based website systems and be less dependent on others, so I have plugged myself into a lot of tech supports  organizations that are teaching me.  A lot of people are wondering why we are leaving the old website, especially since the new site is no where near where I want it to be.  The other site was never designed for our application, was never going to evolve with us and had a great number of limitation, although I do miss many things about it, with the new site I have a great deal of hope for the future after we get past all these stumbling blocks.

I will am being interviewed on an internet radio station Friday Morning Empire Radio Now on 7/21/2017 at 9:52am EST.

Lets hope I am rested and do not babble like I am when I am overly tired.

Overly tired is another reason for the changes.  I personally was carrying so much of the work load to keep us going that I realized due to lack of sleep I was putting my self at risk of a heart attack.  So everyone else has to step up to the plate and help carry the load.  The participating farmers were mostly unaware as to how much background work it takes to operate the market.  They were SPOILED.

Sincerely

Marian Listwak

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FARM TOUR (Aug 8, 1:30pm)

We will at White Pine Farm will be having a farm tour on Aug 8, 1:30 pm.  It will be lasting about an hour possibly more, it is also where CSA Farmers Market is centered.

We are in North Branch just north of Lapeer by about 13.5 miles or just north of Imlay city by about 16 miles.

We would like those that are coming to call 810-688-7442 or email us at whitepineorganicfarm@gmail.com and let us know you are coming.

You will have an opportunity to see the hoop houses, the cattle and the outdoor crops.  We welcome questions about organic farming practices and more.  We also love to hear suggestions any experiences you may have had.

Address: 2933 Burnside Rd., North Branch 48461.  Go to the building that looks like a barn with an attached greenhouse for growing plants on the front of it.

 

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Organic Farming

So what does this green guy have to do with organic farming. LOTS!! He is a ferocious aphid eater and if you see him flying around your out door nightlight give him a little thank you. Whatever you do, do not smash him because he will leave a stench and you will have more aphids.
My mother made sure we learned out beneficial insects and reminded us how important this guy was to her garden as well as many other insects (she was also our entomology 4-H leader).
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what organic farmers do so much so that once I overheard a conversation from a conventional grower telling a customer that certified organic farmer spray all the time and are allowed to spray of all things nicotine. Wow!!! interesting I have never heard of that search OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) and you will see the word RESTRICTED.
Times have changed, understanding ecology is almost becoming a thing of the past, when once entomology was a popular field for 4-H members it is now just barely a waning glimpse. It is too easy for people to ask what do I use to kill this or that with rather than to learn mother nature have to offer. They offer lots, including this little green mega eater you see above.

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Organic Inspector Visit Today

Each year an inspector comes to visit the farm.  It would be fun to have a video of the inspection so customers could understand what farmers go through to be able to prove that they are using farming practices that are healthiest for you and for the environment.  They visit fields, go through your cabinets, look at your records (sometimes including bank records), ask a lot of questions and they fill out a report that they send to the certifying agency.  The inspector does not make the judgement the certifying agency does and often they follow up with the farmers and ask more question.  There are many certifying agencies in this country, although there are non in Michigan.  We are White Pine Farm use OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Alliance).

A service repairmen came by the other day and was so proud of himself because he only eats organic, he is sure of the that because he goes to an indoor all year around farmers market.  It is kind of sad in a way, often the assumption is that when you go to a market all the farmers are organic and all the farmers are growing their own produce.

Ideally we should work on educating the consumer, although that is tough to do without seeming to be a naysayer.

It is unfortunate that most the produce in the indoor markets are neither local and not organic.  Here we are again, going through the rigors, the restrictions and all the work to grow food that is free of toxins so both our customers, our selves and our planet can remain healthy; and again here we are having to see those that care more about their profit both unintentionally and very often intentionally misleading consumers.

 

 

 

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Open For Ordering Until Monday July 3 (10pm), For order pick-up on July 6-9

Wow!!!  The weather seems so nice and warm.  Who could have imagined that this warm and cold and warm and cold again could have such an impact on your local food.  We can adapt by putting a coat on layers of clothes but the plants and the trees get a little confused they cannot put layers of clothing and they have to rely on us to help them get past the changing climate.

Because of these weather changes Almars has lost 90% of their crop this year, I am not sure about the other fruit growers in the state.  The plants say it is warm, the sun is shining it must be time for me to blossom.  Each time it gets warm they grow a little more and than get slammed with a heavy frost and die.  It took our asparagus out that same weekend, although they have deep roots so they will come back and produce.  The frequency that our fruit growers in Michigan have been losing crops to frost is happening more and more often as compared to in the past.  So much for food security.

The tart cherries from North Star Organics is the absolute last of them.  Tart Cherries offer great health benefits especially for your joints.  The kind of joints that you use to hang the laundry or bend down to pick up toys.

Did you know that those wonderful red cherries in Maraschino Cherries are actually yellow cherries.  True sweet red cherries are difficult to grow so instead the industry grows the yellow sweet cherries.  Now what American do you know that wants yellow cherries, Cherries are suppose to be red RIGHT?  To keep the populations happy the non organic industry soaks the cherries in Bleach (chlorine-you know that stuff in the hallide family on the periodical chart-that according to Dr. Brownstein is stored in our breast) and than they die the cherries red.  Just that alone should make you think twice before eating non organic cherries.  I shudder each time I think about you.

 

 

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Sweet Potato Planting Time

It is time to plant sweet potatoes, this is one of those plants that go in the ground latest in the planting season because they are the least cold weather tolerant.  This sweet potato planting will be occurring the next couple of days.  If anyone would like to get their hands in the organic soil and plant sweet potatoes call us at 810-688-3192 to find the times you can join us.

NEW pick-up location.  We have a booth at the Davison Farmers Market and will have a pick-up location on Saturdays there.  Please check us out on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.

 

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Memorial Day

Hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day.    The weather is warming up and many of  you are out planting your gardens this weekend, some are visiting cemeteries and putting flowers on loved ones graves, having family cookouts, or heading up north.  The farmers are also busy, they are planting, tilling fields and arguing with many of those tiny creatures that eat the crops they grow.

A humming bird was trapped in one of our green houses, we managed to catch it and let it go, I sure hope it found a good food source quickly after the release as I am sure getting trapped took a lot of energy.

The squash has been planted and Sweet Potatoes slips should be arriving soon, the beds for them are ready so they can be planted quickly depending on the weather and the cattle are out on fresh pasture.

CSA Farmers Market is going through some changes, in the long run it will be for the better.  The website is now in the hands of another programmer as the first one just had a baby.   Expect to see improvements, one noticeable improvement is in the search on the “Shop the Market” page, it is worth a try.

I have been too busy to visit our swamps and woodlands lately, although I am sure they are filled with life.   As organic farmers we like to protect our environment and work with nature when farming.  I find it good to know that our farm sits at the top of the Flint River Watershed and the way we choose to farm has an impact on all those downstream from us.

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Pickled Garlic Scapes

These are easy “refrigerator pickles,” which means they require no heat processing but must be kept in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • About 15 garlic scapes
  • 1 dried chile (optional)
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
    Preparation
  • Trim the garlic scapes, curl them up, and place them in a pint jar with a tight fitting lid.
  • Work the chile, if you’re using it, into the jar with the garlic scapes.
  • In a small saucepan heat the vinegar, salt, and sugar with 1 cup of water until simmering and salt and sugar are dissolved.
  • Pour the warm vinegar mixture over the garlic scapes to cover them (you may not use all of the vinegar mixture). Seal the jar. Let it sit until cool, then store it in the refrigerator for at least 6 weeks and up to six months.