Monday, February 26, 2007

Hello all of our gardening friends,
As some of you may have heard, we have just received an APUC (Agricultural Products Utilization Commission) grant for $9,000. This is for a research grant that we proposed in cooperation with Lake Region State College. The money will be used to purchase a stainless steel steam distillation unit, to pay student researchers and a head researcher at the college and pay their travel to and from the farm. We will work on finding the best conditions for distilling essential oils from the herbs that we grow. Hopefully this research will benefit many small companies across North Dakota that produce products using essential oils such as soap companies, health and beauty products companies and more. It also means a new demonstration at this years' Produce Party. Watch for more information on that as September draws closer.
It was fun to see the grant results in the paper. After our presentation Barry and I thought that we had blown it and there wasn't a snowballs chance in you know where that we would get the grant - and then WOW - There it was. Every season we throw away many many pounds of Basil, Spearmint, and other herbs that are either not restaurant quality or will not take a freeze in the fall. In this way we can utilize those herbs and turn them into a useful product for either gardendwellers Farm or for other small companies like Aromaprairie in Minot who makes the most delicious smelling body sprays.
In the middle of all of this excitement, we have been very busy dealing with health problems of our parents. My mother had a total knee replacement and Barry's father has had some heart and health problems that have landed him in a nursing home in Minnesota. It's nice that we are able to help but we wish we could do more. We're happy to report that both parents are on the road to recovery.
Spring is definitely close as we have also been very busy on the road with speaking engagements. All of the locals must be sick of hearing from us as this year most of our engagements have been farther away from home. We spoke in Aberdeen SD a few weeks ago and had a great time there. On Wednesday we will be speaking in Mandan at the Farm Credit Services Ag day and we are also booked later this month in New Rockford and LaMoure. Keep checking back to see where we'll be next.
Thanks to all who supported us through the grant process and through our busy times of late.