Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
We had a great time and met a ton of wonderful people. We even ate local foods at each of our meals which was fabulous. In the end though I got more than good food - I also got very inspired to keep doing what Barry and I have always done - trying to stay local.
Did you know that more than 13,000 kids in North Dakota are undernourished? Did you know that to feed all the people in ND that are hungry or concerned about their ability to have food on the table would mean increasing all the reserves in all the food banks until they were at least DOUBLE what they are now - or to around 9.1 million pounds of food?
Fifty percent of North Dakotans have a chronic illness, 12% have diabetes and 77% do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Diabetes health care costs in ND alone are over $209 million.
If 1/3 of all ND churchs found just 10 volunteers each and each volunteer planted 8 tomato plants and each plant produced 15 pounds of tomatoes that were valued at $2 a pound - they could provide ND food banks with $1.7 million worth of food! Just this last week my mother told me that her Christmas present to me was a contribution to the Great Plains Food Bank - I'm so happy! What a great way to support local foods.
Other ways include participating in farmers markets, school gardens, and CSA's. We've just started a CSA in Bottineau at the college. For more information on that please call Kirsten Moseng at 701-228-5649. School gardens are also a great way to get younger people - who are especially at risk for many health/diet related diseases involved in living better. And last but not least- all of these things contribute to a better economy in our communities and a better quality of life. For more information contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture - Sue Balcom - she's really fired up!
PS - I've eaten one or more North Dakota/locally produced meals every day for the last 10 days and I feel great!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Seems this last week my saying has been "I'll just slip on my cape and tights and take care of that for you". We've been up to our eyeballs in herbs and customers, classes and cooking, tours and geocachers, weeds and grass.
We've had a lot of fun though. We had an excellent cooking with herbs class last week with a few new faces added to the mix. The food, of course, was wonderful and everyone had great questions and a good time. Today we are preparing for a garden tour and luncheon with more great food made with our own fresh herbs. We've had some rain here lately so the herbs are loving it and they look fabulous! Our customers will be very happy.
The last two weeks at the Grand Forks farmers market have been our busiest ever. It really shows that people are changing the way they cook and eat. The media coverage regarding eating local doesn't hurt either. I saw on the news last night that our new customer, Rhombus Guys in Grand Forks, won first place in a pizza tasting contest - hurray for them! I wonder if our fresh herbs were on their winning pizza? We also saw another of our good customers on TV, Chef Kim Holmes of Sanders 1907 in Grand Forks, as he worked to hold a benefit for violence prevention. The benefit was at his restaurant and featured local celebrities as wait staff working for tips to benefit the CVIB. Congrats to all and we hope you raised a lot of money - again, I hope our fresh basil was in the great pasta that Chef Holmes is known for.
We've had our share of tours lately with two large busses last week and this week we are awaiting the arrival of a family of 6 who are on a learning based vacation. They are coming to us all the way from Florida and will be with us for three days and three nights. We'll have great fun meeting this new family and getting to know them.
I'm also trying to prepare for our annual Produce Party. Be sure to keep watch on the web site as August 30th approaches. We'll post our agenda for the day and hopefully highlight some of our special vendors and presenters. Remember, we're always looking for more produce vendors so if you have a little extra to share - come and join us. Booth space for new vendors is $20 and for returning vendors $10. Last year every vendor was very happy with their sales for the day and definitely made thier money back. In fact, we've become so good at drawing a crowd that this year we will have vendors from farther away than ever. Booths have been reserved for vendors from Grand Forks, Minot, Bottineau, Rugby and of course the local area. Be sure to join us won't you?
That's all that I have time for now - gotta run and put on my cape and tights and take care of our customer orders for Minot - Miracle Mart Dakota Square, Marketplace Foods, Miracle Mart Arrowhead, 10 North Main and a few more orders yet to come in!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The winds have been excellent for flying my kite and the evenings have been great for campfires and relaxing. Our weather is also great because you can see it! Other states and other places have trees, high-rises, structures, things to get in the way of seeing your weather. It's great to watch the clouds roll in, the lightning flash across the sky, the rain roll over the prairies, and yes of course the rainbows. In the winter we enjoy northern lights and all year long the night skies are filled with star and often meteors and falling stars.
Ultimately, our weather is really a balance, and that's what life is all about, balance. You have to learn to lean into the wind so you can enjoy sitting back to watch the stars. Take time this summer to truly enjoy our North Dakota weather.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
The rhubarb harvest needed to be delayed until the weekend of May 30-June 3 or 4th as although the calendar said it was Memorial Day - the rhubarb doesn't read calendars. As far as the rhubarb was concerned it is right on schedule. We'll work on harvest this coming weekend so that means stretching exercises for all of us in preparation for the big harvest. Mom has already started harvesting little bits from the field and has made two pies already. I'm sure we'll have our fill of rhubarb goodies during harvest. She always feeds us so well - thanks Mom!
We're also gearing up for a great summer of classes and tours. Our first tour is booked for June 7th when the spouses of the fire fighters attending the convention in Devils Lake will come out for the morning and see what we've been up to. Other private and public classes and tours are scheduled throughout the summer so we're looking like a real happening place in the next few months.
Yesterday I got the seeds in the ground. I was hoping to plant the perennial herbs out today but with a chance of frost tonight I think I'll hold off. Speaking of herbs - we were able to harvest a bit of lemon balm which our new bar owner Kat featured at her Grand Opening on Saturday. She specialed the gardendwellers Tea (a long island iced tea made with rhubarb juice and lemon balm) and it went over smashingly. Kat had a great crowd for the opening of Kat's Korral and we were really happy to have another business in Churchs Ferry. Best of luck to Kat!
All summer the ND Tourism Division will be sponsoring a Saturday segment on KFGO featuring ND Tourism attractions. We'll be calling in on at least one show but everyone should give a listen and learn all of the great things to do in North Dakota. With gas prices so high, it is time to explore what's in your own backyard. And by the way - check out our schedule of classes on the 'come out and play' page of our web site. You'll find plenty to keep you busy in our backyard!
We'll see you all soon - I'm off to do some weeding.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The snow is almost gone and now the work begins. With the nice weather this week we've started doing the spring clean up. This is where having our son home will really come in handy. We've been without our 'free' help for a couple years and we really missed it. I made a list yesterday of things that needed to be done, it had 22 things on it. Of course, one of them was keeping our little dog Ida busy so she would leave me alone while I work. Now that I work from home she's determined to make sure I don't miss a break or lunch time and that plenty of playing ball is involved in those breaks.
Yesterday I seeded the snapdragons, sweet annie, anise hyssop and some salvia. It's kind of late I know but our snapdragons are always blooming before we're ready for them so this year I held off. The first round of herbs that were seeded weeks ago are now ready for transplant and the mobile greenhouse has made its first two trips outside. True signs of spring.
On Saturday we had our first class of the spring in the classroom. We had an 'Artists Spring Cleaning'. There were four artists that brought their projects to work on but mostly we just shared stories and laughed. It was potluck and everyone brought food so by the end of the day our tummies and our souls were full. It was great to share laughter and good ideas with friends. Thanks to Joan Youngerman, Deb Carlson, Kathy (Klang) Benson, and Karon Nelson for sharing the day with us.
We look forward to many more classes this spring and summer and hope to see all of you here!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
On Friday, March 21st, another Churchs Ferry landmark disappeared from the landscape. The Copeland farmstead - remaining buildings anyway - were burned down. As I understand it the old buildings will be replaced by new grain bins. A sign of the agricultural prosperity of the past year I suppose. I know it is for the best but I can't help but be a little sad. The old barns were very picturesque and made a great photo opportunity in the fall. On the bright side, it will hopefully eliminate the confused tourists we've had in the past who thought the the farmstead was gardendwellers and would eventually use their cell phones to call us and say "where are you?" The Mayor and City Council had warned us the buildings were to be burned and told us that we could salvage what we wanted from the buildings before the fire so we did do a little scavenging. We brought home some sturdy wood pieces that will become raised planters and a bed frame to make a bench. Also in our loot was a few old window frames we will use to make a shade structure for the farm and a cold frame for our own use. All in all I guess progress is good but I still can't help but look for the great old barn when I round the corner onto Walker Ave. (old 281) and head north. I know the care and sweat that went into building that barn and can't help but think about all the eggs from the chickens in the chicken coops and by the way - we also found a tin sign 'A 4-H Leader Lives Here'. Having been involved with 4-H myself and through my son, I know the pride that sign embodied at one time, the volunteer hours and community involvement that it represented. This wasn't just a few old buildings, it was a home. It was a home full of love and caring. Hopefully the replacements, although not as pretty to look at, will some day signify a prosperous agriculture in North Dakota and be as meaningful as what is now gone.
Monday, March 10, 2008
The web site now has a new look, in time for the upcoming season. We're hoping to get some feedback from viewers. If you are looking over the site and have any input or find errors, please let us know. The web site is another thing we do by ourselves so almost everything is changeable.
Tomorrow I will speak on a panel discussion at a tourism conference in Devils Lake. It's going to be a lot of fun and as I understand it, they have a pretty good number of people attending. Then this weekend I am speaking in Wahpeton, next week in Bismarck/Mandan, and the following weekend in Beulah. March will fly by and take us to April when it will be time to plant more seedlings and wish spring was much closer. Take care all,
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The past several nights we've been working on finalizing our 2008 schedule. It's a lot of work to coordinate calendars, examine past classes, line up other speakers, and examine costs to set prices but finally I think we have it complete. We are still waiting to hear from one other possible presenter but othre than that - the classes are out there and ready for registration. What a nice feeling.
I'm not one to get spring fever but this year it seems to have grabbed me. I can't wait to get outside and play. Speaking of which - that's kind of our new slogan here at the farm - 'Come out and Play'. We hope that everyone will take time in one fashion or another to join us this summer for a play date. With the completion of the classroom and some great opportunities with other companies, we're really looking forward to the possibilities this summer. Now all we have to do is get the seeds ordered.
I know, I know - we're kind of behind on the seed order. We know WHAT to order - it's just the when to find the time thing. This last summer we were lucky enough to get another greenhouse (thanks Mom!) so we'll be able to double our growing room. It's just another small temporary house but it still opens lots of options for us. Barry has been reading up on greenhouses, hot houses, and cold frames and is seriously looking at ways to extend or get a jump on our season. They might not happen this year but I'm sure some where down the line he'll build or construct something that will help us serve our customers for a longer period of time and will keep jack frost at bay for even a few weeks.
We're very proud that this Saturday (Feb. 2nd) in ND and Friday (Feb. 1) in other states, Market to Market has decided to re-broadcast the Churchs Ferry piece they filmed last spring and aired for the first time last fall. The reporter, Nancy Crowfoot, said they had great response about the piece so they decided to run it again. Great timing for us - let's hope it sparks the interest of a lot of possible visitors for this summer. We'd love to see them all! It's great fun having people show up at the farm from all over America. Meeting our visitors is one of the best things about this job.
Thinking ahead to summer - this year is Churchs Ferry's 125th Anniversary Celebration. We'd love to put together a calendar that we could have available on our web site but we only have about 6 photos of Churchs Ferry from times gone past - anyone who reads this and has a photo of our great little city and would like to share it - please let us know. You could scan it and email it to us with a description if you have it or give us a call and we'll figure out how to get it from you. Hope to hear from lots of people on this - wouldn't that be fun?
Anyway - right now it's 50 below wind chill and freezing outside, think I'll just go look at another seed catalog and pretend it's May.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Well, this new year has already brought about some interesting changes in our lives and that will affect our farm in a good way we hope.
I (Holly) have left Lake Region State College after 8 great years. It was a good run at LRSC but a new challenge awaits, one that I hope will benefit the farm as well as my well-being. I am now working for MSU-Bottineau as their Director for the Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture. It is our hope to raise $4 million to build a series of courses and greenhouses that will research organic and specialty vegetable production and its distribution in North Dakota. I don't know about you but I'm tired of the shriveled, wobbly veggies that land in our grocery stores from thousands of miles away - especially in winter. I'd love to see year round production of high quality veggies right here in the state, that would make us all a lot healthier.
My new job allows me to work mostly from home with a weekly trip up to Bottineau. In this way I should be around to move hoses, start watering, or give basic information to tourists this summer when our season on the farm begins. Hopefully working from home will be a great way to look after the well being of the farm and work on a project that means a lot to me at the same time. For now, the new job is keeping me busy. I am scheduled to be on the road to a variety of organic and farming conferences from now until the end of March. Please check out the calendar to see which conferences I will just be attending and which conferences I will be presenting at - they are getting too numerous to mention here.
Barry has also started the year out with a change. With the retirement of Bob Dennison from the Towner County Record Herald and the subsequent sale of that paper to Nordmark Publishing, Barry has been moved from printing in Towner at the Mouse River Journal to printing in Cando. He really enjoys not having to drive all the way to Towner (which he still does on occasion to complete printing jobs for them) and he says the people of Cando have all been SO nice to him.
As a part of the new changes, we will be getting satellite Internet. YEAH!!! I can't wait. What that means to you, our customers, is a new better designed web site. Thanks to our young IT department at the farm we will be bringing you an updated look along with the chance to purchase gardendwellers FARM items. We're particularly looking forward to being able to offer you calendars and useful items with photos we've taken here in beautiful Churchs Ferry. So check back often - the satellite Internet begins at the end of January and we hope to have the new site built by the end of March.
May your winter be a blessed rest in preparation for the spring into action of May.