Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter..No vacation for a farmer.

This  has been an exceptionally cold winter for us Middle Tennesseans (I'm sure I don't have to tell you this), but despite the harsh cold, we farmers are have been weathering through! On Delvin Farms, we spent last Friday erecting another hoophouse that will allow us to extend the growing season. With hoophouses, we'll have tomatoes and strawberries earlier than the field crops and we'll have greens, onions, spinach, arugula later in the year. Our hoophouses have allowed us to continue providing produce at the year round Saturday farmers markets, Franklin at the Factory and West Nashville at 47th and Alabama Ave.
Despite our desire to bundle up and hibernate we've continued farming in this unusually harsh winter. A lot of people complain about it, but I wouldn't mind one really big snow- the kind that will make it impossible to leave the house- for at least a day! Before I joined the family farm full time I had my "DC Adventure" as I like to call it, and I taught middle school Literature outside DC for seven years. The adventure part is teaching middle schoolers..but besides that, my border collie, Luna, and I had many snow adventures living in Maryland. One year we got three feet of snow and I had to shovel a tunnel for Luna to go outside. She is a true Southern belle who loves her sweaters, even here in TN, and she managed to hold it for two days before she finally gave into that tunnel!
 But I point is that farmers don't have the option to call in sick or take a snow day, and these days we are preparing for the upcoming outdoor, seasonal markets such as the East Nashville Farmers Market! We're planting seed in our greenhouses and nursing tiny plants that will be transplanted in the fields in March and April, so that by May 11th we will be ready and waiting to serve East Nashville incredible, fresh, local vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads and community fellowship! Mark your calendar for May 11th! Check out our website,, follow us on twitter or become a fan on facebook, And if you're a vendor, visit the website for the vendor application and market rules. See you on May 11th!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This week in the news..GMO and stuff...

I'm sure you've all read or heard about the latest in the battle against Monsanto and GMO foods. Even though my family and I are certified organic farmers, I am guilty of enjoying a processed food or two (ie, Velveeta shells and cheese- that stuff is addicting!). However, in light of the recent news about genetically engineered food, I decided to educate myself a little more and vow to make better food choices and at the very least, for goodness sake, I will freeze and can more of my own produce! 
The first place I researched in my campaign to eat the organic food I grow ( I know, I know, it's crazy that I eat processed foods when I come home from the farm) was Monsanto.The Monsanto Company is a multinational agricultural biotechnology Corporation. They are the world's leading producer of  Round up and  of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto is responsible for the development and marketing of genetically engineered seeds,and bovine growth hormone(used to increase milk production in cows). What does this mean for certified organic farming?  I recently read an interesting article on that summed it up pretty well for me: with the exception of the “grass-fed and grass-finished” meat sector, most “natural” meat, dairy, and eggs are coming from animals reared on GMO grains and drugs, and confined, entirely, or for a good portion of their lives, in CAFOs. And using GMO alfalfa on organic farms guarantees to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S. (Common  
In short, I  learned to be even MORE grateful that I share a grass fed cow with my family from a local farmer we know and trust and I have a third in my freezer. And even though it makes me sad every winter when we make our own sausage, pork chops and bacon from the pigs I feed and kiss all summer, I am grateful for knowing what those pigs ate (they eat all organic,which is more than I can say about my own diet). 
What can you do? You can get to know your farmer! Go to a local farmers market, find a meat farmer for your cows and pigs, find a cheese maker, bread, milk,'s possible to supply all your basic needs at a local market or grocery store (Turnip Truck, Produce Place, etc)! And the best news is..Nashville has three year round Farmers Markets! So this Saturday, get to a market- Nashville, West Nashville or Franklin, and get yourself a farmer! And if you see me at the West Nashville market this weekend, kindly remind me to lay off the processed food ( I do, afterall, have a wedding dress to get into in April!).