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MOF&G Cover Spring 2001

News and Events

Maine BPC Report
Organophosphates Detected in Downeast Rivers

MOFGA Notes
"Breaking Ground" at MOFGA’s Common Ground

Volunteer Profile
Scott Howell: A Hardworking Individual

Common Ground Country Fair
Praise from Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs
Opportunities for Experienced Cooks

  

  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSpring 2001   
 The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener – Spring 2001 Minimize

Lisa Turner
Lisa Turner of Laughingstock Farm.
Lamb photo.


Lisa Turner Extends the Harvest at Laughing Stock Farm
By Jane Lamb
Like many another organic true believer, Lisa Turner was captivated by the prospect of year-round fresh veggies as promised in Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Gardening. “It’s a fabulous book for families,” she says. “If you want to have your own little greenhouse, follow what he says exactly and it works out wonderfully.” She put up a 50- x 17-foot greenhouse. “We ate all we wanted but there was so much left in March, I knew we couldn’t possibly eat it all, so I decided to sell some.”

Former Members of Board of Pesticides Control Express Frustration with Status Quo
By Sharon Tisher
Two long-standing members of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC), both “public” representatives, retired this year. The MOF&G interviewed them about their thoughts in retrospect about their service.

Using Weeds as Companion Plants
By Sue Smith-Heavenrich
Certain plants, when grown in combination, enhance each other’s growth, repel insects, and increase fruit production. Called “companion planting,” the idea has always intrigued me. So every spring I carefully map out a garden plan complete with successive plantings and companion plants neatly pencilled in.

Growing Degree Days
By Glen Koehler
Farming and gardening activities can be planned according to the calendar, the moon, the flowering stages of lilacs, the size of leaves on the oak trees – or, possibly, Growing Degree Days (GDD). Degree days are a method of calculating how much heat has accumulated above a selected base temperature to affect biological processes that are driven primarily by environmental temperature.

Borealis breads
Borealis breads. English photo.

The Wheat Project
By Jean English
Jim Amaral and his wife, Dolores Carbonneau, started Borealis Breads in 1993 in Waldoboro. What began as a “Mom and Pop” operation, with 12 breads and about 12 wholesale accounts, quickly grew, so that by 1995 Amaral had bought a bakery building on Route 1 in Waldoboro; by 1997, he had a second bakery on Route 1 in Wells; and in ‘98 he became one of the first tenants in the Portland Public Market.

Seed Crops in the Northeast: Cucurbits
By Nicolas Lindholm
This is the second of five articles covering some of the most commonly produced and potentially profitable seed crops being grown by small-scale organic and biodynamic farmers in the Northeast. Here in the Northeast, many experienced seed growers think highly and talk fondly of crops in the cucurbit family (winter and summer squashes, melons and cucumbers). These are very popular seed crops. All of the growers that I visited in my research, and most farmers who have tried any type of seed growing, have usually tried something in this family.

Buying Organic
By Barbara Haumann
Here is a seemingly simple question: Is it true that organic products cost more than their conventional counterparts? The answer, however, is not so simple.

Echinacea intercropped at MOFGA
Echinacea intercropped at MOFGA's demonstration orchard.

Alley Cropping in MOFGA’s Demonstration Orchard
By Jack Kertesz
Imagine working with a blank slate of ground and feeling that the outcome might look like some small, twiggy trees surrounded by an undetermined amount of green vegetation of questionable quality. Now imagine this plot of land on MOFGA’s home base, a veritable garden in a fishbowl.

MOFGA and Maine Seed Companies Honor Maine School Groups
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and two Maine-based farm and garden supply companies have selected winners of the Common Ground Country Fair Information Quest contest, a program designed to provide a more fulfilling and educational experience for school groups attending the Fair.

The Harvest Fund of Maine Initiatives
An organic orchard is being established on Islesboro; a garden project for Portland’s homeless people is growing; and a sixth-grader from Veazie wants to grow “the biggest pumpkin in the world” at a new community garden in Bangor – all thanks to The Harvest Fund, a new granting program of Maine Initiatives.

Final National Organic Standards Released
By Eric Sideman
The National Organic Program (NOP) of the USDA released the final rule on organic production on December 20, 2000. This rule and the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 require that agricultural products labeled as organic originate from farms or handling operations certified by a state or private agency that has been accredited by the USDA.

Anne and Eric Nordell
Anne and Eric Nordell.

Rotating Out of Weeds: Anne & Eric Nordell’s System of Cover Cropping and Crop Rotations
By Jean English
In the early 1980s, when land was still “pretty cheap,” Eric and Anne Nordell bought their small farm in Trout Run, Pennsylvania – a place with steep, rugged terrain; a relatively short (for Pennsylvania) growing season; and no large, upscale markets nearby. A livestock operation would have been a good fit for this area, which does support numerous dairy farms, but that type of farming would have violated one of the Nordells’ three farming goals: to remain debt-free.

Fennel: It’s All Tasty
By Ellie MacDougall
Fennel is a difficult plant to categorize. In some ways, it could be considered an aromatic vegetable, such as celery, carrot and onion. In others, it possesses the characteristic of an herb. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It is a plant that seems unappreciated in America, since it is used so sparsely, but once you start experimenting with it, I bet you’ll come to like it.

St. Patrick’s Day Fare
By Betty Rivera
In his “Prayer and Potatoes,” John Tyler Pettee advises petitioning for peace, grace and wisdom but practically adds, “don’t forget the potatoes.” The Irish never do. Potatoes are the traditional Irish food that can be prepared in so many ways to accompany ham, lamb, salmon, and other favorite Irish foods at a St. Patrick’s Day brunch or evening meal.

Grow Your Own: Nuts
By Roberta Bailey
The wild nut forests of North America are gone, having succumbed to weather, blight, and the heavy harvesting of their valuable lumber. No longer can families go into the woods and gather burlap sacks full of nuts for winter keeping. Yet many nut trees are hardy in the northeast, and a few nut trees can produce bushels of nuts. Chestnuts, filberts, filazels, hazelnuts, tree hazels, ginkgo, hickory, nut pines, heartnuts, buartnuts, butternuts, black walnuts, and many oaks, including the edible, acorn-producing burr oak, can be grown in the Northeast.

Harvest Kitchen: From Soup to Nuts
By Roberta Bailey
The nut, a seed or fruit containing an edible and usually hard, oily kernel within a brittle shell, has played an important role in the history of human survival. Being easy to gather and able to keep indefinitely without processing, nuts fed prehistoric and primitive man through the lean times.

External Parasites: ‘Tis the Season
By Diane Shivera
Because animals have been indoors for much of the last four months, they are more likely to have developed skin problems than in spring, summer and fall. Not only is sunshine the best cure for skin diseases or parasites, but it may “brighten” animals’ spirits – thus improve the functioning of their immune system, and thus fight skin problems indirectly as well.

The Marketing Page: MOFGA Marketing Program
By Susie O’Keeffe
As MOFGA has long known, marketing is an indispensable part of guaranteeing the prosperity of Maine’s organic farmers. To date, we have offered help in this area whenever possible. We are continually matching farmers and buyers on a one-on-one basis, and we deliver marketing reports during the growing season. Last year we received a small grant to research the obstacles and opportunities faced by farmers, buyers and consumers. Yet, as the demand for local, organic goods expands, we need to do more.

Tips & Tidbits
Mushrooms May Improve Soil Quality

The 2000 MOF&G Index

Letters
Recognize Sacrifice and Commitment, by Larry Dansinger
Former Fair Vendor Talks Turkey, by Bob Neal
MOFGA Responds, by Heather Spalding

Prince Charles’ Broadfield Farm – a “GMO Free Zone”
Prince Charles’ Broadfield Farm – a “GMO Free Zone.”

Editorials

A New Organic Trip to England – and What Maine Might Learn
By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
In 1953, J.I. Rodale made a quick trip to England and to some of the early organizers of the Soil Association. He recorded his observations in An Organic Trip to England (1954, Rodale Press). I don’t have time to write a book, so I’m using my editorial space to share a few observations from a short visit to England in early January, when Eliot Coleman and I attended the Soil Association annual meeting and had three days of whirlwind farm visits.

Broadcast a Garden’s Worth of Seeds
By Eric Rector, 2001 MOFGA President
I want to thank the board and the membership for offering me the great honor and responsibility of being MOFGA’s president. I specifically want to thank Sharon Tisher for her outstanding term as president.

Pieces of the Puzzle
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
We are all pieces of a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle – four-dimensional, if you include time – and we all matter. That’s what I’ve been thinking as I’ve put this issue of The MOF&G together.

Proposed FDA Rules on GE Foods: “Transparency” Uncovered
By Sharon Tisher
On January 17, 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced two new proposals regarding biotech foods.

MOFGA Proposes Legislation on GE Cross Contamination
In this session of the Maine Legislature, MOFGA is proposing legislation entitled “An Act to Protect against Contamination of Crops and Wild Plant Populations by Genetically Engineered Plants.”

Reviews & Resources
A Certain Slant of Light, by Cynthia Thayer
NRAES Guides Available
Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades
The Sustainable Vegetable Garden
Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties
Dead Daisies Make Me Crazy
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms


    

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