Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clever Corn: How Seeds Travel


Weeds have been one of the most common topics and chores discussed on the farm since starting to document this experience almost two years ago.  As we now know, weeds are simply plants that have unintentionally made there way into a plot of soil.  There are a number of ways in which seeds travel and as we saw a few weeks ago, some varieties extend for hundreds of miles.  Sometimes seeds are blown by the wind, dropped and kicked around, or moved by insects and animals all depending on how the plant has adapted and evolved to survive.  Sometimes it can be tough to understand how a seed can really move like this, but this week everything finally came together...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Foraging" for Mushrooms in your own backyard Part II: Let's Eat


According to Paul Stamets, one of the leading minds in the study of mycology, humans are more closely related to fungi than any other kingdom.  We both breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide and even share many of the same pathogens, which is why some of our greatest and most useful medical discoveries have come from fungi including our strongest and most important antibiotics, penicillin being the most common.  Medical, delicious and environmental mushroom discoveries seem to be sprouting up all over the world including the use of oyster mushroom mycelium to detoxify industrial and petroleum waste whether near a factory or a farm.  Mushrooms can be used to not only preserve our environment, but more importantly to help it flourish.  So mushrooms are incredible, good, let's celebrate by...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Foraging" for Mushrooms in your own backyard Part I


Last Friday the autumnal equinox led us out of summer and into the fall, a time that I generally find myself reflecting on the past 12 months and projecting what I want for the next 12 ahead.  For me, the beginning of fall is more of a yearend than December 31, with the summer's close feeling like the end of a chapter in my life.  All the winter planning and summer fun come to a culmination here in the fall.  School starts again, people come back to a more full time schedule at their office jobs, even the media industry reigns in their "summer fridays" (yes, this really exists).  There is a sense of completion and review as everyone discusses how they just spent their warm summer days, what went right and what they would look forward to changing for next year.  Completing my first summer season on a farm, I can see a natural connection between my fall feelings and those of the plants I am working with.  Although this is a time of completion, it is not a time of sadness longing for more summer days, instead it is a time of great celebration.  Winter planning led to spring seeding into summer growing and harvest all culminating here in fall where the full harvest can be enjoyed.  In my opinion, early fall is the best season for food.  The diversity of flavors is incredible and delicious.  Summer tomatoes, peppers and potatoes finally meet fall squash, kale and mushrooms.  All the summer plants are pushing out their last fruits and at the same time all the fall and winter crops are starting to show up.  A great celebration where all of the plant families come together.  Almost 5 months to the date, these amazing...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can't Nobody Hold Me Down...Oh no, I got to keep on movin


I can remember walking through Manhattan for most of my life thinking that people must have planted all the trees and plants throughout the streets, but now I realize that for most of my life, all plants were the same and I never thought twice about their origin or diversity.  It never occurred to me that some of this natural green was actually still fighting a battle in an age old war between New York City and nature.   Without even the simplest level of understanding or desire to see individuality, things can look similar and unfortunately, this can lead to some pretty narrow-minded thinking and potentially stereotyping or grouping.  Living in the hustle of New York City, it is easy to forget that the city was completely created by man, but that the land it sits on was once almost all natural, even some farmland hundreds of years ago.  Empty of concrete slabs, streetlights, buildings  and almost 9 million people.  Even with all that history hidden under tons of asphalt, nature still pokes its head out constantly reminding us that...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cob Oven Comeback


There's no better time than now...after months of talking and debating about when to use this beautiful cob oven we helped build last year, it was finally time to take the plunge and light it up.  Almost a year to the date of it's completion this infamous...