Tom - Spring Tour for Organic Rock Star Farmers
High Mowing Seeds at Your Farmstand!
The Spuds Are Back In Town! Learn how to grow your own organic potatoes!
Windcrest Farm - Customer Profile
Greetings From Tom
Early spring has seriously arrived up here in VT, with everything happening two weeks ahead of time. It is certainly nice, but I have gone from feeling ahead because of the extra time to get spring chores done, to feeling behind because seedlings are growing faster and we are trying to take advantage of the early spring to get out earlier. I barely have found the time to write this little note to all of you (you should see the emails from my co-worker telling me how late I am with dictionary definitions of the meaning of the word "deadline"). The reality is that spring is always crazy and there is no amount of planning, perfect weather or anything else that can make it not so busy. And, after a winter of rest from growing crops and tending the soil, I think that we also want it to be busy - we are anxious to get out there and plow and plant. It feels good to be weary after a long day of work and it is the kind of work that always brings me more energy and excitement for the season ahead. So, the rush of the growing season begins again for all of us fueled by a passion for growing food for ourselves and our communities, maybe a little bio-diesel in our tractors and a hot cup of coffee on a cool spring morning. This is going to be one of the best summers ever, because never have the people of this country been more excited about what we are all doing. Organic and sustainable farmers in this country are becoming rock stars and we are all about to go on another nine month tour. First stop is the greenhouse, then the upper field, then the washhouse, then the market and finally bed. So, off we all go! Happy spring and rock on!
President & Founder
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The Spuds Are Back In Town - by Holly Simpson, Sales Associate
"What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow." A. A. Milne (1882-1956)
It’s potato planting time! Over 6,000 years ago, the Incans are said to have worshiped potatoes as a sacred food source. High in fiber, a good source of vitamin C, a versatile comfort food and with good storing capacity, you’ll worship your home-grown, hand-dug potatoes too!
High Mowing sells nine varieties of organic seed potatoes – early, mid and late season – in many colors – red, blue, white, cream – suitable for storage or for fresh-eating as tender “new” potatoes.
Spanish soldiers carried them on ships to prevent scurvy. Brought to America, by way of Irish and Scottish immigrants, these tubers are now the world’s fourth largest food crop. But no need to dip into the commodity pool to get your potatoes – growing your own can be easy and fun!
Start by designating a decent sized space in your garden space. Choose an area where the soil is fertile and not heavy with clay. Manure or compost are suitable fertilizers. Plant the potatoes anywhere from 2-4 weeks before the last frost date in your area. The earlier you plant, the more attention you will want to pay to the overnight temperatures. Cover the potatoes well if a frost threatens.
Sow the potatoes approximately 3-6 inches below the soil and cover well. Seeds should be 10-12 inches apart. Make sure that there is at least one eye, if you are cutting larger potatoes into pieces for seed to bud. For a more substantial crop, 30 feet of row length will produce 200 good spuds and then some. A larger crop will ensure that you can enjoy your crop from approximately mid-July until it is time to harvest for storage.
Once the buds have emerged from the soil, you need to hill the potatoes, building soil around the plant and leaving the top of the plant exposed for more growth. Then after 3 weeks or so, hill them again. After about 7-8 weeks, you can dig up new potatoes. These tiny baby potatoes are tender and delicious, roasted or grilled. When the plants begin to die back in September or so, you will want to harvest the potatoes within 2-3 weeks. Cure potatoes for several weeks in a cool, dry and dark place, particularly somewhere they won’t freeze. Store them in a root cellar or in a dark room that is between 38-40 degrees so they won’t soften and sprout.
Your crop of potatoes can last for (at the very least) nine months, therefore eliminating the need to purchase store bought potatoes that are shipped in from thousands of miles away. If you have some decent potatoes left in April, you may want to plant them for seed the following season. Your ambition will reward you with a tangible and edible treat and perhaps even something to honor when eating on a cold winter night.
For more information on planting potatoes, as well as info on pests and diseases, check out the High Mowing Organic Seeds resource section on potatoes.
Windcrest Farm, NC - Customer Profile - Gwenael Engelskirchen, Retail Sales Manager
We have the coolest customers. Seriously. I am continuously impressed by the creativity and diversity of our customers' farms and gardens. So we decided to share some of their stories with you in the form of customer profiles in our e-newsletter.
Early last month, I attended the Organic Growers’ School Conference in Asheville, NC. There I met Mary Roberts Tarlton, who purchases High Mowing Organic Seeds for her seedling and start business.
Windcrest Farm supplies certified organic vegetable, herb and flower starts to market farmers and home gardeners. On their 14 acre farm and greenhouse located in Monroe, NC, 30 miles south of Charlotte, Ray Tarlton and Mary Roberts Tarlton grow over 250,000 heirloom vegetable, flower and herb plants each year. Windcrest Farm offers a list of over 150 vegetable, flower and herb seedlings, grafted tomatoes and onion transplants, home gardener collections such as the Sassy Salsa Collection, the Heritage Tomato Collection and the Edible Flower Collection and a Custom Grown program.
“Our plugs and plants are raised organically in Monroe, NC to provide growers who do not have the space, time, expertise or room to raise transplants from seed. These transplants are great for both novice and experienced gardeners alike and are all raised without the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical sprays and fertilizers. All of our plants are grown in soil that is rich in natural minerals and OMRI approved pure worm castings. Throughout their development, our plants are fed a balanced diet of sea-based fertilizers” says Mary.
“As a USDA Certified Organic greenhouse I chose varieties from High Mowing seeds knowing that all of the seeds in the catalog are certified, untreated, non-GMO and I will not have questions or addition paperwork for my certifier. In addition to the 45 varieties we chose to grow for our wholesale/retail sales, over half of the seed chosen by our Custom Grow Program customers and sent us for their transplant production comes from High Mowing. I especially like the quantity / pricing table in each section of the High Mowing catalog which makes ordering, and keeping track of the order, very easy.”
“Starting little green seedlings in a warm greenhouse on a cold day is the best cure for winter blues. And we like to think of our greenhouses as ‘food nurseries’”
In addition to growing hard-to-find plant varieties, Mary also conducts on-farm classes to help beginning farmers and gardeners learn the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture. Check out Windcrest Farm on the web!
Katie's Kitchen - Katie Lavin, Wholesale Sales
Originally from Egypt, Dukkah is a food consisting of a mixture of nuts, probably hazelnut, and spices. It is typically used as a dip with bread or fresh vegetables, and eaten as an Hors d'œuvre. It can also be used as a side dish to the main course of a meal. The word is derived from the Arabic
for "to pound" since the mixture of spices and nuts are pounded
together after being dry roasted to a texture that is neither powdered
nor paste-like. The actual composition of the spice mix can vary from
family to family, vendor to vendor though there are common ingredients,
such as sesame, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. (Davidson, Alan. Oxford Companion to Food (1999), "Duqqa", p. 260)
Barbara Conn, one of High Mowing’s great salespeople, made this for our weekly Wednesday afternoon break recently. Make a great big salad with fresh spring greens and get some yummy bread to dip in oil and then dip in the seed/spice mixture.
• 2/3 cup hazelnuts or almonds
• 1/2 cup sesame seeds
• 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
• 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
• 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the nuts on a baking sheet, and bake for about 5 minutes, until golden. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until light golden brown. Pour into a medium bowl as soon as they are done so they will not continue toasting. In the same skillet, toast the coriander and cumin seeds while shaking the pan or stirring occasionally until they begin to pop. Transfer to a food processor. Process until finely ground, then pour into the bowl with the sesame seeds. Place the nuts into the food processor, and process until finely ground. Stir into the bowl with the spices. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
Serve with a small bowl of olive oil, so your diners can dip their bread in the oil and then the seed mixture.