Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!
 

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email: raonine@gmail.com

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,
Erin


PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.

 

Flowers on the Vegetable Farm?

Every farmer in her/his career hits the pause button and considers a re-invention. For me it's been steadfast, subtle, and soaks in a mix of the personal to planetary when it comes to optimal growth for our farm and finances. With seeding needs just around the corner, taxes due, body restored from a restful winter and farm plans in tow for the year ahead, I never knew that my farming re-invention would embrace so many F-words! I am moving away from the vegetable realm (my husband Rob's terrain) and honing in more on fruit, food forests, financial footing, and flowers. The latter, flowers, I've been marketing direct through CSA and providing wedding flowers for the past three years -slowly, mindfully This season, I am looking forward to stepping into my new role as Farmer Florist, experimenting with how to take flowers to the next good dance.

We look forward to sharing more fruit and flowers such as these plums and zinnias through our farm this season! Photo by Erin Schneider

We look forward to sharing more fruit and flowers such as these plums and zinnias through our farm this season! Photo by Erin Schneider

I am excited to focus our Flower CSA program in Sauk County, partnering with Orange Cat Community Farm to share drop sites. Whether barns or ballrooms, fields or festivals, I am also looking forward to our flowers participating in weddings this season.

The move to more flowers, comes with a perennial love of sharing how flowers inspire me and ways flowers have inspired, delighted, confounded, forgiven, and wowed us through the ages. Bouquet making and floral design is my flow form and I can lose track of time when in the 'flower zone'.

There is nothing quite like the spellbound beauty of flowers picked at their prime.

Flower harvest for a July wedding. We offer both bulk blooms for the DIY wedding and full service bouquet-making, floral design. Photo by Rob McClure

Flower harvest for a July wedding. We offer both bulk blooms for the DIY wedding and full service bouquet-making, floral design. Photo by Rob McClure

Additionally, flowers and herbs remind us to be bold. They are a peak evolutionary expression, painting our farm landscape, bringing beauty and balance while serving a variety of ecological functions – working in tandem with the microbes as soil builders adding structure and fertility to the rhizosphere, as food for our honeybees and native pollinator friends, as pest managers and companion plants to our fruits and vegetables, to illuminate the landscape with color and beauty, and to provide for a diversity of culinary and medicinal uses on our farm.

Of the roughly 200,000 flowering plants laying down their roots around the world, ~12,300 call Wisconsin their home. Some flowers thrive in vases, others hold up with a little encouragement from flower friends, and others are just destined to remain in the prairie and orchard wilds. Through our years growing flowers and trialing vase life with different blooms, we've discovered which flowers thrive at our farm and hold well in a bouquet (ie last for more than 5 – 7 days in a vase). As with seasonal eating, the menu of blossom beauty changes weekly and is prone to the peaks and valleys of Wisconsin's growing season.

Native flowers such as purple prairie clover and yellow coneflower are excellent pollinator attractants and hold up well in a bouquet. Many of our flowers serve a variety of functions, engage the senses and inspire a natural, romantic, aesthetic, grounded in soil love and beauty.

Native flowers such as purple prairie clover and yellow coneflower are excellent pollinator attractants and hold up well in a bouquet. Many of our flowers serve a variety of functions, engage the senses and inspire a natural, romantic, aesthetic, grounded in soil love and beauty.

Flowers open up a whole new language, Floriography, to explore and learn from. I've been researching into the history around the language of flowers, unearthing references from ancient Greek and Chinese cultures to the Victorian era, as well as some present-day farm inspirations and authors.

Bees and butterflies love zinnias for its pollen. In the language of flowers zinnias represent friendship and exuberence. Zinnias show us the way to remain beautiful and joyous through rain, wind, chilly nights and infiltrations of insects and human equivalents. Photo by Erin Schneider

Bees and butterflies love zinnias for its pollen. In the language of flowers zinnias represent friendship and exuberence. Zinnias show us the way to remain beautiful and joyous through rain, wind, chilly nights and infiltrations of insects and human equivalents. Photo by Erin Schneider

Lastly, shifting toward more fruit and flowers compliments my other farm love and passion, Rob! We've been farming together for 8 years, married for 4 and have learned how to work, live, and love in autonomous and interdependent ways, similar to that of our fruit guilds in our orchard.

At the end of the day, love has its way.

Rob inspecting a peony, June flower harvest for a wedding client. While Rob takes the lead on our vegetable CSA and I spearhead the flower operations, we've both been known to cross-pollinate and mutually support each other's terrain. Photo by Erin Schneider

Rob inspecting a peony, June flower harvest for a wedding client. While Rob takes the lead on our vegetable CSA and I spearhead the flower operations, we've both been known to cross-pollinate and mutually support each other's terrain. Photo by Erin Schneider