THIS WEEK’S GROWER NOTES
We have the best Growers in the Wiregrass! Please learn more about them on our Grower Page.
AVALON FARMS: If anyone is wondering….I cannot say my products are organic because I will exceed that 5k threshold. However, my growing methods are organic. More importantly to me, being natural and sustainable allows me to keep improving the soil until such time I no longer have to purchase OMRI certified fertilizer. Being in the south we are “blessed” with an abundance of bugs. In order to produce enough vegetables for even a small percentage of you wonderful people I must utilize some organic pesticides. (You can only hand pick so many bugs!) Again, any pesticide used is OMRI certified….AND…only used when absolutely necessary and safely. (I ’m considering listing tomato worms for fish bait. Largemouth bass might love them. Ros, is that allowed in the market?) (To answer that – list them and lets see what happens!)
Next week finally brings our average last frost date. The Old Farmer’s Almanac says, “The possibility of frost occurring after the given spring dates and before the given fall dates is 50 percent.” There are no guarantees when dealing with the weather. LOL On a “normal” year we wouldn’t have had frosts this week. Much less what is showing on the weather forecast for next week. So, if you have anything tender out cover it up just in case.
This time of year is hard for me. I hate pulling out plants but sometimes you just have to. The changing seasons and limited space force the issue. That’s actually something I’m working on this year “planned obsolescence”. I’m actually putting it in the schedule to rip this crop out after X weeks of production to make way for Y. That’s assuming I planted more X six weeks ago. It gets complicated.
BAIN HOME GARDENS: Good evening Market Buddies!
Notice the change in the air? We are experiencing what many Southerners refer to as a “cold snap”. As we have exchanged gardening tips with others, many feel it is not a good idea to plant anything (except cold hardy plants) for spring till after this happens. It supposedly will occur around Easter each year. While our research hasn’t been conclusive, the cold air is certainly convincing! All hope isn’t lost. We are embracing the chill factor and planting more peas! Risky? Time will tell.
On to our sinus issues. HONEY! You had to know this gem would appear on our list. The medicinal purposes of honey have long been recognized by many cultures. When used over time it can help one become less sensitive to pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms. Also, honey is known be effective in killing bacteria that cause chronic sinusitis. In order for this to be true, you MUST consume honey from a local source. The awesome thing is we have a couple of beekeepers on the market who would be happy to ensure you get it straight from the source! Hoping this reminder – from our family to yours – helps keep you sinus issues at bay!
HAWKINS HOMESTEAD FARM: With all the talk about organic we want to provide our perspective. At Hawkins Homestead Farm we use the term organic not only because there is a USDA exemption that allows us to, but also because the food we produce truly is organic. This applies also to our friends at Bain Home Gardens.
The Market newsletter article stated that “there is no regulation.” Simply stated, this is false. To quote from the USDA exemption article itself, “Exempt and excluded operations still need to comply with specific sections of the USDA organic regulations.” This program is not unregulated. It is up to the farmer to know the laws and comply with them.
We are serious about the food produced here. Not only for the health of others, but for the health of our own family first. We purchase and grow from USDA certified organic seeds or USDA certified organic plants. We feed our meat birds a 100 % organic USDA certified feed. We don’t use chemicals of any kind on or around our produce. This includes all pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. Instead we find ways to combat pests organically through nature. Sometimes this is to the detriment of our crops, but this keeps us safe and the people who trust and purchase from us safe as well. We even purchase organic soil. All of this is at a great deal of time and expense to us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. In addition if you know us, then you know our passion and how committed we are to never using or producing anything that has been genetically modified. So while the Market at Dothan is not organic, Hawkins Homestead Farm is. We may not be able to afford the seal but the way we do things is just that.
While we don’t believe that any malice was meant by the newsletter article, because we label our food as organic, we had to speak up. If you do the research, you will find that actual certified USDA standards aren’t what people think they are. For example, in some cases the use of the word organic means only that 70% of your ingredients have to be organic. Research is important! It is also important to know and realize how a statement meant to shed light on how everyone has good practices, can cause harm to those who have raised the bar. We go above and beyond to produce clean, quality, sustainable, truly organic food. This is our commitment to ourselves and to you.
If anyone has questions, please reach out to us. There is a contact page on our website: www.hawkinshomesteadfarm.com or you can message us through Facebook messenger. If you prefer to speak directly to us, our phone number is 334-595-5128.
Please remember we will be teaching the Market at Dothan class on March 17th at Dothan Nurseries. Come out and see how you can feed your family for more than one night by learning how to cut up a whole chicken. We would love to see you there. Thank you in advance!
MARY’S PEEPS: I first of all want to thank everyone for their orders this week and the ones last week. I hope everything was good, and all was well. It has been a long struggle but I am finally feeling much better getting my strength back after so many months. I was told it takes time and well, it does, I am just not very patient. I was glad to be back doing my baking and will have some specials the week before Easter. Please check them out in the next few weeks. Please get your orders in early that week as there is only one of me to do them. I do appreciate everyone and will continue to do my best.
I thought I would share a little story with you about a little unknown gift we have here in Dale County that resides at Ros Hortons house, that is called a Southern Prickly Ash Tree. It seems that nature has a remedy for tooth ache, which I might add that the Native Americans have used for decades and probably still use to this day. Well needless to say I have an abcessed tooth that is not helping right now, so I reached out to Ros who I knew had had the tree so she was kind enough to share it with me. Well, we got some of the bark right away and applied to the gum, it had a tingling effect, and numbed it right away, and with sap not completely up yet I was surprised how much it helped. I go Tuesday to take care of it so until then I will be using my bark to help numb it . I appreciate the help my friend!