The goal is to get kids back outside, better connected with the natural world, and growing their own food. We will be letting you know the details in another blog next month - just in time for the holiday season.
Old School Farm has experienced another busy and productive season. Much infrastructure continues to be added, laying the ground work for what we hope will soon become a more economically viable, bio-diverse farm.
1) Small scale organic farming is incredibly labor intensive. The price you can charge (because the industrial farm model has suppressed price points) makes it very difficult to make any sort of profit, let alone cover costs.
2) The crops and food products you produce have superior flavor and nutrition. It is hard to go back to store bought vegetables, eggs and meat. It is often disappointing to eat out at restaurants - the food often lacks flavor.
3) Raising and then selling (or sharing) food you raise is incredibly rewarding. Your body and mind feel healthier for many reasons.
4) What you produce and can sell it for is very much dictated by your local market. Our area sees many people with backyard gardens and a local big box grocery store - both of which impact pricing.
So what's new at the farm you ask?
Well for starters, Dave has been hard
at working constructing a
|Dave Benner and Dave Campeau with a 3 Root Grex beet|
seasonal cabin (pictured above) to house summer interns. The 14' x 14' cabin was designed by Dave and Al, and Dave has it all framed out and ready for the "living edge" hemlock siding and metal roof.
The really big news however is that Old School Farm Manager, Dave Campeau was wed to Christin Schwamberger from Germany in late August at nearby Fox Hill Farm. The event was described by many as "the best wedding" ever. The couple plans to live in a home Dave will build on a 4 acre plot that has recently been subdivided from the farm.
Other projects at the farm include: A new pasture fence line that will allow us to move our sheep to higher ground during flood season and provide rotational grazing. With another even larger pasture above this one, we believe we can eventually expand the flock to 50 or more animals. Other news was the completion of our commercial kitchen and certification as a bakery.
We are considering a more serious on farm self-serve stand, bread and pizza baking, and possibly moving some product to the Philadelphia market. How we expand and where we focus our time and energy will greatly impact the future of the farm.
Now for your enjoyment, here are a LOT of photos with some interesting information - there is much to catch you up on!
Until next time -
Your Friends at Old School Farm
|Sun Chokes - delicious tubers, a cousin of the Sunflower|
|Bump out over kitchen windows on barn - prevent water entry and provides shade in afternoon for veggie prep area|
|Nice Dino Kale|
|Dave Benner & Dave Campeau - 3 root Grax beet|
|Gorgeous Grasshopper on moist moss mat|
|Our favorite tomato - Snow White !!|
|Jimmy Nardello sweet pepper - Italian heirloom|
|Locust posts for middle pasture fence line|
|Purple tomatillo - delicicoso en salsa!|
|Nothing beats a carrot fresh from the patch!|
|Uncus Jr. enjoys his kale|
|Fall broccoli crop|
|Nice looking cabbage|
|party left overs make fun food for the flock|
|boy's harvest basket|
|The heat in high tunnels is outstanding for producing peppers well into fall|
|Coleman Benner after removing "ribs" from Dinosaur Kale - these were soon turned into kale chips|
|Big knives and small boys....we take a few chances, but that's how kids learn....|
|Chopped cabbage and salt will soon turn into Sauerkrat in this old crock|
|Antique Farm equipment show in Pocono Mountains|
|Kale Smoothie ingredients|
|That's one incredibly delicious and nutritious smoothie|
|Eggplant Parm - new recipe requires no pre-frying - need to be at 425|
|Benner boys and neighbor "JD" and one of their pans of parm...|
|On November 15th the flock will go from 20 to 5. These birds were all hatched|
on our farm or our friend's farm...no more mail order poults!
|Our Asian pear tree produced for the first time and they were|
small, but GOOD!
|The privy getting a face lift|
|And a new seating area|
|Locust fence posts going in|
|Rental auger made Dave's job somewhat easier|
|The middle pasture area|
|Water cress has exploded - from a few small transplants last spring.|
|Al threw a few extra Purple Viking seed potatoes into the compost pile in spring. This fall he pulled several pounds from one small hole...plants love compost!|
|Mary - no longer all black.|
|Bosc Pear - the 8 year old trees just started to produce|
|Clipped wings....the turkeys were flying up to roost at night so Christin and|
Dave clipped their wings...
|Ma Benner and son Coleman pick the last of the raspberries|
|Nice baker Russet!|
|It's like a treasure hunt - complete with plenty of silty loam for the clothes|
|Few and far between, but the fall Spinach was delicious|
|Harvesting Cannellini shell beans|
|Once soaked, these are amazing in soups and stews|
|Our first Oyster Mushroom emerges from sugar maple log we|
inoculated 18 months ago
|A big purple viking potato, sun chokes, and what's that Owen is holding?|
|What is that Dave? As it turns out it is an avocado seedling that sprouted from a discarded|
pit in our compost pile - tool cool! It's now in a pot in our kitchen.
|The Benners and Campeaus take a break on the old dairy barn wall|
|Map at recent Farm to Chef event held at the Cooperage in Hoesdale. We are #5 on the map -|
right next to 800 acres of game lands!
|The PASA (Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture) farms that provided food for the event....|
|Deena Benner at the Farm to Chef event at the Cooperage|
|Thirsty turkeys drink from water dripping from moss mat growing|
|Dave Benner visits the farm - and catches 4 nice|
fall rainbow trout in the Dyberry!
|Super cool beetles...metallic blue/black. Looks like a "good guy"?|
|Enormous clump of cushion moss with spore heads|
|After harvest - "children" emerge|
|Topping Brussle Sprout plants forces sprouts to develop|
|Roger's nice block of pop corn|
|Dave has recently cleared out high tunnel and planted with oats for a cover crop for winter/early spring|
|As crops finish, we till them in and plant cover crops|
|Al's deer blind for crossbow hunting|
|Christin cleans and weighs carrots for market|
|Red Cored Chantenay Carrots|
|Our first Shitake mushrooms - they are INCREDIBLE - when grilled they taste like bacon|