Veteran Farmers Tour, June 2012
By Tracey Traham, KRC’s Our Local Food-Twin Rivers
What we missed at stop #1: greenhouse full of strawberries, high tunnel full of tomatoes, rows and rows of gorgeous vegetables and flowers, and a bunch of Harold’s wonderful stories. Harold and Namoi are two of my favorite people in the whole world, and I’m so grateful they agreed to let us all tour their farm that summer morning!
|Getting started – That’s Naomi and Harold in the background, left of center|
|Harold regales the audience with stories of how he’s “not really a farmer”. Yeah, right. He and Naomi have been selling top quality produce, flowers and eggs at the Emporia Farmers Market for 28 years. Their daughter Wanda, grandson Mike and a couple of the great grandkids also grow produce and appear at the market regularly.|
|Paul discusses the joys of eating fresh peas and beans right off the vine.|
|Paul conjures a Black Diamond watermelon.|
Next… LUNCH! at the New Breck. I’m sorry I didn’t take any photos. The food was gorgeous. and delicious.
Then… on to
Stop 3: Shepherd’s Valley Farm, the home and farm of John and Ramona Crisp. They supply nearly 50 families with organically-grown produce, eggs, chicken, turkey and lamb through their CSA and subscription order program. As a member of that CSA for many years now, I can personally vouch for the quality of the all of the foods raised by the Crisps. John gave us a very thorough tour of the main 4-acre garden area, introduced us to a wide variety of livestock, and described the plans for expansion of operations (including grass-fed and finished beef) into 80 more acres nearby.
|John drives us around the main garden area… Swiss Chard and Sweet Corn on the left… Yum!!!|
|Corn and Beans and Corn and Tomatoes. That’s John and Ramona’s house in the background.|
|Pastured chickens and turkeys in their tractors.
Broad-breasted Bronze and Bourbon Red turkeys, and
chickens provide meat for SVF customers (like me).
Free ranging chickens provide eggs with dark yellow-orange yolks.
|We got to eat our way down a row of blackberries…. Yum!!!|
|If you’re name is Shepherd’s Valley Farm, you gotta have some sheep.
See that Bourbon Red turkey in the background? His name’s Rudy. (He’s sexy and he knows it)
|We learned how John and his crew humanely put their chickens to sleep… literally…|
|…and admired the Whiz Bang Chicken Plucker…|
|…and John’s potato digger.|
On to Stop #4: Seven Acre Farm.
Gary and Marybeth Janssen are great people and they have a great farm. Their produce finds its way into Shepherd’s Valley CSA shareholder’s baskets, and – now this is really exciting – onto the lunch trays of Emporia schoolchildren!!! Gary built his own high tunnels, and grows the majority of his crops in large tubs donated by area cattle ranchers. After a tour of the place, Gary and Marybeth had us in (aahhhhh… air conditioning!) for cold drinks and samples of homemade jams, jellies and honey. Sweet!!!
|That’s Gary in the plaid shirt|
|Gary’s first homemade high tunnel straight ahead. High tunnel #2 on the right.|
|Gary demonstrates the process of potting up his tomatoes|
|step 4… step 5…|
Then we went to the Emporia Farmers Market. We didn’t get there until the market had been open for nearly an hour, but there was still lots of fabulous produce available. And who did we run into? Why, Harold and Naomi Brensikofer, of course! So our day had come full circle!