New Season New Focus

 

We are experimenting with making hydrosols from ancient roses. Rosa Damascena,

Rosa Alba, and Rosa Centifolia are the oldest varieties of roses and contain therapeutic qualities and the quintessential rose fragrance that is “complex, fruity, and rich.”  We grow them organically and have lately been picking blossoms daily for steam distillation, which forms the lovely rosewater we use as a spritzer to calm and cool the skin.  Research is ongoing to find the best method of steam distilling and essential oil extraction.  These ancient rose varieties are absolutely the best for this purpose.

20170611_14110120170611_141012

The grapes are growing prolifically.

Small clusters of grapes can be seen in the first picture!

The bottom picture is what the apples look like today!  They are growing steadily and shaping up to be a good apple season! The previous two pictures were taken when the trees were in blossom earlier this spring.

Jeff has been busy hilling the potatoes!  We have three varieties this season:

Huckleberry Gold, AmaRosa Fingerling, and Yukon Gold!

20170611_133153
Almost finished laying straw mulch to tomatoes prior to setting cages over them.
20170611_133333
Zucchini, Zephyr, and Goldy summer squash!
20170611_133407
This small field of luscious bi-color corn was planted earlier than the silver queen and with distance separating the varieties to keep them true.
20170611_134059
View towards the West with potatoes in the foreground, Luscious bicolor corn in the center, and Jeff in the cucumber fields in front of the apple trees.

We look forward to seeing all our Mt. Shasta Farmers’ Market and

Berryvale friends soon!!

 

Fall 2016

 

20160925_072841

The annual Montague Balloon Fair at the end of September made for some colorful sights in the valley skies.

We hiked to Squaw Valley Meadow on September 30th, just before a storm came in and blanketed the mountain in white.  These are some of the final views of Mt. Shasta uncovered in 2016.  Sean is didging to the oncoming storm.

20161016_163933

Lots of canning and freezing in the fall…here we canned sour cherries that we had frozen earlier in the season and also Fall pears in a light syrup.

20161016_163735

The craziest looking potato ever!

Our Robot Coup has worked wonders for cutting and slicing!  We sliced potatoes and leeks, laid them out on cotton towels to absorb moisture, and packed them into quart bags for the freezer.  The potatoes were blanched to prevent browning.

Packed and ready for the freezer, serving size portions for potato leek soup!

20161022_205937

Packed freezer, full of good organic food…ready for winter!

Skye bakes the best bread!

Two wonderful Autumn meals:  Eggplant Parmesana cooked by Deanna                             Steak dinner featuring Arend’s grass-fed organic beef with Dave Edmundson’s sauerkraut

20161124_201555

Fascination over Skye’s chocolate kirsch apricot Sacher torte!

 

 

Food!

img_1273        Pickle prep

20160826_203159

Eggplant, tomato, lettuce, onion sandwich on Dutch crunch roll

Spiralized zucchini lasagna

20160911_170038

Grandma’s Eggplant parmesana

20160827_113412

Gretta’s tomato, sausage, pepper, basil, mushroom flan

20160911_170827

Curried Mtn. View potato, zucchini, onion, tomato, Hunter’s garlic, Charlie’s smoked tri tip, with rice

20160824_185958

Gretta and Charlie’s stuffed eggplant and zucchini

20160916_201254

Rockside Ranch Italian sausage, Mtn View onions, squash, tomatoes, with pasta and parmesan

20160911_165951

Omi’s Pflaumenkuchen with Marjie’s plums

Another Agriculture Essay by Sean

 

In recent years there has been a movement back to sustainable and organic management of crops and land. This has been forced due to the continued development of industrialized agriculture since the turn of the 20th century, which applies destructive methods of chemical agriculture and genetic engineering. This mismanagement has been pushed to the limit for the most convenient production and profit churned out over large scale monocultures degrading the natural environment and enslaving farm workers into an eternal cycle of debt. This calls for a need to return to organic practices to maintain an equilibrium with our surrounding environment through a healthy relationship with our plants, animals and fellow humans that can perpetuate for generations to come.

Navdanya, or the ‘nine seeds’ research program in India is a spearhead against industrialized agriculture and Monsanto’s attempt at dominance over Indian farmers. Their efforts have helped set up seed banks across India to make available alternatives to chemical and genetic agriculture as well as educate about sustainable farming practices. This has reduced poverty and saved the lives of many farmers who were taking their lives as a result of the lifetime debt incurred upon them by Monsanto. Navdanya offers a counter movement to Monsanto by offering organic fair trade seed domestically and internationally, combatting the encroachment of monoculture worldwide. “Navdanya has connected biodiversity conservation with organic production and have challenged the standardization, uniformity and lack of quality, promoted by the industrial food system,” (Shiva). This has allowed for the free flowing of organic farming and produce to return to India as a sustainable non-violent practice, re-fostering life and biodiversity to a land deprived by monoculture.

Biodiversity is essential because it allows for a reciprocal relationship between plants and soil to develop between seasons and generate ideal growing conditions for crops. As pointed out by Vandana Shiva in Monocultures of the Mind, “Sustainability and diversity are ecologically linked because diversity offers the multiplicity of interactions which can heal ecological disturbance to any part of the system. Nonsustainability and uniformity means that a disturbance to one part is translated into a disturbance to all other parts,” (Shiva).  When a natural environment is allowed to operate under the order of the universe, varieties of crops will be created, generating tolerance to disease and pests that threaten their vitality.

These same threats attack monocultures who use chemicals to combat hostilities rather than allowing the plants and their natural environments to defend themselves. If one of these chemicals were to fail, or the disease or pest develop resistance to the spray, a monoculture could be completely wiped out causing whole crops to fail. These problems are what plagued the Indian farmers who had fallen prey to Monsanto’s propagation of engineered seed. Many of their crops were failing due to widespread monocultures not having the ability to defend against the planet’s natural inhibitors. Here the need for biodiversity is crystal clear because without an ecosystem to support life on many levels, including soil microbes and beneficial insects the crops must be maintained through an artificial means.

To grow biodiverse crops, one must have access to a variety of seeds. This is the primary mission of Navdanya. “Through Navdanya, a national network for setting up community seed banks to protect indigenous seed diversity, we have tried to build an alternative to the engineering view of life.… we have tried to build an alternative to the paradigm of knowledge and life itself as private property,” (Shiva). It is a crime to place ownership over life, and that is exactly what Monsanto has done through patenting and gaining complete ownership over certain varieties of engineered seed which has extinguished many of the natural varieties that used to be available to farmers. By setting up seed banks across India Navdanya has saved the organic varieties and made them accessible to all for use in biodiverse agricultural communities. Navdanya has a mission to protect the many varieties of seed and life on Earth. Patenting seed prevents or stops the natural cycle of seed reproduction and adaptation to its current environmental conditions. Creating an environment of compatibility between people, the Earth, food and the seed from which our food is grown will foster harmony and sustainability into the future.

The act of farming is very rooted in the natural processes of the Earth. A connection is gained when the plant has access to its natural environment, is being fed the tea and the proper fertilizer that nourishes its growth and leads to the enhancement of the food it produces. In an interview for the Huffington Post, Shiva expresses that “The simple act of sowing a seed, saving a seed, planting a seed, harvesting a crop for a seed is bringing back this memory – this timeless memory of our oneness with the Earth and the creative universe,” (Gelder).

This is our call, our return to the organic and sustainable practices of our ancestors which we have lost through industrialization. It takes a mindful approach to the complexity of life and how it interworks to support itself through a constant process of self-organization, and use that intelligence to maintain a biodiverse and sustainable way of life into the future.

 

 Works Cited

Gelder, Sarah Van. “Vandana Shiva On Seed Saving and The Fight For Biodiversity.”

HuffingtonPost.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

Shiva, Vandana. Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge. Boston, MA: South End,

1997. Print.

Shiva, Vandana, Dr. “Organic Production.” Navdanya.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

Shiva, Vandana. Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology.

London, UK: Zed, 1993. Print.