It’s time for the final Stonyfield Blogger Barnstorming post! I know some of you will be sad to see these posts end, and some will be happy I’m back to normal blogging, but I hope all of you at least learned something, because I sure did!
My final post will start with the last organic dairy farm we visited — the Beidler Family Farm!
The owners, Brent and Regina Beidler, purchased the farm 12 years ago and went organic 2 years later. I actually saw Regina speak at last year’s Healthy Living Summit, so it was fun to see her again (love that her shirt says “I’m your farmer.”!)
The Beidlers have 27 milking cows and also grow a variety of foods such as millet, spelt, wheat, and oats. Hence the spelt flour I used to make my awesome Banana Spelt Muffins!
We arrived at the perfect time, because the milk truck was actually there picking up their milk!
The milk truck comes every other day, and it takes 13 farms to fill it up; it holds 53,000 lbs of milk (about 6,000 gallons). That’s a LOT of milk! Regina said their farm produces about 56,000 gallons of milk per year.
The Beidlers said that short term profitability and long term sustainability was what initially drew them toward organic, and they’ve been very happy with the results.
Like the Choiniere’s, they have seen a big jump in their cow’s immunity levels — Regina said they spend less on their cows at the vet now than on their dogs!
Check out this video to hear the Beidlers talk about why buying organic matters, how it helps land sustainability, and if that USDA organic label really means anything:
The very last farm we visited on the tour was Middle Branch Farm, which is an organic veggie farm owned by Roger Noonan.
His farm is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provider, which means that individuals or groups will pay a set up-front price for a share of the farm’s output. This will usually consist of a weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables, fruit, and sometimes dairy products and meat.
Roger’s CSA also gives participants the option of coming and picking their own food. Fun! I would love to try that.
I really want to join a CSA when I move to North Carolina. Do any of you belong to CSA’s? How do you like it?
It seems like CSA’s are a great way to not only support local farmers and get a super fresh variety of produce, but also to try out foods you might not normally have heard of or purchase. I know I’m guilty of buying a lot of the same ingredients at the store every week. Anyone else?
For example — kohlrabi! None of us had even heard of this veggie before! Roger let us try some straight from his fields. It was delicious — very crisp and juicy, almost earthy? But in a good way. Apparently it’s in the cabbage family!
The best part of this farm visit was definitely all the nibbles we got — everything tasted SO much more flavorful, crisp, and delicious compared to the veggies I normally get at the store.
It was also really cool to be able to pick something right from the field and take a bite without worrying about any pesticides! Roger has been farming organically for 9 years and says it’s better for him, his workers, the soil, AND the environment. Sounds good to me! One of the simple ways he avoids bugs? Crop rotation!
Did you know that the first CSA was in Japan and it’s name translated to “The Face of the Farmer”? Cool!
I will leave you with this amazing quote from Roger:
I don’t have a lot of money, but I eat well. I don’t know what else there is to life.
Amen to that
I just wanted to say one more big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me and gave me the opportunity to go on this amazing tour. I cherished every minute of getting to meet the farmers and their cows, talk to their families, and sample their delicious produce. I will be making a BIG effort from now on to purchase organically whenever I can — in particular organic dairy products, organic meat, and anything on the current “Dirty Dozen” (foods most contaminated by pesticides) list:
- Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Lettuce, Grapes (imported), Blueberries, Spinach/Kale/Collard Greens, Potatoes
What have you learned or most enjoyed from reading my Stonyfield Blogger Barnstorming Tour posts? Will anything you’ve learned change your purchasing habits?