August 30, 2009 – Raspberries!

It’s more or less the peak of fall raspberry season.  We’ve jammed, canned whole berries, made canned raspberry sauces, pies, crisp, and frozen whole berries.  We also sent 52 cartons to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market yesterday.

These are the golden raspberries – we only have about 15 foot row of these and that is enough.  They are not quite as tasty as the red and seem slightly more susceptible to fungus.  They do however offer a beautiful contrast in the box mixed with the reds.

The old standby fall raspberry variety – Heritage.

one year ago…”Honey Extraction”

August 29, 2009 – Field Day at Grice Farms

Today we went to a PFI field day to what may be one of Iowa’s biggest organic farms, nearly 1,000 acres, located west of Iowa City in Keokuk County.

Linda Grice operates this farm and here shows off a 90 acre field of alfalfa that it transitioning to certified organic.

It’s a great place for one of our favorite Powesheik County farmers to sit and listen with his son.

Riding in the backs of pickup-trucks on a bumpy drive through the pasture is one of life’s lost joys. This section of the farm is custom grazed (meaning a nearby dairy farm rents it to graze Jersey milk cows).

Here Linda points out one of her paddocks that includes a pond.  Usually it is not good practice to have a pond available for cattle to graze around, but in a rotational system there are little to no detrimental water quality effects, especially if the paddock that contains the water is grazed during cool weather.  You’ll see that vegetation is not turned to mud along the shore.

grassfed beef cattle

This is a fine group of organic grass-fed beef cattle.  The critter closest to the camera is in its second year and has always just eaten grass.  She has some cattle that are totally grass-fed and others that she sells to Organic Valley that the company wants finished on a combination of grass and grains.

It was a great day and just wonderful to see such a large, successful, environmentally-friendly operation.

one year ago…”Living the Country Life Film Crew”