Field To Fork CSA

Fresh Local Smart

Thank you so much for your interest in our farm and CSA program. The 2014 CSA program is full. Please look for us at the Palisade and Fruita Farmers market for any of you produce needs. To volunteer or take a tour  on the farm please call or email us at fieldtoforkcsa@gmail.

2014 CSA is full

Field To Fork CSA is a farm in Palisade Colorado, we provide fresh locally grown produce to 120 households weekly in Mesa County Colorado. You can also find our produce on Saturday at the Fruita Farmers Market the Sunday Palisade Farmers market and many local restaurants. 

The Mission:

-Making healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate food accessible and affordable.

-Supporting local, regional, family-scale, and sustainable food production.

-Building and revitalizing local communities and economies.

-Providing fair wages and decent working conditions for farmers and food system workers.

-Empowering diverse people to work together to create positive changes in the food system and their communities.

 

Organic Agriculture Part 2 Soil Health

Myth Busting: Soil Health and Crop Rotation

“The rotation of crops is designed to nourish, exercise and rest the soil.”

In our last blog we talked about large scale organic agriculture and how those farmers nurish their soil and maintain plant health. Now lets discuse small farm soil and crop health. At Field To Fork CSA we have a integrated soil health and pest managment plan. We divide our fields into sections and have a three year plan for most crops. Those crops are moved throughout the field beds based on plant family and season. Our crop rotation is on a cycle. 

For example let’s say tomatoes, which are in the nightshade family, were planted in bed #1 this season. They will grow in bed #1 until they stop producing in early fall and will be pulled out. Next year, tomatoes will be planted in, say, bed #2, and something else, like peas, which are in the legume family, will be planted in bed #1. And the next year, both crops will be moved again. Bed #1 will not be planted with another nightshade plant, like tomatoes, peppers or eggplants, for three or more years after the tomato crop was pulled. Same goes for the legumes, and every other plant family. It is even three or more years between plant families being grown in the same bed.  

This kind of crop rotation helps balance the biological health of the soil, for different plants and families give and take different nutrients from the soil. Even over the winter, when not all of the beds are growing crops we think of as harvestable, the beds are planted with cover crops to perpetuate the nutrient exchange and to protect the soil from erosion.

With balanced, nutrient-rich soil, we are building the foundation of a healthy farm and food system—one that is sustainable, flourishing with seasonal and regional crops, and does not rely on chemical inputs.

 

Organic Agriculture Part 1

Myth #1: Organic Farms Don’t Use Pesticides

When the Soil Association, a major organic accreditation body in the UK, asked consumers why they buy organic food, 95% of them said their top reason was to avoid pesticides. They, like many people, believe that organic farming involves little to no pesticide use. I hate to burst the bubble, but that’s simply not true. Organic farming, just like other forms of agriculture, still uses pesticides and fungicides to prevent critters from destroying their crops. Confused?

Turns out that there are over 20 chemicals commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops that are approved by the OMRI Listing US Organic Standards. And, shockingly, the actual volume usage of pesticides on organic farms is not recorded by the government. Why the government isn’t keeping watch on organic pesticide and fungicide use is a damn good question, especially considering that many organic pesticides that are also used by conventional farmers are used more intensively than synthetic ones due to their lower levels of effectiveness. According to the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, the top two organic fungicides, copper and sulfur, were used at a rate of 4 and 34 pounds per acre in 1971 1. In contrast, the synthetic fungicides only required a rate of 1.6 lbs per acre, less than half the amount of the organic alternatives.

The sad truth is, factory farming is factory farming, whether its organic or conventional. Many large organic farms use pesticides liberally. They’re organic by certification, but you’d never know it if you saw their farming practices. As Michael Pollan, best-selling book author and organic supporter, said in an interview with Organic Gardening,

What makes organic farming different, then? It’s not the use of pesticides, it’s the origin of the pesticides used. Organic pesticides are those that are derived from natural sources and processed lightly if at all before use. This is different than the current pesticides used by conventional agriculture, which are generally synthetic. It has been assumed for years that pesticides that occur naturally (in certain plants, for example) are somehow better for us and the environment than those that have been created by man. As more research is done into their toxicity, however, this simply isn’t true, either. Many natural pesticides have been found to be potential – or serious – health risks.2

Take the example of Rotenone. Rotenone was widely used in the US as an organic pesticide for decades 3. Because it is natural in origin, occurring in the roots and stems of a small number of subtropical plants, it was considered “safe” as well as “organic“. However, research has shown that rotenone is highly dangerous because it kills by attacking mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of all living cells. Research found that exposure to rotenone caused Parkinson’s Disease-like symptoms in rats 4, and had the potential to kill many species, including humans. Rotenone’s use as a pesticide has already been discontinued in the US as of 2005 due to health concerns***, but shockingly, it’s still poured into our waters every year by fisheries management officials as a piscicide to remove unwanted fish species.

The point I’m driving home here is that just because something is natural doesn’t make it non-toxic or safe. Many bacteria, fungi and plants produce poisons, toxins and chemicals that you definitely wouldn’t want sprayed on your food.

Just last year, nearly half of the pesticides that are currently approved for use by organic farmers in Europe failed to pass the European Union’s safety evaluation that is required by law 5. Among the chemicals failing the test was rotenone, as it had yet to be banned in Europe. Furthermore, just over 1% of organic foodstuffs produced in 2007 and tested by the European Food Safety Authority were found to contain pesticide levels above the legal maximum levels – and these are of pesticides that are not organic 6. Similarly, when Consumer Reports purchased a thousand pounds of tomatoes, peaches, green bell peppers, and apples in five cities and tested them for more than 300 synthetic pesticides, they found traces of them in 25% of the organically-labeled foods, but between all of the organic and non-organic foods tested, only one sample of each exceeded the federal limits8.

Not only are organic pesticides not safe, they might actually be worse than the ones used by the conventional agriculture industry. Canadian scientists pitted ‘reduced-risk’ organic and synthetic pesticides against each other in controlling a problematic pest, the soybean aphid. They found that not only were the synthetic pesticides more effective means of control, the organic pesticides were more ecologically damaging, including causing higher mortality in other, non-target species like the aphid’s predators9. Of course, some organic pesticides may fare better than these ones did in similar head-to-head tests, but studies like this one reveal that the assumption that natural is better for the environment could be very dangerous.

Even if the organic food you’re eating is from a farm which uses little to no pesticides at all, there is another problem: getting rid of pesticides doesn’t mean your food is free from harmful things. Between 1990 and 2001, over 10,000 people fell ill due to foods contaminated with pathogens like E. coli, and many have organic foods to blame. That’s because organic foods tend to have higher levels of potential pathogens. One study, for example, found E. coli in produce from almost 10% of organic farms samples, but only 2% of conventional ones10. The same study also found Salmonella only in samples from organic farms, though at a low prevalence rate. The reason for the higher pathogen prevalence is likely due to the use of manure instead of artificial fertilizers, as many pathogens are spread through fecal contamination. Conventional farms often use manure, too, but they use irradiation and a full array of non-organic anti-microbial agents as well, and without those, organic foods run a higher risk of containing something that will make a person sick.

In the end, it really depends on exactly what methods are used by crop producers. Both organic and conventional farms vary widely in this respect. Some conventional farms use no pesticides. Some organic farms spray their crops twice a month. Of course, some conventional farms spray just as frequently, if not more so, and some organic farms use no pesticides whatsoever. To really know what you’re in for, it’s best if you know your source, and a great way to do that is to buy locally. Talk to the person behind the crop stand, and actually ask them what their methods are if you want to be sure of what you’re eating.

First 18 Week Summer Share!

Hi Friends,

I hope you are as excited as we are to see you this week! 

Set a reminder:

Thursday - Lincoln Park (12th and Orchard) thursday from 4-7. We setup under or near the ASH shelter which is next to the play area.

Saturday - 743 36.1 rd Palisade Co. please drive through the private drive sign. 10-12

Saturday - Copper Club downtown Fruita. We will be at the Copper Club until the farmers market starts. 9-11

 

Week 2 Spring Salad Share

We really appreciate our CSA members driving out to Palisade every Friday to grab the spring salad share. Below you will see what the garden has been producing for us. Salad Mix, Spinach, Arugula, Mint, Parsley, Radish, Tomato Plant, Eggs, flowers and Popcorn.

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Meet Peaches!

Hi Friends,

We are excited to introduce our newest member of our farm. Meet Peaches! She will be keeping all your veggies cool this summer and she will also be in charge of delivering your produce to Grand Junction! 

 

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First Spring Salad Share

This Friday marks the first pickup at Field To Fork and we are so excited to start connecting with our CSA members again! If you have joined the CSA for the spring share please dont forget to come grab your fresh spring greens. We are very happy with the crops that will be available to you over the next four weeks and we hope you will feel satisfied as well.  The Author Barbara Kingsolver in her book Animal Vegetable Miracle writes about the cycle of farm life and gardening. She has really nailed how the first leaves of the garden are by far the most anticipated and warm feeling food. There are times we overlook the spring crops since we are lucky enough to live in a culture that can have any food at our finger tips at anytime. Through out the next few weeks you will nibble, dine and devour some of the best salad greens and spinach of the year and will then be paired with sweet baby root vegetables, sweet peas, snow peas, strawberries and some fancy herbs and spring onions. One of my favorite crops we offer with the spring salad share are the beautiful Peonies and Irises that the farm has been growing for over a decade. We also have garden plants available for your home gardens.

We are very excited to see you this week and please set a reminder to pick up your spring share. We do a market style pickup to save on boxes so please bring your reusuable bags to get your food home. We will provide paper bags if you forget.

 

“Once you start cooking, one thing leads to another. A new recipe is as exciting as a blind date. A new ingredient, heaven help me, is an intoxicating affair.” 
― Barbara KingsolverAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

 


 

Love Your Food!

xojess

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We're Full! 2014 CSA

Hi Friends,

We are so happy to announce that our CSA program for the 2014 growing season is full. We will be at the Fruita Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Palisade Farmers Market on Sundays so please look for us and stop to say Hi!

 

xojess

Field To Fork CSA       Palisade Colorado   Community Supported  Agriculture

Photos by Audrey Carlson and Farm Crew