Photo taken at Golden Glen Creamery / Jensen & Son Dairy in Bow, WA

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Touching 2 minute video about a farmer's choice and sustainable farming

I saw this video today for the first time. It was so touching, it made me cry. The message is hopeful and simple. It's about choice. Everything we do begins with a choice.
"Coldplay's haunting classic "The Scientist" is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled "Back to the Start." The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system."


END NOTES: 

All of my videos of Skagit Valley farmers are posted in this blog as well as on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/denicer. 

Buy Something and support your local farmers. 
Grow Something wherever you live. Even if it's just a flower or herb in the windowsill. 
Say Something on Twitter - @urbantweeter

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mister Rogers Remixed | Garden of Your Mind

It's impossible to say how many people grew up with Mr. Fred Rogers. I was one of the countless children who was comforted and entertained by the magic of his neighborhood and the calm presence, acceptance, encouragement, and gentle soul of Mr. Rogers. For me, Mr. Rogers was a friend and his neighborhood was a friendly and sane escape from the ugliness of a dysfunctional and abusive home. And I bet I wasn't alone. I bet a lot of kids emulated Mr. Rogers to feel closer to him. Like, when he said hi did you say hi? When he put on his sweater did you put a sweater on? When he changed his shoes, did you change your shoes? When he fed his fish, did you feed something? Or pretend to? In an era when ethnic and racial equality was many steps back from what it is now, Mr. Rogers accepted everyone in his neighborhood. Every child was special just because they were. Mr. Rogers celebrated differences. How interesting it is to meet someone different from yourself. What is it that you can do that I can't do? What is it that you know that I don't know? Maybe we can share and learn from each other. I've heard people hate on Mr. Rogers. Seriously, what kind of person hates on kindness and compassion. I wish there there were more Mr. Rogers in the world and representing on television.

I'm posting this here because the garden of our minds is one the most important gardens we can grow.

PBS Studios is responsible for this masterpiece. Enjoy and share.




END NOTES: 

All of my videos of Skagit Valley farmers are posted in this blog as well as on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/denicer. 

Buy Something and support your local farmers. 
Grow Something wherever you live. Even if it's just a flower or herb in the windowsill. 
Say Something on Twitter - @urbantweeter

Friday, June 1, 2012

Minimize Farm Machinery Fire Risk

Learning about farm safety is a BIG deal, way more than just being careful on and around farm equipment. My mind tends to wander driving tractors and gators even more than when I'm driving my car. I'm careful and vigilant but if a rig caught on fire would I know what to do? How fast could I put out a fire? I've never used a fire extinguisher.

I liked this article about minimizing fire risk on farm machinery because it's a short yet usefully informative read. It made me think of the farm equipment I've been on or around. How many of those machines were equipped with a fully charged fire extinguisher?

Food for thought.


END NOTES: 

All of my videos of Skagit Valley farmers are posted in this blog as well as on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/denicer. 

Buy Something and support your local farmers. 
Grow Something wherever you live. Even if it's just a flower or herb in the windowsill. 
Say Something on Twitter - @urbantweeter

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DSHS has announced additional funding to help more WA State farmers markets accept EBT/SNAP benefit cards

Fewer than 1/4 of Farmers Markets nationwide are set up to accept EBT-SNAP cards so people who rely on EBT (formerly food stamps) aren't able to make purchases of healthy farm fresh foods directly from these farmers. Recent USDA funding will be used to provide electronic technology so that Farmers Markets can accept EBT cards. It's a win-win that will provide access to healthy farm fresh foods and increase the customer base of farmers across the U.S.

Here is the USDA Food and Nutrition Service SNAP Retail Locator to find Farmers Markets (and other retailers) that currently welcome EBT customers.


END NOTES: 

All of my videos of Skagit Valley farmers are posted in this blog as well as on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/denicer. 

Buy Something and support your local farmers. 
Grow Something wherever you live. Even if it's just a flower or herb in the windowsill. 
Say Something on Twitter - @urbantweeter

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Video: Anne Schwartz of Blue Heron Farm


In the Summer of 2011 I spent half a day with Anne Schwartz of Blue Heron Farm in Rockport, WA. Anne's video is in 2 parts. I was also able to speak with 2011 intern Hailey Michel-Evleth and that's part 3.

I met Anne at the land she organically farms at the foothills of the North Cascades. Late morning July temps were beginning to rise. She was late because she had to answer an EMT call. Such is life up river where residents are both self-sufficient AND reliant on each other (the nearest hospital is over 30 miles away, the fire department is volunteer driven). When she hopped out of her pickup I was pretty surprised. Farm Talk of Anne is large and strong so I didn’t expect to be greeted by a cute, petite lady with an enviably long ponytail and nurturing smile. 

The more I listened to Anne, the clearer it became: this woman is living her heart. Anne's become one of the most respected farmers and agricultural activists in our area. I think you'll really enjoy her stories.

Anne offers a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) which you can buy shares of. She’s a North Cascades Institute Foodshed Partner. And she's involved with the WSU Major in Organic Agriculture Systems which is the first program of its kind to be offered in the U.S. Currently, Anne's planting tomatoes and peppers and warm loving veg in the greenhouse and planting greens, radishes, cilantro, brassicas, peas, squash, corn, beans, carrots and just about everything the weather is allowing.

If you’d like to volunteer at the farm during summers or purchase a CSA subscription give Anne a call (info below). 


PART 1

PART 2

PART 3




CONTACT INFORMATION
12179 State Route 530
Rockport WA 98283
Telephone (360) 853-8449

END NOTES: 

All of my videos of Skagit Valley farmers are posted in this blog as well as on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/denicer. 


Buy Something and support your local farmers. 


Grow Something wherever you live. Even if it's just a flower or herb in the windowsill. 
Say Something on Twitter - @urbantweeter

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gothberg Farms Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco cheeses

I asked lady goat farmer and artesian goat cheesemaker Rhonda Gothberg what her favorite ways to use her Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco cheeses are. She responded: 1. Quesadillas 2. nachos 3. chile rellenos 4. enchiladas 5. grilled chz sandwich anywhere melted chz w/ slight lactic flavor is enjoyed.

I used Rhonda's Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco to make bruschetta which also included organic butter spinach and tomato, local sourdough bread, and fresh crabmeat from Taylor Shellfish. Wine from Trader Joe's. Tulips and daffs, of course, from Skagit Valley. LIFE IS BETTER WITH FLOWERS.





CONTACT INFORMATION
Gothberg Farms
15203 Sunset Road
Bow WA 98232
Telephone (360) 202-2436
Twitter @gothbergfarms
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gothbergfarms




WSU Livestock Advisor class visits Well Fed Farms

In the pouring rain on April 25th the WSU Livestock Advisor program visited Katharine Isserlis and Erik Olson at their farm in Bow, WA. I enjoyed their chickens last year and this year will be purchasing natural open grazed pork from them. They're now taking orders for broiler chickens and pork, you can find the order form on their website. You can watch a really informative and fun video of my visit with Katharine here
Well Fed Farms raising broiler chickens

Irene, Well Fed Farms lovely Jersey heifer (very pregnant)

Irene, Well Fed Farms lovely Jersey heifer (very pregnant) in pasture on a very rainy day

Irene, Well Fed Farms lovely Jersey heifer (very pregnant) in pasture on a very rainy day


Well Fed Farms
9402 Avon Allen Road
Bow WA 98232
(360) 391-8986
Farm@wellfedfarms.net



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Video: The story of farmer Rhonda Gothberg of Gothberg Farms

Rhonda Gothberg is a small dairy farmer who crafts award-winning artesian goat cheeses (and yogurt too) in the beautiful space of Skagit Valley called Bow where she lives with her husband Roy and her herd of adorable La Mancha goats. I spent half a day with Rhonda last Autumn in her home and around her farm, and the following video is the result.


SNEAK PEEK: Rhonda bravely became a commercial dairy farmer at age 50! She had never been a farmer before, her prior background was in nursing and real estate. Rhonda is Texas Friendly, warm, entertaining, articulate, funny, intelligent, generous, and full up on her share of business smarts. Rhonda doesn't have a lot of "free" time which made the Southern Hospitality she rolled out for me on this day all the more appreciated. Rhonda tells some great stories about her life, her family, the love of her La Mancha goats, her goat cheeses, the health aspects of raw milk and raw milk cheese, what goes into participating in Farmers Markets, the business of being a small dairy farmer, and much more. Enjoy the video and go visit Rhonda. Oh, and buy her fabulous cheeses whenever you can. 




CONTACT INFORMATION
Gothberg Farms
15203 Sunset Road
Bow WA 98232
Telephone (360) 202-2436
Twitter @gothbergfarms
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gothbergfarms


END NOTES: 

All of my video of Skagit Valley farmers are posted in this blog as well as on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/denicer

And you can communicate with me on Twitter at @urbantweeter

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Well Fed Farms deadline to purchase pastured chickens & pork at lower price is extended

Katharine and Erik of Well Fed Farms in Bow, WA wants you to know that the deadline for ordering their pastured chickens and pastured pork at a lower price is extended to April 25th. I can tell you that Katharine's and Erik's chickens are delicious. 

The link to their descriptive and fun flyer and order form is magically right here

Call them at (360) 391-8986 with your questions or to order. 

Well Fed Farms
9402 Avon Allen Road
Bow WA 98232

Email - farm@wellfedfarms.net

Happy Easter - perfect opportunity to start over again

HAPPY EASTER everybody. It's been awhile since my last post but I'm back in the saddle and I ain't leavin' the barn till the work is done ... so to speak. 

This anonymous writing pretty well describes how I feel about Easter:
Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal.  It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown. 
... to seek the slopes where the sun is rising. I love that visual. 

Easter is about hope and faith. It's a perfect mindset to push our internal RESET buttons and get back to moving with the good foot. 

I've experienced how stress can devour vaporize creativity, stagnate productivity, and tick away precious moments of the already short time we have on this planet. 

I've been reading about stress from different perspectives (scientific, spiritual, religious, medical). About "good" stress and "bad" stress. About "positive" stress and "negative" stress. About "normal" stress and "abnormal" stress. 

With myself, family, friends, clients, and people that I randomly cross paths with, I'm remind of these two descriptions of stress: 

(a) a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation; and

(b) bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium. 

Stress is expensive and dangerous. Here's a snippet of something I recently read:
  • Stress is recognized as the number one proxy killer disease* today. The American Medical Association has noted that stress was the basic cause of more than 60 percent of all human illness and disease .
  • It is estimated that American businesses lose approximately $200-$300 billion dollars per year to stress related productivity loss and the treatment costs.
  • Every week, 95 million Americans suffer some kind of stress related symptoms for which they take medication.    
  • A 20-year study conducted by the University of London concluded that unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high cholesterol foods.
  • A survey of 201 U.S. corporations revealed that 60% of all managers felt that stress related illness was pervasive among their workers and decreased productivity at an estimated cost of 16 days of sick leave and $8,000 per person per year.
On this Easter Sunday, regardless of your religious affiliation or non-affiliation, I'd like to throw a thought out into the Universe for you to catch if you like. I believe that most of humanity is hungry for Peace. We want to be Healthy and Happy, Heard and Productive, Loving and Loved. We want to be treated Fairly and we don't want to Suffer. We want to express ourselves Creatively and we want to feel in some way that our life matters. 

My thought: From today through the rest of the year, or through as long as you like, spend at least 1 calm minute every day thinking about Health, Happiness, Dreams, Hope, Gratitude, and other thoughts that hold Redeeming and Renewing value.