Produce Poetry: Tomato

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We see a LOT of tomatoes come through the auction this time of year. Tomatoes are actually our top-selling produce item of the year. Many customers have been busy turning them into salsa and sauces. It has been heartening to see more people turning to canning and preserving food this year due to the pandemic. Though it can be frustrating when every store is sold out of lids! I wrote this short meditation on the ...

Sage & Mason – Setting Sites on New Vistas

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Autumn means the beginning of a new term for our AmeriCorps members. This year, that means the exciting addition of two new AmeriCorps VISTA members: Sage and Mason. We are eager to bring them onto the team and to see what good work they’ll accomplish to improve the production, distribution, and accessibility of sustainable food in the region. Read on to meet Sage and Mason in their own words. And make sure to give them ...

Getting Produce to Patients

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Rural Action and the Chesterhill Produce Auction (CPA) have forged a new partnership to expand our distribution into West Virginia and to get good food into the hands of people who need it most. Coplin Health Systems (CHS), in partnership with WVU Extension Service, coordinate the FARMacy, a fresh produce prescription program to help patients manage chronic health conditions through diet. The program helps ensure patient have access to healthy fruits and vegetables to improve ...

Produce Poetry: Beet

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Last week I brought seven bunches of beets home from the auction. They are one of my favorite root vegetables and CPA farmers know how to grow some beautiful beets! So I had a pickling party (…of two…thanks Mom) and ended up with five big jars of pickled beets. Since my fingertips are still stained red and beets are on the mind, I thought I’d share this poem. Beet I wish to lie on my ...

Farming from Scratch

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How do I start my own farm? What resources do I need to start a business? What models of farming exist in this region? The questions that pile up in a beginning farmer’s mind are plentiful and often overwhelming. Many beginning farmers share an earnest motivation to steward the land, but a largely blank slate when it comes to resources, generational knowledge, and access to land. The reality with which our country must contend is ...

Levi – The Classic

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For two years, Levi Brown has been a core part of our Sustainable Agriculture team. Anyone will tell you that whatever needs done, he will be the first to jump in and help. Levi is a kind, thoughtful, critical thinker and “one of my favorite people,” says Tom Redfern. On his last day of service, we spoke with him about his time with Rural Action and where he’s headed next. Over the course of Levi’s ...

Get Small and Invite ‘Em All

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I’ve often wondered what it would look and feel like to have an entirely local food economy. What would happen if Wal-Mart and Family Dollar shut down? If corn and soybean fields instead grew a diversity of crops? If international trade came to a stop? I imagine grocery stores filled with seasonal produce from the region. There are apples in the fall, greens in the spring, locally made salsas and sausages all year, and fresh ...

Foraged Foods: Morels

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Gathering food from the woods and wild places is a special treat of rural living. In the last month I’ve felt privileged to be able to get outside, watch nature come alive, and eat it. Many of the edible plants which produce fruit mid-summer are still small this early in the season and it can be tough to gather a whole meal. However, I still consider early spring to be the best time to forage ...

Foraged Foods: Garlic Mustard

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We live in a time in which much of our food comes from domesticated plants. We buy produce from stores, farmers markets, and produce auctions. Some of us grow the produce in our gardens. What is not widely known is that there is a wide array of edible plants that we fail to notice because of the significant loss of tradition in gathering food from the wild. Examples of common edible plants are dandelions, dead ...

Molly – ‘Til the Cows Come Home

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We’re starting a series of posts about our AmeriCorps and VISTA members and how they have engaged with sustainable agriculture and forestry since serving with Rural Action and the Chesterhill Produce Auction. So this week, I thought I’d share a story about welcoming new life on my family’s land. Enjoy these photos of lowline angus calves and some words about what it’s like to be a beginning farmer…   After living in Minnesota’s Twin Cities ...