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 ...

Produce Poetry: Asparagus

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I hope this post finds you well, perhaps snuggled up at home reading or reaching out to a friend. As we navigate this new era of social distancing, I hope you can find time to get close to nature. Spring is coming in all of its glory to our doorsteps. The daffodils are blooming and farmers are putting early seeds into the ground. So during this time when anxiety runs high, I invite you to ...

The Strength of Our Community

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As our collective sense of normal gets redefined daily due to the coronavirus, we find ourselves having to create new systems of caring for one another. Governor Mike DeWine and Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have taken proactive steps to manage the coronavirus in our state, including banning all gatherings of 50 people or more and closing restaurants, except for carry-out services. This means the Chesterhill Produce Auction (CPA) had to cancel our ...

Mushrooms Bring Much Interest

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The peepers are peeping, the red-wing blackbirds are returning, and the daffodils are beginning to blossom. These signs of spring bring lots of energy and excitement for the growing season. Spring also brings a long list of tasks — prepping beds, amending soil, starting seeds, and inoculating mushroom logs — to name just a few. This week, Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry & Agriculture teams hosted two mushroom workshops to equip folks with the skills to ...

The Modern Farmer: Today’s Renaissance Man

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After attending the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association conference and two Rural Action farm workshops in the past weeks, I am overwhelmed with new knowledge. Cattle health, soil remediation, winter growing techniques, food safety practices, farm enterprise analysis, and climate change impacts are swirling in my head and filling my notebooks. As my brain contends with content overload, I feel a renewed admiration for the modern farmer. Growing food demands so much more than ...

OEFFA 2020: What We Learned and Shared

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This weekend, Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry team piled into cars and headed out to Dayton for the 41st OEFFA Conference. Over three days, we spoke to dozens of farmers and foodies at our booth in the exhibition hall, attended multiple farming workshops, and spent time discussing the future of Ohio’s food system. We had the joy of running into past AmeriCorps members and volunteers who shared fond memories of helping at the Chesterhill ...

The Year in Pictures

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Happy New Year y’all! Here at the Rural Action office, we’re busy making plans for the growing season and eagerly watching the light return. Every evening when the sun sets a bit later, the spring feels a little closer — especially given the blast of warm weather we felt this weekend. Seventy degrees in mid-January…wowza! As we put together next year’s auction calendar (keep your eyes out folks), we’re taking a moment to reflect on ...
Chesterhill Produce Auction header image featuring pastoral shed.

A Day at the Auction

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After the sun rises on a Monday or Thursday during the growing season, farmers begin harvesting, cleaning, and packaging their produce for the day. All around the county, farmers set off to deliver their items to the auction house, to be sold and displayed in bushels and pecks across the auction floor. A few hours before the auction begins you’ll find farmers, Rural Action staff, volunteers and AmeriCorps service members moving pallets full of tomatoes ...