Grounded by the Farm

Janice L Person

Grounded by the Farm brings food lovers conversations with farmers every other Wednesday. We learn about how the foods are grown, tips on storing & preparing and how their family prepares it, and more.
After Lots of Challenges, Agritainment is Growing at The Leonard Family FarmHosting Farm Stays: A Love of Travel & Curiosity about Food
Farm stays on Maryland's Easter Shore may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of Maryland or a vacation, but maybe they should. There is a lot of curiosity to be tapped there and I certainly enjoyed my visit! Those farm stays at Sugar Water Manor give people a chance to go deeper in their interest to learn more about how food is produced according to Dana Zucker. She says this type of agritourism has a place on Maryland's Eastern Shore. For decades, Dana Zucker says she was absolutely out of touch with how our food is grown, but curiosity and a passion for food kept getting her to ask questions. Now she and her husband David have entered the world of agritourism by purchasing Sugar Water Manor on the Minokin River on the Eastern Shore. The farm of 70 acres struck Dana at first sight and she felt drawn to it and the idea of sharing what she's learned over the years. Dana has immersed herself in food and has found a range of experiences as she traveled to far away lands like China, Iceland and Spain learning about tea, sheep and wine. And found herself living in Omaha with the chance to really explore agriculture in Kansas where she learned about farmers and ranchers growing corn, soybeans, beef and pork too. Read more at https://groundedbythefarm.com/farm-stays-dana-zucker/ and sugarwatermanor.com.  Find Grounded by the Farm on social media at: Grounded by the Farm on InstagramGrounded by the Farm on FacebookGrounded by the Farm on TwitterGrounded by the Farm on LinkedIn
Nov 17 2021
36 mins
Food & Farm Lesson Plans Bring Fun & Discovery to Classrooms Closing Out Season 2 & Taking a Break To Do What?Getting a Whole New Perspective on Farming and on LifeIrish Butter.... Have you tried it? Wondered who has the dairy cows?Growing Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya) & other Filipino Foods with Albert SantosCanola and Canada Are Inextricably Connected, Farmer Lesley Rae Kelly Tells Us Why & MoreGrowing A Plant-Based Protein that is Humble Yet Powerful -- Convo with Dr. Priyanka GuptaPlant Breeding: One of the Cool Sciences Behind Our Food
Have you got a favorite plant breeder or maybe not even sure what plant breeding is about? This episode is for you either way! We talk with Dr. Lee Hickey who has a plant breeding lab at Australia's University of Queensland about some of the cool science that helps advance the seeds farmers plant and the foods on out plates. I met Lee in the friendly confines of the vast wheat fields just outside Obregón where Norman Borlaug started his Noble Peace Prize winning work to enable developing countries to produce more food for themselves. We were at the CIMMYT (an international plant breeding effort for corn and wheat) with plant breeders from around the world to trade the latest in research tips and to celebrate what would have been Bourlaug's 100th birthday. Lee's story starts strangely - in the city - in Australia called, Brisbane - a city on the East Coast of Australia just a short ways away from the Great Barrier Reef. Every state in Australia has an interest in agriculture, but in Queensland, where Lee now resides and does his research, it's a tropical to sub-tropical environment. In contrast, the plants that grow in Queensland, are much different than what grows in the Southern states of Australia that have a much cooler climate. While wheat and barley are grown there - mostly because of their drought-hearty properties, a lot of the work that Lee is focusing on is to foster on the speed at which the plants grow and evolve. Read a full article with accompanying photos & videos at https://groundedbythefarm.com/plant-breeding-science-food/  Get the detailed ai transcript https://groundedbythefarm.com/talking-with-a-plant-breeder-transcript/  Connect with Lee Hickey on Twitter https://twitter.com/DrHikov  The episode includes: What is plant breeding?Building In-Plant ResistanceFinding The Right Path in AgricultureCool Technology in Plant Breeding
May 26 2021
28 mins
Ugandan Fish Farmer Produces Fresh Tilapia & Encourages Small Farms
May 12 2021
23 mins
Traveling Around the World & Visiting Farms As She Goes
Usually Grounded by the Farm episodes include us interviewing a farmer, talking about the food they produce. And in this second season, we are interviewing farmers in various parts of the world. But this week, we hit several obstacles for interviews and listeners were nice enough to ask the questions. That put our host Janice Person in the interviewee seat! She talks all about visiting farms while traveling in various countries. Topics covered & questions asked in this episode include: Enjoying dried fruit -- There is a tremendous dried fruit business coming out of Turkey. Have you ever been there?Tea production -- We enjoy tea very much in the US. Have you been to tea plantations in Japan China or India (whether assam or ceylon which we know as Sri Lanka)? Teas from those regions are very popular.Terraced rice -- There's real Beauty in seeing rice grown in tropical areas, have you seen the terraced rice patties in the Philippines or Bali?Surprising things you've seen & farming methods -- I was just wondering what is the most surprising farming that you've seen in your travels and whether it be something in the United States or somewhere else that you've been to. You know a lot of the traditional ways of farming that were used before there was a lot of machinery or one of the coolest machines?Comparing practices -- In visiting farms, have you been to a farm that produces the same product or produce or whatever as farms you've seen in the US? If so, what was like a major difference that stands out to you? Do you also think that there are there's a lot of sharing of we do it this way versus we do offer that way and that would imagine in certain parts of the world?Produce & enjoy their crops -- I'm curious of the places that you've traveled what kind of crops people growing that they then turn around and eat and do you have any recipes?Ease of entry to farming -- In the US. It can be kind of hard for young farmers or people who want to get into a culture to get the land and the equipment and and kind of get into farming. Is it easier in other countries? Is there a an easier point of entry and what's that process like off for ew farmers outside of the US?Different locations -- Is it that former will run two farms in different locations?Ever been to Spain -- One of my favorite drives agricultural area was one late January in Spain. The oranges were still on the tree and the almonds were in bloom. It was amazing. You ever been to that part of the world Janice? You'll need to listen to the podcast episode to hear all of Janice's thoughts on these questions. However, for those of you who wondered about a bit more of the story, we do have a few photos and links to share. Lots of travel talk on Janice's blog JPlovesLIFE, including points on her big trips abroad and completing visits to all 50 states.Who's been to a raisin farm? (Hand raised here.)A few posts from a trip to The Phillipines. Overview of agnerd highlights, learning about rice, seeing a vegetable field day & eating sweet corn and seeing how public plant breeding works there.Meeting a female farmer in TurkeyJanice also has a site focused on cotton -- HundredPercentCotton.com -- so she gives a few examples from the natural fiber. Other episodes of Grounded by the Farm we mention: Talking rice with Matthew Sligar of RiceFarmingTVGerman pig farmer Marcus has done some exchange trips (the photo below is from a group of American farmers Janice traveled with in Germany visiting farms like this pork operation -- that red coat doesn't exactly blend)
Apr 28 2021
36 mins
Who grew the flowers in that bouquet? Talking Local Flowers with England's Ben Cross
Whether you pick up a bouquet of flowers at a florist or a supermarket, you may well find alstroemeria in the bouquet How cool would it be to know a local farmer who grows those flowers? I have to confess, I'd never met an alstroemeria farmer til I came across British farmer Ben Cross through Clubhouse. In this episode, we talk about growing alstroemeria, about how to keep it looking fresh as long as possible and what is happening in the flower market.  Read more and see photos/video at https://groundedbythefarm.com/local-flowers/   While there are many types of flowers, there is one that not only fosters ongoing warm feelings - its name actually fosters that same thought: The Alstroemeria. And it isn't just one of the most-beautiful flowers - its the one that we're going to focus on as we talk to Ben Cross, a fourth generation flower farmer, from Crosslands Flower Nursery! He's definitely not local for me, but he got me thinking a lot about local flowers. Growing Flowers in Southern England Nestled near the English Channel, and hour and a half from downtown London, in the Southern parts of the UK, Ben and his family have created a haven for crafting a flourishing fountain of flowery fun. With an area that features the best atmosphere, the best sunlight conditions, The Cross family's flower farm is the centerpiece for commerce, outstanding scents and visuals that have to be seen to believe. Ben's says the farm feature massive greenhouses that specializes and provides the alstroemeria or the "Lily of The Inca" which is a flower that originated in the Andes Mountains of Peru and Chile. The flower is actually named after Darwin's cousin who was named "Meria." Ben's farm was founded back in the 1960s and is based on the bounty that the alstroemeria convey thanks to the surrounding atmospheric conditions that make growing them very straightforward. In all, Ben's farm provides 79 different varieties that feature every color you can think of and then some. Their flowers are grown and harvested year-round, and provide some of the largest markets in the UK with fresh new offerings regularly. Looking for blue and black flowers for your arrangement? Those are the only two colors you won't find inside the resource listings and flowerbeds of Ben's flower farm! Local Flowers & Sustainability Did you also know that alstroemeria's utilize remarkably LITTLE water? It's what makes them so sustainable, and with a little care, you can make them last even longer! While it might sound like heat is the enemy of flowers, Ben and his staff are able to keep their flowers growing and viable all year thanks to the biomass heat that is generated inside their hundreds of greenhouse-based flower beds. While they've just finished a Spring time packing run of 13,000 stems in a week, (and another akin to this one in the Autumn/Fall), they actually provide millions of stems annually. From mid-April, they will be continually harvesting stems until Christmastime in December. Even during their "quietest" time, they are still harvesting stems 3 days a week during the months of January and February annually. Water is the next piece of the flower power foundation in Ben's operation. Keeping the flowers appropriately hydrated helps to enhance every step of the process. The water is provided to the flowers based on what time of year it is. It can be delivered directly to the stems via their underground irrigation supply feeds during the winter (where the stems can grow to a mind-boggling 7 feet tall!) and then provided from hanging irrigation systems in the summer when the stems are much shorter (usually 2 feet tall). Tips to Keep Fresh Flowers Beautiful A few tips to remember to allow your flowers to beatify for longer periods of time include: 1.) Be sure to snip off the leaves on the stem of the flower 2.) Remember to change out the water every 2-3 days to foster longevity 3.) Each time you change out the water, snip a small piece of the step to help prevent the collection of destructive bacteria when showing your flowers 4.) Don't put your flowers in direct sunlight! 5.) Keep your flowers away from warm electronics - it will kill them quick! With a little care and attention, you can have an even "longer lasting friendship" (what the actual name of Alstroemeria means in Latin) because you'll have longer lasting flowers - often up to 2 or 3 weeks! About Growing Alstroemeria Can you believe that Ben's operation only replants about 5% of their crop each year? That's a tremendous number and fosters the amazing feat of fostering plants that are now between 20 and 30 years old! If only we could have flowers last a fraction of that time, right? It's an amazing and crafty way to maintain control and costs inside of a business that is literally "always growing!" Speaking of control - what about BUGS! There are NO PESTICIDES or chemicals of any kind used inside of Crosslands Flower Nursery - Specialists of British Alstroemeria! Instead they are using biocontrols - a way of utilizing biology to kill the unwanted biologies. To learn more about that - you're going to have to listen to this episode of Grounded By The Farm, to learn what fate awaits those unfortunate White Flies that make their way into the hundreds of flowerbeds in Ben's massive greenhouses! It's amazing, it's biocontrol and it's SCIENCE at work! British Flowers Rock! Ben talks about the benefit of buying local, the reduction in the packaging, and carbon footprint of flowers globally through a campaign he calls "British Flowers Rock." During the year, Ben is often provided with free samples of flower types, to see if he'd like to see about including them in the next season's harvest. This allows him to have a good look at the varying types, and then "cherry pick" the best that will not only provide for the best yield and look - but also help to flesh out his already robust supply of fragrant flowery fantasticalness. Inside this episode, Ben shares his grand family legacy that starts with his great granddad and the throughline stories that provide how Ben has become now a 4th generation flower farmer! Growing flowers in the UK is something that continues to be a rare effort but the 4 acres that Ben continues to foster (since it's inception in 1936) continue to have grand impact on the eyes, the nose and the hearts of people worldwide. For More Information Are you wanting to be satisfied by flowers, fragrances and the farming of it all? Get satisfied INSTANTLY on Instagram by connecting with Ben Cross and Crosslands Flower Nursery now! Ben is big on the gram, so check out @AlstroemeriaBen on Instagram. He posts lots of video stories, etc. Have you seen what a British Alstroemeria looks like? Check out the flowery photos in flowerbeds a' plenty over at the official Facebook presence for Crosslands Flower Nursery specialist of British Alstroemeria! https://www.facebook.com/CrosslandsFlowerNursery Be sure to connect with Ben on Twitter, where you'll see photos, flowers, and fantasticly fragrant things - in 280 characters or less!  Twitter. twitter.com/AlstroemeriaBen Where to find Grounded by the Farm on social media: GroundedbytheFarm.com for photos, blog posts, show notes and moreFind your favorite Foods https://groundedbythefarm.com/favorite-foods/Ask the Farmers Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/GroundedbytheFarm/Groundedbythefarm_ on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/groundedbythefarm_/ Grounded by the Farm on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1RgGoXaVDcFTZ9EcWJDzfw@groundedbythef on Twitter http://twitter.com/groundedbythef Tharawat Magazine article on entrepreneurial pull of the Cross family http://tharawat-magazine.com/stories/crosslands-flower-nursery/ You've heard a little bit of what Ben sound like - Listen (AND WATCH!) to more inside a great episode of The Passion podcast youtu.be/ClDhnPLOUls Unlike most of the guests I have had on, we met on Clubhouse! @AlstroemeriaBen - Be sure to connect with him today and don't forget that Grounded By The Farm is ALSO on Clubhouse! Did you know that 90% of flowers in the UK are IMPORTED? Thats' a mind-boggling number until you realize that the climate for growing flowers, especially those that need an ongoing, warmer climate - well - The UK isn't known for it's long summers and killer beaches but there are some great Do you know how often Ben and his crew water his flowers in the Summer and then again in the Winter? You've going to have to listen to this episode of Grounded By The Farm to find out! When you do, be sure to tell us what you think over at our Facebook presence now! https://www.facebook.com/GroundedbytheFarm
Apr 14 2021
29 mins
For Egg Farmers, Both Chickens and Eggs Have to Come First!
It's the sage ol' question that continues to perplex us - which came first? The chicken or the egg? For farmers like Dianne McComb it's the care of hens that deliver the incredible, edible egg! So both stay front and center! McComb farms with her brother in Ontario, Canada fostering the legacy four generations have crafted. Taking care of thousands of hens means a lot of time with eggs and Dianne shares with us her tips on all things eggs. And she answers lots of our questions!  See photos, video & get a detailed transcript at https://groundedbythefarm.com/egg-farmers/  Some other links of interest: The housing system they used is called "enriched housing" for hens.  Dianne is active with a program called Farm & Food Care and pointed us to some videos that would help us see what the farm is like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIOJ2KKhID8Dianne's operation produces the "conventional white egg," but there are MANY different types of eggs.  Dianne on Social Media: https://twitter.com/DmMccombhttps://www.instagram.com/diannemccomb/ Where to find Grounded by the Farm on social media: GroundedbytheFarm.com for photos, blog posts, show notes and moreFind your favorite Foods https://groundedbythefarm.com/favorite-foods/Ask the Farmers Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/GroundedbytheFarm/Groundedbythefarm_ on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/groundedbythefarm_/ Grounded by the Farm on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1RgGoXaVDcFTZ9EcWJDzfw@groundedbythef on Twitter http://twitter.com/groundedbythef Links from The Editing Team Fourth Generation Farmers are getting pretty rare! Connect with Dianne McComb on Twitter today to learn more about the legacy, the history and value of egg and Hen farming! https://twitter.com/dmmccomb While Canada has been and continues to be one of the most-relationship-rich partnerships the US has ever had, few know the names of all of the Canadian provinces. Ready to remedy that with some quick memorization and learning? https://www.wikihow.com/Memorize-the-Canadian-Territories-and-Provinces#:~:text=Memorize%20the%20'bottom%20row'%20of,Nothing'%2C%20'Bart%20A We love sharing photos of farms & food on the Grounded By The Farm Facebook presence and be sure to give us a "Like" and share our content! Our stories, legacies and learning can continue on with just a little help from you! https://www.facebook.com/GroundedbytheFarm Check out the Grounded By The Farm Instagram presence and stay in touch with me as we make more great content during the year! https://www.instagram.com/groundedbythefarm_/?hl=en DID YOU KNOW? Eggs that are produced in a country, are typically EATEN in that same country or even that area of the country! You've likely experienced the results of an instituted "Pecking Order" in your life in one way or another. Did you know that Pecking Order finds it's seed conversation when it comes to CHICKEN DOMINANCE? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecking_order#:~:text=It%20was%20first%20described%20by,expression%20of%20dominance%20in%20chickens. The Pecking Order for Hens struggle is REAL! Check out an outstanding video showcasing "HEN BULLYING!" It's a real phenomenon and something you should learn more about! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDacZOL0N-Q While most commercial egg farms have one of three types of layers (hens that lay eggs) there are lots of different breeds of chickens that backyard farmers can choose from. Are YOU familiar with them? Learn all about the development and research that details the traits that make hens the most-efficient they can be! https://starmilling.com/poultry-chicken-breeds/ Eggs are not only a nutritious food, they are an easy-to-prepare food. Ready to learn 7 Great Ways to Prepare Eggs? https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/nutrition/seven-ways-to-make-eggs
Mar 31 2021
36 mins
What is a pig farm really like? And what's your favorite cut of pork?
Pork is a major part of the German diet, a deep love for so many and farmer Marcus Höltkotter says schnitzel is his favorite way to enjoy it! Producing pork for his table are others is what drives his family. To get there, they care for the pigs on the farm, take the manure from the barns out to fields to fertilize the crops. Listen as he tells us about that as well as the Rhine countryside he calls home.  Photos and video at https://groundedbythefarm.com/pig-farm-pork/  Marcus on Twitter:  @BauerHolti When I say "pig farm", what is it YOU think of? From the things we see and "learn" from when we're kids, to the experiences we have when we're cooking up our favorite brand of bacon to listening to an interview with a pig farmer... there are so many touch points! Inside this most-recent episode of Grounded by the Farm, we take you to western Germany to talk with farmer Marcus Holtkötter about pork and farming! A Love of Pork While many Americans ears perk up at the mention of bacon, Marcus tells us that wurst (sausage) and schnitzel (pork cutlet) are daily parts of the German diet for many. And I remembered having something that was translated as pork knuckle while I was there -- seems to be called ham hock in the U.S. but I think it is prepared very differently! I can't help but wonder whether the Germans have had farm-direct Virginia ham! Looking at the numbers, Germans really enjoy pork. They eat almost twice as much per capita as Americans do! Protein choices really shift based on what's grown in each person's area as well as personal dietary preferences. Typical Pig Farm Janice and Marcus have known each other for many years, and have toured farms together both in the States and Germany. His farm, that features corn, canola, winter barley, winter wheat and - or course, pigs, continues to generate education points galore. The area he farms in is perfect for farming and a beautiful countryside too. Some small rolling hills, lots of trees and great small towns and cities nearby. Marcus gives us a look at his crop in this video. Münster is  perhaps 30 minutes away and Düsseldorf with a major international airport is only an hour and a half away. He says that's great for him as they have a lot of access to people who love pork! Having toured pig farms in the Midwest, Marcus says there are many similarities. They built a new pig barn or stable just a couple of years ago. They build the barns out of brick which he says provides a different look than the US. And things like ventilation is critical. Marcus' farm takes piglets from birth to market while some farmers don't do the farrowing (sort of maternity barns for pigs!) The floors are slotted so manure can easily get away from the animals and food and can be pulled for use on the crops. Focused on Animal Welfare The Holtkötters participate in a program which pays them a premium to provide the pigs certain luxuries or as Marcus calls them play things. They have straw, wood and the like. It provides a financial boost for the farm too. I still remember my first trip to a pig farm, the only thought I had in my mind was pig farms smell bad.  I was really surprised to find out things aren't that simple. You might still think that pigs LOVE to "wallow in the mud" and while they do benefit from it, strangely, pigs are an animal that benefit WILDLY from humans taking special care to stay clean. When it comes to personalities and recognition skills, you might think that pigs are towards the bottom of the totem pole. The fact is that pigs are quick to notice new things that are unfamiliar, and even have their own unique series of sounds to take note of those things they aren't familiar with. YOUR smells, your voice and the things you do that are "off the beaten track" for them instantly make them light up a room. Marcus shares his version of the sound they make inside this episode.... so much fun! He says his father works in the barns more. And one of his sons really enjoys working in the barn too. Barn Visits Aren't Easy to Arrange So few people are able to visit a pig barn because biosecurity rules are very tight. A farmer needs to shower as they go in before they can work with pigs. these rules are in place to protect the pigs health. Biosecurity is incredibly important when it comes to pigs and pig farming. Contamination is something to definitely chew the fat about when it comes to safety. In this episode, Marcus shares a variety of excellent tips that can help you prepare for a visit to a pig farm and how to help ensure that the pigs are able to live another day to provide a bountiful, meaty harvest. But you can also take a virtual reality tour of a pig barn now! Working with Others in Agriculture Marcus' farm is not too far from one of Europe's largest slaughterhouses (the name is Tönnies). He says the farms and processors work closely together and that presence led to the area producing 30 percent of the pork for the country! Marcus also likes that he can get their pigs to the market quite quickly. This makes for a wonderful circular economy that continues to give back as the Holtkötter Farm is able to provide the wanted sustenance that hard-working Germans want. It's a tradition that has carried over to Marcus' son, who often is able to share educational tips and detail with his school teachers that are always eager to learn more about pigs and pig farming themselves. So Much to Learn Marcus laughs saying he's not sure what else people would like to know... he and his family are so deeply ingrained in agriculture, they don't always know what interests others. But they are always willing to share. In fact, one day in class the teacher was talking about wheat but mistakenly was showing barley. His son explained the differences and the teacher called that evening to apologize. The bottom line is that, whether you're ready to have a delicious schnitzel on a cool, crisp morning, or have a hankering to get that slice of Applewood-smoked bacon on a burger or in some mac & cheese, or if you just want to learn more about these incredibly giving animals - Pigs are here for you! Listen to this episode, tell us what you think, and remember to follow Marcus and the Holtkötter family's efforts on Twitter at @BauerHolti and check out his website www.Holtkoetter-Agrar.de. Their story, products and legacy are just like their homestead's buildings - strong and built to last. Wow Moments from Our Editor! Marcus' farm is 400 acres! That's a lot of space! Not sure how much that is? No problem! Let's put 302 and a half football fields together! There we go! Did You Know: The EU countries with the highest production of pig meat in 2019 were Germany (5.2 million tonnes) and Spain (4.6 million tonnes), followed by France (2.2 million tonnes); together these three countries account for more than half of the EU's total production. These numbers are HUGE and an incredibly large source of resources for so many people worldwide! Oil is Oil, right? WRONG! Let's learn all about the differences between Canola Oil and Vegetable Oil. Marcus tells us all about his farm, that includes growing corn. Don't forget Dave talked to us about that! Marcus quickly mentions the Winter Barley he grows on his farm. Want to learn more about it? Look no further! Check out our episode about barley grown for microbreweries or this article on winter barley from science direct. Are you familiar with winter wheat? Marcus - while mentioning a variety of resources that he and his family provide, quickly mention winter wheat. Find out more about it now! Eating a Lot of Pork in Germany - Stats Twice as Much - What IS the story? Janice talks about it. Marcus talks about it. Marcus' son loves to take in at least twice as much as Marcus. YOU, are ready to take in schnitzel... Ready to Make Your Own Schnitzel? Janice mentions "Osso Buco" - are you familiar with it? This food blogger in Nashville made pork osso bucco from meat she got at Batey Farms! Find out all about it now! Schweinshaxe - Never heard of it? Time to learn more about a dish you really do need to have, especially if you're a fan of pork! Find out more about the history of Farming in Germany! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_Germany Düsseldorf - Are you familiar with this city? Janice went and loved the Düsseldorf Christmas markets! Few things show as much detail about a given area quickly, than a MAP! Check out an Agricultural Map of Germany now and learn what kinds of crops, livestock and more are being generated to provide worldwide resources! Amazing! It's the 50th Anniversary of Germany's Largest Slaughterhouse! Find out more now about Tonnies! Oddly enough, Marcus' farm features soil and resources that are very much like what is featured inside of IOWA in the United States! Check out more about The Iowa Pork Producers Association now!
Mar 17 2021
29 mins
Cheese-a-Day Challenge: Farmer Tom's Way of Discovering UK Dairy
Knowing the first episode of our second season would be published the first week of March, it was obvious we needed to talk about the Cheese-A-Day Challenge started by "Farmer Tom" in the UK had to be discussed! Getting to Know Farmer Tom Let's start with the reality that the farmer who started the Cheese-A-Day Challenge, a taste-sensation for the month of February isn't a dairy farmer! In fact, he primarily grows arable crops including wheat for baking, barley for beer,  and they also produce lamb. Tom says all of it works together in building soil health with rotations and grazing. If you listened to season 1 of Grounded by the Farm, you know we have done episodes on all of those foods, but hearing about how they are grown on Tom's farm in the East of England is definitely different. And I had to laugh that I'm sitting in St. Louis and interviewing a farmer on the other side of the Atlantic to find out he grows a specific barley for Budweiser! A Cheese-A-Day Challenge Farmer Tom's been doing the cheese-a-day challenge for a few years now. He says he started doing it because he only really knew two types of cheese -- cheddar and Stilton -- and yet, the country has more than a thousand different cheeses. So in February, a time some call Februdairy, he tries a different cheese every day. You may enjoy the fact that Tom couldn't help but be amazingly proud of the dairy produced close to home as he boasts the history of English cheeses and their superiority to French cheese, even though the French & Belgians may have a bigger cheese reputation. Tom's helping put that to bed. He's shared it on Twitter, where he goes by @Farmer_Ton_UK, the last couple of years, but it kept gaining speed. This year, not only did he post videos on Twitter, but he put longer versions on YouTube. And this was the first year that he worked with a cheese shop on boxes. Almost 100 people subscribed to the series and got small shipments of cheeses without labels so they could participate in a blind taste test! You can browse the Twitter hashtag #cheeseadaychallenge to see the fun! While I interviewed Tom in the middle of the challenge, I asked him this week, what cheese was his favorite. You can see it here. In this video like everyday. He talks to someone who is involved in UK agriculture. You can watch the highlights on Tom's favorite cheese day in the Twitter edit or the full video here. That's Tom on the right and the head of the National Farmers Union on the left! While talking with Tom, I mentioned the chance I had recently to do a virtual cheese tasting with the folks at Midwest Dairy. They compiled a selection of cheeses from various parts of the midwest and sent a box to several of us cheese enthusiasts! My favorite was a soft cheese called Milk & Honey from Edgewood Creamery! Here's a list of the range of cheeses we had the chance to taste and like Tom, some of the pairings we had were great!  Raising Sheep Farmer Tom mentioned raising sheep which brings me back to lamb. The grazing of sheep and other smaller mammals like goats is definitely something that has a good fit in some areas of the world. As we discussed in an earlier episode, sheep can sometimes fit landscapes that aren't well-adapted for other animals. As someone who enjoys lamb, I love that he has a lamb biriyani recipe demo on his YouTube channel. Check it out. Farmer Time -- Connecting Farmers & Classrooms As if farming and organizing a month of cheese eating wasn't enough to keep Farmer Tom busy, he's started an organization called Farmer Time (farmertime.org.uk) where farmers are connected with classrooms for on-going interactions. Although it's started in the UK, they have already begun expanding it to several markets. The website serves as a connecting point with farmers and teachers entering their information into the site for pairing. And it builds direct connections between farmers and the classrooms where students can ask farmers questions about the topics they are studying! Farmers join the classes via Facetime, Skype or other video conferencing so students on a fortnightly basis (every other week like this podcast!). That gives the class a chance to see what's happening quickly. Find Farmer Tom Online Farm website:  VillageFarm.org.uk Twitter: @Farmer_Tom_UK Insta: @farmertomgb Facebook: @FarmerTomUk
Mar 3 2021
36 mins
Urban Farming & Urban Gardens a Way to Honor Black History
Empowering others to produce food for themselves and their families came to Natasha Nicholes through her family history. She has been building a community garden, urban farm & the community for a years now. She started locally, growing a few plants at a condo and grew to a backyard before getting permission to plant lots on Chicago's South Side & online. Her community lives the moniker "We Sow We Grow" meeting gardeners where they are and seeing all celebrate each other's accomplishments and helping them manage challenges.  Links Read more and see photos at https://groundedbythefarm.com/building-a-community-garden/  The We Sow We Grow Gardening Chat community on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/wesowwegrowchat/ You can find events to help you plan for spring & summer! You can support We Sow We Grow through PayPal donations https://bit.ly/3f28bYb as well as buying various products like the “Dirty by Nature” t-shirts on TeeSpring https://teespring.com/stores/we-sow-we-grow Natasha Nicholes’ blog Houseful of Nicholes https://housefulofnicholes.com/  she has a category that shares a lot of gardening information including some projects to do with your kids https://housefulofnicholes.com/category/food-farm/wesowwegrow she walks through basics like how to read a seed packet   Time codes of interest: Finding a Family Passion for Gardening  1:36  Growing in Containers & Square Foot Gardening  5:35  Pride on Chicago’s South Side  7:21  Becoming a master urban farmer / master gardener 11:50  Tough years & good years  17:18  Creating community & a non-profit  19:50  Lots of people turning to gardening  22:21  Difference in scale farm - garden 24:55  Growing all the things 27:13  Planning to Plant 29:45  Where to Start 30:52  Supporting the community 32:48
Feb 17 2021
34 mins
Black History includes Farming for the Johnson FamilyReady to celebrate mardi gras? Then let's talk crawfish!Talking with this Farmer Helped Me Up My Popcorn Game!