Our Top 5 Quotes on Farming

In an interview over the winter, Sandi talked a little about the importance of farming and what it means to her personally. It’s a great quote and one that really could make sense to anyone and not just farmers.

But it got us thinking about other quotes about farming that have come up. Quotes that maybe you’ve heard someone reference or maybe ones that are new to you.

Farming is as difficult as it is rewarding. That duality makes it an interesting profession to talk to people about because it becomes polarizing. But it makes for good discussion, that’s for sure.

Sandi’s quote:

 

Top 5 farming Quotes

Counting down from five…

5. “Farming isn’t for everyone, but hay it’s in my jeans”. – Anonymous

Ok. We can admit that this one is a bit goofy, but we have a sense of humor too! While there are some tough days of farming there are some really great ones too and we like to smile through it all!

4. “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson

This is an excellent quote and one that maybe we have gotten a bit away from over the last few decades. Our business and our lives has moved really fast with technology and other advancements but every so often it’s nice to stop and remember where we all came from.

3. “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” – Will Rogers

Going back to the first quote, we have a sense of humor. Some days it’s so important to stay positive and think of what good we can do in the future and not just the things that have gone wrong.

2. “We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” – Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is a writer and coming from an artist this quote resonates with us. We appreciate it very much.

1.“Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.” – George Washington

Well said and something to keep in mind when your day isn’t going so well.

 

Cheers to all the farmers out there. And cheers to you all, no matter what you do!

 

 

 

For the Love of Asparagus

Every year our first major crop that we bring to market is asparagus. It’s the first green that we see that’s from our fields and that’s edible and really is a beacon of spring and the warm weather to come.

We love asparagus. So many of our friends and customers do too and tell us when they get to the market and see it’s available! But what is asparagus?

Origin of Asparagus

Asparagus is actually a cousin of the onion and a member of the liliaceae family. So asparagus and Lilies are related! Just like lilies asparagus comes back up every year. It’s been consumed for over 2000 years and has its origins in Eastern Mediterranean countries but has also been traced back to Africa. It has been shown that ancient Egyptians actually cultivated it by archaeologists.

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates used asparagus to treat certain gastric issues in his patients. Asparagines in the plant are a diuretic and has been shown to be quite medicinal. It wasn’t until the 16th and 17th century until asparagus made its way to Europe and was served to royalty. By the 18th century asparagus made it to the local markets and was used commonly in culinary efforts in every day households.

It doesn’t last nearly long enough. Only a few weeks usually. But, it’s the start of the season and the beginning of so many great things to come in the next few weeks and even months. But if you like it as much as we do you can easily freeze it!

Freezing Asparagus

The easiest way to do it is to blanch the spears and then quickly cool them. Get some boiling water ready and get a bowl of ice water ready. Put your asparagus spears in the boiling water for three minutes (one pound of asparagus at a time and allow the water to reboil before the next batch) and then take out and cool off the in the water. Dry them off and put them in freezer bags! That’s it. Fresh tasting asparagus long into the summer!

 

Crop Report: Onions are in the Ground

Fisher Hill Farm Onions

We got our onions in the ground last week. It’s and brutally slow process and if you follow us on social media you probably saw a post about driving .1 miles per hour in the tractor! Painfully slow but so necessary and actually kind of beautiful in a way. It also gives you time to think which with three kids and a business to run there isn’t much time for that.

Onions are one of the first things to hit the soil every year and it marks the beginning of the growing season. It’s a time for reflection on last years crops and a time to look into the future of where the business is heading, what changes need to be made, and what milestones to celebrate.

Onions might be the beginning of our soil crops but they are so much more than that. They are a staple of cooking for chefs and culinary hobbyists around the world. They last through the year in cold storage. Did you know they are famous for being untraceable in the archaeological world? It’s true! Their tissues leave almost no trace at all and so their origin has been debated by botanists and food historians alike. Some research suggests that they originated in Central Asia while other research suggests they came from West Pakistan.

No matter where they originated from, onions were one of the very first cultivated crops  in the world because they grew in different soils and climates, were easily transported, and lasted a long time after coming out of the ground. Ancient Chinese, Roman, and Egyptian texts have shown that onions played an important role in diets and even cultural practices. It’s amazing how far back they date and just how amazingly important they are!

We’re excited for the growing season and excited about these onions. We can’t wait to share them with you.

Crop Report: First of 2019!

Officially it is spring but Mother Nature is thinking otherwise. Just the other morning we had a little frost on the puddles and scattered snow showers on and off. But all in all the ground is starting to firm up and the mud is going away (thank goodness). With any kind of luck we can start to get out in the fields next week and get a few early crops planted.

This week we officially wrapped up the greenhouse expansion project. Hard to believe when I first started vegetable farming my greenhouse was a whopping 10 x 16 feet. Then in 2004 we added on another 12 feet. That little greenhouse raised plants, dried onions, cured sweet potatoes, and stored odds and ends in the off season. The last few years we have raised plants in the high tunnel by the barn but it wasn’t ideal.

So this spring we tore down our little greenhouse to make way for a 20 x 36 foot greenhouse. It was a fun project and a nice change of pace. Last Friday we moved in onion plants and now its almost full (maybe it should have been bigger?) Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are off to a great start. Pretty soon we will be starting zucchini, cucumbers, melons, and a few flowers for our girls.

We started a little bit of machinery maintenance on the mulch layer. Plastic mulch is a very helpful tool for us for many reasons. It helps to warm the soil in the spring, keeps the weeds away, and makes it possible for drip irrigation. The plow points on the front were pretty worn out. I was able to get a new set at the farm supply store in Penn Yan (another story someday). I cut the old ones off and got the shiny new on, greased her up and now she’s ready to roll. On the rainy days I can chip away at the rest of the fleet.

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Machine Maintenance Required

Garlic is well on its way already. They look like little soldiers standing in a row. Garlic is a great crop to make you feel good. Always the first out of the ground. It can get snowed on, froze, and rained on but it doesn’t care, just keeps growing.

The meat chicken business is in full swing. We are butchering the first batch of spring next week and then starting the beginning of May we will have fresh every week until fall. We get chicks every other week and right now we have three groups going. It’s amazing how they grow so fast!

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Chickens Growing Up Quick

But did you know that post office ships the baby chicks? They come from a hatchery in Pennsylvania that ships them Tuesday and we usually get them the next day. But you should see the looks on peoples faces when you have these noisy boxes of chicks!

We are hoping to get some of our direct seed crops in the field next week. Peas, radishes, and carrots are the first guys to be seeded outside. They don’t mind the cooler soil temperature. We also have a whole bunch of transplants to squeeze into the high tunnel and caterpillar tunnel.

Bok choi, kale, chard, beets, broccoli rabe, and scallions will be the first transplants of the season. I’m sure they won’t all fit inside and the rest will be transplanted outside. We use the tunnels to get a jump on the season and have more variety on the tables at the market. Next to follow are potatoes and onions but they will have to wait until the following week.

Still have time to sign up for the Summer CSA and we are very excited about the new Victor pickup location. Check us out at the markets Rochester Public, Saturday and Brighton, Sunday.

-Phillip

 

The Health Benefits of Summer Berries

Fisher Hill Farm summer berries

Everyone knows that fruit is sweet and delicious. There’s hardly anything better on a hot summer day than a sweet strawberry or blackberry. They also make great desserts! But what about the health benefits of nature’s candy? Each berry has different nutrients that make it unique and it’s so important that we try and eat healthy every day. Not that we need any excuse to eat delicious fruit but it certainly helps to see how well these berries treat out bodies as well.

Local Strawberries - Fisher Hill Farm

Strawberries

One serving of Strawberries contains 150 grams of vitamin C and can help boost immune efficiency and fight off free radicals that damage healthy DNA.

Rich in potassium, eating strawberries actually lowers your blood pressure.

Flavonoids, ellagic acid, and phenolic phytochemicals found in strawberries reduces your risk of age-related vision problems like macular degeneration.

For as sweet as they are, they are low on the glycemic index so they don’t spike your blood sugar and the dietary fiber in strawberries helps regulate glucose levels.

They contain a special anti-allergy flavonoid called fisetin, which helps the body’s immune cells control inflammatory reactions to allergens.

Local Red Raspberry - Fisher Hill Farm

Red Raspberries

They are high in compounds known for having anti-cancer properties.

Eating them can result in the reduction of pain associated with arthritis and gout as they naturally reduce inflammation.

The seeds of red raspberries are high in vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids, and have an SPF of 25 – 50!

Local Blackberries - Fisher Hill Farm

Blackberries

Incredibly high in Vitamin K, eat more blackberries to prevent bone thinning and bone fractures. It also helps your blood clot better and can prevent bruising.

Bone development and a healthy immune system rely on Manganese and this mineral is found in abundance in blackberries.

Studies have shown that they have abilities to fight against mouth bacteria that can cause oral diseases.

Local Blueberries - Fisher Hill Farm

Blueberries

These delicious little morsels are really high in nutrients but low in calories so pile them high!

Extremely high in antioxidants, they help reduce DNA damage to fight against cancer and aging.

Reduce your risk of heart disease by eating 2 ounces per day. Blueberries naturally lower blood pressure.

Studies have shown that they appear to help aging neurons in your brain. Eating more blueberries can aid brain function, delay mental decline, and improve memory.

Other Berries

The list of health benefits starts to repeat itself after these top three. But make no mistake, all the summer berries have excellent health benefits. The best part is that they all taste amazing!

Some other berries that we should be on the lookout for in our neck of the woods are:

Mulberries – These grow all over the city of Rochester! Just look for the purple stains on the sidewalk.

Currants – Check out the markets. We see them all the time!

Elderberries – Some of the best jam you’ll ever have. Add some cinnamon and allspice.

Gooseberries – Taste more like a grape if you’ve never had one

We’re so excited for this growing season. It’s coming up very fast and the weather is getting nicer almost every day. See you at the market!