Seed Saving

by Michelle Pridgen

Why Save Seed?

Saving your own seed allows you to select plants that meet your needs. You can choose for size, color, taste or growth patterns.

Save money! Seed prices seem to rise every year. While you will probably not save everything that you need, or want, you can save a few varieties every year to ensure that you’ll always have seed. Some cultivars seem to disappear from the catalogs every year, to be replaced by hybrids or patented plants. As long as someone is growing a variety, and saving the seed, the genetics are somewhat safe. Continue reading “Seed Saving”

Pre-Season Vendor Meeting April 6, 2018

Have you thought about becoming a vendor at the Farmers Market? Here’s your chance to join returning vendors and find out about the coming season and enjoy a potluck lunch. Tentatively scheduled for the Grayson Landcare office at 108 Courthouse street unless we need to move somewhere larger.

1) IF you plan to sell any kind of food: canned or baked goods or offer samples, including meats, please come at 10 am for a presentation by Sandy Stoneman. Rules have changed and there are lots of issues to cover.

2) All other vendors,  please come at 11am. We’ll cover rules, fees, online market and more.

3) If you are an artisan joining us for the 1st time, please bring 3 representative items for jurying.

4) If you plan to sell produce please plan to stay after the meeting for a presentation by Jen Cavey.

Looking forward to a another fun and fabulous season!

On-Line Media Workshop and Pre-Season Vendor Meeting, April 8th

 

The Independence Farmers Market will host an On-line Media workshop Friday April 8th from 10:30 to 11:45 in the auditorium of the 1908 Courthouse.  Learn how to best use Facebook to promote your business.  To get the most out of the training, please bring your computer. The workshop is free and open to the public. In addition, paid season vendors will receive an additional hour of personalized training. See the instructor after the class to schedule a time.

The preseason vendor meeting will begin at noon with a potluck lunch.  The meeting will begin as soon as everyone is served.  Please bring any scales you plan to use at the market for certification.  In addition, Danny Neel will discuss the Senior coupon program. We’ll go over rules and fees and assign spaces.  Please send me a brief description of your business and some pictures for inclusion on the webpage(independencefarmersmarket@gmail.com).  Please also consider whether you want to be a vendor for the Wednesday evening Market beginning June 15th.  It will be included in your vendor fee.  See you then. Here’s to another great year!

Some Information from the SSAWG Conference

The Organic Vegetable Farm tour went to Elmwood Stock Farm. A 550 acre certified organic farm that features both livestock and crops. Most of the acreage is in pasture with crops on about 75 acres.  They produce feed for their animals which include 80 cows, sheep, laying hens and broilers and turkeys.  The key to their success is integrating the crops and livestock in an 8 year rotation.  After 5 years in perennial forage they plow and plant both feed grains and food crops. Raising their own feed ensures quality and reduces out off farm expenses.

The 1st year planting features high nutrient demanding, long season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, summer squash, cucumbers and melons.  Plastic and drip are used. The second year crops are early, cool season crops with slightly lower nutrient needs including beets, radishes, carrots, lettuce, brassicas, chard and turnips.  Overwintering spinach, onions and garlic are planted in fall and any spare ground is put in covercrops.  Year three features nitrogen fixing legumes like peas, cowpeas, endame, green and dried beans.  Following harvest the field is sown back to perennial forage for 5 years.  Working with the University of Kentucky, they have shown that levels of organic matter and soil life are nearly the same at the end of the 5 years in pasture as undisturbed pasture.

Next we toured their seed sowing area.  They make use of homemade tools to speed production and help maintain uniformity.  A germination chamber minimizes heated space and speeds germination. On a smaller scale, take away lessons include using vermiculite in a thin layer to cover seeds. It helps retain moisture and can reduce seedling diseases. A small cabinet can be converted to a germination area.  They also use a technique developed by tobacco growers for leafy crops.  Speedling flats (a stiff Styrofoam tray) are floated in a dilute nutrient solution until ready for transplanting.  This minimizes watering and fertilizing time but requires quite a bit of space.

 

JOIN THE FARMERS MARKET TEAM-WE ARE HIRING!

Friends of the Market,

Not only can you shop the On-line this fall and winter, you can help run it!  We are hiring a part-time On-line Market Coordinator.  Here are the details:

Independence Farmers Market — Online Market Coordinator Position

This is a part time position requiring approximately 10 hours per week for a total of up to 520 hours per year with a potential for growth. He/she must have a flexible schedule to be able to work irregular hours and be available via phone and email. The Online Market Coordinator is the person that facilitates the farmer’s product postings and customer orders on the year round online market, arranges delivery and pick-up schedules, and collects and disburses payments.  The candidate must be trustworthy, personable and courteous, have knowledge of agriculture and food production and should be passionate about the community and local agriculture. The successful candidate must be computer literate, own a computer and have access to broadband internet from their home; have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation (mileage for pick-up and deliveries is reimbursable); adept communication, creative conflict and problem solving, and strong administrative and interpersonal skills. He/she must be able to lift up to 40 pounds. This is a contract position paying $12.50/hr with a stipend for benefits. The Online Market Coordinator reports to the Independence Farmers Market Manager and Steering Committee.

The duties of the Farmers Market Online Coordinator include but are not limited to:

Operating the Online Market (opening/closing the market, approving new accounts, assistance with postings, etc)

  • Arranging for delivery and pick-up of products, handling sales and invoices, disbursing payments to farmers
  • Promoting the market through online blogs, facebook, and other online social media venues.
  • Maintaining the Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant reporting/financial requirements

Email Applications (resume, cover letter and references) due by Friday, November 20th to: independencefarmersmarket@gmail.com

Marketing & Pricing Workshop

It’s workshop season. The 1st FREE IFM workshop is Saturday March 28th from 8:30 am to noon at the Grayson National Bank Conference Center. We’re focusing on marketing and pricing your products, whether it’s vegetables, meats, eggs or artisan crafts. Mandy Archer with the Small Business Development Center at Cross Roads is our featured speaker. We’ll also have producer roundtable discussion. Join us for a potluck lunch.

The Independence Farmers Market pre-season vendor meeting

begins at noon and goes to about 2 pm. Please join us if you’d like to be a vendor this year. Fees are $40 for the season or $10 a day. Your 1st time at the market is free and it’s always free for students. We’ll be assigning spaces. Hope to see you there.

And save the date for Saturday April 18th for Market Garden Workshop.

It also starts at 8:30 am at the Grayson National Bank Conference Center. Classes in the morning include crop planning and succession planting, favorite tools and techniques , and Niche Marketing until noon, join us for another potluck lunch. Then we’ll go out to Wagon Wheel Farm for hands on workshops including different kinds of raised beds, bending low hoops, setting up irrigation, touring the high tunnel and transplant greenhouse and more.