I've Been Everywhere Dennis Daubney – Photography, Graphic Design, and Organic Living

15Sep/090

Massachusetts Farmers Markets

For everyone looking for the freshest produce, you should really check out your local farmer's market and help support local business and family farmers. You can find a list of farmer's markets near you here, thanks to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Many farmer's markets extend until mid October, some even into December.

If you go soon, you'll likely hit the peak of the fall harvest. Pumpkins, squash, potatoes, corn, pears, apples and more! Even after the farmer's markets are done for the season you can still support some farmers by buying local honey, or buying your Christmas tree from a local tree farm(If you celebrate Christmas that is). There are a lot of ways to strengthen community relationships and support the local economy, you just have to look.

27Aug/092

Bartering on its way back!

Do you have a surplus of a certain crop this year? Or maybe actually your crop isn't what you'd like it to be (Cough Cough Tomato Blight).  Ever wished you could trade for something else with other farmers easily?

That may now be possible with the take off of a relatively new website called Veggie Trader. For four months now, they have been providing what some call " the Craigslist for vegetables". You can buy, sell, or trade your home grown produce with anyone in your area, free of charge.

Image from VeggieTrader.com

Image from VeggieTrader.com

From the listings that I looked up, many, many folks are specifically bartering. People are trading veggies, seeds, fruits, flowers, herbs, and other plants and items. It really is a great idea if you have a surplus.

There are some humorous posts there too such as, "My mint is growing like weeds. I can provide enough to keep the mojitos coming for the rest of the summer." Their desired produce was sage, chives, or rosemary.

Veggie Trader was started by a group of people both on the West Coast (Portland, OR) and the East Coast. They claim they got started with a single lemon tree which fruited and often went to waste. They realized that more people can utilize their extras by trading and thus Veggie Trader was born. To read more about their food journey, check out the Veggie Trader Blog.

17Jul/094

Great Book for Budding Agriculturalists

For those wishing to start going green, there are a number of books and resources out there to help you get started.

One that has greatly assisted me is The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour.
self-sufficient-life-cover

Seymour covers the wide spectrum of husbandry from cover to cover. He touches on all aspects of agriculture and provides detailed plans for working your land, whether you have one acre of total land, five acres or more, or even an urban garden.

The book is well-laid out with sections on growing vegetables, raising animals, land preparation & maintenance, harvesting wild game, dairy, brewing & wine making, green energy, crafts & skills, and so much more. Each section gets very detailed with illustrations on various things such as how to butcher a beef cow into different cuts or how to make butter, cream, or cheese. The detail really is top-notch.

The book has helped me with a number of things. Among them were harvesting wild concord grapes and making homemade jam, levering up boulders without the help of tractors, building stone walls, successfully planting & harvesting my first crop of red potatoes, and providing me with new knowledge and a wealth of inspiration.

This book could literally teach you how to completely survive on your own, granted a few things. A real hard core DIY(Do It Yourself) supporter could use this book to sustain themselves year round, where someone who's looking to just go green and save some cash could also make great use of this book. Even by learning and utilizing just a small number of sections from this book, it could save you hundreds of dollars plus reward you with a lovely harvest or a handy skill you could pass down to your children.

I'd like to end with a quote from the book that I feel we should all strive to enact.

"Nothing should be wasted on the self-sufficient holding. The garbage collector should never have to call." - John Seymour