Diversity takes some of the risk out of having the ideal weather for any one crop, which was critical in 2012 with the drought and many farmers faced no crop at all. Although we didn’t get as much of a corn crop as usual, we were able to harvest reasonable amounts of our small grains in July, which we kept with the plan of feeding them to the pigs & poultry for the next year.
Another important reason for diversity, is that it allows us to work the fields just when the crops need it, rather than everything needed to be done at the same time. For example, many of the small grains can be planted in fall or early spring, well before corn and heat loving crops should be planted, then when they need to be harvested is after the corn has been cultivated to keep the weeds down and long before anything else is needed to be done for the remaining crops.
If you’re not already familiar with the Slow Foods Movement, it’s worth investigating why it’s important to know where our food comes from and making sure it’s produced the right way. Another interesting read is a National Geographic article called the Food Ark addressing the need to keep heritage breeds of seeds and animals around for the survival of the world.
Dad converted our farm to hogs shortly after purchasing the farm in 1967, but in the last 15 years Eric has found a new purpose of returning to a heritage breed called Red Wattle to pasture raise. Although the animals are all raised organically, Eric has only gone thru all the paperwork to certify the farm (& grains) as organic. You can buy cuts of frozen meat in our Retail freezer April to Christmas or see us at the Winona Farmer’s Market year-round. Click here to see more info on all the animals pasture-raised on the farm.
In 2012, we had a group of about 55 people tour our organic farm where heritage Red Wattle pigs, American Milking Devon cattle, chickens, Muscovy Ducks, and turkeys were in pasture, while enjoying a number of dishes prepared by Chef John Flicek & Chef Hillary Evans of ZZest Market & Cafe in Rochester along with local Whitewater wines & beer. Everyone finished the night with a great casual dinner and live music by Whitney Cougar Roggenkamp. We hope to continue hosting visitors for fun times in the future.
Currently we work with a number of innovative chefs, including one at Red Table Meats Co. that’s turning our Red Wattle pigs into works of art in charcuterie. Click here to read more about Mike Phillips and his old-world art.