Meadow and I spent the weekend in Burlington for the Vermont Northeast Organic Farmers Association Winter Conference. We saw lots of familiar faces and attended some really good workshops. I’m sure meadow is going to post about the keynote and her workshop so I’ll leave it to her.
I went to two intensive workshops one on On Farm slaughtering and the other on organic berry growing. The On Farm slaughtering session was great. It was presented by Mark Kimball of Essex Farm, which is a full diet CSA that has offerings year round. He had lots of energy and is one of the better presenters I have seen at any conference. When I entered the room I felt my throat get a bit scratchy and my eyes a little irritated. Apparently a hot frying pan and hot peppers can turn at least one floor of a museum into a cough factory. It was quickly forgiven at least by the workshop attendees because we got to have a taste of some very yummy steak. The other building inhabitants were not so happy about the peppered air or the veal that had been killed just hours before hanging outside their doors. After coughing and listening to Mark talk about what they do on their farm we headed out to watch him process the veal. Which had to be moved to a little alcove that barely fit the 40 or so people who crowded around to watch the process. Besides the fact that a ken doll with “Powered By Magic” written on its back fell out of the cows throat it all looked pretty straight forward. I have to say that I got hungry watching the scene unfold. I don’t know if that is how most folks would react these days, especially after holding a piece of lung and kidney. It made me think that with more research and helping out with few butchering I could do my own.
The berry workshop was also really informative and really really reinforced my unwillingness to grow strawberries on any scale besides what Meadow can eat. It is to much effort to do on any larger scale if you want to do it organically. So when you do find someone growing strawberries locally be very happy they are doing it and be willing to pay for all their hard work. The presenter also talked about blueberries which I am much more interested in. They are much less finicky and work well in an organically based system. I’m planning to create a design for a blueberry patch this summer and have it planted the following spring.
We also got a chance to go pick up the first round of styrofoam pieces at the beginning of the week and planned out the building design. I’m planning on building a styrofoam destroying machine this weekend and hope to start filling the walls next week.
See you folks next time,