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April 2011

GLEANINGS: n. 1. That which has been acquired by gleaning. 2. The monthly eNewsletter of CT NOFA. [Glean:v. 1. to gather relevant information or material by patient effort, bit by bit; to find out. 2. to gather grain or other produce (often: left by reapers); to harvest.]

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In this issue:
From the ED
WinterFood Project
Community Board
New Farmer Feature
Featured Regional Organization
New Business Members
In the News
Other Items of Interest


bill duesing

From the Executive Director





Garlic knits together the seasons



Garlic at the Old Solar Farm, Oxford  

Photo: Anthony Salamone

The garlic pictured here on March 26, 2011 was planted in October 2010, and will be harvested in July 2011.


Garlic is at the center of our winter eating. The garlic that was harvested last July and stored in a basket in a cool, dark place still flavors most of our dinners.  It's not clear if we use so much garlic because of its health benefits, its wonderful flavor or because it is relatively easy to grow and store most of the winter. And, by the time last year's crop is gone or no longer edible, the garlic we missed at harvest last summer sends up strong shoots which are delicious used like scallions. 


It is easy to grow a lot of garlic in a small space. John Jeavons says that between 60 and 240 pounds of garlic can be grown in 100 square foot bed, depending on soil fertility and the grower's skill.

Read more>


CT NOFA & NOFA Events & Announcements     

Growing Food in Small Spaces 
Saturday, April 9, 2011
10:00 am to 12:00 noon

New Haven, CT
This is the last in this series at Common Ground High School


One-on-One Consultation Sessions with Agricultural Professionals
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Nonnewaug High School
Woodbury, CT
This is the last session, so here's your chance to meet with Michael Keilty and Bill Duesing  to discuss transitioning to organic. Here's the brochure for additional details.  

holcomb farm spinach
Holcomb Farm spinach & seedlings 

Greenhouse Growing at Holcomb Farm

Monday, April 25, 2011
4:00 to 6:00 pm
Holcomb Farm CSA
West Granby, CT

Pasture Management Workshop
Monday, May 9, 2011
5:00 to 8:00 pm 
Community Farm of Simsbury
Simsbury, CT

cricket hill peony
Peonies, Wine & Jazz

Friday, May 20, 2011
6:00 to 8:00 pm
A fundraiser for CT NOFA
Hosted by Cricket Hill Garden
Thomaston, CT
Details soon!

City Farm & Garden Tour
Saturday, August 6, 2011
New Haven, CT
Interested in being a host farm or garden? Contact us for details.

NOFA Summer Conference
August 12-14, 2011
Amherst, MA

Bill Duesing's Upcoming Talks:

Thursday, April 7, 2011 

6:30-8:30 pm 

FRESH film, viewing with discussion by John Pittari and Bill Duesing

Presented by New Morning store 

 Woodbury Public Library

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 

7:00 pm 

Organic Gardening 

Presented by Friends of Elizabeth Park

Pond House 

West Hartford, CT

Thursday, April 14,  2011

7:30 pm

Grow Your Own... Organically

Sierra Club, Greater Hartford Chapter

Westmoor Park 

West Hartford, CT 


 Tuesday, April 19, 2011

7:30 pm

Grow Your Own....Organically

Kellogg Environmental Center 

Derby, CT

Thursday, April 28, 2011
5:30-7:30 pm
DIRT the Movie, free showing
Co-Sponsored by ENCORE, CT Community Gardening Association, CT NOFA, and UCONN Extension Services
Welles Turner Library Friends Room
2407 Main Street
Glastonbury, CT

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
5:00 pm
Grow Your Own...Organically
New Morning
Woodbury, CT

2011-2012 CT NOFA Farm & Food Guide - If you haven't yet sent in or been contacted about a listing in this year's Farm & Food Guide, please contact us as soon as possible.  To be listed, you must be member.  Listed farms are either certified organic or have signed the Farmer's Pledge and you can find out more here.  We also welcome businesses that support local farming in Connecticut - stores, distributors, restaurants, etc.  Advertising is also available in both the Farm & Food and Organic Land Care Guides. Call the office at 203-888-5146 if you'd like to know more.

Poultry Processing Survey - The Connecticut Poultry Association, UConn Cooperative Extension, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, CitySeed, and CT NOFA, in cooperation with the CT Department of Agriculture, are overseeing an effort to increase poultry production within the state. Our goal is to help small-scale poultry farmers expand their production and access markets for local poultry. We are surveying the farming community in regards to bringing a mobile poultry processing unit (MPPU) to Connecticut. Please click on this link to complete the survey. Thank you in advance!


Spring Bulk Order reminder - The last round of pick-ups, tubers & OGS back-orders will be Saturday April 9th at High Hill Orchard, Meriden, from 8AM-10AM. Any refunds due will be issued mid April.


Fall Bulk Order -  forms will be available on the bulk order website  July 15th and will close August 1th5. Orders can be dropped off at the Summer Conference in Amherst, MA, where NOFA/Mass will also be selling BPA-free lids again this year.  Distribution will be in early-mid September. We're looking for a good distribution site. If you are in a central CT location, have storage capacity, and the ability to easily offload pallets, please contact Cathleen O'Keefe, bulkorder@nofamass.org, 413-584-6786.

NOFA Interstate Council member Steve Gilman was interviewed on the topic of food safety on community radio station KOPN.  To listen to the archived interview, click here and scroll down to the 1/20/11 date.    

winter food logo





To market specialty crops (fruits and vegetables) in the winter, a farm needs either season extension facilities to produce out of season or storage for crops produced in the season for later sale.

At the workshop at Wayne's Organic Garden we learned about Wayne's success in growing greens all winter in a greenhouse heated to just above freezing. 

Riverbank Farm2David Blyn and Laura McKinney of  Riverbank Farm in Roxbury have grown for a number of farmers markets for decades and have been going to winter markets since Fairfield began its winter market.  At the last two CT NOFA Winter Conferences, Riverbank Farm was a vendor with lots of root vegetables for sale, so we visited the farm last month to see their facilities.   

Here are pictures of some of their storage facilities. The cabbage boxes are in a cold storage area, near freezing and high humidity, in their old dairy barn against a below-ground wall. They installed vents to let off the heat when vegetables are first in storage and a small heater to keep things from freezing on the coldest days.
Riverbank Farm1
 The bags of carrots and freshly harvested parsnips are stored in a cooler to slow down the sprouting.  Parsnips are especially sweet  after making it through the winter underground. They are great roasted, sauteed or used in soups or stews.


Try this very adaptable Carrot (or parsnip) Soup recipe.




To help us with this project, we ask that growers take a few minutes  to complete this survey.


Community Board 


Internships, straw bales, chicken tractors - this and more can be found in the latest postings on the Community Board


Classifieds and Community Board notices are now maintained on our website.  If you have a notice you'd like to add, send it along to the office.

New Farmer Feature - Kim Rukas


Kim Rukas 

Very few things these troubling days are as hopeful and inspiring as the new farmers we work with.  Kim Rukas is a great example and her use of supportive resources and programs provides a good look at the services that are now available for beginning farmers.


Kim is a chef who studied sculpture in college and began farming in 2010 as Earthtone Farms in Windsor.Last year she grew vegetables on 1.5 acres of floodplain there and had a successful 48 member CSA.  This year she is increasing the number of CSA members to 60 and her growing area with an eighth of a acre at the Simsbury Community Farm and several high tunnels there.


Although she doesn't work at the restaurant during the growing season, the connection provides another marketing opportunity to add to her mix of CSA and Farmers Market sales.


Although her success comes from her talent, organization (think of organizing a restaurant kitchen to turn out lots of food in a small space) and enthusiasm, Kim took advantage of a number of programs for new farmers.


In the winter of 2010, Kim attended one of the CT Farm Risk Management's One on One advisory sessions to learn about organic growing. (Current session flier here)  She joined CT NOFA and signed the Farmer's Pledge to identify her produce and be listed in the CT NOFA Farm and Food Guide and on our web site. 


Kim successfully applied to participate in the 2010-2011 class of the 10-session Beginning Women Farmers' Whole Farm Planning Course offered through CT NOFA.  She reports that the course is really helpful in planning for her farm and "an awesome learning experience."


Kim applied to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and was successful in getting funding to buy and install several high tunnels to grow microgreens.  The NRCS's Organic Initiative has special funds reserved for certified organic farms and those who agree to work toward certification in three years.


Kim also applied to participate in the Incubator Farmer Program at the Community Farm of Simsbury and was one of three new farmers accepted this year.  The program currently provides land, education and resources for six Incubator Farmers.        



Other resources available on line include:


The Resources for Farmers page on our web site.


The Agricultural Business Management Guide


The Farmers' Market Reference Guide


Connecticut Farm Link for those looking for land.


If you have questions about resources for starting to farm, give us a call at the office 203-888-9280 or email bill@ctnofa.org.  

Featured Regional Organization - Feeney Farm

Feeney Farm is a 501(c)(3) organization that gleans Connecticut farms. Feeney Farm gleans farms in two ways; one, they can work with each farmer to create either a weekly or bi-weekly pick-up schedule to collect their surplus produce, and/or two, Feeney Farm and its volunteers can glean a farmer's fields for any unharvested crops on an "as-needed" basis.


Feeney FarmIn either scenario, the farmer is not held liable for the condition of produce donated or for any volunteers that go out into his or her fields. In addition, each farmer receives a tax-deductable receipt for every pound of produce donated to Feeney Farm.


To not only increase access to healthy food among those in need, but also to increase consumption, Feeney Farm offers optional nutrition classes to all recipients at its distribution locations. The focus of these classes is on the nutritional value of the produce distributed. Feeney Farm believes that by offering access to fresh, nutrient-dense food alongside critical nutrition information, they can increase consumption of common and not-so-common Connecticut crops, alleviating hunger and aiding in long-term health.


If you're interested in participating in Feeney Farm's 2011 Gleaning Program (pick-up and/or field gleaning), please contact Margaret Feeney at margaret@feeneyfarm.org.


New Business Members

Simpaug Farms - Ridgefield, CT. Their CSA was featured in this news story.


The Milkman Company truckThe Milkman Company, LLC - Sandy Hook, CT
Ed Hartz is the founder of The Milkman Company, a marketing, sales, and distribution and educational organization that delivers farm fresh foods (Dairy, Raw Milk, Meats - Grassfed, poultry - Free range, Eggs - Organic, Pork, Artisanal breads and pastries, Goats Milk and Cheese, Cow's Milk Cheese, Juices-fresh Squeezed, Seafood, and more) to the door. Traditional Milkman style, with deliveries throughout Fairfield county now, with future plans in Litchfield and New Haven counties.  This is a fine way to help farming, its' growth and further development. Check out their website!

Peace Tree Desserts - Ridgefield, CT
Peace Tree Desserts is a specialty, eco-conscious bakery that sources exclusively local, organic and sustainable ingredients for our re-imagined specialty food products. Our line of small-batch, artisan dessert sauces are sold in online and retail gourmet food markets and our online store (and proudly carry the CT Grown seal).  We source our ingredients as close to home as possible, giving preference to local farms, while also scouring the world for sustainable agricultural communities producing the most unique and flavorful salts, chocolates, and spices.  Our commitment to sustainability extends to everything we do - from ingredient sourcing to product packaging, shipping and marketing.

Creative Living Community of Connecticut, Inc. - Manchester, CT
The CLC envisions adults in Connecticut with and without developmental disabilities as valued and contributing members of our society, exemplified in a model community to be created in eastern Connecticut where all members experience a sense of belonging, share resources and enjoy a happy life.  

In the News

One of  the articles written about the recent CT NOFA Winter Conference - thanks to George Looby!

Annie Farrell, John Turenne & Bill Duesing are all featured in the premier issue of Sustainable the Magazine.

Riverbank Farm and preserved foods for winter markets were featured in the New York Times article.

GMOs & Bill Duesing in this recent Hartford Advocate story.

Community Farm of Simsbury and Poverty Reduction Through Farming.

White Gate Farm and young farmers in The Day.

Analiese Paik was featured in the  April issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine as a "foodie who makes a difference."


Other Items of Interest

A positive article about Maine's food systems. 


The new Northeast Beginning Farmers Website is now live. 


Stonyfield Organic is hoping to spread the word about the importance of organic with this Just Eat Organic! Shout Out campaign.

Thanks to our Sponsors:

  Ross bread logo  whole foods logo


If you have any stories, articles, notices or suggestions for this newsletter, please send them along.

Many thanks,

CT NOFA-The Connecticut Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association | PO Box 164 | Stevenson | CT | 06491