Thoughts From The Healthy Harvester

The Healthy Harvester and his family has been growing produce since 1994.  The first years were spent trying to farm plus hold an off-farm job which didn’t prove to be the best management plan, so we started farming full-time.  For about a dozen years, we grew product for the local commodity produce market selling through a wholesale auction.  Our main crops were tomatoes and cantaloupe plus side crops of pickles, beans and squash.  These we produced in a larger and larger volume over the years to support our ever growing family.  We put up several greenhouses where we grew flowers, also for the wholesale market.

About five years ago, we had educated ourselves to the point wehre we realized that the chemical sprays and fertilizer we were using ono our crops, that the universities promoted, were poisining our soils and our crops and ultimately us and the people who ate our products.  So while the farm management changed from father to sons over a couple of years, we also transitioned from conventional, university approved, chemical farming to a more natural and wholesome way of growing food.

While changing growing methods, we were continually searching for high quality, mineral rich fertilizer and irrigation supplements to improve our soil and plant health which we had run down over years of chemical drug abuse.  When these were too difficult to find, the oldest brother started his own small fertilizer comapny out of a storage shed on the farm specializing in producing truly high quality soil improving foliar supplements.  Demand was so high, he outgrew the shed in one year and put up a fertilizer plant several miles down the road.  Today, several years later, he sells fertilizer from Massachusetts to California and does millions in business.

Meanwhile, the soil on the farm became healthier and better managed as more knowledge was accumulated on how healthy systems really work.  The crop profile also changed to include less chemical dependent crops which were better suited to our heavy soils.  Today, our major crops are aliums such as onions, garlic, leeks, etc plus beans and tomatoes.  Along with those, potatoes round out the extensively farmed crops.  The intensively farmed crops are leafy greens in the freenhouse and ourdoors in the spring, and root crops for fall and winter storage.

Then the boys fully took over the farm management in the fall of 2010 and completely separated the farm economics from the household ones, the family registered the food production business as  Healthy Harvest Farm.  Because we were also a demonstration farm for Advancing Eco Agriculture’s fertilizer products, our quality vastly improved.  Mineral rich, nutrient dense produce tasted sweeter, satisfied better stored longer and weighed more.  Since the wholesale market paid no premium for better quality, the only way to increase revenue to pay for the increased fertilizer and management costs was to grow more quantity.  With our limited land base that was impractical, so to increase revenue we needed a premium market.  Preferably direct to the consumer with no middleman such as broker and supermarket or grocery store.  Fresh Fork came upon the scene and filled the bill perfectly.  The consumer gets an incredible deal because they’re not paying several middlemen plus freight from California or Florida for what is an inferior product anyway.  The farmer gets paid a fair price which covers our costs and provides us a living.  (we don’t need subsidies.)  And by picking up and delivering product in the same 24 hours, Fresh Fork Market offers perfectly fresh products and operates on a very low overhead for savings to both the consumer and the farmer.  The perfect distribution plan.  (As an aside, the European Union is way ahead of America in some of these trends.  Currently, around 80% of their fresh produce is distributed Fresh Fork Market style.  The biggest diestributor does a little over 1 million subscriptions weekly.  Trevor has quite a ways to grow yet, hmm?)

Managing the farm is an ongoing struggle to improve the whole system.  Improving the aliveness of the soil and building fertility in turn imporoves the overal health and desiease resistance of the crops.  Healthy mineral rich crops, wehn eaten, are easily digestible and feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive system which release the bioavailable mineral nutrients of the food into the bloodstream and are then available to revuild cells and so heal and strengthen the body.  Healthy living food is real medicine!  As farmers, we are directly responsible for people’s health!  Sadly, most farmers are tied into the quantity commodity production system andare destroying America’s true wealth-her abundant, healthy soil.

However, the managers of Healthy Harvest Farm with the help of Advancing Eco-Agriculture’s excellent team of crop’s health consultants are steadily working in the opposite direction.  The goal is to have healthier food, better water, and a cleaner environment on our little plot of earth for future generations while providing good quality food for our fellow citizens.

We are open to the public 5 days a week, closed Thursdays and Sundays.  Advancing Eco-Agriculture has an annual field day on our farm where a wind variety of consultants and farmers gather to discuss and learn the concepts of a truly sustainable agri-culture.  We will have speakers talking of the healthy food-healthy body connection and the many benefits of a healthy systems.  For anyone interested in coming the cost is $25 and includes a home-cooked meal for lunch, a general tour of the farm and all the information you care to pick up in one day.  The date this year is Tuesday, July 17th.

Is there any interest in a biweekly or weekly letter from here?  Introducing our family and detailing what we’re planting and harvesting throughout the season, etc?  How the weather affects us and what projects we’ll be tackling next?  How about positive articles detailing how healthy plants interact with their environment and a general overview of a healthy farm system?

Or some negative articles outlining how terrible the modern chemical warfare type agriculture is for the environment and everything alive in it?

Contact Fresh Fork Market and if there’s enough interest, I’ll try squeezing some writing into my otherwise very busy schedule.

Have a great year!

The Healthy Harvester

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