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Barefoot Farmer

Barefoot Farmer - Jeff Poppen

The Barefoot Farmer (Jeff Poppen) uses his farm (Long Hungry Creek Farm) as an example in demonstrating good farming principles. The landscape and atmosphere of the 21st century is leaning away from a small farm economy, bucolic scenery, sustainable agriculture and homegrown meals. The health of ourselves and our environment can only be enhanced by a reliance on local small farms for our needs. To learn more about these principle join Jeff Poppen with his weekly column - Barefoot Farmer.

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Summer is Just a Dream Away PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowed in and snuggled up, I’m studying several summertime snapshots, searching and selecting sufficient seed for sowing this soon-to-come spring. I must be on every seeds company’s list of who to send a catalog to. so, while winter weather wrecks her havoc, I’m safe and sound by a warm fire, envisioning rows and rows of picture perfect vegetables.

Blue Lake, Roma and Cherokee Wax beans are our green, Italian and Yellow beans respectively. Will try Forkhook and Henderson’s Lima beans this year. A hundred years ago, butter beans, as Lima’s are affectionately called, were second only to potatoes as the most common vegetable people grew. In my effort to grow old timey crops, I ordered five pounds of White Half Runners, too.

Detroit Dark Red is our standard beet, and we also grow an Italian heirloom called Chioggia and another old one called Cosby’s Egyptian. I’m going to try a yellow beet called Touchstone Gold. For carrots we stick with good old Danvers Half Long and Scarlet Nantes.

Farming in Our COuntry PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The policies of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have had a tremendous affect on farming in our country. Their funding go to further the research at land grant colleges (like UT), and the advice is disseminated through the county extension programs. The way most farms are run is a direct result of this information.

Agriculture before the 20th century depended upon healthy soil. Farmers knew how to keep their soils light and fluffy, rich in humus and capable of long-term production. All farms had animals for power and food, and the waste products were composted to keep the land fertile.

Northern California Diet PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I’m on a No. Ca. diet. That’s short for Northern California, which is where I visited my family last week. Brother Mark took me on a trip up to Medicino County, complete with   giant redwood trees, ocean cliffs, hot springs, vineyards, and biodynamic farms. I spent several days with my cousin, Sue, and enjoyed a meal with my niece, Bianca, Sue’s son Aubrey and his new family.

The first stop was Frey Vineyard, the first organic winery in California, where a biodynamic conference was held. We learned about a method of scientific research based on observation, mental representation, silent contemplation, and data recording. The subtle processes in nature reveal themselves through forms. Clearly picturing in our minds what we observe, and then being silent, opens up pathways for new insights.

The layers in a leaf cell and the membranes of animal organs can be compared to a battery. These are made up of alternating layers of materials, creating electrical potential, which is used for energy. We learned that microcosmic forms mirror macrocosmic one, such as the way atoms move like galaxies in the same vortexes we also notice in water and plant growth.

Dandelions PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Dandelions are one of the first flowers we see blooming on the farm in the springtime, and we’re still finding bright yellow blossoms in late December. Early April is when masses cover the lawn, and that’s when we harvest them.
Singing the Praises of Kale PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It’s time for me, once again, to sing the praises of kale.  My favorite way to cook it is lightly sautéed with garlic.  I get some olive oil warm in a skillet and add sliced garlic.  Freshly washed kale gets chopped horizontally and fills up the pan.  A few flips with the spatula, a pinch of salt and a dollop of butter, and in a few minutes it is perfect.

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