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Carversville Farm Round Up:
February 27

wELCOME pHIL!

This past month, we had a new face join our crew, Phil Haynes.  Phil is our Assistant Livestock Manager; he will be helping Craig take care of our animals, as well as help enhance our livestock plan.  Phil comes to us from Stone Barns Center in New York. In fact, when Phil first joined the team there, he actually reported to our Livestock Manager, Craig Haney! We know he is going to be a great addition to our team!

Keep reading to learn more about Phil!

1) How long have you been a farmer?

I began farming part time in 2011 while I was in college. Full time since 2014.

2) What made you want to go into farming?

I got into farming because my older brother, Bennett, decided to start a vegetable farm in our hometown in NJ. He was doing environmental studies overseas in Thailand in college and wanted to bring people in our community closer to the source of their food. I got into farming initially because I just wanted to be there for my brother and help him however I could. After two summers on the farm I realized that this was what I wanted to do and directed my studies towards the environment, food, and livestock farming.

3) What is something you have experienced here that you never expected?

Since I started here a little over a month ago, I’ve learned how valuable it is to plan for the season ahead and use previous experience to anticipate future needs way in advance. It’s nice to be given the space to transfer what I know into digital format, collaborate with others, and design systems for the upcoming growing season.

4) What is your favorite season and why?

My favorite season is fall. I enjoy the beautiful weather, the cool temperatures, and the anticipation of the end of the season that comes with it. Fall is a deceivingly busy time of year – everything is reaching harvest and the days become shorter. It forces farmers to be creative about accomplishing the same amount of work with less and less daylight as winter approaches.

5) What is a typical day for you at CFF?

In winter, my day usually begins with chores and taking care of the animals. I spend the middle of the day working on planning for 2019 and finish the day with afternoon animal chores and egg washing. This summer, I expect the days to revolve around the constant movement of animals across the pasture. We’ll move multiple groups of animals everyday to provide a constant supply of fresh pasture to the various species.

6) How do you unwind after a long day at the farm?

I like to get to work in my kitchen and cook ingredients from the farm. My go to dish is a bowl of rice, vegetables, herbs, with an egg or two. I’m excited to try the farm’s mushrooms when they’re in season and use them in my cooking.

7) What is something you can’t wait to make using ingredients from our farm?

I can’t wait to roast a whole pig when the farm has pigs again. My dad brought me to an Armenian pig roast when I was little and it is a fond food memory of mine. I had never tasted pork from a whole pig cooked right in front of me before and I didn’t know it could be so good! I truly enjoy changing people’s perceptions of what pork can be by smoking it over hot coals made from local firewood. It’s a sensory farm experience unmatched by anything else!

8) What’s a quote you live by?

“Like water off a duck’s back”. I love ducks and think this quote symbolizes their nature very well. Ducks are group oriented, hearty, intelligent, beautiful animals. Ducks are resilient and work together – I try to have that mentality in the way I live my life. Adversity and solving problems together often leads to some of the most rewarding experiences in life.

9) What advice would you give to someone thinking about going into farming?

I would tell a young aspiring farmer to see as much as they can before deciding what part of the farming industry they want to be involved in. Work on a local farm, travel, see what other farmers are up to, make connections, get on Instagram. It’s a small community, figure out what you like and the folks out there who are also doing what you’re interested in will come out of the woodwork to help you along. Getting into farming and forming relationships with other farmers is the easiest it’s ever been since the introduction of social media.

10) If you had to pick, what’s your favorite piece of equipment we have?

The wood chipper. Trees are a renewable source of on-farm carbon and wood chippers allow farmers to transform the raw material into a valuable resource. Wood chips can be used as animal bedding, mulch, compost material, substrate for growing mushrooms, and cooking/smoking foods.

WHY ORGANIC? does it really make a difference?

It does to us!!! Organic practices start with caring for the soil. Here at CFF, we expend a lot of effort to ensure everything we grow and produce be certified organic. We strongly believe that the organic procedures that we must follow make us better, more thoughtful farmers. We are thrilled to announce that we now have 269 acres of certified organic fields right here in Bucks County. Our main farm is where most of our production takes place; grazing, egg laying, vegetable growing, and mushroom production all happen on CFF proper. Our other fields produce hay and balage (forage baled at relatively high moisture content and then stored in a sealed wrapper) for our beef cattle and bedding for our livestock. Any spoilage goes into our composting operation and ultimately feeds our soil.

Did you know that in order to produce certified organic beef, you have to first breed or source certified organic cattle stock; second, raise them on organic pasture; and finally, butcher them in a certified organic facility? In the past, sourcing organic cattle stock proved too challenging. Luckily, we have solved that problem, and moving forward we only will source or breed organic stock. Farming can be a slow process to change or to establish new guidelines. Grass fed beef takes 18 months to reach their harvest date, so you can imagine the ripple effect decisions have as time moves forward.

We believe organic certification is worth the effort, and make no mistake, it is a significant effort. We have committed to certifying every aspect of our farm. That means:

  • obtaining organically certified seeds or livestock,
  • having a “soil comes first” approach to raising food,
  • only using organic feed and amendments and finally,
  • keeping excellent records!

 

Organic inspectors DO want farms to be organic and often time the process becomes a very real learning experience for the farmer. The challenge of sourcing livestock or seeds can open up a discussion and possibly a business opportunity for someone to fill a gap in service. This domino effect can be both positive and difficult at the same time. Developing systems, keeping records, and following the guidelines make us protective of the label we have worked hard and diligently to attain. It is frustrating when the organic certification is lobbied and co-opted by the hydroponic industry, as it clearly states in the guidelines that organic farming is rooted in soil health. It is also incredibly challenging when other farmers talk down the label, saying they “basically” practice the standards, but do not actually need the certification. The best thing someone can do is talk to their local farmer to understand their growing practices. When purchasing vegetables, ask the farmer if they spray anything onto their plants.  “Pasture raised” eggs are all the craze right now; it’s good to know if the hens’ feed is also GMO free and pesticide free…in other words, is the feed certified organic?  It truly is up to the individual farmer to decide if the label is necessary for their operation. At CFF we believe it is and that it adds clarity and dignity to both the food we produce and the people we serve.

CFF DONATIONS

Eggs2,160 dozen
Beef Bones82 pounds
Carrots3,768 pounds
Ground Beef286 pounds
Liver22 pounds
Rutabaga21 pounds
Sirloin Tip Roast19 pounds
Turkeys596 pounds
Grand Total4,794 pounds

 

Eli is on the mend!

As you may know, a little over a year ago, we rescued two cats from the Bucks County SPCA, Cali and Eli. Since then our two little mouse catchers have made CFF their home and become two of our best employees!

Two weeks ago, Eli saw that a feral cat had gotten through our gates and began to chase it.  This quickly led to both cats climbing up one of the largest trees on the property. We quickly called the Midway Fire Department (our local fire department) and asked if there was anything they could do.  We were assured that this actually happens all the time and that the cats would find their way down. The feral cat did…Eli, not so much. After a couple hours, he did come down; however, it was more of a fall than a jump, resulting in a dislocated knee and a torn ligament.

Our vet for determined he needed surgery.

 

The procedure was a success, but it looks like it will be a couple months before he’ll be back roaming the fields. Now instead of chasing his food, it’s brought to him!

CFF IS HIRING!

For the upcoming season, we are looking for a seasonal full time vegetable employee. If you or anyone you know is interested, please visit our website at: www.carversvillefarm.org/#careers to learn more.

Carversville Farm Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

BRRR. It’s cold outside, warm up with a cff hOODIE.

Grab your CFF hoodie! Sizes range from Small to X-Large. Sweatshirts are $35.00 and we accept cash, check, or credit card. Merchandise can be purchased directly from the farm by contacting Stephanie at stephanie@carversvillefarm.org.

Remember, 100% of the proceeds go to feed the needy in our own backyards.

By partnering with several Bucks County food pantries, Broad Street Ministry, Coalition Against Hunger, Cathedral Kitchen and Face to Face, people throughout the Philadelphia area are benefiting from our nutritious harvest.

Questions?

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