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Top Grossing Crops per Bed Foot

Every winter, Landon and I look at the sales numbers for our major crops and calculate the biggest losers and triumphant winners.  If a crop performs well, we expect it to bring in about $3-$6 per bed foot.  Anything less than that, and we have to make some decisions about how to grow the crop [...]

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Paint Sample Challenge

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Fall fields full of kale, collards, mustards, and broccoli boast every shade of green.  From bright lime to near-navy, the beds undulate ombré.   We put together a digital version of the greens spectrum to test your fall greens familiarity.  See if you can match the green to the “paint sample” below.  Here are your [...]

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Can You Spot the Difference?

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Our compost pile is kind of a mess right now.  Where there should be decomposing organic matter, you’ll find volunteer sweet potato slips, vigorous tomatoes, and mystery squash vines.  It’s not ideal for making compost, but it’s a good setting for a game of Photo Hunt.   How does Photo Hunt work?  You look at [...]

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An Interview with Our Artist-in-Residence

An interview with Aislinn Jefferies, our 2013 artist-in-residence. Aislinn is also Landon’s sister, a fantastic help on the farm, and great company.         To see samples of Aislinn’s work, visit: http://aislinnjefferies.carbonmade.com/  

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Our Secret Ingredient

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When starting a farm, it’s hard not to use whatever random stuff is lying around to build the farm’s tools and infrastructure.  The random stuff is free and convenient, and both those things trump the aesthetics and longevity of new stuff.   Our farm is endowed with one particular type of stuff over all others.  [...]

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A Bridge Too Far

Senator Jeff Blake (R-AZ) thinks universal background checks on gun sales are “a bridge too far”.  For some reason, regulating guns seems like a scary proposition for Congress.  And yet, state and federal legislatures find plenty of time and motivation to regulate women, poor people, and farmers.  Just not guns.   Over the past few [...]

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When I Get Sick of Silence

The day-to-day of farming lends itself well to audio content.  Whether we’re hoeing, weeding, seeding, or pulling buckets of rocks out of the fields, our ears are always free for listening.  Without podcasts, I listen to the unnerving sound of cows peeing in an adjacent field.  With podcasts, my ears have better things to do.  [...]

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Who’s the Mom?

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At last week’s inaugural Philly Farm and Food Fest, Landon and I tested the chicken wits (or blind guessing ability) of the event attendees with a Match-the-Chicken-to-the-Egg Challenge.  Out of 60 contestants, 7 of you got the right answer.  Sorry everybody–it was a little harder than we intended it to be. For those of you [...]

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Sanitation Nation

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Sanitation of farm equipment is one of those boring things farmers do in the winter.  We wish it could all be seed catalogs and daydreams, but some things things just have to get done. Over the past few months, Landon’s cleaned out loads of plug trays, burned some field debris, and cleaned off tools–all with [...]

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Steamboat Landing: The Story of a Chicken Tractor

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You know those default conversation topics you fall back on when the need for small talk arises?  Television.  Baseball.  The absurdity of Rick Santorum.  Recently, I’ve found myself adding chicken tractors to my go-to mix.  “So, how ’bout those chicken tractors, huh?”  I just can’t stop chatting about them. So, what’s so captivating about chicken [...]

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Doing Things the Hard Way

A few weekends back, Landon and I spent half of Saturday and most of Sunday shoveling manure from the barn floor to the spreader, rinse and repeat.  Toward the end of Day 2, our very supportive and well-intentioned landlord finally saw it fit to intervene:  “You know, it’s good exercise to be doing what you’re [...]

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Farm Score: Spreading Bedding

This season, we’re going to try out a new series of posts called “Farm Score”.  In these posts, we’ll identify a common farm task and try to decide which song provides the best accompaniment. In times of frustration or exhaustion, a good song can push you through even the most unsavory of tasks.  Landon and [...]

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Lessons from the 2012 PASA Conference

A week or so back, Landon and I made the annual trip out to State College, PA for the 2012 Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture Conference.  The best part of the event is always the camaraderie–2,200 farmers and friends-of-farmers from across the region, swapping stories, celebrating, and commiserating.  We got to catch up with some [...]

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Your Love is Like a Rollercoaster

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Farming can be a volatile profession. One week, you’re on top of the world, Scrooge McDuck-ing it into giant piles of heirloom tomatoes and wallpapering with collard greens. The next, you’re pulling thousands of rotten carrots out of the fields. OK, the first part didn’t happen, but the second part is the g*d-honest truth. Landon [...]

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Tasty Onion Roll

Hoo, baby.  August was a hectic month on the farm.  I started working at a local engineering firm to bring in some extra dough, and Landon continued to bust his butt in the fields.  I’d love to give you a full run-down of August-mania, but I’m just going to post this video instead.  It talks [...]

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“Children of the Corn” and other Movies

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Root Mass Farm has been blessed with visitors lately.  As a matter of fact, we’ve had folks come to the farm for the past 4 weekends and plan to make it a 5th.  Our friends are the nicest.  This past week, Landon and I got to share our home, our farm, our swiss chard, and [...]

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This Week in Bugs: The Flea Beetle

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Bug Scale Rating: -2* You’ve seen the damage they inflict–tiny little holes in our radish greens, kohlrabi leaves, and mesclun mix.  The greens look like they’ve been assaulted by an unstable David the Gnome wielding a tiny, gnome-sized pool cue (maybe smaller than David the Gnome, though–didn’t he ride a fox or something?).  Unfortunately, the [...]

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Time Lapse My Life

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Most things in life evolve too slowly to notice in the moment.  I know my face is changing, but I can’t say where or how.  Roads develop new potholes and trees grow more rings, but who knows when.  It just makes me yearn for time lapse videos of everything–the expansion of my cat’s girth, the [...]

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“How do you use that?”

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We get that question a lot during garlic scape season, and with good reason.  Upon first glance, the garlic scape is definitely an enigma.  Its name contains a familiar word–garlic–and there are parts of the food that vaguely resemble garlic.  But it’s also kind of wacky looking.  When Landon was working at the Union Sq. [...]

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Unexpected Farmer Perk: Wicked Fancy Salads

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Being a farmer has its advantages. No, they don’t include steady income, access to affordable healthcare, or regular hours. But they DO include wicked fancy salads! Every time I thin flats in the greenhouse, I end up with a wicked fancy salad.  Here at Root Mass, we throw dozens of insurance seeds into every flat [...]

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