Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Sugar Snap or Snow Peas with Lemon Herb Butter

Sugar Snap or Snow Peas with Lemon Herb ButterThere is nothing quite so graceful as trellised pea plants in full swing. And nothing quite so tasteful as a crunchy sugar snap pea eaten straight off the vine. And nothing that so captures the essence of spring as peas—all kinds of peas.
Peas love cool, wet weather, and so are often only in season for a few weeks. That’s when you’ll find local farmers bringing in the irresistible sugar snap pea, the Chinese or snow pea, and the good old fashioned shell (or English) peas.

Snow Peas Healthy and Cosmopolitan

Snow peas are long, thin, nearly flat pea pods, with teensy proto-peas inside. But you’re not after the peas; it’s the tender pod itself you’ll love. Traditionally found in Chinese and other Asian cuisines, they now appear in all sorts of dishes from salads to pastas to stir-fries.
Some say the name snow pea comes from the slight whitish tint reflected from the pods in bright sunlight. Others say it's because they are a cool weather crop—best in the early spring or late fall, when they just might be covered with light frost or even snow. But no matter the name, or where it comes from, snow peas are sweet and crisp and delicious—and an excellent source of fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Snow peas are also among the most venerable of vegetables, with evidence of their cultivation going back more than 12,000 years along the Thai-Burma border.

Sweet Sugar Snap Back Story

Way on the other end of the pea timeline, one of the newest pea cultivars is the sugar snap pea. Calvin Lamborn of Twin Falls, Idaho began crossing snow peas with shell peas in the 1960s. He was going after a pea that would have the edible, non-fibrous pod of the snow pea, plus the full-size interior peas of English peas. His hybrid was finally perfected in 1979, and has become a favorite of gardeners and market farmers ever since.
Both the pod and the peas are plump, succulent, and sweetly irresistible. The French call them mange-tout, which tells you what to do, "eat the whole thing,” preferably on the way home from market for maximum nutrition and enjoyment. As with all legumes, peas host beneficial bacteria in their root nodules, which make nitrogen in the air available as a fertilizer in the soil for themselves and whatever crop is planted there next. They are one of the true heroes of our fields and tables—so enjoy!

Quick Snow Peas with Lemon Herb Butter

Fresh peas cook really fast, so keep an eye on them, and take them off the heat as soon as they turn bright green.


2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons finely chopped herbs of your choice (suggest half and half finely chopped tarragon and flat-leaf parsley)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound snow peas, trimmed


1. Stir together butter, zest, herbs, salt, and pepper.
2. Cook snow peas in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain well.
3. Transfer hot snow peas to a bowl, then add lemon herb butter and toss to coat.

Seasonal Cook’s Notes:

Snow Peas and Sugar Snap Peas can be used interchangeably in just about any recipe.  Sugar snaps are also great raw as part of a vegetable tray or a box lunch. 
Serves four as a side dish.
Creative Commons License© The Land Connection Foundation
The best way to enjoy healthy, seasonal produce is to buy it from your local community farmer. To locate the farmers’ market or CSA nearest you, visit
Farm Fresh Now! is a project of The Land Connection, an educational nonprofit that preserves farmland, trains new farmers, and connects people with great locally-grown foods. This series is made possible with generous support from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sustainable Farming & Foods

 Weekly Events & Opportunities
MREA 24th Annual Energy Fair
June 21. Custer, WI. MOSES Rural Women’s Project Coordinator Lisa Kivirist leads two workshops at the Energy Fair. In “Launch Your Organic Farm Dream,” Lisa shares ideas for creating a livelihood based on sustainability values and good food. Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11 a.m. in Black Tent and Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 5 p.m. in Pink Tent. Click here for more information.
 International Aquaponics Conference
June 19-21. Stevens Point, WI. “The International Aquaponics Conference: Aquaponics and Global Food Security” will bring together individuals with the goal of making an impact on food quality, security and sustainability using aquaponic methods, in which fish and plants are grown together in a symbiotic environment. Industry experts will share experience and knowledge in a fun and informative conference setting, providing participants a wealth of information on the rapidly growing aquaponics industry. Click here for more information and to register.
Spaulding's Famous Goat School
June 22-24. Littlefork, MN. Weekend of hands-on training and education in the care, breeding, and management of dairy and meat goats. Subjects will cover disease prevention, dehorning, emergencies, kidding, parasites control through rotational grazing, and good milking procedures. Optional after-session will cover cheese making and soap making from goat milk. Goat school will be presented by Ken and Janice Spaulding; hosted by Elizabeth Pendergast at North County Farm near the MN/ON border. Call 218-278-8888.
Hops Growers Roundtable
June 22. Dodgeville, WI. For New & Existing Hop Farmers. 2 Presentations on Sustainable Hopyard Establishment and Marketing Hops + Lunch Reception + A hop farming forum discussion with a panel of 2 commercial hop growers. Click here for more information and to register. 
Bobwhite Quail and Native Pollinator Field Day
June 20. Columbia, Missouri. The University of Missouri Bradford Research Center is hosting a bobwhite quail and native pollinator field day designed for landowners, students, and enthusiasts of quail and native plants. The free event includes quail management demonstrations, a landowner panel on successes and challenges, and sessions on quail ecology and habitat. One-hour field tours are offered, and assistance will be available for landowners in developing custom-tailored wildlife management plans.
 Spring Pasture Grazing Tour
June 20. Stevensville, Montana. On this day-long bus tour, visit with landowners and grazing specialists at five pastures in the Bitterroot Valley that exemplify differing management approaches, including mob grazing and Management Intensive Grazing. Discussions will be led by Justin Morris, NRCS Grazing Specialist, and Jane Mangold, MSU Assistant Professor.
First Nations Knowledge: Community Engagement
June 20. Online. First Nations Knowledge in a series of educational webinars created and hosted by First Nations Development Institute. The series aims to educate Native Americans who are involved in food-systems work and agriculture, plus those who lead or work for Native nonprofit organizations. The webinars are free and will last approximately one hour each.
Peak Performance Grazing: Planning and Management for Animals, Land, and Profit
June 21-24. Carbondale, Colorado. Sustainable Settings is offering a four-day class with Jim Gerrish and Owen Hablutzel. The course offers a fun-filled four days of learning together optimal and effective ways to plan for and achieve the full power of peak performance grazing on your land. This four-day workshop will include classroom as well as outdoor exercises and pasture walks.
Mom, Apple Pie and Conservation: Women-Only Conservation Tour
June 22. Palmer, Kansas. This free event for women begins with a morning farm tour and continues with an afternoon of presentations on cost-share programs, soil health, cover crops, and a roundtable discussion "From a Woman's Perspective." The tour is sponsored by the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) as part of its Women and Conservation Project. Co-sponsors include the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops at KSU, River Valley Extension District Kansas State University Research and Extension, and Tuttle Creek WRAPS.
Modern Livestock Production Trends and Vulnerabilities
June 19th. 12pm Central. Food animal agriculture has become more concentrated in geographically discrete production centers in the United States in recent decades. At the same time, billion dollar weather disasters have become a regular occurrence. What can we learn by understanding the vulnerabilities of our food animal production systems that we can translate into resilience strategies? Dr. Julie Smith, EDEN delegate and University of Vermont Extension dairy specialist, will provide participants with an overview of US food animal production trends and vulnerabilities. This free webinar is open to agricultural stakeholders, community members and Extension educators and specialists, Please register at Use the drop down menu to select "Modern Livestock Production Trends and Vulnerabilities."
 Food Value Analysis Database
June 19th. 1pm Central. The market place offers consumers a wide variety of choices of food for purchase and consumption. Helping consumers make wise food choices while taking into consideration budget constraints, time availability, food preparation skills, shelf-life, food safety concerns, and dietary recommendations is not an easy task. The Food Value Analysis tool was created to provide a way to compare a range of values for various forms of processed foods compared to foods prepared from a recipe in the home kitchen. The application provides a means to begin a discussion about trade-offs involved in making food choices across multiple dimensions. The tool allows you to compare the cost and nutritional value of home recipe foods to various other forms. For example, you can compare home recipe beef stew to canned beef stew or frozen broccoli to fresh broccoli. The webinar will include: • How the database was developed including sources for data • How to use the database with consumers.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting a New Farm Bill
June 17. 1pm Central. Join federal farm policy experts from American Farmland Trust to discuss topics about the farm bill, including: • Challenges to conservation programs in the next farm bill and directions for the future; •Proposed changes in conservation compliance that modernize the safety net, but do not place limits on crop insurance assistance; • Opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of programs that help protect farm and ranch land; and • Efforts that may help strengthen regional food systems.
Climate Variability and US Forests
June 20th. 12pm Central. U.S. Forest Service Climate Change Advisor,  Dave Cleaves, will give an overview of the  U.S. Forest Service report “Effects of Climatic Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the U.S. Forest.  The report is a look at the current condition and likely future condition of forest resources in the United States relative to climate variability. Jim Vose, Project Leader, Center for Integrated Forest Science, and co-led for the report will discuss some of the report’s highlights and Mark Megalos, NC State University Extension Associate Professor will moderate the presentation. This report describes the biological, economic, and social impacts of a warming climate on both privately owned forests and public lands and also provides a framework for managing forest resources in the United States in the face of climate change.
Raising Dough for Food Businesses
Thursday, June 20, 2:30 pm Central. Is lack of access to capital really a problem for food businesses that are solving social and environmental problems? There are more types of capital than ever before to support food businesses... but many don't know they exist, they can be challenging to access and even more, it’s hard to tell which type will be the best for each business. Join us on this webinar to learn to “Raise Dough” for food businesses.

Natural Resource Assessment on Organic Farms
June 26. Online. This 3-hour IOIA webinar is a 200 level webinar training course that will cover Natural Resource Assessment for Organic Farms. The course is geared to prepare those who are currently organic inspectors or file reviewers to evaluate Natural Resource requirements as described in the NOP/COR. The course is also highly recommended for organic producers, consultants, educators, extension, and certification agency staff.
 Planning and Design of Livestock Watering Systems Webinar
June 26. Online. USDA NRCS East National Technology Support Center is offering this webinar as part of its ongoing series of training webinars held the last Wednesday of the month from 2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern. At this time, participants can simply "join" an event; preregistration is not necessary.
 2013 Farm to School Summit
June 26-27. La Crosse, WI. The Wisconsin Farm to School Summit showcases current farm to school efforts across the state, new resources for farm to school practitioners and advocates and future opportunities for farm to school programs and policy. This event is designed to support the work of school nutrition staff, educators, farmers, school administrators, school board members, parents, students and school wellness team members. The Summit will also be of interest to local food advocates, state and local health departments, local coalitions and more! Click here for more information and to register.
 Amending Soils in the Organic Dairy Pasture - Webinar
June 27. In this free webinar, Dr. Daley will describe a long-term soil remediation field trial designed at the University Farm to study the effects of a basic soil amendment program on forage quality and yield, with an emphasis on the economic return that would result from added milk production. Click here for more information and to register.
Grain Place Foods - Farm Tour & Summer Seminar

July 13. Marquette. Every year The Grain Place (the Vetter family farm) and Grain   Place Foods hosts the Farm Tour & Summer Seminar for anyone interested in organic farming, the organic food industry, and sustainable agriculture in general. Participants are guided by The Grain Place farm manager Mike Herman on a tour of the farm, learning and sharing ideas about various organic growing practices. Grain Place Foods President Dave Vetter leads the tour through the plant, showing how all the various certified organic grains and seeds are processed and packaged. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


For many baby-boomers, the constant refrain of “Eat your spinach, it’s good for you!” and the olive green glop of canned vegetable that accompanied the words, led to life-long spinach avoidance. Well now is the time, if you haven’t already, to overcome your spinach phobia. One nibble of a local farmer’s sweet and vibrant fresh spinach will do the trick.

Best Fresh!Spinach Salade Lyonnaise

The first spinach you see every spring at your local farmers' market is most likely from seeds planted late last fall.
The seeds germinate and barely start to put down roots before the frigid weather descends and they go into dormancy under the ice and snow. At the first hint of spring, however, they start growing like mad, and soon the leaves are huge, thick, juicy and sweet—unbelievably rich and meaty. You really have to taste it to believe it.

Health Benefits of Spinach

If great taste alone is not enough, remember that spinach is high in vitamins A and C, and in iron and folate. It is also a good source of fiber and magnesium, and is very low in calories.
And if you’re still not convinced, wine fortified with spinach juice was the healing elixir traditionally given to injured French soldiers. And the Persians, who cultivated the leafy green from at least the 6th century, recognized spinach’s sophistication and called it “the prince of vegetables.”

Spinach Salade Lyonnaise

This hearty salad is quick and easy to make, yet fit for a king with the combination of meaty-leaved spinach, crisp bacon, barely cooked eggs, and warm, sharp Dijon vinaigrette.


4 cups torn spinach, or a mixture of spinach, lettuce, escarole, and other greens
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
About 1/4 pound (or less) good bacon or ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 to 4 tablespoons sherry or wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 eggs
Black pepper


  1. Put greens in a large salad bowl. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon and cook slowly until crisp all over, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and mustard to the skillet and bring just to a boil, stirring, then turn off heat.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a couple inches of salted water to a boil in a small pan, then lower heat to barely bubbling. One at a time, break eggs into a shallow bowl and slip them into the bubbling water. Poach the eggs for 2 minutes, until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon, and place onto the greens.
  3. Pour the bacon dressing over the greens (they’ll wilt a bit). Toss the salad, breaking the yolks of the poached eggs and distributing them evenly over the spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, with croutons or toast if you like.

Seasonal Cook’s Notes:

The best thing to do with any fresh vegetable is almost nothing. But I confess that I have become dangerously enamored of this Fresh Spinach Salade Lyonnaise. If you want to go vegetarian or vegan, just leave out the bacon and egg, adding another few tablespoons of olive oil to the dressing. Keep this salad in mind when fall greens like frisee, escarole, and radicchio roll around because the hot dressing will soften and sweeten those sturdy leaves.
Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main course.
Creative Commons License© The Land Connection Foundation
The best way to enjoy healthy, seasonal produce is to buy it from your local community farmer. To locate the nearest farmers’ market or farm CSA near you, visit
Farm Fresh Now! is a project of The Land Connection, an educational nonprofit that preserves farmland, trains new farmers, and connects people with great locally-grown foods. This series is made possible with generous support from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.Article by Terra Brockman, photo by Cara Cummings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sustainable Farming & Foods

Weekly Events & Opportunities

Drip Irrigation and Small Farm Equipment

June 10. Olathe, Kansas. This evening event is one of the Growing Growers Market Farming Workshops. These workshops focus on practices and a scale of production suitable for a market farmer.

Education as a Value-Added Product Farminar

June 11. In this Farminar following a field day, Claire Orner will describe how she and her husband, Rusty, have turned Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living into an educational non-profit where they focus on teaching stewardship of the land, the person, and sustainable practices. Claire will review how she schedules events, funding sources, marketing strategies, support opportunities, ownership, and collaboration, and inquiry.

Summer Grazing Tour

June 11. Burwell. Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and Nebraska Cattlemen.  The day concludes with an evening steak dinner at the Barta Brothers Ranch, featuring a panel discussion with the owners from the tour stops and UNL grazing researchers.

Farm-to-School Best Practices Webinar

June 11. First Nations Knowledge is a series of educational webinars created and hosted by First Nations Development Institute. The series aims to educate Native Americans who are involved in food-systems work and agriculture, plus those who lead or work for Native nonprofit organizations. This webinar will discuss farm-to-school programs in Indian Country. Presenters will showcase their farm-to-school programs, discuss the design of their programs, and share how they have mitigated various challenges to develop successful programs.

First International Symposium on Elderberry

June 9-14. Columbia, Missouri. The First International Symposium on Elderberry (Sambucus) will be the world's first gathering of international scientists from multiple disciplines studying all aspects of the elderberry plant and fruit, and its use as a food and dietary supplement. Horticulturists, Botanists, Biochemists, Food Scientists, Economists, and others will gather during peak elderberry flowering season for several days of scientific exchange and fellowship.

Short and Long Term Benefits of Cover Crops Webinar
June 13. As part of a USDA certified organic research grant, the University of Missouri Bradford Research Center is offering four webinars. This one-hour webinar from 2-3 p.m. features Newell Kitchen, Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS. To join any of these webinars go to and sign in as a guest.

First Annual Iowa Women’s Landowner Conference

June 13. Brooklyn, Iowa. Women farmland owners have the potential to transform Iowa's landscape and farm communities in significant and positive ways, given that women own or co-ownnearly half of Iowa's farmland. Women, Land and Legacy has partnered with Iowa Land Sales & Farm Management to provide information to women who want to learn more about how to care for and pass on the land. The goal of the conference is to target the educationalneeds of women in Iowa, focusing on their empowerment and encouraging local contacts and relationships.

Raising Heritage Poultry for Profit and Pleasure

June 15. Papillion. This workshop is for small, sustainable poultry farmers who are interested in breeding, growing, and selling standard-bred poultry. It addresses production, breeding, and marketing topics. Cost, $95.

Creating a Customized Food Safety Plan - Webinar

June 10. Produce farmers interested in creating an on-farm food safety plan are invited to join and GrowNYC/Greenmarket for a webinar. Participating growers will learn the basics of identifying risk areas, implementing risk management solutions, and creating a food safety plan from trainer Atina Diffley.  The webinar  will be held Monday June 10th, 10am-11:30am CST.  Click here to register.

Organic Pest Management
Saturday June 15, 9:00AM-12:00PM,  Prairie Pines, 3110 N. 112th Street, Lincoln. We'll explore a wide range of alternative, effective pest management techniques at this class, from barriers to home-made sprays. Taught by Sarah Browning, Lancaster County Extension, an expert on local pest management.

Pruning, Trellising and Mounding

Saturday June 15, 1:00PM-4:00PM,  Common Good Farm. Learn great crop maintenance with the help of a good pair of shears, bamboo, and, of course, soil. Taught by Evrett Lunquist, who is a tremendous resource on all topics related to small scale organic farming.

Introduction to Permaculture

Saturday, June 15th, 9:00AM-12:00PM. Learn about permaculture and how to live sustainably and grow bountiful produce with less work and inputs.  Permaculture is a design system which emulates and integrates natural ecosystems. CROPS Executive Director Ingrid Kirst will introduce you to basic performance principles you can implement at home as we explore a home-scale permaculture garden. Register for Permaculture.

Robinette Solstice

June 15th. Join us for the best of soul, funk and R&B with Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers and opening act Jack Hotel, both from right here in Lincoln.  We'll have Robinette food artfully prepared by Rolling Fire Catering, locally made dessert from Gelato to Go, local beer from Blue Blood Brewing and wine from WunderRosa Winery just down the road! Visit this link for tickets and more info!

Climate Communities Weekly Webinar

Urban Agriculture. Sustainablilty Showcases - Lessons Learned from EPA's Greening America's Capitals Program. Thursday, June 13, 2013 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT.

Farm Tractor Safety in Woods and Woodlots
June 11th. 11pm. This webinar will discuss hazards and risks of using farm tractors in woods and woodlots.  Specific topics and issues to be covered include; roll over protection structure and falling object protective structure, pulling and dragging limbs and stumps, tractor stability principles, related machinery hazards, and preparing for woodlot emergencies. Presented by Dennis J. Murphy, Professor, Agricultural Safety & Health and Extension Safety Specialist, Penn State Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering.

The Future of Residential Wood Heating: Growth or Collapse?
June 11th. 12pm. Presenter: John Ackerly , President, Alliance for Green Heat This webinar will look at future wood heat technologies and policies and assess whether engineers are a match for regulators in the US.  Upcoming EPA regulations may be so strict that they may undermine the wood stove industry, but affordable solutions could revolutionize wood heating in the US, and help it gain far more market share. -

Queen Rearing Workshop 
June 13 – 15. Ithaca. Queen Rearing Workshop (for experienced beekeepers).  See for registration information.

Legal and Financial Clinic

Thursday June 13. North Platte. Call the Farm Hotline at 800-464-0258 to sign up.

Legal and Financial Clinic

Friday, June 14. Valentine. Call the Farm Hotline at 800-464-0258 to sign up.

Lighting for Health & Safety in Agricultural Settings

June 13th. 1pm. The goal of this one-hour webinar is to increase awareness of the importance of lighting to the design of healthy, safe, and accessible farm work, and to provide technical guidance on approaches to the identification and correction of lighting problems, particularly when assisting farm workers with visual problems.

Are You a Supermarket Vendor or a Super Market Vendor?

June 13th. 1pm. While marketing your products at a farmers market is a great way to sell direct to customers and garner instant feed back about your products, it does require you work at providing customers with the best shopping and purchasing experience possible, if you want repeat business.  Simply putting your products out and waiting for customers  to make their selections and then pay you is the same as shopping at the supermarket. That's called transactional marketing. Instead, provide customers with a great shopping experience anchored by high quality products and you'll become a super market vendor. This is relationship marketing where the customer experiences a value-add connection with you as the producer.  This presentation examine the traits of highly successful market vendors including market organization, display techniques, signage, communications at the market and through social media, and the vital customer service techniques used by super market vendors.

Nebraska Chapter SWCS Annual Meeting: Climate, Water & Soil Health
            June 13 – 15. Lincoln. More information at