Monday, February 16, 2015

Why We Grow Heirloom

There's quite a bit of hype right now about GMO food and how they should be labeled so Americans know what they are eating.  Some feel we are entitled to know if we are eating a GMO product, and others feel that science tells us GMO's are safe, and that labeling will simply raise prices at the supermarket.  Many proponents of labeling cite the many countries that ban GMO's, or require labeling.  See a list (although it may not be complete here) These countries are numerous, but include most of the European Union, Scandinavian countries, some from the Middle East, and Australia to name a few.

So who do we believe? The U.S. Government and the USDA who say they are safe?  Those who cite studies performed in Europe, stating GMO's are bad for our health?  Recent studies that link the rise in GMO's to the rise in diagnoses of Autism?  I don't know.  I'm not a fan of Monsanto and their constant law suits against farmers, that's for sure.

What I do know is this: I'd rather eat food that I knew was not modified for some reason, whether it is to make it more nutritious (it's healthy in its natural state), brighter color, or longer shelf life.  I'd rather eat food that was closer to its natural state, one that pests like to eat as well as me.  I don't pretend to be a scientist, and I don't plan to argue with anyone who wants to throw study after study at me declaring GMO's are safe.  I'm not saying they aren't safe.  I'm saying I would rather my food be in its natural state, unmodified by science and one that I have to combat pests over.

But a little proof...our commercial farm planted a non-GMO corn 2 years ago.  The yields were higher than the previous years with corn that was GMO.  Why the higher yield?  Isn't part of the whole GMO appeal the higher yield?  It's not scientific, but it's enough for me.

Heirloom plants are history.  They are part of the history of seeds that have been brought over by generations of farmers.  I want to carry on a history of plants that many are trying very hard to save.  Many noble companies are working tirelessly to find these rare seeds and work to restore their numbers.  I'd rather help out the folks restoring history than the corporations trying to make money from modifying seeds that do not need modification.

For more information on seed saving, what you can do to help, or to grow your own, visit:
Seeds of Change:
Baker Creek Heirloom seeds:
Seed Savers Exchange:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

After the hiatus....

Our hiatus from the business aspect of the farm was due to increased responsibilities at work, school, and the decimation of our flock last fall.  Losing the flock was the proverbial straw that broke the camels, or in this case, the farmers back.  It's incredibly depressing to lose a flock of chickens.  Earlier in the fall, a mother fox found its way under the fencing of our coop.  For awhile, we had 5 chickens that roamed around the yard.  We tried getting into the new coop, but of course, they had other ideas.  They went rebel and began roosting in the trees out of reach.  Then, they were gone. 

Until this past Friday....

I pulled into the driveway and there stood one of our white Easter Egg chickens.  How she had survived I've no idea, especially after the very low temperatures we had last month.  But, she was there and that was all that mattered.  She happily ran into her old coop and fell on the food we found for her.  We didn't have any chicken feed so we found veggies for her eat.  

Then we made the trip to TSC to the feed store.  I had already decided I wanted chickens again.  I wanted about 6 that would give me a dozen eggs a week, and that I could organically raise.  Caris was excited, and I was excited.  We had decided how to make our new smaller coop the "Fort Knox" of coops, and had planned out the area.  What I didn't bargain for was seeing the bins for chicks that TSC had ready.  Chick days are coming soon.  

They had already arrived at Rural King.

Now I've had my issues in the past with Rural King and their chick days.  Last year it led to a complaint to management about the inhumane way they were housing the chickens and letting every child reach down in to grab-and harm- any chicken they wanted.  I was pleasantly surprised this year with the fencing over the bins.  And the selection!  Oh goodness....the selection.  They had every chicken breed I wanted.  "Let's just get 6 chickens" turned into "might as well get 10 and share" (with a fellow non-gmo friend).  It then turned into 13, because they had black Jersey Giants!  All (minus the chick we lost this morning) are brooding happily in the garage, kept safe from harm from Fergus the outdoor cat by clever fencing.

So we have chicks again....seed catalogs are coming in diagrams have been drawn....seed varieties have been chosen.  I'm not sure what will happen, but it would seem Aurora Bryn Farm is back in business!