March 2006 Newsletter

LocalHarvest Newsletter
March 23, 2006

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter!

Whether Spring is in full swing in your part of the country, or still loitering just around the corner, one thing is certain: family farmers are hard at work. In shorts, no less. Or at least some of them are - take Keith Cooper, of Sweet Briar Farms in Eugene, OR, for example. When we called to interview him for this month's newsletter he reported that they'd had a mild winter, "It got down to ten degrees one night, but I still wore shorts underneath my coveralls. About the only time I'll put long pants on is when it's zero degrees, there's snow on the ground, or I'm going to the local rodeo." Good thinking. For more on Keith's philosophy, read on.

In This Issue

  • Profile: Sweet Briar Farms
  • CSA: Eat Seasonally, the Farm-Fresh Way
  • Grow Your Own: Seeds, Seeds, and More Seeds
  • Fido Wants to Support Family Farmers Too!

  • Profile: Sweet Briar Farms

    Ask Keith Cooper what he would say to young people who are thinking about entering farming and he will put it to you simply: "You really have to like it. And it's what I've always wanted to do. Some people are musicians; it's who they are. Some people are artists. I guess it's just my lot in life to be a farmer. When I was a little kid I started growing beans in coffee cans. They'd grow up and die, and I'd plant more. People always asked me what I wanted to be, and I'd say, "A farmer and I'm going to plant beans. A hundred of them." He never got into the bean business, but since 1984 Keith has been raising pigs outside of Eugene, OR, in a business that grew out of his kids 4-H projects. (Read on...)

    CSA: Eat Seasonally, the Farm-Fresh Way

    While nobody knows exactly how many CSAs are up and running in the U.S., our best estimate is about 1,500. As you might guess, we at LocalHarvest would like to include every single one of these farms in our national directory. At last count we had reached 1,187 of them. All together, these farms are offering weekly boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables to tens of thousands of families across the country. As a result, a growing number of people are eating the best food there is: that which is grown close to home, and eaten while it's fresh. We are proud to be supporting this trend toward greater personal healthfulness and greater economic viability for rural economies. (Read on...)

    Grow Your Own: Seeds, Seeds, and More Seeds

    Speaking of seasonal and local foods, you can't do better than your own backyard! There's nothing quite as satisfying as going out the back door to pick a few fresh things for dinner. Even if you weren't born with a green thumb, many vegetables and flowers are easy to grow - perfect for beginners. (Read on...)

    Fido Wants to Support Family Farmers Too!

    You try to eat seasonally, you shop locally -- what's next? Maybe it's time to offer your pets the goodness of family-farm produced food. Many veterinarians are now advocating for more nutritious and appropriate food for cats and dogs. Researchers are finding that animals that are fed a raw diet demonstrate a slowed rate of aging and fewer degenerative diseases as compared to pets fed typical store-bought foods. (Read on...)