BY KENDRA MURRAY
It was about a year ago that I met Andrew Todoroff for the first time. After reading a previous article I had composed, Andrew challenged my statement that you could not grow coffee in Massachusetts. We met up at Rendevous Cafe & Creperie in Hyannis, where he showed me a coffee tree that he was growing. Although it doesn’t make sense to grow coffee on a large scale here, it can be done, and it is a fun project. When Andrew isn’t tending to his own trees, he’s busy at Speedwell Coffee in Plymouth. Our director Karen Schwalbe and I headed over to Speedwell last week to talk a little further about the business and tour the facility.
BY DEREK CHRISTIANSON
March has been full on chilly, while fieldwork has been put on hold for most growers, greenhouses are filling up, and spring projects are getting a bit more attention than typical. Trading a bit of fieldwork, for off-season training I was able to attend a well designed Produce Safety Alliance workshop last Friday. Attendance at a similar training will be required for most farms under the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and if you missed the trainings this go round, I would recommend keeping an eye out for training sessions next fall and winter. Despite the chilly conditions are are gearing up for the vegetable season, potting on our early fieldhouse tomatoes, and starting to seed greens, herbs, and brassicas beyond the early alliums. For the optimists, I reckon a few will be prepping ground on Wednesday and Thursday to get a seeding of peas in ahead of the weekend’s rain. We’ve got a round of tall vine, Sugar Snap Peas seeded in our greenhouse so we can set out plants in early April; I used to think transplanting peas seemed a crazy notion, but with the difficulty sourcing organic sugar snap peas, it a cost effective way to make the most of small seed supply. When we seeded last week, I had to make a special trip back to the house to grab rhizobia inoculant, can’t forget the inoculant for peas… If you missed part 1 of my article on seed and soil inoculant from the February Vine, you can find it on the SEMAP website.
Seed & Soil Inoculation Part 2
When it comes to seed inoculants, mycorhizzal use is fast becoming a standard in the industry. The future use of mycorrhizal inoculants is almost guaranteed after one of the foundational companies researching and promoting their use, Mycorhizzal Applications was purchased by Valent BioSciences in 2015. I recommend checking out founder Mike Amaranthus’s bio and/or searching online for his lectures as a great online introduction to mycorrhizal fungi. Depending on your production practices, you may or may not have an active mycorhizzal population in your soils; it’s well understood that tillage and fallow periods will both harm mycorrhizal fungi. Most vegetable crops, with the exception of the brassicaceae and chenopodiaceae families, are capable of forming mycorhizzal relationships with these special fungi. What exactly is the relationship? A simplified version: through this symbiotic relationship the plants will share resources (sugars, etc) with the fungi, and the fungi will return the favor by sharing minerals with the plants. The fungal hyphae are able to reach beyond the surface area of root hairs and thereby expand the plants access to minerals in the soil. Most notably, mycorhizzal fungi are capable of increasing Phosphorous (P) uptake in soils with low soluble Phosphorous. Read more →
We are a small alpaca farm in West Newbury, MA. We are reducing our herd and are looking for loving, animal-centered homes. Our animals are healthy and well-cared for. They produce lovely fleece (some of them are descended from champion lines). I am a handspinner; their fiber is a dream to spin. Our girls are open and ready for breeding. Our males have been gelded.
Please contact Kathy @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Approximately one acre of tillable land and half acre of gravel (good for farmstand or parking lot) available in Westport. Right on road. No electricity or water. Interested parties can contact Jay at (508) 736-1160.