BY JASON WENTWORTH
When one hears about a local farm, it’s natural to conjure up images of wide open skies over rows and rows of corn, cows grazing in verdant plains, a tractor in the distance…you know, typical bucolic New England. So you’d be forgiven if, on a drive through Attleboro, you zoomed right past 2 Friends Farm and didn’t even realize it. I sure did! Set in a former factory in an industrial park on the outskirts of a blue-collar Southeastern Massachusetts city, 2 Friends’ exterior appearances can be deceiving…but walk up a flight of stairs, open the door, and you find yourself surrounded by light, rows and rows of delicate green vegetables and more than a little magic. Read more →
Anyone who has spent some time with me is quite aware of the importance I place on available calcium at a critical piece of growing top quality and top yielding crops. Calcium is key to strong cell wall development and cellular “signalling” (i.e. communication). The historical influence of William Albrecht and the impact calcium:magnesium ratios play in soil flocculation (i.e. better oxygen availability for microbes on tight or heavy soils) has kept my attention tuned into calcium for the better part of the past decade. On soils which have been historically treated with dolomitic limestone the magnesium levels often go beyond adequate. True a bit of extra magnesium will help hold some moisture in the soil on light, sandy soils – but I think the drawbacks of excessive magnesium as it relates to nitrogen utilization are worth keeping in mind.
I have been impacted by the work of the late Carey Reams, a controversial agronomist and “healer” – who labeled calcium the “King of Nutrients”. Reams included an emphasis on calcium(s) in his fertility recommendations – not just a single source/type of calcium – I do know a number of growers who have worked with the Reams targets of available calcium and achieved good results. Read more →
BY JASON WENTWORTH
It’s 5:00 am, and the sun won’t be out for quite some time. Spring may be here, but the chill of the air, like the sensation of an ungloved hand placed on a sheet of ice, is telling you that winter is still lingering. While some high school students in the region are still warm in bed and well-ensconced in dreamland, some intrepid student workers are milking cows. That’s the reality for many of the students who work in the Animal Science Department at Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton. After a difficult winter of constantly beating back the snow to make sure cows had enough room to stroll outside, the staff and students at the Aggie are no doubt acutely aware of those challenges. Thanks to their diligence and hard work, Bristol Aggie’s dairy cows were well-cared for and were more than happy to keep the milk flowing. Read more →
(EASTON) – After a particularly cruel winter, with snowfall totaling over 100 inches in many regions of Massachusetts, local farmers and growers are digging out, assessing the damaging and asking for help. After a spate of barn and greenhouse collapses, both in Southeastern Massachusetts and across the Commonwealth, local organizations supporting agriculture are reaching out to federal, state and municipal officials and other stakeholders for support. On Friday, State Representative Claire Cronin (Easton) visited one of the farms in her district to witness the damage firsthand and get an idea of what could be done. Todd Sandstrum, Chairman of the Easton Agricultural Commission and member of the Board of Directors for the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP), reached out to Representative Cronin to inform her of greenhouse collapses at Flynn Family Farm and Nursery in Easton, Massachusetts, and both Representative Cronin and Sandstrum immediately scheduled a site tour, bringing together representatives from various organizations, including Select Board member Dottie Fulginiti, Julie Viveiros and Mike Dragunas from the USDA Farm Service Agency , and Rudy Medeiros from the nearby Norfolk County Farm Bureau. Sandstrum, surveying the damage, said, “ the impact is not only in the short-term but, in this case, will possibly impact the farms for five to seven years pending terms of loans and so on. To a farm that has a low profit margin this could put some smaller farms out of business in the next few years.” Read more →