The Farms

Week number TWO! We're back at it this week! How was your first CSA box? We love Septembers in Arkansas - we've started to see the transition to fall both in the fields and in our boxes! This week, we'll have our first delivery of winter squash! Take a look at our storage tips and recipes we've included below. We had the pleasure of partnering with Bristro Catering & Take Away in Bryant, AR last Thursday. The event included New South veggie samples made by Chef Bonner, White River Creamery cheese, and local beer from around the state! It was truly a Taste of Arkansas event. See you again for another great CSA week! Reminders to all CSA members:   Bi-weekly members will not pickup produce shares this week. Leftover produce and cheese will be donated to First Baptist food pantry, partners with AR Hunger Relief Alliance. Please bring back your box! You can also bring...

We had a question last week from a spring CSA customer, asking how our farmers deal with squash bugs while growing organically. Tara Stainton from Rattle's Garden was kind enough to supply us with her answer: "I have not found a great organic biological control for squash bugs so we rely completely on timing and understanding that I can't grow squash through the entire summer like a conventional grower. We plant our summer crop as early as possible, giving them a good jump in our greenhouse. We plant a LOT of them to make up for what we are going to start losing already in the first few weeks. And the key for me has been making the decision to pull all cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, etc.) from the field on July 1, at which time we are overrun by squash bugs. We go for the next 45 days without having any of these...

Most of our farmers will talk to you about the importance of family, but one family stands out above the rest: the Dettelbach Family. Their farm is powered by three generations, working in unison to create not only a sustainable farming system, but a closer family unit. Steve and Ashley Dettelbach's farm is in Wynne, Arkansas. Not only do they grow produce for New South cooperative, but they also raise animals for the Grass Roots Farmers' Cooperative. Their farm is a lively mix of row gardens and animal pens. The soft sounds of chicks are caught in the fierce Delta winds and blown across to where the sheep are grazing. The pigs run out to greet Ashley, from where they are pastured in an area that used to grow carrots and kale. They happily root up the tubers, enjoying a snack and turning over the soil. The new row house is...

Josh Hardin always seems to be smiling. Maybe that is why he calls his farm Laughing Stock Farm. He is one of those people who you meet, and you just know they have found their calling. They are certain in who they are and what they are meant to do. John certainly knows. His long-time customers at the Central Arkansas farmer's markets look for his familiar face. It is this love of service that calls Josh to farm: "I have been driven to farm by many people and beliefs. The most prominent moment has really been my connection to customers in the direct market atmosphere. From the first time I sold produce at market with my brother at the age of 14, I have been a market farmer. Since that summer, I have only missed one season of selling our family’s fruits and vegetables directly to the people that enjoy them. I am...

Joe Carr wasn't always an organic veggie farmer. While he has a long history of farming and working hard, he began his career as a cattle man in Northwest Arkansas. Eventually growing produce caught his eye, and he hasn't slowed down since. When I asked Joe recently what drives him to farm, he replied with his tongue-in-cheek style. "What drives me to farm? Usually it is my forty horse Kubota tractor! But seriously farming is part of my heritage something I inherited from my grandparents.I love growing crops and building the soil. I like the independent lifestyle, and I've always enjoyed working hard and being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. There is much more to be realized than just the monetary benefits." Joe's farm, Joe's Farm Fresh Produce, is one of the founding members of the New South Produce Cooperative. His commitment to sustainable agriculture is evident by the long hours...

On any given morning, you can find Brandon Gordon in his fields. He is a full-time farmer at 5 Acre Farm in Bradford, with two small boys and a love for what he does. I recently asked Brandon what attracted him to a life of farming. "When I first started farming, I would have said something about sustainability and a slower, simpler lifestyle than the typical 9-5 job offers.  While that's still true today, I would say the challenge of farming is what drives me.  No matter how much I learn, I'll never master farming. I can't foresee ever getting bored with it." That love of the challenge is what pushes him to try new things on the farm, like new varieties of vegetables, growing sprouts for the first time this year, putting up new hoop houses, and tilling into new earth. Brandon's love of farming is also infectious. He has two part-time...

Spring in the Ozarks is beautiful and exciting. All of the newness and possibilities. The farm at Ozark Alternatives is no exception. Paul Chapracki took time out of his morning chores to show us around. His farm is one of our associate farms for New South Produce Cooperative. He relocated his farm just over a year ago, and he has made amazing progress. He has one large row house, filled with forests of kale that Dr. Seuss would adore, summer seedlings sprouting through the ground, and of course, Hazel Clementine the cat. Paul is currently supplying spinach, kale, and lettuce to the cooperative. His farm is Certified Naturally Grown. He has a row of test strawberries ripening in the sun, and he was excited about future expansion. The wholesale sales and CSA membership are giving Paul and his family a secured market for his produce and allows him to spend more quality...