Monday, March 30, 2009

Buy a CSA Share Online

For those of you interested, you can now go to and buy a share of our CSA for the upcoming season from our new "store".
(The above picture is a sampling of our 2008 harvest.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our New Farm Logo

Here is a picture of our new logo for the farm. We also got a new farm sign made for our entrance, but haven't gotten that installed yet. We hope to get some t-shirts and hats made as well. We are pleased with how it turned out. Tina at Express Signs and Graphics designed it for us. It's pretty exciting how it is all starting to come together!

A New Fence Is In The Works...

Our friends at Heartsill Fencing did a great job installing all of our posts that surround our 1/2 acre garden. Look them up in the yellow pages if you need any quality fencing. Our next job is to attach the 7 1/2 ft. deer fence (which we purchased from Benner's Gardens) with zip ties and staples. We are getting closer to planting day! Now, if this snow would just melt...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A New Barn for the Farm

Here are some pictures of our new outbuilding for the farm. We are really happy with how it turned out. Things are really coming if we could just get to planting!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top Ten Lists

The following info is from a book entitled From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide To Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce

Top 10 items purchased at a grocery store:
1. Marlboro cigarettes
2. Coca-Cola Classic
3. Pepsi-Cola
4. Kraft processed cheese
5. Diet Coke
6. Campbell's Soup
7. Budweiser beer
8. Tide detergent
9. Folger's coffee
10. Winston cigarettes

Top 10 items delivered by a typical CSA farm:
1. Tomatoes
2. Lettuce
3. Carrots
4. Beans
5. Potatoes
6. Peppers
7. Squash
8. Onions
9. Peas
10. Broccoli

Here are are a couple other facts to think about:

*On any given day more than half the U.S. population eats no fruits or vegetables. By joining a CSA, you and your family are ensured a weekly supply of fresh healthy produce.

*Only 1 of 10 children ages 6-11 eats the recommended 5 a day servings of fruits and veggies. Surveys of CSA members reveal that by becoming a CSA member, their households saw a significant increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Organic Consumers Association

I just found the following link and feel it has some great info on it. Thought I would pass it along.

The Organic Consumers Association
Campaigning for Health, Justice, Sustainability, Peace, and Democracy

What Dr. Mercola says about organic produce...

Below is an article from that was passed on to me and that I felt was pretty interesting:

Vegetables Aren't as Good for You as They Used to Be
According to new research, produce in the U.S. not only tastes worse than it did in your grandparents' days, but also contains fewer nutrients. In fact, the average vegetable found in today's supermarket is anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent lower in minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc than those harvested just 50 years ago.
Today's vegetables are larger, but do not contain more nutrients. Jumbo-sized produce actually contains more "dry matter" than anything else, which dilutes mineral concentrations.
An additional problem is the "genetic dilution effect," in which selective breeding to increase crop yield has led to declines in protein, amino acids, and minerals. Breeders select for high yield, effectively selecting mostly for high carbohydrate content. And finally, as a result of the growing rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, modern crops are being harvested faster than ever before, meaning that produce has less time to absorb nutrients either from synthesis or the soil.Sources:
Time February 17, 2009
The Journal of HortScience February 1, 2009

What Dr. Mercola says:
I’ve published numerous articles about the superior health benefits of organic and locally-grown fruits and vegetables, and these findings further support what is becoming obvious to even those hiding under rocks.
It’s a sad state of affairs when more than three billion people around the world suffer from malnourishment – including in the U.S. – and yet most ‘improvements’ to increase food production is simply making our food less nourishing, rather than more so.
But more and more people are getting wise to this problem and are inciting change through their shopping habits and pocketbooks.
A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics found that shoppers were willing to pay more for locally grown food, and those shopping at farmers’ markets were willing to spend the most for food grown close to home.
Small local farms are cropping up as a result, and many of them use organic, sustainable farming practices even though they may not have been certified as such.
The top reasons people cite for wanting organic, locally-grown food?
• Better food quality• Better taste• Freshness
And no wonder, considering the fact that studies, such as the one above, is finding that conventionally grown produce simply isn’t what it used to be.
Many “health” experts continue to state that there is little difference between organic and conventionally raised produce, but if they review this and other evidence, they will likely have to change their tune.
Organic Foods – a Far More Nutritious Choice
The simplest way back toward health is to focus on whole, organic foods, grown or raised as nature intended. Meaning, it’s grown using sustainable farming practices, and without the use of chemical additives, pesticides and fertilizers.
Food grown in healthier soil, with natural fertilizers and no chemicals, simply has to be more nutritious. It is common knowledge -- though knowledge that is greatly suppressed in the United States.A 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, for example, found that organic foods are better for fighting cancer. And in 2005, scientists found that, compared to rats that ate conventional diets, organically fed rats experienced various health benefits. Rats that ate organic or minimally fertilized diets had:
Improved immune system status
Better sleeping habits
Less weight and were slimmer than rats fed other diets
Higher vitamin E content in their blood (for organically fed rats)
But perhaps one of the best studies out there on the benefits of organic versus conventionally-grown foods is the 2007 QualityLowInputFood Project -- a $25-million study into organic food -- the largest of its kind to date.
The researchers grew fruit and vegetables, and raised cattle, on adjacent organic and non-organic sites, and discovered that:
Organic fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 percent more antioxidants
Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc
Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants
The results were so impressive they stated that eating organic foods can even help to increase the nutrient intake of people who don’t eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
And, Don’t Forget About the Chemical Toxins!
In addition to simply being depleted of many essential nutrients -- for all the reasons mentioned in the article above -- conventionally grown food is also typically tainted with a multitude of chemical residues, including chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides.
These chemical concoctions can cause a wide variety of health problems, including:
Disruption of your endocrine system
Immune system suppression
Male infertility and miscarriages in women
Traditional, Local Farming on the Rise
Unfortunately, whereas organic foods were once truly raised naturally, on small farms with great integrity, big business has now stepped in and tainted many of the principles upon which the organic label was founded. You are, in fact, being ripped off by much of the organic food you are buying, so buyers beware...
However, increasing numbers of people are now reverting back to the ways of our ancestors, choosing to purchase food directly from local farmers – who generally apply organic farming practices -- and cooking it using slow, traditional methods.Proof of this trend can be seen in the rise of small farms. After declining for more than a century, the number of U.S. small farms has increased 20 percent in the past six years.
But there is still a long way to go. Organic food represents less than 2 percent of the food economy, and local food makes up well under 1 percent. There is some debate on the issue of which is better: organic or locally-grown. Ideally you’ll want both.
But keep in mind that even if your local farmer is not certified as organic, by speaking with them and establishing a rapport you will truly know how your food is raised and grown. Many small farmers grow their crops according to organic standards, yet are unable to afford the federal certification progress to legally call them so.
But in the end, it’s not really the certification itself – which big food manufacturers can afford – that matters, but whether or not your food has been grown in a manner that is compatible with nature and will sustain your good health.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What's Your Favorite Veggie?

According to the National Gardening Association, the following are the top ten most popular vegetables nationwide:

1. Tomatoes
2. Peppers
3. Onions
4. Cucumbers
5. Beans
6. Lettuce
7. Carrots
8. Sweet Corn
9. Radishes
10. Cabbage

So what are your favorites? We'd like to know what our customers would like us to grow.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Local Food for the Future

Family farms are quickly diminishing in numbers and farm land is being sold and developed at alarming rates. By supporting local farmers today, you can help to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow and that our children will have access to good wholesome food in the future.

Become a Member of Our CSA

To become a member of Picket Fence Farm's CSA please email us at picketfencefarm(at)gmail(dot)com, or call us at 641-891-9047. We have a membership form(which we can mail to you) that must be filled out and submitted with your payment of $400 (We hope to provide our members with about 20 weeks of produce, so this averages to be $20 per week) . We will also be online soon at if you would like to check us out there too.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Buy Local Produce...

An important part of buying local is making an effort to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season in your area. Although today's global marketplace allows us to buy foods grown virtually anywhere in the world all year round, these options are not the most sustainable.
By purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles, your food dollar goes directly to the farmer, and your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Buying seasonal produce also provides an exciting opportunity to try new foods and to experiment with seasonal recipes. And it simply tastes better!

Check out for more on local sustainable food.