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Category: Innovation

Wheat with Flavor

July 20, 2021 By Linda Halley There was a time when wheat was “king” in Wisconsin, and our humble state produced more wheat than any other. A weekend road trip revealed that wheat is not just a minor crop here in the state, it is nearly nonexistent. But from 1840 – 1860 every farmer grew...

Building Skills and Strengthening our Food System through Apprenticeship

by Sarah Janes Ugoretz | In 2018, something monumental happened. Government officials, technical assistance providers, and experienced organic vegetable farmers came together, lent their expertise, and crafted what would become the country’s very first registered apprenticeship program for organic vegetable production. It’s safe to say that this program was a long-time coming. Growers have increasingly...

Grassroots

By Linda Halley | “Inputs” Definition: In farmer-speak, Inputs are anything added to a farm for agricultural purposes that does not come directly from the farm itself. Think seeds (purchased, not saved), or minerals added to livestock feed.  I have to keep a lengthy list of every input I use at Gwenyn Hill for annual...

Big Little Farm Dreams

by Alexis Champagne | Like many of you reading this, I streamed the Biggest Little Farm on Amazon Prime and fell in love with what agriculture could look like. That’s just it though, what it could be – not necessarily what it is now. My name is Alexis Champagne and I am one of the...

Our Future Food System

by Liz Lyon | If you’re reading this journal post, you’re probably aware of the myriad issues surrounding the way much of America’s food is currently grown, distributed, consumed, and wasted. When I get bogged down in these issues, I remind myself of the future I’d like to see.  This is a future where land...

Embracing Black Beans

By Linda Halley | What’s creamy, nutty, high in protein, shelf-stable, AND grows right here in Waukesha County? The amazing black bean. Although an important part of New World cuisine for thousands of years, and while our neighboring state of Michigan is a leader in production and breeding, growing black beans has never caught on...

Being Essential

By Linda Halley | These days, more often than not, phone calls start with, “How are you doing?” and it is not meant rhetorically. We actually share meaningful information about our lives in the COVID-19  era. While what is happening around the world seems completely unreal, socially distanced interactions with friends, family, neighbors, customers, and...

Laying the Foundation for Local Food: How UW-Madison’s Seed to Kitchen Collaborative Supports & Informs Our Regional Foodshed, Part Two

by Dylan Bruce and Jenyne Loarca |  Why a decentralized seed system with context-relevant data is so important The process of selecting, breeding, and trialing a new vegetable variety is a substantial investment, often taking 8 -15 years before that variety is ready for release. Still, a plant breeder might not know how their variety...

Laying the Foundation for Local Food: How UW-Madison’s Seed to Kitchen Collaborative Supports and Informs our Regional Foodshed, Part One

By Dylan Bruce and Jenyne Loarca, Photos by Dylan Bruce | In the depths of winter, there’s a particular joy in flipping through a seed catalog, dreaming of next year’s gardens and fields, and sunny days outside. Deciding which crops, and which varieties, to grow are among the most critical decisions a farmer or gardener...

Fertilizers at Gwenyn Hill Farm

By Laurel Blomquist | On May 28, 2019, Gwenyn Hill Farm was visited by an inspector from MOSA, or Midwest Organic Services Association. Annually, we are carefully evaluated by our inspector for organic certification. The inspector checks out the fields as well as the areas where we wash and pack our produce before selling it....

Plan “B”

By Linda Halley | Today, a June Sunday morning, the rain feels like a refreshing drink of water–thirst-quenching and reviving. But, last month’s rain was like the deep end of the pool, requiring a constant paddling to keep head above water. It was too much of a good thing. Rainfall totals, while above normal, were...

Why the Chickens Crossed Bryn Drive

By Ryan Heinen | With the warmer spring weather we moved our young flock of 115 laying hens from the brooding pen in the machine shed to their permanent home in the lower level of the granary. The new coop includes multiple roosting bars, nest boxes and lots of room. It has access to a...

Renewing the Passion for Farming

By Laurel Blomquist, Head Gardener | Last October, many CSA members lamented the end of the growing season and the long pause before we start selling vegetables again, which is usually around mid-June. They were genuinely sad that they had to go back to the grocery store for produce once again. I, on the other hand,...

Opportunities and Optimism at the University of Wisconsin

by Erin Silva | The broad negative impacts of the way in which we produce food are becoming increasingly evident. Regularly we see news headlines reporting on pollinator decline, contamination of our ground and surface waters, and the negative health impacts of the American diet. Further, the people and communities that are producing our food are...

Who Gets Kissed? and Other Corny Seed Varieties

by Linda Halley | On the heels of Christmas catalogs come the seed catalogs. Farmers and gardeners alike love to pour over the colorful pages searching for old favorites and promising new varieties. But behind what might seem like a pleasant, winter wish-book is actually big business controlling what gets planted in 10,000 acre farms and backyard gardens. The...

Links of Interest

by Linda Halley | It was nearly a year ago when Gwenyn Hill posted its first blog. It felt a little like speaking up into the night sky. How far would the words travel? Would anyone hear (or read) them? Nevertheless, we posted, and committed to continue posting regularly. Some posts are of the mundane variety,...

Real Horse Power

by Ryan Heinen, Land and Livestock Manager | The last time a team of draft horses worked this land was 1958. That’s the year that the Williams family built the new dairy barn. Lloyd Williams told me that this new barn did not include stalls for horses, and so the team was sold. My grandfather had...

Flavor Rules

by Linda Halley, General Manager | This past week Gwenyn Hill Farm hosted the Kettle Moraine Garden Club. There’s so much to say about what we do here and why. I have to narrow my messaging so we don’t feel like we are in a graduate-level lecture with a test at the end. I like to...

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