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Tag: Diversity

Saturdays at the Brookfield Farmers Market

By Liz Lyon It’s six o’clock on a Saturday morning  as the Gwenyn Hill Farm van makes its way into the Brookfield Central High School parking lot. Over the next hour and a half, the lot will fill up with vendor stands and, later on, with folks of all ages on the lookout for what’s...

Sustainability at Gwenyn Hill Farm

August 31, 2021 By Ryan Heinen When asked what is the greatest skill I have for being a farmer, I thought about my experience grazing cows, growing organic crops, and knowledge gained during my dairy grazing apprenticeship. These are important and necessary skills for being a good farmer.  However, I feel the greatest is my...

Resilient, Diversified Farming

February 18, 2020 By Laurel Blomquist A few weeks ago, I attended the Organic Vegetable Production Conference. This conference is relatively new, but well-attended by the farming community because it’s strictly for growers. The theme of this year’s keynote was “Farm Resilience in the Face of Change.” While the casual observer may note that weather...

Gwenyn Hill’s Native Prairie; More than a Pretty Face

August 13, 2021 By Linda Halley In 2019, Ryan Heinen, Gwenyn Hill’s Land and Livestock Manager, seeded ten acres of native grasses and forbs, replacing a relatively poor stand of alfalfa hay. Most of the field lies along Bryn Drive and is very visible from the road. For two years it looked rough and ratty....

Artisan Grain Collaborative

by Alyssa Hartman | The Artisan Grain Collaborative (AGC) is a value chain network of farmers, processors, end-users and advocates working to diversify the landscape in the Upper Midwest. They build connections between the people who grow and use grains and strengthen the narrative and value chain for staple crops as an essential component of...

Gwenyn means Honeybee

April 21, 2021 By Linda Halley Quentin Stedman has kept bees at Gwenyn Hill since 2018, our second year into transitioning the farm to organic. We knew that as we developed the farm, establishing prairies, orchards, gardens, and pastures, our crops would benefit from an abundance of pollinators. We also knew that Gwenyn Hill Farm...

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...

Thank You

by Linda Halley | Having felt robbed by the pandemic of Thanksgiving, and fearing Christmas was shaping up to be the same, I settled down to a deep winter dinner, made by me, for me. On the longest night of the year, though alone in the house, I would feel surrounded by my friends who...

Humbled by the Bee

by Linda Halley | After what seems like a lifetime growing vegetables, I am keenly aware that I am just a novice orchardist. We planted nearly 400 saplings, mostly heritage apples, on a four-acre hillside my first year managing Gwenyn Hill. They haven’t bloomed yet, but I assume they have been very busy growing roots...

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...

An App to Study Crop Pollinators

by Katy Thostenson | On a warm, sunny day this past summer, I stood on an organic farm in southern Wisconsin in a patch of watermelon plants that were in full bloom. The research technicians and I were standing still as we observed insect activity on the blooms to document the abundance and diversity of...

Organic Plants for Nourishment

by Lexie Goldberg | Nourishment is a word that circles around my head and heart constantly. Each and every day, our conscious and subconscious thoughts and actions either nourish our bodies and minds, or deplete them. A huge aspect of nourishment and self-care is the food we choose to eat. Our food choices and our...

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....

Gwenyn Hill’s Heirloom Apples: Worth the Wait

by Kaylee Richards | As you drive past our curious laying hens and happily grazing cattle along Bryn Drive, you may notice a towering fence set on a hillside, south of the road. It seems out of place, protecting what looks like nothing. I assure you, however, that this fence is protecting seedlings of history....

Woods, More Than Just a Shady Place

By Linda Halley | For the past couple of generations, woodlots have been a neglected part of most Wisconsin farms. Woodlots were once a valuable farm resource, used as shady summer pasture and a source for heating fuel and building materials. Farmers cleared the richest land for crops and open pastures but often left trees...

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...

Maple Water

By Linda Halley | Gwenyn Hill Farm is blessed with maples; mostly red, some sugar, and an occasional silver maple. Ryan Heinen, Gwenyn Hill’s Land and Livestock Manager, and I put out a few taps this past week, We located them in easy-to-reach places along the road and in my yard. Sap runs best when...

The Scent of Spring

By Linda Halley | It’s going to happen any day now. You’re going to go outside and smell spring. It smells like life itself, awakening after a long slumber. Truly, it is. Microscopic life in the soil is stirring. The biology of organisms eating, digesting, excreting and repeating is the scent of spring. Breathe it in....

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,...

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...

How I Would Use This Week’s Share, Part II

by Laurel Blomquist, Head Gardener | Fall is officially in full swing, and the sheer variety of vegetables may have some of you scratching your heads. This post was so popular during the summer that I thought I would do it again for fall. The first thing I would do is check to see which vegetables...

Strength in Diversity

by Linda Halley, General Manager | When the heavens opened up on August 16 and kept it up until September 3rd, farmers knew the season had taken a turn. Half of the summer’s precipitation fell the second half of August, much of it coming fast and furiously. Equally bad were the heavy, stagnant air and cloud...

Using Livestock to Make Healthy Soils

by Ryan Heinen, Land & Livestock Manager | If you have driven by the farm recently you may have noticed a small herd of cows grazing near the old dairy barn. Over the next months and into 2019 we will be in the process of building livestock flocks and herds of sheep and cattle. Their job...

The Search for Flavor

By Linda Halley | During the last heat wave, I was seduced by a strategically-placed mountain of watermelon as I entered the grocery store. It was hot, I was thirsty, and I couldn’t resist. Knowing a thing or two about how a ripe watermelon should look (and sound), I confidently selected the one with a...

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