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Tag: Organic Farm

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....

The Red Devons at Gwenyn Hill

August 13, 2021 By Linda Halley and Ryan Heinen The Red Devon calves are arriving at Gwenyn Hill Farm.  They are a sturdy 70 pounds at birth, ready, within minutes, to test out their legs and look for their first milk.  They are born on pasture and won’t get familiar with the inside of a...

The First Half of 2020

By Laurel Blomquist | 2020 is certainly an exceptional year so far. We’ve all been feeling the effects of these stressful times, and 2020 is destined to go down in history, though most of it has yet to be written.  From my perspective from the vegetable fields of Gwenyn Hill, 2020 has turned out to...

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...

Deep Winter Inspiration About our Food System

By Linda Halley with Birke Baehr | Nearly a decade ago I ran across a TED talk that brightened my day like no other. Like most TED talks it was informative and well presented. What was unique was that the speaker was only 11 years old and he was talking about the food system. He was...

Weed Control at Gwenyn Hill Farm

By Laurel Blomquist | Earlier this year, I wrote about Gwenyn Hill Farm’s organic management practices, relating to Gwenyn Hill Farm’s organic fertilization and pest management strategies. This time, I’d like to talk about how we deal with weeds.  What is a Weed? What exactly is a weed? A weed is a plant that is growing...

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...

Cooking for Brain Health

by Susan Speidell | When was the last time you had an opportunity to take a cooking class that focused on brain health? As soon as I saw the invitation to attend a cooking class led by Dr. Rose Kumar, I knew it had my name all over it! Who doesn’t love a cooking class,...

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...

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....

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...

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...

How I Would Use This Week’s Share

by Farmer Laurel | At the start of the CSA season, we gave each of our members a Gwenyn Hill tote bag to pack their shares in. Members quickly came to realize that this bag is simply not big enough to pack all of the goodies that we offer each week. We have supplemental bags to...

Celebrate National Honeybee Day with Gwenyn Hill Farm

By Linda Halley | This coming weekend we are going to celebrate National Honeybee Day with an Open House featuring lectures, lessons and sweet fun, courtesy of beekeeper extraordinaire, Quentin Stedman. He has eight hives here at Gwenyn Hill Farm, most of them high up on Honeybee Hill, the hill above the dairy barn. He...

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...

Farming with Machines

By Laurel Blomquist | Machines have revolutionized the business of farming. We use many machines every day at Gwenyn Hill. Of course, as is the case with all machines, when they work well, they will save you a lot of time. When they don’t, you will waste time trying to fix them. Whenever we plant...

Planting Season Is Here!

By Laurel Blomquist | Greetings, all. Remember a few weeks ago when I said I was looking for someone to build the potting table of my dreams? Well, I found someone, and last week, they delivered it. Mike Iverson listened to all of my needs and desires and put it together in a table that...

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