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Tag: vegetables

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...

Hope Springs Eternal

by Laurel Blomquist |“There was no time to lose, no time to waste in rest or play. The life of the earth comes up with a rush in the springtime.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farmer Boy If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on right now, it’s this: we live in strange times. Most of...

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...

Resilient, Diversified Farming

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 patterns have...

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...

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,...

Pest Control at Gwenyn Hill Farm

by Laurel Blomquist | In my last journal entry, I explained how Gwenyn Hill Farm uses fertilizers. In this entry, I will explain how we control insect pests.  Integrated Pest Management One of the challenges of organic farming is pest control. At Gwenyn Hill Farm, as with other organic farms, our primary approach is through...

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....

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...

The Culinary Connection

by Laurel Blomquist, Head Gardener | A lot of people ask me how I got into farming. It’s not exactly a glamorous profession. I was certainly not encouraged to pursue it by my grandparents, who operated a farm while I was growing up. In 2009, I was in my second year of culinary school  at Madison...

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...

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...

Tryouts… Criteria for a Lonely Vegetable

By Sarah Mayer | Benji digs.  I pull and select, with yeas and nays from the peanut gallery. Jaci designs a big, beautiful bunch.  And we repeat. Now, what is it that gives the single carrot the right of passage to the almighty bunch? We all seem to agree that a carrot should be, for the...

Survival Skills

By Linda Halley | Life is busy and complicated for most of us, so being a creature of habit is a survival skill. Whipping up one of those stand-by meals that’s easy, with predictable outcomes, is a perfect fallback for busy summer days. If that’s your habit, you are not alone. The typical family relies...

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...

First Farmers Market

By Laurel Blomquist | On Saturday, June 23rd, Gwenyn Hill Farm made our debut at the Brookfield Farmers Market. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The day started out cool and breezy, in the low 60s. As the morning went on, it topped off in the mid-70s. This was perfect for casual strolls through...

Farming by Hand

By Laurel Blomquist | A couple of weeks ago, I discussed several of the machines we use at planting time to help us do our work. We certainly get a lot more done with these machines, as they work much faster than we could by hand. The truth is, though, that most of our work...

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...

Rain: A Complex Relationship

By Laurel Blomquist | Wisconsinites are no strangers to the question, “How’s the weather?” but as a farmer, that question takes on another level of meaning. That question can determine what we can and can’t do on any given day, and maybe even all week. As a human being going through everyday life, the rain...

Planning and Patience

By Linda Halley | While Laurel’s focus is on the greenhouse, the vegetable plots, and our internet presence, my primary responsibilities are “everything else.” Laurel has systematically planned out planting dates, numbers of transplants needed, row-feet and projected yields. All of that was done in November and December, and now she carries it out, calmly...

Why Buy Local?

By Laurel Blomquist | The food you eat comes from all over the world. Avocados come from Mexico. Shrimp comes from Vietnam. Winter produce comes from California. What’s the difference between buying food locally versus from far away? And why does it matter? We, your farmers, have taken the time to choose varietals that we...

Seed to Kitchen Collaborative

By Laurel Blomquist | Last Monday, Linda and I had the honor of meeting with farmer, chefs, and researchers at UW-Madison to discuss their project known as Seed to Kitchen. According to their website: “The Seed to Kitchen Collaborative connects plant breeders focused on organic systems to Wisconsin farmers and chefs, to create delicious, well-adapted vegetable...

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