Vegetables

Immigrant and Minority Farmers Inspire Soil Health Collaboration

When Julie Grossman was an undergraduate, she had no idea that a single economic development course was going to change the trajectory of her life’s work. In that course, and during her international PhD research in Latin America, she learned how biology, and specifically agroecology, could be used to help grow food in regions of […]

Peer-to-Peer Food Safety Education Fruitful for Hmong-American Farmers in Minnesota

When the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2015, it included new provisions that regulate food safety requirements for some fruit and vegetable farms. This new federal food safety legislation, along with market-based audit programs like Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), can seem daunting to small-scale or diversified farmers. As a statewide Extension Educator for farm food safety at the University of […]

Development of a Cooperative Food Distribution Model for Small Farms

Monica Bongue owns Muddy Fork Farm in Wooster Ohio, a certified organic farm for over 15 years, where she produces vegetables, chickens, ducks, sheep, and goats. She wanted to expand her marketing which consisted of direct sales through farmers’ markets and a small, on-farm CSA. Along with a number of other small, local producers, Bongue […]

Cover Crop-based Reduced Tillage for Fall Production of Cabbage,Cauliflower and Broccoli Using a Roller-Crimper and No-Till Planting Aid

Cover crops can reduce erosion, improve soil health, slow weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, control pests, and offer other benefits to vegetable producers. After vegetable grower, Thomas Ruggieri, planted cover crops on his farm in rural Clay County, Missouri in 2004, he noticed dramatic improvement in soil fertility and plant health. Ruggieri and Rebecca […]

Development of Cost and Labor Effective Produce Sanitation Methods for Small Farms

With programs like Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Handling Practices (GHP), and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), producers have a more proactive role in minimizing food safety hazards potentially associated with fresh produce. Cucumber producer Carloyn Orr says increasingly, local grocery stores are requiring wash and sanitizing of produce, regardless of farm size.  Orr […]

Tomato Variety Trials for Flavor, Quality, and Agronomic Performance

From farmers markets to sandwich shops, tomatoes have a ubiquitous presence in America’s food landscape; in fact, the United States is the second-most leading producer of tomatoes in the world (only China produces more). In terms of annual farm cash receipts, fresh and processed tomatoes account for more than $2 billion, and tomatoes are the […]

Managing the Environment in High Tunnels for Cool Season Vegetable Production

Light, temperature, and relative humidity influence how crops grow and develop. With support from SARE, Purdue University Extension developed this publication, which introduces important factors to consider during design, operation, and daily management of high tunnels, and explains plant responses to the environment.

Urban Farmers Focus on Soil Health for Sustainable Intensification

Developing and maintaining healthy soils is a vital activity for producers. For urban producers, issues such as soil contamination and compaction are major concerns, but soil productivity is also a primary focus for growers who aim to intensify production on a small plot of land. Simply put, sustainable intensification optimizes resource utilization and management. On the […]

Minnesota Researchers Spill the Beans on Pulses

When the United Nations announced that 2016 would be the “International Year of Pulses,” Craig Sheaffer wasn’t surprised. An agronomist with a bent toward organics, Sheaffer researches perennial native and introduced legumes, grasses, and woody species at the University of Minnesota (U of MN). He was well aware that pulses (also known as grain legumes), such […]

Squash in Sustainable Food Production

Sue Isbell is a 4-H Youth Development Agent with NDSU Extension Service in Sioux County, ND. In 2013, she received an NCR-SARE Youth Educator grant to work with youth from three Tribal communities across North Dakota on activities about sustainable agriculture, local foods, gardening methods, marketing, and concepts and practices of breeding and seed saving. […]

Management of the Spotted Wing Drosophila Using High Tunnels

Scenic Valley Farms is a family owned farm in Rosemount, Minnesota that uses 15 climate controlled high tunnels to produce organically certified tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, blackberries, strawberries, herbs, ginger, turmeric, and garlic. They also design and manage high tunnels, computerized climate control systems, and subterranean solar thermal heating systems. Erik Gundacker helps manage the high […]

SARE Grantee Shares Pest Management Strategies with Organic Farmers

With help from an NCR-SARE Graduate Student grant, Aimee Talbot wants to help organic farms safely manage pests by engaging directly with farmers to help them learn and implement horticulture techniques studied at the University of Minnesota.  ——— Source: U of MN Graduate School, Andrea Willgohs As the nation takes a more critical look at corporate […]

Scaling Up

Perkins’ Good Earth Farm is a small family farm that operates on 19 acres. They currently grow only one-quarter acre of organic garlic but hope to increase their productivity in this area by 50 percent. Two major challenges in achieving this goal are the cost of additional labor and worker comfort during planting and harvesting. […]

Low Tunnel Strategies

Producers have few options when challenged by climate limitations. One frost can substantially damage a crop, but farmers need to plant as early as possible to obtain the maximum growing degree days for their crop to produce well. As a graduate student at Michigan State University, Rebekah Struck Faivor wanted to help improve profitability of […]

Family Farm Compares Sweet Corn Varieties

Marissa Kruthaup and her brother started selling produce at the farmers market when their family’s home garden produced too many melons one year. Today, they own and run Kruthaup Family Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which operates on their parents’ 70-acre farm. In order to keep her family business thriving, Marissa wanted to compare different […]

Value Added Vegetables

Fermentation is an ancient method of preserving fresh vegetables and other foods for later use. It is accomplished due to lactic acid-producing bacteria, which lower the pH of these foods. Chris Chmiel, co-owner of Integration Acres Ltd., applied for an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant and learned that fermentation could be profitable and add value to […]

Internship Curriculum for Food Farmers

With the help of an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant, three farmers worked with interns to develop 26 educational power point modules as part of a comprehensive intern educational program. The internship curriculum is useful for small farmers to use on their own to educate themselves and to provide a rich experience for interns.