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News Link • Agriculture

Know Your Farmer / Volunteers Needed / Veggie List 2/7/14

• Tonopah Rob


brussel's sprouts

The above picture shows baby Brussels Sprouts growing on the trunk.

For some reason January of 2014 has brought to the farm many new people.  I’m not sure why but I’m guessing more people are becoming food educated.  Words like Monsanto, organic, chemicals and pesticides are more commonly spoken now than ever before.  It is very rare I meet a person who does not know about Monsanto.  If you are reading this and don’t know, I suggest you google it and then you will know the definition of the word…….some words to keep in mind when reading about the “M” word are Dr. Frankenstein and Monster, enough said.

The word “organic” is a word highly misunderstood. By law, if a small farm grosses under 5000.00 dollars a year they are allowed to use the word organic within their advertisement of selling their produce without obtaining an organic certification from the government.  Those small farms because they don’t qualify by a dollar amount can use anything they want on their crops meaning they are not held to government certified organic rules, soil, water or compost inspections.  They can use Miracle Gro, other chemical fertilizers, manures containing antibiotics and hormones.  They do not have to follow any type of crop rotations and can use conventional pesticide, herbicides, insecticides, soaps, sprays and the bazillions of other chemicals.

By law, if a small grower sells more than the limited dollar amount and they do not acquire a USDA Organic Certification, they must change their wording/signage to an appropriate description of their growing process.  I believe there should be more regulations, more government intervention and labeling of such produce.  I am 100% better than organic.  I am an all natural farmer.

There are farmers who claim to be insecticide and chemical free but use the so-called “natural stuff” like bt, soaps, sprays and other concoctions. They are classified as “soft” products.  Check out a previous post I wrote Buyers beware of the word organic.

Purple and white cauliflower along with golden radishes from Tonopah Rob's Vegetable Farm in Tonopah, Arizona

In a few weeks purple cauliflower will be ready and waiting for you.

I was talking with a small farmer last season at a market I participated in for a few weeks and he told me he uses several types of chemicals but at a very low dose.  What do you mean, I said to the small farmer?  He said, “I cut the dosage in half. It’s safer for all of us if I only use half of the required amount.”  How many times in a growing season do you use the chemical on your crops, I said?  “Well, because it’s not very strong, I can use it more often” he said.  My knees just about buckled. I told the market manager about him and she agreed with him, “a little bit isn’t going to hurt anybody”, she blurted out.  I know her small town market was meant to have good intentions……..good intentions are roads paved to H E double toothpicks.

What the small farmer and market manager didn’t know is every chemical, pesticide, soaps, bacteria and sprays have directions for applications.  When someone does not follow the instructions many things go awry.  “Less is more” is not true.  “More is better” is not true.  The small farmer was applying more applications more often to kill insects instead of following the directions. By not following the directions, he was only killing the weak, old or injured insects and the strong healthy insects survived the chemical and will pass onto the next life cycle genes to mutate an immunity to the toxin.  Every type of chemical has a certain recipe of application and when that application is not followed more damage is done than following the instructions.  I don’t understand how or why farmers think they can “play God” and get away with it.  Farming was intended to be pure and natural allowing nature to fend for itself just like I do.

Certified organic produce is very misleading to the public.  Many of the visitors I gave farm tours to were so surprised to hear about the chemical and pesticides used in the organic farming industry. It blows my mind to know there are still millions of people who don’t know the truth about organic farming practices. I know there are farms that practice good growing techniques but still they use pesticides, chemicals and many other things to fight insects and disease. Buyer beware of the organic signs stating no chemicals or pesticides, almost all use some sort of bacteria, soap or other soft chemicals that are not classified as a chemical or pesticide.  Like I said before, I’m an all natural farmer better than organic.

So my question to is, who’s your farmer?  Come out to my farm and see how I grow.  Take a farm tour and get to know me.  You will hear my passion and see many examples and growing techniques I use to grow all naturally in the desert. By the end of the tour, you will leave more educated than when you first arrived.  My goal is to enlighten and introduce you into a whole new world of eating all naturally.  The flavors from the farm are addicting.  I also invite you to come back every month to support my farm and bring your friends.  Compared to organic prices the farm stand is better and the selection is fantastic, just check out the veggie list.  I am here every Saturday at the farm from 8 to noon.  The farm tours begin at 9, 10 and 11 a.m.  There is no charge for CSA members. Non CSA members there is a small fee per person, per couple, per family and per group of 10 or more.

Tonopah Rob’s Vegetable Farm is in need of a few more volunteers to help during the week to pull weeds, learn to harvest, perform transplanting skills and much more.  There is also one full time salary position available. Please email tonopahrob@gmail.com or call 623 386 3033 for information.

The veggis list:

Kohlrabi
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Brussels Sprouts- fso (farm stand only)
Green Cabbage-fso
Tangelos
Tangerines
Grapefruit
A Buried Treasure Box
Assorted Beets
Bulk Bagged Items
Carrots J
uicing Carrots
Purple Top Turnips
Salad Sweeties
Onions
Cilantro
Dill
Parlsey
Watermelon
Radishes
Spinach
Swiss Chard
Sweet Kale
Corn Salad
Lettuce Heads
All Lettuce Mix
A Million Dollars
a surprise or two 

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