Broad Valley Orchard

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Spring Shyly Ducks Beneath Her Blankets

Hello All,

When I went out to tend the animals this morning, whimsical snow flakes danced. Although they are lovely on the green grass, the local peach orchards will probably lose their crop in this cold spell. When the buds open, 28F ( -2C) damages them, and when it gets down to 22F (-6C) the bloom fails. I am glad I don’t grow stone fruits. The apples and pears have barely begun to wake up

In early April, BVO is visited by Environmental Science students from Dickinson, Wilson, and Gettysburg Colleges. This is often the first time they have been on a farm. We are always glad to give them a tour and show them how we farm, and how we live. Often, if the weather cooperates, we invite them to pitch in on some farm chores. This week they helped plant potatos and onions. We enjoyed telling them about Community Supported Agriculture as an important part of Local Food and Local Economy. We get a lot of questions about Global Climate Change, and how it affects us.

Next week I have been invited to Carlisle, by Dickinson College Sustainability organizers, to speak at the Step It UP event. I am very glad these events are going on nation wide, because it seems that not many people are paying attention to this environmental bombshell that will affect the rest of our lifetimes. I guess everyone is too busy trying to come up with the money to service their debt loads, so they can keep buying all the stuff that our corporations are telling us that we have to have. Last night we watched Fast Food Nation; wow, no wonder we are in trouble.

Yesterday I went out an tilled up more rows of our rye cover crop in our rental garden. I tilled one section where I noticed the soil was weak, and re-seeded it with “Pasture Mix” to return it to hay field. Over the last few years, I have been retiring old worn out orchards that I have been tending, and now I am retiring a garden that I have kept for 12 years. I must admit, that I do feel a twinge of regret when I do this. But, the firewood cut from that old orchard heated us this winter, andreturning that big garden to pasture is certainly going to ease the ‘stoop labor’ aches and pains that have crept up on us over the years.

In 1983, when we bought our farm, I was 33 years old, which was the average age of the American farmer back then. Now, 24 years later, I am still the age of the average American farmer. Says something, don’t it!! That is why I am so happy seeing these young folks getting interested in farming.

Thank You

Thom Marti

PS: concerning debt – My Ukrainian grandmother always told me, ” If you don’t have the cash to buy something, you don’t need it!” I have listened to her, and we have no debts – I highly recommend that you all try to do the same.

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