Monday, November 21, 2011

What's New at the Farm? Seed Cleaning, Buying Local

The field work is wrapping up and we're all excited about it. All the plastic has been pulled and the harvesting has been completed. Seed cleaning takes center stage right now.

This is Kelly in our seed cleaning room:


Our two Clippers and our Oliver gravity Separator:

And for final seed cleaning here's a blast from the past:
The above "Bean Table" was a staple of small farms back in the day. Small farmers who grew dry beans used these tables to sort and pick out broken seed, dirt clods and stones from the good beans. We use these tables on squash and pumpkin seed to remove small pieces of flesh and other non-seed trash. The first year I worked  here we spent about a month picking over bean seed on the tables. We'd get a bit punchy after watching the conveyor for hours and days on end.

In the 40's and 50's they had a "Bean shop" in China which is the town south of Albion. Many women worked in this shop which cleaned and packaged beans for market. Local farmers grew the dry beans and the bean shop cleaned them before they went to market. Notice the word local. Local wasn't a politically correct word then; it was simply the way it was. It's harder to find local dry beans now even though they may have been packaged regionally they could easily be from some other region or some other country. Check the labels, or better yet, buy from your local farmer and you'll know where your food comes from.

Speaking of which, I have started going to the supermarket again. Last night on my way home from getting grain, I went to the local grocery store. Didn't really need much but was going right by and had a hankering for some fresh sea scallops. They were $17.99 a pound -- wow! While I waited in front of the fish counter, I had ample time to study where all the fish and shellfish came from. The seas scallops were the only item labeled from  Maine. We're spoiled with fresh seafood in Maine. It's fresh and it's good. I've bought cold water shrimp that were still wiggling. Now that's fresh! So anyways, I spent the extra money and bought the Maine scallops, and they were some tasty. I guess I'd rather wait and have the real thing than get the cheap bay scallops from who knows where. Same with my food; what I can get from the local farmers and growers, and what I raise myself pretty much feeds us with quality meat and produce all season long.

Off next week, time to get ready for winter. Hopefully the snow and freezing cold will hold off a while longer. Seems the fall has flown by and we're looking at the early stages of winter. Oh boy!

Brian

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