Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Growing Organic Vegetables and Herbs for Market

"To think like a true farmer is to think of many things. It is to think about waht makes crops grow, what constitutes healthy soil, and what it takes to develop a market for your produce, keep customers happy, and run a successful business. It is to think about, then develop, a farm plan as well as aplan to dodge nature's weather-related curveballs and her pests and diseases. And it is never to lose sight of what it takes to be a good steward of the land, not just for yourself but for future generations as well."

These are words by Keith Stewart in the preface of his book "Growing Organic Vegetables and Herbs for Market". There are many people today both young and old, who have a romantic notion of getting back to the land, planting a few vegetables to sustain their family and sell the rest, a little market garden farm but they really have no idea of the work that is involved in creating a sustainable market farm. But here is a book that can really help them, that is if they read it before they take the plunge.

The very first chapter identifies 20 questions for a newbie to ponder before laying out cash, time and effort to get involved in farming, it's not as easy as it seems as the quote above shows. Once you've answered the 20 questions in Chapter 1 positively and decided that a market farm is for you, this resouce manual takes you step by step through the process. Keith uses his own farm and other small farming operations as examples and covers everything from land selection to tools, shed, greenhouses and other structures on to plant materials and even down to designing your farm stand, making signage and marketing. I love his final chapter "Looking After Number One" which focuses on personal health and safety including taking time off for rest and relaxation (a hard thing to do if you're a farmer). However, farming is demanding work and if you can't handle your stress then you won't be able to deal with the problems (most thanks to Mother Nature) when they occur.

With the continued emphasis on healthy eating, more and more people are turning toward their local farms and farmers market for the source of delicious, nutritious food for their families and we have dedicated farmers to thank for that. For those who really do want a change of lifestyle and are willing to make the commitment to farming, we thank you. This book is as necessary a tool as a trowel and a hoe for the aspiring market farmer. I guarantee that if you read Keith's book, you'll be well on your way to growing a succesful market garden business.

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