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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Asparagus in Holland
Asparagus in Holland

A “cultivating culture.” Friesian horse gelding Teade and Jelmer harrowing asparagus. This was in 2015, in the first year’s growth of asparagus. The crop can stay for 10 years, so the less you go in the field with heavy tractors and machinery the less soil compaction you get, leaving more air pores in the soil so roots can develop more. The rope I hold in my hands connects to the back part of the harrow, in that way I can steer the harrow closer or farther from the crop for precise control.

Asparagus in Holland

by Jelmer Albada of Friesland, Holland

Asparagus in Holland

The asparagus culture in Holland is for the majority white asparagus, grown in ridges. This is done on a sandy soil, like here in the picture. This piece of land used to be the headland of the field. The soil was therefore compact, and a big tractor came with a spader, loosening the soil. After that I used the horse for the lighter harrowing and scuffle work to prevent soil compaction. The land in this area of the province is rolling, due to the ice age glaciers of before. This land lies high for Dutch standards and has a low ground water level (table), that is why asparagus can grow there, which can root 3 foot deep over the years. Very common in Holland is the high ground water level.

Asparagus in Holland

First try out of the restored “Meyer hacke”, the German version of the Planet Jr. Horse Hoe #8. This brand built them until about 2002. Then they would have cost about 450 Euros. I bought a good second hand one for 45 Euros then had it sandblasted and painted and had that done much cheaper than the price of a new one.

Asparagus in Holland

Asparagus in the fall, the last harrowing in December 2015, the plant has died off back into the ground.

Asparagus in Holland

This was in the green asparagus before harvest season. It was the first time I used my restored European tool carrier of the Kockerling brand. Works nice. When the picture was taken, the harness was not used correctly, it pulled on the shafts, a pass later I corrected that. At the back in the pictures you can see the asparagus ridges, that is where the white asparagus grows in. It is covered with plastic, which has a white and black side. Early in the year it is still cold and to warm up the ridges the black side of the plastic is placed upwards so through sunlight the ridges warm up. photo by photographer Frans Mulder

Asparagus in Holland

Asparagus in Holland

I am using a traditional Friesian breast harness. I’m really into shining modern light on working with horses, but the practicality of the quick-hitch harness and my cultural background inspire me to use this traditional style.

What we do here in Friesland (some other regions as well) is keep the traces attached to the evener. For hitching a single horse or a team of two this method works well. We attach the traces to the horse’s harness. In this manner we don’t stand close to the horse’s back legs.

A quick-hitch method is used to connect the traces to the harness. This is a round piece of wood with a hole in it, and through the hole goes a rope in a loop. We call that piece of wood, the quick-hitch, an “oesdop.” They used to be made out of bone (the ball-joint from the back legs of a cow or bull). These “oesdoppen” have been found in archaeological sites and date way back.

Not many people use this method. I do and find it very practical farming-wise.

– Jelmer Albada

Asparagus in Holland

Spotlight On: People

Great Oregon Steam Up

Great Oregon Steam-Up Bonus Gallery

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from issue:

The best thing about the SFJ website is “unlimited real estate.” With each issue of the Small Farmer’s Journal comes the required agonizing over what to keep and what to sacrifice due to page space. What follows is a photo gallery of every picture we took at the 2016 Great Oregon Steam-Up. Why? Because we can! And, because there were a lot of interesting machines there that we are sure some of you will enjoy seeing.

Another Barn Falls In

Another Barn Falls In

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from issue:

The barn was built around a century ago. A pair of double doors on the front flapped when the wind blew, and a short service door was on the side. It wasn’t a big barn, about 30 feet wide by 40 feet long with a small hay mow above. It had a couple of windows for light, and of course a window in the peak. There was a hitching rail outside that gave it a certain welcoming charm. A charm that seemed to say, “tie up to the rail, and c’mon in.”

Almost a Veterinarian

Almost a Veterinarian

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from issue:

In 1976, after reading the memoirs of a much-lauded veterinarian/author from Yorkshire England, I got it into my head that I would make a good DVM myself. It was a rather bold aspiration inasmuch as I was a thirty-three year old high school dropout with few credentials and no visible means of support. It was a shot in dark: I hadn’t been in a classroom for fifteen years, but I made my way back to Guelph, Ontario, where the only veterinarian school in Canada was located.

Ripening

Poetry Corner: What A Boy Lies Awake Wondering

This is a poem from Paul Hunter’s book Ripening.

Icelandic Sheep

Icelandic Sheep

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from issue:

I came to sheep farming from a background in the arts – with a passion for spinning and weaving. When we were able to leave our house in town to buy our small farm, a former dairy operation, I had no idea that the desire to have a couple of fiber animals would turn into full time shepherding. I had discovered Icelandic sheep, and was completely enamored of their beauty, their hardiness and their intelligence.

Farm To School Programs Take Root

All aim to re-connect school kids with healthy local food.

The Shallow Insistence

…a life of melody, poetry and farming?

Farmrun - Sylvester Manor

Sylvester Manor

Sylvester Manor is an educational farm on Shelter Island, whose mission is to cultivate, preserve, and share these lands, buildings, and stories — inviting new thought about the importance of food, culture and place in our daily lives.

Cuban Agriculture

Cuban Agriculture

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from issue:

In December of 1979, Mary Jo and I spent two weeks traveling in Cuba on a “Farmer’s Tour of Cuba”. The tour was a first of its kind. It was organized in the U.S. by farmers, was made up of U.S. farmers and agriculturally oriented folks, and was sponsored in Cuba by A.N.A.P., the National Association of Independent Farmers. As we learned about farming we also learned how the individuals, farms, and communities we visited fit into the greater social and economic structure of Cuba.

Today I Prepare

Today I Prepare by Lynn Miller Summering towards seated moments found without splinter found with or without care. No audience save the critical unbecoming self. Were it a long race to now, surprised to be amongst the last running with a chance to go to the target beyond end, tanks full with cupped felt. So […]

Changing of Seasons

LittleField Notes: Changing of Seasons

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We are blessed who are active participants in the life of soil and weather, crops and critters, living a life grounded in seasonal change. This talk of human connection to land and season is not just the rambling romantic musing of an agrarian ideologue. It is rather the result of participating in the deeply vital vocation that is farming and knowing its fruits first hand.

American Milking Devons and the Flack Family Farm

American Milking Devons and the Flack Family Farm

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On a sunny early September day I met Doug Flack at his biodynamic and organic farm, just South of Enosburg Falls. Doug is an American Milking Devon breeder with some of the best uddered and well behaved animals I have seen in the breed. The animals are beautifully integrated into his small and diversified farm. His system of management seems to bring out the best in the animals and his enthusiasm for Devon cattle is contagious.

Sustainable

Sustainable

Sustainable is a documentary film that weaves together expert analysis of America’s food system with a powerful narrative of one extraordinary farmer who is determined to create a sustainable future for his community. In a region dominated by commodity crops, Marty Travis has managed to maintain a farming model that is both economically viable and environmentally safe.

The Way To The Farm

Lise Hubbe stops mid-furrow at plowing demonstration for Evergreen State College students. She explains that the plow was going too deep…

Fjord Horses at Work in the Green Mountains of Vermont

Fjord Horses at Work in the Green Mountains of Vermont

We own a 40 jersey cow herd and sell most of their milk to Cobb Hill Cheese, who makes farmstead cheeses. We have a four-acre market garden, which we cultivate with our team of Fjord horses and which supplies produce to a CSA program, farm stand and whole sale markets. Other members of the community add to the diversity of our farm by raising hay, sheep, chickens, pigs, bees, and berries, and tending the forest and the maple sugar-bush.

Farmrun George's Boots

George’s Boots

George Ziermann has been making custom measured, hand made shoes for 40 years. He’s looking to get out, but can’t find anyone to get in.

Farmrun John Erskine

John Erskine

John Erskine farms with horses in Sequim, WA.

Rope Tricks

a short piece on rope tricks from the 20th anniversary Small Farmer’s Journal.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT