1. Where is your farm located and how long have you been in the farming business?
All Seasons Farm is located 8 miles south of Carbondale on new Hwy 51. I have been in the business of farming for over 30 years and have a masters degree in Agricultural Economics from SIU. I have been an owner operator of a family farm for over 20 years. My sons and their families now operate that farm. All Seasons Farm was started in January of 2010 as a new farm with the sole purpose of growing Certified Organic fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
2. What is unique about All Seasons Farm?
All Seasons Farm is unique because of the way we grow food. We grow food that is dense in nutrients with exceptional color and taste. We start with the belief in the words of Hippocrates “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” We understand, as Hippocrates did, in the healing power of a healthy human body….a body that is properly nourished by healthy foods will have an immune system which can help protect against disease and fight illness. The foundation of healthy foods are healthy living soils….that is, soils rich in nutrients, minerals, and a diversity of micro-organisms. We manage and operate All Seasons Farm following the regulations required for our food to be labeled USDA Certified Organic. We are one of only three Certified Organic farms in Southern Illinois. Our approach to growing food is unique in that we start with our soils. When nourished with natural ingredients such as alfalfa meal, organic compost, and natural limestone, soil becomes a fascinating living system rich in nutrients, microbes, earthrooms. This rich living soil system grows plants which are dense in nutrients. Plant roots reach deep into these soils and pull up all these great ingredients into the plant. Vegetables and fruit grown on healthy living soils have exceptionally good taste, beautiful colors, and a crisp fresh texture. When children come to our farm, we see them picking lettuce, broccoli, etc and eating it right in the field because the colors are so bright and tastes are so sweet. Many people say to us…”We have never tasted a real (pepper, cucumber, pea, etc.) until we ate yours.”
Other things which make us unique: We deliver freshly picked Certified Organic produce regularly to people who sign up on our website or call. Folks can also go to our website and make individual orders which we will deliver in the Carbondale area or which we will drop off at the Neighborhood Co-op or have ready for pickup at the Carbondale Winter Farmers Market.
3. What is the difference between “Organic” and “Conventionally-Grown”vegetables?
Organically grown vegetables generally refers to vegetables which are grown using ingredients and methods found in the natural world. Conventionally grown vegetables generally refers to vegetables grown using man made chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds.Organic growing was the first agricultural method used by humans and practiced for thousands of years prior to the very recent introduction in the 1940′s of plant food and bug killers made from fuel and man made chemicals, and the even more recent introduction in the last ten years of plant seed which has been genetically modified. Fuel and chemical based farm inputs were developed to bypass soil and directly feed “super” plants which were bred not for nutrition or taste, but for thick skins to transport long distances and with high yields to pay for expensive chemical inputs. The primary differences in the organic grower and the conventional or chemical grower is that the organic grower feeds natural ingredients to the soil…the chemical grower feeds chemical ingredients to the plant. Many conventional growers I know started out in farming before chemical based ingredients were available, and they are now talking about what has happened to their soils over time…not holding moisture, more and more pests, lack of plant root oxygen without earthworms, high salt residues, and etc.The food label “USDA Certified Organic” means that vegetables sold under this label have been raised by a grower whose farming methods and records have passed an extensive series of reviews set in place by law by the USDA National Organic Program Regulation. The USDA Certified Organic label is the only food label which guarantees consumers of how their food was grown, that the ingredients are approved as organic, and that no genetically modified seed was used. It is illegal to advertise foods as “organic” unless the grower follows all of the standards set by the National Organic Program Regulation. Consumer demand for foods labeled Certified Organic has grown over 10% per year over the last 12 years making it the fastest growing segment of the food industry.
The sun comes up early in the morning and lights up the small hill above our farm house where our vegetables and fruit are growing. I love to walk out early and see the colorful plants sparkle from the sun on the dew. The number and diversity of bees and butterflies is amazing. I feel very proud and thankful to be a very small part of an incredibly beautiful and complex natural world.
All Seasons Farm Salad
This is a simple tasty salad we make on the farm using a mix of light and dark greens, colorful orange and mild avocado, combined with a light crisp dressing.We did a lot of experimenting before coming up with a light dressing which would allow fresh lettuces to speak for themselves. This dressing is easy to make and goes well with just about any fresh greens.All Seasons Dressing Mix:1/3 cup water1/3 cup virgin or light olive oil2 tablespoons rice or sherry vinegar1 tablespoon lemon juice4 tsp fresh chives sliced thinly ( or substitute 2 green onions sliced thinly)Spring Season Salad Mix:2 heads butter or bibb lettuce2 big handfuls fresh spinach2 oranges1/2 sweet apple sliced thin (optional)1/2 fresh pear sliced thin (optional)2 avocados (optional)1 handful of pecans roasted for 5 minutes at 375 degrees (optional)