May 17 2015

CSA deadline extension!

IMG_1950

just a quick note to let all of you know that we are still accepting applications for CSA Harvest Shares- we have quite a few half share members this year so we are able to welcome a few more members!

reminder: we have pick ups on mondays in Victor at our own parish, St Patrick’s and at Trinity Baptist Church in the Browncroft section of the city from 4:30pm to 6pm. we also have a pickup here at the farm on wednesday afternoons.

finally, we’ve had quite a few people ask us if they could stop by and meet us and take a  tour of the farm- the answer is- absolutely! please email us at lakestonefamilyfarm at gmail dot com or call us up at 516 314 8209 and we can schedule a mutually convenient time!


May 8 2015

the big time!! (part one)

on tuesday, i was honored to be interviewed by mrs. daly’s 5th grade class from ps 152 woodside, queens, ny!

full disclosure: mrs daly and i were best friends in high school. i don’t know if either of us realized we’d both be educators as grown ups! the class is doing a unit on journalism, and it is being documented as well! the six students who questioned me were lovely- they spoke clearly and exhibited excellent journalism skills. as prep, i sent them the following email with images, to help them craft their questions. after their documentary is finished, i will share that here as well!

IMG_2246

our seeds and our potting soil are all certified organic- which means the soil came from a farmer who made it out of organic ingredients, and it doesn’t have any toxins or matter in it that were sprayed with herbicides (weed killers) or pesticides(bug killers).

IMG_2248
our seeds all come from organic plants. this means they weren’t modified by a scientist in a lab. however, farmers HAVE modified plants for centuries to create plants that can grow better in their climates, and produce fruits and vegetables that taste good! we also grow seeds that have been tested to grow well in our climate zone. this helps them survive without a lot of extra, often chemical help.

IMG_2247

we seed into trays with potting soil in our greenhouse. it’s very warm in there! the heat and the light tells the seeds it’s time to grow. our certified organic potting soil has lots of natural nutrients to help the plants grow strong roots and healthy plants. we don’t use any fertilizers or chemicals to add nutrients- they get what they need from the special soil we use!

IMG_2245

after a few weeks, the seedlings come outside during the day time to “harden off”- this means they get used to the normal temperatures & weather of the day. we put them back into the greenhouse at night. after about a week, we plant the seedlings into our beds.

before we can plant the seedlings, we have to get our fields ready! we do this in two important ways, and both involve feeding the soil important nutrients so the plants will grow well.

IMG_2251

 

we also raise certified organic chickens in our farm! they live in large cages for protection outside on our fields that are “fallow” for the year- this means we don’t grow plants on that field during that time. it gives the soil time to rest from over use and to absorb good nutrients from cover crops (peas, clover) AND our chickens! their poop is full of good fertilizer like nitrogen and phosphorus and potassium. we also spread organic compost from a farmer who makes it from organic materials.

IMG_2250

once the beds are prepped we plant the seedings and lay out special hoses that drip water right where the plants are on the ground. this saves water and lets the plants get water, even during a drought. because we are organic, our water is tested once a year by a lab to ensure it is safe to drink and use on our crops! some plants grow and are harvested once, and some grow and can be harvested many times.

IMG_2243

we don’t use any chemical herbicides (weed killers) so we weed our beds by hand! this lets the plants get more nutrients from the soil. we don’t use any chemical pesticides (bug killers) so we sometimes cover our beds with a special cloth cover to keep the bugs off! one very important reason why we don’t use toxic chemicals on our farm is because it helps keep us and our employees healthy as farmers and farm workers.

IMG_2242

finally, we harvest the crops by hand and bring them in to be washed before we bring them to market to sell or distribute to our CSA Harvest Share members!


May 1 2015

we eat…real!

1798448_238014579733431_572181952255200793_n

we’ve been asked many times how we ever decided to leave our life in the city and become organic farmers. the truth is, it was by no means an impulse decision. the road to our eating real was somewhat long, and had a few twists and turns along the way. even though we are both “city kids,” denis and i were raised with a great love of the outdoors and our moms both cooked us meals from a lot of different types of foods. they didn’t feed us a lot of junk. but by the time we were young adults and caring for ourselves, we didn’t eat very well. we ate out. a lot. and not really at nicer restaurants that serve meals prepared from whole ingredients, but at cheap, fast franchise type places that served a glorified over processed microwaved meal. because it’s cheap! and easy! and…somewhat tasty when you don’t really have anything else to compare it to. we ate a lot of processed foods and a lot of junk in our teens and early twenties.

FullSizeRender(3)

when we moved to queens in 2001 to get married, denis joined johnny out in his tomato garden, and added some peppers and beans to the plot. the tiny little patch that had always existed between us and our neighbors backyard spread into raised bed satellite gardens all over the yard. in a few years we were growing fruits and vegetables that supplemented our summer diet in a delicious and welcome way. the organic “movement” was starting to get a lot of press back then, and we knew that we didn’t want any toxins on our plants or in our soil. denis had lost his produce manager at tops to a brain tumor, and connected it to the decades that he’d worked with pesticides and herbicides on the produce. it wasn’t difficult to keep our little raised beds organic.

abbyduntongarden

once we decided to begin planning for our family, we took a look at our overall health, including what we consumed. we both wanted to be in the best shape for this next important phase of our lives. we started making small changes, cooked more at home, often from recipes that we both had grown up with, from online food blogs, or ones we found in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook given to us from my Aunt Vivian at our wedding. food really started tasting better! but as far as eating real is concerned, our first appointment with our OB changed our lives.

joshchicky

when you go to the doctor for the first appointment of your pregnancy, you are handed a metric ton of papers and books and pamphlets to read to ensure a healthy pregnancy for yourself and good fetal development for your baby. one of the things that caught us off guard was the amount of information about what i, as the pregnant partner, should no longer eat, to keep myself and our abby healthy:   http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/PeopleAtRisk/ucm312704.htm

i remember saying to denis “if all these foods are risky to the baby, are they risky to us?” in the list of foods i could no longer safely consume were all types of meats and fish and cheeses, as well as lengthy instructions on how to wash your produce and thoroughly cook your meat and eggs to avoid food borne illnesses. yuck. i know now that cancer patients get similar instructions- http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/prevention-and-healthy-living/diet-and-nutrition/food-safety-during-and-after-cancer-treatment to ensure their best health as well.

FullSizeRender(2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that was the moment when we decided we needed to really address our eating habits in terms of not only what we ate, but how it was made- and what the health implications might mean for us, long term. so many people we knew and loved were being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and heart disease runs in both of our families. and, even though we were “city kids” living in new york city, we both were raised within our faith to love nature and protect the environment, so the health of our ecosystems and overall planet were just as important. embracing the organic food movement was a natural way for us to do that. we did a lot of research. we went on local harvest and found an organic farm on long island to purchase a CSA Harvest Share from. through that connection at alley pond environmental center, we met other like minded people in queens to network with to find other sources of food that were grown and raised in a way that was environmentally sustainable. thus began our journey on the road to eating real.

FullSizeRender(4)

next weekend, on May 9th at 4pm, we are honored to be presenting a talk and tour of the farm as a part of the ROC Eats Real challenge. ROC Eats Real is a six week nutritional challenge that invites the entire greater rochester area to try to eat better to feel better. we will be give own own little story- from that first OB appointment to now owning a 65-acre, certified organic vegetable and chicken farm. it will focusing on the challenges of changing from eating a “normal” American processed and fast diet to a (primarily) organic, local, sustainable diet with three kids!

we would love for you to be a part of it! register here: http://www.roceatsreal.com/ and join us!