One of the oldest things in Milwaukee is the giant European copper beech tree in South Shore Park, which was planted in the 1850s. It’s pretty old for something in America that was planted or raised post-colonization.
Over on the East Coast, it’s not too hard to find things that are even older. The Tuttle farm in New Hampshire has been farmed since 1632, which probably makes it a candidate for “oldest thing continually in use.” That’s 378 years of farming on one spot, with eleven generations of the family working the land.
However, in 2010, as suburban sprawl encroached and the intimate demands of the marketplace made it harder and harder to operate a farm, the Tuttles have placed the farm up for sale. According to the Boston Globe, the 134-acre property is listed for $3.35 million. However, the paper also reports that despite being “surrounded by suburban homes and is bordered by a major street, [the farm] is protected by a conservation restriction that prohibits it from being developed after it is sold, and the Tuttles hold out hope that the new owners will maintain it as a working farm.”
While a part of me would like a farm, in the abstract, mind you, I don’t have that kind of cash on hand. But I hope that it can be made into another good farm rather than it becoming Yet Another Subdivision. God knows we’ve got quite enough of those.
The latest addition to my little blogroll is 2 Acre Farm, Based in Carlinville, Illinois, appears to be the little farm that could. Serving the southern area of Illinois, closer to St. Louis than to Chicago, this farm turns out both great food and great online content. They seem to have found a knack for the latter. Their pictures alone make me want to try growing some of the more obscure crops they discuss. And the list on the left of what they’ve grown for farmers markets could be that source of inspiration by itself. I’d like to explore the eloquently named Paul Robeson heirloom tomato, and the Dragon Tongue snap beans. What’s a Dragon Carrot? And while I’m not much a fan of cherries, Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry is quite an intriguing plant.
(Ha, look at this: the Paul Robeson Black Tomato came from Russia. Siberia, no less! I wonder if Khrushchev was thinking of these for his Virgin Lands program. Although I’m pretty sure he was thinking of corn. Russia: A Country Study confirms this.)
The farm bears the stamp of a Certified Naturally Grown farm. That, as opposed to organic. I’ll look into the distinctions more later. Probably avoids the fees of getting USDA organic certification. We’ll see. (Thank you to Nathan from 2AF for elucidating on this.)
You can also find 2 Acre Farm on Facebook.
Very appropriate that I’d come across this shortly after I found the University of Illinois Extension’s Watch Your Garden Grow guide has proven helpful to me today.
As covered in Journal Sentinel’s increasingly good food section, the Jones family farm down in Racine delivers great eggs and chicken to the doorstep of people on Milwaukee’s southeast side, between Racine and Bay View, west to 27th Street. We’ve had them deliver to our house for several months now, and quite simply, we love it. Their eggs are far better than anything I’ve bought at even the most organic or natural food oriented store, and their chicken is just to die for.
The chickens arrive feathered, but you do have the whole headless remainder of the bird to deal with. About all we dispose of is the neck — everything else gets used up, from the meat to the bones. You could get a book from the library to find out how to use the bones to make stock. And then enjoy the flavor of what you can more readily eat. I’ll never go back to store-bought chicken again so long as I can help it!