Allium Sativum L.

The corn grain elevator of Minburn

The grain elevator, a corn symbol in every town

I drove to Minburn yesterday where I spent a great day at the Small Potatoes Farm. I past the road to the farm without noticing and stopped at the post office, next to the grain elevator, to ask for directions. A good choice because the post office, I soon realized is the epic center of this tiny town. So a few minutes before my arrival, the news was announced by the post office, calling to the farm that a tall Dutch lady was coming over.

We harvested more than 5 different varieties of garlic. If it would have been not such wet weather so far, the harvest would have been in already around the 4th of July. And even now, the land was quite wet, which meant that the garlic bulbs came out with big lumps of soft black earth hanging in their roots. We pulled, collected, cleaned and trimmed the garlic bulbs after which they were let to dry hanging in the barn, in bundles of eight. Each variety had its own place in order not to mix them up, and we indicated what we hung on a map. Of some varieties we only harvested a basket full, just to grow more seed.


The Small Potatoes Farm grows an incredible amount of different vegetables and different varieties. These include different kinds of: squash, melon, potato, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, lettuces, unions, leek, cabbage, beets, kale, beans, strawberries, asparagus and herbs. The total amount of hectares available for production is around 4.5, however at any point in time, there is 1.5 hectares in production while the other acres have a cover crop such as buckwheat to increase soil quality and organic mass. STA72126

When you see the rows of different crops weaving in the wind, you wouldn’t think there is much mathematics involved. However, the production planning system is a complicated multi dimensional puzzle. While rotating land out and into production and rotating the right kind of crops after one another to minimize disease, there also has to be a certain kind of yield available every week throughout the season to give the CSA members their vegetable share. And, of course, this share demands a certain kind of diversity too. A puzzle for winter times,  when a thick pack of snow is covering the land.

2 thoughts on “Allium Sativum L.

  1. I’m leaving this comment on your blog because we share some of the same values of organic, sustainable farming and the support of local family farms. I am trying to get the word out to the public regarding the plight of my friends, Jim and Linette Crosby. Their mint farm, which has been in their family since 1912 and is one of the oldest continually operating mint farms in the country, is scheduled to be foreclosed upon on August 15, 2009…ironically, during the annual St. Johns Mint Festival. To read about the “Battle of Mint Valley,” please visit I am asking for any help you can provide…notifying your readers of their plight, publicizing their website ( and the National Dram Sale, advertising the Mint Jam ’09 benefit concert…anything at all is much, much, much appreciated! To see the latest news broadcast about the Crosby Mint Farm and it’s current situation, please visit

  2. Pingback: Red Russian Kale « Rural Sociology Group Wageningen (Weblog)

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