Friday, April 8, 2016

Day 99: April 8, 2016 Erica and B&H Organic Produce

April 8, 2016   Erica and B & H Organic Produce
Day 99

The privilege of hopping in my car and driving five miles down the road to one of the best organic farms in the area does not go unnoticed by me. Erica Lavdanski, in partnership with Paul Hartz, has been farming on five acres of the fifteen available for her to use for over nine years. Yesterday, between Paula and myself, we ferried nine students to work/learn at this beautiful spot nestled in a valley within the valley. Erica wowed the students just as I knew she would.

A number of years ago I had the privilege of doing a work share for her organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Someone from the Health Food Store noticed me and said, "Lynne, YOU are into organic?" The shock tone was dripping. My quick response was, "No, I am into Erica!" This woman is an all time favorite of mine. She is sharp, means buisness, knows how to organize, understands the need for efficiency, works deals, and is warm. But you don't mess with her and I think that is what I love the most. She demands respect.

The students helped her plant a number of plants, filling the containers with soil, placing in the seed, covering lightly and then watering. One doesn't understand the lure of soil until their hands are smeared with the magic while working magic. Before we came one of the students, Anna, in her presentation explained seeds to us. For all intents and purposes it seemed as if Anna was a wizard explaining potions, for the germination of seeds is a mystery even with all we know. But then to go do what we were speaking of - explosion in the mind. This is what I love about the Wider School.

We left with an understanding of "organic" from the horse's mouth. Here is some of what we learned. She only purchases organically certified seeds. And with those seeds she is growing original varieties, heirlooms, which were in existence before plants were breed to ship, to store well, and to harvest before they were ripe. In many respects the breeding process also bred out flavor and nutrition.

Erica cares and farming organically is an expression of caring about the customers, employees and the land. A large portion of her customer base is chemically sensitive and can only use organic vegetables from certified organic farms (that is an entirely other subject). She cares about her employees. The cancer rates on farms with sprays is astronomical. She cares about the land. Farming organically requires using only things that will break down in the soil, plastic products never do. She is a clean farmer never using synthetic products to control the pests, the weeds, the diseases instead she uses organic products, ways and means and we all benefit.

Yesterday, information, the Wider students have heard before, became real, tangible and finally had a safe place in their brains. We will continue our time with Erica on Thursdays for four more sessions. Both Erica and I feel the electricity, the visions of the future and the need for more students to learn about clean farming, all things organic, and the environment. For now, we will continue to look mundane as we place seeds in soil and use a spray hose to water. But Erica, I, and the Wider students all know, we walked through a portal yesterday and will never be the same.

You need to check out B & H Organic produce. There are still some summer shares available (I still need one- I should be careful, they go fast!). Does it cost more than purchasing food from the grocery store or local stands? Sure. Is it worth it? I will let you get back to me on that one after you eat the marvel. All I can say is the price of the organic vegetables on a scale would be sailing in the air as the value, the worth of the cost, would be pushed to the ground.

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