Smidgens – October 7, 2012

News from Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

News from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

October 9 – Downtown State College Tuesday Farmers Market Preview

(From Betsy Green)

The market is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Locust Lane. This week’s features:

  • Red Hawk Premium Peppers:  Hot Sauce: “Grounds for Divorce” – a garlic based hot sauce.
  • Moser’s Produce:  Decorative gourds and winter squash
  • Hidden Hollow Farms:  Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage spinach & “Wildfire” lettuce mix
  • Green Acres Farm:  Assorted squash, potatoes, red beets, garlic.  And as always, honey from our bees.
  • Dn’D Farms: NEW* Goats Milk peppermint foot cream.
  • Spring Bank Acres:  Fresh eggs from free-range hens.
  • Reflections:  Free wine tastings from Oak Spring Winery.  Try our new Apple Spice Wine!
  • Sweet Root Orchard:  NEW* Stayman apples are now available.  We also have Cameo.  Last week for Honeycrisp.
  • Nittany View Farm:  NEW* MilkMade Winter Soap – an invigorating blend of fir needle and peppermint essential oils.  Also, NEW* Four Seasons Collection : a gift box featuring the Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter scents will make its debut.

October 10 – “Know Your Farmer” Presentation – USDA’s Kathleen Merrigan at PSU

Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, plans to visit Penn State on Wednesday October 10 from 6:30 -7:30 PM in the auditorium of the Forest Resources Building. Merrigan oversees the day-to-day operations of USDA’s many programs and spearheads the $149 billion USDA budget process.

Specifically, Secretary Merrigan will give a presentation on Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, an initiative that highlights the importance of local foods and aims to strengthen the connection between farmers and consumers. She will showcase the Know Your Farmer Compass and discuss how local food systems strengthen rural economies. Deputy Merrigan will also discuss various career opportunities for students interested in local agriculture, not only on the farm, but also in government, business, and the non-profit sector.  The talk is free and open to the public.

News from Friends & Farmers Co-op

(From Membership Coordinator Elizabeth Crisfield)

Friends and Farmers members-in-waiting:

There have been quite a few additions to our growing list of prospective members – we are well over 200 strong now. If you are new, welcome! The Co-op is in need of fundraising for early expenses, primarily an official website which will serve as a communications hub until we have a storefront where we can chat across the aisles. There is no better way to raise money for a local grocery store than to gather at a local farm, partaking of a fine locally produced dinner, and Greenmoore Gardens is offering just that – a “Share the Harvest” dinner, with half the proceeds going to support the Friends and Farmers Co-op! Please mark your calendars, buy a ticket, and tell all your friends. Here are the details…


  • Starters: a simple greens & herb salad; traditional ratatouille on bruschetta
  • Main Dishes: braised pork with mashed potatoes; vegetarian lasagna with local cheese and pasta; stuffed winter squash with legumes, veggies and quinoa
  • Vegetable Side-dishes: Sauteed kale with mushrooms, onions, red pepper and raisins; caramelized onions, roasted cherry tomatoes and herbs
  • Dessert: the best of the season… apple dumplings, poached pears with apple juice reduction, and pumpkin pie
  • Otto’s beer for the over 21 crowd and Otto’s root-beer for all!


  • 4:00 p.m. – Farm Tour and Pumpkin Carving
  • 5:30 p.m. – Dinner
  • After dinner – Bonfire, with Music by Steve Buckalew and Friends!

Tickets ($20, kids under 12 are free) are available through Greenmoore Gardens:

Please help us get the word out by forwarding this e-mail, sending people our website link, or liking us on FacebookThanks for your ongoing support… Let’s rally for Friends and Farmers Co-op at Greenmoore Gardens on Saturday, October 20!

October 14 – 20 – Annual Arboretum Pumpkin Festival

The annual Pumpkin Festival in The Arboretum at Penn State is Oct. 14-20 and will feature hundreds of lighted jack-o’-lanterns on display around the perimeter of the event lawn. The events include: The Arboretum Pumpkin Giveaway for Jack-o’-Lantern Contest, 1 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15; Lighted Jack-o’-Lantern Viewing, 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 19 and 20; and Open House in the Gardens, 4 to 8 p.m. Oct 20.

State College Vegans & Vegetarians 

October 15 – New Farmer Training Program in Lehigh County – Applications Due

The New Farmer Training Program and Agricultural Incubator at the Seed Farm in Emmaus, Pennsylvania is now accepting applications for the 2013 season. This intensive training program includes 500 hours of on farm training and 100 hours of formal workshops and classes. Participants will build skills and create their own production and business plans. Graduates of the training program qualify for the agricultural incubator program where they can farm on county-owned land with access to equipment, greenhouse/ cooler space, and continued mentorship. For more information and application materials, visit The Seed Farm website or call Seed Farm Director Sara Runkel at (610) 391-9583 ex.16. Applications are due October 15, 2012.

October 29 – “Greenhorns” Documentary Screening at Penn State

(From Rachel Hoh)

The PSU Sustainable Agriculture Club will sponsor a screening of Greenhorns, a documentary exploring the lives of America’s young farming community, at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 29, in Room 26 at the Hosler Building.

November 9 – Direct Farm Sales Grant Application Deadline

The PA Department of Agriculture’s Direct Farm Sales
Grant provides funds to Pennsylvania-based businesses that manage or operate a farm stand or farmer’s market, non-profit organizations, farmers and local governments for projects intended to promote the increased consumption of specialty crops.

The maximum grant award per farm stand or farmers’ market location shall be $7,500. Grant awardees will be expected to provide 25% in matching funds or in-kind goods or services. The anticipated date for the Award of Grants and Notice thereof is expected to be on or before March 1, 2013.

The application, work plan and budget should reflect March 1, 2013 as the project start date and the project completion date will be on September 30, 2013. The application deadline is November 9, 2012. Questions on this program should be directed to Sandy Hopple, 1-800-468-2433.

State College Vegans and Vegetarians.

Soap-Maker Seeking Local Soy Bean Oil

(From Diane Wiest)

“I’d like to buy a small amount (around 5-10 gallons) of locally pressed soybean oil from non-GMO soybeans. I’m a soapmaker and I use a bit of soybean oil in my recipe. Right now I buy organic soy oil, but it is made from imported soybeans.  I prefer to source all my ingredients as locally as possible, and I’ve seen small scale oil presses promoted for farm use. Please email me if you have locally grown, non-gmo soybean oil for sale.”

Land Available for Organic Farming in Poconos

(From Daniel Grotta)

“We live in the village of Newfoundland, PA (Wayne County) in the Pocono mountains. Part of our property is a 5.5 acre flat field that lies between Route 191/507 and Wallenpaupack Creek. It was cleared and farmed by the Moravians since the 1820s, and is presently being used by our neighbor as hay for his horses. Do you know of anyone in the Poconos who may be interested in having the use of all or part of this field for organic farming? If so, please contact us, at 570-676-5500, or by email.”

USDA Discrimination Claims Process for Hispanic & Women Farmers

On September 24, 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the opening of a claims process for Hispanic or female farmers and ranchers who can prove that USDA denied their applications for loan or loan servicing assistance for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000.

“The opening of this claims process is part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to correct the wrongs of the past and ensure fair treatment to all current and future customers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and provides at least $1.33 billion for cash awards and tax relief payments, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. There are no filing fees to participate in the program.

All those interested in learning more or receiving information about the claims process and claims packages are encouraged to attend meetings in your communities (closest seem to be in Lancaster at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on October 25) and contact the website or claims telephone number.

  • Website
  • Phone: 1-888-508-4429
  • Claims Period: September 24, 2012 – March 25, 2013.

For additional information about the meetings in Pennsylvania, or to make special accommodations requests, please call 717-237-2208 or 717-237-2133.

Random Small Stuff

  • Recipe Request – Someone brought a wonderful sweet potato-sunbutter stew to the September Spring Creek Homesteading potluck and I’d love to get the recipe. If any readers are the cook, or know the cook, please let me know.
  • Scrabble Club? – Also, I love playing Scrabble and Bananagrams, and remember my mother having a bridge club that met once a month in the evenings. Bridge is too complicated for me, but I’m wondering if any readers would be interested in joining a monthly Scrabble club that would rotate get-togethers at the players’ homes.
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