WNYC Radio: The Pleasures and Perils of the Farming Life

amandaOrganic farmers from around the region talk about the pleasures and perils of farming organically in the 21st century.

Jamie Critelli of Floral Beauty Greenhouses sells potted plants and hydroponic vegetables and herbs at the 57th Street Greenmarket. He spent eight years in the Army and in 2012 earned a Veteran Farmer Fellowship to grow his business.

Mike O’Dell is the youngest dairy farmer in Orange County, New York. His Back to the Future Farm sells bottled milk, dairy soaps and other value added dairy products at Union Square.

Amanda Andrews of Tamarack Hollow Farm in Vermont is an organic vegetable farmer who has been farming for about 4 years on her own. Tamarack Hollow Farm sells at Union Square Greenmarket.

See/Hear the full story at http://www.wnyc.org/story/pleasures-and-perils-farming-life/.

Rad Radishes

daikon-pasta-400It’s now, around January and February, that daikon radishes begin to really sell, said Tamarack Hollow Farm’s farmer Amanda Andrews. She drives down from Burlington, Vermont, every week to sell produce at the Union Square Farmers Market on Wednesdays, and says that only diehard daikon fans really buy them when they’re first harvested in September. At that point in the year, the long, white radishes are often overshadowed by spotlight-stealing fall produce like tomatoes, squash and berries.

Food writer Cathy Erway is one of Tamarack Hollow Farm’s customers, and she’s a fan of daikon because of its versatility. “It has a very mild taste, and it’s very pleasant because it takes on any broth or flavoring that you want to give it, and it just really absorbs it all,” she said. “It doesn’t lend too much of a funky or spicy… radish taste that we associate with the vegetable. So, in a way, it’s kind of a blank slate.”

See the full story at http://www.wnyc.org/articles/last-chance-foods/2013/feb/01/last-chance-f…. Go Radishes!

Tamarack Hollow in the Burlington Free Press

Check out Candace Page’s great story on the farm in the Free Press.

On a cool May afternoon, the scene at Tamarack Hollow Farm had all the gloss of an urban daydream: While cars whizzed by on the Burlington Beltline, farmers Mike Betit and Amanda Andrews herded four skittish Belted Galloway beef cows toward an enclosure to be checked for pregnancy by the waiting veterinarian.

The cows mooed. Seventy pigs squealed in a nearby paddock. One-hundred-and-fifty laying hens squawked and pecked behind their fence. Thunder and Lightning, the farm’s oxen, bellowed from time to time, the sound reverberating toward the homes of a New North End neighborhood just across the highway.

The mucky farm road led to fields ready for planting, their dark dirt as rich as chocolate.

The spring air smelled of damp dirt, manure and promise. …

[Click the top link to read the whole story. Thanks for the ink Candace!]

The Nomadic Oven Visits Your Neighborhood Pig Farm

mikeandchicken pigandcowcollage

Turning from suburban Ethan Allen Parkway into Tamarack Hollow Farm is a little surreal, like wandering off the set for “Leave it to Beaver”, and finding yourself in “Little House on the Prairie”. Talking to Amanda Andrews and Mike Betit, life on the farm seems ripe for a situation comedy as well, with punchlines that juxtapose their homesteader lifestyle and the sedate neighborhood of 19th century houses that surrounds them. Warm summer evenings find neighbors strolling across the farm’s bridge to sip wine and watch the pigs and cows in their pristine pasture overlooking…highway 127. A few residents squirm when confronted with the less picturesque realities of farm life, like the three-sided, all-season composting outhouse, and the eau-de-farm that rises on hot days. Sitting by the crackling wood stove in the 14’ by 20’ cabin that Betit built last spring, it’s hard to imagine that we’re just a stones throw away from the picket fences and shopping centers of the New North End- until I open the door to the sound of rushing cars.

Read the rest of Jen’s story here

NY Serious Eats, November, 2010

“I LOVE YOU, BACON,” proclaims the sign at Tamarack Hollow Farm—but as Mike Betit told me last week, “We only put it up when we actually have bacon.” Tamarack Hollow, located in Burlington, VT, started out as a hog farm, although they now also sell a small but unique selection of produce. Betit credits the tanking economy for the change in their approach at the market. “People just weren’t buying high-priced protein. It was one of the first things they cut.” That loss ended up being the market shoppers’ gain, as in addition to Tamarack’s beautiful smoked and fresh meats and sausages, Betit’s current produce selection includes greens, cabbages, broccoli, turnips, radishes and more.

Betit’s wife, who used to work for Keith Stewart of Keith’s Farm, chooses which crops to grow. Tamarack Hollow goes beyond organic certification: Referring to the growing number of organic certified sprays on the market that many certified organic farmers use, Betit says: “In addition to being certified organic, we don’t use any f***ing sprays. Period.” In addition, all of the crops are hand cultivated. “We’re literally out there with stirrup hoes and hand weeding everything. We use intensive rotational grazing, and our vegetables are part of the rotations.” Tamarack Hollow Farm is 88 acres in its entirety, but only 3 1/2 acres are cultivated at any one time, giving the soil time to recover. The only problem, Betit told me, is that the soil is sometimes too fertile, recently leading to a ridiculously large cabbage.

As the season progresses, Tamarack Hollow will be at the market year round. When the weather gets colder, look for greenhouse microgreens and sprouts, as well as spinach and baby kale that are grown in low tunnels. Of course, the meats will be available all year long. Check out the slideshow for a look at what Betit had to offer at last week’s maket. See the full story here. Photos by Ben Fishner.

Dreaming of the Christmas Goose: Megnut.com

It’s broiling hot today in New York City, and as I scurried around the greenmarket attempting to buy some tomatoes before I burst into flame, I noticed a sign at Tamarack Hollow Farm. Tamarack is one of the nicest vendors at the market. When I bought my first pork shoulder, I asked the vendor how to prepare it. He gave me some directions, then pointed to the label on the package. “If you have any problems, call my wife. She’ll walk you through it.” Culinary phone support included in pork purchase price! Who knew?

Anyway, today’s sign said something to the effect that orders were now being taken for duck, goose, smoked ham, and suckling pig for delivery from September 1 through the end of the year. As I walked home, I imagined what I could do with a suckling pig. Then in the stifling heat, my thoughts drifted to goose and I longingly imagined December’s snow and icy air, the scent of pine trees, and the fun of having family over for a lovely Tamarak roast goose for Christmas dinner. A huge bead of sweat stung my eye and snapped me from my reverie. It’s a 102° and I’m thinking about Christmas goose. I’m tempted to head right back over there and place my order, if only it weren’t so hot outside.

(Posted August 2, 2006: original at http://www.megnut.com/2006/08/dreaming-of-the-christmas-goose)