Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lace Back Batik Combo Dress available via Fair Trade from Bali

Lace Back Batik Combo Dress available via Fair Trade from the tailor and batik artist in Bali

Made by a family of tailors and batik artists in Bali, this is a comfortable, sensual dress that combines batik and jacquard fabric to create a beautiful, unique look.

Dresses
Clothing
add your dresses to the Buy Direct Directory

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pet Supplies: Designer Pet Carrier

This designer accessory serves as a handbag, purse and pet carrier -- all in one.

Made from super soft (like butter) faux leather, it has two big external pockets, front and back, for extra storage. Two big mesh windows on both sides provide air flow.

Pet Supplies
add your product to the Buy Direct Directory

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Good Fences, Bad Neighbors

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1993. All rights reserved.

"Good fences make good neighbors," said the poet's neighbor, as if a wall could improve on human nature or protect one from its failings.

The poet was not convinced, and from what I've seen lately his neighbor had it backwards. Only good neighbors make good fences.

For the past several months Neighbor B has been feuding with Neighbor A over the size and appearance of his fence -- eight feet tall and a hundred feet long, sculpted from old barn wood. An eyesore, says Neighbor B. A necessity, says Neighbor A.

Neighbor B, you see, bought land next to Neighbor A a few years ago and built a home there. Then he started landscaping and, as neighbors often do, questioned the property line. Neighbor A's fence was trespassing, said Neighbor B. That's where its always been, said Neighbor A, whose favorite apricot tree grew from the contested soil.

Bad blood began brewing between the two. What one side saw as a clear case of trespass the other interpreted as petty greed. Neighbor A believed he could have won the case in court, but at a high cost. Instead, he moved the fence, his garden and his apricot tree.

By now Neighbor A and Neighbor B could barely stand the sight of each other. They glared when they met. They growled like dogs. They made enemies of each others' families and each others' friends.

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was likely to give offense," said the poet.

Both Neighbor A and Neighbor B built separate walls along the same property line with just a couple feet of no man's land between. Neighbor B's wooden fence rose six feet high while Neighbor A's rose eight. Neighbor B's was stained and tidy. Neighbor A's was rough-cut and well-weathered.

"Illegal!" cried Neighbor B.

"Harassment!" cried Neighbor A.

Both wanted to wall out their neighbor and wall in their peace of mind. But Neighbor B could have neither so long as two feet of foreign fence loomed over his property, and Neighbor A could never rest knowing Neighbor B was out to get even.

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down," said the poet.

A wind storm came up this past week and nearly toppled the issue. Instead, the fences held and the feud was fanned to full flame. "A safety hazard!" cried Neighbor B. "A right to privacy!" cried Neighbor A. And they nearly came to blows.

I can still see them, armed with shovels and sledge hammers, shoring up their defenses and shouting at each other over their walls.

"He moves in darkness as it seems to me," concluded the poet, "Not of woods only and the shade of trees."

There are good neighbors and there are bad neighbors, I admit, but you cannot be one if your neighbor is the other. No one can be a neighbor alone; the word "neighbor" should always be plural. Neighbors share more than geographic space. They share a place in time, an altitude, a climate and an atmosphere. Some share streets and water systems and fire protection.

Good neighbors also share squash and barbecues and children. They copy each others' recipes, admire each others' gardens, jump-start each other's dead batteries.
Bad neighbors sacrifice and accuse and scorn. They live isolated lives, separated from one another by gripes and prejudices and resentments.

The poet probably had it right. Bad neighbors make bad fences.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rural Delivery: Family Values

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.

Fatherhood ages a man; parenthood, in general, does the same.

Before we became parents, my wife and I lived somewhat outside of time. Days and years went by, seasons came and passed, and we went about the business of pursuing degrees and careers oblivious to the passage of time. We got older, but didn't notice.

Now that we have a little boy who was recently a baby and is about to become a preschool child, we see time rushing through us with the urgency of a spring runoff. As the marks on his growth chart climb higher and his shoe sizes double, I feel the present slipping into tomorrow. If only I could hold on to this moment a little longer...

Folks who live their lives in extended families, with grandparents sharing the same roof or living and laboring nearby their children and their babies and grandbabies, probably experience the passage of time more strongly than those who don't. They can feel the aging of parents and grandparents when they hold a hand or kiss a cheek. They can see the weakening, shrinking and wrinkling effects of time and recognize that they, too, will follow this course.

My parents and their parents were all raised in families such as these and so were my wife's relations, but our parents left the family fold like so many other Americans after World War II to pursue their fortunes in far-off places and never returned. We grew up at a distance from our grandparents, seeing them on holidays once or twice a year, and experienced their deaths as sudden disasters rather than as part of the flow of life.

Now that I recognize these things and can see how this kind of lifestyle, divorced from the family farm, has become the norm in American society I wonder if some folks avoid family in order to avoid time. If we live where life's seasons are less noticeable, as in southern California, will we remain young?

Getting away from family can be liberating, of course, and most of us have been ready, like Huck Finn, to "lit out for the territories" where we'll be free of obligations and expectations. We'll also be free of context and history and, perhaps, meaning.

A nation of Huck Finns would be truly independent, each person responsible only to himself and his own self-guided moral code. There would be no taxes, no schools and no government. Life would be a series of adventures lived fully in the moment, with no thought of past or future, because this is all we can be sure of, here and now.

Life, after all, arises from nothing and ends in timeless oblivion....

But that's not how things are at all! The sun doesn't rise out of nowhere and set for eternity. It dawns again and again and again. The seasons, the tides and the phases of the moon don't begin and end, they rotate.

Plants don't emerge from nothing and die back into emptiness. They rise from the seeds of seeds of seeds of plants whose decomposed bodies help feed them. And, in the same sense, our lives are rooted in a past which emerges in the present to flower and fade tomorrow.

Time, as I see it, is more a circle or a spiral than a straight line, repeating itself endlessly with slight changes in every turn. Parenthood and family don't turn the clock, but they certainly make its movements more visible.

When my little boy asks, "What's tomorrow?" I look into our common future and forecast: "Tomorrow will be a lot like today, but with a few surprises."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Farmer's Market Online Today

Welcome to Farmer's Market Online, the world's oldest and largest continuing online marketplace for producers selling their handmade, custom crafted, home grown and farm raised goods direct to consumers worldwide.

Created 14 years ago as a “fair trade” enterprise, Farmer’s Market Online is dedicated to providing an inexpensive opportunity for small-scale and home-based entrepreneurs to sell their homemade, home grown and self-produced products to shoppers worldwide. Vendors in this market receive 100 percent of the purchase price for every item sold. There are no sales reports to file and no commissions to pay. Every transaction is strictly between the consumer and the vendor.

It is our conviction that independent entrepreneurs who sell their own products directly to consumers are a key component of a sustainable economy. It is our belief that a producer-driven economy based on the creation of real goods with tangible value is much stronger and more resilient than one based on services or the redistribution of goods.

On Friday, May 14 there were 3,949 unique visitors at Farmer’s Market Online making 34,170 page hits.

Most Visited Blogs:
1. Open Market
2. Open Air
3. Market Watch
4. Farm Kitchen
5. Husbandry
6. Book Stall
7. Selling Points
8. Growth Spurts
9. Bites
10. Rural Delivery

Unlike other online marketplaces, vendors in this market receive 100 percent of the purchase price for every item sold. There are no sales reports to file and no commissions to pay. Every transaction is strictly between the consumer and the vendor.

Shoppers communicate with and deal directly with the producer, giving them the opportunity to know who is making or growing the goods and how they are being produced.

To join Farmer's Market Online as a vendor, either lease a Booth or register for a basic Listing on the Buy Direct Directory

Friday, May 14, 2010

Husbandry: Shade Helps Cattle Growth, Producer Profit

Don’t underestimate the value of shade for beef cattle, says University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist Eldon Cole.

Management intensive grazing, where larger pastures are reduced in size for more efficient use of the forage, can leave some pastures without shade. Research shows that shade for cattle is both helpful and profitable.

Two years of shade research was carried out at University of Missouri's Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon with impressive results favoring shade.

According to Cole, in 2000 a group of spring-calving cows were compared using portable manmade, metal roof shade (8 ft. x 12 ft.) or no shade. The trial was done on both endophyte infected and endophyte free fescue.

The greatest difference showed up on the infected fescue where the shaded cows outgained the others by .72 pound per day for 84 days. The calves nursing the shaded cows also made slightly better gains, 0.17 lb. per day, but that was not significant. The trial ran from July 3 to September 25 and the animals were all black.

The most dramatic finding of the shade study was the difference in pregnancy rates at the end of the summer. The overall pregnancy rate was 87.5 percent for the cows given shade while it was only 50 percent for cows with no shade.

"The difference was more pronounced when only the endophyte infected pastures were considered. The elevated body temperature is likely the culprit for the drop in percentage bred," said Cole.

The following year, the same trial was conducted at the Southwest Center using 550 pound steers. The shaded steers gained 0.2 pound more per day for 84 days than the unshaded ones. As with the cows, the difference increased up to 0.35 pound per day when the shade, no shade comparison was made on the “hot” fescue pasture.

University of Kentucky researchers have also compared manmade shade to no shade pastures on fescue and fescue-alfalfa mixed fields. Their data shows daily gain advantages for the shade cattle as follows: 1.25 lbs. for cows; 0.41 lb. for nursing calves and 0.89 lb. for steers.

Arkansas researchers used dry, Brangus-cross cows in a June 12 to August 14 trial on Bermudagrass pastures to compare no shade (daily gain 1.47 lbs.); artificial shade (1.81 lbs. ADG) and tree shade (2.34 lbs. ADG).

“Shade trees can present a problem since cattle traffic can kill them and the manure will not be distributed around the pasture. Trees may also present a lightning risk,” said Cole.

The bottom line on the economics of shade will be a farm-to-farm situation according to Cole.

Here are several considerations to keep in mind:
pastures that have fescue toxicosis problems will definitely benefit from shade
shade response will be greatest in mid-summer
cattle breeds, colors and even individual genetic differences will give varying differences in response

The Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, uses portable shade for both their beef and dairy herd.

Sources:
Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
(417) 466-3102; colee@missouri.edu

Recipe File: Wild Rice Pecan Salad

from Chicken Dinners 1, 2, 3: 125,000 Possible Combinations for Dinner Tonight by Jacqueline Heriteau

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
4 cups cooked wild rice, cold
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced celery
1 small, unwaxed cucumber, scored and thinly sliced for garnish
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Beat oil, vinegar, mustard, tarragon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over rice and toss.
Fold in red pepper and celery. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Turn into salad bowl and garnish with cucumbers. Top with pecans.
Serve cold. Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rural Delivery: In The Morning

You are washed up out of dreams like a castaway, bobbing in the surf. There's an urge to linger, floating aimlessly, but the firm tide of purpose pushes you toward awareness, that solid land of here and now.

Another day begins in darkness, like so many others. You walk as if naked on the sands of a strange shore, fumbling for recognition. A switch on the wall creates startling light. In the mirror, the face of a newborn, a bit dazed and befuddled.

A cat herds you toward the kitchen, crying breakfast. You heat water on the stove, break eggs over a frying pan, pour milk from a carton.

The kitchen windows are dark and reflective. Hold a hand against the glass and look outside. Skies are clear. No sign of those showers. There's the moon, a soap shaving hanging above the horizon with Venus, the morning star.

A warm mug of coffee. A newspaper. Livestock and grain prices. These are morning matters.

Like fertile but undervalued land, some folks have given up on the early hours of the day for the more glamorous moments of evening. They have moved their lives into the twilight, away from the dawn. Morning is the North Dakota of our days; night is California.

Morning is farm reports on the radio, birdsong in the trees, dew-wet grasses, sunlight lying sideways across the land. Evening is movies, night clubs, fluorescent lights, wailing sirens, sidewalks and pavement.

Some favor one side of the day over the other; many don't have much choice. Flip a coin, heads or tails. Both have equal value, when you come right down to it. But it does makes a difference which side of the day you live on, both in how you spend your hours and the kinds of things you witness.

It's the early bird that gets the worm, they say. But what worm are you fishing for?

The day commences at four because animals have to be chored, vehicles need readying, children gotta have full bellies before their schooling, and there's a long drive into town for supplies today.

And also because there's this feeling, deep down inside sometimes, that missing out on the start of the day is like losing a chance at seeing the birth of a wild creature, wide-eyed and wet, staggering uncertainly on its legs for the first time.

Outside, you survey the terrain in an amber pre-dawn light. A low mist lingers over the barley fields, gathers more thickly in the orchard. There a jay flutters from limb to limb, unusually silent.

The mare stands alone in the pasture, reed-still. A truck rattles down the section road. The neighbor's dog barks. Far off, a rooster crows to announce the day.

Then the sun comes up, bright and magnificent, and plants you firmly with its warming glow. Your soul responds by reaching down into the soil, the earth beneath your feet, and rooting itself in this reality.

Good morning.

Rural Delivery
In The Morning
Michael Hofferber

Husbandry: Start Cattle on Corn, Finish on Co-Products

The traditional practice of finishing cattle on corn may not be the only way to achieve high marbling, a desirable characteristic of quality beef.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that high-quality beef and big per-head profits can be achieved by starting early-weaned cattle on corn and finishing them on a diet high in co-products.

"The goal is to get the highest quality beef product in the most profitable way," said U of I animal scientist Dan Shike. "If you can initiate marbling at a young age with corn, calves are smaller and they eat much less, so feeding them corn for 100
days early saves on feed costs. This system will use considerably less corn and achieve the same effect."

For the study, heifers from the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center were weaned at an average age of 77 days and fed a high-corn ration for the next 146 days to initiate marbling. Then the cattle were divided into four groups: pasture-fed; high starch; intermediate starch; and low starch . The cattle remained on these treatments for 73 days. Then, all cattle were fed the intermediate-starch diet for the remainder of the finishing period.

Before being divided into the four treatment groups, the calves were ultrasounded to determine marbling. The ultrasounds revealed that marbling was initiated with the early corn diet. The cattle were ultrasounded again at the completion of the 73-day treatment period.

"The cattle on pasture had significantly lower marbling," Shike said. "But there were no differences in the cattle fed varying levels of starch."

These results remained constant through harvest with pasture-fed cattle receiving lower marbling scores and fewer cattle grading low-choice. The cattle fed varying levels of starch had no difference in marbling scores. However, there were differences in profit per head.

Continued at Husbandry

Monday, May 10, 2010

Book Stall Review: Fresh Tastes From The Garden State

Fresh Tastes From The Garden State
by Carol Byrd-Bredbenner
Rutgers University Press, 2002

Each of the six chapters in this lushly illustrated cookbook feature the most popular fruits and vegetables grown in New Jersey: berries, peaches, apples, tomatoes, peppers and corn. The state consistently ranks among the top 10 states in the U.S. for the amount and value of each of these crops.

"The recipes were designed to be quick and easy enough to fit into anyone’s hectic lifestyle -- and so delectable they’ll become family favorites," explains Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, a professor and nutrition extension specialist at Cook College, Rutgers University.

Byrd-Bredbenner begins each of the chapters in her book with an in-depth study of the main ingredient and its nutritional aspects, along with tips on selection and use. A product availability chart is provided for shoppers buying fresh in New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dutch Gouda from Center City, Minnesota

Dutch Gouda now available from Center City, Minnesota

Here's a one-pound wheel of a all natural sweet-curd cheese which has a nut-like flavor, with an open body and is semi-soft to hard in texture.

Handmade on the farm from cow's milk using no coloring, artificial flavors or preservatives (the milk contains no growth hormones). May be used in cheese trays, hot and cold salads and casseroles, sandwiches and as a dessert cheese that complements fruit as well as your favorite wine.

This cheese is aged from 2-4 months old.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cupuaçú Energy Juice from Brazil

Cupuaçú Energy Juice from Brazil now available in Beverages.

This is an exotic blend of cupuaçú fruit with the guaraná berry, producing a delicious and unique juice. Packed with antioxidants, iron, fiber and magnesium, this drink also provides a smooth energy boost.

Rich, thick, and full of real fruit pulp. Shelf stable, so there's no need to refrigerate until opened.

Sold in cases of twelve 10-ounce glass bottles.

Book Stall Review: Wyoming Range War

Wyoming Range War
The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County
by John W. Davis
University of Oklahoma Press, 2010

While many histories and accounts of the Johnson County War have been published, most rely heavily on sources from outside the area where the events occured. This fresh analysis of the event relies, instead, on the experiences and perspective of local residents in Johnson County, Wyoming, during the early 1890s.

Author John W. Davis, a Wyoming attorney, gave special credence to "admissions against interest" -- statements made by involved parties that are contrary to their interests -- and turned a skeptical eye on accounts of witnesses with a motive to distort as he compiled his research from local newspapers, land records, trial transcripts, diaries and other contemporaneous documents. His findings lead to a definitive conclusion:

"The only supportable facts are that the cattle rustling problem in Johnson County was a small, local problem. The 1892 view of the Johnson County Commissioners that the cattle barons carried out their actions against Johnson County residents in order to drive smaller stockmen off the range, was well founded. All the objective information is that the people of Buffalo and Johnson County in 1892, far from constituting a rogue society, were hardworking, ambitious, decent people - if anything, a moral cut above the usual run of human beings then in Wyoming."

The justification of intimidation, terror and outright murder by the WSGA's operatives as necessary to control cattle rustling comes across as blatantly contrived and baseless.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Home Grown: Creating a Container Vegetable Garden

Container gardens are easy and productive. Instead of filling all your large flower pots with geraniums and other annuals, plant a few with vegetables. The vegetables most people like are the ones that grow the easiest in pots.

Many varieties of tomatoes will grow in a patio container. Look for ones that say 'determinate' on the label as they maintain a shorter size. A tomato cage can be placed in a large pot or around a smaller one to help hold the tomato upright.

Try red, purple or yellow bell peppers or one of the white or purple eggplants.

Just as easy are hot peppers, onions, lettuce, bush beans or bush cucumber.

Continued at...
Creating a Container Vegetable Garden
Home Grown

Rural Delivery: Keeping a Tornado Watch

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.

This time of year I look for thunderstorms, big boomers with rolling black clouds and great flashes of lightning. I want the kind of storm that sends down sheets of rain, gully-washers, and creates worrisome winds that uproot trees and down power lines.

I wait for the kind of tempest King Lear lived through, both terrifying and thrilling, capable of washing away the grime of madness, purifying and cathartic.

For three springs and summers I lived in Kansas. There I saw storms that could lift a roof or drown a crop. Huge walls of cloud, broiling in fury and rising into the rafters of heaven, would come rumbling across the plains late on any given afternoon turning the day into night and sending every living creature scurrying for cover.

I remember western Kansas in late May, broad and open like a tortilla, where thousands of acres of winter wheat stretched for mile upon treeless mile. Two immense storm fronts were converging, one from the north and the other from the south, and I in a frail Volkswagen was sandwiched in between.

While radio reports warned of tornadoes all around, I sped west on Interstate 70, praying for clear skies in Colorado. On either side the darkness rose like canyon walls, higher into the sky than I ever imagined a sky could be. And where the walls converged in the flat space behind me I could see the lights of small prairie towns -- Brewster, Goodland, Kanorado -- flickering and failing, flickering and failing.

I outran the storm that day, as I would outrun others in my travels back and forth across the Midwest. And though I weathered many a great and blustery storm, and waited out watches and warnings, I never witnessed a tornado.

That's like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, right? Or like visiting Las Vegas and not gambling.

The only tornado I've seen touched down in Boise, Idaho, of all places. The year was 1966 or 1967 and I was in grade school. Our class was outside on the playground lined up in two rows facing east doing our calisthenics.

It was a blustery day and a funny-looking mass of clouds had gathered out to the west, turning over on themselves like bread dough being kneaded. Out of that mass a little tornado, shaped like a sock, suddenly appeared. It was several miles off in the sky over the airport on the edge of town, but close enough to recognize. One by one we stopped our jumping jacks, stared and pointed.

The funnel drifted across the sky for a time, then suddenly fell toward earth. Its color changed from a soft white to dark brown and then black as it picked up dirt and debris from below. The tornado whirled about at the edge of the horizon for a few seconds, then lifted upward again, as if some puppeteer behind the clouds were jerking it back. Its color went white as it moved higher and higher into the sky. And that's when our physical education teacher ushered us indoors.

Tornadoes have occurred in every state and in every month of the year. Even Rhode Island has had its share. You wouldn't expect tornadoes at Thanksgiving, but just a few years ago 15 early-morning twisters popped out of the sky in seven sleeping counties of North Carolina a couple days after the holiday, killing four people and leaving more than 500 homeless.

Each year about 700 tornadoes are reported in the U.S. Of those, about three-quarters occur between March and July. May is the peak month. Most form in the Midwest's "Tornado Alley" between central Texas and western Ohio where there are more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world.

Why so many tornadoes in the Midwest? Geography.

Each spring warm, moist winds from the Gulf of Mexico flow north across Texas. They collide with the cooler, drier air flowing east off the Rocky Mountains. This causes the moist air to rise rapidly, forming large, dark thunder cells.

As a storm rises above 40,000 feet into the sky its top may be sheared off by the jet stream. This tilts the storm, pushing cold air downward into the rising heated air. And for some reason not yet well understood, the air then begins the rotation that leads to a funnel cloud.

There are all kinds of tornado tales. I've heard of pieces of straw driven into telephone poles, of houses turned askew on their foundations or split down the middle with nary a broken glass on the side that remained standing, and of chickens sucked inside glass milk bottles.

Living between mountain ranges, we hardly ever hear weather stories like these. We get some lightning from time to time, and some heavy rains, but the forces of nature don't come calling as often in these parts or with as much fury.

That's a blessing, of course, but every once in awhile, especially this time of year, I miss the tension, the excitement and the release of a really big storm.

Straight Chair Kits from Ashburnham, Massachusetts

Straight Chair Kits now available from Ashburnham, Massachusetts

Also known as a "slat back" chair, this straight chair is the best known of all Shaker chairs. The tall back posts with their delicately rounded finials and the smooth curved slats give it a look of grace and beauty. The rock maple frame, carefully turned and fitted, and the heavy-duty chair tape give it incredible strength.

This furniture kit contains all materials needed for construction, except the final finish, including sandpaper, hardware, and simple step-by-step instructions. Kits are supplied with Medium Wiping Stain. Over the stain, a final finish is required. Your local hardware store can supply varnish (ask for satin or eggshell).

Furniture
Handmade
add your furniture to the Buy Direct Directory

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pet Supplies: Portion-Control Automatic Pet Feeder

Portion-Control Automatic Pet Feeder now available in Pet Supplies.

This 10-pound programmable feeder faithfully delivers portion-controlled meals to pets while the owner is away. The unit automatically dispenses selected portions ranging from 1/4 cups to 3 cups and dispenses them up to three times per day. It's perfect for pets who need a little weight management.

Use dry dog or cat food only. Assembles quickly and easily with no tools necessary.

Recipe File: Pesto

In a food processor, puree the basil with the pine nuts, oil, Parmesan cheese, butter, garlic and salt. Place in a glass jar. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over top. Screw on lid and refrigerate until ready to use. Discard after 24 hours or freeze for later use.

Yield: about 1/2 cup.

Nutritional analysis per tablespoon: 82 calories, 2 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrate, 8 grams fat, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 108 milligrams sodium.

Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Recipe: Pesto
Recipe File
Recipe Archive
Basil: In Season Guide
Pesto by Oliviero Olivieri

Vendor FAQ: What if I don't want to sell online?

Online sales are not a requirement of vendors at Farmer's Market Online. Our mission is to link shoppers who want to buy direct from the producer with producers selling direct, wherever that may be (farmstand, local market, mailorder, etc.).

A Booth or a Listing at Farmer's Market Online can be used to alert shoppers to a vendor's presence at a farmers market, or help them place special orders for pickup or delivery. All sales are strictly between the shopper and the vendor, however and wherever they occur.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Market Watch: Corn Demand Improves

December 2010 corn futures traded to a high of $3.95 in mid-April, retreated to a low of $3.67 early last week, and then rallied back to $3.95. The current price is about $.40 above the contract low established in early September 2009 and about $.75 below the high reached in early June 2009. The contract high, reached in mid-2008, is over $7.00.

According to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good, weakness in corn prices starting in mid-April primarily reflected supply considerations: generally favorable weather for planting, expectations that acreage could exceed March intentions, and expectations that the 2010 yield would be above trend value due to a majority of the crop being planted early.

"The current strength in corn prices reflects more favorable demand prospects," Good said. "There is a fair amount of optimism about corn demand in each of the three major categories of consumption."

Recent data confirm increasing production and consumption of ethanol. Expansion is being driven by extremely favorable ethanol blending margins. Wholesale gasoline prices have increased from about $2.00 per gallon in mid-February to over $2.40 now. During the same time period, ethanol prices have declined from about $1.75 per gallon to about $1.60 per gallon.

"The current spread between gasoline and ethanol prices results in a very high return to ethanol blending, even before the $.45 per gallon blender's tax credit. The price spread is large enough that E-85 prices could be competitive at the retail level. Favorable blending margins should continue to support demand for ethanol so that corn consumption for ethanol production during the 2009-10 corn marketing year could exceed the current USDA projection of 4.3 billion bushels. There is ongoing concern about the 'blend wall' for ethanol if mid-level blends are limited to 10 percent, but that wall clearly has not been reached yet."

Continues at Market Watch

Source: Darrel Good, 217-333-4716, d-good@illinois.edu

Bites: Flaxseed Diet Reduces Ovarian Tumors in Hens

Hens fed a flaxseed-enriched diet for one year experienced a significant reduction in late-stage ovarian tumors during a recent University of Illinois study.

Flaxseed is the richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, one type of omega-3 fatty acid. Several studies have already shown that flaxseed inhibits the formation of colon, breast, skin and lung tumors.

"The chicken is the only animal that spontaneously develops ovarian cancer on the surface of the ovaries like humans," said Janice Bahr, a professor emerita in the U of I Department of Animal Sciences and one of the nation's leading poultry researchers. "In this study, we evaluated how a flaxseed-enriched diet affected 2-year-old laying hens (hens that have ovulated as many times as a woman entering menopause)."

Hens fed a control diet had significantly more late-stage tumors that presented with fluid and metastases as compared to the hens fed a flaxseed diet. Though hens fed the flaxseed diet did not have a decreased incidence of ovarian cancer, they did experience fewer late-stage tumors and higher survival rates.

"In hens fed flaxseed, we found that more tumors were confined to the ovary and they had less metastatic spread," Bahr said. "This is an important finding as the metastases that accompany late-stage ovarian cancer are the main cause of death from this disease. If the cancer is found at an early stage, when the tumor is still confined to the ovary, women have a much better prognosis and more treatment options."

In addition, researchers found that hens fed the flaxseed diet had better weight control which is important because obesity increases cancer risk. Both diets had equal caloric content, however the flaxseed-fed hens weighed less at six months than the control-fed hens. But at 12 months, the flaxseed-fed hens were the same weight and the control-fed hens had loss significant weight, which was indicative of their failing health. Ultimately, the flaxseed-enriched diet helped the birds maintain a healthy weight and resulted in less sickness and death.

"Through this research, we have proven that flaxseed supplementation for one year is able to reduce the severity of ovarian cancer in hens," Bahr said. "These findings may provide the basis for a clinical trial that evaluates the efficacy of flaxseed as a chemosuppressant of ovarian cancer in women."

Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Skid-Steer Track now available in Farm Supply

Skid-Steer Track now available in Farm Supply.

These TracksPlus steel tracks fit these Bobcat 700 series, S130, S150, S175, S185 and S205 skid loaders.

Strong steel tracks give your skid loader the traction to go almostr anywhere. Constructed of tough Marbain material for long-lasting strength - up to 1800 hours of use - and improved loader stability. Easy-on in 20 minutes, easy-off in 10 minutes.

Farm Supply
add your supplies to Farm Supply

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Market Watch: Egg Market Reports

Links to two key egg USDA egg market reports have been added to the Market Reports links on the Market Watch blog.

The weekly Egg Market - Retail is published each Friday by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. This report covers advertised prices to consumers at supermarkets for the most commonly marketed consumer grades of shell eggs. It provides a prospective that allows users to measure, analyze, anticipate, and react to retail marketing trends. The report samples 300 retail supermarkets throughout the lower 48 states representing 19,200 stores.

The most recent report, for instance, shows an average retail price of $1.16 for dozen large white eggs, Grade A or better.

The U.S. Egg Market report, produced by the USDA/AMS Poultry Programs, Market News & Analysis Branch, provides a "Daily National Egg Market-at-a-Glance."

Look for both links under Market Reports in the right-hand column of the Market Watch blog.