5854 Vera Cruz Rd Emmaus, PA 18049 Google Map 610-391-9583 ext. 16
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Posted 10/15/2012 5:22pm by Sara Runkel.

Eco-centric: a blog about food, water and energy covered the Seed Farm in their Heros section. Check it out at

http://www.ecocentricblog.org/2012/10/11/heroic-endeavor-the-seed-farm/

Posted 9/26/2012 7:23pm by Sara Runkel.

 

Farm to Table Dinner

Sunday October 14, 2012

4-8pm

 

 

 


 

Join us for the best in local food, wine, and friendship, while learning how training helps new farm entrepreneurs and our community.
 
A sumptuous feast of local fare will be prepared by Chef Lee Chizmar of Bolete with wine from Galen Glen and desert from Dolce Patisserie. Bolete has been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, Gourmet, the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Food Network. Chef Lee Chizmar will turn food fresh from the Seed Farms fields into a meal to remember. The event will be held at the Seed Farm in Emmaus PA on Sunday October 14th.
Imagine drinking a glass of wine overlooking rolling farm fields, with the sun setting over two shining ponds while you taste luxurious Hors d'oeuvres prepared with food harvested only yesterday from these very fields. As you sit down to an enchanting dinner you will know you are supporting training for one of the most important jobs in the world – training for those men and women who produce our food.

 The Seed Farm's new farmer training and agricultural business incubator programs helps start and maintain new sustainable farms in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, facilitating the development of a vibrant, local food system. The Seed Farm, located on a 45 acre site in Emmaus, PA links new farmers with training, equipment and land through its Apprenticeship and Incubator Programs eliminating the top three barriers to farm entry, and opening doors for a new generation of farmers.

Posted 9/18/2012 6:24pm by Sara Runkel.

The Seed Farm hosted its 4th annual Sowing Seeds Charity Bike Ride and Fun Run on Saturday, August 25th.  It was a gorgeous late summer day, and over 200 people came to ride their bike, run or walk through the fields, or volunteer.  Cyclists hydrated and fueled up on food at “farm stops”: Pappy’s Orchard offered peach slushies,  Lennilea Farm Nursery cut up a few melons, and Kraussdale Alpacas had their alpacas out and about.    Ample baked goods were on hand (and quickly devoured) from Baked, Granny’s Schmidts Bakery, Maryann Donut Kitchen, and The Flour Shop.   Lunch was kindly prepared by the Brew Works with fresh vegetables from the Seed Farm, chicken from Woodsong Hollow Farm, and beef from Breakaway Farms.  Thanks to all who joined us, and we hope to see you next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 9/17/2012 6:09am by Sara Runkel.

The Seed Farm intensive training program includes 500 hours of on-farm training and 100 hours of formal workshops and classes in organic production. 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 go here or call Seed Farm Director Sara Runkel at 610-391-9583, ext.16. Applications are due October 15, 2012.

Posted 9/13/2012 8:24pm by Sara Runkel.

Join us for the best in local food, wine, and friendship, while learning how training helps new farm entrepreneurs and our community.

A sumptuous feast of local fare will be prepared by Chef Lee Chizmar of Bolete with wine from Galen Glen and desert from Dolce Patisserie.

Bolete has been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, Gourmet, the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Food Network. Chef Lee Chizmar will turn food fresh from the Seed Farms fields into a meal to remember. The event will be held at the Seed Farm in Emmaus PA on Sunday October 14th.

Imagine drinking a glass of wine overlooking rolling farm fields, with the sun setting over two shining ponds while you taste luxurious Hors d'oeuvres prepared with food harvested only yesterday from these very fields. As you sit down to an enchanting dinner you will know you are supporting training for one of the most important jobs in the world – training for those men and women who produce our food.


For ticket information go to the event page here.

Posted 8/19/2012 7:14am by Sara Runkel.

The Seed Farm is holding its 4th Annual Sowing Seeds Charity Bike Ride and Fun Run on Saturday, August 25, at the Seed Farm. The event will give participants the chance to run or ride through some of the area's scenic, fertile farmland. Not just a fundraiser to support the Seed Farm's important work, the event will showcase area farms, as well as the men and women who own and operate them.


Routes of 10, 20 and 40 miles are available for cyclists, and there will be plenty of farm stops along the way to fuel up on farm fresh food. At the finish, participants will get the chance to patronize a farmers’ market set up by Seed Farm apprentices. New this year is the addition of a cross-county 5K fun run/walk that weaves through the scenic fields at the Seed Farm. Organizers are expecting more than 150 participants. Thanks to many generous donations, every entry fee will include a breakfast of baked goodies from local bakeries, along with fruit and coffee. Lunch, also included, will feature farm fresh foods, along with veggies, fruits and meats from The Seed Farm and other local farmers, prepared by the Brew Works. These tasty dishes will hopefully encourage participants to frequent the farms and bakeries that provided the food, after the event has ended. Register for the event by visiting www.bikereg.com and query “sowing seeds”.


Seed Farm Description: Growing New Farmers for the Future - The Seed Farm's new farmer training and agricultural business incubator programs helps start and maintain new sustainable farms in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, facilitating the development of a vibrant, local food system. The Seed Farm, located on a 45 acre site in Upper Milford Township, links new farmers with training, equipment and land through its Apprenticeship and Stewardship Programs eliminating the top three barriers to farm entry, and opening doors for a new generation of farmers.


Contact: Erin Frederick
efrederick@wildlandspa.org
610-965-4397 ext. 137

Posted 8/1/2012 8:08am by Sara Runkel.

“This was really helpful. I am glad I got to try those hand tools before I went out and bought them.” This was just one of many comments shared by the 30 participants of the equipment field day held at the Seed Farm in Emmaus last Wednesday, July 25. The workshop, hosted by The Seed Farm in Collaboration with Penn State Extension Start Farming, gave small-scale vegetable farmers an opportunity to see and try the many hand tools available, in addition to seeders and larger equipment like the Williams tool system and a spader for primary and secondary tillage.

European Push Hoe with long handle and pistol grip.

“I am getting one of these!” another participants exclaimed as she tried out the European Push Hoe(see picture below). The tool did not hurt her shoulders as much as others. However, her farm partner found the opposite to be true. Opportunities such as these at the Seed Farm prevent small-scale farmers already working on tight budgets from spending money on equipment they will not need or like.

Sara Runkel Seed Farm Manager describing Williams Tool System cultivator.

Posted 6/26/2012 8:24pm by Sara Runkel.

Penn State Extension’s Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production Course met at the Seed Farm this June. Weed expert Scott Guiser led a weed walk where Seed Farm apprentices and course participants learned Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production Class learns weed management tactics from the Seed Farm managerwhich weeds on the farm we should keep an eye on. Knowing your weeds is the first step. But how do you manage them? Hands on experimentation with a wide variety of hand hoes and a close up view of cultivation demos gave participants knew knowledge on the best tools to add to their weed management plans.

Posted 6/20/2011 11:07am by Alison Grantham.
‘Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production’ Students try the blue wheel hoe in a pathway, a long-handled cobra weeder in beets, and scuffle or hula hoes in fava beans. students gathered at The Seed Farm on June 11 to learn common weeds and how to exploit aspects of the weeds’ ecology to manage the weeds organically. Representatives from Green Heron Tools, LLC, explained the body mechanics and ergonomics necessary to get the job done without breaking your back.

If you’re an organic vegetable farmer, weeds can break you. It was a lesson I learned first-hand on Saturday morning. Charged with harvesting 10 small, clean, market-ready bunches of cilantro, weeds turned what should have been a 10-minute task into a frustrating half-hour-long nightmare. Weeds obscured and out-competed the cilantro, making it challenging and time-consuming to find and snip out cilantro with stems of the appropriate length, without also snipping out foxtail, scarlet pimpernel, common ragweed, and hairy galinsoga. When weeds get in the way of harvesting, they’re cutting into profitability, which is why “every farmer needs a weed management plan!” to quote Seed Farm director, Sara Runkel.

 

Know your weeds. Amidst intermittent rainstorms and in especially soggy fields, students learned the first step in every weed management plan: figure out what weeds you have on your farm. This spring the rainy weather made fields at The Seed Farm too wet to cultivate for many weeks. Then, the rapid switch to 90+degree-weather quickly baked soil in many of the fields to concrete, again preventing effective cultivation. Scott Guiser, horticulture educator from Penn State Extension in Bucks County was on hand to help students identify the resulting weeddiversity at The Seed Farm.  From perennials like yellow nutsedge and Canada thistle, to annuals like hairy galinsoga and yellow foxtail, students got lots of hands-on experience identifying weeds in their natural field conditions.

 

Learn their ecology. Are your weeds mostly annuals or perennials? Do they have a fibrous root system or a taproot? When to they germinate? Learning all of these characteristics about your problem weeds will point the way toward effective management solutions. For example, hairy galinsoga, a common weed in many vegetable systems, is a summer annual weed with a rather delicate, shallow fibrous root system that matures from seed to flower in less than a month and has no seed dormancy. While this list of characteristics may at first make hairy galinsoga seem like a formidable enemy, Saturday’s students learned how to spot this species’ weaknesses. The lack of a seed dormancy period and shallow root system, make hairy galinsoga seeds especially easy to clean out of your seedbank using false seed-bedding, a technique where the farmer tills the soil to stimulate a flush of weed seeds to germinate. Then, the farmer returns and cultivates out each flush of weed seedlings to clean the seeds out of the soil.

Manage weeds with the appropriate (sharp) tools. Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger from Green Heron tools arrived to demonstrate the ergonomically appropriate way to hand cultivate on a small scale. Dedicated to providing tools that maximize comfort, efficiency, productivity and safety, Ann and Liz inspired hope that there are ways to effectively manage weeds for hours on end without pain. Using tools with long handles to keep your spine in proper alignment and ergonomic grips to keep your wrists in a neutral position can go a long way to prevent the aching back and wrists often associated with many hours of weeding. Tianna DuPont, sustainable agriculture educator and course instructor, emphasized proper tool maintenance to keep the effort of actually using a tool to a minimum. Clean (with a wire brush), sharpen (with a bastard file) and oil your hoe/ pruners, harvest knife, etc. often – definitely after every use. A sharp tool will take far less effort and be much more effective than a dull tool.

 

Get ‘em when they’re small (aWhen a weed emerges can be the first clue as to when to implement a management tactic.nd definitely before they flower), is Scott Guiser’s cardinal rule of weed management. Whether you’re flaming a bed of carrots before the carrots have emerged, hand-hoeing cabbages or cultivating a field of fava beans using a tractor-mounted Williams Tool System, the best time to kill weeds is at the “white thread stage” – just after the weed seeds have germinated, but before they have true leaves. It’s not only the time when it’s easiest to kill weeds, it’s also the time before the weeds have exerted their competitive damage on the crop. If you miss them at this early stage, all is not lost, just be sure to mow them off or plow them under before they go to seed. Each weed can make thousands of seeds, so, to avoid contributing to next year’s weed woes, be sure to kill them before they set seed.

 

Despite the having to dodge raindrops, students seemed thoroughly satisfied by the day’s end. Having had a chance to:

  • learn about a wide variety of weeds and effective organic management practices for each,
  • experiment with and compare a wide variety of hand tools,
  • get some hands-on experience sharpening tools, and
  • examine and compare an array or tractor-mounted weed management implements

Yeawah Sano, an aspiring vegetable farmer said, “this class was totally worth the [3 hour] drive from Maryland!”

Posted 6/6/2011 12:44pm by Alison Grantham.
20 Beginning, diversifying, and prospective farmers learned how to start farming organic vegetables on Saturday May 28 at The Seed Farm in Lehigh County.

Part of Penn State Extension’s Start Farming program, Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production is a practical, hands-on course for anyone considering making the leap to producing organic vegetables for profit. Saturday’s full-day session started with a crop planning exercise at the Lehigh County Ag Center. Students learned the ins-and-outs of planning a crop rotation to effectively avoid and manage soil-borne diseases, build soil fertility, and achieve their production goals. The afternoon portion involved demonstrations and hands-on experimentation with a dizzying array of seeding and transplanting equipment at The Seed Farm, a new farmer training program and agricultural business incubator in Lehigh County.

Sara Runkel, The Seed Farm’s executive director, started with a succinct and candid overview or each of the seeders: 1) The Earthway, 2) The European Seeder, 3) Johnny’s 6-Row Seeder, the Seed Stick, and the Glasier Pull Seeder. Students also examined brassicas started in plug flats vs. soil blocks. Plug flats add convenience and speed to seeding and moving trays of seedlings around, but the seedlings in the soil blocks were considerable larger than the plug flat seedlings and do not get root bound. The soil blocks facilitate air pruning of the roots.

Rotating between 4 stations in the field, students gained experience planting raw and pelleted carrot seed, beet seed, and summer squash seed.

At the Glasier pull seeder station, students struggled to get the seeder to work, even in the relatively fine seedbed. Driven by gear wheels that should have been turned by being pulled across the soil, the wheels just didn’t turn. Likely the Glasier just needs a good oiling and then the one-row Glasier Seeder would make seeding in the center of a bed much less of a gymnastic feat.

The Earthway was a much less frustrating experience for many students. The lightweight frame makes emptying seed and changing varieties an easy affair. On the other hand, some students found the lightweight plastic frame bounced quite a bit and was difficult to guide in a straight line down the field. In beet and carrot plots planted a few weeks back, students saw that the Earthway tends to seed a bit heavier than some of the other seeders .

Devida McKevitt, Seed Farm apprentice, Master Gardener, and longtime urban grower lead the group trying out the European Seeder. Devida is sold on the heavier metal frame. Although it is harder to dump the seeder out and switch varieties, it is much easier to guide the seeder in a straight line. Devida and others at The Seed Farm have solved the seed switching issue with a 2 gallon bucket that hangs from the handle of the seeder. Every time they want to change seed, they simply pour the seed into the bucket and then from the bucket back to the packet.

The Seed Stick was another exercise in patience. Designed to eliminate the squatting and bending over usually involved in seeding large-seeded crops by hand, the Seed Stick often gets clogged with soil. Checking to see whether the stick is clogged after each seed, makes the implement more laborious than just seeding by hand, according to Sara Runkel, who recommends seeding large seeded squash and melons my hand, rather than dealing with a seeder.

The day wrapped up with transplanting Brussels Sprouts and tomatoes into both soil and black plastic mulch with Johnny’s hand hoes, a hori-hori transplanting knife, a Hatfield transplanter, and then with the tractor-mounted Nolts water wheel transplanter. The Hatfield offered a nice break from bending over, but the seat on the transplanter is probably as comfortable as it can get for transplanting. That said, Sara reminded attendees that the ~$3000 price tag on a tractor-mounted transplanter is probably not justified for a beginning grower. Seed Farm apprentice, Blake Unis, said he thinks money is much better spent on greenhouse space than a tractor or tractor-mounted equipment, when you’re first getting going.

At the end of the day, everyone had seen and tried some equipment that might be right for them, and learn what was definitely not right for them, before buying anything.

Farm-to-Table DinnerMay 22nd, 2017

Our 7th annual Farm-to-Table Dinner will be held on Sunday, October 8, 2017.   Dinner will be prepared by Chef Jon Middleton of Sodexo and Chef Josh Palmer of Sette Luna, Maxim's 22, a

Plant SaleMay 18th, 2017

The Plant Sale continues! Place an order online and pick up at one of three locations throughout the Lehigh Valley during the week of May 21st. Plant availability and price list can be found her

Launch the Farm StandApril 19th, 2017

Coming Soon! A farm stand for new farmers A delicious, convenient new way to connect new farmers with the community. The Seed Farm is excited to announce our brand new farm stand, opening in the spri

Have a Question?

Contact Us Online or Call 610-391-9583 ext. 16

Farm Address:
5854 Vera Cruz Rd Emmaus, PA 18049

Mailing Address:
Lehigh County Ag Center 4184 Dorney Park Road Suite107 Allentown, PA, 18104

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