Wapsie Valley corn. Tom will dry the corn to save seed for the next growing season.
“One of the biggest keys to organic farming is that it’s educational,” says Tom.
“It’s fun,” says Tom when we talk about farming organically.
As we looked at the Einkorn wheat grown by Tom and Mary, Tom hand-husked a kernel for me to taste the seed inside.
Red Fife wheat stored for the winter.
Hybrid corn at rest for the season, blowing in the blue-grey Ohio day.
Harvested on November 4, the corn will be marketed. The stalks will be worked into the ground and a cover crop of wheat will be incorporated.
Tom shares a spelt seed that is still rooting into the soil with me. “It looks pregnant,” I say. “I’ve never heard it described that way,” he chuckles.
“That’s what I like to see in the wintertime…covered in green,” says Tom, as he looks out over one of his fields newly planted with seed.
The family farm record from 1945, an antiquity much admired by our chief operating officer, Steve Berk.
Mary and Tom insist on showing me one of their treasures from their time spent in Malaysia while in the Peace Corps. The parasol, made by the village children, was used by Mary during the hot, sunny days. “They all knew how to make these,” she says.
Wapsie Valley corn drying for seed, the same corn Shagbark uses for their
products. “We know that Tom and Mary are going to grow these particular crops that we’re interested in,” says Shagbark co-owner Michelle Ajamian. “This year we also got a sample of Einkorn from them, and they also grow the Red Fife wheat that we now offer, so we make Red Fife wheat basic flour, and then chefs can order all different kinds of custom siftings depending on what they’re planning to do with it, and we do the same with our spelt flour. Our relationships with farmers: We find out what they’re growing and how much, and we try to market it as much as we can.”
Tom shows us his solar panels, installed in 2012. When Tom’s granddaughter saw them she said, “It’s really nice Grandpa put mirrors out for the cows to see themselves.”