Apiary advisory council member Jon Zawislak shares about bees

JZ-with-friends_2013_225.jpgThis week on the blog we're excited to introduce you to Jon Zawislak.

As the bee specialist with University of Arkansas Extension, Jon is the go-to guy for anything bee-related in the state. Whether it's technical info for commercial apiarists, general info for the public, or hands-on training for beginning beekeepers, he can help!

Not a CNG member himself, he is an advocate for natural practices and we are delighted to count him as a member of our Apiary Advisory Council!

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Salt River Garlic, Debra Green, KY

KY.SaltRiver.estonian_red_curing.jpgI've always loved veggie varietal names, but garlic breeders must take the prize. I mean, Estonian Red? Georgian Crystal? Can it get much better than a garlic varietal named Music?! 

And those are just some of the unique, heirloom varieties that Debra Green and Tom Scanlan grow at Salt River Garlic in north central Kentucky. Debra tells us their town of Taylorsville, is "right along the Bourbon Trail, by the way, in case you get the urge to drop in and say hello!"

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Yokna Bottoms Farm, Doug Davis, MS

MS.Yokna.DougDavis.jpgDoug Davis is a college professor, a farmer, and a self-proclaimed sodbuster.

What's a sodbuster you ask? This is how he explains it in his words: 

Sod.bust.ers (n.) Gardeners, farmers, lovers, dreamers, planters, ranchers, builders and breeders, sons and daughters of the soil, pickers and plowers, sowers and growers…

Though Doug has been busting sod since he was young, it wasn't until 2007 that he got the chance to do it on a grander scale. That's the year he purchased some prime bottomland in northern Mississippi hill country and founded Yokna(patawpha) Bottoms Farm. 

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Lee Farms, Cindy Lou Lee & Bob Van Wuyckhuyse, NY

 NY.LeeFarms.Cattle-ed.jpgWhen husband and wife team Cindy Lou Lee and Bob Van Wuyckhuyse were choosing a name for their farm in New York near the shores of Lake Ontario, they went with her name to make sure their customers could pronounce it.

Whether their name had anything to do with it, it sure seems like Bob and Cindy got something right - this year marks their 30th farm-iversary! 

We caught up with Bob about everything, ranging from those bulky multi-tools that just "pull [his] pants down", learning from the old timers, and starting a new egg venture with his 10 year old grandson. 

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Athens Farmers Market, Jan Kozak, Georgia

GA.AthensMarket.Jan_at_market-ed.jpgIf you find yourself in Athens, GA on a Wednesday or a Saturday, the Athens Farmers Market is the place to be.

Enjoy live music, a chef demo, or an educational activity; catch up with your friends; swap recipe ideas with the person ahead of you buying kohlrabi; and of course, find the very best fresh, local, sustainable food.

Below, Jan Kozak the Market Manager, shares why the market is such a special place for him and for the community. 

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SheerLark Farm, Sherry and Larry Johnson, AL

AL.SheerLark.Sherry-closeup.jpgThough the place names around SheerLark Farm might not seem promising for agriculture - the town is Flat Rock and it's on Sand Mountain - Sherry and Larry Johnson's farm is bountiful.

It's a safe bet that their success has at least as much to do with Sherry and Larry's decades of farming experience as it does with the soil under their feet. 

Sherry took the time to answer some of our questions about what keeps them going!

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The Homestead, Pleasant Hills, Iowa

IA.Homestead.DP_with_Lettuce.jpgThe Homestead just outside Des Moines, Iowa grows a full range of veggies and fruits for its CSA and retail markets, but that’s not all that keeps them busy. In fact, the farm’s main goal is providing meaningful employment for the adults with autism who work on the farm. Below, Eric Armbrecht, Homestead's Vocational Director, shares about their farm model, the benefits and challenges that come with the territory, and his hopes for the farms future.

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Summer Smiles Honey Apiary, Darci Sanner, PA

PA.SummerSmiles.Darci_hives_suit-2.JPGEven before Darci Sanner started keeping bees, she spent three years reading everything she could get her hands on about honey bees.

Now, five years since she got her first hive, her enthusiasm for all things honey bee is undiminished.

If anything it has grown, and she is excited to share her knowledge with friends, neighbors, and her community in Pennsylvania. 

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Origins Farm, Alistar Harris, Virigina

VA.Origins.AlistarHarris_close-up.jpegAlistar Harris operates Origins Farm with his wife Rebecca Ponder in Hanover, north of Richmond, Virginia.  

He claims to have gotten into farming "accidentally." But listen to him talk about his veggies, and you'll find out pretty quick that this was no accident. 

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Sleeping Frog Farms; Debbie, Adam, CJ and Clay; Arizona

AZ_Sleeping_Frog_Debbie__CJ__Clay__Adam.jpgSleeping Frog Farms - owned and operated collectively by four good friends, growing food year round through desert winters - has an unusual business model. Debbie Weingarten, her husband, Adam Valdivia, and their friends CJ Marks and Clay Smith are the masterminds behind the farm. We caught up with Debbie to get the inside scoop. 

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