Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email:

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,

PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.


The Fruit and Flower Mood Board - a Season's Color Palette Reverie

The other day I received an inquiry to grow and design a flower feast for a 2020 wedding celebration. With 12 years under my belt, I continue to deepen my understanding of how to both read the landscape as a grower, align wedding dates with flower phenology, and read the needs and interests of clients and members.

Bouquet palette for August Brunch n Blooms event. Photo by Treasure People Photography

Bouquet palette for August Brunch n Blooms event. Photo by Treasure People Photography

Flowers speak to our emotional sensibilities and often support communication where human language ends. This will show up with wedding flowers, especially, as sometimes what you think you want (roses), and what deep down you really want (dahlias or lisianthus), emerges. Luckily there are tools to support communication of each. The verbosity of my newsletter articles, reveals that I like to write, but when it comes to wedding flowers it’s all about the visual. My potential client shared with me their flower ‘mood board’ as a starting point. Just when I thought I mastered Pinterest, the landscape shifts to mood boards. It’s interesting to play with this theme and piece together bouquet collages. I think mood and color often go hand in hand to convey the feel about a particular topic and I got to reflecting on what the season’s mood board and color palette revealed.

June brought the ability to see green. Growth was the name of the botanical game and I found myself marveling at how the pears, peas, and poppies sprung from its original seed-coated horizontality, gesturing forever upward and outward. Onward with growth, mulch, and the subtleties of purple and pink. Pink pillows of peony blossom, cathedral spiries of delphinium racemes and the intimate splashes of pink on pistils on view when I paused to consider fruitset of apples and aronia.

Red emerged with July, and the mood in the orchard, in bouquets and admittedly with your farmer, was firery, shapeshifty, and oh so vibrant.

Red currant harvest sampler. Photo by Erin Schneider

Red currant harvest sampler. Photo by Erin Schneider

Ruby jeweled currants, firecracker beebalm, ripening cherries, cardinal flower spires—the lands riches mixed with dreams denied (the red-wing blackbirds bested us and the netting on our cherry trees once again) and I found myself grateful for the ‘just in time’ arrival of new fruit members. There were oh so many currants, and heat loving flowers that withstood gust fronts and held their own for ceremonial swag with wedding work. I also felt relief that our hope for humanity rose bloomed once again, electrified by the lamplit wings of fireflies wandering the prairie and grateful to hoist a toast with friends and fruit lovers in our orchard for our annual Happy Hour gathering. We seemed to round a corner just as the Japanese beetles showed up and feasted on all of our stonefruits. Burned by insect wit once again. Sorry no plums this season.

August came and went in a purple haze and I surrendered to the aronia, elderberry, and double header wedding work.

heavy lifting dahlia season  but oh so luxurious when propped up by 23 other species of flower friends for this fridays wedding flower feasts. grateful that the heavy rains stayed at bay and color to lift the perpetual mists.

#weddingflowers, #organicdahlias, #localflowerfarm, #dinnerplatedahlia, #farmerflorist
Aronia fruit set in our orchard. Photo by Erin Schneider

Aronia fruit set in our orchard. Photo by Erin Schneider

I was grateful for the anti-oxidant uplift though tucked away the cautionary tales of aronia (do we really need 60 plants which yielded on average 20# of fruit/shrub – that’s after cutting stems for bouquets). I made a mental note to re-draw the orchard maps and flag the shrubs and herbs to be divided and transplanted. Purple saturation brought some relief. I learned to re-connect with my hammock, invite in another round of bouquet play with our August Brunch n Blooms, stretch my comfort zone as I presented at the Horticulture Wellness Field day in Janesville, and to retreat North if only for a moment’s break and breathe to spend time with family and water.

Color palettes need a little contrast, the yin to the hues yang. Yellow rose to the occasion, kept it real during the summer months and knew how to show up. Yellow yarrows, clove currant blossoms, and golden marguerites brought some healthy boundaries to June’s expansion. Silphium, coneflowers, rudbekia, and celosias, synthesized the sun, softened the purple – red intensity throughout July and August and I like to think that the farm and your farmers came into alignment, or at least found a way to tap into the ‘trust frequency’.

aerial view of bouquets for August night market. Photo by Erin Schneider

aerial view of bouquets for August night market. Photo by Erin Schneider

At present, I am taking a pause from ‘squirrel mode’ to remind myself why I love the shift to fall. September brings seasonal convergence, wherein all the best laid plans and intentions manifest (or not), and I celebrate the return of orange. Our zinnias, dahlias, and mums strum deep into orange and the pumpkins follow not far behind.
The days are noticeably shorter, and harvest needs noticeably longer. Canning pickles, juicing and jamming elderberry, drying flowers, making herbal tinctures, and hustling under the persistent nudge of eminent frost (both a relief and an anxiety-still so much to harvest, so many bouquets yet to design—admittedly I even dream of winter). Autumn is the season of alchemy. Soil sets to work transforming any plant residues (and residual negativity) to compost while cover crops are seeded to feed the microbes and make mulch for next year’s crops and possibilities. Fruit ripens, flowers transmute radiance, bees digest nectar—store honey, and everywhere seeds abound-encapsulating the entelechy of the land.

bronze dahlias unfolding into fall

Your farmer, too, seemed to embody the colors, textures, and hues of the landscape. The wedding flower flow is growing into its own and I found myself booked for the season, with a sweet spot of 12.
We’ve seeded the intention to weave poetry into our Brunch n Blooms gatherings and look for future ‘Poetry in Bloom’ gatherings that combine flowers + bouquet making + brunch + poetry = blooming bliss, in 2020 and beyond.

Katrin Talbot reading poems as part of our Brunch n Blooms meets Poetry in Bloom. event at the farm. Photo by Treasure People Photography

Katrin Talbot reading poems as part of our Brunch n Blooms meets Poetry in Bloom. event at the farm. Photo by Treasure People Photography

I made space for celebration with each month, tried out a few night markets to deepen connections to the local area, taught a couple of new courses, played with poems, mentored beginning flower and fruit farmers, and committed to learning new designs, skills, and ways to weave in flowers as self-care. I want to say I felt all the colors of the rainbow in my muscle memory, though Rob will tell you my default is purple and orange. I am grateful for the allurement of each and look forward to discovering, making plans, and above all being present with the hospitality of the land and the opportunity to continue to connect with both people and place.