Earlier this month Ondrea and I had the pleasure of attending the 2021 AdAgra Conference in Glen Rose, TX. This was a wonderful opportunity to mingle with like-minded people who share a love and passion for small-scale agriculture.
In order to take advantage of this opportunity we took a week off from the farm. We’re sorry our customers were not able to order fresh, tasty winter vegetables for the week, but hopefully our time away will pay dividends in the future!
The conference was attended by young and old, growers with many years of experience, and those who are just starting out. From coast to coast and from other countries growers or want-to-be growers came together from all walks of life to share their experience, learn how to grow specialty crops, grow smarter, more efficiently, and even how to include children in the gardening experience.
With so much to offer we had to limit ourselves to only a handful of presentations to attend. We decided to spend our time learning about growing crops we thought our customers would enjoy.
In one class, our eyes were opened about the many challenges of growing strawberries. And in another class, how easy it is to grow perennial asparagus that provides fresh, tasty spears every spring for 15-20 years!
We also learned some tips and tricks to improve our growing of transplants. There’s nothing more disappointing as a grower to plant seeds and dedicate loads of time and effort into growing seedling transplants only to end up with poor quality plants lacking the ability to produce healthy veggies.
But we didn’t only learn more about growing fruits and vegetables. One of the most informative and well-presented classes was given by an energetic young woman from Washington about growing cut flowers. There was so much to learn from this awesome presentation!
Ony and I were truly inspired with the new knowledge we gained from more experienced growers at the conference. We can’t wait to put it into practice and try our hand at some tasty new crops!
As wonderful the conference was, we have to say that our visit with Carrie Chlebanowski of The Looney Farm in Alex, Oklahoma was the highlight of our trip. Carrie was so gracious to take some time out of her busy schedule to give us a quick tour of her market farm and answer our questions. Carrie is a rising star in the small market farm scene and we are truly blessed to have someone in our growing region we can really relate to. It was encouraging to see her and her husband living out their dream, and to see that others experience their share of successes and failures. We were inspired by Carrie with what she is doing and hope to have her as a mentor as we continue to develop Toppled Barn Farm.