Monday, March 22, 2010

My Trip To Cookstown Greens

From the country...

On Sunday, Mark and I took a day trip (sans kids…) to see the farm of Cookstown Greens(check out We met with the farmer/genius David Cohlmeyer and took a look at his operation. Let’s just say I was floored and it gave me a new perspective on all year farming. Since growing greens is something I would like to specialize in, we spent the day picking David’s brain (literally question after question it was almost embarrassing…) and touring his vast operation.
We started in one of his large greenhouses, where he grows greens from September to Juneish and marvelled at his ingenious (and expensive) set up. I salivated looking at all the delicate greens with their vibrant colours, resisting the urge to pluck and eat. In these large greenhouses, greens grow from the fall to the spring (then grown in the field) and in the late spring through the summer, heirloom tomatoes take their turn. We then set out to see the fields and the impressive rotational green cropping that David implements on his land. He works and grows one part of his land and the other sections are parcelled off and grow a mixture of peas, oats, sorghum, rye grass etc. to feed the soil. The factual meaning of organic has been so skewed in today’s terms. Often people relate the word ‘ORGANIC” to being grown without chemical inputs. But to a farmer, it should mean to add organic matter to your soil. In layman’s terms, the soil needs to eat too, and if you have healthy soil, there is no need for synthetic components. Anyway after the walk we checked out the facilities were the greens are washed, spun and packaged. We envied the cold storage were root vegetables are stored from harvest to early spring and sold throughout the winter. We ventured into the coolers where harvested greens etc. stay fresh, and went out into the greenhouse where micro greens and edible flowers grow all winter long. The perfect amendments to salad greens. Trays of pea shoots, beet tops, red cabbage and amaranth. Plantings of Swiss chard, borage in flower, and marigolds. My face was flush with inspiration. We thanked David for his time with a care package of eggs, homemade corn relish, hot sauce and wild applesauce. It was our way of saying thanks for a truly amazing trip. I left feeling so green and new to farming and the realization that there was so much more to learn, and so much more growth stretched out ahead of me. I lay in bed last night going over my own farming plans and putting my new found knowledge to work (in my head at least…) and although I feel a tad overwhelmed, I am eager to get my hands dirty.


  1. woah, he has a pretty serious operation!

    Amazing pics by the way.

    Seems like a really smart set up. Is this what you're hoping to do?

    You left the boys at home? A cookstown date it sounds like.

    Looks like you guys had a good time.

    xo a

  2. Yep, boys stayed with Dad. I would like to start heading my production that way. It is BIG time though with lots of $$ invested. Laura


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