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A Journey Back in Time And to Another Land
Sam Kedem, Hastings, MN

In his article below Sam Kedem, long-time OFGA supporter and Board Member, shares what has worked for him over the years, how he arrived at an incredibly diverse and successful operation, and he gives us a glimpse of what he has learned on his recent (February, 2020) trip to Israel. Be sure to check out his beautiful images in the gallery!

Personal Journey — Where I began, today, tomorrow

I was hooked on apples ever since the first bite around age 8. So as a young adult, I jumped head on for the opportunity to work with fruit trees, gradually expanding my horizon through workshops, schooling, reading, rubbing other growers and listening to experts on a variety of subjects.

Midway through life, I became interested in ornamental plants as well. Being involved in both endeavors widened my horizon severalfold, directing my attention to the following:

  • Good nutrition for all ages

  • Environmental & aesthetic benefits of edible landscapes

Our farm evolves around PYO and farm market; being close and accessible to major hubs works quite well. The added benefit of season extension growing range affords a lengthy season in fruits, vegetables, plants, preserves, honey, freedom eggs, and other items.

Our customers helped us to identify current and future trends, thereby we make adjustments ahead of the curve. We’ve identified several factors that will likely propel future trends in our proximity, including: growing segment of older generation, impact of expanding and more diversified population on the environment and health, more educated workforce than in past. To address those issues, we added small fruits known to be nutrient rich to the mix, most of them may be incorporated into landscape as well.

Food (in)security

Visiting a farming community in northern Israel and a desert community in the south demonstrate how implementations of new technologies that address land and water scarcity can mitigate future food and labor shortages. Precious rocky soils, mingled with limestone boulders atop mountainous terrain up north. Unforgiving desert valley down south, with powdery soil void of organic matter and soaring summer temps. Though crops differ markedly between those farms, lesser skilled young farmers are able to adapt fairly quickly, in spite of unsustainable government policies and zero subsidies.

Innovations include computerized climate control, irrigation, various nettings to address physiological stressors and pests. This results in markets brimming with local fresh produce and flowers year round. Variety, quantity, and quality of produce in groceries and open markets are enviable, as are the tempting stands.

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