Auburn growers featured at Farm Aid
BY STACI WILSON
For 20 yearsWest Auburnfarmer Gerald Carlin researched ways to extend the growing season.
This year, he actually did it.
After selling off his dairy herd earlier this year, Carlin began his new career focused on growing vegetables in three passive solar greenhouses he designed and one high tunnel.
Carlin expects to be harvesting produce into the winter.
“It’s a different type of farming,” Carlin said, “with a different stress level.”
But so far, he’s happy with the way it’s worked out.
Carlin, who along with his wife, Tina, now operate 4 Seasons Farm Market at their Auburn Twp. farm which features their homegrown, fresh-picked produce.
Their work over this past year has garnered the attention of the National Family Farm Coalition, ofWashington,D.C.
Through their involvement in the NFFC, the Carlin’s have been invited to participate in the 2012 Farm Aid, this week in Hershey.
The couple will be discussing their family farm experiences using passive solar energy in farming and will also be part of theHomegrownVillage, promoting family farms and local food sources, during the annual Farm Aid concert.
In a press conference, Carlin will share the stage with Farm Aid principals Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and others.
Carlin built the high tunnel late last summer; he began planting tomato seeds Jan. 23; and harvested his first crop on May 9.
“A lot of people are surprised that on a sunny day in the winter it’s 80 degrees (inside the greenhouses). They don’t believe it until they walk in,” Carlin said.
Tina said that only heirloom or rare seeds – ones that are not genetically modified, are grown on the farm. Including the sweet corn, the Carlin’s grow their vegetables on about five of the farm’s 110 acres.
“We follow organic practices but are not certified organic,” she said.
And new crops are being planted each week. Recently, Carlin has planted a variety of greens, snow peas, carrots, radishes.
And he expects cucumbers to be available into October and tomatoes into December. Some of the tomato plants in the greenhouse attached to the farm store tower over the building’s rafters.
But he added, “Nothing is guaranteed.”
In addition to the vegetables, the Carlin’s still raise beef cows and have dairy heifers on the farm that has been in Gerald’s family for 109 years. The couple bought the farm off of Gerald’s parents in 1991.
The beef is also available in the storefront, as is local honey, raw milk and dry goods from local suppliers, and some gift items.
For more information about the Carlin farm or 4 Seasons Farm Market, visit www.4seasonsfarmmarket.com
Information about Farm Aid can be found at www.farmaid.org.