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So why didn’t the zucchini cross the road? He didn’t want to become squash! Yes, indeed it’s time for squash jokes. Calabacin, cousa, courgette, cymling, cuccuzza, curcubita pepo, scallop, vegetable marrow, butterbar, crookneck,...
  Seems to me the weather has been cooperating nicely with gardening goals: a fairly balanced mix of sun and rain. And, it shows in your photographs of gardens from across the region. The collection today takes us from a school garden in Long...
This corn was nicely mounded and will recover from the wind. Last summer, a severe storm drove through my garden when the corn was about 10 days out from picking. We lost some but salvaged 75% by building a stick and rope lattice system down each...
Several converging experiences over the last week got me to thinking about the role predators play in the food chain and even, it turns out, on the shape of our landscape. It began with my hen house, led to the ridge at the top of my hay field, and...
News flash out of Seattle: the minimum wage has just been raised to $15/hour, by far the highest in the country. Indeed, it’s double or more the rate in Arkansas ($6.25) and about half the states,  almost triple the rate in Georgia and...


Agriculture
Jul 31, 2014 — China has been a big and growing market for U.S. corn. But then farmers started planting a kind of genetically engineered corn that's not yet approved in China, and the Chinese government struck back.
Jul 14, 2014 — Some rookie farmers in northern Michigan are growing saskatoon, a shrub that looks like blueberry. They're also experimenting with it in the kitchen — in jams and pies.
Jul 1, 2014 — The University of California, Davis is the source of most commercial strawberries. Now, the university's strawberry breeders are going into business for themselves, and farmers are worried.
Jun 20, 2014 — Breweries have been providing farmers with free or discounted grain to feed their animals for centuries. But a proposed FDA rule intended to make food safer could disrupt that relationship.
Jun 9, 2014 — Water is scarce in California, and prices are all over the map. Some farmers are paying almost 100 times more than others. Should water flow to the highest bidder?
 

Special Reports

Audio Series
Farm to Farm, Family to Family: David Sommerstein travels with NC dairy farmers to a Mexican village many of their migrant workers call home.
Audio Series
A Year on the Farm
In this monthly feature series, David Sommerstein follows life in the barn, on the fields, and in the farmhouse through the changing seasons on the Andrews dairy farm near Gouverneur NY. This series won the 2006 "Cap" Creal Journalism Award from the New York Agricultural Society.
Audio Series
Hispanic Workers on North Country Farms
Five years ago, just a handful of farmers in the North Country employed Hispanic workers. Now many use workers from Latin America. The transition can be a bumpy one, for farmers and for the people they hire. David Sommerstein tells their stories in this ongoing series.
Beekeeper
Audio Slideshow:
Beekeepers facing new challenges
Lucy Martin visits with Ontario beekeeper Terry McEvoy and talks about colony collapse disorder and other apiary ailments that raise concerns about the food supply.
Audio Slideshow
Sights & Sounds of the Dairy Princess Parade
We go to the sidelines of one of the big events on the annual dairy calendar, the St. Lawrence County Dairy Princess Parade in Canton. Fire engines, tractors, and floats rolled down Main Street on Saturday.
Audio Series
Diversifying North Country Farms
NCPR reporter David Sommestein's series on diversifying North Country farming won the 2003 “Cap” Creal Journalism Award from the New York State Agricultural Society.
Photo Audio Essay
Dairy Farming in the North Country
The time seemed right to look at the challenges facing dairy in the North Country. In part 1 we look at the price of milk, as seen through the eyes of one mid-size dairy farmer. In part 2 we visit a cheese manufacturer proposing drastic changes in the way North Country farmers do business. David Sommerstein reports.
Audio Slideshow
A Barn-Raising in Upper Jay (Real 6:23)
These days, most new barns are built quickly with steel frames and sheet-metal siding. But some landowners are taking a little more time, using methods and materials passed down over hundreds of years.
Photo Audio Essay
Saving New York's Historic Barns
Some of New York's oldest barns are getting facelifts. Todd Moe visited a Canton family's 1820 English threshing barn slated for restoration.
John Scarlett, a back-to-the-lander, who stayed in Rossie.  See a larger photo in the Today's Photo section of our website
John Scarlett, a back-to-the-lander, who stayed in Rossie. See a larger photo in the Today's Photo section of our website

Back to the Land: Finding Connections Between Now, and Then

About 35 years ago, a funny thing happened in the North Country. Young people moved here, singly and in groups, to settle. They were latter day hometseaders. They bought some of the cheapest land in the country -- many drawn here by the popular Strout Real Estate catalog. Other came to college here and stayed on. They built their own homes, planted gardens, and tried to live simpler life. They were called back-to-the-landers, and many are still here. Folklorist Jill Breit is tracing connections between those settlers of the 60s and 70s, and a new wave settling now. She spoke with Martha Foley.  Go to full article

Farmers Strategize as Oil Prices Climb

From fuel to fertilizer - escalating oil prices are hitting farmers hard this year. Those pressures might force some farmers to change their farming methods.  Go to full article
Last year's Tour de Burn Barrel participants.  Photo courtesy of burnbarrel.org

Bike Ride Highlights Trash Burning Dangers

A group of cyclists will start biking from St. Lawrence County to Albany tomorrow. The 2nd Annual "Tour de Burn Barrel" is to draw attention to the health and environmental hazards of burning trash outdoors. The Environmental Protection Agency says one burn barrel can produce as much air pollution as a modern incinerator burning 400,000 pounds of garbage. Trash burning releases toxic chemicals like dioxins, arsenic, and lead into the air. Those chemicals can cause asthma, lead to thyroid problems, and increase the risk of cancer. Trash burning is legal in most rural parts of the state. David Sommerstein spoke with Chris Neurath, publisher of burnbarrel.org. He's helping to organize the Tour de Burn Barrel bike ride.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County Warns Against Burning

St. Lawrence County is asking its residents not to burn grass or trash outside until conditions get wetter. Almost 30 fires burned out of control in just two days in the...  Go to full article
An elk with CWD.  Photo by Dr. Beth Williams, University of Wyoming, courtesy of CWD Alliance.

Officials Fight Odds to Stop Chronic Wasting Disease

State officials are trying to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, a fatal neurological disorder in deer and elk. It's thought to be transmitted through...  Go to full article

CWD - Lessons from Wisconsin

People in Wisconsin have lived with concerns about chronic wasting disease since the first case surfaced there over two years ago. It was found in a wild deer. So far, some...  Go to full article

Chronic Wasting Disease Hits Oneida County

Yesterday state officials confirmed the first case of chronic wasting disease in New York. It was found in a domesticated white-tailed deer in Oneida County. David...  Go to full article

Seasonal Resident Dies of Rare Brain Ailment

A summer resident of Cranberry Lake died earlier this month from a rare illness known as sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Timothy Smith was sixty years old. The...  Go to full article
Arboretum America

Amazing Tomato: How to Keep Seeds, and Why

We follow a listener's story of long-keeping tomatoes another step. Martha Foley talks with Diana Beresford-Kroeger, a botanist, researcher and author in Merrickville,...  Go to full article

A Spring Ritual: Tapping Sugar Maples

David Sommerstein and his partner Lisa Lazenby tap about a half dozen trees in their yard in Pierrepont. Yesterday morning under cool sunshine, they brought out the metal...  Go to full article

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