Monday, November 16, 2015

Rerun Article: Mac Dee Dee's First Harvest

Here is a section of Mac Dee Dee's farmland. Corn is very popular this time of year!

On 7, 2013, Mac Dee Dee and his family opened a farm in Riverville, New York with a mission – to use “old-fashioned” and organic methods of farming to grow and produce food that wouldn't harbor evil growth hormones and would also be a good place for the animals and plants they grow to spend their lives (until the day they're butchered of course). Remember that Bible verse that explains how we “shall reap what we sow”? Well, Mac Dee Dee did just that – that is, his first major harvest – on the 17th of September. My trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I went to get an exclusive interview with Mac Dee Dee himself to learn more about the operation. He's quoted for saying, “I've always been so excited about this day! Of course, we've been harvesting vegetables, fruits and animal meats and animal products since we opened. But as everyone knows, most of the things farmers grow and produce (corn for example) are harvested big-time in the fall. So this is our first major harvest! I for one am so excited about event.” Mac Dee Dee went on to explain that their farm is approximately 50,000 acres of land and is the perfect place for growing all sorts of food to feed a large population of people. Many health food stores, organic grocers and local buyers have already started buying and (in the case of stores) reselling his products and, in Riverville at least, he's becoming quite popular. While my photographer and I were at the farm, Mac Dee Dee and the others were harvesting potatoes in one part of the farm, cantaloupes in another and corn in yet another. It looked like a lot of work to do! “You have to be so careful when you're doing potatoes,” says Mac Dee Dee. “When we harvest potatoes, we use a large hoe-like piece of machinery and drive it pull it across the potato fields using a tractor.” He went on to explain that they plant the potatoes in long rows. Earlier in the season, they had dug out long trenches and placed the potatoes in each trench. Then they cover the trenches with soil. As the season wears on, the potatoes they planted (called Mother potatoes) sprout baby potatoes of their own and since they grow outwards instead of straight down into the dirt, Mac Dee Dee and the other farmers pile more and more dirt on to keep them covered. “A green potato is a bad potato,” Mac Dee Dee explains. “Green potatoes are toxic, so we don't pick them for consumption and put them in compost instead.” Finally, during the harvest season, Mac Dee Dee and the other farmers work together and use the hoe-like machinery to pull the potatoes out of the soil and remove the top soil-layer. After this is done, they grab the potatoes and place them in their crates to prepare them to ship out. Compared to potatoes, harvesting corn, cantaloupes and the rest of the lot sounds like a piece of cake! (I think I'm going to make some cake this afternoon by the way . . . wait, I'm getting off topic!) Apples are also among the fruits to be harvested during this time of year. While we were at the farm, Mac Dee Dee let Daniel and I eat one, and boy was it sweet! I would have loved to share it with you guys, my readers, but it's kind of hard to do that in writing, sorry about that! In yet another part of this large farm, Mac Dee Dee's farmers were butchering cows, turkeys, chickens, pigs and other animals and gathering the eggs of chickens, geese and others. “We plan on selling a lot of turkey this year,” Mac Dee Dee tells me. “We all know how much people like to eat turkey during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it's also organic. That's why we're produced hundreds and hundreds of turkeys in addition to the other animals we produce. But unlike most farms that keep them all cooped up, our animals are free-ranging within a (REALLY big) fenced area for them to live and feed naturally – that's why we need 50,000 acres of land.” We also checked out the milking area for the dairy cows. It's a huge place to house their hundreds of milking cows when it's milking time. While I was there, I got to hear the deafening sound of Mozart's music playing from large speakers. Mac Dee Dee says, “There's a rumor that cows produce more and better milk when Mozart music is playing, so we figured we might as well have it playing just in case it proves to be true!” But after milking time's over, not only is it a great relief to my eardrums, but also it's time for the cows to go back out to the pastures where they can graze, just like their ancestors did before the big commercial farms that keep cows locked up in tiny stalls all day long came about. Mac Dee Dee's farm is part of a growing movement to make America's eating habits better and therefore in prove better lives. “Our farm is so big that we're rivaling other non-organic farms. And that's a good thing, because it's time that we as farmers turn this eating thing around and get people to eat a better way, especially during the upcoming holiday season – to eat organic!”

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond

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