Monday, July 30, 2012

Next Steps

We are now taking steps to get past the aerial spraying incident of Friday.  The following includes information for our CSA members and others interested in the food we grow.

  •      We just had a state inspector come and take samples from our farm, including the shirt and hat Rob was wearing during the spraying incident.  The good news - this is done.  The bad news - it will likely take 3 months before we know anything from them.  I'm afraid the peppers will not still be alive November 1st.  So, we still have to find a private tester.  (sigh)
  •         We have contacted the state Pesticide Bureau, the state Organic Program and the state Sensitive Crops directory.  They are all on the case.  We have also contacted the FAA, who took interest when Tammy told them Rob had been hit with spray.  We have also had a return call from Harkin's office.  This last would be a policy oriented call.  We've made calls for other reasons, but this is a first return call we've had.
  •          We know who the pilot was and the company that owned the plane.  We know the agent who contracted the spraying and we know the farm that contracted for the job.  All have been contacted informally.
  •           We have the GPS records that show the plane clearly hit our property with spray.  We also have digital pictures that show the questionable routing/spraying.
  •           We know the three chemicals used (Sustane, Stratego and Lorsban) - two pesticides and one fungicide
  •           We know that Rob will be on Prednisone for a bit.  So watch out!  It can make people loopy we are told!
  •           We are looking for a lawyer to represent us.  We continue to take suggestions and have received a few up to the present.
  •           We still do not have answers regarding the poultry.  We don't know if the eggs are safe.  We don't know if the turkeys will be safe to eat.  No one seems willing to give us an answer at this point.  It is possible that we will hold eggs back this week until we get an answer.  The consensus of speculation by 'non-experts' is that this should work through the turkey's system before they are of an age to 'go to the park.'  Similarly, there is thought that the hens will also work it out of their system.  I have to believe this because I need to believe I can also work it out of MY system.
  •           We know that it may be a bit before we are sure whether we can or cannot use produce from the SW field.  We also know it may take a while before we know if the high tunnel produce can be given to you to eat.  We were hoping to get more specific information more quickly.  As a result, you will NOT be receiving anything from either of these areas until we can get more information.  You will NOT be receiving any peppers, hot peppers, okra, eggplant from us at all - though you may get some if we get an all clear at some point BEFORE the season ends.  Things in the high tunnel included green beans, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, rosemary and peppers, including most of our papricka peppers.  We're not sure when - or if we'll be able to use anything from here either.  But, because it was covered, there is more of a chance.  Unless, the simple fact that it doesn't rain in there prevents natural filters.  We simply don't know what - if anything - we will be able to use.
  •           We received a generous offer from our friends at Grinnell Heritage Farm.  If we cannot provide you with peppers and eggplant, they have offered to provide some so you get a taste.  We are considering this option, among other things.  GHF is certified organic as well and we trust them.  They don't grow the same varieties we grow, but what they grow is grown well.


 We are very sorry that you have to hear all of this.  We'd rather be writing about little tidbits regarding the farm and life in general.  However, we believe that it is VERY IMPORTANT that you hear what is going on.  If you walk away with anything on this it should be the following:
1. All of the produce we give to you (until or unless we get good news from these other fields) will be from areas that were NOT affected by the spraying incident.  We are confident that they are clean and healthy, just as they always have been.  These areas will continue to be certified organic.
2. We will not give you any produce from the affected areas until we find out that they are safe.  If we cannot ascertain this, we will destroy the crops and start something else..  We will not knowingly give you anything that might cause ANY ONE of you problems.
3. If we should be able to being harvesting from the affected areas, they will NO LONGER be certified organic.  We know the area was sprayed.  We saw it.  That area will not be certified organic again for three years.
4. You will receive all 20 weeks of your CSA on schedule as promised.  We will do everything we can to give you the best shares of produce that we can provide you. 

Thank you for reading.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask.  However, it may be best to ask us in person during the distribution.  We are receiving a high volume of email right now and may not be able to respond to everyone.


  1. Whenever I tell people why I believe they should join the GFF CSA, I always mention not only is the produce excellent, but that you are two of the finest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. It's still true. :D

  2. Thank you for keeping us informed. Our hearts go out to you guys, this really is hard. As being members of more than a CSA you have always been dependable and helpful unlike others. Even being pregnant I feel safe eating the food you provide for me and all my family because I know where it comes from and I know if you won't eat it, you won't give it to me either.

  3. Man... what Rachel said. A year or so ago my sister in NC was telling people about your farm and they said "can they ship?" Yes folks, they were asking for you 16 hours away. Okay, that defeats the concept of local food, but it's a testament to the quality service and product you're providing, because frankly, they don't even KNOW about how AWESOME you both are as people. :)

  4. Tammy Faux4:26 PM

    Update - has anyone ever overnighted a box across the country? I had to overnight a box of plant samples to a testing lab in OR and just about fainted at the price tag. Oh my. It may almost have been cheaper to fly me out there. SIgh. I really do like Oregon.



Thank you for your input! We appreciate hearing what you have to say.