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An excerpt from The Organic Grain Grower: Small-Scale, Holistic Grain Production for the Home and Market Producer

The ultimate guide to growing organic grains on a small and ecological scale, The Organic Grain Grower is invaluable for both home-scale and commercial producers interested in expanding their resiliency and crop diversity through growing their own grains. Longtime farmer and organic pioneer Jack Lazor covers how to grow and store wheat, barley, oats, corn, dry beans, soybeans, pulse crops, oilseeds, grasses, nutrient-dense forages, and lesser-known cereals. In addition to detailed cultivation and processing information, Lazor argues the importance of integrating grains on the organic farm (not to mention for the local-food system) for reasons of biodiversity and whole farm management.
An excerpt from The Organic Grain Grower: Small-Scale, Holistic Grain Production for the Home and Market Producer

The ultimate guide to growing organic grains on a small and ecological scale, The Organic Grain Grower is invaluable for both home-scale and commercial producers interested in expanding their resiliency and crop diversity through growing their own grains. Longtime farmer and organic pioneer Jack Lazor covers how to grow and store wheat, barley, oats, corn, dry beans, soybeans, pulse crops, oilseeds, grasses, nutrient-dense forages, and lesser-known cereals. In addition to detailed cultivation and processing information, Lazor argues the importance of integrating grains on the organic farm (not to mention for the local-food system) for reasons of biodiversity and whole farm management.

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Jul 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/09/2014

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THE
ORGANICGRAINGROWER
Small-Scale, HolisticGrain Production for the Home and Market Producer 
JACK LAZOR
Foreword by Eliot Coleman
 
ixBut fun as all this may sound in the retelling,
we were anything but efcient. In reality we werejust blundering along. Ahh, what I would have given
back then for a copy of this book. There was hardlyany information available at that time, because NewEngland grain growing had been on its way out formany years, especially in our area. The industrial
concept of “grow it all in the Midwest and ship iteast” had almost completely taken over. Recently,
however, the burgeoning interest in local foods hasbegun to spill over into grain. New England graingrowing is again becoming a topic of conversation.But Jack Lazor did not wait for a new movement toinspire him. Jack inspired the movement. Jack beganreclaiming the small farm’s grain heritage rightfrom the start of his farm many years ago. That iswhy this book is such a delight. These are the wordsof someone who has talked to all the old-timers anddone it all himself. It is like acquiring hundreds of years of knowledge in one book. And he presentseverything in an appealing, storytelling manner thatwill have you sitting up late reading page after page.If you ever do get to visit Jack’s farm, you willsee what determination it has taken to do what he
does. Perched on a hill in the far northern reaches
of Vermont, Butterworks is a farmer’s farm. In fact,
the rst line on the back of their yogurt containersays it all: “Butterworks Farm is a real farm.” The
grain-cleaning and -bagging equipment in the clas-
sically designed granary testies to ingenuity, both
 Jack’s in putting it all together and that of the oldinventors and manufacturers who devised the small-
scale machines in the rst place. But grain growingis not just machinery. It is also biology. The eld
corn I presently grow, Abenaki Calais Flint, wasreselected and improved by Jack Lazor.
 We grew grain the very rst year on our farm inMaine. Even though we had begun with wooded
land and were working hard to clear enough for
the rst vegetable crops of what would become our
specialty, we made sure to clear enough extra for a
small plot of eld corn. We were lucky to get seeds
from another farmer and grew an old New England
heirloom, Longfellow Flint. Polenta and corn bread
have always been favorite foods in our house, and
int corn makes the very best.My standard breakfast is a bowl of oatmeal so
a few years later, after locating seed for a hulless
oat variety, we grew a eld of oats. Unlike the corn,
which was simple to hand-harvest and husk, the oatsrequired another technique. By following pictures in
the graying pages of an old book, we gured out how
to cut the standing grain with sickles, tie the stems
in bunches, and stand the bunches in the eld forfurther drying. When the oats were dry, we threshed
them on a canvas tarp by beating out the kernels
with homemade ails. We winnowed the chaff from
the grain over that same canvas tarp on a windy day.
By the time we grew our rst eld of wheat, we
had progressed another few centuries. From draw-ings in one of the wonderful old Eric Sloane books,
The Seasons of America Past
, we gured out how toadd wooden cradle ngers to a scythe. That “cradle
scythe” made the cutting and shocking operation
go easier. We went halves with another farmer on
the purchase of a Japanese CeCoCo thresher. TheCeCoCo had a foot-powered, treadle-operated,spinning drum covered with wire loops, which ef-fectively removed the grain from the heads of thewheat shocks when they were held against it. Thatyear we adapted a neighbor’s blueberry winnower to
make our winnowing more efcient.
Foreword

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