Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Supporting our Farms and Fisheries through CSA/CSF with Richie Mann and Lauren Barry

Meet Ritchie Mann of Sitka Salmon Shares and Lauren Barry of Dancing Gnome Farms who explain how how we can support local fishermen and farmers, while enjoying the benefits of healthy foods.
Mann is a salmon steward and the Minnesota community manager for Sitka Salmon Shares, a community-supported fishery that provides salmon and seafood shares delivered right to your door. He educates us on Coho Salmon, Sitka Salmon Shares, and the process of delivering the fish to consumers. To learn more and order premium wild Alaska seafood, visit SitkaSalmonShares.com.
Barry is a founder of Dancing Gnome Farms, which offers vegetables grown without chemicals and fresh pastured pork. She talks about how her business came into being, the importance of the CSA for a farmer, and as well as the ideal time to grow different vegetables for maximum taste and benefits. For more information, visit DancingGnomeFarm.com.

Shownotes:

[00:00:03.080] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Good morning. And welcome to Green Tea Conversations, the radio show that delves into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine. To bring you the local experts who share progressive ideas and the latest information and insights needed so you can lead your best life. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. Publisher, the Twin Cities edition of Natural Awakenings magazine. And I'm honored to bring these experts to you. Today's guests are Ritchie Mann, a salmon steward, and the Minnesota community manager for Sitka Salmon Shares, which is a community-supported fishery that provides salmon and seafood shares delivered right to your door, as well as Lauren Barry, creator of Dancing Gnome Farms, which offers vegetable grown vegetables grown without chemicals and fresh pastured pork. Welcome to the show, Richie and Lauren.
 
[00:00:53.661] - Richie Mann, Guest
Thank you.
 
[00:00:53.850] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Thank you so much.
 
[00:00:56.050] - Richie Mann, Guest
Nice to be here.

[00:00:56.530] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So, Richie, you have been here before,
 
[00:00:58.740] - Richie Mann, Guest
We're old friends
 
[00:00:59.103] - Candi Broeffle, Host
We're old friends
 
[00:00:59.940] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah.
 
[00:01:00.280] - Candi Broeffle, Host
You've been in the studio before, but today you brought in with you some delicious salmon that is in our Studios and smells absolutely delicious.
 
[00:01:10.480] - Richie Mann, Guest
freshly cooked this morning. Yeah. Against my life's better wishes, that dark house houses like fish. But
 
[00:01:17.030] - Candi Broeffle, Host
isn't that a good thing? Right. And so today you have for us to sample in for everyone here in the Studios to sample some Coho Salmon?
 
[00:01:28.110] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah. Silver Coho Salmon line hot wild line caught from Southeast Alaska from a very own fisherman.
 
[00:01:33.900] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And this is something that's coming into season now.
 
[00:01:36.720] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yes. Very shortly we'll be catching coho. Right now we're in the middle of King and Kita. I'm in a little bit of say, too. So Coho is going to come in soon.
 
[00:01:45.220] - Candi Broeffle, Host

Oh, my goodness. So tell eerybody a little bit about Sitka Salmon Shares if they haven't heard the previous show and they want to know what it's all about.
 
[00:01:52.930] - Richie Mann, Guest
Absolutely. And we're running Ads Sea with aAM950 all the time, too. So if you miss it now, listen to an ad. We're or community supported fishery. We're the largest community supported fishery in the nation, east to West Coast. We have about 6000 members. And amongst us, there are about 40 or so other CSPs all around. And what we do as a collaborative is connect people with their fish and their fishermen. So there's a direct line supply chain from our fish. The moment we catch it, to the moment we freeze it, to the moment we bring it to our member's doors.
 
[00:02:25.410] 
We control that supply chain, so we know it's fully transparent, which is a rarity in the seafood industry. And we're trying to change that. So hook and line caught traditional catching of these fish. We do 21 different varieties of fish. All the salmon mine is pink and then a bunch of other delicious white fish. So we portion it out, we put it in a box, we send recipes and people eat it. It's really simple.
 
[00:02:47.140] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, and as a member, I have to say
 
[00:02:49.300] - Richie Mann, Guest
Thank you for your support.
 
[00:02:51.480] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Delicious fish.
 
[00:02:52.980] - Richie Mann, Guest
Thank you. Yeah. We kind of mere ourselves to an artisan cheesemaker or beer maker, and that we take a lot of care and labor into our product. So it really it shines at the end.
 
[00:03:05.460] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And the interesting thing is you're kind of localized in the Midwest.
 
[00:03:11.550] - Richie Mann, Guest
Absolutely. Yeah. Base, our headquarters is in Galesburg, Illinois. And then we have what we call good fish hubs in the Twin Cities here, which I manage. And then Madison, Wisconsin, in Chicago, Illinois. So we are very much Midwest based. We have this salmon pipeline. This is what our President calls it, from a good pipeline from Alaska to the Midwest. And we do ship nationwide at our core is here.
 
[00:03:36.110] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yes, so But what I mean it's great that we in the Midwest can actually get this fish straight from Alaska?
 
[00:03:41.810] - Richie Mann, Guest
Right.

[00:03:42.510] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And really be able to get the quality that a lot of places would not be able to get.
 
[00:03:47.510] - Richie Mann, Guest
Right. Yeah. Exactly.
 
[00:03:49.250] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And, Lauren, you are with Dancing Gnome Farms. So tell us a little bit about Dancing Gnome.
 
[00:03:55.560] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. So I started Dancing Gnome Farm in 2014, and we've been growing veggies, all sorts of veggies. We grow like over 40 different types of veggies. There's over 200 different varieties of seeds that we grow, and we grow them all without chemicals. And we really strive to grow in a sustainable way. We're always learning new things, trying new things to try to make our practices as sustainable as possible. And we bring our veggies up to the Twin Cities. I grew up in the Twin Cities. So it feels like coming home every week.
 
[00:04:30.780] 
And we have a small CSA, which is community-supported agriculture. And then we also go to the Hopkins Farmers Market.
 
[00:04:39.330] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And Dancing Gnome Farm is located where?
 
[00:04:43.200] - Lauren Barry. Guest
We are down in Wabasha, Minnesota.
 
[00:04:45.190] 
So if you just hop on the Mississippi and go South for a while, pull off in Wabasha, and we're just nestled up right before you go up the Blast.
 
[00:04:54.150] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, beautiful spot. And so today we wanted to have you both in the studio so that we could talk about community-supported agriculture and community-supported fishery or fishing. Excuse me. So let's start off with the fishing. So what makes community-supported fishing so important? Why should people get involved?
 
[00:05:17.630] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah. Absolutely. I think the CSA model has been around for a long time, and it's a common thing to know who your farmer is. So you have the ability to in the Midwest more opportunity to, but not as much for fishermen. And partly because we're landlocked and we're nowhere near an ocean, but even west and East Coast. You don't always have the availability to do that. And it is important because the fish is one of the most widely eaten proteins on the planet. But there is very little transparency and traceability.
 
[00:05:49.910] 
So there's complications of labeling. People don't mislabeling of species in restaurants or grocery stores where people are buying, putting a lot of their harder money into a play of fish. And sometimes it's not even the Flay they're buying. There's not even the species they're buying. And then even worse than that, there's a lot of problems within the fishing practices are amounts of fish are trawled, and not all trawling is bad by any means.

[00:06:17.290] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And when you say trawling, what do you mean?
 
[00:06:19.540] - Richie Mann, Guest
Trawling is in a general sense, is giant nets dragging the ocean bottom, which typically destroy the fish's ecosystem in which they live by scraping at the bottom. And then it collects hundreds of tons of fish at a time. So these fish are suffocated and bruised, and often the quality is very low because they're sitting on tenders, which are gathering boats for large periods of time before even being processed. And then the buy catch, which is really the big thing, is really high by catches any in these fish species that fishermen or boat isn't targeting.

[00:06:55.250] 
And then oftentimes that isn't used to the best of its ability, meaning that it's just wasted oftentimes are used for other things that aren't important. I think so. It is very important to know that your fishermen is practicing sustainable, ethical fishing, and we do that. And when our members get their boxes, it will say on that box, it says the fishing vessel, and it says the fishermen that caught it. And these fishermen, we have 27 that own the company. And then we have a few that we contract out as well that meet our same standards.
 
[00:07:29.550] 
And so regardless, you're getting you're knowing that. And that's why it's important. It's about important to know where your food comes from, not just terrestrial food. We're an ocean world.
 
[00:07:40.280] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah. So your fishermen actually own part of the company.
 
[00:07:45.510] - Richie Mann, Guest
That's right. Yeah.
 
[00:07:46.820] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Which that is huge. I mean, they want to make sure that the quality that you're getting is this is the best.
 
[00:07:52.650] - Richie Mann, Guest
They have skin in the game. And a lot of our fishermen, they can average upwards of 10,000 more dollars a year in their pocket book by being owners of our company. And we're growing that every year. We're trying to create more space for more fishermen to buy in and be part of this company because it's that guarantee. It's just like you have members that you're CSA, Lauren, and you have a guaranteed share every year that you can then invest in more farm equipment or whatever it is you need. And that's so important when you're living off the land of the ocean.
 
[00:08:25.540] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So let's talk a little bit about them. So a lot of people, more and more people are getting involved with CSA, which is great. I love to see that happening in our community. I love to see us being able to support our local farmers. But why is it so important for a farmer to have these CSA Center are kind of pre-sold and guaranteed?
 
[00:08:46.130] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. So the CSA model is pretty unique for farmers. And you think about a farmers growing season. A lot of our costs are front loaded. So we start buying supplies for our seed mix, and we buy all of our seeds and all the compost, the things that we're going to add in that happens in January, February, March, and we don't start getting product out until several months after that. And so what CSAs do, the community supported part here is folks are are paying in upfront. They're buying their shares early in the season.
 
[00:09:17.670] 
And that gives us a little bit of cash flow. It sort of acknowledges that seasonal cash flow challenge that a lot of farmers have and helps out with that at the beginning of the season. And then in return, we provide the freshest food. So all the things that are fresh every week go into the boxes for our members all season long. So it's kind of that seasonal shift for the farmers and then for our members.
 
[00:09:42.620] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And when does the season usually start? When do people start to receive their shares?
 
[00:09:47.770] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Now we have an early spring share. So those shares start as early as, like the second week in April. And those yeah. We have a high tunnel, which is an unheated space, but it's a tunnel of plastic hoop structure. And just the light from the sun heats it up enough in there that we're able to grow right in the ground. And we have early Greens coming out. So this spring, we had salad mix and Rula and spinach and radishes and scallions and cilantro and all these things that in March when it's still there's, still in April, I guess there's still snow on the ground sometimes.
 
[00:10:23.750] 
And all those things that our bodies really crave. So our spring share runs eight weeks in April and May. And then our main summer share starts in mid June and then run through mid October.
 
[00:10:37.910] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, if anybody has ever had fresh Greens in March and April, it is amazing, because not only do our bodies crave it at that time, and we're like dying to have something really fresh, it's also. But the other thing is with it is the Greens that are coming out are so sweet. It has a completely different flavor when they're coming out that early in the year.
 
[00:11:05.190] - Lauren Barry. Guest
And part of the reason maybe you already know this is plants put on sugars as antifreeze, so that's what helps the leaves keep from freezing when they're sort of riding that Frost line. And that's why in the early spring and in the fall, all those veggies, the Greens, the spinach, the carrots get really sweet. So that's why our carrots are better than those California carrots.
 
[00:11:28.020] - Richie Mann, Guest
And that's why it's important to know your farmer, because that sort of knowledge isn't passed through a grocery store. No, not is passed through farmers.
 
[00:11:34.290] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah. When we come back, we're going to continue talking about the CSA and CSF. And if people would like to learn more about what you do, they can visit SitkaSalamonShare.Com or dancing gnomefarm.com you're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950 is a progressive lace of Minnesota, and we will be right back.
 
[00:15:04.700] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the professionals who share their expertise on natural health with you.
 
[00:15:14.640]
I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're talking with Richie Man, a Salmon Stewart in the Minnesota community manager for Sitka Salmon Shares. That's kind of a
 
[00:15:24.370] - Richie Mann, Guest
ton of mouthful every time we say
 
[00:15:26.670] - Candi Broeffle, Host
 It's. Salmon Shares,
 
[00:15:30.530] - Richie Mann, Guest
You can call SSS,
 
[00:15:32.730] - Candi Broeffle, Host
SSS and Lauren Barry, creator of Dancing Gnome Farms and Head farmer?
 
[00:15:38.490] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yes, indeed. That's me.
 
[00:15:41.470] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So just before the break, you guys were introducing us to both community supported agriculture and community supported fishing. And we were just getting into what makes green so sweet. And you had shared before I had to interrupt you to get onto our commercial. But you are sharing that the reason that the Greens are so sweet is because in the cold they're going to create almost they use sugar as an anti-freeze you said basically

[00:16:09.150] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah, it keeps it free from freezing. it just changes that freezing point for all the things in their leaves.
 
[00:16:17.630] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And so that's the reason why the Greens are so sweet in the springtime and in the fall. And they're always telling us those are the best times to grow our spinach and and be able to harvest them. But you also said that works with other vegetables as well. What are some of the other vegetables better?
 
[00:16:36.530] - Lauren Barry. Guest
A lot of things. Everything will kind of sweeten up in the fall. So carrots, your radishes, they'll lose a little bit of that bite like that summer kind of makes radishes get that extra spice, but they get a little sweeter in the fall. Yeah. So everything gets all your Greens, your broccoli gets really sweet. Yeah.
 
[00:16:56.130] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So it's really interesting to think about how you want to Cook with the vegetables, too, based on when you're getting them in.
 
[00:17:03.380] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Definitely. It's a whole another level of seasonal eating. Even your carrots can change flavor as you go through the season.
 
[00:17:10.580] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And so if our vegetables are grown in large by large farms, by commercial farms, we're not getting that same type of time where they're being able to produce that sugar content.
 
[00:17:25.730] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. I think I don't know. On a small farm, we just have lots of small successions of things. So we plant carrots several times, and we plant green several times, and we try to time it so that we have a nice variety of things coming out and it's all harvested and then right to our members within a day or two, turn around. So it's always really fresh.
 
[00:17:46.840] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah. It's kind of funny. I grew up on a farm, so my parents gardened all the times. So we always had fresh vegetables, and I loved it. My husband grew grew up in the city. And so his family always bought their vegetables from grocery stores. And he could not believe the difference. Like, every time he eats something that comes fresh from the farm or from a farmers market, he's always I can't believe how much different it has.
 
[00:18:13.920] - Lauren Barry. Guest
It's huge. Yeah.
 
[00:18:15.580] - Candi Broeffle, Host
He was also a little stunned at how yellow eggs are one. They are the yolks.
 
[00:18:22.050] - Richie Mann, Guest
I can see personally to the quality of Lauren's vegetables. My family in our CSA members this year with Dancing Gnome, and we just had some of your Kohlrabi. I can't stop talking and thinking about your Kohlrabi oh, my gosh. It's incredible. You take incredible care to your vegetables. It's really great.
 
[00:18:42.190] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Kohlrabi is not something that a lot of people get or they even know how to use. What's, like a great way to use Kohlrabi
 
[00:18:50.050] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Oh, man. Well, it is for those of you who don't even know what it is. It looks kind of like a crazy spaceship. It's like a cool bulb with these cool leaves coming up. They come in lots of different varieties. Some are green, some are purple, but the inside is this crunchy, delicious mild as part of the cabbage radish family. So sometimes it has a little bit of spice to it, but it's more mild than radishes. We love to just chop it into match sticks and eat it with hummus or dip or anything like that.
 
[00:19:19.540] 
You can just gobble it up. Some folks like to shred it into coal flaws. It adds a nice little crunch, just different texture. Yeah. You can also roast it. You can cut it into fries and roast it and have color rabi fries, but mine usually don't make it to the other nine.
 
[00:19:35.910] - Richie Mann, Guest
Usually before it gets the
 
[00:19:38.580] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Kohlrabi is always pretty rough. Richie, you were also telling us during the break that something similar happens. So, like the sugars that are created in the vegetables as it gets colder. You said you also have kind of an example of how that plays out with fishing as well.
 
[00:19:59.780] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah. There's the translation. And Alaska is known for the most nutrient-rich waters in the world. Part of it because of the ocean currents and the cold water and just the plethora of food on the lower end of the food chain that is developed there. But then the other part that makes our fish incredible. And specifically, our salmon and our salmon runs are some of the areas in which the salmon spawn. As most people know, these fish return to the ocean, and then they return back to their spotting beds where they're born.
 
[00:20:31.400] - Richie Mann, Guest
And those runs. That length of journey for the salmon is really long. In some of these regions that we fish. That means that these fish biologically are programmed to know that we have a long journey in front of us. So they put a ton of fat on these fish. Some of the species are very high in fat content, especially King Coho, not as much, but a little less, but still higher fat. And so that's what makes it really special is that these areas that they spawn in are long journeys for the salmon.
 
[00:21:02.810] 
So they have to repair. And then we get to reap the benefits of all that delicious fat, which our bodies do. Mega three, the long-chain Omega threes, the DHA, and all that stuff that we need to develop and learn.
 
[00:21:12.680] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And all the good fat.

[00:21:14.450] - Richie Mann, Guest
All the good fats, yes.
 
[00:21:16.670] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Good fats that we need. Plus it makes the fish so delicious.
 
[00:21:20.150] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yes.
 
[00:21:21.080] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Very nutrient-rich. So you guys are actually at some of the local farmers markets as well. So you are at the Hopkins Farmers markets?

[00:21:32.240] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. We're at Hopkins Farmers Market every Saturday from 730 to noon.
 
[00:21:36.680] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah. We just started doing Hopkins as well. Farmers market program for sick salmon is not new in other regions, but it's new to Minnesota. So we're doing about six different markets. And one of those which I was most excited about, that Lauren turn me on to was a Hopkins Farmers Market. And it's one of the older ones, about 16 years, maybe, I don't know, longer longer than that. Yeah. And it's really down to Earth, super great people. The amount of farmers and produce. You have two stands there.
 
[00:22:04.550] 
Right. And there's lots of other vegetables, those and produce that are happening. And then we're the only fish purveyor there. So we kind of have an ability to talk to people about something that hasn't been there before. So we're getting a lot of big eyes, like, oh, my gosh, you have Alaskan fish here. And so the response has been incredible. At Hopkins, we've just felt at home.
 
[00:22:22.940] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So people are going to come back again and again to get the fresh.
 
[00:22:26.460] - Richie Mann, Guest
Absolutely. And we're not there every single week, but we're there on a rotating basis. But you can find out when we're going to be there on our website at our farmers market page.
 
[00:22:34.820] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And Richie, you're also had several several other farmers markets across Minneapolis St. Paul area. So which other ones are you?
 
[00:22:42.450] - Richie Mann, Guest
We're at Linden Hills every Sunday, when that is a really fun small we're at only small, intimate market. So it's kind of my purpose as we ventured into this world. So we're at Linden Hills. We're at Isetta we're at Excelsior Farmers Market every Tuesday. We're at Northeast and we're at Mount and Hopkins. I think those are the ones. Yeah.

[00:23:03.840] - Candi Broeffle, Host
If they can't get to a farmers market, they can also go online line sure can. And what is the website address that they can find you at?
 
[00:23:11.340] - Richie Mann, Guest
SitkaSalmonShares.Com. And it's really easy to navigate. Your first home page talks about our shares immediately, and then you can dive into our sustainability and our quality and our fishermen our recipes, and oh my gosh, so many things.
 
[00:23:23.580] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Okay, great. And Lauren, what is the website where they can find you at?
 
[00:23:28.610] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah, we are at DancingGNomeFarm.Com and Gnome is G-N-O-M-E.
 
[00:23:34.520] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Right.
 
[00:23:36.230] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So dancingGnomefarm.com?
 
[00:23:38.990] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yes.
 
[00:23:39.470] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Thank you. To read Natural Awakenings magazine online, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. You're listening to Green Tea conversations on AM950, The Progressive Voice of Minnesota and we will be back in just a bit.
 
[00:27:39.340] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we meet the professionals straight from the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine who share their expertise on natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle.
 
[00:27:50.460] 
And today we're talking with Richie Mann, a Salmon Stewart in the Minnesota community manager for Sitka Salmon Shares, and Lauren Barry, creator of Dancing Gnome Farms. You can who who, too. Yeah. Glad you're in the studio with us today. Just before the break, you guys were telling us about community-supported agriculture and kind of some of the different things that happen with our food when it is harvested, responsibly. And one of the things that I want to talk with you about, Lauren, is the need to like, what makes local farming so different than, say, commercial farming.
 
[00:28:32.490] 
So why are the foods that are coming out of your ground so different than the foods that are coming that we may see in the grocery stores?
 
[00:28:41.830] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah, that's a great question. So I think when people think about organic foods or local foods, they think that the most important thing is that there's no sprays or there's no synthetic chemicals, pesticides or herbicides on the vegetables. But there's a whole lot more to sustainable agriculture than just chemical application. That's a huge part of it. But it's really taking a holistic approach to growing and trying to do what's best for the soil and the longevity of the soil as well, which means building the soil community.
 
[00:29:17.080] 
And that not just continually harvesting, harvesting, harvesting off of it, but adding back to it, trying to grow organic matter in the soil. And that translates to a better product. That translates to more nutrition, nutritious, nutritiously, dense vegetables and more delicious, good flavor. But it's also really important as we're thinking about how we're going to be treating the land and wanting our resources to last for generations. To come. So there's a lot of different ways that farmers approach sustainability. One big thing that we do is crop rotations.
 
[00:29:54.220] 
And so changing what fields we grow our crops in that reduces disease pressure and reduces pest pressure without having to use chemicals to mitigate for that.
 
[00:30:04.480] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And why is that? Why does it reduce?

[00:30:07.770] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. If you grow the same crops in the same place year after year, then the there's going to be residue. And there's going to be places for pets and disease to over winter and then come back the next year in greater and greater numbers. So by rotating things around, you're trying to sneak around those little pets and catch them off guard so that they can't find you as usually the next year. It's also important to keep the soil covered as much as possible. So there's really important we're learning more and more about the micro ISAL fungal community.
 
[00:30:44.980] 
That just is like fungi that form these beneficial relationships with plant roots. And it's symbiotic so that they need photosynthesizing plants in order to survive. And in turn, they improve nutrient access for the plants. And when we are constantly telling up the soil or if the soil is bare, we're going to get soil erosion. And those important soil biota communities are going to die off. And so the another thing we do is keep the ground covered with growing plants. In a practice called cover cropping, also called green Manure, it's a way to add fertility back to the soil just by growing different species of plants on top of it.
 
[00:31:25.810] 
And that just keeps the whole system alive. And you think about all those living in tiny creatures that are coming together magically to grow, grow the vegetables.
 
[00:31:36.340] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So what would be an example of some cover crops?
 
[00:31:40.580] - Lauren Barry. Guest
We are some people are familiar with the idea that legumes fix nitrogen, so they take nitrogen from the air and can add it back into the soil. So peas are a great cover crap. There's field peas you can plant. They go really well growing with oats. So that's a really common combo. And we all kind of know how peas like to trellis. They have those little tendrils, and they like to just wrap around things and climb up. And so the oat sprout. And then the peas sprout, and they kind of curl and wrap themselves up the oats.
 
[00:32:11.710] 
And together they fix nitrogen in the soil and kind of have a cool a symbiotic thing going on, too. But there's all sorts of different clovers are great as cover crops. Ri a great cover crops. Sorghum Sudan grass, there's a whole variety of different crops that are really nice to grow.
 
[00:32:29.980] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I can't remember the name of it offhand, but there is a trio that we used to always plant together. So it was the corn, the beans in the squash.
 
[00:32:38.440] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. The Three Sisters.
 
[00:32:40.876] - Candi Broeffle, Host
The Three Sisters
 
[00:32:40.930] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yes.
 
[00:32:41.150] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Thank you. I had something else in mind. I knew it wasn't right. So yeah. The three sisters to start with the corn and let that get up a little bit in order to make sure that it's going to grow fast enough for the beans to the beans in coming up.
 
[00:32:56.920] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Climb up around them. And then the winter squash will sort of cover the ground, cover with their big leaves that sort of sprawls out. And that's really
 
[00:33:06.010] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And it's really great because the leaves from the squash then can capture some of the water or the moisture, the dew and bring it to the root. Plus, it keeps it from getting dry. The sun can't to the
 
[00:33:17.940] - Lauren Barry. Guest
and it shades out the weed. So it's sort of just this really cool natural system.
 
[00:33:23.440] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And so there's many places, especially on the Internet, that people can find out, too, about companion crafting or companion planning. So that's a big thing. And you were talking about the peas with the the week  gras. Yeah. And so one of the things that you were telling me about is that you are also going to now become organic certified.
 
[00:33:46.000] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. So we've been using organic practices since our inception, and I was really lucky to work on a couple similar farms, one certified organic farm, one farm that also had organic practices. So we've been following those growing methods for the whole time. But this is the first year that we're pursuing organic certain. And it's been a really interesting process.
 
[00:34:08.800] 
Basically. It's this auditor basically we submit all of our records and all of our paperwork and our plans for how we're going to rotate the fields and how we're going to make sure that we don't get drift from any neighboring farms and how we make sure that our water sources is safe. And they have a review board and initial review board who looks over all of that paperwork. And then they send an Inspector and the Inspector comes and looks at all of our records, make sure we're buying the organic seeds we say we're buying, and looks at the fields and asks how we're going to that fiscal patch. So it's been a good process.
 
[00:34:46.440] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And that is a really difficult process to go through it. And it's not just because of the things that you can control, but the other things around you that you really can't control. You don't have a lot of say on drift if somebody else is now using pesticides in their fields and the drift can come over into years. You said that you're kind of surrounded by a lot of farmers who are doing more organic practices.
 
[00:35:10.960] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. We're really lucky. And we're sort of in a Valley, and our little swath of veggie land is surrounded by these Bluffs that are wooded, actually. So we don't even have farms next to us. So in that regard, we're in a really beautiful and advantageous spot.
 
[00:35:29.080] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Kind of a unique, very unique Congratulations. That's a lot of work.
 
[00:35:34.340] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Thank you. Yeah. We're excited about it.
 
[00:35:36.620] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So, Richie, one of the things is when we talk about crop rotations and why that's so important when it comes to community sustainable agriculture, you also have something similar to that with community-supported fishing.
 
[00:35:50.620] - Richie Mann, Guest
It is this is so fun to chat about this because the parallels are almost limitless between agriculture and the ocean. And so what we do, I guess, which is the closest to what rotating, perhaps, would be is we rotate our fishing grounds. Like I'd mentioned, we target 21 different varieties of fish, different species. And what that allows us to do is spread out our pressure on different fisheries and different species. So typically most popular fish in the country, tuna and salmon and shrimp and cod. But while we do offer most of those in some variety, we also offer things like Lin cod and black cod and halibut and rockfish, which is this beautiful sustainable fishery, many different species of rockfish.
 
[00:36:45.080] 
And so when we are going out to fish and getting ready to set the boats and get our gear ready, we're constantly checking the Alaskan regulations and the fishing regulations and seeing when the Fisher is going to open to the minute. And these are highly regulated fisheries. And so if the Alaskan fisheries say, no, we're not fish and Sakai today or tomorrow or the next week, it's okay. We rotate. Then we can target another species. And there's a reason why they're not opening that. And we have to abide by that reason.
 
[00:37:17.250] 
It's because the runs are low or whatever they're doing, whether it be we are counting fish, counting whatever it is. And so we can we can move around, and we can expose people to yourself to some fish that they haven't had, like black cod. You're mentioning what is this is so great. It's an unknown fish, really, to the average consumer, but it's really healthy in its population. So that's what we do. And it's just really the only true way to be sustainable. If you target tuna, it will crash.

[00:37:46.610] 
And it has crashed. Blue fin tuna is not a healthy fishery anymore. It's a 20th century speech. She's much like King salmon or 20th century species. We won't have them around much longer. So that's what we do. And it's an integral part of our business system. Yeah.
 
[00:38:05.070] - Candi Broeffle, Host

So. One of the things that you had mentioned is the black cod. You said before they show you and I were talking about it, and I was telling you how much we're enjoying our CSF that we're getting from you. So glad that we had tried the Pacific cods. And it's so delicious. It's kind of a meteor heavier fish, but very light tasting, but it's very substantial. The fish itself.
 
[00:38:32.580] - Richie Mann, Guest
It is.
 
[00:38:33.120] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And then I was telling you, we'd tried the black cod. Now I've never had black cod before.
 
[00:38:38.590] - Richie Mann, Guest
Right.
 
[00:38:39.180] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And that is absolutely just a unique experience because it's very soft.
 
[00:38:45.120] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yes.
 
[00:38:45.910] - Candi Broeffle, Host
It's almost like melt in your mouth.
 
[00:38:47.790] - Richie Mann, Guest
It's super buttery has more Omega three fats than King salmon. So it is a white fish on top of that. So it's very rare. It's a very special species. And our members-only get that we don't sell that out our farmers markets. So it's kind of an insider track that our members get. And then our well, it very special. Enjoy every bite. 

[00:39:09.790] - Candi Broeffle, Host
We are
 
[00:39:10.680] - Richie Mann, Guest
and the Pacific cod that we do is really unique, too. You mentioned how meaty it is. A specific cod is very popular, well-known fish, but we kind of have a tear war of Pacific cod where we fish it and stick a sound.
 
[00:39:23.790] 
It feeds heavily on spot prawns and Tenspot prawns are this really dense, super sweet shrimp for, like a better words. And so Pacific cod heavily on this. And so they take on this flavor, this profile of kind of sweet kind of briny. So when people have a Pacific cod, they're like, what is this? I'm like that's just cod. But it's our cod. It's a special.
 
[00:39:44.340] - Candi Broeffle, Host
It is different than any cod I have ever tried.
 
[00:39:47.410] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah. It's not your McDonald's fish and Chips or fish Dick cod. It is a special.
 
[00:39:53.640] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Now you still have some shares available. People can still come in and get some of your shares.
 
[00:39:57.910] - Richie Mann, Guest
A couple more months. We were going to have them open. Really? We have four available. There's three that are four months long. And there's one that's five months long. And we're doing a special promo today with Green Tea Conversations. So we're doing $50 off your first month or any of those shares. The code is Green50. It's G-R-E-E-N 50 here. And that's going to be good to use until the 14 July. So you have about a week here to take advantage of it.
 
[00:40:23.680] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And I highly recommend people do that. And they can go to your website which is

[00:40:27.600] - Richie Mann, Guest
Sitkasalmonshares.com Explore it. You can reach out to our support team if you have questions, but it's pretty laid out and affordable, too. I'll mention that it's really more affordable than people might think.
 
[00:40:39.240] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And to learn more about Dancing Gnome Farms. So you can go to dancinggnomefarms.com. To read an online edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, visit NaturalTwinCities.Com. You are listening to Green Tea Conversations on Am950, the progressive voice of Minnesota. We will be right back.
 
[00:44:11.290] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the professionals who share their expertise on natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle.
 
[00:44:23.130] 
And today we're talking with Richie Man, a salmon steward in the Minnesota community manager for Sitka Salmon Shares, and Lauren Barry, creator of Dancing Gnome Farms. So, Lauren, tell us a bit about we were talking about doing this show. One of the things that I kept thinking about is years ago. Now I'm a lot older than you guys are. But years ago, when farmers markets were just kind of becoming more popular, it was almost like an elite thing to do to go to the farmers market because it was a little bit more costly than going to the grocery store.
 
[00:45:02.930] 
And so it seemed like it was a little bit more more for somebody who was more affluent. But today, really, when you start to think about it in the grocery stores, the products that we're buying, the produce that we're buying is now so similar in pricing to that that we can get at the farmers markets and especially what we can get with the CSA. So are you finding that with your customers as well, that they're coming back to you and kind of sharing that information?
 
[00:45:30.980] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah, definitely. I would say that the value in a CSA box is very, like, literally a much better value than shopping at the store, too. And it's getting to you sooner. It's fresher. And so it lasts longer. And people come back to me and they say your salad makes is still good and they're just not used to it. And so you do you have less food waste at the end of the day, and you're getting so much more out of it, and it's coming to you fresh. And so you know that. But it's the highest quality right from the get-go.
 
[00:46:02.220] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I love the idea that you get to try things that you may not ever even look at in the grocery store.

[00:46:07.420] - Lauren Barry. Guest

Yeah. I think that's part of the magic of a CSA box, too. I think as consumers were faced with with so many choices, like, you go to the store and there's so many options. And I think we all get a little bit of decision fatigue. I think that's a real thing, and it can get to be exhausting. And I think part of the fun of getting a CSA boxes, that part is out of your control. And now all you do is you open it up, unbox it.
 
[00:46:32.200] 
Some of my members say it's like Christmas. They do it as a family. Oh, look, there's carrots nestled in the bottom, and everyone's excited about it. And your brain starts going, I was like, okay, how are we going to make the things this week? And that's been a shift for even me personally as a farmer, like learning how to eat seasonally. And it's less of starting with this giant blank slate of what should we have for dinner and instead going to the fridge and saying, look at this beautiful broccoli.
 
[00:46:59.310] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Let's have broccoli and then building around that. And it's really fun and fulfilling. And for me, it's so much easier once I've made that shift. So that's the magic of the CSA box.
 
[00:47:12.960] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And I love that love that you say you're eating what is being provided to you, what's in season at that time. And I know, Richie, we've talked about that before, too. That that's what's so cool about the CSF is that you're getting fish that's in season at that time.
 
[00:47:29.560] - Richie Mann, Guest
Absolutely. And you have the longevity of your fish that you wouldn't get if you bought it at a store on ice or something fresh. Our fish has a year-long freezer life, so you don't have to eat at all when you first get it, squirrel it away for January in March when we're not delivering, and you can Munch on it, then. Yeah.
 
[00:47:50.460] - Candi Broeffle, Host
My husband has already portioned us out. We're not going to eat all the cod right now. We're not going to eat all this.
 
[00:47:56.770] - Richie Mann, Guest
So you can always order more.
 
[00:47:58.270] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I can tell him that, but he doesn't believe it. So being able to get it when it's in season, it's also like I had kind of mentioned being able to try vegetables that you've never tried, especially people with kids. I mean, kids will try anything at least once. And so let's expose them. Let's expose them to something that they haven't tried before. I had never tried black cod. No, I'm a huge proponent of black cod.
 

[00:48:26.140] - Richie Mann, Guest
Right. And I think it also encourages you to Cook with your kids or your family when you have these boxes of fish and produce coming. Wow. How fun is it? That's how we evolved as a species around fire to Cook together. And now if you buy something patching in a package in a grocery store, you're not as apt to Cook it together together. So if you get your box of produce, you're like, what can we do with this? Is have fun together. It just creates family, creates communities.
 
[00:48:50.860] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And I know a lot of my son and daughter-in-law, they get a CSA, and their mother gets a CSA for mother gets a CSA on the same one. So they're always like, hey, did you try this? It kind of gives them another thing to talk about or the opportunity here. So what are some of the recipes now? You guys provide recipes with your CSA's?
 
[00:49:11.940] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. Every CSA box comes with a newsletter, and it has a little update about what's going on on the farm. So you can kind of imagine all the little gnome happening. And then a list of all the things that are in the box with the description of this is that crazy-looking vegetable. If you're wondering what that is it's whatever. Napa cabbage and suggestions. We've been roasting our broccoli lately, and we just leave those little tiny leaves on and they get crispy in the oven. And then a recipe or two of the week, which features some of the ingredients that are in the box.
 
[00:49:47.860] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, that's great. And you always provide at least get at least two recipes.
 
[00:49:52.100] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah. And then you can always jump on our website. We worked with some top-class chefs a couple of years ago to create legit. You go on the internet and you're like all recipes dot com. And then you try recipe like that was really disappointing because there's no vetting system on the internet. We have a high quality, standard quality for recipes, so you can rest assure that they're really fun and easy to difficult. If you want to get really special in the kitchen, you can make a four-star recipe or you can do a one star it's up to you. But yeah, they're all there,

[00:50:20.300] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And they're great recipes are always fun to try something new. So, Lauren, one of the other things that you have coming up now is you guys also have fresh pastured pork.
 
[00:50:31.020] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. So we have a couple of pork bundles left. We move to a new farm this year, so we're taking a one-year break on pigs, but we miss having them around. So that'll be back in the rotation in years to come. But they're part of our system, how we manage the land.
 
[00:50:49.430] - Candi Broeffle, Host
But you do have a couple of hogs.
 
[00:50:50.960] - Lauren Barry. Guest
We do have a couple of bundles. There's small bundles. I'll fit easily in your freezer and have an assortment of tasty Pork cuts for you. Yeah.
 
[00:50:59.840] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And is that available right away, or does that come in November?
 
[00:51:03.730] - Lauren Barry. Guest
It would be available right away
 
[00:51:05.390] - Richie Mann, Guest
for 4th July. In fact, I bet that would be probably important.
 
[00:51:09.010] - Lauren Barry. Guest
We could do that.
 
[00:51:09.680] - Richie Mann, Guest
Yeah.
 
[00:51:10.170] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Great. Yeah. And looking at the rest of the grilling season. So one of the things we don't have a lot of time left. But I do want to mention, I think one of the important things with both community-supported agriculture and community supported-fishing is it's not only about the great food that we get to enjoy as a consumer and that you get to provide us as a supplier, but it's also about the people who use support, the family, families that your business is support and that work for you.
 
[00:51:44.150] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Lauren, how many people do you have employed now during the summer months?
 
[00:51:48.470] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Yeah. We have three different part-time employees who spend time on the farm. They also spend some time with my partner's business. He guides people on kayak trips on the Mississippi River. So our employees get to have some river days and some farm days
 
[00:52:04.300] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And give us the name of that river.
 
[00:52:06.440] - Lauren Barry. Guest
Broken paddle guiding
 
[00:52:07.760] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Broken Paddle Guiding.
 
[00:52:09.370] - Lauren Barry. Guest

It's incredible. You get out, and it's a totally different world.
 
[00:52:12.380] - Candi Broeffle, Host

Well, you guys thank you so much for being with us today and for introducing us to both community-supported agriculture and community-supported fishing. Than having us to learn more or to enroll in a share, you can visit SitkaSalmonShare.com and DancingGnomeFarm.Com. To read the online edition of Natural Awakenings magazine. Or to check out our online calendar of events, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. Thank you for joining us today, and we wish for you a lovely day!
Read the full July 2022 Magazine