February 13, 2008
Contact: Bernadette Logozar, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 518-483-7403

Jpg: Jo Ellen Saumier hosts a tour of students at Kirbside Gardens in Chateaugay, NY. Photo: CCE Franklin County

Jpg: This garden and duck house are part of Magic Earth Farm in Malone, NY.

�Almost Organic� Farmers, State Organic Ag Specialist to Speak February 26 in Malone

Jo Ellen Saumier of Kirbside Gardens in Chateaugay, NY, grows vegetables on two acres. She markets gourmet varieties, �patriotic potatoes,� and fresh-picked produce packaged with recipes. Beginning farmers Roseanne and Tom Gallagher of Magic Earth Farm in Malone, NY, have taken the Farmer�s Pledge of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY). The Gallaghers are reclaiming abandoned farmland and are raising their livestock and vegetables using organic farming methods.

Saumier and the Gallaghers will speak about their different �almost organic� production and marketing practices as part of the �Going Organic in the North Country� 6-9 pm workshop February 26 at North County Community College in Malone. Joining them will be Organic Agriculture Specialist Sarah Johnston of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, formerly the director of Northeast Organic Faming Association of New York.

Saumier is entering her 11th year of selling at local farmers� markets. She will talk about her reasons for not becoming certified as an organic grower and the consumer audiences she targets with her creative marketing efforts. Saumier and her partner Kirby Selkirk, who raises lamb, will be the featured farmers at a Wild Center Chef�s event in late March.

The Gallaghers say the Farmers� Pledge indicates that �we are building healthy soils and following national organic production standards that, for example, reject the use of synthetic insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. The Pledge also allows us to indicate our interest in conserving natural resources and supporting markets that enable small farms to thrive and reduce food travel miles by encouraging the purchase of local products.�

Joining Saumier and the Gallaghers for the workshop will be New York State Organic Agriculture Specialist Sarah Johnston, a past executive director of NOFA-NY. Johnston will speak on New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets initiatives to help farmers statewide take advantage of the expanding consumer demand for organic foods.
Johnston reports there are approximately 736 certified organic farms in New York, an increase from 374 in 2004.

Call Cornell Cooperative Extension at 518-483-7403 to register for this free workshop organized by Extension with support from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. The workshop is also being offered with Johnston and other local farmers February 25 in Westport and February 27 with Watertown with Johnston and other local producers. # # #