|Richard, Diane, son Joshua, daughter Bethany Kann|Heart of Christmas Farms
is a family farm in the most authentic sense. Husband and wife team Richard and Diane Kann manage their Central Florida acreage, complete with goats, chickens and an outdoor, hydroponic vegetable-growing operation. They purchased their acreage from another family who had farmed and waited for a buyer who would appreciate the land. 13-year-old Joshua, 12-year-old Bethany and their four other children who still live at home all have the opportunity to help.
Sometimes it's as simple as helping get dinner on the table. Mom Diane says, "They come out here and pick their own salad. They're eating their salad 20 minutes after it's been picked." It's farm fresh, and without the extra concern of pesticides that you have in conventional farming.
|Kaolin Clay on Tomato Plant|
The Kanns say they grow their hydroponic vegetables to organic standards. That means, among other things, they spray their tomato plants with Kaolin clay to deter leaf-feeding beetles. They introduce parasitic wasps that are helpful in controlling the leaf-eating insects. They fertilize with fish emulsion and seaweed instead of synthetic products.
Although the Kann family had already been eating vegetarian, they only began eating organically about seven years ago. They had concerns about health problems like cancer and heart disease in his family, multiple sclerosis in hers. They feel that fresh, organic, non-genetically modified foods support a healthier lifestyle than do conventional foods. Diane says, "We have nine kids and we've never had any health issues with any of them, thank God. But, I see them doing so much better on the organics. And especially, we notice a big difference in our own health in how we feel, just in our energy."
|Swiss Chard with Fennel|
Richard says if you want to know more about how your food is grown, you should go to the source. "Go visit the farm, talk to the farmer, ask his growing methods, ask what he uses to handle bugs, handle mold, mildew and all that. If he's open, he'll show you the stuff. I would do the same thing here, and you know he's following organic standards at that point."
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Labels: farm, Florida, garden, green, grow, sustainable