Providing Healthy Food is Challenging Given Current Farming Regulations
April 4, 2013
Gary and Caryl Watterson started their market farm several years ago to sell healthy food to people. They own BrynTeg Farm, Ashippun/ Oconomowoc, and they work hard to provide organic, fresh and locally-grown produce.
“We started our farm because our daughter is asthmatic and we knew the importance of growing produce organically. We wanted to provide produce that was not filled with chemicals and harmful sprays for the many individuals and families wanting healthy, locally-grown food. Reaching out to folks that want to heal their own body and build their immune systems: something that is only possible with healthy and natural food”.
They have a CSA farm, a Community Supported Agriculture business, where people can receive and pick up weekly organic produce in boxes from their farm, home office or farmers’ market. Caryl grew up on a dairy farm, but she really enjoys working in the soil, growing vegetables, and providing food for people. She acknowledges that running a farm is a daily challenge. Gary and Caryl grow and deliver different vegetables, fruits and herbs, especially sweet potatoes to a local, health food store. They recently came to Michael Fields Agricultural Institute to learn more about cultivating fruits. Hoping to focus on developing and adding to their orchard at BrynTeg Farm, they think that the workshops are important to gain information. Winter is the best season for them to attend classes.
“Now we have more free time, so this is a great time of the year to learn, whether on fruits, vegetables, whether for learning more about soil or plants themselves”.
In past years, the couple has attended different Whole Farm Workshops at the Institute depending on their needs and to be informed of the upcoming rules and regulations that affect their farm. Caryl also knows there are rules and regulations which make farming more difficult and will take time to implement. One area looming over all farmers/food producers is the Produce Rule or FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. She recognizes that farms should have guidelines for safety regulations for maintaining good agricultural practices and as a farm they are establishing an On Farm Food Safety Plan. However, the rules and regulations are extensive and the paperwork time consuming to comply. Farming is not for the faint-hearted but gives an opportunity to be patient and endure knowing the sun does rise the next morning.