While we grow 50 or so kinds of plant-based foods at the farm, we grow approximately 200 varieties, all told, of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and berries. For example, we grow more than 30 varieties of heirloom, greenhouse, and cherry tomatoes. Lettuces may be green, red, bronze, butter, leaf, bibb, romaine, or iceberg. Carrots may be orange, white, yellow, purple, or red, long, short, fat, skinny. Potatoes – brown, red, purple – inside and out! Eggplant – dark purple, lavender, white, striped, small, large, round, long & skinny. Tomatoes may be pink, orange, red, yellow, black, green, striped, plum, cherry, slicers, saladettes. Beets – red, purple, golden or striped. You can eat a rainbow from what is produced at Many Forks Farm! From this description you can see that you should not expect the produce at Many Forks Farm to be all the same size, shape or color.
The color pigment in vegetables is indicative of the phytonutrients (plant nutrients) in the vegetables. Scientists are just beginning to understand the role that many of these play in human health, but do believe that a diversity of these nutrients, as indicated by eating a colorful diet, are important to optimal and resilient health.
Then, just as a diversity of vegetables contributes to human health, this farmer believes that a diversity of plant life contributes to the health of the soil, a diverse insect population where beneficial insects can perform the necessary pollination for crop production as well as help control those that might eat our crops, and on up the food chain from there.
While the farm does not raise any livestock at this time, we work towards a diverse farm ecosystem through the diversity of varieties of the vegetables, a diversity of vegetables and vegetable families, and incorporate flowers, herbs, small fruit, and mushrooms into the mix. There are wild edges of habitat surrounding the farm and all along the river. We think of our “livestock” as the pollinators we hope to attract, as well as birds of prey (we have a barred owl and a kestrel nesting box ), and other creatures who keep things in balance for overall biodiversity.