February 2015

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Rhode Island’s Winter Farmer Markets Continue to Bloom

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What comes to mind when you think of Rhode Island? Beautiful beaches? Great schools? Family Guy? The best food? How about local farms and craft businesses? With close to 30 farmers markets across the state, demand for locally grown organic food has increased substantially over the past few years. Many health-conscious and community-oriented people seek out farmers markets on a regular basis, and they are the driving force behind the new food renaissance emerging all across the United States, not just our miniature state. I think it is safe to say that this freight train is starting to pick up speed, and it will be near impossible to stop.

Nothing highlights this fact more firmly than the sheer existence, not to mention success, of the Wintertime Farmers Market on Main Street in Pawtucket, the only major winter farmers market in Rhode Island. Once the Hope Street/Blackstone Boulevard market in Providence closes for the year, the wintertime market, less than a mile north over the city border, promptly opens its doors toting over 60 vendors, almost as many as its outdoor counterpart. Farmers, craft business owners, and patrons pick up right where they left off, enjoying every second of being embedded in the heart of their community, summer or winter for the past 8 years.

There are two gigantic benefits to buying products from a local farm or small business:

1. The products offered to customers are made with passion and hand-crafted with care.

2. The money spent on these items is directly injected into the local economy, helping fuel demand and create new opportunities for current and future entrepreneurs.

Without local small businesses, it is impossible for a community to maintain any sense of connectedness or mutual understanding—a common vision so to speak. There is nothing wrong with some globalization and exportation of goods, but there comes a point when businesses have to learn to serve their own constituents before trying to hit the homerun overseas. It is very encouraging to see the emergence of new businesses that are not only profit-driven, but strive to make a positive social impact as well.

The farmers market community in Rhode Island has hit a seemingly endless period of growth. Whether it is a warm sunny day or a cold winter night, indoors or out, Rhode Islanders still manage to support their brothers and sisters on a year-round basis. The fact that our farmers markets never cease operating, even for one week, is proof that a sense of togetherness might be all we need to get to the promised land.

 

-Michael Cerrone Jr., Buxton Bugle Contributor

Want a better lawn? Improve your soil’s health.

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Get your hands on some good grass.

        Get your hands on some good grass.

 

Your soil is a living AND breathing organism. Its health is a function of the symbiotic relationship between the micro-herds of organisms and the available organic matter suspended in a granular material.

 
The organic matter should contain an extensive menu of biodegradables to provide the environment necessary to sustain biological life. In other words, Nature’s organisms must consume the biodegradable matter to release back into the soil the nutrients, minerals and carbon dioxide necessary for a healthy topsoil.

 
There is a very easy and inexpensive way to measure the CO2 level in your soil. The results will indicate the population of organisms and therefore your soil’s health. Simply put, the higher the amount of CO2 the larger the micro-herd of organisms. More organisms equal a healthier soil.

 
You can easily do onsite, a “Carbon Dioxide Burst Test”. This very economical soil respiration test can be purchased at buxtonhollowfarm.com or by calling 401-767-6700. A Soil Inoculant to increase the amount of Nature’s organisms is also available, Buxton Hollow Farm® ORGANIC Compost Tea, a time honored, tried and true recipe for the serious grower and the health conscious gardener.

 

Happy gardening,
Frank & Nancy Jacques

IMPROVING FLORIDA SOIL

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These are the test results on the use of Buxton Hollow Farm® Compost Tea in Florida on lawn samples taken from October 2013 to January 2015 from Mr. Paul Poudrier’s Property in New Port Richie. In total, the Report clearly reveals that the condition of the “Florida Type” soil benefits greatly from the use of a soil inoculant, in this case our recipe of Compost Tea.

There are many areas in Florida where the soil is basically devoid of nutrients especially Phosphorus. The Report demonstrates that the addition of Buxton Hollow Farm® Compost Tea Recipe definitely increased the Nitrogen, leveled off the acid and helped the grass plant absorb the potash.

The samples grown with the Buxton Hollow Farm® Compost Tea have a noticeable increase in the size of the grass plant and most importantly the growth of its root system. The samples clearly demonstrated that an increase in the nutrients resulted in creating a richer top soil, a clear advantage to plant’s growth.

Most interesting about the use of a soil inoculant is how it increases the soil’s health promoting the growth of the top soil and thereby its ability to retain moisture. This would be a great advantage to plants grown in the “Florida type” soil. Of course the best part of Buxton Hollow Farm® Compost Tea RECIPE is the “OMRI” CERTIFICATION FOR ORGANIC USE”.

Happy gardening,

 

Frank & Nancy Jacques

 

SOIL TEST #1

New Port Richey, FL

January 20, 2015

SOURCE

ACIDITY

POTASH

PHOSPHORUS

NITROGEN

Paul Poudrier’s Florida lawn

pH

K

P

N

BEFORE TEA APPLICATION

6.0

K-2

P

N-2

 

(acid)

low but

non-existent

low but

 

 

adequate

 

adequate

AFTER TEA APPLICATION

6.5

K-1

P-1

N-2 to N-3

 

slightly acid

deficient

deficient

adequate to

 

 

 

 

sufficient

NOTES

lowered acidity

depleted K

increased P

increased N

October 2013                                                                                                          January 2015

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* Each sample and photo were taken from the exact same locations.

How Can Growers Safely Navigate Ever-shifting Cannabis Laws?

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From smallest to largest, whether you’re a one-woman home growing hobbyist with a medical grow permit, or a massive commercial dispensary of recreational cannabis in a Free State, your future access and legal safety are not only increasing, but are in tremendous flux, and the volatile market promises to make or break those trying to surf the wave.

In California, a federal criminal case hinges upon whether cannabis is even illegal at all, with a ruling expected by mid-February. While the ruling is non-binding outside of its federal District or in State courts, the legal argument is equally applicable in most jurisdictions, and will likely produce similar results if re-tried. The results, commercially, are unpredictable and momentous.

At the State level, evidence of market-opening shifts have occurred from coast to coast, whether Oregon’s recreational ballot initiative, or Rhode Island’s new Governor Gina Raimondo announcing the inevitability of legal cannabis and the need to manage it wisely.

As big conglomerates line up at both federal and state levels to exercise lobbying for investment exclusivity, a truly epic glut of outdoor and even indoor excess 2014 cannabis has flooded US markets, causing prices to bottom out, street dealers to be caught holding the bag, and law-abiding dispensaries (some of whom invested vast sums of money in compassionate medical ventures) unable to compete with street prices and increasingly facing rough seas.

Even at the municipal level, cannabis growers who meet state and federal guidelines can run into difficulties with local zoning and planning ordinances. Such box-ticking serves a legitimate function with regard to fire and electrical safety, but can be expensive and time-consuming. In the worst case scenarios, municipal governments in California have caused considerable consternation to cannabis growers, and add yet another dynamic to the ever-changing cannabis regulatory regime.

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Some common sense practical advice:

For home growers: check your State’s law carefully, as well as the current federal allowances, and don’t overlook local planning restrictions. If you’re allowed to grow, you can almost certainly grow enough for your needs, affordably, but don’t imagine that you’re going to get rich, make a living off of cannabis, or deftly outmaneuver other growers to make lots of money. It won’t work out that way, in the end.

For big investors: Your best bet in the long run is not going to be lobbying for regulatory lock-outs of competitors, but instead, by acquiring the best talent and giving the best value for money. When your lobbyists convince legislatures to make over-burdensome regulations to lock out small competitors, you won’t be able to come close enough to street prices while still complying with the regulations you fought for — there’s simply too much high grade on the street this year.

For everyone: Don’t gamble on a huge set-up in anticipation of impending regulatory relaxation. A few shrewd investors may make a quick buck this way, but legislative reform has a funny way of stalling, and you don’t want to be that sorry businessman caught paying interest on a loan for $150,000 worth of LED lights and several warehouse mortgages, sitting there twiddling your thumbs while bureaucrats bounce your applications around like a paper basketball for 15 months.

 

-Alan Gordon, Buxton Bugle Contributor