Garlic Festival “Ask the Expert” Stage

“ASK THE EXPERT” is a production of Crow River Sustainable Farming Association.

Here is the line-up from 2013 – we’ll announce this year’s Experts soon.

11:00 a.m. - Connie Karstens: “Backyard Medicine”

With a BA in Biology from the University of St. Thomas and a MS in Health and Nutrition Education from HawthornConnie University, Connie has taught college nutrition for 14 years. For over 25 years, she and her husband have worked on their 180-acre sustainable livestock farm where sheep and other livestock are grazed with bio-dynamic farming practices. Karstens also is a clinical herbalist and uses local plants to make her own herbal tinctures, medicinal teas, oils, salves, and tonics.  Learn how to heal and feed yourself and others from wild plants that grow right in your own backyard. Everything you need for vibrant health awaits you in nature’s grocery store and pharmacy – and they are free!  Hear first hand from a practicing Traditional Western Herbalist just how our native plants can be used for everyday ailments and how simple they are to use.

11:50 a.m. - Paul Hugunin: “What’s New with Minnesota Grown and Local Foods”

MN Grown 4c logo webPaul has 25 years of experience marketing local foods, and currently supervises the Minnesota Grown Program, for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Over 1,200 producers are licensed to use the Minnesota Grown logo, and the Directory features more than 970 places to buy directly from the farmer, including livestock producers, farmers’ markets, garden orchards, wineries, berry farms and more.

 12:40 p.m. – Nathan Winter“Growing Cover Crops in Minnesota”

NathanNathan Winter has been an Extension Educator in McLeod and Meeker Counties for 8½ years. Though his expertise includes commodity crops and forages, he also on commercial and consumer fruit and vegetable production. Nathan has been the co-leader for the University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms team and is in charge of the University of Minnesota Extension Small Farms Website. He received both Bachelor’s  and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Education from the University of Minnesota.
Nathan’s talk will focus on growing cover crops in Minnesota. Farmer and gardener interest in cover crops has grown in recent years, and this talk will highlight what cover crops are, seed options, establishment, and benefits of growing a cover crop.

1:37 p.m. – Break for the Peculiar Pragmatic Promenade

2:15 p.m. – Elaine Evans: “Pollinators: What do They do for Us and what can We do for Them?”

Elaine Evans completed her M.S. in Entomology at the U of M, where she studied honey bees and bumble bees. Bumble BeesElaine is the author of  “Befriending Bumble Bees: A Guide to Raising Local Bumble Bees”, winner of the ALA Godort 2008 Notable Government Document Award. She is also co-author of the book “Managing Alternative Pollinators”. Elaine currently is working on a PhD in Entomology studying the effects of landscapes on wild bees.
Bees provide essential pollination services for many plants, both wild and commercial. These plants in turn provide countless animals, including us, with food, shelter, and other essentials. Honey bees are the most familiar pollinator but wild bees also provide important pollination services. Loss of wild bees is a serious concern. Knowledge of basic wild bee biology will help determine simple steps that can be taken to promote nesting habitat and food sources for native bees.

2:50 p.m. – Paul Schmidt: “Environmental Factors: Dealing with the Hand You’ve Been Dealt”

Paul and Karen Schmidt have farmed full-time in Preston, MN since 1995.  Their farm, SunFresh Foods, is a mix of conventional, organic, vegetable, row-crop and livestock,   Including an acre of asparagus, and between 20,000 to 30,000 plants of garlic in 28 differentsunfresh250 different varieties.
There are a lot of factors that you have control over to maximize your garlic growing experience.  What about the factors that you don’t?  Such as soil type, temperature, rainfall, geographical availability of mulches, etc.  Paul will address some common issues that are dealt with in Minnesota with plenty of time for questions.

3:40 p.m. – Chris Kudrna: “Garlic Diseases – What is Going on in the Midwest?”

Chris & JoanneChris and his wife Joanne started growing garlic several years ago, and now own Plum Creek Garlic in Fairhaven Township south of St. Cloud. which they run not only to grow great garlic but to help build community in the central MN area.  Chris will discuss old diseases and new – Phytoplasma, Garlic Mosaic, Bloat Nematode and Fusarium just to name a few.  While garlic is often used organically to prevent and control disease issues on other crops, it can fall victim to a wide variety of nasties.  Some can be managed and some you just have to hope you don’t get.


4:30 p.m. – Panel of Garlic Growers

Chris Kudrna, Plum Creek Garlic
Paul Schmidt, Sunfresh Foods

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