PLOVGH

Plovgh is a cooperative of farmers, growers, and ranchers that sell directly to their customers.

Thank you!

As we reflect on 2013, we want to thank each of you for being part of Plovgh. From farmers and truckers, to produce managers and individual members, you are changing the face of agriculture one crop at a time.

There are farmers using Plovgh in 13 different states to sell their crops independently of brokers and middlemen. There are more than 750 distinct crops grown by Plovgh farmers. And there are locations around the country providing direct-from-farm products to their customers. We anticipate 2014 will bring even more focus to the American farmer and hope that Plovgh continues to make those farmers’ jobs just a little bit easier. 

Here’s to a productive and profitable 2014!

Lizzy, Blue, and Mallory

31 12/13

Plovgh for the People

imageWhy join Plovgh?

  1. Discover farms and crops in your local store. With Plovgh, you see what the farms are harvesting and where to find those crops in your neighborhood. Crops that are sourced on Plovgh give you visibility into the farmer’s agricultural practices and any unique characteristics of the crop itself.You’ll also be the first to know when a farm’s harvest comes in, so get in there and get it!

  2. Purchase more crops from farms. Plovgh farms and their products are moving beyond the farmers market or CSA to become part of your everyday life, rather than just a Sunday morning activity. With Plovgh, farmers still harvest immediately before their crops reach you and reveal their origin and unique characteristics, but you can find them in the shops and markets you already frequent.

  3. Put more money into farmers’ hands. By selling their crops directly into your local stores, farmers receive nearly twice as much as they would in a traditional supply chain. They also have more time to spend in the field producing the crops that you rely on. Farmers doing better is just the kind of change we want to see.

To get started as a member, go to Plovgh. And spread the word about Plovgh farms and their harvest! The more people who join in, the more we can do for the farmers who are reinventing food and agriculture in this country.

If you’d like to recruit local farms, businesses, and neighbors to increase direct trade crops available in your area, please drop us a line!

25 11/13

With Plovgh, you discover which farms’ crops are in shops and markets near you. Learn about the farm’s agricultural practices, the quality of that particular harvest, and other details that you’ve never had before when it comes to direct trade crops. Get started at Plovgh!

25 11/13

Plovgh for Farmers

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Why join Plovgh?

  1. Manage all your sales in one place. If you’re tired of taking 17 phone calls and figuring out which customer wants what, when, and where, then Plovgh’s streamlined order management process can get you back in the field. Plovgh lets you send product availability alerts, track orders in live sales, plan harvest, and coordinate delivery for all your customers.

  2. Benefit from a deep network of customers. It’s risky to depend on one or two key buyer relationships. Plovgh’s network puts your existing buyers alongside a whole new set of people who want to do direct trade with you, the farmer. If one guy can’t take your crop this week, we’re pretty sure someone else within Plovgh can.

  3. Tell the story of your farm and your product all the way to the consumer. Plovgh tracks your product from farm to destination, and gives everyone along the way insight into you and your product. That lets consumers vote with their dollar as they gain access to information that helps them purchase direct traded goods.

  4. Get paid quickly and consistently. Plovgh handles invoicing and ensures you get paid within three business days if you’re a premium farm member, and within 15 business days if you’re a basic farm member. See more on pricing here.

  5. Plan for current and future seasons. You want to produce what your customers want to purchase. With Plovgh, you can gauge demand in advance of purchasing seeds, hiring labor, and harvesting. We’re currently working on production and purchasing plans for 2014, so if you’d like to start lining up your relationships please get started here!


We hope you’ll join over 100 other farms selling directly to their customers within the Plovgh network. If you’re ready to get started, head to Plovgh.com or get in touch with us directly!

21 11/13

Now Harvesting: Popping Corn

Fitkin Popping Corn (Fit-Pop) - Cedar Falls, Iowa
Harvesting: November 2013

Learn
Around the year 1612, early French explorers through the Great Lakes region noted that the Iroquois popped popcorn with heated sand in a pottery vessel and used it to make popcorn soup, among other things.

Cultivate
Popcorn has a long agricultural history. Precisely how popcorn originated is a topic of debate, though it did originate in the Americas. Some experts believe that corn was developed by centuries of breeding and crossbreeding wild grasses like teosinte. When farmers are considering seed selection, expansibility and maturity are two key factors. Maximum popping potential hinges on the corn reaching full maturity and there are many factors that can prematurely terminate plant development such as drought stress, disease, and frost. When harvesting, farmers wait until the corn has cured on the stalk as much as possible, but not so long that it is damaged by fall moisture or by corn stalks falling over. Once picked, the corn must be dried until it reaches its optimum moisture level of 13.5% to 14%.

Taste
Popcorn is delicate and starchy, and depending on what topping you choose, sweet or savory. Jim Fitkin’s popping corn is unique in that it has a subtle taste of the Iowa prairie where it was grown.

Identify
One of the more desirable traits of popcorn is expansibility; a measure of the volume ratio of popped corn to unpopped corn. Popcorn kernels can come in two shapes: “Butterfly” which are irregular in shape and have a number of protruding “wings”, or “Mushroom” flakes which are largely ball-shaped, with few wings. Jim’s popping corn is grown in northeast Iowa and is a hybrid variety with mushroom-like kernels.

Prepare
We all know that when popcorn is heated it expands from the kernel and puffs up. But why? The folklore of some Native American tribes told of spirits who lived inside each kernel of popcorn, and who grew angry if their houses were heated. The real expansion happens because the kernels have a hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy interior and under the right temperature, pressure builds inside the kernel, and a small explosion - or “pop!” - is the end result. Once popped you can eat popcorn with whatever toppings you choose; salt, butter, chili flakes or cream and sugar. When it comes to Jim’s popping corn, we’re staunch traditionalists and hold true to this recipe complements of the McVay family.

21 11/13

Now Harvesting: Bluefish

Village Fishmonger
Working with local fisheries in NY and NJ

Learn
Bluefish go by many different names including tailor, snapper, baby blues, choppers, and elfs. Their scientific name is pomatomus saltatrix.

Cultivate
Bluefish are a trophy species, that are pursued by anglers because of their reputation as a champion battler and voracious predator. When a Bluefish is hooked, they are known to put up a fight more impressive than some larger species. They are native to both the American and European coasts of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the US coast, Bluefish are highly abundant. In the mid-Atlantic, Bluefish scored a 4 out of 4 in the 2013 Summer Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI), which is a perfect rating and indicates that there is no overfishing. Bluefish have a a mouthful of sharp pointed teeth and tend to eat a variety of small-bodied animals such as copepods, shrimp, small lobsters and crabs, larval fish and larval mollusks. Adult Bluefish are opportunistic feeders, going after schooling species such as menhaden, squid, sand eels, herring, mackerel, and alewives, as well as scup, butterfish, and cunner.

Taste
Bluefish are rich and oily, with moist and delicate flesh. They are also high in heart-healthy “good fats.” While they have a more assertive flavor than other fish, when prepared their meat can have a mild, flaky taste.

Identify
Despite what their name might elude to, Bluefish are most commonly a sea-green color on top, fading to a silvery shade on their lower sides and belly. Bluefish rarely exceed 20 lbs. and 40 inches in length, and they generally run between 10-15 pounds. The are moderately proportioned fish, and have a broad, forked tail.

Storage
Bluefish don’t hold up well when frozen or canned, and the Bluefish coming off the boats of the fishermen that work with Village Fishmonger are the freshest available. Village Fishmonger recommends storing your fish on ice and refrigerating it for the best results. By keeping fish at the coldest temperature possible without freezing, you can help extend its usable life, keeping it firmer and fresher tasting for longer.

Prepare
Though they are a respected gamefish, most people tend to overlook Bluefish as table fare due to their “fishy” reputation. These fish have strong digestive enzymes that can lead to quick spoilage, so it’s recommended to put them on ice soon after catching. As with most fish, Bluefish are best when fresh and when properly prepared they are delicious.
Olive Oil Poached Bluefish Crostini [Katie O’Donnell of Frankies 570 Spuntino]
Broiled Bluefish with Citrus Dressing [Village Fishmonger]
Bluefish Tacos [Hungry Native]
Smoked Bluefish Rillettes [Six Course Dinner]

Image Source

15 11/13

Farm Memberships

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Farms have seen up to $1,350 in a single transaction on Plovgh. As a Plovgh farm member, you can expect to plan for your season, connect with buyers, streamline customer orders, and get fast payment for your crops all in one place. Click here to register your farm!


Basic farm membership
Free membership

  1. Transaction fee: 10%
  2. Payment: 15 business days from delivery date
  3. Automated availability lists for current and prospective buyers
  4. On-the-spot sales available
  5. Invoice management
  6. Full traceability of product

Cooperative farm membership
$50/year when you join with at least five other producers

  1. Transaction fee: 3%
  2. Payment: 3 business days from delivery date
  3. Automated AND personalized availability lists for current and prospective buyers
  4. Forward contracts, standing orders, and on-the-spot sales available
  5. Invoice management
  6. Full traceability of product
  7. Introductions to and product requests from new buyers
  8. Access to transportation and distribution solutions that include direct store delivery, third party logistics, and shipping options
  9. Demand insights for optimal production planning
  10. Discounts on seed, feed, and other input purchases

Independent farm membership
$250/year when you join as an individual producers

  1. Transaction fee: 3%
  2. Payment: 3 business days from delivery date
  3. Automated AND personalized availability lists for current and prospective buyers
  4. Forward contracts, standing orders, and on-the-spot sales available
  5. Invoice management
  6. Full traceability of product
  7. Dedicated exchanges for you and your customers
  8. Introductions to and product requests from new buyers
  9. Access to transportation and distribution solutions that include direct store delivery, third party logistics, and shipping options
  10. Demand insights for optimal production planning
  11. Discounts on seed, feed, and other input purchases

Register your farm now, or learn more about which membership would be best suited for your farm by dropping us a line.

13 11/13

Production of our popcorn was cut by over half last year due to the drought. Northeast Iowa, where I farm, was hit the hardest last year by the drought. This year we had a record wet and cold spring which then turned into a “flash drought”. At this time Northeast Iowa, although still dry, is the wettest part of Iowa. Our yields should only be slightly below trend line.
- A conversation with Jim Fitkin of Fitkin Farms in Cedar Falls, Iowa earlier this season
13 11/13

Now Harvesting: Apples [Part 2, late-season]

Samascott Orchards - Kinderhook, NY
Harvesting date: October - November 2013

Learn
There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples that come to harvest at different times over the course of a season.

Cultivate
Apples can be categorized by their harvest schedule which include an early-season crop (mid- to late summer), a mid-season crop (mid-summer to early autumn), and a late-season crop (early to late autumn, and sometimes running into winter). Harvest times may vary a week or more from year to year, depending on when the tree is in bloom and the climate conditions during the growing season. Cloudy, cool conditions or drought conditions also tend to delay fruit maturity.

Varieties
Late season or winter apples are great for cooking and are also the best keepers. Here are some of the varieties you can find growing at Samascott Orchards this season.


Northern Spy
A very old-fashioned American variety that is well known for its winter-hardiness. Good for baking pies, these apples are crunchy and have a thin skin. They’re juicy, crisp and mildly sweet with a rich, aromatic tart flavor.


Snowsweet
First introduced in 2006, this variety is savory and sweet, with a slight tartness and rich overtones. When it’s cut it takes a longer than usual time to turn brown which makes them ideal for eating fresh with cheese plates or salads.


Sonata
Also known as Pinova or Piñata, Sonata apples are a cross between a Golden Delicious, Cox’s Orange Pippin and a Duchess of Oldenburg. It has a crisp taste that is both sweet and tart.


Spartan
A small, sweet variety that is similar to a McIntosh. It has bright crimson skin and white flesh. When picked right off the tree, Spartans are very crisp and juicy, but they tend to soften a bit within a week or so of picking. They are a great variety for juicing.


Spigold
A cross between Northern Spy and Golden Delicious, these apples are tender and have a fine-grained, firm, crisp flesh. Similar to the Northern Spy variety, these apples hold their shape well when cooked making them a good choice for baking.

Storage
Apples are still living even after they are picked which means they are using stored nutrients as opposed to those received from the tree prior to harvesting. During storage, they gradually use up their nutrients causing the sugar, starch, and acid content of the apple to change. This is why some apples become mealy. Storage varies depending on the cultivar, but most apples store well at low temperatures (as this slows the respiration rate and preserves good quality) and at high humidity (to keep them from dehydrating & shriveling up). You can find more detailed storage tips here.

Prepare
Whether you’re baking or making cider, finding the right apple cultivar for the right dish can be a science. Or you could just take the easy route, and check out this list.
When baking…(Some Kitchen Stories)
When grilling…(Serious Eats)
When poaching…(The Hungry Giant)
When sautéing…(Oh My Veggies)

31 10/13

Credit that’s good for you, and your farmer

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It’s true: Farmers tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to money. They have the hardest job on the planet but because they’re at the foundation (read, bottom) of the industrial food chain, they’re typically the last to get paid. Not only do they just make $0.11, on average, for every dollar of food you purchase, but they also wait weeks - sometimes, we hear, even months - to get paid for their work.

But seed needs to be planted! Land needs to be tilled! Farmers themselves need to be fed! What an abomination.

We at Plovgh have a mission to keep independent farms viable, and we accomplish it by making it possible for any farm to sell directly to its customers. Farms that sell their harvest through Plovgh set their own prices and get paid 24 hours after they deliver their crops to you.

We’re pleased to have found in Dwolla compatriots in the battle to take down all the giants that stand between a buyer and seller. Now, using Dwolla Credit on Plovgh, you can place an order from a farmer today, receive your harvest and get him paid tomorrow, and only part with your own cash at the end of the month. Check it out, for your own good and your farmer’s.

When you register on Plovgh, use the discount code GoDwolla to get $10 toward your first purchase from the farms!

25 10/13