This week at NSP

Hello from Next Step!

Southern Maryland greens are coming on, while Southern Maryland grains and beans offer amazing opportunity!

Meanwhile, we are coming to an end with winter logging, which some of you would have noticed more than usual being that this has been taking place along the drive. Yes, the driveway is even more of a mess than it usually is, plus the abundant rainfall is adding to that effect. For the fields which got ripped up, there will be some tillage and reseeding in order. The soil will be tended so regrowth can come in to shield it from the elements to provide again.

As we low grade, taking down dead / damaged / or pioneer species, the forest succession is facilitated and accelerated. This is not a natural process which happens very effectively after unnatural events such as clear-cutting, which Southern Maryland forests have been and still is being. The forests are dynamic ecosystems which have been disrupted by human activity, and so as a consequence human activity must play an active role in regenerating forests. And then we are supposed to learn from our mistakes… We strive to be contributing to the regeneration of our forest, while at the same time, using resources within a closed loop system.

The logs are sorted for either lumber or firewood. Many building projects have been made using lumber from our property, sawn at a local Amish sawmill. The firewood will be cured for at least one year before it is burned in our wood gasification stove. This is a highly efficient stove which burns at 80+% efficiency versus the usual ~30% of your average poorly engineered stove. Therefore, we are gathering maximum heat from our natural renewable resource: https://www.alternateheatingsystems.com. The heat is used in our house as well as the greenhouses which are currently keeping warm both in-ground plants you have been (or should be) consuming and transplants for the coming warm season. Our wood stove also gets burning in the middle of June, heating air to 115 degrees to be force-blown through drying bins holding our freshly harvested grains, a requirement for safe storage.

It certainly seems like a lot less work to have fuel delivered – write a check and it’s out of mind. But in a world with limited resources, in a world with wars fought over oil, in a world we are meant to steward, it is long-term thinking to use resources at home. Wood is a renewable resource for Next Step Produce; wood is a renewable resource for much of this country.

It is Ghandi who said: “When the people lead, the leaders will follow”. We musn’t wait for the government to make changes and reduce our use of dirty or imported fuels. It’s a decision we make every day in our purchases.

Committed to growing nourishing food in harmony with nature,

Gabrielle & Heinz

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