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Field day will explore garlic production and marketing – May 31, in Johnston

For Release: May 10, 2018

Contacts:

Jordan Clasen | Grade A Gardens | (515) 554-4306 | gradeagardens@gmail.com

Tamsyn Jones | Outreach & Publications Coordinator | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Jordan Clasen and Whitney Brewer, of Grade A Gardens, will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day exploring garlic production and marketing on Thursday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at their farm in Johnston (9050 NW 62nd Ave.).

The event – “Growing Garlic and Marketing the Farm” – is free to attend and includes lunch. RSVPs are requested for the meal to Debra Boekholder, debra@practicalfarmers.org or (515) 232-5661 by Friday, May 25. The field day is sponsored by Iowa Farmers Union and Prudenterra.

This event marks the launch of Practical Farmers’ main 2018 field day season, which includes 40 events across the state, and beyond, on topics spanning the agricultural spectrum.

Jordan started Grade A Gardens in 2009, raising garlic on a half-acre. Today, the farm includes 8 acres of certified organic fruits and vegetables; 300 egg-laying chickens; and bees. Gourmet garlic remains a farm specialty – 2 acres of the farm are devoted to the crop. Whitney Brewer joined the farm in 2016, and is a member of PFI’s Savings Incentive Program. Jordan and Whitney market through a CSA, the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market and Des Moines restaurants and specialty grocers.

At the field day, guests will learn about garlic production at Grade A Gardens, and Jordan and Whitney will discuss how they use mobile chicken coops to enhance soil fertility. In 2011, Jordan added laying hens to the farm’s mix of enterprises when he was in the Savings Incentive Program.

“The chickens added soil fertility to the farm’s production system and eggs to our markets,” Jordan says. “Each year, I’ve implemented the hens into our fertility system a little bit more.”

Guests will learn how to select garlic varieties, and how to grow garlic from planting to market. This year, Jordan set out to do all his marketing online for the first time. Jordan and Whitney will lead a conversation on marketing tools they use to brand Grade A Gardens – including their use of social media, and how they set up their market stall.

“I want to spread the gospel on good garlic,” Jordan says.

Directions: From NW 86th Street in Johnston, turn west onto NW 62nd Avenue. In 0.2 miles at the top of the hill, the farm is on the south side of the road (look for the barn quilt on the shed). You will need to make a U-turn around the median to enter the driveway.

Practical Farmers’ 2018 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; Blue River Organic Seed; Cascadian Farms; Center for Rural Affairs; Farm Credit Services of America; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Green Cover Seed; Green Thumb Commodities; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Fence; Sunrise Foods International; The DeLong Company; The Fertrell Company; The Scoular Company; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.

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Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit http://practicalfarmers.org.