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NEON:  The Northeast Organic Network Martens Farm Gallery

Penn Yan, New York

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Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens and their farm team manage 1300 acres of organic grain crops and processing vegetables on rolling, glacially derived soils distributed between Penn Yan and Geneva, New York, in the Finger Lakes region. They are also innovators in a wide range of weed management techniques and machinery, and organizers of a successful, home-grown farmer to farmer extension and networking effort, New York Certified Organic. They stress that the success of the organic grain farmers through the region lies in collaboration and in generating a critical mass for marketing and sharing of information.

Klaas Martens simultaneously cultivating sweet corn and networking on a cell phone.

Plowing down a cover-cropped field for organic soybeans.

A tine weeder is used to kill weeds just after corn emergence, when weed seedlings are more vulnerable to the tines than the vigorous corn seedlings.

A field of corn after second cultivation in July.

Alfalfa, recently emerged winter spelt, and corn ready to harvest in October, on a gentle slope overlooking Seneca Lake.

Rows of Vinton tofu soybeans early in the season.

Clover interseeded into spelt that will provide home-grown nitrogen for a corn crop the following spring. This rotation is in wide use by many grain farmers in the Finger Lakes.

Snap beans are a processing vegetable that can be fit easily into a grain rotation, and the Martens are pioneering markets for organically produced processing vegetables.

Spelt ready for harvest and soybeans just before flower in late july.

Harvesting Vinton tofu soybeans. An older harvester has been fitted with a new combine head.

NEON director Anu Rangarajan and student assistant Jeff Gilbert examine a processing cabbage crop destined shortly for organic sauerkraut. Growing processing cabbage in a grain rotation allows for long periods between successive cabbage crops, which offsets the heavy toll a cabbage crop can take on the soil.