Tunnel Vision: A network of farmers is using a new tool to extend the growing season

story by Liz Pacheco | photos by Emily WrenEntering the high tunnel at Mort Brooks Memorial Farm in Mount Airy is a little like stepping into a time machine. In early March, there are dense rows of rainbow chard and arugula, and a few beds have green stems poking through the soil. Farm manager Rick Rigutto reaches down and pulls out some chard, munching on a pink-hued stalk as he walks through the tunnel. While it’s been unseasonably warm, these greens shouldn’t be ready for eating for weeks. Most farms shut down by December, but Mort Brooks keeps on growing – and not in greenhouses. Instead they use sturdy, metal pipe frames covered in plastic sheeting known as high tunnels.
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Better Living Through Farming: Two DuPont chemists-turned-farmers master the art of growing organic, and authentic Asian produce

Zuohong Ed Yin of Queens Farm in West Chester will gladly explain his scientific reasons for growing organic vegetables and fruit. The DuPont chemist and family farm owner has a Ph.D. in plant physiology, a master’s in chemistry and a longtime interest in Chinese medicine. Stop by his farm stand at Headhouse Square (2nd and South) on a Sunday, and he and his daughter Sarah will show you numerous Asian mushroom varieties, which Yin claims support the health of the kidney, liver, cardiovascular system and immune system. The 200 Asian vegetables he grows on his 38-acre organic farm—including Chinese lettuce, Fava beans, bok choy, Chinese eggplant and Japanese basil—are a reaction to the over-fertilized crops typically found in American supermarkets, packed with more carcinogenic nitrogen dioxide than nutrition.
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Review: Bringing It To The Table

Wendell Berry understands technology’s lure to farmers. In 1950, when he was 16, his father bought a tractor, and suddenly he found he was impatient with his mules. But what does a tireless machine do to a farmer’s relationship to the land? Land becomes something to overcome—a perspective shared by a traveler on an interstate or in a plane. “I now suspect that if we work with machines,” Berry writes, “the world will seem to us a machine, but if we work with living creatures, the world will appear to us a living creature.”
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Feature: Food Power

A Lancaster County Farmers group show how local, organic food makes strong farms and healthy food
by Will Dean

Lancaster County is full of rolling hills, plowed fields and the occasional tall, silver silo; to the average observer, it can all seem the same. With a closer look, though, one plot of turned soil can be radically different from another 50 feet away.
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