Category: News

Meet Farmer Tyler

Every now and again I meet someone who is so full of joy and gratitude I can’t help but like them. And when he or she shares my love of gardening? Well, that’s a friend for life. So it went when I met the winner of our 100,000 Fan Giveaway sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tyler Baras (a.k.a. Farmer Tyler) entered the contest last summer and was selected as the winner of a trip to Little Rock to visit some of the city’s hot spots and to tape a TV segment with me.

Tyler wasn’t the only winner in the deal. I got to learn something about his specialty – hydroponics. Tyler works at The GrowHaus, which is a non-profit urban farm in Denver that provides fresh vegetables and education on healthy living to the surrounding community. The GrowHaus uses greenhouses and hydroponics to produce greens year-round in the cold Colorado climate. Hence Tyler’s expertise in the method.

Tyler and I taped a segment about how to build a home hydroponics system.

Another talent Tyler shared was playing the accordion.

While Tyler was in town we wanted to make sure he saw some of the best of Little Rock and good food was on the top of the list. He had barbeque and greens at Lindsey’s Hospitality House, fried black-eyed peas at the Capital Hotel and catfish with hoppin’ John at South on Main. We also made sure he tried a locally brewed beer and some of Kent Walker’s cheese at Stone’s Throw Brewery.

Having a beer, homemade pickles and Kent Walker Artisan Cheese at Stone’s Throw Brewery. The pickled squash was our favorite.

Tyler couldn’t leave Little Rick without walking The Big Dam Bridge, visiting Central High School and touring the Clinton Library.

We had lunch at the Clinton Library. Tyler was tickled to see that Moss Mountain Farm was listed as a food supplier on the menu.

At the Clinton Library Tyler demonstrated how he would drive the Presidential state car. He should probably stick to growing lettuce.

 This is the mid-way point across The Big Dam Bridge. It’s a gorgeous view any time of the year.

Because Tyler is into urban farming we wanted to make sure he got to visit a few area agriculture-related attractions. The first stop was Little Rock Urban Farming in the heart of the city. He spoke with Chris about the farm’s operation and intern program. On Friday we headed to Lonoke to meet with Dr. Anita Kelly at the Cooperative Extension Center. And finally we toured Barnhill Orchards also in Lonoke.

Chris and Tyler walking through a bamboo thicket heading to Little Rock Urban Farming’s high tunnel greenhouses.

Dr. Kelly demonstrated her work combining aquaponics with hydroponics.

Bob Barnhill toured us around his farm.

Even this late in the year Mr. Barnhill has crops he harvests to sell. Tyler got to harvest a few persimmons and learn how to operate a pecan cracking machine.

I want to say a BIG thank you to everyone who entered the 100,000 Fan Giveaway. We received some fantastic videos and it was hard to pick just one. I also want to thank the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau for making Tyler’s trip possible. They hooked him up with a hotel room, passes to the Clinton Library and a $250 gift card to use for pocket money. Thank you Little Rock for being such a swell place to live!

News from Moss Mountain Farm

Close to 98 percent of U.S. farms are family owned.Arkansas farmers aren’t the only people talking about soybeans in spring. For the second year in a row we’ve held two events at the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home to help spread the word about the importance of agriculture and soybean farming in my home state. Both events were born out of my partnership with the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board.

Soybean University
First up on the calendar was Soybean University. Students from the Brinkley FFA and Arkansas 4-H visited the farm to learn about careers in agriculture and soybean farming.

More than 30 students attended.

Rhonda Carroll lives on a soybean farm with her husband Jim. She showed the kids how to make soy milk with raw beans. If you don’t have soybeans growing outside your back door like Rhonda you can purchase them from a feed store, a health food store or online.

Students then test tasted soy milk with soy nut cookies. Get the recipe.

We walked up to Poultryville to discuss the importance of soy in animal feed.

Moose was in heaven.

As were Smudge and Squeak.

Ben Thrash, a student at the University of Arkansas is an Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Fellowship recipient. He spoke with students about careers in agriculture, the impact of agriculture in Arkansas and his background as part of a farm family from Conway, AR.

Students planted Arkansas Kirksey Edamame seeds, which were developed as a part of an ASPB research project and are now grown throughout the river valley region of Arkansas.

We ended the day with an ice cream social featuring soy ice cream and candy-coated soy nuts.

Bean2Blog
Mid-May the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and I put together a day of workshops focusing one of our state’s most valuable assets – the soybean. All the attendees were Arkansas women bloggers so we got to celebrate a talented group of women too.

The bloggers heard from West Higginbotham, Vice Chairman of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and an Arkansas farmer, about soybean uses and farming life.

Tamara won the Bean2Blog ticket giveaway on Facebook and arrived at the event looking for ideas for the farm she recently purchased. I think the highlight of the day was holding Amos.

Once again Moose was the center of attention.

Lockstars was on hand again this year to demonstrate how to make soy candles.

I demonstrated how to make edamame hummus.

We asked each of the bloggers to come up with a new catch word for soy. Soy-licious, soy-tisfying, soy-percalifragilisticexpialidocious, soy-ragious, soy-lovely, soy-izzle, and soy-tastic are just a few of the creative words they suggested.

During a round table discussion we got to learn from the bloggers about their industry and receive feedback about the day’s events.

Everyone took home edamame seeds to plant.

The 2013 Bean2Blog group!

Here’s a list of the participating bloggers with links to their blogs.

In Memory of a Great Garden Friend

Our good friend Lynne Travis-Pence passed away this week after a courageous battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Pete her husband and her Proven Winners® and Pleasant View Gardens family.

Lynne, we will never forget how you brightened our gardens.

More than a Cute Face – Finding Refuge in the Ozark Mountains

The folks in the office are an animal-loving bunch. It’s not uncommon to walk the halls and hear people telling stories or showing off pictures of their furry friends, and reports of a “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” spread like wildfire. It came as no surprise, then, to hear that Rocky Ridge Refuge was the hot topic in the office after my digital manager Mary Ellen and social media specialist Anna Claire made a visit there. But to listen to them talk about this animal sanctuary on a rocky hill run by one woman with an endless supply of patience and love was more than just hearing about cute animals.

Janice with Bazinga

Janice Wolf’s first memory is of saving a pelican in Key West. To hear Mary Ellen and Anna Claire describe it, Janice has been saving animals from abuse and neglect ever since. She keeps up to 60 animals at a time at the northwest Arkansas refuge that she often finds in desperate situations. Through traditional herbal remedies and a local vet clinic she is able to give her rescues a life worth living.

Sweet puppy

Janice’s main project is rehabilitating dogs for adoption, but she has quite the knack for taking in rare or exotic breeds of animals and each of them has a distinct personality. Take Crouton for example- she patrols the walkway in between two fenced areas, but with just a little sweet potato bribery she was more than happy to let the visitors move on and visit the other animals.

Crouton with sweet potato

And what an assortment there was! While the dogs were the first to welcome Mary Ellen and Anna Claire, it was the deer, sheep, and miniature donkeys that really wanted to show off for them.

Baby Deer

Despite their size, these miniature donkeys made a big impression when they started chasing each other and the deer around the refuge pasture. Apparently they only do this when they have visitors, so Mary Ellen and Anna Claire felt very special.

Mini Donkeys

While Mary Ellen talked to Janice about the history of the refuge, Anna Claire thought she’d stealthily visit Wade the water buffalo in hopes of a picture. Turns out that stealth wasn’t needed at all! Wade, like most of the other animals, has long since passed being camera shy and, as Janice puts it, “loves to photo bomb.”

Wade

Like Janice’s description of Wade, many of the stories she told were full of laughter and hope – she was sending a puppy out for adoption the very next day, there was a baby miniature horse born earlier that morning, and her beloved capybara had just graduated to a big girl pool! What impressed Anna Claire and Mary Ellen most is that these happy tales come from animals who had been so damaged before finding their way to Rocky Ridge Refuge.

Capybara

Janice has saved countless animals over the years, and you can help her. If you’re considering getting a new dog, consider adopting from Rocky Ridge – the animals there were some of the best-mannered and family friendly dogs that Mary Ellen and Anna Claire had ever encountered. And if adoption isn’t the right idea for you, consider donating to her cause. To learn more about how you can help Janice and the Rocky Ridge family, visit the Rocky Ridge Refuge Facebook Page or www.rockyridgerefuge.com.

For more pictures check out the Rocky Ridge Refuge tab on my Facebook page.

Season XI P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home

It wasn’t too long ago that Garden Home was just an idea kicking around in my head. It’s amazing what can happen in 11 years. The concept has since blossomed into 6 books, a half hour show on public television and the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home. Going from concept to reality seemed pretty slow going while I was in the thick of it, but when I look back now I wonder how it all went by so quickly.

So here we are a decade and countless cups of coffee later ready to kick off Season XI of the P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television series. While I’m puzzled over the speed of passing time, I am thrilled that we are celebrating the second decade of the show.

To mark the occasion I’d like to share a little photo montage I call “Where’s Brent?” Our videographer Brent has been with the company for 7 of the 11 seasons. A quiet but constant presence, Brent is the man behind all the captivating imagery in the shows. As you can see by some of these photos, he’ll do anything to get a good shot.

Getting a shot of blueberry fields in Oregon.

Brent and the camera all suited up to get cover of soy foam insulation going in.

A rare moment when Brent got out from behind the camera to check out microbes in soil.

This year we upgraded the camera and added a 2nd unit. Better HD quality and no more tapes to lug around. Was Brent excited? It's hard to say because he's a quiet fella, but I think I overheard him giggling the day it arrived.

Hanging out at EuroAmerican Propagators in California.

It happens so rarely here that I go a little crazy when it snows. Brent and our field producer Patrick are always there to get cover, even going so far as climbing on the roof & riding in helicopters.

Hanging with the guys fishing at the crack of dawn. Just in case you can't tell by the photo, it was bitter cold that day.

There are SOME perks to being our videographer. Last summer we took a sunset cruise in Chicago. Of course, Brent had to WORK, but it beats standing on a roof in the snow.

Can you hear me?

After several years of making guest appearances on radio shows around the country and LOVING it I finally have my own show! Even with the TV shows, books, website, blog and now the new YouTube channel — there is still so much to talk about. What better place than radio to extend the conversation?

Each week I’ll welcome guests, answer questions and chat about everything regarding today’s lifestyle, from garden to the table and beyond!

So join me every Saturday 4 – 5 p.m. CST for an hour of home and garden tips and stories from the Garden Home Retreat and on the road.

Three Ways to Listen to The P. Allen Smith Show

On the Radio – KARN 102.9 FM 4 – 5 p.m. CST every Saturday

Online – http://www.karnnewsradio.com/ 4 – 5 p.m. CST every Saturday

Podcast – www.pallensmith.com/radio Latest broadcasts are posted every Tuesday following the show.

We’re Building Great Things!

I am absolutely thrilled to share with you some big news in our world. As you may know, on Friday, Google announced a massive, global effort to produce thousands of hours of exclusive premium content on YouTube.

What you probably haven’t heard yet is that I will be part of the 100+ channels joining the YouTube channel expansion! Beginning later this month, you can find me at the new eHow Home channel. We are excited to join the ranks of some of the world’s top content producers, including the Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters, Hearst Magazines and celebrities such as Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Lance Armstrong and Shaquille O’Neal.

Our new eHow Home YouTube channel will focus largely on a new house and garden that I am building at Moss Mountain Farm, home to the taping of both our PBS and syndicated shows. The home will be small and affordable and designed in the vernacular style typical of the 1830s. While traditional in style, it will be built with sustainable building methods, technologies,  products, and with energy conservation in mind.

Aside from the sheer joy it’s going to be to begin building a new home on the farm, there’s also the thrill of being part of making history. Google has a bold, aggressive vision to build the future of media, and we are honored to be joining the best in content providers to make it happen. We’re ready for the challenge and to bring our experience, knowledge and passion of home and garden to viewers around the world.

Our partner on this new venture is the very seasoned Demand Media (NYSE: DMD), based in Santa Monica, Calif., a company ranked among YouTube’s most visited sites. Demand Media will oversee the eHow Home channel, and our team will be providing all the content, which will be filmed in Arkansas, with the majority of filming taking place at Moss Mountain Farm.

For a full list of the new YouTube channels, click here.

To read the full news release with all the details, click here.

To see a sneak peek video and subscribe to the eHow Home Channel, click here.

We hope you’ll check us out on YouTube and get the inside scoop on building a green home (inside and out) from the ground up, not to mention all sorts of other great tips and projects to unify your home and garden. See you on YouTube!