Pigs Replace Pesticides, Could You Be a Farmer?, Farm Fresh Recipe and more

American Farmland Trust


American Farmland Trust's April Farm Fresh News

Welcome to AFT's April Farm Fresh News. In this edition, learn how farmers are reducing pesticides (with pigs!) follow a day in the life of a farmers' market farmer, and help spread the No Farms No Food message with our new totebags. Finally, enjoy a farm fresh recipe from Deborah Madison's new book Local Flavors.

Westbrook the Berkshire PigPigs Not Pesticides in the Orchard

As a participant in programs to reduce the use of pesticides, apple grower Jim Koan has tested many strategies to naturally control bugs in his family-run orchard near Flint, Michigan. But Koan’s latest tactic to battle the beetles munching his organic apple crop is among the first of its kind: an army of pigs who patrol the orchard to chomp fallen apples containing the insect larvae. Koan and researchers hope the hog experiment will help fruit growers around the world reduce their use of pesticides in the future.


Day in the Life of a Farmer's Market Farmer video
Watch the farmers' market video!

Your Dream Farm Can Come True!


Ever dreamed of owning a farm—selling beets at the farmers’ market, raising goats or running a pumpkin patch? New farmers often have questions about where to farm, financing or even what regulations will govern their business. Turn to the New York Beginning Farmer Project Website to find an online farmer’s forum, beginning farmer’s course, answers to questions and much more. Or just watch this video clip (mp4) about a day in the life of a farmers’ market farmer!

Help spread the No Farms No Food message
Get your totebag and help spread the No Farms No Food message!
There's Still Time for Action Before Farmers' Markets Open!

We’re sending out thousands of No Farms No Food totebags this spring, and you’re sure to see one at your local farmers’ markets and grocery stores soon. Help us spread the message with a totebag of your own and donate to American Farmland Trust.

We’ll put your donation to work helping keep local food on your table all year long—and you’ll get your totebag in time for the spring farmers’ market season!

Farmer and rancher prestige on the riseIs It Cool to Be a Farmer?

The most significant change since Harris Interactive started conducting its "Most Prestigious Careers" survey in 1977 is that, with the exception of teachers and clergy, the perceived prestige of the original 11 occupations has actually decreased over the years. The change from 2006 shows teachers’ perceived prestige increased by only two percentage points, and the bad news for bankers and athletes is that they are both down seven points. However, the profession that saw the biggest increase in prestige from 2006 was that of farmers, who rose five points. No surprise, it’s cool to be a farmer!

Radicchio imageLocal Flavor-Filled Recipe

Celebrated cookbook author Deborah Madison, a self-taught chef, grew up in Davis, California, an agricultural university town, and opened the famous vegetarian restaurant, Greens, in San Francisco. Deborah Madison's Local Flavors cookbookToday Madison lives in Galisteo, New Mexico, and she has become a champion of farmers’ markets. She generously shared the recipe from her James Beard Award-winning cookbook, Local Flavors, which is being issued in paperback in May.

Pasta with Radicchio, White Beans and Rosemary

The deep flavors of the rosemary, beans, their broth, and the radicchio make an all-vegetable dish that’s remarkably robust. Gnocchi-shaped pasta or shells are perfect for the beans, which end up cradled in the folds of the dough. This isn’t a particularly pretty dish—the radicchio turns brown—but if this bothers you, add a little chopped parsley before serving.

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 cup dried large white beans, such as cannelloni, gigante or runner beans
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 3 plump garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds radicchio, sliced into 1/2-inch ribbons
  • 1 pound dried pasta, such as gnocchi or shells
  • Freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Sort through the beans, rinse them, then put them in a pressure cooker with 2 quarts water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bring to pressure and cook on high for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to fall naturally, then open the pot. Take a taste. If the beans aren’t fully tender, simmer them until they are. If you’re not using a pressure cooker, soak the beans for 4 hours (or cover with boiling water and let stand for an hour), then drain. Rinse and re-cover with 2 quarts cold water. Add the salt and oil; bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and reserve the cooking water.
  2. Put on a pot of water for the pasta.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a wide skillet. Add the onion and sauté over high heat until lightly browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, half the rosemary, and the radicchio and season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the radicchio is limp, a few minutes longer, then add the beans and 1 cup of their cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. It’s nice if there’s a little broth at the end, so add liquid as needed.
  4. Salt the pasta water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. When done, drain and add it immediately to the pan. Add the remaining rosemary and season well with pepper. Toss everything together, then divide among heated pasta bowls. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over each serving, add another twist of pepper, and lightly grate the cheese over all.


    © Copyright 2006, American Farmland Trust. All rights reserved.
    1200 18th Street, Suite 800
    Washington, DC 20036