I know mostly around here the ladies dominate my readership, so I appreciate it even more when the gentlemen give me support. One of those gentlemen is Philip. Philip was one of the first people I interacted with in social media. He has been such a support not only during my time in social media, but also in my writing and my marriage. Philip is a well-traveled and extremely well versed man farmer from Canada whom I have a great deal of respect for, so it brings me much pride to feature him here on my blog today. (And because he is so incredibly humble, he will tell me that what I’ve written here is too much 😛 ) Philip’s food ingredient is food grade soybeans and I decided to put them in this lovely spinach salad. They add the perfect texture to all the flavors here.
Dresden, Ontario, Canada
- When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I’ve farmed all my life. Left to get an education, graduated, came back farmed 5 years then went back to do a Masters in Agricultural Economics and Business. During this time, I bought farms, equipment, continued to grow my business
- Are there any differences between your farm now and your farm when you were a kid?
Yes, tremendous differences, mainly in scale, tasks are done with much bigger equipment making things more efficient. In Agriculture change is our only constant. It is constant evolution.
- Who farms with you and what are their roles?
I farm by myself. Occasionally, my brother will give me a hand moving grain.
- What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
I think the hardest part of farming was dealing with debt when I was younger, and interest rates over 20%. Work was harder then, and as always, risk was part of the process. Bankers were hard to get along with, it was just a hard time.
- What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
I think it was and is the flexibility it gave me to improve my life. I have built up other things in my career, partly because my farming gave me time and opportunity to do that. It also gives me extended time with family during winter. This is very nice.
- What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
Corn, Wheat and soybeans…because I’ve always done it, but only better with age.
- What do you think was the most useful advance in farming such as machinery, genetics, chemicals, etc?
In my lifetime is has been notill production techniques. Not only has it cut costs, but it has transcended the labour barriers I faced farming conventionally. Now, individually, I can do some much more.
- What is your favorite thing to do with a food crop you grow? (recipe, method of cooking, etc.)
I don’t cook much, but I’ve always appreciated the people who can. I’ve watched your videos (Jenny), great stuff. I put roasted soybeans on my salads….
Future of Farming
- What is one message you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
That I respect the consumer. I think sometimes farmers get angered by consumer apathy to farm issues. However, consumers have their own problems, just as important as mine. I don’t worry much about consumer education, as I think it matters little. Consumers want safe cheap food, with cheap winning the day. I respect that, regardless of what it is.
- What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting into farming?
A long story, but its summarized here: http://philipshaw.ca/2012/11/22/my-5-tips-for-new-and-young-farmers-2/
I regularly enjoy Philip’s perspective on farming, life, and how much he truly loves agriculture. He shares on his perspectives on his blog Under the Agridome where he has been blogging before blogging was cool (over 2 decades!!), on a weekly Podcast, and he was even given the opportunity to speak at a Tedx event! You can find more of Philip on Twitter, where he is known and loved as @Agridome.
I honestly LOVE salads that feature some sort of nut and fruit with a stinky cheese. They are hands down my favorite and whenever I find a new combo I always have to re-create it. This salad would be equally fantastic with apples in it or even blue cheese instead of gorgonzola. Feel free to sub as necessary. I love some fresh edamame, but for some reason I had never thought about putting it in a salad. New salad ingredient discovery thanks to Philip! p.s. the dressing for this salad is fantastic, you will want to add it to your regular repertoire.
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (can sub balsamic for different flavor)
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small pears, diced
- 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 8 oz spinach
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup green soybeans (edamame) OR toasted soybeans
- In a small bowl, mix vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil.
- In a salad bowl combine spinach, pears, gorgonzola cheese, pecans, and soybeans. When you are ready to serve, add the vinaigrette and toss. Enjoy!
This post is part of my Thirty Days of Food series where I am writing about food and farming for the entire month of November, to find out more about it all or how to follow along, visit my Thirty Days of Food page or click the photo below to find more great recipes with farmer features!