Ramble On

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Old Oakland Market

On Friday morning I had set up a short business meeting over coffee with a colleague near the Oakland Federal Building.  I walked the seven or so blocks up there, and to my surprise, found that I was strolling right through the middle of the Old Oakland Farmers Market. So while I thought I was finished writing about farmers markets this trip, it turns out I have one more in me.

I decided to go ahead and post since our vacation is coming to an end, and I won't have the chance to write again for a few days...maybe not even until next Tuesday.  Also, this will be a rare Saturday post - I can probably still count how many of those there were on one hand, even after seven years!

Turns out there is a decent market history in this part of Oakland - the farmers market is near a building that is named the Housewives Market, and it is similar to the Union Market building in DC.  Also, the blocks that are closed off for this one border on Oakland's China Town, and I heard Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese being spoken among the clientele - so I expected to see regional offerings to reflect their tastes.

The two photos here show some Asian vegetables - bitter melon and Thai eggplant.  I also saw tables of greens (I may have had some of that lettuce and cilantro at dinner tonight over at Le Cheval), green beans, squash, and traditional eggplant, not to mention an incredible display of strawberries.

For value-add ag, there wasn't much to mention here - the size of the city and these neighborhoods probably make a straight produce set up profitable enough.  There was a booth offering "home made" soap, although the packaging suggested otherwise.

And then there was this incredible honey booth - large jars of it, and the proprietor even offers to recycle your old honey bottles.  Mary told me she'd seen an article somewhere that offered to set up bee hives, with the host getting a share of production.  I'm wondering if this booth is part of that operation.

So this will be the final post during the vacation.  I have a lot of material to write-up when we get back to Alexandria, probably enough to cover the month of June.  So until my next post, have a good one!

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Fort Bragg (CA) Farmers Market

Maybe it's eccentric, but when we arrived in Mendocino I saw the poster for the Mendocino Farmers Markets.  I made a mental note to check out the one in Fort Bragg, since it was scheduled for Wednesday and we would still be in town.  I was interested in seeing what sorts of crops might be available already - it being so early in the season, and I wanted to compare the offerings with what we had seen at the Mountain View market (see yesterday's post).

I'll write more about the town itself in a future post (I actually have a pretty good backlog of posts from this vacation), but for now I'll just say that with a population of just over 7,000, Fort Bragg is comparable to Luray - just substitute the Safeway for the Food Lion, and don't let a Wal-Mart in - and with Mendocino and a couple of other small towns around, you have a population base that is similar to Page County, only maybe more remote.

The market wasn't hard to find - they'd closed off a block downtown for it, very near the North Coast "brewery campus."  There were probably 15-20 farmers there, a few with crops (notably onions, carrots, and lettuce), and a few other with what I have been calling "value-add ag."  Included in this group were a couple of bakers, a nursery, and a goatherd that was selling locally-made chevres.  We bought some of the goat cheese, and a specialty product they had of Peruvian origin - caramel made with goat's milk - and took it back to the hotel for a snack, along with a baguette from one of the bakers.

Last year during our May vacation, we visited the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction, in Dayton, Virginia (see the post here), and while there were some crops around (not to mention pie!), the emphasis was on flowers and young plants that you could transplant into your own garden for summer crops.  At Fort Bragg, there were three or four booths that featured tomato, squash, and pepper plants.  Also, much like the Mountain View market we visited on Sunday, there was a "Sprout Lady."

I think the most interesting vendor was the Mendocino Maples Nursery, where they had more than 20 trees on display.  They advertised having specimens from "around the world" - I imagine they will be beautiful trees when they are fully grown and established in somebody's landscape.

This will be the final post for May 2014, and closes out the mini-series I've had going on Farmers Markets out here on the West Coast.  Next week, we'll be back in Virginia, and I'll roll out the rest of the tale about our vacation.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Of 'Shrooms and Sprouts

The last time I was in California, in 2010, Mary couldn't join me since I was on a business trip that would eventually take me to Yosemite for a week to do some facility condition assessments for the National Park Service.  That was a cream puff assignment, and it only got better because I was able to check in with friends on the weekend before and the weekend after.  Our good friend Cathy was kind enough to put me up on that previous trip, as she did for Mary and me on this one.

As on that last trip, we decided to head over to the Mountain View Farmers Market on Sunday morning, and to enjoy breakfast at a little Turkish diner there by the train station.  Cathy reminded me that it had been an Israeli-run place back then, but it had changed ownership and seemed to be doing better in the current iteration.  (By the way, most of the posts from that last trip are here.  The Yosemite ones and some from San Francisco will be at the top of the page - you'll have to scroll down for the farmers market ones.)

This time, market was packed when we started our walk there - even though closing time was approaching.  The market basket shown in the photo was set up near the entry (the market is in a commuter parking lot near the Mountain View train station) - thanks to Cathy for sending this photo - it shows a lot of the produce available on the day we visited.

When I compare this market to the DC markets I am familiar with, the thoughts I most typically come away with are that there seem to be more booths focused not just on produce, but on value-add ag products...hence the title of the post.  There were two booths that really caught my attention this time - the mushroom stand and the sprout lady stand.

I talked to the mushroom lady for a few minutes about all the varieties.  There were many for eating, and several herbal tea types - speaking of which, I am writing from the inn in Mendocino, and yesterday I saw an offering of a coffee brewed and flavored with a sweet local mushroom.  I mentioned the big morels that my friends in Luray find in their secret hunting grounds, and the 'shroom lady nodded in approval.

The sprout lady (that is the name of her booth, I did not give her this name myself) also had a wide range of products to offer...not just alfalfa or bean sprouts.  Looking them over, I remembered my first encounter with them on a bagel sandwich in Monterey, during language school.  They are still not my cup of tea.

We browsed the produce and found a lot of items I would not have expected at this time of year - summer squash and tomatoes, but no peppers.  Maybe these came from greenhouses or from valley farms further south?

Cathy's daughter was with us, and she carefully showed us all the different fruits and vegetables that she knew of.  I asked her if we could pick out something to buy - what she would like, and she chose carrots.  We found some big beautiful bunches, and I think we got a few of the "donut peaches" for her as well.

She also talked us into getting some of the summer squash.  These were huge, like we only get later in the summer.  She picked four, and then Cathy used them in a chicken dish later on, after we had hit the road.

Speaking of value-add ag products, this market has quite a few butchers and meat stands.  The photo here is from one of the farmers that offered beef, lamb, and chicken, all pasture-raised, in addition to the pork advertised on the sign.

Mary and I still haven't made it to the Luray farmers market for our inaugural visit this year.  After seeing the Mountain View farmers market again, I'm really looking forward to it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Baggs Produce - Sanford, Florida

Yesterday I wrote about Olson's Fruit Stand in Sunnyvale, and I mentioned a farm stand in Sanford, Florida, where my family lived when we were kids.

After reading the post, my sister Susan sent me a note that she had been in Sanford recently and the stand was still there.  She Google-sleuthed it, and found the name and this photo - the place is called Baggs' Produce.

It turns out that our high school friends, the Srocks, who were neighbors with us in a different Sanford neighborhood, had a similar connection to the place.  Their grandparents lived just down the street from us back then - small world thing - on Orange Avenue - and they also remembered walking to the little store.  One of them found some additional information about Baggs':

On July 4, 1954, Elmer and his wife, Dee Baggs, celebrated the Grand Opening!

This place is still there today.  Next time I'm in Sanford, I'll be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On Arrival in California

Mary and I are away on vacation - we decided to repeat some elements of past trips and are visiting Northern California this time, with our stay centered on an old favorite of ours - Mendocino.  There'll be highlights from there soon enough, but today's post will be about our visit to Olson's, a little farm market in Sunnyvale.  Our host, Cathy, and her daughter took us on a short walk around the neighborhood, and we ended up in the little green grocer's store there.

It is cherry season, so there were several varieties for sale, and Cathy's daughter knew all the names of them (she also took me around to show me where the best samples were - I had no idea about chocolate covered cherries before she pointed them out).  In fact, most of the stone fruits were already in, so the arrays of peaches and nectarines were simply overwhelming.

We picked up a few items to enjoy while we were out on our drives between vacation destinations.  Then we went off on a second walk for a few blocks, to a small orchard that is nestled into Sunnyvale, 10 acres or so surrounded by development - and the fruit was in season on the trees!

Being at the store with our friend's daughter reminded me of a similar market that was near our house in Sanford, Florida, when I was about her age.  I remember the smell of the fresh fruit and the sight of all the baskets that the fruit was packed in and displayed from.  It was a short walk from the house, maybe a little farther than our walk that day, but not by much.

When we got old enough to take the walk ourselves, mom would give my sister and me a few cents and we could go over there to by a rocket pop or some Mary Janes.  They didn't have any of this at Olson's, but the apple smoked almonds I picked up are really good!

From Sunnyvale, we head up to Mendocino a few days, stopping in Healdsburg for the night before heading over to the coast.  Then back down to the Bay Area, staying in Oakland, near Jack London Square, before flying home next weekend.  As long as I have reliable internet, I'll put up a couple of additional posts from the road, and finish up the vacation posts next week when we get back.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Good Karma Returns Annually

Since 2009, we've annually found a snakeskin shed draped over the power meter as shown here.  I know the species, and while snakes do creep some people out, this is a nonvenomous black rat snake - so it really isn't anything to be afraid of at all.

What I did notice about this year's skin is that it is larger than it was last year...and now that I think of it, the snake that owned this skin has grown every year.  I looked through my past posts, and found this one that includes a photo of the first time we saw a skin here:


That old post had an unfortunate title.  Even though it's inevitable that we are going to be surprised by this critter someday, I know that between it and the barn cats we've been rodent free for the last few years.

We've encountered snakes periodically over the seven years that we have been coming here.  A key word search reveals more than 20 posts on the topic since I started this blog.  Signifying my evolving perspective on these guys, there was this post, which I'll close with, from 2012:  http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2012/08/herpetology-and-healthy-ecosystem.html

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Roadside Wild Flowers

After Tessie and I took our walk in the park last Sunday morning, we took a little drive.  We happened upon this patch of wildflowers, and I couldn't resist stopping to take a photo of them.

We get this same variety over in the hollow where the beaver dam is.  Not so many this year, with the heavy rain and the dam in place, but still, the same range of colors and shades.

I was quite happy with the shot, and this version included some Instragram features I haven't used in a while.  Not bad for something that is probably an invasive!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Spring Garden - 2014 ed.

For a couple of years now, I've noticed a little patch of Columbine in the Hawksbill Cabin garden mixed in with the azaleas.  It was a compact little group, but last year I noticed a second colony.  And this year, I've noticed a third, which I finally took a photo of, since it is out in the open and away from the underbrush (where you can't see what might be hiding in there).

These are pretty little pale blue flowers that show up just after the azaleas fade.  You can just see a seed pod on this one, and Facebook friend Marty says that we can start new plants from these.  The Columbine is a self seeding annual...that means we'll have to put them where we want them and keep an eye on them to make sure they don't get out of hand.

Now, there is one other major treat happening at Hawksbill Cabin right now, plant wise:  the hostas have fully leafed out.  It's early enough that the deer have plenty to eat, so they haven't found them yet either.

Mary works on this patch of hostas every year, thinning them out.  We've given plants to neighbors Dan and Sally, and brought several back to Alexandria for the yard there.  The constant work keeps this little garden looking spectacular.

It probably won't be long before the flower spikes start showing up, and when they do, we'll have the buzz of hummingbirds as well as bees working them over.

That big show starts in June, so we'll be looking forward to it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Beaver Pond - May Update

We've had a couple of drenching storms lately, most recently last Friday, so I was curious to see how the beaver dam held up.  To be honest, my concern is really about the road in front of our place - that little hollow over there fills up on the big rains, and if the dam fails then we'll have all the water and debris moving out, maybe causing a wash out.

I shared my worries with neighbor Dan on the email, but he was traveling and couldn't get out there to check for us.  He reassured me though: "Beavers are good at what they do!"

Sure enough, when we got in, Mary and I walked over to check and see how the dam held up.  It's still there, and the pond is even larger than before.  Plus, the stream has widened out after being scoured from the overflows during the rain.

A closer look confirmed that the hollow had filled up - all of the scrub plants along the stream were coated with silt.  So the water had gotten quite deep, possibly even inundating the dam, before it slowly drained off during the next day.

I'm just glad we weren't there to see it.  Hawksbill Cabin is on high ground, well uphill from this stream.  Still, it is a scary thing to see the water rise!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fish Loin d'Kevin

So, Mary caught me a little by surprise last Saturday night when she asked me if I might like to grill something. Honestly, I'm pretty much up for that most nights - the only challenge being what to grill, and should I go to the store to pick something out. 

Of course, here in Alexandria there is a freezer full of Kevin Bacon, the hog I butchered over the winter, to choose from as well, and we picked out the tenderloin for Saturday.  Mary had picked up some sweet corn and kale to pair it up with, so we had the makings of a nice spring dinner going.

Pork tenderloin, sauteed in bourbon and gently
rubbed with smoked chipotle.
Now, David calls this cut "the fish" - I don't know why, but left to my own imagination I have come up with three potential etymologies:

-It's called the fish because it looks like one when it is first cut away from the carcass;
-It's called the fish because you have to fish around in the carcass to find it; or
-It's called the fish because it is tender enough and easy enough to separate out, simply by fishing it out with your fingers.
Actually, I owe that last one to Nathan Anda, chef at Red Apron Butcher, who Mary and I watched butcher half a hog once in downtown DC - he doesn't call it the fish though, he just demonstrated the technique.

In any case, as far as the approach to cooking Kevin's fish loin last Saturday, I decided I might saute it in some bourbon first.  This seems to lock in the natural juices so the tender meat doesn't dry out as much on the grill.  After that, I lightly rubbed it with smoked chipotle.

With more time to complete the cooking, I would normally use indirect heat to keep this cut tender and juicy, but instead I put the roast over direct charcoal for about seven minutes a side.  While it still had some pink inside, this was just a little past where I would typically like it, so I'll plan ahead next time so I can apply the preferred "low and slow" technique.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

International Space Station Tracking

(Note: I wrote this post a few days before it went up on the blog.  Between writing it and publication, the Russian government has announced that they are planning to cease cooperation on the International Space Station soon due to sanctions by the US and international community over the situation in Ukraine.  I did not write the post in anticipation of it becoming such a hot geopolitical topic - I'd rather it remain a symbol of international cooperation.  We'll have to wait and see what the future holds.)

I recently put up a Facebook post about the International Space Station.  Out at Hawksbill Cabin, we are blessed with a dark sky - and I noticed sometimes a bright object flying over.  After further research, I figured out that it was indeed the space station.
NASA Image of the Amtrak Corridor from the International Space Station.  DC and suburbs are the third bright blob
from the left, and Shenandoah National Park is just above it - an unlit, shadowy ridge.
After additional research, I learned that NASA has a tracker software that will send an email alert of scheduled flyovers, and I quickly subscribed for the location Shenandoah National Park.  On April 23 of this year, I had an alert of a flyover, and even though we were in Alexandria, I went out at the designated time to watch. I snapped the photo below - worried that with phone cameras being what they are, it might not turn out - as it passed over us and just before it disappeared behind our roof (it's the bright spot in the center of the photo).
Space Station flying over Alexandria - bright spot
at the center as it approaches our roof.

I understand that the station is the third brightest object in the night sky - ranked behind the moon and Venus, I guess - but it's bright enough so that you can even see it from many cities.  I was certainly visible with the clear skies that night in Alexandria.

Here are a couple of International Space Station links for the enthusiasts...the first is where you can sign up for alerts of flyovers, and the second is where you can watch streaming video of the earth below from the monitoring cameras installed on board:


Monday, May 12, 2014

May Hops Progress

The Willamette bine in a race to the top.
Now maybe I know something about what a farmer goes through:  I check on my hops every morning before I leave for work, often watering them as well, unless they remain soaked from a recent rain.  This week bought a surprise - I'd all but given up on the new Goldings bine, but it finally broke ground this week.

Meanwhile, my Willamette bine, which did not produce any cones last year, is racing to the top of its trellis.  The trellis is only 7 feet tall, and these plants optimally would go to between 12 and 14 feet, but there are power lines in the way so they'll have to make do.  Hope to see some product from this one, or else I'll have to turn it into an ornamental plant, like Dan has done with his.

The two pots of Goldings.
The Goldings bines are in another part of the yard. I have a yearling plant and the new one in two big pots. There is more headroom where they are, but I continue to monitor them more closely than the Willamette, because they are moving slowly.

Here's a photo of the two pots together - there's another at the end of the post showing the new rhizomes just after they'd breached the soil.

I was worried that I had been too rough on the yearling plant when I transplanted it.  It seems pretty robust, but it hasn't really started climbing the trellis yet.  I was able to create a place where these two will have ten feet of climbing run, and since I did get cones in the first season from the one bine, I am still optimistic about them.

If I am able to harvest enough of the Goldings, I plan to make a single-hop IPA from them.  I recently made (and am still enjoying) a Cascade IPA, which used 3 ounces of backyard-grown hops from Bill in Luray, supplemented with some Hop Union Cascade pellets I had leftover from old kits.  I also have a pound of Long Island grown Mt. Hood - these are from Condzella Hops, which was one of the Kickstarters I supported:

The new Goldings bine, just after breaking through.
I'll close the post with a closeup of the new Goldings bine, taken on the first day I noticed it had broken through the soil.  This morning I noticed a second shoot, so this plant is definitely on its way.  Hopefully, both of these plants will begin to climb their terraces now that we have a few days of sunshine on the way.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cabin Lore: The Hawksbill Pool

Fairly soon after we closed on Hawksbill Cabin, we stopped for dinner at the Hawksbill Diner in Stanley - for those who have visited us, you'll remember that the diner is one of the landmarks I use to guide your drive in to our place.  Mary and I had a steak dinner - the quality, size of portions, and especially the price offered nothing to complain about - but the thing we noticed and remembered that day was an old advertising poster they had on one of the walls.

It mentioned the Hawksbill development going up on the outskirts of Stanley, VA, and included five or six black and white photographs of a swimming pool and complementary recreational facilities. Eventually, we found a copy of the poster at an auction, acquired it, and have it hanging in the entry hall of the Cabin.  (Here's a link to the post about the auction:  http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2008/03/auction-action-part-2.html )

One of the cool things about the poster is the notation about 1/2 acre cottage lots for sale.  Hawksbill Cabin is actually built so that it spans two lots, and the parcel we bought had another lot with it, for a total of an acre and a half - we also bought three adjoining lots behind us, which I often refer to as the wood lot.

The largest photo on the poster is of the pool and recreation building near it.  On Sunday, when Tessie and I went for a walk over at the Hawksbill Park, we walked along the stream beside of the pool, and I snapped a photo after noticing that they are working on opening it for the season.

The story goes that they used to use water from Little Hawksbill Creek to fill the pool.  They had a filtration system, but that water must have been very cold - the largest photo on the poster features it.  Now they have a modern system and the pool is very popular, with grounds that are crowded with families on the weekend enjoying the recreation and having picnics on the grounds.

I particularly like the building near the pool.  I've never gotten to the bottom of the rumor behind this, but I have heard that it is an old ice factory that was relocated here from the DC area, as part of the original development.  It definitely looks like it could be a repurposed ice factory, with the large widows on both floors of the buildings.  The downstairs has all the pool admin functions, while the upstairs is a great party room - maybe Mary and I will book it sometime for a shindig.

There is more to the story about the Hawksbill development - but I'll have to save that info for future posts.  For now, let's all look forward to the pool's opening in a few weeks, a sure sign that spring has arrived after a brutal winter!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trillium Spring

As we were loading the car on Sunday night, I happened to catch a glimpse of a pinkish white flower over in the part of the Hawksbill Cabin yard that we leave to nature, between us and the neighbor.  It is a trillium, specifically trillium grandiflorum, and I was surprised to find it there, since we've never had one before that I can remember.

Trillium is a native understory plant in Appalachian woods.  The timing of its appearance is generally during the month of May in our area, and there is a linkage to the cycle of deciduous trees in the woods.  I once hiked Hightop Mountain in Shenandoah National Park looking for them, but was too late in the season to see many.  (If you are interested in that hike, click the Easy Day Hikes label and search for it.)

Luckily, now it looks like we'll have our own trillium at Hawksbill Cabin. It's a rhizome plant, and according to the Wikipedia article I've linked below, it forms clonal colonies.  So we can hope for its return next spring, and for more of them.

Here are a couple of links for more info on the flower:

Also, here's an Amazon link to a nature guide about our area near Shenandoah National Park:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sheep Shearing at Wisteria

The new arrivals were curious about
all the visitors during the shearing.
Part of the experience over at Wisteria Farm and Vineyard is the flock of Romney sheep they keep on the premises. The size of the flock ranges up to a dozen, and with a few new additions this spring, may even be more than that this year.  Along with sheep, and especially this woolly variety, comes sheep shearing, which Wisteria has turned into an annual event that I went out to watch a couple of weekends ago.

A couple of sheep had already been shorn when I arrived, and Sue was working on skirting the fleeces - cleaning away exceptional dirty parts of the wool that would affect processing it.  At this point, the raw wool is full of lanolins, making it feel a little oily to the touch, but also leaving you with soft hands after working with it.  The exterior side of the wool is often bleached by the sun and weather, while the underside will show the true color of  the sheep.

Shearing the sheep - there is a technique
to holding the animals so they don't struggle.

Sue, demonstrating how to skirt the fleece.

The newly shorn sheep.
I suspect it is a little stressful for them, but it is really a good thing in the end.  Moussa sat near the barn so that the sheep could relax near a person they were familiar with while they settled down.  It's not long before they realize they've lost those heavy coats - a year's worth of wool on these animals can weigh up to 10 pounds!  Once they feel a cool breeze or the warm sun, they actually get giddy.

There were nine sheep that needed to be shorn that day, and the work only took about an hour or so.  After skirting, we took the wool into plastic bags for storage, so that Sue could begin the work of cleaning it so it could be further processed.

(In the original post, I had referred to these activities as carding, and I asked Sue if I had got that right.  She told me this phase is actually called skirting - I've corrected the post.  Sue said that carding, which is very similar to combing hair, happens later in the process when the clean fleeces are ready to spin, and the fibers are aligned to make roving or rolags.)

Meanwhile, the sheep all made their way out to the pasture to shake off the stress.  They were pretty animated, and two of them actually decided to take a walk down the road - which I hadn't seen in a while.

These two decided to take a stroll
down the vineyard road.

After the shearing, a couple of friends from the wine club got together for a tasting and a visit out on the terrace.  I tried the new Chardonnay, aged in steel barrels, and thought Mary might like it too - she didn't join me on this particular weekend, so I brought it home.

Later on, Moussa came around and recruited me to help with the errand for hay - but I've already posted on that a few days ago.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Running an Errand at Wisteria

The vineyard in spring, with Shenandoah National Park in the background.
Wisteria held its sheep shearing event last weekend - I'll have a post coming up on that tomorrow.  After everything was done, I was visiting with a few of the enthusiasts there, enjoying what was turning out to be a fabulous spring afternoon, when Moussa said he needed to go run an errand.

If you follow this blog, you know I'm up for errands - there is a whole category of posts about them:  just click on the label "agribusiness!"

With the forecast indicating five days of rain during the week ahead, the freshly shorn sheep were not likely to get out of the barn to graze, and the plan was to get a few bales of feed hay to get them through the week.  Moussa calculated six bales would be needed, so we headed over to Patchwork Pastures to pick it up.

Moussa unloading the hay.
Patchwork Pastures is one of the Page County Grown farms, and a part of their venture includes sheep as well.  So we piled into the little Ford Ranger (disclosure: I think a compact pickup like this will suit me well in future agribusiness efforts) and headed over to the Mill Creek area of Page County to pick up the hay.  It turns out that the farm was along the route of the Tour de Page County where the cyclists had been the day before.

Patchwork has a lot of activity underway.  There are chicken and beef operations, as well as the flock of sheep.  I understand they do a little rescue work as well with older animals - I hope to follow-up on this and learn a little more about what's happening with this.

We made short work of collecting the hay and were soon on our way back to Wisteria, unloading the bales into the barn.  Moussa was sure to let the sheep know that the hay had arrived and they would be taken care of during the coming monsoon.

Meanwhile, that just whet my appetite for more agribusiness ventures.