Chelsea Green Publishing

The Organic Grain Grower

Pages:448 pages
Book Art:32 pages of color illustrations
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603583657
Pub. Date August 13, 2013

The Organic Grain Grower

Small-Scale, Holistic Grain Production for the Home and Market Producer

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
August 13, 2013


The ultimate guide to growing organic grains on a small and ecological scale, The Organic Grain Grower is invaluable for both home-scale and commercial producers interested in expanding their resiliency and crop diversity through growing their own grains. Longtime farmer and organic pioneer Jack Lazor covers how to grow and store wheat, barley, oats, corn, dry beans, soybeans, pulse crops, oilseeds, grasses, nutrient-dense forages, and lesser-known cereals. In addition to detailed cultivation and processing information, Lazor argues the importance of integrating grains on the organic farm (not to mention for the local-food system) for reasons of biodiversity and whole farm management. Including extensive information on:

  • The history of grain growing and consumption in North America
  • The twenty-first century and the birth of the local-food movement
  • Considering your farm's scale and climate
  • Understanding soil fertility and structure
  • Planting your crop (including spring vs. fall cereals and preparing your soil)
  • The growing and ripening process (reproductive, milk, hard-and-soft dough stages)
  • The grain harvest
  • Preparing grain for sale, storage, or end use (drying, cleaning seed, grain handling)
  • Seed breeding and saving
  • Machinery, infrastructure, and processing (both home-scale tools and larger farm equipment)
  • Grinding grains for livestock rations (including how to put together a ration based on protein content) and sample rations for dairy cows, pigs, and chickens
  • Processing grains for human consumption
  • Additional resources and information for new grain farmers, and more...

Beginners will learn how to grow enough wheat for a year's supply of bread flour for their homestead, and farmers will learn how to become part of a grain co-op, working alongside artisan bakers and mills. Never before has there been a guide to growing organic grains applicable both for the home-scale and professional farming scale. This will be a classic for decades to come and a crucial addition to any farmer's, homesteader's, gardener's, agronomist's, or seed-saver's library.


Mother Earth News-

"The Organic Grain Grower is the best resource we’ve seen for small-scale grain growers everywhere. The book covers necessary equipment and cultivation techniques for many types of crops: corn, wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt and triticale, buckwheat, soy, dry beans, and oilseeds. Lazor describes himself as 'a grain-processing nut,' and his passion comes alive in this fine guidebook’s depth of detail."

"Jack Lazor writes about grain growing with passion and experience. With this wealth of background and insight, readers will want to do it themselves, and with the lode of detailed information Jack provides, they will be able to do so. Although his focus is on medium-scale commercial production, many of the tips he shares are applicable to the backyard grain-grower as well."--Will Bonsall, Khadighar Farm; director, Scatterseed Project

ForeWord Reviews-

"Longtime farming pioneer Jack Lazor has progressed from a back-to-the-land idealist to the co-manager, with his wife, of a profitable dairy and grain business, Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont. In The Organic Grain Grower, he shares his considerable experience and expertise with new generations of holistic home and market grain producers.

Lazor’s book starts with the history of grain production in his local region; early settlers found that northern New England offered a good climate for wheat, vital for animal fodder and bread making. Today, “the rebirth of grain growing” is not just common sense, but fun, Lazor enthusiastically reports. He takes readers through soil fertility and tillage, to the crucial matter of storage (“mice … have an uncanny ability to … burrow into bags that you can’t see from the outside of the pile”), drying, screening, grinding, and grading. He recommends equipment, including less expensive “retired” machinery. Grains covered are corn, wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt, triticale, buckwheat, and flax, plus soybeans and other legumes.

The book is very well organized, including a large section of clear, helpful photos. Though he is not averse to employing newfangled machinery if it does the job well, Lazor takes pride in using older farming equipment that is less complicated than modern counterparts, and some examples of these are illustrated.

The Organic Grain Grower is more than 500 pages, with a colorful, informative cover. Anyone seriously considering growing grain for animal feed, human consumption, or sale will find value in this manual. It would also be beneficial for those interested in any aspect of organic farming, since the sound advice given for grains could apply to any crop.

The foreword by author Eliot Coleman (The Winter Harvest Handbook) praises Lazor as the person “who inspired the movement” back to the “small farm’s grain heritage.” Lazor is as handy with a pen as with a plow, making even grain diseases sound interesting (“there is nothing like a mid-June thunderstorm to set up wheat plants for an invasion of … rust”). His flowing style demonstrates both hard knowledge and old world graces, as he modestly expresses the hope that the book “will help people avoid some of the mistakes that I have made.”

Another outstanding offering from Chelsea Green Publishing, Lazor’s guide will doubtless plant the seeds of inspiration among beginners and old hands alike as they tackle the complexities of grain growing and organic agriculture, and will do its part to propagate more general interest in the subject."

The Organic Grain Grower is quite possibly the most complete and extensive text ever written on grain production in the Northeast. Jack Lazor’s deep passion and knowledge creates an astounding story, and he shares his wisdom and experience generously. If you have ever wanted to grow grain, this is a book to own and cherish.”--Dr. Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension Agronomist

“Jack writes from the top of a mountain—the mountain of his life. His long years of experience are longer than his very beard, and the wisdom and distillation of his farming life are written here with clarity and graceful articulation. As he says in the book, ‘people are hungry for meaning as well as food.’ In this classic book, Jack provides not only the meaning, but also the methods required to succeed as a small-scale grower of organic grains."--Jeffrey Hamelman, director, King Arthur Flour Bakery, and author of  Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes

"Given our industrial agriculture, most of us assume that grain can only be grown in huge monocultures devoted to producing as much as possible, unmindful of the quality. But in The Organic Grain Grower, Jack Lazor provides us with a practical and attractive alternative. As a farmer he has demonstrated that one can provide an emerging market with a diversity of superior quality grains, grown on a small scale, using heirloom varieties and modest investment. This book is (as Eliot Coleman puts it) “like acquiring hundreds of years of knowledge in one book.”--Frederick Kirschenmann, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience

“I believe I can safely say, without losing any money, that if you know of one fact truly necessary to growing grains organically in the United States that is not in this book, I'll pay you five bucks out of my own pocket. Plus there's a whole bunch of stuff about how to process and use grains in the barn or on the table that I have not found all in one place before.”--Gene Logsdon, author of Small-Scale Grain Growing


Jack Lazor

Jack Lazor is co-owner of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, VT, with his wife, Anne, and cofounder of the Northern Grain Grower's Association. Jack has been growing organic grains in the mountains of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom since 1975 and is considered a leader in the movement for growing grains in cold climates. Lazor grows grains both for human consumption and for feed for their herd of Jersey cows, including corn, oats, barley, soybeans, legumes, alfalfa, and oilseeds, such as flax and sunflower. Butterworks Farm also produces organic Jersey milk yogurt, buttermilk, sweet Jersey cream, cheddar cheese, and grain products. He is the recipient of many agricultural awards.


Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

By Will Bonsall

"Society does not generally expect its farmers to be visionaries." Perhaps not, but longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall does possess a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient place.

In Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don't always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable agriculture.

For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals, and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.

What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost, green manures, perennial grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture plants like groundnut (Apios).

In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than forty years of farming experience.

"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."

Available in: Paperback

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Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall

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The Backyard Orchardist

The Backyard Orchardist

By Stella Otto

For novice and experienced fruit gardeners alike, The Backyard Orchardist: A complete guide to growing fruit trees in the home garden has been the go-to book for home orchardists for over 2 decades. This expanded and updated edition--organized into 6 easy-to-follow sections--offers even more hands-on horticulture. Award-winning author Stella Otto starts by systematically guiding readers through the all-important first steps of planning and planting the home orchard. Learn to:

•    evaluate and build healthy soil

•    choose the best planting site

•    select fruit trees that are easy to grow and appropriate for your climate

Become familiar with the growing requirements of popular temperate zone tree fruit: the pome fruit—apples, pears, Asian pears, quince, and the novelty medlar --and stone fruit—cherries, apricots, plums, their new hybrid pluots and apriums, peaches and nectarines. In-depth chapters on each fruit offer recommendations on:

•    disease-resistant varieties to save you time and reduce unnecessary spraying

•    size controlling rootstocks choices for smaller spaces

•    compatible varieties to achieve proper cross-pollination that leads to a bountiful harvest

For urban gardeners in apartments, condos, and small lots, Otto walks you through the essentials of container growing and even how to winterize figs and other potted fruit trees.

Horticultural fundamentals are simplified into practical techniques for ongoing care and maintenance of a thriving orchard. Gain understanding of soil biology and how nutrient availability impacts the tree. Master how to prune with precision, including the when, how, and why of pruning and its importance to tree health and disease prevention. Water with confidence: learn when why, and how much.

The pests and disease sections are extensively illustrated to help with identification. Control solutions, both biological and synthetic have expanded greatly since the original edition, offering the gardener numerous choices based on their individual situation.

Harvest hints, use, and storage recommendations help you enjoy your fruit at its peak flavor or preserve it for the off-season. A seasonal to-do calendar, resource list, additional reading suggestions, glossary, illustrations, charts, and an index put all you need to know at your fingertips.

Available in: Paperback

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The Backyard Orchardist

Stella Otto, Glenn Wolff, Peter Hatch

Paperback $24.95



By Anna Edey

This book is about one woman's vision and commitment to learning to live sustainably and in harmony with life on Earth. Since 1976 Anna Edey has made one astonishing discovery after another, developing methods of sustainable living under the name Solviva Solar-Dynamic, Bio-Benign Design. The results of her experiments and methods have again and again exceeded highest hopes and expectations.

Solviva describes the exciting trials and triumphs of her journey and offers convincing proof that we can, with today's technology and knowledge, live in ways that reduce pollution and depletion of resources by 80 percent or more, and at the same time reduce the cost of living and improve the quality of life in urban and rural locations. Solviva contains 155 color illustrations and detailed instructions and recommendations to help others along their own journeys toward living sustainably.

Available in: Paperback

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Anna Edey

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Cows Save the Planet

Cows Save the Planet

By Judith Schwartz

In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems—climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity—there are positive, alternative scenarios to the degradation and devastation we face. In each case, our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil.

Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems. For example, land can suffer from undergrazing as well as overgrazing, since certain landscapes, such as grasslands, require the disturbance from livestock to thrive. Regarding climate, when we focus on carbon dioxide, we neglect the central role of water in soil—"green water"—in temperature regulation. And much of the carbon dioxide that burdens the atmosphere is not the result of fuel emissions, but from agriculture; returning carbon to the soil not only reduces carbon dioxide levels but also enhances soil fertility.

Cows Save the Planet is at once a primer on soil's pivotal role in our ecology and economy, a call to action, and an antidote to the despair that environmental news so often leaves us with.

Available in: Paperback

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Cows Save the Planet

Judith Schwartz, Gretel Ehrlich

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