Letters

Letters 11-28-2016

Trump should avoid self-dealing President-elect Donald Trump plans to turn over running of The Trump Organization to his children, who are also involved in the transition and will probably be informal advisers during his administration. This is not a “blind trust.” In this scenario Trump and family could make decisions based on what’s best for them rather than what’s best for the country...

Trump the change we need?  I have had a couple of weeks to digest the results of this election and reflect. There is no way the selection of Trump as POTUS could ever come close to being normal. It is not normal to have a president-elect settle a fraud case for millions a couple of months before the inauguration. It is not normal to have racists considered for cabinet posts. It is not normal for a president-elect tweet outrageous comments on his Twitter feed to respond to supposed insults at all hours of the early morning...

Health care system should benefit all It is no secret that the health insurance situation in our country is controversial. Some say the Affordable Care Act is “the most terrible thing that has happened to our country in years”; others are thrilled that, “for the first time in years I can get and afford health insurance.” Those who have not been closely involved in the medical field cannot be expected to understand how precarious the previous medical insurance structure was...

Christmas tradition needs change The Christmas light we need most is the divine, and to receive it we do not need electricity, probably only prayers and good deeds. But not everyone has this understanding, as we see in the energy waste that follows with the Christmas decorations...

CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS 

A story in last week’s edition about parasailing businesses on East Grand Traverse Bay mistakenly described Grand Traverse Parasail as a business that is affiliated with the ParkShore Resort. It operates from a beach club two doors down from the resort. The story also should have noted that prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit in federal court by Saburi Boyer and Traverse Bay Parasail against Bryan Punturo and the ParkShore Resort, a similar lawsuit was dismissed from 13th Circuit Court in Traverse City upon a motion from the defendant’s attorney. Express regrets the error and omission.

A story in last week’s edition about The Fillmore restaurant in Manistee misstated Jacob Slonecki’s job at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. He was a cook. Express regrets the error.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Down at the worm ranch
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Down at the worm ranch

Danielle Horvath - August 9th, 2007
From shredded paper from Munson to apple mash from Cherry Growers, a new Benzie county business is using red worms to recycle 300 tons of organic waste each year that would have otherwise gone to a landfill.Benzie Organic Solutions and Benzie Bait are in their third year of raising worms for fishing bait and turning out some of the best organic fertilizer available.
The business began when owners Tim Quick and Howard Kennedy answered an ad to grow red worms for waste reduction. When that turned out to be a scam, they decided to pursue the idea anyway and began raising European red worms,
which are excellent for bait and for pro-ducing compost.
“We thought the worm castings would be the main part of the business, but the demand for bait worms was so high that we ended up concentrating on raising worms and selling the castings as we could,” explained Kennedy, who now has over two million worms bedded into 1,200 plastic tubs.
The partners began with family members helping out, and their business has grown into a 3,200-sqaure-foot, temperature-controlled facility with seven seasonal employees working five days a week. They are contracting with 25 bait wholesalers in six states. “I had no idea there were this many fishermen,” chuckled Quick, who also cooks at his family-owned Hungry Tummy Restaurant in Beulah, as does Kennedy.

BIG APPETITES
The worms eat a whopping 2,300 lbs. of organic waste every four days, from coffee grounds to the morning newspaper. They are European crawlers, which the company purchases from farmers in Holland to be bedded, fattened and to lay eggs. Quick and Kennedy are working on incubating worms, and hope to produce 30% of the more than half a million worms they sold last year.
The critters also produce about 100 tons of worm castings annually, also known as vermicast. One hundred percent organic, non-toxic and odor-free, vermicast is billed as the best plant fertilizer available.
Due to its high percentage of organic matter, castings contain a storehouse of nutrients that are readily available to plants. Studies have shown that vermicast is higher in phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium and packs three times the calcium of ordinary topsoil. Due to the bacteria and micro-organisms in the worm casting, plants are healthier and more resistant to bugs and disease.
Results from some of the research done on worm casting is impressive:
• “Vermicompost outperforms any commercial fertilizer I know of,” states Professor. Clive A. Edwards, who began his earthworm research in his native England in the early 1970s before coming to Ohio State. “I think the key factor is microbial activity. Research that I and others have done shows that microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and organic matter that the worm ingests. (“Worldwide Progress in Vermicomposting” by Gene Logsdon in BioCycle, October 1994.)
• “The product has excellent soil structure, porosity, aeration and water retention capabilities. The product can insulate plant roots from extreme temperatures, reduce erosion and control weeds. It is odorless and consists of 100% recycled materials. (“Vermigro” Premium Earthworm Soil Product literature, sold by Canyon Recycling, San Diego.)
• “The activity of the earthworm gut is like a miniature composting tube that mixes, conditions, and inoculates the residues. Moisture, pH, and microbial populations in the gut are favorably maintained for a synergistic relationship, and then a terrific byproduct.” (Dr. Bill Becker, “The Benefits of Earthworms,” Natural Food and Farming, July/August, 1991.)
•“Earthworm castings are the best imaginable potting soil for greenhouses or houseplants, as well as gardening and farming. It will not burn even the most delicate plants, and all nutrients are water-soluble, making it an immediate plant food. Earthworm castings, in addition to their use as a potting soil, can be used as a planting soil for trees, vegetables, shrubs, and flowers. They may be used as a mulch so that the minerals leach directly into the ground when watered. The effects of earthworm castings used in any of these ways are immediately visible. They make plants grow fast and strong. Nematodes and diseases will not ruin gardens or plants if the soil is rich enough for them to grow fast. It is the weak plant in poor soil that is destroyed by nematodes and diseases.” (R.E. Gaddie and D.E. Douglas, Earthworms For Ecology and Profit, Vol. I “Scientific Earthworm Farming.”)
Benzie Organics Solution sells their worm castings in 25 lb. bags. The castings are available at these local outlets: Plant It Organic and Keystone Perennials in Traverse City, Sweet Meadow Farm in Lake Ann, Market Basket and Eden Hill Greenhouses in Beulah, Crystal Gardens in Frankfort, Pleasanton Greenhouses in Bear Lake, Ace Hardware in Benzonia, and Honor Building Supply in Honor.
You can also catch them at the downtown Traverse City Farmer’s Market most Saturdays this summer. Check out their website at: Benzieorganicsolutions.com or call 877-362-WORM.
 
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