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The New Pioneer

Fall 2021

The New Pioneer is your guide to everything the land has to offer. Every issue is packed with useful how-to information for back-to-the-landers, plus spotlight pieces on couples and families that have actually “been there, and done that” with success! The New Pioneer is also chock full of expert advice on must-have tools and homestead gear, planting and farming, strategies for achieving energy independence and buying rural land, do-it-yourself projects and how to get the most out of living the rural life.

United States
Athlon Media Group
4 Issues

in this issue

4 min
three cheers for new pioneers

Reading the articles in this issue of The New Pioneer has been a tonic for me. We feature several back-to-the-landers who are shining examples of the creative way many of you are solving problems specific to your interests in ways that benefit you—and the greater good. Three of the new pioneers in this issue have found answers beneath their feet, in the soil. All are practicing “regen ag.” “Regenerative agriculture” is the new buzz word in farming circles and has replaced “sustainable,” which suggests maintaining, not degrading, our natural resources, whereas regenerative implies improving—giving new life and energy—not just to a small piece of ground but also to the planet. Scott Goode, a soil scientist, is teaching small farmers how to sequester carbon on their land in a way that also…

7 min
home and garden hacks

Fall is a bustling time before everything cools down during the winter. Gardening in the fall is easier than in spring or summer because there are fewer insects and weeds. If you haven’t already planned to harvest carrots or broccoli long past those first few frosts, now is the time to do one more planting. There is always something you can do to simplify the tasks as the seasons change. Pick the tips that work for you in this article to wrap up the season as easily as possible. PRESERVE THAT ZUCCHINI INSTEAD OF DUMPING HEAPS OF ZUCCHINI on your neighbor’s porch, freeze or dehydrate it. You’ll appreciate having it on hand in the colder months. For those who love to bake zucchini bread or cake, freezing works absolutely fine. Wash each…

7 min
turkeys, trust & a trio

“Each of us has to be a jack-of-all-trades, able to pitch in wherever needed.” “We do a very simple thing: We raise turkeys and market them. So far, we have been successful working together as a trio,” Heidi Diestel said when I called to ask her how it felt to be VP of Marketing at the family’s turkey ranch in Sonora, California. “Simple” brought to mind all the people I know who want to escape the city and try farming on a small scale, thinking it will be a cinch to earn a living, and her mention of a trio piqued my curiosity. I met Heidi and Jason, her brother, six years ago when The New Pioneer visited the ranch. I was thrilled then to meet the people who raised “Diestels”—my family’s…

1 min
heidi’s balancing act

When we asked Heidi Diestel how she balances her career with raising two young children, her answer was short: “I had a really good role model—my mom.” Joan Diestel is a registered dietician, and Heidi worked with her growing up, both on the farm and visiting markets to explain the benefits of eating nutrient-dense food. Heidi admits that she is very lucky. She and Jared live a minute or two from her office, and Joan helps a lot with the children. Heidi enjoys working. “We are small enough that I can be flexible. It’s a huge advantage to have the farm and a family business because if I have to do something, I have my folks nearby to help. For me, work is very rewarding—I think it’s necessary for my brain…

1 min
jason’s advice for wannabes

Jason Diestel has plenty of experience to draw from when people ask him what they should know before they buy some land in the country and start raising livestock or truck gardening. He recommends the following: “You need to understand why you want to try farming. Without a strong reason, it will be difficult to see yourself through the sort of challenges you will face. Farming is hard work, and you will not be successful unless you are committed to it. “Find someone who has done the kind of farming you’re interested in, whose vision of success resembles yours, and follow it. Don’t be disappointed if the model doesn’t work for you. Be willing to adapt it to your site. What works and doesn’t work in ag is very site specific. “Read as…

1 min
tips for healthy turkeys

If you want to raise a few turkeys, follow these Diestel guidelines. 1. Enrich pastures with high-quality compost to improve soil. 2. Rotationally graze your birds and let the pasture lay fallow. For every three days that a pasture is being grazed, let it rest for 21. 3. Grow your birds slowly to develop flavor and lower the stress level. Do not give them feed designed to promote fast growth. 4. One type of feed does not fit all turkeys. The content and quantity of feed vary depending upon their age. 5. Buy good-quality organic or non-GMO feed. 6. Be sure that a clean source of water is always available. 7. With proper farm management, you can eliminate the use of antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants. 8. Cleanliness is critical to keeping a flock healthy. Remove manure and…