Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Singer - Cherries, Garlic, and the Greening of a Green Farm

Vivianne Singer Szulist and her husband Tom Szulist own and operate the certified organic Singer Farm Naturals.

"Our family retail business sells farm fresh and dried fruit, organic gourmet garlic and other products associated with healthy and sustainable living. We are committed to providing quality local foods, and promoting the value of living gently on this earth."

Straw bales, reclaimed wood, SIPS panels on the roof, solar panels, and more allows Singer to save money and natural resources. There is a wind turbine on the barn as a separate source of energy.

The Froling Wood Boiler, located in the main building, is a high efficiency boiler that uses wood to heat water that is stored in a 1000 gallon tank for use throughout the building, from the radiant floors to heating potable water. Froling : The US Distributor . For more information on how the system operates, go to: US Distributor Info 

The system featured on the right was built into the back of the main structure and is made up of a series of evacuated tube heat pipe solar collectors by SunMaxx Solar. A closed loop glycol system used for hot water, building heat; the excess heat during the summer is set to be used to kiln dry lumber.

Tom Szulist put in most of the equipment himself and is not one to shy from learning the ins and outs of energy saving systems.

These four giant solar panels create even more energy! Go to this site for more information on all things photovoltaic in New York State.

Local Mountmorency cherries are higher in melatonin, are more anti-inflamatory, and have higher ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) values than sweet cherry varieties.

A variety of sour cherry, Montmorency cherries are part of the lighter-red amarelle cultivar of sour cherries.

Named for a valley in France, this variety is sturdy, hardy and perfectly suited to grow along the southern shores of Lake Ontario, whose environment is much like it's French namesake.

The tree produces large, light red fruit and they are the most popular sour cherry in the United States and Canada. They are extensively used in pies, jams and preserves. They are also popular dried, chocolate dipped, and juiced.

The farm's garlic plants are grown closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature, but maximizing the field's high yield capabilities. Garlic does well in loose, dry, well drained soils in sunny locations, and is hardy throughout USDA climate zones 4 - 9.

Large cloves, along with proper spacing in the planting bed, improves head size. Garlic plants prefer to grow in a soil with a high organic material content, but are capable of growing in a wide range of soil conditions and pH levels. The farm grows 70 variatals, planting over 50,000 bulbs, with a minimum of 21 human interventions, from planting to consumption. They use an all organic feed system that includes a fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizer layered on top of Chicken fertilizer. Garlic is a heavy feeder and also requires a minimum of one inch of water per week.

Garlic scapes are removed to focus all the garlic's energy into bulb growth. The scapes can be eaten raw or cooked. When crushed, Allium sativum, yields allicin, an antibiotic, antiviral, and anti-fungal compound.

Heating garlic over 107* kills the allicin that is released from freshly crushed or sliced garlic. It is recommended that garlic is added to your dishes raw (Garlic Scapes Pesto) or at the last moment so it retains its healthy properties.

Singer Farm Naturals uses Bruce Fiegle bees ("Bruce Fiegel at Fiegel Apiaries produces local raw honey, as well as basswood, buckwheat, peach blossom, chunk, and the traditional clover and wildflower honey as well. His bees not only produce some of the best honey in Western New York, they also pollinate some of the best orchards." - Kevin and Melissa Gardner of Five Points Bakery). They also grow potatoes, wheat with clover, raise pigs from local pig parlor tender Cindy Chapman, and besides their cherries and garlic are looking toward expanding community access to showcase the beauty of the farm.

As our interview came to a close, Tom shared, "If we're going to do it, we're going to do it the best we can."

I suggest making a day of it, visit the farm early, stay in town for a fine meal near the lake and be sure to stop for ice cream at Lake Effect!

A special thank you to my husband, Bob Krause, for helping with the wording on the different systems and finding me links to share. 


  1. One correction..Heating garlic over 107degrees F kills the allicin that is released from freshly crushed or sliced garlic.

    1. Good morning Tom! Thank you for letting me know. I've made the correction above. Have an amazing day! My best, Annie