Mint Jam 09!!

•August 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

mintjamlr09

Breaking the world record. The press release.

•August 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

 

                                                                                                                ***MEDIA ALERT***

BREAKING OF THE WORLD RECORD OF LARGEST SLAB OF FUDGE ISSUED BY THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD BOOK TO WILLIAM NICKLOSOVICH AND JAMES CROSBY.

WILLIAM NICKLOSOVICH, ALSO KNOWN AS CHEF NICK AND  JAMES CROSBY, ALSO KNOWN AS PEPPERMINT JIM, ARE NOW WORLD GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS HOLDERS 2009.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (MINT CITY, USA/St. Johns, MI) August 5, 2009 – Chef Nick, culinary professor at Lansing Community College and Peppermint Jim Crosby, owner of the Crosby Mint Farm in St. Johns have set a new world record according to the World Guinness Book of Records with the largest slab of mint fudge. The duo is also acknowledged by the LIMCA Book of Records, World Records Academy, Book of Alternative Records and World Amazing Records. The slab of fudge weighed 2.35 ton (5,200 lb) and was made by William Nicklosovich and Peppermint Jim Crosby (both USA) at Lansing Community College West Campus, Conference Services, Delta Township, Michigan, USA, on 29 June 2009.

The duo led a team of students and volunteers in preparing the fudge. The event was sponsored in part by Lansing Community College and the fudge is for sale for $10 per lbs. A percentage of the money proceeds will be given to St. Johns and Lansing Community College for economic challenged students and other Lansing area students.world_record_fudge_event

Peppermint Jim and his farm are facing foreclosure but his intend was to demonstrate that regardless of everything that is going on at the farm, and regardless the fact he may lose everything he dreamed of doing, it is not a reason to quite or give up. “It will only be through cooperation and team work that any good and positive change can and will be done, no matter the circumstances,” Jim said. “I have only survived through this situation by helping others, it has been the balance to the insanity and despair and fear which people are gravitating in today’s world,” he continued.

About Crosby Mint Farm
Our mission is to preserve the heritage of the nation’s oldest sustainable mint producer, live as an independent American farmer producing the highest quality point of origin essential mint oil available, while honoring the land with sustainable farming management plans, renewable energy sources, and green growing practices, build relationships through education and outreach, health & wellness, and personal ecological accountability.

Contact:

www.peppermintjim.com

Peppermint Jim Crosby

email: peppermintjim@yahoo.com

THE BATTLE OF MINT VALLEY 890 days under siege

•July 30, 2009 • 3 Comments

THE BATTLE OF MINT VALLEY; 890 + days under siege.

My name is Peppermint Jim Crosby. I am a fourth generation Peppermint and Spearmint oil producer, and this year will be our 98th harvest. We are considered to be one of oldest growing and producing Mint farms in America.

I have been one for believing we need to be prepared and to be as self sufficient as possible, and over the years I have developed different strategies for our farming operation to be converted over to meet different scenarios.

The scenario I did not have a plan for was farm foreclosure. I went to the bank three months before the payment was due to ask if we could restructure one of the loans. Obviously they said ‘no’ and called all four loans, three of which we were currently in good standing.

The risk officer and the attorney for this bank warned us if we fight this it will cost us several thousands of dollars. The short of this is; they pushed us into chapter 12 Farm Restructuring. But this can only work if you have a federal judge that understands farming operation.

All within 30 days of filing for protection, the bank convinced the judge to freeze our cash collateral which meant 100% of all farm revenue went to the bank, nothing to live on, pay light and heating bills, or buy bottle inventory to keep and maintain our customers.

It was tough.  We had gated up the farm with large telephone poles creating only one point of entry, since our attorney had worked against these same folks in the past and knew what they were able to do. In that particular case they had repossessed the farmer’s equipment during the negations and he had to pay to get his equipment back.

For three weeks I stayed up round the clock always having my sister or me on the farm just in case the bank came in before we could file for protection.

We pulled keys, disconnected batteries, posted signs and set up a tight perimeter with a clear view of both entrances with the back somewhat protected by a large ditch every night.  That was my post for three weeks- hidden back in the darkest corner just sitting, watching and listening for anything out of the ordinary.

On the afternoon of the forth day I came across a vehicle that didn’t belong there.  I was sitting in my own vehicle just east down from the farm and it just didn’t feel right;  the feeling when you know what belongs and what doesn’t. So I moved slowly toward the vehicle and then the chase was on. I have been in hot pursuits before and I knew the vehicle was trying to pull away.

I caught up to the car, wrote down the plate and recognized the attorney driving and the risk officer (aka the closer) because he does not make deals: he liquidates farms.

Right now this will be day 890, plus days working through and out of foreclosure. This scenario was not planned for.

The importance of being prepared

 I don’t know what I would have done for the fact that I did have 450 gallon of gas and 300 gallon of diesel tucked away. We lived off of six months worth of food we had stored away, kept the lights on with back-up generators on and off, bartered, traded, and literally worked the farm 5 gallons of gasoline at a time.

THIS IS FOR ALL PEOPLE FACING FORCLOSURE

The case in any scenario is (which is how people react), and I can say this from experience, that this situation has given me the ability to view people with an understanding of who is who.

This is the time you will have to find a way to allow for compassion for others and let go of any negativity. It will be important for you to experience this for yourself .

The disappointment, but also many other hurtful feelings, caused by other people who may have been your friends at one time, but now are no longer so. Something happens to people which I cannot fully explain in words, they will change, they will create distance, you will be judged and may find yourself alone.

You will need to keep the faith, if you have none, you will have to find some. Each day will be a test faith of who you are and you yourself will change but for the better.

Overtime you will start having gratitude for everything you have and not what you don’t have.

New and true relationships will be formed because you will come to a point of truly knowing  how you can help other people and become a contributor to your family community and most importantly to the Greater Good.

KNOW THIS: Those who judge will one day have their own crossroads to face and when this happens they will reflect through the past at the chances and oppurtunity they were given to make a positive impact for others.

Well folks: this is the condensed version of my sister and I stand in saving and preserving our small American Mint Farm we have maintained our integrity and kept the faith.

I have personally used the oils well over 30 years and have shared the numerous health benefits of mint along the way with the intent to improve a persons Quality of life. Mint has been a way of life for me and my family for the last 98 years.  We have seen some drastic changes in markets, corporate farm production, and, the greatest disappointment of the genetically altered mint which is geared to overproduce and the use of synthetic mint. Peppermint and spearmint are the #1 adulterated oil on the market from the early 1800’s to present.  Industry standards will adulterate the mint oil by 49% and can still claim pure mint oil. The amount of fluff marketing as always plays a huge part.

The scent and use of unadalterated peppermint and spearmint essential oil have multiple benefits. Both the oils on itself are antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. The scent of peppermint when inhaled will open up the airways which allows more oxygen into the blood stream which allows the person to be able to focus and feel uplifted. In Japan they have scented schools with peppermint essential oil for years in order to help the students retain the information they are studying and have shown great test results. Another case has shown from a NASA funded research in 2007 or 2008 which demonstrated the scent of peppermint increased energy and focus by 30%.

CROSBY MINT PEPPERMINT AND SPEARMINT OIL BULLET POINTS

  • Antimicrobial, anti viral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti inflammatory and anti spasmodic;
  • Unlimited shelf life;
  • Takes up little room for storage;
  • Replaces over $150.00 synthetic over the counter medication;
  • Can be consumed both internally and externally;
  • Pesticide, herbicide, insecticide free (FDA  ALLOWS 5ppm);
  • Banned and industrial chemical free;
  • Grown and produced at one point of origin;
  • Can not dilute the mint oil to a point of ineffectiveness;
  • One drop has the similar relief as two Tylenol tablets;
  • Most uses are topical.

If I can be of service to you in the future please do not hesitate to reach out.

With gratitude

Keeping the faith

Expecting miracles

Peppermint Jim Crosby

Earth Day Expo ’09 – Rochester, MI

•April 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

850 + days living & working through farm foreclosure

•April 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My intent is to share some of the events and experiences as I moved through the foreclosure process with the hope that it may help other small farmers or producers.
I understand the fear you feel and the thoughts that haunt you when you try to sleep. It is with you every minute and it is the first thing you think about in the morning.
If you don’t have a strong belief system, the situation will strip away everything you value and force you to question everything you have ever done. Business relationships and friendships will change overnight.

This part of the story began more than 850 days ago when we asked the bank to restructure our farm loan. The loan was a 90% backed FSA (Farm Service Agency) loan, which meant that if we defaulted they would back up to 90% of the loan which makes it more difficult  for us and the other small farms that have FSA loan financing . We made the first three rounds of payments but soon knew we would have difficulty making the next ones. Before being late on a payment, I went to the bank to discuss a plan to restructure and review our options. Whether it would include selling equipment or some of our property, I was willing to try almost anything to make it work.We were current three out of four loans and strong asset value. To this day I could not believe they wanted these loans to go bad. Instead of reviewing options with us, we were granted a 30-day extension and told we had no choice but make our payment.
We still had a business with a product we could sell and I knew we would get more for it selling it this way rather than liquidate our oil on the junk oil market . We figured out the amount of mint oil we had in inventory and determined what we had to do to make the payment and have remaining inventory to continue growing the sales.
When I called the loan officer to explain what we intended to do, he told us the file was already turned over to collections. At this point my determination was that we still had 7 days left. I asked him about the extension they had promised us and he told me I would have to discuss it with the next loan officer. It was “out of his hands”.

So the time came to meet with the next loan officer and their attorney. This started us down the road that is every farmer’s worst nightmare. We began the foreclosure process.
The first few meetings were all fact finding, securing assets, and reviewing our whole life to see what we had that had any value. They look to liquidate everything you have ever worked for.
Our attorney at the time had very little input to help us. I discovered that what you need is an experienced Chapter 12 attorney that can give you guidance and can help you work out a plan of action.
I can remember the bank officer smiling at me across the table and saying “you have a beautiful farm” while he shuffled though our paperwork. I felt like the proverbial lamb going to slaughter. Suddenly my feeling was that they were not looking out for our best interest but were instead, wanting to just liquidate our farm.
His immediate solution was to sell all of our property, inventory and equipment and we could possibly still keep our house. You can guess how I felt about that. It was devastating to know I was suddenly all alone in wanting a successful outcome.
I learned a long time ago that it is best to not show any emotion in these situations. It is best not to tip your hand as they are only attempting to discover your weak spots. They attempt to plant seeds of doubt, fear and despair. Do not think for one second they will let up on you. They intend to break you. Remember it is not the first time they have done this. They will swamp you with multiple requests for paperwork and copies of taxes, titles and insurance. Their intent will be to wear you down.
After one of our many meetings, I requested to speak to our farm service agent. I was surprised to learn that he was available immediately as he was already in the bank offices, which caught me off guard. The agent arrogantly strolled into the room appearing disinterested and condescending.

We were introduced, shook hands and he stood at the end of the board room table, never taking a seat, just standing over us.

The agent was asked about ideas for other financing alternatives for our farm. He quickly threw out a few names then abruptly stated there is no way anyone will look at you for financing. At that moment, as he spoke, it brought back a memory of  a few years earlier when I had spoken to someone at FSA about financing options. I remembered how he laughed and in a condescending voice stated it would be “tough sledding” for me. Keep in mind that I always try to focus on the positive and throw away the negative comments from people like this. I felt that this type of person should be assigned to an area of the FSA that doesn’t deal with people. With that being said, it is no wonder there was no support for restructuring my loan. The bank had apparently already decided in a meeting prior to mine that restructuring my loan was not an option. Whatever they discussed in that meeting, I determined it wasn’t good for me. I have found this process to be disheartening and humiliating.

My recommendation to others would be to prepare for meetings thoroughly, keep organized paperwork and don’t expect any help. They are not necessarily on your side.

Don’t expect any favors, as they seem more prepared to liquidate than create or encourage. The outcome may be predetermined before you are even involved.

We are still working on preserving the farm and it has only been through new and positive relationships that we will continue to be an option and resource for the many customer’s, who I consider to be friends.

Keeping the faith

Expect miracles

Peppermint Jim

S.A.R.E 2008

•March 31, 2009 • 2 Comments

SARE’s 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference 2008 this year was held at Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, MO.

What does SARE stand for?  It stands for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. sare8

They provide funding of various types for farmer rancher grants to university research, all with an educational component which is very important.

It is through education which will help each and every one of us to make better educated choices and to expose options of opportunity that will have a very large positive impact in a world of so much change. A must visit: www.sare.org

I was invited this year by the north central region of SARE to be a poster presenter at the conference and I was to talk about my farmer rancher grant that I had received from SARE in 2003. Through this grant I was able to plant 40 trees in order to reestablish a wind break to protect my mint crop from wind erosion. How bad can wind be? Take away all the trees and see for yourself!

I had replanted this particular area three times with hope, time and money and I can say the disappointment and frustration was challenging. The added benefits from these trees, not only wind protection, but improvement for different kinds of wild life, and, if you’re into esthetics, these trees were something to be enjoyed year round. Although mint is a perennial crop and much research has been done into the cultivation of mint, each producer has his own challenges in maintaining his mint crop due to climate change and geographical location.

I arrived in Kansas City march 24th, a day before the conference was to start. I had no expectation and no idea what was going to happen. I had been to other conferences but had found it more of a chore to be there. Now I was already thinking of what I should be doing back at the farm. So here I am in Kansas, I settled in, did some scouting, found the area I was to set up and double checked my time that I was to talk about my project. I diligently went through my paperwork to look at topics of interest and scheduling. This was when it started to sink in: it was as if a light had been turned on. 99% of all the topics to be discussed I had great interest in, so how to decide what do first? Just a sample of many topics covered were: renewable energy, brew your own biofuel, trees and farms, tapping organic markets, green house design, keeping the farm the farm and so on.

People of all walks of Life began to filter into the conference center and the amount of people added up to about 800!  From all over the country they gathered together in one location with similar causes but with the exact same belief to make this world a better place to live. I talked with and met so many different people it was almost overwhelming for me, this was just something I had never experienced.

I will be the first to admit to who ever are reading my words right now, if I was asked to describe what I liked about the SARE conference, I truly feel I could not find the words in my limited vocabulary that would do justice to these people who are behind the SARE program, for what they give to participants and exhibitors is incredible. We all have our own way of evaluating and one thing I have learned is to be a good listener and pay attention and openly admit I had to consciously tell myself to shut up and listen to what this person has to say, I was just excited, plain and simple.

Personally for me this experience validated my beliefs and my ides of sustainability, recycle reuse and greener way of doing things.

Most importantly, I wasn’t crazy! As so many people like to willingly share their judgment of how others should live, there will always be those who just won’t get it and that’s ok because we will continue to learn and educate each other so we can have the information when it becomes to that time of question (there has to be a better way of living).

During the conference I had the opportunity to talk with and listen to some of the exhibitors and the key is listening to the folks behind scene. Two groups that stood out to me are Oregon Tilth, a must visit: www.tilth.org and Moses (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service, Inc) a must visit also: www.mosesorganic.org

I spoke with Andrew Rodman Editor of Oregon Tilth and I asked him what the challenge are of being the editor of such important organization. He replied having to go through a blizzard of important information and making the decision what to write about because it all has such great value.

From everything I have seen and listened to, these two organizations are going to be pivotal in future education as the Organic industry grows.

Among the participants on farmer rancher side of things, I found nothing but good people making a positive difference and the willingness to share there experience of success and vision of improvement. One such person was Tom Sibbernse of Iowa Coffee Company, you must visit www.info@iowacoffeecompany.com. He is looking at farm sustainability and diversification.

I encourage you to visit the web links I have offered for just a wealth of information about just about any green project you could be thinking about.

Just one more important link for you to add to your online library,  www.afsic@nal.usda.gov (afsic).  Which stands for alternative farming system information center.

KEY NOTE SPEAKERS

The key note speakers for the conference were outstanding, inspirational and educational. I could connect with their passion very easily. This whole event was real with real people that cared they just had a great story and they are deserving of recognition.

Owusu Bandale; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in Universities. How far we have come, a vision of the future.

Jerry R Dewitt; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in Field Innovations for farm and ranch.

Judy Gifford; outreach Steering committee and sits on the northeast SARE administrative council.

Karl Kupers; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in our communities Food, health and people.

Bryant Terry; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in our Leadership, cultivating the next generation.

Margaret Krome; policy program director for Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in east Troy, Wisconsin.

So all in all, the three days went by so quickly with a lot of deep conversations lasting into early morning hours, and I was so thankful to have this experience and wished I could have had just one more day. Thus, the only disappointment I had was leaving, but as reality would have it, all good things do not come to an end but will continue to grow through friendships that were created in that short amount of time from a common bond of to be of service.

Up to this point I had been the sharer to the masses, offering myself and experience following a dream of being a participator and contributor to something greater than myself.

I am not quite sure how to explain it so that it will make any sense but it’s when you believe in something so strongly you are willing to take that risk of putting yourself out there in front of people with the hope you do some good. This is what I found at the SARE conference, and this is what found in the individuals that attended the conference. You never know exactly the good that will become of your efforts in sharing. It may inspire, give an idea or a solution to a challenge you are facing. You just never know!

Among the many things I had learned from the conference the information is there and being added to everyday from people who care about people and the environment in which we all live. I firmly believe that any organization will only be as good as the people behind it. This and time will dictate the success or failure. However, if we truly believe in our direction, our cause, then quitting will never be an option and it is what we do today that will effect our tomorrow.

 

 

 

In closing I would like to give credit to my Father (James E Crosby) who was one of my strong examples of always extending his hand backward with the intent of helping people forward. And to Chief White buffalo of the long Hair Clan, Cherokee Nation (Humanitarian Chief). It was through his efforts from a small green trailer and only a telephone, White Buffalo coordinated and was directly responsible for the feeding of over one million people on multiple continents.

 Both passed in 2005 one day after each other, and they are my examples of what can be accomplished with giving and to be of Service. You are truly missed!

To the folks of SARE National and North Central I am deeply grateful for the experience of the conference and finding my Windbreak grant project worthy of recognition and allowing me to share the project. sare3

To the following individuals whom I had the honor of meeting and listening and learning from.

R Edmond Gomez, Assistant Department Head, Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture & Home Economics, NM State University.

Juan Marinez, MSU Federal Liaison, Michigan State University Extension.

Professor George S Abawi, Department of plant Pathology, Cornell, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

M.J. IBRAHIM, PH.D., Farm Safety, Energy & Environmental Specialist, North Carolina Agricultural and technical State University.

Michael T Keilty, Sustainable Agriculture, University of Connecticut.

Joshua Idassi, PH.D., Extension Assistant Professor, Forestry Cooperative Extension Program, Tennessee State University, Nashville.

Joan Beckman, Coordinator, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture, K-State research and Extension, Kansas State University.

Ernest Wusstig, Pacific Rim Association District’s, Guam.

Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator NCR-SARE

Bill Wilcke, Regional Coordinator NCR-SARE

Oregon Tilth

Andrew Rodman

Dave Engel

Heather Smith

Jessica Tupa

MOSES

Tom Sibbernsen

Iowa Coffee Company

It is with intent I live my life,

Embrace your dreams and find change exciting

To All My Very Best

PEPPERMINT JIM

Preserving the past envisioning the future

 

What is a Farmer

•March 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

What is a farmer?

 How can I ask that question? I have had people say to me for a very long time; “You are not a farmer.” I had one even say to me that I was not going to make it as a farmer. I am 42 now and I haven’t missed a harvest since I was six years old. I have memories of being there and I started driving the tractor at age nine for the harvest. A total of 38 years.

I have worked every inch of this ground and have spent hours praying in these fields. I look over every inch of this ground for hope of a good crop. I see what I have to do, I try and remember what there is to do and sometimes it just comes to me from second nature. I love this land and I care about people. I want to contribute good work, I want to make a positive impact helping other people worse off than me, regardless of whatever my current situation is and regardless of geographical location.

Things can always be worse and I always have had gratitude.

 

Somewhere in these feelings of mine there has to be a farmer. When equipment brakes down or I am questioning something I am currently working on, pictures run through my mind of how to fix it. Is this something that has happened before? And at the same exact time you are praying that it’s fixable and nothing major. Right after that for me all these things run through my mind all at the same time.

Then the big question is; how am I going to pay for this, can I afford it? You automatically go into putting a plan in place to do without or who do you have as a resource to help you. .

Ya know the one close friend that is a jack of all trades, and then one or two people that is electrical, builder, and mechanic. You know when you call this person, they drop what they are doing and stop by as soon as they can to help you face your challenge and it becomes a we. I grew up around this and have some old and some new friends and thank god for them being in my life and who they are.

In the last 36 months I have physically lost four of my mentor’s people whose opinion I appreciated every minute WE were together. Every day that goes by I keep Faith. This farm has become my mistress, my island of visions and dreams. I so believe with everything that one would describe me and believe from my whole heart that when my time comes the people around me will benefit from me wholly and dictate my life to helping others and will always be concisely envisioning how I can be of service in protecting the environment and helping my fellow human beings.

I can’t explain it in words I JUST LOVE WHAT I DO.

 

But all these years I am still asking myself this question: What is a farmer?

Until the day the answer comes, I will just keep going.

 

“Farmers don’t Quit”

“Farmers don’t walk away”

Expect Miracles

Peppermint Jim