Thursday, October 3, 2013

Spotlight on Greg Jubinsky

Greg Jubinsky works in his garden near Havana

The Havana Herald did a good job of spotlighting Permaculture Designer Greg Jubinsky and his wife Mil this past July.  Enjoy this article about one of our "Permies."

Local Farm Grows Certified Naturally Grown Produce

By Sandi Beare
Herald Correspondent
Tucked away, far deep in the heavy, moist woods of a typical Southern forest, lies a natural beauty, where one couple’s vision has taken root. Ragged Glory farm near Havana, where Greg and Mil Jubinsky live, thrives on land that was once part of the Nicholson family history.

Farmer Greg worked with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in the Invasive Plant Species section for 27 years before retiring last August. He used to share good plant practices with landowners; now he and Mil use them on their own chemical-free farm. In all, Greg spent some 35 years working for the State of Florida.

Wife Mil continues to work at the Florida Division of State Lands, as Office Manager, and known as ‘Fixer-of-All-Things-Needing Attention’ and where she has worked for 27 years.

When asked how the farm came into being, Jubinsky says he’s always had a vegetable garden. “We realized seven or eight years ago when we moved into our (newly-built) house that we wanted the whole deal,” he said. They became certified-naturally grown (CNG) in 2007.

Mil, besides taking care of the duo’s chickens, has her own potager garden and also serves as Greg’s self-described ‘anchor.’ Along the way, Mil has taken up the quilling craft, making beautiful jewelry from the fine art of paper-folding. She’s also painting in a style all of her own, both of which she sells at events, markets, and online with her two sisters on

Greg has been the inspiration behind Havana’s newest agribusiness, the Havana Growers Market, which meets Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine.

Several area certified-naturally grown farmers sell their squash, eggplant, peppers, onions and other seasonal vegetables at the market. One local beekeeper brings honey harvested according to CNG principles. Others offer for sale baked goods made from the chemical-free vegetables. Participating so far are Ragged Glory Farm, Johnnie's Garden, Silver Rain Farm, Mac's honey, and Canopy Rose.

“There’s a small difference between being ‘organic’ and ‘certified-naturally grown,’” says Jubinsky. “With organics, the government (U.S. Department of Agriculture) only lets you grow and sell one specific crop from a single farm,” he adds, saying to be certified organic is vastly more expensive, too.

Greg talking to customers at Havana Growers Market
“The CNG tag has the same principles - making the farm more sustainable, not using non-organic approved (chemicals, sprays, etc.). CNGs adhere to those principles while giving farmers more options of what to plant and what to sell,” Greg says.

“With organics, you can only grow the one crop in straight rows,” he says about how he often plants lower plants in between trellises of climbing vegetables like peas, beans and the like.

All of his vegetables are from gulf-coast environmental plants that are heirloom, or passed down through the generations or through friends to others.

“You need to have open plants to bring in the pollinators, the bees and butterflies. I plant the perimeter with native flowering perennials. The squash are doing very well. We focus on quality, rather than quantity. These are purple-pod okra from Louisiana. This is a native bean - the seed came from a friend, David Tarver,” says Jubinsky as he tried to entice me with the pretty color and pitch for the taste of the unusual okra.

Tarver gave him the bean seed that his grandmother had gotten from an itinerant preacher who needed a place to stay. The seeds have thrived through many generations going back around 200 years, he said.

Farming is not easy work, and you can see that by looking at the wide variety of the Jubinsky crops. The older he gets, he says, he’s growing more plants on trellises, which means he doesn’t have to spend all day weeding at ground level. The couple has participated in the annual New Leaf Market naturally-grown farm tours for the past two years, and plan to be part of it again this Fall.

Stop by Havana’s fountain/stage area Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see the vibrant colors that chemically-free, home-grown vegetables have, and pick up a taste of Havana!

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