L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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The Sweetest Rain!!

It has been a very busy week and as I prepare for tomorrow at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Lincoln, Nebraska to say I am a motivated seller is an understatement.  The colors and textures are changing a little this week.  I have A LOT of tomatoes and cucumbers. 

New offerings will include two items I am especially proud of:  The first is my edamame soy beans and the second is my little finger eggplant…  I have had a few each week but this week I am finally starting to get some volume. I will also have 1 honey dew melon and sadly I think it will be the only one I have this season. I will also have an entire rainbow of tomatoes.  You really owe it to yourself to try our Great White Beefsteak or maybe a Nebraska Wedding Tomato. There is also my Black Krim, my orange Moon Glow, and my pink Raspberry Lyeanna and a few Japanese Black Trieffle.  The cherry tomatoes are still going strong, but I see the end of the road ahead… at the most I will have three more weeks.  Other items will include large and small black beauty eggplant, green bell peppers, dulche peppers, jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, okra, Tabouli kits, mint, parsley, sweet corn and a few cantaloupes.  I will also have red and yellow onions and I am down to about 10 pounds of potatoes.  I almost forgot the cucumbers, and a few assorted summer squash and eggs.   I had someone stop by last Sunday looking for cucumbers to pickle.  If you are still looking, please visit me tomorrow. 

I am trying something new this week.  I will bring with me a recipe card for a one-skillet dish my family enjoys that goes from fresh to Yum in about 30 minutes.  It is called Cowboy Stir-fry.   It is one that is great as a vegetarian dish.  It also jumps to life with about any meat option.  It will feature many of the items I will have for sale.  If I have time I will put together a second dish we like a lot that has more of an Italian flair.  I have lots of 30 minute meal options so when you visit me me ask and I will offer how this busy mom finds time to cook fresh and please the hungry natives at my house! :)  

The water ban was put into effect and since God has given us 4 inches of rain.  If you ever wonder who you should put your faith in … government or God… I have unmistakable evidence to support the later.  We are a long way from the drought being over but we will take what has been given and say THANK YOU.   

I still have some big decisions to make regarding my fall and winter gardens and we are also setting up our game plan for 2013.  We need to make some big changes for next yearand we hope we will learn what you would like to have available. In order for my business to ever get to a point that it provides income for my family it has to have MORE customers so we are pretty willing to consider your needs as we make our decisions.

I have some huge news...  The week of August 14, my produce will be featured on the menu of one of the most upscale restaurants in all of Lincoln.  I will share more about this in the near future.  The Lincoln Journal Star has also talked about my produce in one of their feature stories covering the Lincoln farmers markets.  Both have made that decision based upon my quality, my selection and my price… despite what has been an extremely difficult growing year.  The North Central Kansas Regional Planning Commission featured me in their newsletter this summer and I have heard from several of my customers that I provided them with their BEST tomato plants AND that I sell the BEST tomatoes at OCFM. I have had visitors to my farm from Salina, Colby and Missouri because they have been told I am a MUST visit farm.  I am thrilled, honored, PROUD, and GREATEFUL but in order for my business to survive I need YOU!  

Livie is now riding her bike without training wheels.  She actually removed them herself.  My Autie has decided she wants to learn how to tie her shoes.  She is not yet 4, but she does not want to be outdone by her sister.  We also spent the week getting Livie’s immunization records up to date for kindergarten and getting some of the necessary doctor visits out of the way. 

Next week we have a few fun days planned.  We have back to school shopping and a trip to the Lincoln Zoo and the Lincoln Children’s Museum scheduled.  Because we are making the back to school scramble we WILL NOT DELIVER THIS week and the following week Livie starts Kindergarten.  I have decided that week will be devoted to my girls and getting our house ready for back to school.  We will be available for on-farm sales by appointment.  You will also find us covering our Sunday market at Old Cheney.   I hope everyone can understand the Mom in me needs to invest in my girls as this summer draws to a close. 

My thoughts of gratitude for the week are focused on the sweet rain and the cooler temperatures.  We will be headed to church in a few hours and I will generously offer my prayers of gratitude.  I am grateful for my farmer hubby who to date is my best handy man, and best customer.  I am also grateful for my two giggly girls who stole what few strawberries I had to pick and put them in their PLAY refrigerator.  I am also grateful that I was able to find the amusement offered by the discovery of the mess created.  Finally I am grateful for my loyal customers who visit or order from me each week.  I have two gentlemen whose tomatoes will be waiting for them tomorrow morning because I know they will be there first thing!  GRATITUDE.  J

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The Dawn of a New Week

This past week was a rough one for L’Ecuyer Gardens.  On Thursday we received notification we are to no longer use rural water to water our garden.  This request is a result of the current drought conditions.  We do have a private well, but it will not meet our current needs and so some things will be touch and go.  Saturday night we did receive a surprise rain which was WONDERFUL, but at this point 1 inch will not change much.  I am tired and worried.   

I have lots of tomatoes and cantaloupe, zucchini and yellow squash.  I also have some beautiful leeks.  We have LOTS of canning tomatoes and we have now opened what is left of our sweet corn up for u-pick.  It you want to save big, jump in!!!!  while you are here, pick up some canning tomatoes, cucumbers and whatever else you cannot resist. 

I am also busy trying to make plans for our fall garden.  I am concerned about the water issue so I am trying to think through my options before I make decisions, but the time is upon us.  I am also trying to make plans for next summer.  For my loyal customer chance, s this is the time to offer you thoughts on what you want to have available.  I will start buying my seeds in November and so let me know.  MY garden is your garden!  It is my hope you will be able to find everything you need. 

Despite the heat in the near future I will have Brussels sprouts and possibly some green beans and cabbage. 

Tomorrow will be dedicated to dehydrating corn and freezing peppers and some other canning. 

For now we still have great selection.  If you are looking for canning tomatoes, let me know!!!!  I have a lot of tomatoes at the moment.  The online store is now open.  Please go to:  http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/weblog and view our availability and make your selections by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.  Give us a chance.  Our selection is good, our quality is very high and our prices are reasonable. 

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The Blessings of the Week

I spent most of the day in the Masonic Temple Parking Lot in Marysville, KS and it was an okay day despite the heat.  Tom and the girls surprised me with a visit and yes I had both girls out waiving to cars for a short period of time.  Again I am running low on quarters, but that is a good problem to have.

This week has had many great moments.  My nephew Lane came to visit for a few days.  He will be a senior in high school this year and he is becoming a fine young man.  He was an awesome kid and I loved watching him play with my girls.  He has been gone for a day and a half and my girls REALLY MISS him. I do too.  My brother’s kids are pretty awesome too and would love it if they could come visit for a few days too!!!!!  I LOVE AND MISS YOU GUYS ALL THE TIME. 

I also learned I have a fan.  Tish introduced herself as someone who has been following me this season and today we met.  I never thought of my blog as something interesting enough to be worth following.  I only hope she enjoys the cantaloupe.  I am flattered. 

I still have several very nice cantaloupe ready to sell and there will be many more by the weekend.  I am also running long on cucumbers, squash and canning tomatoes.  My slicing tomatoes looked really good today.  The heat has been rough on everything so I am grateful to be able to still offer some nice big juicy slicing tomatoes.  My sweet corn is dwindling and the preorders I have in place may very well end my season.  We do have one batch that was planted quite a bit later, but we need the heat to ease up for it to have a chance. 

For Thursday, along with the cantaloupe, I will also have yellow slicing tomatoes and several really nice beefsteak, eggplant, okra and lots and lots of peppers.  If you are looking for something truly wonderful, you need to ask me about my strawberry crabapples.  They are golden with a slight blush.  Unlike most crabapples, these are tart but sweet apples are wonderful fresh.  They would make an outstanding cobbler or pie and just the thought of it sounds so good I may make one for Tom and the girls this weekend.  My peaches are starting to ripen and so I should have some with me at Old Cheney this weekend.  Before too much longer I will have Colorado peaches and apples. 

Don’t tell Livie and Autie but my friend Sandy from Filley, NE is making them princess costumes.  They will serve as the first installment to their dress up box and this year’s Halloween costumes.  Livie has never been able to wear the princess dress in the toy isle…they are just too small.  This dress will be made to fit her.  She loves to dress up and I hope this will be an extra special surprise for her.  I am now in search of long satin gloves, crowns and princess slippers.  I am also in search of a trunk to warehouse everything.  Livie’s will be pink and purple and will look a lot like Cinderella.  Autie’s is yellow and orange and will look a lot like Bell’s.  Sandi is also working on a custom handbag for me.  I have enjoyed the first bag so much that as I move into fall I want another.  She is working on a design that will also double as computer case for a laptop or tablet.  When finished I will have a one-of-a-kind bag that will be made to meet my specific needs.  In the end it will likely not cost much more than a better case from Staples.   The difference is that mine will make its own unique statement and will be mistakenly MINE. 

The weather remains difficult for us all and your prayers for rain are needed more than ever.  In addition to a prayer for rain, I also ask you petition for cooler temperatures.  We all need it.  As a farmer the weather is your friend and it is also your enemy, but there are an awful lot of people who are severely impacted by our current weather patterns.

The store is open until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.  To order, please go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/weblog and make your selections.  I hope you will give me a try.  The quality is very high.  The prices a reasonable and it will be delivered right to your door for you to enjoy. 

My thoughts of gratitude today are focused on people who find something worth following in the ramblings of a Kansas produce farmer.   Thank you Tish!!!!!   Have a fresh and fabulous rest of the week.  ave Ha

 
 

We Are Up and Running Again

It is Monday evening and I am finally updating my online store for the week.  I am sorry for being so tardy, but today was BUSY.  Livie and I both had eye exams and I am now at that point in my life where I need bifocals.  I am not excited… especially when you factor in the cost of the new lenses.  Better news Livie’s eyes are in great shape for the first day of Kindergarten.  Autie spent the afternoon with Grandma Betty and she enjoyed being the only one with Grandma. 

Yesterday I had a wonderful thing happen, I met the executive chef of an upscale restaurant in Lincoln and he was in love with MY tomatoes!  That is wonderful news.  I am estatic at the possibility of selling to them.  Today I also visited with the cook at a local café who will feature my produce in her weekly menu in the weeks to come.  She is one of two people today to take advantage of my fresh from the farm Mondays where I offer everyone a chance to buy Sunday leftovers at significantly reduced prices.  For those who love fresh produce but would like to save some money, you need to stop by on Mondays. 

This week I have plenty of peppers, eggplant, TOMATOES, sweet corn, peaches and crabapples.  I will double check on Wednesday but at the moment I will not have green beans, but more are coming.  

In the weeks to come I will have several types of watermelon, honey dew and Crenshaw melons. 

The heat has set in and it has been difficult to get very much done.  Before I plant much it really does need to cool down.  We are also in desperate need of rain and once again ask each of you to take a moment and offer a silent prayer.  The lack of rain is becoming serious and the high temps are making the situation worse.  Our pastures are running out of grass and the ponds and creeks and each are also starting to dry up.  Our corn crop is already gone and our soybeans are in trouble.  We have only out up a third of the hay that will be needed this fall and winter and that is scary.  Please pray for rain and pray for all farmers to receive the needed rain. 

My girls are busy enjoying their trampoline.  The temps are a little cooler and the sun has gone down enough to offer a little relief.  From my computer I can watch them play and I love watching them when they do not realize I am there.  My girls are crazy and a lot of fun to watch. 

The store will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.  Ordering is easy all you need to do is go to  http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net.  I will deliver to your home an office on Thursday.  v
 
 

The Summer's Rainbow

This week has been much calmer.  T-ball has ended for the summer and we have enjoyed a little more time at home.  Tom and I are both homebodies but I think we are raising two little socialites.  Finding the right balance is a trick at our house.  But we keep trying. 

Our big outing for the week is the county fair for Jefferson County Nebraska and last night was spent enjoying the rides.  This particular fair is good for us because most of the rides are for younger kids.  Each girl had their favorite.  Livie loved the hot air bounce so much she had to do it twice and my Autie loves the carousel but I think the flying elephant ride actually topped it a little bit last night.  We ran into their cousin Adam and he took the girls to the sheep barn where their family had several entries.  He girls would love to have some at our house but Tom is reluctant.  Honestly, so am I.  Animals are a lot of work and we already have our hands full in that department.  Today Livie has a birthday party and Tom and Autie are going to run some errands.   

On the farm we are trying to get caught up on weeding and watering.  I will soon be planting fall peas, fall green beans, fall cabbages and lettuces, spinach and some late tomatoes.  This week I think is the tomato bumper crop.  Last night we held our first Fresh and Fabulous Friday patio grillers.  The turnout was low, butt he food was awesome.  Tom grilled burgers, sweet potatoes, onions and zuchinni.  I sliced a big plate of tomatoes and yes we enjoyed a rainbow platter.  Last year Autie would not even try a tomato.  This year she gobbles them up faster than anyone.  She likes it when I offer her the different colors. 

I have spent the last two days getting ready for tomorrow.  I will be at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Nebraska from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  In tow will be a huge assortment of fresh from the farm goodness that I hope you will let us help you complete your dinner table for the week ahead. 

This week the colors, textures and flavors continue to change.  I have an entire rainbow of cherry tomatoes AND slicers.  You name it I have it... the shooting star, yellow pear, red fig, juliette red, chocolate cherry, snowberry, white rabbit, and the Stupice in the cherry and plum division.  In the slicer division I will feature the Nebraska wedding tomato, the Great White, orange and yellow ox heart, yellow beefsteak, Black from Tula, Black Krim, Japanese Black Trieffle, Paul Robeson, the Raspberry Lyanna, Juane Flemme’ and several others.  I will also have Jet Star.  I will also have some canning tomatoes with me for those lookign for a larger volume. 

Other items this week will feature a nice selection of peppers.  I have some beautiful yellow bells and Italian peppers.  In the smaller range I will have green and yellow bells, gypsy, and chili and jalapeno peppers.  Later on I will have some pimento peppers and both large and small red bell peppers.  I also have a nice selection of eggplant – little fingers in green and black, black beauty, and a smaller variety of the black beauty. 

I will also have two types of crabapples, potatoes, okra, onions, leeks, collard greens, Swiss chard, parsley bunches, mint, bunches, cucumbers, zucchini and several types of summer squash.  Throw in  some hard red winter wheat berries, Tabouli kits, sweet corn and farm fresh eggs. 

There are scores of possible decisions to make, but you could easily fix an entire week of meals from fresh.  I hope you will stop by and discover how beautiful a week of fresh from the garden flavors can be.  Have a fresh and fabulous weekend! 
 
 

The Wee Hours Update

It is already 1:00 a.m. and I have to get up extra early in the morning so this will be short and sweet.  Tonight was our last t-ball game of the year.  We did not win, but we worked pretty well as a team throughout the game.  My Livie will miss her favorite part which is the line where everyone shakes everyone’s hand.  I love that kid.  My Autie will miss her new friends (the younger siblings of other teammates) too.  Tom and I are exhausted, relieved and already talking about next year.  We work all of the time and t-ball while at times difficult to juggle in terms of scheduling, gave us an escape.  We need to find a new one.  As a family we spend a lot of time together already, but with t-ball we spent a portion of that time socializing with other families and making new friends... something we do not do enough of. 


In the morning I hope to see you at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The weather should be much cooler and I think that is worth a celebration in itself.  I will have a ton of stuff available:  SWEET CORN, green beans, snap peas, okra, slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and an entire rainbow of heirloom slicers.  I will also have some eggplant, peppers, onions, Tabouli kits, potatoes and lots of cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash.  I will also have a few blackberries. 

If you have not yet said your prayers, pray for rain.  As much as I am counting on selling what I bring, we need the rain MORE. 

The produce is fresh and ready for you.  I hope to see you there!!!  Good night...Good morning

 
 

Saturday

It rained and they say more is coming.  Tom is relieved … so am I.  It came softly and the clouds moved in and so most of it is soaking in.  We still need more but this was as close to a perfect rain as it probably gets.  For now the stress over our fall crops has subsided. 

The last few days have been busy.  Wednesday and Thursday was spent making deliveries and on my way home Thursday I bought a whicker desk from a customer having a moving sale.  Livie is starting kindergarten this fall and I thought it was a perfect gift.  She had a small one and she gave it to Autie.  Livie has filled the drawer with crayons and paper and moved her lamp to the desk.  She has a place to work on her drawings and in time her homework.  She is very smart and I want her to WANT to do well.  Her life path is her own, but experience has taught me very well you never really know when you will need to reinvent yourself.  A solid education and a love for learning are more than a little helpful in that situation.

I have a young man helping me this summer who came out for the first time Friday.  He is taking Drivers Ed at school and in a few weeks will have his learners permit.  In past years he has walked milo fields for Tom so I know he will work hard.  He spent the day helping me trim back my tomato plants and fertilize them.  I picked blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. 

Last night the girls and I took Tom to see Madagascar III.  WE ALL LOVED IT.  As an early Father’s Day we also gave him his new BBQ U guide and some new grill tools then celebrated with Chinese food.  Sunday the girls will grill hot dogs and take Tom fishing while I am at the Old Cheney Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:0 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

This morning Tom and the girls planted the last of my fall squash and pumpkins and I cleaned out my lettuce bed and planted strawberries, leeks, lavender, basil and sorrel.  I also weeded my strawberry beds and picked beets and radishes for tomorrow.  After lunch I will sow another cilantro bed and plant some late tomatoes.  I will also check on my peppers to see if anything is ready.  We are at least close.  Tonight is church followed by a frenzied last dash until dark to pick what I can… likely the kale, Swiss chard, onions and possibly strawberries.  With the rain has come WEEDS and next week promises to keep us all very busy.  For the first time in several weeks we will need to mow.  We mowed three times and April and not once in May.  Strange year…

With the rain came what is likely the end of the wild fruit.  Most of my best roads will not be passable in our car for several days and by then will likely over ripened.  That is the ecstasy and agony of wild fruit.  The fruit is free to those who crave it, but it sometimes it can be just out of reach.  Don’t worry as soon as the roads are good I will at least go check.  On some of my roads I found another truly coveted find… elderberries.  I love it all, but I do not have ANY picked and I am compelled to at least try.  If we miss the elderberries we still need to come back for sand plums later this fall and then there is always the possibility of wild grapes. 

The good news is this week will likely be my bumper crop of blackberries here at the farm.  I have picked a bunch and they will be waiting for you along with cabbage, hopefully some green beans, potatoes, tabouli kits, tomatoes, kale, collard greens and still some more things yet to be found.  It will be a late night I am sure, but I am glad there is finally enough to pick.  Come by and visit my booth tomorrow and let me know what you think.   For those who cannot make to Old Cheney tomorrow, you also have the option for a mid-week delivery by using my online store at http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/.  The store will be update Monday and in the weeks to come there will be lots of changes and additions to the store.   

My statement of gratitude is for the wonderful rain and for a husband who in my opinion is the WORLD’S BEST DADDY. 

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Late Nights & Early Mornings

here is to busy days, late nights and early mornings! See you at the market in the morning!!!!   [Read More]
 
 

The Connectedness of Wheat and Blackberries

I know you are probably wondering what I am drinking, but the two have beautiful relationship on our farm.  We are usually offering predictions for the first day of wheat harvest beginning in early June and don’t start cutting until the end of the month.  If we are lucky we are finished in time to enjoy the Fourth of July.  The black berries begin to flower about the same time we are making our first predictions and usually have ripened and run their course by the end of harvest.  This holds true not only for the berries we raise commercially but also the berries we find in the wild.  Every year wheat harvest may be off by a week or more one way or the other and every year the blackberries seem to know. 

This year is no exception and it is one worth pausing for, you see it is May 13 and we have been offering wheat harvest predictions for nearly three weeks and my bushes are loaded with flowers and green berries.  Today I noticed some of them are slightly red.  I will be picking blackberries in two weeks.  The fields of wheat have been beautiful seas of green and last night on my way to my pasture picnic, I noticed it is starting to turn a light golden color.  I predict we will start harvest on or before June 1 (almost an entire month early).  Even this year the wheat and blackberries have synchronized their internal clocks. 

Blackberry cobbler is heavenly and my reasoning is because they are so closely connected and to me this relationship is the story of hubby and me.  Other than a short stint in college, Tom has lived his entire life on this farm.  He is a true country boy in every way.  Tom farms conventionally.  He is the type of farmer too many try to cast in an ugly light because he has worked hard and figured out how make farming his career.  He raises cattle and corn, wheat and soy beans.  He is an honest man and if you were ever stranded in a dark alley late at night he is the guy you hope will come by.  He has a gentle smile and a voice that always manages to calm my inner worries.  He knows who he his only want is for a happy and healthy family.  It is very easy to please him. 

I am a city gal and as a young child and again later in my early adult years I moved a lot.  My dad hit the bricks when I was young and I was in my teens before there was an adult man in my life who treated me as a daughter.  That gap created an insecure person.  I always assume that there is something about me that is repulsive to the world.  I have always had major trust issues with all people, but men especially.  I know at times I am a difficult person to want to love, but Tom makes it look easy.  For that I am grateful.  I used to live in an urban/ suburban area and enjoyed a career and a life that did not involve dirt, cows, or the late night four-legged visitor.  I enjoyed the frequent purchase of new clothes and new shoes and my idea of farming was 5 tomato plants and a honeysuckle bush.  Since moving to Kansas I have tried to be a farmer.  I love playing in the dirt but must confess I don’t always know what I am doing.  Tom is the one who helps me figure things out and at times does the work I am physically unable to do.    He makes it look easy. 

At first glance you could assume that Tom and I could not possibly have any common ground and yet the only thing that has made since in my life since we first met was making sure I am next to him.  There has been a connectedness between us that is hard to put into words, but somehow belongs together.  We are wheat and blackberries.  For that I am grateful. 

Today I cleaned all bedding plants from my tunnel and I hope within the next few weeks most will find new homes.  If not, they will end up in my compost pile.  Today we put down mulch eight new rows and tomorrow I will begin planting… bell peppers, chili peppers, eggplant, artichokes, Asian cucumbers, okra, cabbage, and lettuce.  Tom also planted a few rows of cannellini beans.  Wednesday is t-ball practice for Livie, grocery store and drop box deliveries and my farmer’s market night in Manhattan.  Thursday, I will make deliveries to Beatrice and will help my girl’s preschool plant their summer garden.   Friday the girls and I will go check for mulberries and hopefully will SCORE.  There is lots of good stuff that will come from L’Ecuyer Gardens.  Check back with us to find out what type of goodness is waiting for you. 

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