Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt FSI vol 3 issue 11

It's week 11. We are quickly getting to the half way point of the season. My, time flies when you are having fun, don't it?

The market garden is doing well. Most things are growing fast and in a good manner. Last night we were able to get the entire garden area mowed. Mowing is very important for keeping pest and disease at bay. Even though the lawn plants do not get into the beds (much) when they get tall they provide refuge for all kinds of pest insects plus other pests like voles and mice. not to mention they cut down on light and air being able to pass through the crops when they get tall (and we had quite a few areas with 3' tall grass) so we get almost the same response from the bed of crops as if they were choked with weeds, they don't like it and tend to stay small and weak. Fortunately, it takes far less time to mow down tall grass than it does getting grass and other unwanted plants out of a bed. And now we have a well mown 3+ acre market garden that looks nice and is much much easier to get around and work in.

Happy Summer. At 1:16 pm yesterday we went from spring to summer and that means profound changes to a lot of crops that have been hanging out. The onions and garlic will experience the greatest changes as they are probably the most photo period sensitive crops we have right now (or at least the most sensitive to the long days). Now that we have hit our longest days and will soon we will see later sunrises and earlier sunsets the onions have gone into huge production and will triple to quadruple in size in the next 3 weeks or so. I have been growing these things for almost 20 years and this phenomena still amazes me and one of the reason onions and garlic are my favorite crops (yes I play favorites amongst my  produce children, but I do love them all).

Summer means a shift in produce. Say good bye to asparagus (which had a long run this year surprisingly, what with the bad weather and all). I started harvesting that April 7th and will finish this week sometime (we still can get about 2 pounds a day, not enough to fill shares but enough make it worth searching through the 5' high fronds for useable spears). You guys got it for 10 weeks which I think is a record of some kind. But we now are getting into summer crops such as zukes and cukes. Soon there will be green and wax beans (I spotted flowers on several beds of beans and that means in about 2 weeks they should be ready to harvest), potatoes, cherry tomatoes from our earliest hoop house maters. The main crop will not be producing until late August as they just went in the ground 2 weeks ago. I will say they are growing like weeds and look great.

The new crop of everbearing strawberries is loaded with flowers and developing fruit and should be ready for you guys in about 1 to 2 weeks. but more exciting is the fact that Eugene spotted the first ripe red raspberries yesterday while mowing. That means we will start harvesting the raspberries tomorrow or Friday. Usually the raspberries spend their first week of harvest producing barely enough for us to get a a taste much less enough to fill an entire 1/2 pint container in one picking. but after the first slow week they will start to come in hot and heavy and one of us will get to spend 4+ hours daily for the next 4 to 6 weeks harvesting nothing but raspberries. it's an exciting thing that quickly devolves into raspberry Hell. It is usually my own personal Hell as they usually start ripening in Early June when we still have lots of crops to get in the ground which is what Eugene does while I harvest fruit. but this year they are late and the crops are in for the most part so it looks like we can tag team this job which will make it far easier on all of us and perhaps it will not be so Hellish this season (actually it should not be as we did take out 100' of these raspberries earlier this year as they were getting diseased and dying).

If you have time take a walk around the garden. To get to it just go between the store and the barn and through the red gate and to your right and you will be at the edge of the garden. if either or both of us are in the garden gives us a yell and we will likely give you a short tour.

Earlier in the season we asked you guys for help with the garden and we had one taker so far (Thanks Mullins!) but we are now withdrawing that offer as it has come to our attention that the federal bureau of labor has been snooping around other local CSA farms and telling those farmers to stop using members for help unless they are paid, have workers comp coverage and taxes are taken out of their paycheck. They also say absolutely no kids under 16 are to be working on a farm in any capacity. So until I can figure out a system that will allow us to have you guys out to help in the garden without upsetting state and federal officials I cannot ask you guys to help weed, or whatever. But let me be clear, we have not been visited by these folks, yet and they may never show up but I would rather be safe than sorry. It's getting bad when we need a lawyer in order to legally be able to have people come to our farm to help dig weeds for no pay.

The shares will be ready after 4 pm. Due to increased membership not all the shares will fit in the front fridge so I put all the shares I know will be picked up on Friday in the back silver fridge. If you normally pick up on Friday but decide to pick up today and cannot find your food look in the big silver fridge for your bag. Any shares not picked up by 6 am Saturday morning will go to the Oxford Choice Food Pantry unless you let me know you will be picking up sometime Saturday.

Recipe

Cuke Salad

2 to 4 cucumbers cut in half lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 small red onions (later you can use Ailsa Craig onions when they start to come in, do not use the yellow onions unless you like hot onions raw)
Salad dressing-the rosemary vinaigrette is wonderful with this
Shredded basil leaves to taste

In a bowl combine everything but the basil and let sit for an hour or more. Add the basil right before serving (if you add it sooner it will become a black mess). you can also add peas, radishes, scapes, lettuce, feta, croutons or anything else you like in a salad

What's in the Share

Zucchini-should be over a pound of a mix of zephyr and cocozell
Cucumbers-you will get at least 3 Armenian cukes
Lettuce-a half pound bag of lettuce
Scapes 1/2 pound of scapes
Radish or peas-you will either get a big bunch of d'Avignon radishes or some snow peas
Basil-an increasing amount of basil over the past few weeks. as the plants get bigger you will get more and more. Later in the season I will give instructions on ow to dry and freeze it as well as how to make pesto. If you follow the instructions you will have basil things to use this winter and will be on your way to year round food freedom
Cilantro-a small bag of cilantro.
Onions-a bunch of red and yellow onions with their greens still attached. the yellow are for cooking the red for raw eating. these onions are from our sets and are not the amazing onions we are growing from seed which are doing their incredible growth thing right now. these onions come in 6 weeks earlier and are done growing
Kale-a half pound of a mix of kale, probably russian red and dinosaur but there may be some winterbor and rainbow in there as well.
Chard/Raab-we do not have enough of either for all of you so some will get chard and some will get raab this week. if you have a preference let me know ASAP (like before noon today)
Chives
Garlic-this is the first harvest of garlic. It is green (and probably the smallest of the year as we need to get the small plant out first so we do not lose them later). Green garlic is the best! But do know that the wrappers around each clove are thick and white and thus appear to not be there (but they are, believe me). I find the flavor of fresh garlic to be much brighter and crisper than the cures stuff. you will get fresh garlic for the next 3 to 4 weeks as we dig it out of the ground and before all of it is cured.

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Bouler belt FSI vol 3 issue 8

Greetings,

It is now week 8 of our food and farming adventure and things are changing around the farm. First off, the weather has gone from cold and wet to hot, humid and rainless (but our soils are still quite wet to down right muddy in some areas). The heat is hard for me to work in (I have had heat stroke before) but Eugene can work in the heat and has been busy getting the beds for tomatoes tilled as well as planting things like melons, more spring mix, winter squash, popcorn, cucumbers, zucchinis, beets, bok choy, potatoes, carrots, radishes, beets, etc.. The heat is also hard on the plants. the cool weather things like lettuce and spinach will not tolerate high heat for more than 3 to 4 days. the asparagus (which I thought loves 90 degree heat) does not like this at all and the yields have gone way down. But the summer crops like peppers, eggplant, basil, melons, etc., love this weather.

Second, we are finally seeing a change in the crops. there will be several things making an appearance in your shares for the first time such as Broccoli Raab (this, I believe is the 3rd planting and as they same the 3rd time's the charm), green onions (these are true onions that would have made a bulb had I left them in the ground and not scallions which you have gotten in your shares a couple of times this spring)basil-there won't be much as the plants are still tiny and are growing out of some problem that caused their leaves to turn brown (I suspect herbicide drift), garlic scapes, which are the flower stalks that appear on hard necked garlic and also signal that in 2 to 3 weeks we will all be eating fresh garlic. We have small heads of broccoli, finally and I believe there will be enough zucchini for everyone to get a small zuke in their share this week.

This week, other than planting and harvesting, we have been concentrating on weeding. The rains of April and May have meant that we have not been able to get much weeding in. It's been too wet to hoe and in our clay based soils if you work with them while wet you get a concrete like substance that sticks around for several years. This is what we sustainable farming types called ruining the tilth of the soil and this is to be avoided if at all possible. The chemical gardening types will tell you that any weed in the garden is a bad thing. The reality is most crops like some weed pressure (but that sort of thinking does not sell a lot of herbicide) as weeds will add nutrients to the soil that the crops need as well as protect the soil from the ravages of sun, wind and rain. That said, we cannot let the weeds run rampant and there are some such as bindweed, garlic mustard and poison ivy we do want to see in the garden beds at all so we have an arsenal of tools we use to control the weeds that include landscape fabric mulch, the wheel hoe, stirrup hoes, trowels and hands and our goal is not to eradicate all the weeds (an impossible task) but to keep them to a small enough population that they do not over whelm the crops (make the crops small and hard to find). Weeds also give beneficial critters a place to hide and food to eat (like pollan). And a lot of the plants we call weeds are very edible and some of the healthiest plants out there.  I just may start including some "weeds" in your shares in the coming weeks like lambsquarter and purslane.

The heat has meant we have turned on the air conditioning in the store so keep the door closed. We have found that cooling the store means we use far less energy as a cool store means the refrigeration doesn't need to run as often and it is a lot easier on the units. It is also a lot easier on us humans who have to work in the that building. And it keeps things dry so we get a lot less spoilage with things that do not get refrigerated. This time of year that would be our seed stocks but later garlic, onions, tomatoes and several other things will need cool (not cold) dry storage.

On that note the shares will be ready after 4 pm (if you come before you can always hang out and talk to me as I finish them up, I like the company)

We still have an open invitation for anyone who wants to come out and have some fun getting dirty in the garden. Looks like Steph Mullins and her kids will be out this week to help out. I look forward to getting to know her and her family (well, most of it) and having some fun working in the garden. We always enjoy working with our members.

Recipe

Roasted Garlic Scapes


1 package of scapes
Olive Oil
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 to 400. Put clean whole scapes into a roasting pan (or a pan that can be covered with foil). Drizzle the olive oil over top and salt to taste. Cover pan and put in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. this is done when the room fills with the aroma of roasted garlic

What's in the Share

Strawberries-a pint of yummy chemical free berries. sadly this will be the last week of them for a few weeks as they plants are about ready to take a break but they will be back in 3 to 6 weeks with more deelish berries
Spring Mix-a 1/2 pound bag of salad
Broccoli-a few smallish heads of broccoli, perhaps 1/2 pound
Green onion-these are from onions we started from sets (most we start from seed but we also grow and save our own onion sets for early onions). A lot are trying to make flowers which means the onion bulb will be compromised so we are pulling them as green onions. The entire plant can (and should) be used. You will get a bunch of 4 or 5 onions
Kale-a mix of red Russian, rainbow/dinosaur and winterbor kale. One could call the a kale salad
Basil-the first basil of the year-there will be more, much more to come
Cilantro-after almost 9 months of no cilantro at all it is coming up all over the farm. I have found nice stands in onion beds, spinach beds, garlic beds, etc..
Zucchini-When I pollinated the zukes yesterday I saw we had just enough to give everyone a single squash. these are on the small side and a taste of things to come. You will either get the yellow and green Zephyr or the heirloom, green and grey striped Costata Romanesque
Asparagus-one of the last weeks for asparagus. I believe you will get around a pound of purple and green spears.
Broccoli raab-if you have not had this before it tastes nothing like broccoli and much more like a turnip green. Cook as you would kale or chard
Garlic Scapes-The flower tops from our hard necked garlic and the first taste of garlic for the year.
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Boulder Belt Eco-Farm FSI vol 3 issue 6

 

 

Good morning,

It is raining again and this is not good. The forecast is for warm sunny days ahead, I hope this time we get more than 3 or 4 and that the days do not turn to Hot sunny days as they did last week. Going from cold to hot to cold is really hard on the crops and the farmers. And no, we do not like it when the temps go above 75F in May, or ever really. Working in temps that reach the high 80's is not fun for us Boulder Belt farmers and I really do not understand why most Americans seem to think that 85F is a nice temp (unless you are in AC all day or by a body of water). Not to mention that such high temps this time of year can ruin lettuce, spinach (though the earlier flooding pretty much did that in-we have plants and they are green but they are also stunted) and other leafy greens who react to such heat but bolting to seed and often getting very bitter.

The weather is putting us way behind schedule. We have all sorts of seedlings that need to go into the soil but it has been too wet to do much tilling and way to cold for most of the things that need to go out (peppers and eggplant) we have gotten more broccoli planted (and it looks like you will get broccoli either next week or the week after) as well as more peas and the first beans (green, French and yellow wax). And I am happy to report all the beans have germinated and should be ready to pick in another 50 to 60 days. hopefully this week we can get the first potatoes in the ground. The beds have been tilled and trenches opened so all we need to do now is chit the taters and put 'em in the trenches and rake soil over top of the spuds.
Eugene plants bean seed

I was hoping that by now we would be harvesting broccoli raab but it looks like it has failed. We have plants but they are 3 inches tall and making flower tops. they should be 2 feet tall with big leaves before they make the flowers heads. I may just harvest it and put it in your shares today as it is edible and tasty but not doing what it should do and it needs to come out of the bed. I am very disappointed about this as I really love Raab and I know some of you do too. This is part and parcel of farming during the most difficult spring we have experienced in our 17 years of doing this (and we have had some really bad springs but so far this one tops them all).

I am happy with the things we have in hoop Houses. The strawberries are producing decently (if it were sunny and warm they would triple their production and get very sweet but we take what we can get), the tomatoes are beginning to make flowers which means cherry tomatoes probably by mid June and the zucchinis and cucumber plants are growing well and should start producing in the next couple of weeks. Without the hoop houses we would have not straw berries and the cukes, zukes and maters would be at least a week away from going in the ground. So you can see we have a 4 to 6 week jump on these crops.

The cold weather has meant that asparagus production has pretty much shut down until the sun and warmth return (asparagus reacts to weather more quickly than any other plant I can think of). So the past few days we have been able to harvest up to two pounds a day. Before this cold wet weather we were harvesting up to 15 pounds 2x a day.

The cold weather also means we are not seeing a lot of pest insect pressure which makes things a bit easier, though we are not seeing many beneficial insects either and not seeing the bugs makes me worry about the birds who eat bugs and right now are trying to raise babies. I have seen a lot of dead chicks likely tossed from nests by the parents, probably because there is not enough food to feed them.

Last week I implied that I would changed this newsletter-that it would be in full html and have  photos and everything. That has not happened yet. I have been screwing around with some designs but have not found or designed anything suitable to my style so I will stick with this "format" for the time being and simply add some photos.

The shares will be ready after 4 pm and will be in the front fridge as usual. And remember this is whole shares only this week, no half shares picking up.

Recipe
Spring Salad #1


This a favorite at our farm

1/2 bag spring mix
at least 8 strawberries
Several radishes
2 to 3 scallions
Several spears of asparagus (as many as you want)

Wash and spin dry the spring mix. Cut the strawberries in half or quarters if they are huge. Wash and slice the radishes. Wash and slice the scallions. Wash and cut the asparagus into 1" pieces than blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender crisp, drain and cool. Put the clean greens into a big bowl and top with all the other veggies.



What's in the Share this Week
Strawberries-a pint of berries
Spring Mix-a 6 oz bag (or maybe larger) of salad that should include arugula (the arugula in the spring mix bed we have been harvesting has not been growing well but should finally be big enough to cut today)
Lettuce-around a pound of mixed heads of lettuce
Asparagus-around a pound of a mix of green and purple spears
Chives with flowers
Garlic chives
Greens-this will either be a mix of kale and tine broccoli raabs or I will make bags of raab and bags of kale and randomly put them in bags. there is some chance that the kale grew enough since last Friday that I can get enough for everyone and there may well be enough raab to get everyone at least 1/2 pound
Leeks
-probably the last week. We are down to the dregs-the smallest of the leeks
Rhubarb-again I do not know if I have enough for everyone to have a nice bunch. The plants have not been harvested in over 10 days and have been fertilized so I hope they have started growing better
Green Garlic-I spied several garlic plants that are growing where they ought not to be so we will pull them and you should get at least 3 of them, maybe more. All parts of this are usable.
Herbs-I should be able to find 2 to 3 different herbs for your shares, likely rosemary, tarragon and savory but possibly dill and/or cilantro

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Boulder belt Farm Share Initiative Vol 3 issue 5

 

It's week 5, we have all full and half share members getting shares, the strawberries are ripening and it is the 48th anniversary of my birth today.

The weather has gotten a lot better and that has brightened our moods and also is making us feel a bit overwhelmed because all the rain put us back several weeks and we have a huge pile of work we are beginning to get through. over 100 beds need to have compost and fertilizer put on them, than tilled and than planted. we have several thousand seedlings that need to go in the ground. Lots of seeds to plant. Lots of weeding/hoeing to do for the already planted crops and of course harvesting stuff. Already we have to harvest asparagus and strawberries daily and soon enough there will be other drops that will need daily harvest. Oh and we now have a weekly farmers market and the store is open daily.  This year we are doing a self service thing so at least we don't have to drop what we are doing in order to wait on the occasional customer, which is working out okay, though we have had a few produce items leave without being paid for and several people have paid under the posted price. At least no one has walked out with the money yet.

And did I mention all the mowing that has to be done so the varmints cannot use the tall grass/weeds to hide out in and than launch attacks on the crops? We have spent hours mowing. Eugene also has spent hours trying to get a 1973 Sears garden tractor up and running so that he will spend less time mowing. Despite the fact the garden tractor doesn't run (but it will with a few more repairs and a new battery) it does have a lawn sweeper that does work and we hooked it up to the John Deer riding mower and in one hour did around 6 hours of raking and dumping of lawn clipping which was pretty darned sweet.

Question: would anyone have a problem if I started sending out this newsletter in html? In other words, is there anyone still on dial-up? I will assume html is okay for all of you if I do not hear from you. I want to start including photographs, links and possibly video in this newsletter but I won't if that means a member has to wait an hour for the newsletter to download.

So, last week I wrote of sharing risk and the possibility of losing many crops due to too much rain. Since than we have gotten no rain and the soils have dried up nicely and the crops are doing A LOT better. We also got a ton of McGeary fertilizer, an organic plant based pelleted fertilizer that does good things to the soil and thus the crops. And we have started spreading it on beds as of Monday. I put it down on 20+ beds after Eugene put compost on the beds and before he tilled them to get them ready for crops. We used this stuff last year for the first time and it did dramatic things. We were damning our selves earlier in the year because we did not order any in March and get it down early. But if we had, the rain would have washed it all away and we would have wasted $900 and a lot of hours. Now we hope that the rain has not stopped altogether. As anyone who has lived in SW Ohio for more than a few years knows, we do get droughts that will last for months and months in the summer. But if this happens we can always irrigate as our well is full so we have plenty of water. Long story short, the risk factor we share with one another has dropped substantially for the moment.

So far we have planted the following in the ground-onions, leeks, shallots (and we still have many many more to go of each kind but we are running out of room and time), 5 beds of lettuce (we do succession plantings so we get a loong harvest, hopefully into mid June, if it doesn't get too hot and the lettuce turns very bitter), spinach (doing poorly due to too much rain and now we get heat so this probably will not work for us), beets, radishes, carrots, broccoli raab (2 plantings, neither one is doing great), spring mix 3 platings and counting), arugula (3 planting but the first 2 failed. We will plant more, probably today or tomorrow), cilantro (several plantings and like the arugula, the first few did not work but we are seeing some now). We have a hoop house full of zucchini and cucumbers and will start more in a few days to be planted outside in early June. we have around 1000 pepper, eggplant and tomato plants slated to be transplanted memorial day weekend. If anyone wants to help out we would be very grateful and will send you home with extras. we have several beds of kale planted but they are not quite ready yet. we also have a bed of cabbage and a bed of broccoli. the cabbage looks kinda poor but the broccoli looks great. we have a couple of beds of parsnips we planted before the rains came that look great and are week free (not surprising as parsnips love marshy areas and most of the weeds do not). we should have great parsnips come this fall and winter with this great start for them. and finally we have several beds of peas (snow, snap and shelling). It looks like we need to plant more beds as a lot of our peas were washed away or rotted in the wet. But we do seem to have enough to supply you, our members and perhaps have enough for the store and/or farmers market. Look for them in about 30 days. We still need to get several hundred pounds of potatoes in the ground as well as melons, winter squash, more zukes, cukes, basil, dill, turnips/rutabagas, green and dried beans plus more successions of things we have already mentioned.

Farming keeps a body busy, that's for sure.

Be sure to wash everything-we do give everything a single wash more to get the heat out of the produce than to remove dirt and bugs so things are not ready to eat washed and will have some dirt on them.

Shares will be ready after 4 pm today and until 6 am Saturday Morning (unless you tell me to leave your share at the farm on Saturday) and will be in the front fridge. You will notice we have things for sale. If you need extras simply take what you need, and pay the box on the counter.

Now that the weather has cleared I encourage all of you to make time to walk the farm when you come by to pick up your share. The farm gets prettier by the second this time of year.

Remember to bring back any bags, boxes, rubber bands, plastic etc that comes in your shares.


Recipe

Asparagus Omelet

2 to 3 asparagus spears cut into 1/2 in pieces
1 small onion (about 1/4 cup chopped)
2 to 3 mushrooms sliced
3 eggs
1/4 cup of grated cheese (swiss or cheddar are very nice)
turn on your broiler and put the oven rack as high as it will go

In a sauté pan fry up the veggies in a bit of butter or oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Put them to the side and scramble 3 eggs well. In a very hot omelet pan put in butter/oil than the scrambled eggs and stirring constantly with a spatula cook the eggs about 1/2 of the way (they should be pretty runny). Put the pan under the broiler for 20 to 30 seconds, remove and add the veggies and top with cheese and put the pan back under the broiler for another 30 to 60 seconds (until cheese is melted and bubbly). Remove and flip the omelet out of the pan so it folds in half. Et Voila you have a restaurant style omelet. A far easier way to do this is instead of using the broiler preheat the oven to 300 and add the veggies to the eggs when they are about half way done, continue cooking on the stove top for about another minute than top with cheese and put into the oven for 10 minutes to finish. The omelet will not be nearly as fluffy or pretty but just as edible.

What's in the Share This Week

Strawberries-
you get a pint of fresh berries. these will not be as sweet as they should be because they developed under cloudy cool conditions. so add a bit of sweetener to them if you don't like a berry on the sour side. I will say they are loaded with flavor
Asparagus-the asparagus is finally producing as it should this time of year and you  get 1.5 pounds of a mix of purple and green 'gus. If you have not noticed, the purple is far more tender than the green. It is our favorite
Scallions-a bunch of 5 or 6 scallions
Chives with flowers-a smallish bunch as I will be cutting the new bed of chives for the first time and the clumps have not filled out as they will in a few months. the flowers are edible, though I find them rather hot and very oniony. You can stuff a small jar full of washed flowers and cover them with white vinegar, let this sit for a week out of direct sunlight and you will have an onion vinegar that is a perky pink color
Parsley- a small bag of parsley
Radish-a bunch of D'Avignon
Lettuce-I think 4 heads per share of a mix of green and red salad bowl (what you have been getting for the past several weeks). After this week we switch to another bed that has a different compliment of lettuce varieties (there are over 1000 different lettuces out there and we grow around 25 of them)
Leeks-2 leeks and this should be the last week for them
Garlic chives-a nice bunch of the garlic chives
Rosemary-several springs of this wonderful herb from the rosemary plants living on the porch of the store
Spring Mix-at least 6 ounces of our salad mix

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Boulder belt farm Share initiative Vol 3 issue 4

 

Good morning, It's our 4th week of this locavore madness and I hope things start to get better. You may have noticed that your shares are quite small (and if you have not noticed this, trust me, they are smaller than in past springs). this is because of all the rain we have been getting. The rain has flooded the main market garden several times but it drains very quickly and will be workable as long as we get a couple of rain free days. the bottom garden is still vert wet and will likely remain that way for a week as it does not drain very well. This could mean we get no popcorn this fall and perhaps some other crops as May is when these things need to be planted and if we cannot get into the beds to till, fertilize and plant in a timely manner that the possibility for success goes way down. We do try to mitigate the failures by growing a vast array of crops (around 55 of them, more when you take into account the differing cultivars within each variety), using row covers and hoop houses (the hoop houses do keep the rain off the soil but when it is as wet as it has been the water infiltrates under the houses and floods them from beneath). And we do a lot of succession planting mainly to keep the harvest going as long as possible and with the highest quality but this also means that in nasty conditions we should sooner or later hit a optimal time to plant a particular crop. For example, the arugula is bummed out big time due to all the wet and it does not want to grow right now (we have planted it 2x at this point). But we will continue to replant every week or so (or whenever the weather lets us do so) and sooner or later we will plant it at a time it likes and it will grow swiftly and do great. Of course there are some crops where this does not work, garlic and parsnips come to mind. Garlic takes around 250 days to grow to harvestable size. If we were to lose the garlic this spring it would be this fall before we could replant (and we would lose 100% of our seed stock and it would cost us something like $1800 to replace it-garlic seed is very very expensive and heavy to ship) and we simply would not have any this year (this would be very bad for us as garlic is one of our bigger crops that we grow not just for you FSI members but other markets as well). But other crops like greens, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, beans, tomatoes, peas, basil, cilantro etc.. we plant several times a season and they are fast (under 2.5 months to go from seed to harvesting) and if we lose one or two sowings we know that the 3rd (or in some cases 4th or 5th) sowings should work. And this, my friends, is part and parcel of the agreement that we share in the risk together. Bad weather can mean small shares and the possibility of no shares for a week or so in the future. And no, you do not get your money back, nor will I seek out food grown elsewhere to fill the shares in case of a 100% failure (but I also do not expect that to happen). It could be far worse. I have friends doing CSA's in SW Ohio, in the midwest and on the east coast who have delayed starting their seasons because they do not have anything planted yet. This is especially true of the farms that are dependent on large equipment such as tractors to do the work for them. One cannot take something that weighs several tons into a muddy field and expect anything other than ruined soil and stuck equipment. So those folks must wait until the soil is quite dry (and many of them report that right now their fields are under water and have been for over 2 weeks and will be for another week or more). We, on the other hand, can get into our fields when it is still quite wet as we work lightly. This means, while we have not been able to work many days in mid to late April/early May, we were able to get out some days and get seedlings in the ground (way to wet to direct seed, the seeds just rot in the wet) and even get most of a bed of lettuce for spring mix weeded (this is tedious work as we have to remove tiny weed seedlings from in-between very densely planted lettuce seedlings and it can only be done by hand and it takes one person, me, several hours to do a bed and if it is too muddy than mud and weeds stick to your fingers so badly you cannot continue). But there have been too many days we have not been able to do any outside work because one should not work with really wet soil at all so even if it has not been raining the soils were still too wet to safely work in without ruining their structure (this is a BIG deal to us Organic growers). The good news is today is the first day of several dry days (perhaps 6 of 'em!) and that means we can start to get caught up on all the things that need to be done like mowing the aisles between the beds and other grassy places, more compost can be applied to beds along with sulfur and a pelleted Organic fertilizer we started using last year with great results (and the soils need the fertilizer as all the rain/flooding has depleted a lot of nutrients for the moment that need to be put back), than as the soils get dryer we can get to work planting the thousands of seedlings that have been backing up up cold frames and hoop houses and finally Eugene can break out the tiller and get the final beds ready for things like peppers, tomatoes, green beans and other summer planted crops. As you can see, we keep planting stuff pretty much all season (until early November) and that alone usually insures we will have things to put into your shares despite some bad spates of weather at some point in the season. And I know we will appreciate this rain filling up our wells and aquifers come the droughts of summer as I fully expect at some point in June or July that the tap will be turned off and we will not see any rain for several months and we at Boulder Belt will have to start irrigating the crops (as we do almost every summer). Well, that's the news this week. Shares will be ready, as usual, after 4 pm. this week they will most likely be in the front fridge as I have it turned on in order to sell asparagus from the store. So look for the glowing box to your right as you come in the store and you bag will be in there. Any shares still on the farm come Saturday morning at 6 am will be taken to the Oxford Farmers Market unless you tell us otherwise. Please feel free to walk around the farm and talk to us farmers. even better if you want to volunteer a couple of hours of time working here just ask, we love teaching people how to grow food and we have a lot of work to be done in the next couple of weeks. remember to bring back any packaging we used. We do not want other packaging like used produce bags from where ever you shop or news paper rubber bands-those things we have to recycle or otherwise deal with. We just want the stuff we sent home with you. Oh and any plastic or paper grocery bags in clean condition (we have gotten very dirty bags in the past and we have to throw those out which means we have to pay to toss out your garbage, so keep it clean)

 

Recipe

Simple Salad Dressing

2 to 3 TBL vinegar (I mix balsamic and rice vinegar together but apple cider or other kinds will do)

1 tsp salt (to taste)

2 TBL honey

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves of fresh garlic smashed as finely as possible)

1 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp each of dried basil and oregano. Or substitute your favorite herbs, tarragon is also wonderful in this.

Experiment with the various herbs you are and will be getting through the season. Oh yeah, if using fresh herbs use 2x more than with dried In a dressing carafe or pint jar put in the honey salt and vinegar and shake vigorously until the honey salt and vinegar are all mixed. Add the oil and herbs and shake again and than let sit at least 1 hour so the flavors can marry, than use on a salad. This will last out of refrigeration at least 10 days

What's in the Share this Week

Asparagus- you will get at least 1/2 pound of purple (the best asparagus ever) and 1/2 pound of green

Spring Mix- this is the crop that got us into market farming. This should have been coming in for weeks but the rain slowed down growth. But we have it now

Radish- another bunch of D'Avignon radishes

Garlic chives- these things LOVE the wet weather

Lettuce- like last week green and red oak leafed lettuces. but the heads should be bigger than last week so the bags bigger

Green Garlic- This is garlic that has not yet developed a corm. You eat the greens like green onions (really onion greens). We have found several clumps of this around the garden this spring and it must come out so you get a new thing to try

Scallions-you get a bunch of at least 7 scallions this week.

Leeks-2 king Seig leeks

Parsley-a bag stuffed with fresh Italian parsley

Tarragon-a bag not so stuffed with tarragon

Rosemary-a several sprigs of fresh rosemary

We may also include rhubarb and kale in the shares. When I looked a couple of days ago we did not have much of either but I might be able to eek out enough of each for 8 shares or what I will likely do is make up 4 bundles of rhubarb and 4 bags of kale and randomly assign them to your shares unless you contact me before 1 pm this afternoon and give me a preference. So if you either really hate rhubarb or really want some it would be good to let me know. And, of course, there is a decent possibility that we will have enough rhubarb for all. But I do not think we will have enough kale for everyone this week as we are switching from the over wintered kale that has started to make flower stalks and has quit making leaves to the spring planted kale that is not growing as fast as it should this time of year so the plants are still small (or were when I foliar fed them a kelp/fish mix we use and perhaps that got some good growth started-of course right after I fed them it started raining again and likely washed all the good away

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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative vol 3 issue 3

 

 

 

We had a visit this past weekend from a friend of mine from high school who got a Ph.D in Botany and than decided he would rather farm and now has a CSA in Wisconsin. His visit gave us much to think about. He runs his farm very differently than we do. He has over 60 acres, 300 members and he has over 5 tractors. Oh yeah, and he is in a CSA Mecca-Minneapolis which is about 20 years ahead of us as far as local foods issues and markets are concerned. Yeah, SW Ohio is a really bad place to establish a CSA and of all places in SW Ohio, Preble county has the to be worst place within SW Ohio to do anything concerning Organic agriculture and especially a CSA. But things are changing around here and it is much easier to make a living doing what we do in this area than it was 17 years ago.

His visit got us to thinking about many things. Like how different CSAs are, no two are alike. For example my friend's CSA up north employs a lot of interns and uses a lot of machinery. We have in the past and will in the future take on an intern or two but not the 15+ people he has. Of course he grows on 18 acres and we grow on 4.5 acres so he does indeed need more people and I believe the teaching aspect that many CSA has is more important to him than it is to us (he was going to be a college professor when he grew up before farming derailed that idea) and so he is willing to work with newbies than we are. he is also a lot more into machines than we do. He spent a lot of our limited time together going on about his various tractors, tillers and attachments. All those machines means he uses a lot more gasoline than we do. We used around 30 gallons of gasoline last year to till, plow and mow our estate. Had we had a tractor, we would have used 5x as much (and if we has a fleet of tractors we would have even more). The van we use to get food to the Oxford Market used 300 gallons of gasoline just to go to Oxford (about 32 miles round trip) and back about 35 times plus a few trips over to the Filbruns (17 miles round trip) for straw and other soil building items (we plan to replace the van with something newer and with better milage in the next few months-if you know of a cargo van that is less than 10 years old for sale let us know we are looking). And this is one of the reasons we don't do delivery-we cannot afford it with the vehicle we have to use. It uses a lot of gas and is getting less reliable as it gets older and if we don't replace it it will get really expensive as major parts start to fail. It would be wonderful if we could replace this van with an electric van but, if they even make them, I am sure they would be way out of our price range (but we can dream). But the point I am making here is, as a farm we use very little gasoline and this will stead us well in the coming months and years as gas likely will go up to $6 a gallon and that is a point where farmers who depend on gas powered machines to do the work will see a huge cut to their bottom lines if they cannot raise their prices. Us, we won't suffer nearly as much as the machine scale farms because we use far more human power than gas power to get things done around here.

Okay lets talk about rain. We are getting way too much if you haven't noticed. Our main growing area is very, very well drained but even it is going under water because until the Ohio river starts to discharge it's load of water, there simply is no place for all this water to go. So far we have not noticed any damage but there is sure to be some crops that rots and dies due to too much water. Freshly seeded beds will be the first to go (but fortunately are the easiest to remedy-just replant the seeds when conditions are better). Other than harvesting and putting down compost and sulfur on beds, we have not been doing much farming due to the weather and we are beginning to get behind. The weeds are growing well and soon will be a problem. I have been trying to finger weed a spring mix bed (where one pulls tiny weeds from between densely planted lettuce plants-takes hours to do but is important to the quality of the salad mix). But it has been so wet that it is nearly impossible to do the job. Yesterday I was able to get about 10 feet of row done on one bed (and there are several other beds of baby greens plus hundreds of other beds waiting for a hoe). Eugene tried to plant onion seedlings but he said it was too wet to do the job (the clay mud gums up one's hands so quickly so that you spend a lot more time wiping the mud off than doing work) So he decided to mow the grass around the pond and while doing so found we have lawn morels (see the Boulder Belt Blog or my Facebook page for photos). I had hoped we would have enough to include some in your shares but our lawn did not yield nearly that well. I will say, go out and look for some morels. This is the best season for them in many many years. I remember as a kid living in the Mile Square of Oxford we had 15 morels come up in the back yard near a pine tree. That has not happened since, that I know of. And I do know it has been at least 8 years since we have found any (or eaten any). For some photos of my mushroom harvest take a gander here http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com/2011/04/lawn-morels.html.


Pick up is after 4 pm today.

We reuse and recycle and that means we will take any CLEAN plastic or paper you do not want. Plus we want back all of our packaging from rubber bands to bags (unless you have a use for these things, than keep them but if all you are gonna do is land fill them than bring them back to the farm)

Thanks for supplying bags for your shares. I believe at this point all but one member has supplied bags, Yay!

While I know the weather is less than conducive for this, please feel free to walk about the farm, go fishing, help us in the fields. in other words make use of this resource you have access to. Very few people ever get to visit a working farm and here you have free access to one. If nothing else, the bird watching has been great the past few days as we have several types of herons visiting our pond (I suppose for the frogs) as well as red winged black birds, finches, jays, several kinds of woodpeckers (including red headed and piliated)



Recipe

Spring Veggie Curry


1 leek sliced
Many spears of asparagus cut into 2" pieces
2 cups snow or sugar snap peas, string and cut in half
1 cup broccoli florets
1 medium onion, chopped
2+TBL fresh parsley chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup garlic chives, chopped (this is for garnish)
1 TBL fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1+ cloves of garlic, smashed or minced
1 cup coconut cream/milk (you can buy this pre-made or you can make it from unsweetened coconut flakes by soaking the flakes in hot water for a while and than putting in a blender than straining off the flakes leaving you with a coconutty liquid. The pre-made stuff is better but this is a cheap substitute that works well enough)
1 T curry powder (or more or less, to taste)
1 TBL olive oil (or other fat)
Salt to taste
Basmati rice (I love brown basmati but white will certainly do)

Start the rice than in a hot pan (over medium heat) put in the fat than the leek and onion and let cook about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the other vegetables (except the garlic chives and parsley) and cook another couple of minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning/sticking. Than add the coconut cream and curry powder and bring to a simmer stirring constantly. Turn down heat to medium low and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add the parsley about ten minutes into this and continue cooking. Serve over rice and this is even better if you have a decent chutney and yogurt raita (but plain yogurt works well too). If you have morels, they would be spectacular in this dish.


What's in This Weeks' Share
Asparagus- At this point in time it looks like you will get about 1/2 pound. But we still have to harvest more before this afternoon so the amount might just double
Lettuce- You should get 3 to 4 heads of a mix of red and green lettuces (The green is called Salad bowl, I have no idea what the red is called but it is spectacular)
Leeks- You get one leek
Garlic- You get 4+ corms of garlic. This is on its' last legs as it is almost a year old but there are still good cloves in most corms.
Kale- At least 1/2 pound of mixed kale
Radish- A small bunch of D'Avignon radishes
Parsley-a bag of fresh parsley
Tarragon- A small bag of French Tarragon
Chives-A nice bunch of oniony chives
Garlic Chives-A bunch of garlic chives (flat leafed)

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 3 issue 2

 


 

Good Morning,

It's week 2 of the 2011 FSI and we have a wet one. We got over 3 inches of rain yesterday which caused a lot of flooding here at the farm. The top field was probably under water for a couple of hours and I noticed a lot of the pea seeds had come to the surface of the soil, where we left them as Eugene is worried that they will rot if they go back into the absolutely soaked soil. This is a part of farming-the wet-that we do not like but is absolutely necessary. Without all this spring rain things will not grow properly and this rain recharges our aquifers so that in summer when normally it is droughty around here we have ground water with which to water our crops and ourselves. And over the many years I have done this, rain, even extremely heavy rains, rarely do much damage to the crops. But they do make them dirty and the fresh herbs and kale you get today will likely come to you in an unwashed state. The spinach and lettuce are washed as they were harvested several days ago when I took out all the spinach and a couple of beds of lettuce as it was time to do so before these crops bolted to seed and were ruined for eating. This will happen from time to time-We will harvest several days early for you guys because of conditions. Either the crop must come out or be lost due to going to seed, trying to split, etc., or because of weather (we don't harvest in heavy rain, for example). This week we got a combination of these reasons.

here is a short video I shot and put on my blog that shows the height of the flooding http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com/2011/04/april-showers.html
The water had all drained away within 2 hours, BTW

I had hoped to include asparagus in your shares this week but the asparagus Gods decided that this year the asparagus would have to wait until week 3 of the FSI before there would be enough. last year we had asparagus the first week of the FSI. this year it is a lot later. I have been able to harvest 1.5 pounds over the past 3 days which has meant we have been able to eat some asparagus but soon we should get around 20 pounds a day. We are simply waiting for the conditions to get warmer and a bit dryer so the 'gus goes wild. I hope this occurs before next week so you guys start getting some.

Another crop you can expect in the next 2 to 3 weeks is strawberries. We have a hoop house full of Albion strawberry plants in full bloom and I saw at least 20 berries forming on those plants. Yes Strawberries, about 6 weeks early due to our expertise at season extension. We found out years ago that putting a hoophouse over the strawberries in March will allow them to break dormancy and start producing in late April/early May and this also protects them from all freezes that we get in spring. Last year we did not have early berries because we decided to change the kind of strawberries we do and thus bought all new plants last spring and killed the old ones (they were quite old and it was their time). Thus we planted the new berries in spring and than had to remove all the flowers that appeared on them until Early July in order to encourage root/crown growth. Than we found the beds we put these plants into were full of grubs (mainly japanese Beetle grubs) and the grubs had a great time feasting on the roots of the berry plants and eventually killed about 65%. We in the end killed off about 90% of the grubs (and don't expect a repeat of this as there has been landscape fabric over the soil for a year now, the beetles won't lay their eggs on plastic and the few grubs that survived from last year should be adult beetles this year). We allowed the plants to put out runners (something we don't let them do normally as runners really cut down the yield potential in everbearing/day neutral strawberries. With the June bearing types, the runners are essential to keep the patch going on to the next year) and saved those runners, put them in pots and kept them growing over winter and last month put those plants in where they were needed so we are back up to 250 plants, more or less. We also planted 300 more everbearing strawberry plants in another location that will be bearing fruit in late July about 2 weeks ago. This variety is Seascape. The berries should be large and sweet. I am looking forward to a good berry year as we have not had one in several years.

Other crops to expect over the coming weeks D'avignon radishes, broccoli, more kale (but from new plants, the kale you have been enjoying is all from last years plants that over wintered), rhubarb, broccoli, cabbage, spring mix, arugula, broccoli raab (though we have had a dickens of a time starting this crop this spring and thought we would be harvesting some in a week or two. But it looks like mid May before we get any), green onion, green garlic, garlic scapes, more spinach, beets, baby lettuce, cilantro, etc..

This Saturday I am expecting a visit from one of my best friends from High School whom I have not seen in almost 30 years. It turns out he runs a CSA farm in Minnesota with his son and is in the area doing a talk at Miami University for a mutual friend's class on environmental subjects and so I emailed him and invited him out to see our farm. I am quite excited about this. Not only to see him but we so seldom get another farmer out here and it will be fun to pick his well educated brain about our strengths and weaknesses.

Expect the shares to get bigger each week from here on out

This week is full shares only. The shares will be ready after 4 pm today and can be picked up until Saturday morning

Sorry no recipe this week.

What's in the Share This Week
Spinach
-1/2 pound bag
Lettuce-At least 1/2 pound of mixed heads
Scallions-a bunch of 5 scallions (these are different than a green onion, BTW, green onions are baby onions that have not yet made a onion bulb. Scallions never make a bulb. And, as a matter of fact, many of these scallions are sexually mature and were pulled right before they made flowers (they went in last fall)
Onion Chives-a nice bunch, should be bigger than last week
Garlic Chives-see above
Garlic-you will get several. These are at the end of their lives and want to sprout (or rot) so keep them in the fridge where it is dark and cold (like winter) and be sure to cut t=he green sprout out before using or they will be bitter and no one wants bitter garlic.
Garlic powder-you get a small bag of our our powerful good garlic powder that we make from our garlic
Dried Sage-a jar of dried sage. sage is excellent with poultry and cheese dishes as well as any sausage based dish. this is whole leaf and to make "rubbed sage" simply rub it between your palms.
Kale-at least 1/2 pound of mixed kale
Tarragon-a small bag of fresh tarragon. Tarragon has an anise flavor that goes great with tomato based dishes
Leeks-you get a leek, maybe two
Parsley-you get a small bag of fresh Italian parsley which is great in about any savory dish.

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 3 issue 1

 


 

Greenings and Saladations,

Welcome to the Boulder Belt FSI's 2011 season. We are looking forward to a great season (farming is a lot like baseball in that in early April it is all good). Know that as far as the locavore movement goes you guys are cutting edge hip. You cannot get any more locavore than joining a real, farmer run CSA. Or even better a member run CSA, but they are incredibly rare these days, though this is the original vision of the CSA. A group of people get together, find land, decide what food they want grown and than hire a farmer to grow the food and the CSA members do most of the harvesting as well as help out in the fields at least once a week. here the members literally own shares in the farm and they do an equal split of all the food harvested that day/week-a very very deep commitment to one's food and for most people in the USA, highly unworkable. So over the decades (all 2.5 of 'em) the CSA has evolved in the USA (and world wide) to where most are farmer run-the farmer owns the land and buys the seeds and inputs, plants and than sells shares of the harvest to members. The members have no ownership of the farm itself, just some of the crop, but the member still share in the risk of farming with the farmer (that whole "if the crop fails/is destroyed the members do not get their money refunded" thing).

But there is a new type of CSA out there that is becoming more and more popular. I call them Fake CSA's (and I have found I have started a movement concerning the awareness of such entities by forming a group on Face Book about this based on a conversation I have been having with a long time CSA farmer in the DC area whom I have known virtually for at least 13 years bout these businesses). These are buying clubs that call themselves CSA and usually say they buy and resell locally raised foods but for the most part they are a grocery delivery service. In this area the big one is Green Bean Delivery (who does not advertise themselves as a CSA but most of their members think they are in a CSA, they are not). With this sort of system the member does not share in the risk with the farmer, there is little to no seasonality and there is zero connection between the member and a farm. it is just another food delivery service. if you want to know more and join the conversation than "like" this page on Face Book (I realize some of you already have and that some of you are not on FaceBook) http://www.facebook.com/pages/If-You-Dont-Know-Your-Farmer-You-Are-Not-in-a-Csa/112456405475352

So far the weather has been great for our spring food. Unlike urban humans who all seem to think it should be hot during spring we humans here at the farm love a cool wet spring because cool wet spring means the spring crops like lettuce, spinach, raab, kale, radishes, cilantro, spring mix, chives, etc.. will not get bitter and try to bolt to seed. This cool weather also means that the flowering fruit trees and canes will not flower too early in the spring and than get hit by a frost and lose their flowers and thus the later fruit. So far such things seem to be right on time.

We have been busy, as we are every year at this time getting thing planted and so far we have gotten several thousand onion seedlings in the ground (and have several thousand more to go). If anyone wants to learn about planting onions let us know ASAP and you can come out and help us plant. The work is physically easy and the conversation interesting and educational. We do not require work from any of our members but all members who have helped out on the farm have found it to be a deeply rewarding experience. We also have the first of the shallots in the ground and have been planting successions of lettuce, spring mix, spinach, radishes, raab, kale, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli and cabbage. "Succession planting" means we plant the same crop over and over to stretch out the harvest period and keep the quality up. We do this with about 1/3 of our crops. Pretty much all the leafy greens as well as green beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini are succession planted on our farm. And it is this that really separates the market farmers from the hobby farmers. A good market grower is proficient to expert at succession planting, a hobby grower likely does not know what this is and wonders how the farmers keep bringing in lettuce and beans in such great shape week after week. I remember 17 years ago being in that boat-there were so many mysteries to market farming for me back in the first 2 or 3 years and that was huge one. But fortunately there was a friendly grower at our first market who explained this succession planting idea to us. And it took us just 5 years to figure out how to do it effectively (it can get really complicated, especially if one has a complicated crop rotation that involves over 50 different crops and than also does season extension) and another 10 to master the art.

Okay,  lets discuss some business. Your shares should be ready after 4pm today and will be available until 7 am Saturday Morning for pick up. They will be to your right on the metal shelving as you come in the front door of the store. Your bag (or possibly bags) will have your name on it. If you have not dropped off your reusable bags than your share will be packed in plastic Wal-Mart and Kroger bags (or other such brands) with your name written on it. Please take only the bag(s) with your name as sometimes members order and pay for extra stuff or have a special request so not all shares are always equal. Either Eugene (who has a nice black-eye from a fight he had with the bathtub last night, don't let this scare you) or I should be around the store this afternoon to meet you newbies and make sure things run as smoothly as possible. If you can't find either one of us try knocking on the door to the house.

If you are doing a half share, you do not pick up next week but you will get a news letter (which might be confusing as I know some folks in the past have used the newsletter as a Mnemonic device)

If you cannot pick up this evening know we leave the store building unlocked 24/7 so you can go in anytime of day or night until Saturday Morning to get your food. Also know that all shares are picked, cleaned and packed today and that they will lose freshness the longer they stay here at the farm. We do have refrigeration and we will keep things cold until you pick up but there will be a slight loss of quality (but the stuff will still be leagues better than anything you buy at the grocery store as it will be at least 14 days fresher).

Recipe

Leek and Spinach Quiche

1 pie crust (either home made or store bought. I do not recommend the "Pet-Ritz" style of pie crust, pre-made in a aluminum pan. Get the kind that comes in a box and you put in a pan if not making your own. Since I found out Eugene can make a better pie crust than just about anyone I have not had to buy pre-made crusts in about 12 years )
1/3 to 1/2 pound spinach, washed, spun dry and chopped (chiffinade)
2 leeks cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 medium yellow (not sweet) onion, diced
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cheese, grated
clove or two of fresh garlic minced, mashed, grated (before doing this cut the clove in half  length wise and take out the green sprout, that is the baby garlic and it tends to be bitter)
1/2 tsp dried basil (any kind)
salt  to taste (when I cooked quiches at DiPaolo's we used Lowery's seasoned salt and paprika for seasoning.)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook 30 minutes or until quiche is golden brown and firm to the touch)

Saute the leeks and onion until tender (about 5 minutes). Toss the spinach in the last 2 minutes of cooking so it is just wilted and not over cooked. While that is going on scramble the eggs in a small mixing bowl and add the milk and seasonings. When the vegetables are cooked put them into the prepared pie crust than dump the grated cheese in than the egg mixture. Put the pie on a cookie sheet (there may be some boil over and this keeps your oven clean) and into the oven. let the quiche cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


What's in the share this Week
Kale-a 1/2 pound bag of mixed kale (though the label on the bag will indicate something else)
Kidney beans-a 1/2 pound of dried beans. make a soup!
Lettuce-at least 1/2 pound of head lettuce. Each bag will have 2 to 3 different kinds. Likely buttercrunch, red oakleaf and perhaps cracoviensis (one of the most ancient of the lettuce breeds, in other words, a heirloom)
Leeks-2 over-wintered leeks this week
Garlic-3 to 4 corms of garlic from last season (the garlic for 2011 is growing well but it will not be until late June before it is ready to dig and use)
Parsley-over-wintered parsley, you get a nice big handful
Chives-this spring we moved the chives to a new bed and I was afraid it would decide to go into shock for a few weeks and not grow. It decided it likes it's new digs and is growing like a weed. Good on salad or in a dip. Do not cook chives because they loose all their flavor and become green nothingness
Garlic Chives-these look like flat chives and tastes like mild garlic, use as you would the oniony chives.
Spinach-at least 1/2 pound of our over wintered spinach. This stuff is gooood, like the best spinach you have ever had (unless you have been eating Boulder Belt spinach for years)

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Boulder Belt Winter Share vol 4 issue 3

It's farm share day. I hope you have eaten your way through the last share by now.

Several significant things have happened in the passed day or so. First we got more rain and than winter showed up again so today it looks like some light snow. This will not affect your share this week as we harvested everything for it Monday when it was warm and nice out (and this allowed us to wash everything as well so not too much mud on things, but there will be a bit). Winter means things happen more slowly. The crops grow much more slowly and we farmers work more slowly, often due to mud, ice and snow (hard to work quickly when one's feet keep slipping). The cold will start impacting your shares in the weeks ahead. As I mentioned, things grow glacially slow in winter (yes that was a pun) and even the protected crops will get wind and cold burns. We are planning on harvesting all the carrots, rutabagas, hamburg parsley (this is a root crop) and parsnips in the next week or so so they do not freeze in the ground and get ruined (not to mention the fact one does not dig roots out of hard frozen ground). This will leave the hardy leafy greens, most of which need to get hoop houses over them, as the crops left in the ground. My hope is the weather will be mild enough (meaning it gets up to the low 40's during the day and does not get colder than 17 at night) that the greens can continue to grow for another 3 to 4 weeks before they either die of cold or go dormant until late Feb. If we get hit with some truly frigid temps than the greens will probably stop early and the shares will be all things that have been stored for winter use. As it is, they are doing well and growing because we are finally getting the rain we needed several months ago


Second, the big food bill running through the Senate, S510 was voted on and passed yesterday morning. There has been an incredible amount of fear mongering about this bill. Wild claims that back yard gardening, seed saving, Organic farming, cooking at home, etc.. will all be shut down. None of these things will happen but there was worry that farms such as Boulder Belt, that sell direct to their customers would have to either shut down or invest quite a bit of money in infrastructure to get farm packing sheds up to FDA code. Plus they would have to keep more records and get annual inspections (actually, pretty similar to what the certified Organic farmers have to do). But because of the Tester-Hagan Amendment all farms who make under $500K, sell at least 51% of their crops direct and sell within a 249 mile radius of their farm are exempt from this bill. But from what I am still reading on the web by the nay-sayers it is still a huge disaster. I guess they all forget that the industrial food stream is corrupt and dirty and needs to be cleaned up ASAP. And this bill should go a long way in doing just that. I will note that before the Tester-Hagan amendment was attached to the bill the big food and farm corps were all for this passing because they saw it as a way to get rid of us little sustainable guys who are taking over 1% of their business. But once it was firmly attached, about 3 days before the vote, all the big industrial food and farm corps suddenly did a 180 degree turn and were against it. This tells me the bill when it becomes law has teeth and will clean up their acts.

The 3rd thing going on today is Tuttle the kitten is getting neutered. he is almost 6 months old and it is time. Looks like we got this done before the dreaded spraying started. We have lots of hoop house plastic that has been well marked by male cats we have had over the years. the smell stays active for at least 5 years. tuttle has been learning all about hunting mice and voles and will be an important part of our pest control come late winter and early spring when the voles and mice start to get active and will eat entire plantings of  seedlings and will move freshly planted pea seeds and hoard them under row covers. but between Tuttle, mouse traps, Nate (who is a very enthusiastic but rather inefficient voler/mouser) and us humans we should be able to keep the vermin under decent control. This also means we may not be home around 4pm as That should be about when he will be ready to come home.

Pick up after 4 pm today. Like last time expect two bags of produce (unless you have provided a really big bag and got just one bag last pick up) If your bags are not in the front of the store than go to the back and look in the huge silver fridge. Any bags not picked up by 7pm today will go there so that they do not freeze. You see, we do not heat the store building and when it goes into the mid 20's bags of produce on the floor will tend to freeze (they are fine when it is in the high 20's outside as the store generally stays about 10 degrees above the outside temp). But the fridge keeps everything well above freezing and in good shape. This is just more of the differences between doing a winter CSA and a Spring/summer/fall CSA


Don't forget if you sign up for next year's FSI before Jan 1st you get a mighty nice discount. We are already filling up spaces for next year so act soon (and if you are not doing next year please let me know ASAP)

Recipe

This week we feature radishes. I know some of you are not keen on radishes but this recipe makes use of a lot of them and is good for those of us who do not fully appreciate the radish (and I happen to be in this camp. I am not a radish fan but I love this recipe, who knew radishes could replace cabbage in a slaw recipe?)

Radish Cole Slaw (we can still call this cole slaw because radishes are a member of the cole crop (AKA Brassica) family

4+ cups of  radishes (this would be around 6 bunches)
1 small red onion
1 clove of garlic
several carrots (like 1 cup when shredded)
1 cup mayo
1 TBL sugar
1 TBL rice vinegar (or balsamic)
1 tsp celery seed
1 TBL olive oil
salt to taste

Also good in this are parsley, raw beets, walnuts and cucumber

Get out the food processor or a grater and put the radishes, onion and carrots through, using the shredding blade. Put all this in a bigger bowl than you would think you would need and add the mayo, oil, sugar, vinegar and the rest except the garlic. The garlic needs to either be put through a press or minced into garlic foam with a micro-planer. Add that to the radish mix and stir well. Put in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors can meld (but 4+ hours is best). This will store in your fridge for about 14 days.

What's in the Share

Spring Mix 6 oz bag
Arugula-1/4 pound bag
Leeks-2 winter leeks that are about 1/3 the size they should be thanks to the drought
Carrots-1.5 pounds of rainbow carrots
Potatoes-around 2 pounds of mixed potatoes
Sweet Potatoes-1 pound of yams
Red Onion 1.5 pounds of red onions (or it may be a mix of red and yellow). The red are a nice all purpose onion-can be cooked or eaten raw on sandwiches or in salads. the yellow is for cooking only unless you have a gut of iron.
Garlic 3 corms
Napa-at least 3/4 pound of Napa!
Broccoli Raab-A small bag as I was not able to harvest as much as i thought I could because much had gotten some pretty bad frost and wind damage due to their row cover coming off in the chilly and very windy night Sunday/Monday. Eugene reports that yesterday's rain has improved the raab greatly and it will be even better when we get a hoop house over top of it. We are hoping this will grow through January. We have never grown this in winter but it is supposed to be one of the hardiest of the winter greens, rivaling, if not surpassing, Kale. So far, though it has not been all that hardy. You get 1/2 pound
Bok Choy-if this is not the last week for it the next pick up certainly will be as the choy's are not very cold hardy and I noticed this stuff is beginning to make broccoliesque flowers. You get 3/4 pounds
Radish-you will get lots of radishes this week in order to make the recipe. not to mention we harvested most of them about 10 days ago and they need to be used (even though they will store without tops for at least 8 weeks in the fridge). You get 12 bunches
Rutabaga-like a turnip only better. Great in soups, stews and good roasted with other root veggies. You get a pound
Winter squash-a couple of acorn squash and a butternut
Tomatoes-several pounds of ripe maters and perhaps some green ones as well. You get 3 pounds
Celeriac-the ugly lumpy things that once cleaned and prepped are fantastic. use as you would celery, after all it is celery root.
Pears-6+ pears
Strawberries-you get a tiny box of berries. I wish there were more but as i have mentioned it was a rough strawberry year for us and we rarely had anywhere near enough to supply our FSI members. And now, as of  yesterday, the berry season is all done. Even with a hoop house and row covers most of the berries were freezing and turing into mold factories infecting all around them. And we know from lots exp that when that starts to happen it is time to put the berries to sleep for the winter. the good news is all the new plants we started from runners are working and we should have 2x+ more next year as this year.
Peppers-there will be some jalapenos (get out the popper recipe or make a chili with 'em) and some not hot green and ripe bells (on the small side and probably not the best quality)
Beets-a mix of red beets, yellow beets and even a few chioggia
Lettuce-a bag with 2 heads of heirloom lettuce.

Boulder Belt Winter Share vol 4 issue 2

Greetings,

It's CSA day (Woo Hoo!) and we have a larger share in store this week than 2 weeks ago. That one I made a bit smaller than I liked because of the drought conditions as well as getting a handle on how much food we have already harvested like onions, winter squash, garlic, potatoes, etc.. vs what we have growing still in the market garden. Not to mention, I had just gotten back from DC and the Jon Stewart Rally and, frankly, did not have my Farmer Head on at that time (I even missed taking a photo of the share for posterity and Face Book). This share is far better thought out and will be bigger (though not so big that you cannot use everything in 2 weeks) than last week

So, we got rain for hours yesterday, we got a whole inch! This will a positive effect on the plants still growing like lettuce, spring mix, bok choy, Napa, leeks. And especially the 3000 garlics we planted last Thursday and Friday into very dry (but not totally dry because we have improved our soil the 5 years we have been here and have added enough Organic matter that the soils are holding moisture even in very dry conditions). Without a good rain coming at exactly the time it came we would have been stressing over the garlic all winter. But we got the rain and know that the garlics will be fine and should grow beautifully through the winter and spring. Normally we would have planted the garlic about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than we did but things came up that kept pushing the chore back. Than we got coldish weather and decided to wait until last week and lucked out in that we got to plant garlic for about 12 hours in complete comfort. Usually it is rather wet and cold when we do this and we are usually quite muddy afterward, but not this year. This year it was bone dry and in the low 70's, can't beat that.

We still need another 8 or 9 such rainfalls in the next month to break this drought (we are down over 7" of rain, even with this rain event yesterday). This time of year I guess we should expect the rain to come as snow part of the time. This is fine with us as snow makes a super winter mulch that over wintered crops just love and, of course, it adds moisture to the soil so that in spring. though the down side is wet heavy snows (or over 10" of drier snow) will bring down the hoop houses. Now, when this happens, the plants inside the hoop houses don't mind because they always get covered in a wonderful and thick snow mulch. But the hoops and plastic generally get quite beaten up and too often cannot be repaired and must be replaced which costs money. Fortunately, this does not happen to us every winter even though we do keep our hoop houses sheathed in plastic every winter. And we see this as one of the costs of doing the business we do as well as pushing the envelope of season extension using no artificial heat sources.

Okay, I need to talk about the upcoming FSI season which will start Mid April. It is my hope you will a be member in 2011. On my web site I talk about substantial discounts ($675 for a full season vs $730) OR a payment plan for those who sign up before Jan 1st. My offer to you today is you can take advantage of both - a substantial discount AND a payment plan (3 payments due the first of the month of  $225). Why am I doing this? because I really appreciate my CSA members and I want to make it as non-onerous as possible for you to rejoin the Boulder Belt FSI in 2011. Oh yeah, and because our farmers market season was way down for us this past year (sales were down a good 33%) we are in need of off season money so we can do things like pay for seed orders, Property taxes and US Income tax. That's the big bill for us as we are considered entrepreneurs and thus usually have a $3K to $4K check we have to write to the IRS. And of course we have to pay this at the time of year we are making the least amount of income. Living cheaply, being good savers and staying out of debt allows us to be able to handle these debts as long as we have a decent growing year and decent sales. unfortunately this did not happen this year. Our CSA, farm store and farmers market revenues were all down for us this year so for the first time in over a decade we are gonna have to depend on early FSI/CSA payments to get through the winter and get all our obligations paid.

I hope you all are planning on great Thanksgiving feasts and using some local foods in those feasts. I am hosting parts of my family plus friends for turkey day. I will be roasting a pastured Certified Organic Turkey from Morning Sun farms near Gratis and will prepare mashed taters from our potatoes along with several other dishes that will come from our farm. My sister in law will bring food from non local sources, my Brother in law will probably do 1/2 and 1/2 with his food and the rest of  the family that is coming for the event are coming in from out of town, don't cook and could care less about locavorism (heavy sigh...). But I will make comments about the fact many things at the table are local and why that is important and likely be told to shut up (because family members are generally honest to a fault).

One last thing-there have been several news stories lately about nasty germs growing in the bottoms of our reuseable bags. So I suggest strongly, that you wash them out before returning them to the farm (or at least dump out the debris that build up in them). We don't want anyone getting sick, though, I suppose because I am not packing meat products, nor industrial produce into the bags there are really not many pathogens that could grow in them. And you should be washing pretty much everything before you eat it, anyways.

Okay, shares will be available after 4pm and can be picked up any time between than and 7 am Saturday morning

Recipe

Chinese Cabbage/Napa Lettuce Sauté


1/2 pound (or more, basically a whole bag) of Napa, cleaned and chopped
1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
2 Italian sausages (if vegetarian, replace with your favorite meatless sausage), cooked than sliced into pieces. About 1/2 pound
2 TBL Olive oil
1 TBL Sesame Oil
1 or 2 garlic cloves either put through a press or micro-plane (they need to be finely processed)


Pre heat a big frying or sauté pan and cook up the sausages. When they are done remove them from the pan and let them cool. In the same pan using the drippings from the sausages, add some olive oil (or butter or any other oil) and than the onions and cook them, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Than add the Napa/Chinese cabbage and cook that for about 4 to 5 minutes. While the greens are cooking slice the sausages and add them to the pan (they need enough time to heat up again and for the flavors to marry to the greens) and than add the garlic and sesame oil and cook for another couple of minutes and you are all done and it is time to eat.

What's In The Share

Rutabaga-these are a close relative of the turnip but have a richer, milder flavor. I use these mainly for soups and stews-simply peel them and chop into 1/2" cubes and add to a soup or other long cooking dish and these add great flavor. they are also good to roast with other root veggies.
Napa Lettuce/Chinese Cabbage-is it a lettuce or a cabbage? It is neither and thus has two stupid names that make this the most confusing green we grow. It is most closely related to cabbages but it is really a mild mustard green and is not at all related to lettuce but I think got that moniker because in the 80's and 90's it was a popular salad green along with romaine and iceberg lettuce (I know when I was a pantry cook I used a lot of it in the salad greens base until that restaurant started using a beautiful locally grown Spring mix that ultimately got me into market farming)
Lettuce-you will get around 3/4 pound of lettuce in the form of two heads of a deep red oak leaf and either a red and green leaf or a red and green butterhead
Kale-1/2 pound of either rainbow or White russian kale (or a mix of the two, which is the most likely as the Kale has been hit hard by the drought and as of last Friday was in the process of dying. But this rain should fix things up nicely)
Spring Mix-1/2 pound bag.
Arugula-1/3 pound bag
Cucumbers-these are coming out of a low tunnel and this will likely be the only time you get any. These are very nice Armenian cukes which are burpless and very sweet and mild. Due to the drought and cool temps these are not as big as they should be. you get 2 medium sized cukes. Enjoy
Beets-Likely a mix of red, yellow and chioggia (pink) beets. These will probably be on the small side again so I will try to make the bunches ample. remember the greens are quite edible and tasty (chard is basically beet greens).
Celeriac-the ugliest thing we grow. But the flavor is soo good. Use these as you would celery (well, peel them first). You get 2 bunches and they would be excellent in a turkey stuffing/dressing.
Potatoes-You will get 2 pounds of taters but at this point I don't know what kinds (it will likely be a mix)
Tomatoes-we should be getting tomatoes for at least 2 more pick ups. You will get a couple of pounds of 'em.
Green tomatoes-we have a lot and they can be oh so useful and tasty. You will get 4 to 5 of various sizes (about a pound) in this share
Carrots-you will get 1 pound of the rainbow carrots. There is some chance that many will be split as the beds we are digging were a bit too mature to survive all the rain without splitting. But because it was so dry and the soil will have taken up a huge % of the water. Plus the carrots themselves were dehydrated and should have been able to take in much more water than well hydrated mature carrots could. We will know later this morning when the carrots are harvested
Garlic-you get three corms
Yellow Onions-you get 1.5 pounds of  yellow cooking onions
Leeks-2 big winter leeks. I made a mighty tasty potato and leek soup with these last night.
Sweet Peppers-you get 5+ peppers. This is probably the last week for the peppers as they have been off the plant for almost 4 weeks and are getting well past their prime. Not to mention, they are getting really small. But they still taste good.
Butternut Squash-1 medium butternut
Seminole Squash-this looks like a pumpkin crossed with a butter nut but in fact is a rare heirloom squash that was invented by the Seminole Indians of the SE USA (and they are the only sovereign tribe in America as they refused to sign any and all treaties). Eugene has been trying to grow this for the past 6 years and finally this year it worked. the lesson here is it is quite hard to grow things in Ohio that are native to Florida but it can be done with enough patience and perseverance.
Sage-I am sorry you won't get a lot as the plants are on their last legs but not from drought. Rather these plants are about 4 years old and that is the life span of sage. this means this coming spring we will need to start new seedlings to go into the herb garden. At any rate, sage is one of THE poultry herbs (rosemary being the other) and essential for turkey and stuffing/dressing.
Parsley-you will get a nice bunch of this versatile herb
Radish-you will get a mixed bunch of d'Avignon and Easter egg radishes
Sweet Potatoes-you get a pound. I wish it were more but we are limited on how much we have available. Do know we do not sell these at any other venue but the farm share. Also know we farmers love our Sweet Taters and that is where they are going (other than to you)
Parsnips-1 pound. if you have not roasted these do it-they are amazing.
Pears-2 pounds of sweet hard keiffer pears. It looks like these will last through next month


 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 27 (week 27)

 

 

This is it, the last share of the 2010 FSI season. We all made it through and we should be proud of our locavore accomplishment. It is not easy to be in a CSA as an American eater as we American eaters are all about convenience and price and CSA tend to be neither cheap nor convenient. Not to mention, we small diversified foodie farmers like to grow unusual food than most people have never heard of much less ever eaten. Being a CSA member will certainly broaden one's food horizons.

We started off the year with 5 members and that is how we finished. At the height of the season we got up to 8 members. I really had planned on triple that number but I am glad we kept the number under 10 as from mid August up to now we have had a kind of hard time finding enough food to fill shares as the drought has badly impacted the market garden. It got so bad that we closed the farm store down in September so we had enough food to fill your shares and have things to take to the farmers market on Saturday in order to keep income incoming and if  the FSI were much larger we would have quit the farmers market as well. I am glad we did not have to make that choice because we really need the weekly income we get from the farmers market to keep on going. And as it is our income is down about 40% this year due to bad growing conditions but we will persevere. it does help to know that most of you are planning on rejoining our FSI for the 2011 season. You have no idea how much easier it is for us when this happens and we do not have to start a membership drive from scratch. This also means you can have a voice in what we plant next year (to a point, there are somethings, like bananas, we cannot grow around here and other things like Okra we will no longer grow-I am very allergic to it and it does not like being this far north so it grows very badly for us). If there is something you would like to see us grow let us know about it and we will see what we can do. That said, let us know before Thanksgiving as that is when we will be doing our seed orders so we can get them in before Christmas so the seeds we want are not already sold out. That's right, we market growers really have to jump the gun to get what we want and we are usually all done with our seed orders (and usually well into seed starting) by the time the home gardener catalogs are mailed out.

One thing you guys did not get was strawberries. Our strawberry season sucked for of a couple reasons. 1) we went with a new variety, Albion, with which we were not familiar so we had no idea what it would do for us. 2) we planted the strawberries in a spot we thought would be great but it turned out to be a rather bad spot on the farm and thus the plants have been attacked all summer by root eating grubs, berry eating voles and leaf eating caterpillars. this has meant that over 50% of the plants died on us this summer and that has greatly impacted the harvest. We should have been getting 30+ pints a week but instead we are lucky to get 10 pints a week and there was rarely enough to put in everyone's shares (I believe 1 or 2 times you guys got strawbs). And of course the lack of rain has been hard on the berries. They do get drip irrigation many times a week plus hand watering/foliar feeding and this is keeping them in production but it is not allowing them to thrive as much as they can. 3) we did not order and plant seedlings last fall in order to get them established so by April they are ready to produce fruit. Instead we ordered them in late winter, planted in early spring and had to remove all the flowers until late June (so the plants put energy into root and crown formation and not into berry production). This meant we zero berries until Mid July which is when the rains stopped and than it got hard for the plants to produce berries. 4) we did not plant enough. We ordered 250 plants and put out most of them in the spring but now realize we needed 400 to 500 plants to make any money and have ample berries.

This fall we will be planting at least 100 additional plants from runners we have been encouraging. I believe, when it is all said and done, we will get an additional 300 plants in the ground before winter comes. All from runners the mother plants put out. This will save us a bit of money (though strawberries are not very expensive, around 25¢ a plant if you order several hundred) and we should end up with plants that are well acclimated to our local environment. At any rate, Eugene says we have over 100 runner seedlings and I pointed out that at least 100 more have rooted into the aisle-ways in the berry patch, many being hidden under the landscape fabric mulch. So it looks like we will have plenty to play with and next year you guys will get plenty of strawberries in your shares.

Of course, this is the thing with CSA, seasons change from year to year and there is no telling what will do well and what won't. And this is something to keep in mind if you make requests for next year. We can plant it but that does not mean it will grow well (or conversely it may grow so well that everyone, including the requester, gets sick of the crop). But seeing as how both Eugene and I are really, really bad at predicting what the weather conditions will be 6 months out we just have to wing it every year like all the other farmers and take our chances.


Okay, as usual, your shares will be ready after 4pm today until 7 am Saturday morning. I noticed a lack of reusable bags this week so it looks like everyone will be packed in plastic shopping bags. these will have your name on it. please look for your name and take that bag as this lets me know who is picking up and who is not (well, unless all bags are gone, than I know everyone picked up and I don't have send out a reminder)


What's In the Share

Potatoes-around a pound of potatoes, you might get blue, Russian fingerling (small, yellow flesh), Pontiac Red (small red skin, white flesh) Kennebec White (white skin and flesh) or German Butterball (round yellow skin and flesh). I might even mix 'em up
Sweet Potatoes-at least 1/2 pound but likely closer to a pound. these have been super sweet
Peppers-more sweet peppers, probably more than 6 of them
Radishes without greens-a bunch of 6 to 8 Easter egg/d'Avignon radishes
Beets-around a pound of the 3 Grex beets that must come out of their bed. the greens look like excrement so I will likely remove them
Spring Mix-Finally this is ready for eating. This should have been ready a month ago, had the weather been at all reasonable. Oh well, better late than never. if you have not had our salad mix it is a mix of baby lettuces, mizuna, tat soi, red giant mustard and arugula, all cut at a small stage of life.
Pears-you will get another 8 or so pears which is around 3 pounds
Apples- another couple of pounds of apples
Tomatoes-we have maters ripening slowly in the store as we picked a lot last week when we were told erroneously that we would get a frost. So some of them will be ready to eat and some will need a few days. if you are in the winter share you will get better maters as we have an entire hoop house filled with plants filled with big green maters (which should start ripening any day now)
Red Onion-1/2+ pound of  small red onions. These would go well on top of the spring mix
Garlic-2 corms of garlic

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 26 (week 26)

 

 

Greenings and Saladations,

We have just two weeks left in the season which makes me happy and sad (I guess one could call that bittersweet). I am happy to be through what turned out to be one of the hardest seasons we have ever had. But not the hardest, that would be 2000 when it was hotter (several days above 100F) and drier and we were still renting a farm with no barns. That year our CSA members turned on us because they though because we were doing both a farmers market and a CSA we were shorting them on food because there was so little to distribute. In hindsight we probably should have dropped the farmers market so there was no perceived conflict but if we had I seriously doubt we would still be farming as doing so would have meant that we would have had to taken off farm jobs because we would have had zero income for many, many months (like August through April). I also remember that year coming back from a farmers market and finding 1 dead and one almost dead chicken struggling to make it to the waterer and shade. it was over 105F that afternoon and the hens were not dealing with the heat well. All we could do for them was supply shade, cold water and fans (which usually didn't do much as the dominant hens would take up all the room right in front of the fans and block all breeze to the birds behind them. Chickens are not the most generous of beings, kind of like humans in oh so many ways.) And that day it was not enough for two of them. I wish the story had a happy ending and I could say we saved the second bird but even after being put in cool than cold than ice water to get her core temp down as well as a valiant attempt at hydrating her she still succumbed. And the garden through September was in about the same condition. But eventually the rains came, the season ended and 2001 was better.

I am happy to say that this year was a lot better than 2000 even though I believe the weather extremes, over all, were worse. There are several reasons for this. One; we have 10 more years of farming experience under our belts which makes a huge difference. In 2000 we had been farming just 6 years and IIRC we were certified organic at the time and that had to have been our first full season of being certified Organic, as opposed to being in Transition to Organic (where you have to do everything as if you are certified-fill out the application, develop a crop rotation, have a farm map, use all Organic inputs, have soil improvement plant, etc., but you are not and thus cannot use the "O" word). Two; We are on another, better farm that has things like barns (the "starter farm" that we rented for 13 years had 2 small sheds that we stuffed as much into as we could and any farm stuff that could not fit in the sheds was stored in the house-out of  7 rooms in that house 3 were used for farm stuff. The computer room, for example, was also where seedlings were started and chicks were brooded. And we would keep the occasional sick hen in that room as well). Now we have lots of out buildings and much more room and that makes our job a whole lot easier to do. Also the old farm had weeds from Hell. For years we did not realize this, but the conventional grain farmer that farmed 20 of the 30 acres on that farm assured us that that farm was by far the weediest he or his father had ever seen (and we are talking about 60+ years of farming exp.). So when we moved to this farm we discovered that that guy was right. This farm has hardly any weeds in comparison (which is not to say we have no weeds, there are lots of weeds here but nothing like the old place). Three; This farm is far far better organized. This is because when we moved here we had learned how to lay out a farm. the old farm was a nightmare as far as organization because we had to work around our landlords' projects (they were into planting black walnuts all over the fields). Plus, while we ultimately managed 10 acres on that farm, this 10 acres was meted out over a 7 year period so we were always adding new land to our farming scheme (this drove our Organic certifier nuts) and the area was ever more sprawling so that eventually it covered about a mile of land. This farm has few of these problems. We own it so we do not have to deal with remote landlords, the market garden is laid out logically and is as compact as possible so we do not waste hours every day walking to a from areas and we do not have black walnut trees growing near the beds causing all sorts of growing issues (FYI, black walnuts contain a chemical called Jugalone that is a strong herbicide and kills most things that try to grow near these trees)

The next two weeks are easier for us as we are down a couple members. This is a good thing as the lack of rain-okay, we have had several very light rains the past 10 days but it has been nowhere near enough-even with supplemental watering, has meant our yields are going down which has meant is has gotten harder and harder to find enough stuff to fill 8 shares without getting too much into what we will need for the winter shares. I had hoped to supply you guys with either lettuce or spring mix this week but sadly, that stuff is not yet ready to harvest. In past years, you guys would have gotten such salad greens for the past 4 to 6 weeks (as well as several kinds of Asian greens, which are planted and growing but like the lettucy things, not ready) but with little rain that ain't happening this year. You also should have been sick of cilantro by now but not this year as we can barely get it to germinate (and we have zero volunteer cilantro this year-in past years by now we would have had several hundred plants popping up around the farm. The only volunteers we have found are coming up in a potted avocado and even with decent watering and being in shade they are barely growing)

As usual, the shares will be ready after 4 pm today. If you are planning on being in the winter share program I need to know ASAP (like today!) as we have only 2 spots left. 4 of you have already committed. I had hoped to be able to sell 15 shares this season but the growing conditions have been so bad that I cut it back to 6 memberships which doesn't even leave enough room for all our current main season members. It would also be helpful if you can tell me if you are going to join next season. I have already heard from 4 people and I am thrilled that you guys are all coming back next season. In the past, I have had a very hard time retaining members from year to year and have generally  had to start from square one each season. But as I have said in past newsletters, you guys really get this concept. That is a very rare thing.

Recipe
Jalapeno Poppers


This is to make up for all the hot peppers I have distributed in the shares this summer that it seems many of you have no idea what to do with. I love poppers and they are easy to make.

10 or more jalapenos cut in half lengthwise (pole to pole). Scape out the seeds and ribs with a spoon (I suggest wearing gloves so your hands don't get hot)
about a 1/2 cup of softened cream cheese
1 small sweet onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic mashed or finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small red peppers finely chopped
salt to taste
1 cup (or so) of bread crumbs
1 TBL melted butter
1/8 cup chopped cilantro

Pre heat your oven to 350F. In a bowl mix the cheeses, peppers, onions, garlic, etc together. In another bowl mix the bread crumbs, butter and cilantro together. take a jalapeno half and fill it with the cheese mix and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat this until all the pepper halves are filled. Than top with the bread crumbs and pop in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.

What's in the share
Pears
-more yummy pears. probably 6 to 8 of 'em
Garlic-2 corms of Music garlic. This is a great roasting garlic
Apples-Dr Matthews apples once again. These do need washing before eating. expect at least 6 in your share
Winter squash-It looks like you will get a couple of acorn squash this week. Like all winter squash these are easily baked-350F oven, split in half, remove seeds and bake 25 to 30 minutes face down on a cookie sheet. The seeds are also delicious baked (this is what "pumpkin" seeds are BTW)
Arugula-a bag of the zesty salad green
Tomatoes-more heirloom tomatoes. despite the weather the plants keep producing at a slow pace.
Kale/chard-I think you will all get kale this week but we may be a bit short so if you find a bag of chard in your share that is why
Eggplant-you get around 1/2 pound of some gnarly looking small aubergines. I tried some last night and they are decent. Probably the last if the year
Leeks-I have not decided if you will get the skinny summer/fall Lincoln leeks or the fat fall/winter/spring leeks called King Sieg. Either way there will be a leek or two in your share.
Peppers-Several sweet bell peppers
Jalapenos-at least 10 in your share and now you have a use for them.

 
 
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