Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 17

It's week 17 of the farm share initiative and things are going along pretty well here. So far (knock wood) we have had a great growing season. Despite being way down on rain for this year things are growing, likely because the cool temps and many cloudy days have prevented a lot of evaporation of water from the soil. this has meant great crops for a lot of things. I am a bit worried about the tomatoes and eggplant. Both are showing signs of blight. Some tomato plants have succumbed to it already and other likely will. But not all the plants have it and I believe we will get a decent tomato crop despite blight being around. I don't believe it is the type that has been going around the Eastern US thanks to blighted box store maters being sold this spring. I believe it is the blight we usually get which uglifies the plants, does reduce yields (but not enough to keep us all from getting sick of tomatoes by October) and eventually kills the plants. And, for insurance, we have planted a fall crop of maters-about 100 plants that should be ready to harvest the beginning of October.

The eggplant I know we will get some fruits because I see growing fruits. But I can also see that the plants that give us the big black bell type aubergines are hit hard with blight and likely will not produce well and probably will have to be ripped out of the ground in the next couple of weeks. That said, we grow several different kinds of eggplant and the other types seem to be in great condition

We are beginning to get watermelons. You will not see any this week but should next week. Cantaloupes may also be ready next week. Because of the cool dry weather we have not had the insect population of past years so the melons and squashes are doing quite well. Though, because of the cool weather the flavor in the melons may not be the best (or it could be the best ever, you really never know with melons). Generally the best flavor comes from hot dry conditions. We have had the dry but not the heat.

It has been a terrific bean year. We have not had such good yields in a long time (as well as high quality-man the beans are yummy). Yesterday I harvested 2 bushels of blue lake green beans. If you want extra beans to can/freeze we have them for $20 for a 10 pound sack of them. Let me know this morning (before 1pm ) and I will fix you up a bag with your name on it, just leave the money on the counter. I freeze beans and this is easy to do. trim the ends, than blanch for 1 minute in boiling water. Cool ASAP, spin dry in a salad spinner (or blot with a clean towel) and load into a freezer bag and freeze and than in january you can have locally grown beans for dinner and a bit of food security.

It is the end of the month and I need payment from some of you. Leave cash or check on the counter when you pick up your share this week, or send a check to PO Box 593, Eaton, OH 45320

Next week (not this week) we are doing one of our big events-The 127 Yard Sale, The World's Longest Yard Sale. This happens Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug 6, 7, 8 and 9. If you pick up on Thursday or Friday you will encounter hundreds of people on the farm shopping at our several vendor's stands, as well as our store. You may want to give yourselves extra time to check out all the vendors and see if there is anything you like. Your shares will be harvested and packed on Wednesday because I will have no time to do this Thursday ( I will barely have time on Wed either but at least I won't have to deal with customers, just set up and dealing with vendors coming in and setting up). The other change will be that your shares will not be in the front fridge. I don't know where they will be but I will definitely be around and will know by the 6th where I have put them.

If you have things to sell we have spaces for $10 a day. We get literally thousands of people stopping over the course of the is event and this year should be bigger than past years as more and more Yard Salers are coming into Ohio and I have gotten the word out about the Boulder Belt Sale on the official 127 Yard Sale websites

From member Jim Latham

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons Hellman's mayonnaise
3-4 cloves of the fresh garlic ( more or less to taste as it can be really hot on the tongue)
2 tablespoons homemade chive blossom, white, balsamic, or red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt - regular works fine
sprig of any of the fresh herbs in the share

Peel the garlic cloves and coarse chop

Place garlic, sour cream, mayo, salt, and herbs in blender or food processor - we use a hand blender and measuring cup

Puree the ingredients together adding the vinegar a little at a time until you get a smooth, slightly fluffy cream dressing

Keeps for 4-5 days in covered jar in fridge

Use over cucumber slices, fresh tomatoes, raw baby squash, fresh salad greens. It is also quite tasty on baked potatoes or a in place of mayo on grilled burgers.

What's in the shares this week

Shallots-3 to 4 shallots
Haricot Verts- true French Filet beans and because of great yields you get a full pound this week
Blue Lake Green Beans-the classic green bean, 1.75 pounds this week. And if you need more for putting up let me know ASAP.
Tomatoes-a mix of mainly reds- Matina (small) and Glick's Pride (bigger). Around 2 pounds or so.
Green Peppers-2 to 3 peppers this week
Scallions-a bunch of scallions
Basil-1/4 pound
Garlic-1 clove of each type we sell for a total of 3 garlics
Chard-a 1/2 pound or better of bright lights chard

There may well be other items in your shares such as lemon cukes or even a melon but I have not been out yet today to see if we have enough ready to cover all the shares.

Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
Eaton, OH

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 16

It's week 16 of the farm Share initiative for many of you. Many CSA type programs go for less time than that. And here we do our Farm Share Initiative virtually year round. And that brings me to the question, are any of you interested in a winter farm Share? I am thinking charging $100 per month for two pick-ups a month. This would probably run 3 months. The shares would be quite a bit larger than what you get in summer. Something like 50% to 75% larger. Right now I don't know how many members we could supply for this as we are just beginning to harvest some winter items and other have not even been planted yet (that is done August and September) And yet other things like winter squashes are just beginning to set fruit. There is no rush on this as this program would not start until mid November but is something to think about.

It is very dry here. We have gotten basically zero rain since July 4th (and that was not a great big rain). The farm still is green and things are growing. I would not say it is exactly thriving at this point but things are a long way from dying. We do irrigate but that is no replacement for a amount good rainfall. Also our pump is giving us problems and kicks off on a whim. This has started happening several times a day and means Eugene must spend about 1/2 hour getting it to run again every time it kicks off. I think we are looking at a new pump in the very near future which will be costly but we can replace the pump we currently have with one that is designed to pump 75K+ gallons of water a day.

Yeah, a small farm uses a lot of water and we are using the most efficient method for delivering water to the plants-drip irrigation under mulch. Imagine how much water bigger farms that use those big sprinklers use. Sprinklers get about 50% of the water to the plants vs drip irrigation that gets 95% of the water to the plants. The rest of the water evaporates into the air. Wotta a waste and yet this is how most farms in the USA irrigate their farms (but the big commodities, corn and soy, are rarely irrigated). Generally, only smaller farms use drip irrigation, probably because of the difficulties of setting up a system for a 100+ acre farm. But this can be done. I was told about 13 years ago that row covers are useless on all but the smallest farms and now they are routinely used on large fruit and vegetable farms. I suspect soon we will start seeing the big produce farms out in California making use of a lot of drip irrigation and other water saving techniques as they are in a huge drought and have been pretty much banned from using what water is left.

So I have a problem with you all (but it's a good problem). It is getting harder and harder to keep your shares down to 8 to 12 items as we are going into the season of great bounty and food diversity. I want you all to sample everything we grow. This week you get 13 items and may end up with 14. I know some of you will welcome an increase in food but I have been doing this CSA thing long enough to know most members have a bit of difficulty using everything in their share and feel great "food guilt"  if they cannot use all of their share. So I keep it limited to no more than 12 to 15 items. If we were to go the route of truly giving you equal shares in the market garden and did not have other markets you guys would be getting something like 150 pounds of food a week and in August that would double (or even triple). And this is with, say, 40 members. The first year did a CSA this is exactly what we did and it overwhelmed our members and everybody quit. I remember the shares generally weighed about 40 pounds. The market garden was about 1 acre and we had no real idea about what we are doing as we had been farming for less than 5 years at the time. Now we know what we are doing, have a lot bigger garden on much better land and are able to produce far more per acre than we could 11 years ago.

Thanks to all of you who have brought reusable bags. I believe we are at about 1/3 of the members now-lets get to 100% by the end of the month.

Mashed Taters with Garlic

1 to 2 pounds of pontiac red taters
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1 to 2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste

Wash the potatoes and cut into largish pieces, peel the skins if you want. Put into a pan of cold water and and bring to a boil. When they are cooked through and soft mash them with a potato masher or a potato ricer if you are lucky enough to own one. Never use a food processor to mash taters, you will get a glue like substance that is pretty inedible. Add the garlic by either putting it through a press or my favorite way using a micro-planer to finely grate it straight into the taters. next add the butter, incorporate, than the 1/2 and 1/2 than the salt. The taters are now ready to serve

Here is what is in this week's share

Tomatoes- you get about 2 pounds of small red and yellow tomatoes, the same kinds as last week
Snow peas-this should be the last of the snow peas. the vines started producing again, i guess because it has been so cool
Garlic-2 corms of hard necked garlic
Strawberries-yummy berries
Zucchini-a mixed bag of zukes from the bright yellow patty pan to the lively green striped Costata Romanesque
Chard-a nice bag of bright lights chard
Red Giant Mustard/kale-The red giant mustard you find in our spring mix, eventually it will insist on growing to full size and that is when I cut it for mustard-this is sweet and peppery, just like a really good Chinese mustard (which it is). Thursday Shares get a kale medley
Ailsa Craig Onion-a wonderful mild sweet onion. This onion is named for the big rock in Scotland which is where the british open was played this past week.  they can get up to 5 pounds in size though it looks like our biggest will be about 2 pounds. This is best used raw in salads or on sandwiches. When cooked they get rather insipid. In a couple of months you will start to get good cooking onions in your shares
Green pepper-you will get a couple of green peppers this week.
Potatoes-1.5 to 2 pounds of  mainly Pontiac red potatoes
Tarragon-herb of the week
Garlic chives-these have a wonderful garlic flavor
Haricot verts-these are a true french filet bean. very delicate. Cook for no more than 7 minutes. You get about 1/2 pound.
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