Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 9 (week 9)

 

 

 

Greetings,

Well it's been a much better week. The herbicided plants have, for the most part recovered. I think we will lose some snow peas but not an entire bed and since snow peas tend to over produce this may be a good thing, meaning you won't in a few weeks start getting up to 5 pounds a week of the things in your share. The tiller works again. It had a nasty air filter which needed to be replaced. This is not an easy thing to do as they quit making parts for the engine on our tiller about 10 years ago. But Eugene found a Fram auto filter that was the same thickness at Auto Zone and with scissors and duct tape fashioned a new filter for the tiller for under $4 (I have a feeling the correct filter would run around $30 + shipping as BCS parts tend to be expensive because they are Italian). The tiller being fixed meant yesterday the last 10 potato beds were tilled and trenched this can be done by hand but it takes about 5x more time and is grueling. And frankly, what we do is grueling enough with the aid of some power equipment.

The other good thing is, crop wise, we are steaming into summer. This means a greater and greater variety of crops in your share from here on out. This week we add scallions, two kinds of green beans (these are early, normally beans come in at the end of June), Sugar Snap peas and some of you will get the first of the cukes (if you find kale in your share than don't expect cucumbers-the patch has only produce 4 or 5. By next week there should be plenty for all). These are Alpha Biet cucumbers (AKA Armenian) and a very nice sweet cucumber. First time we have grown them. Later on we will have 3 or 4 other varieties of cukes. Gone for the year are asparagus, lettuce (okay this might reappear if the late bed we planted actually works but if it gets hot again I don't think it will do much)

The bad thing is all this rain. We are beginning to have problems with crops in the badly drained areas (fortunately, most of the top field drains very well). We have lost 1/2 bed of arugula. The good thing is arugula in this kind of weather grows abundantly so a half bed should be more than enough for the FSI, store and farmers market. Still the wet part of that bed was sad, no arugula, no weeds, no nothing. The good thing is it made hoeing it out fairly easy yesterday. We are also losing some early potatoes (but the bulk are doing fantastic) and I see some kale is getting sick, all in the northern most beds. Oh well, soon enough we will probably be in dry conditions. I hope so, as we can always irrigate to keep crops going but when we get too much rain we can do little for crops rotting from being too wet much less be able to hoe or open new ground because you should never ever work wet soil (when dry, it resembles chunks of cement).

Okay, the shares will be ready after 4pm today and will be in the front fridge as usual. Since I felt last week's shares were a bit light expect more this week. If you wish to walk around the farm (yeah, right, in the rain) feel free to do so. Simply walk between the barn and the store and go through the gate on the right (be sure to close after you go in or the dogs could get out on the highway. The dogs are very friendly BTW).

Recipe

Oven Roasted Green Beans


Pre-heat your oven to 450°F

1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off

1 tablespoon olive oil

Table salt and ground black pepper

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread beans on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and use hands to toss green beans to coat the evenly with the oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, toss to coat. Distribute in one even layer. Roast 10 minutes.

Remove baking sheet and redistributed beans. Put back in oven and continue baking 10-12 minutes until the beans are dark golden brown in spots and have started to shrivel.

Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.



What's in the Share



Sugar Snap Peas-1 pound

Cukes (or kale)-either 1 cuke or 1/2 pound kale

Zucchini-about 1/2 pound of Zephyr zucchini

Radishes-a bag of easter egg or French breakfast radishes

Scallions-a bunch of scallions

Cilantro-a 1/4 pound bag of cilantro. This is good with mexican dishes and is really good with Macaroni and cheese

Red Turnips-1 pound

Garlic scapes-1/2 pound

Broccoli-1/2 pound

Haricot Verts (French Green beans)
-1 pound. These are the skinny beans. Cook no more than 10 minutes, if steaming.

Black Valentine beans-1 pound. These are the fatter beans. Steam for 14 minutes







Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 8 (week 8)


 

 

It's been a strange memorial day weekend as we were without phone service from Saturday evening until yesterday after noon because someone took out the pole across the street  that we were connected to. I found out Centurylink is closed on 3 day weekends and if you have a problem you deal with it yourself. No we don't have cell phones here at Boulder Belt. Nor does Eaton have pay phones any longer, thanks to kids using them to call 911 as a prank. I thought being incommunicado would be great and I find not so much.

Than the tiller quit working, likely because it is 17 years old and the carburetor needs an overhaul (though it may be something else. The good news there is we have gotten pretty much all the tilling done and can do whatever else needs to be done with hand tools or the other tiller (which has always had some issues with running but we got it very very cheap at an auction). At some point in the next week or so I suspect we will put the thing into the van and take it up to Arcanum where they have a guy who works on Italian tillers such as ours. Unless, of course, Eugene can figure out what is wrong and fix it on his own.

On top of that a lot of the market garden was herbicided by unknowns over the weekend and we have lost a planting of green beans, peas are effected (but were far enough along that they will be producing by next week, but this will likely shorten their production time) as were raspberries (leaf damage but the berries that are developing look great). Fortunately the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant had not yet been transplanted and were either under shade cloth or glass so were not effected. The damage goes almost to our house and the guy next door sprayed on a low wind day with winds out of the SW so I do not think he is the source. It may be an inversion or it may be we got hit with a flyover by mistake. The good news is most everything that was killed (that would be the beans) has already been replanted and so while we lost a few hundred feet of crops, all that will happen in the long run is the harvest time will be pushed back 10 days (unless this happens again-than I will have to suspect something malicious is going on, as herbicide season should be just about over around here until late July). And this is one of the reason we use a lot of row cover-it keeps the chemicals off the crops. Unfortunately not all the crops will tolerate the covers and beans are one of those crops, which is why they got exposed.

Now, you may be asking about just how organic are these crops I am eating-as organic as possible growing in conventional farming country. Honestly pretty much everything around here (including us and certainly the water we drink unless well filtered) is exposed to farm chemicals. So we organic growers mitigate the damage by growing great soil (soil is the soul of organics, not the avoidance of chemical pesticides, though in order to get great soil you cannot use chemical pesticides and that is why they are avoided like the plague) and keeping things covered up as much as possible.

Oh and Betty has developed a liking for the watering roses on the ends of the watering cans. This morning she ate one and another is missing. Now that she is feeling better she is Hell on wheels.

So not the greatest of weeks here. But it is not all doom and gloom, most things are doing well, we have a volunteer coming out 2 times a week to help us keep things keeping on, we are no where near having failures and we are getting into a bunch of new crops. But as you can see farming is not all fun and sunshine, it's a risky business full of a lot hard work and dealing with a lot of things we have no control over.

So, speaking of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, we are just about done with transplanting over 800 seedlings into the market garden. I have been impressed with our speed-we can do around 100 seedlings in an hour working together. I think by later this morning all will be in the ground as Eugene is finishing up the last 3 flats (approx 150 plants) of tomatoes. We have also been busy planting water melons, various winter squash (we are doing something like 8 different kinds), melons (cantaloup, galia, charentais and a few others), cucumbers, zucchinis, beans and a few other things that are not coming to mind right now) I would say we are close to being done with the summer planting season. We are not done with planting, though as we will be starting the fall/winter planting season around early July and that will continue until early November. The fun never stops here at Boulder Belt

Reminder, if you have not yet dropped off 4+ largish tote bags for your shares do so or we will continue to pack them in plastic bags. Also we will take back all bags, rubber bands, boxes and anything else our stuff is packed in. We do not want such things from other places, we just want our stuff back. The exception to this is plastic shopping bags-you have a pile of Kroger/Wal-Mart/Jungle Jim's/Meijer bags? We will take them as long as they are clean (we have gotten bags with used litter and rotten food and when that happens we have to throw out the entire lot as we cannot put other people's food into them and have to assume the entire lot is contaminated)

The shares, as always, will be ready after 4pm and in the fridge in the front. I suspect like the past 4+ weeks there will be two bags per share unless you have provided us with a really big bag, than just one. Look for bags with your name on them, they will all be marked.

Recipe

Roasted Garlic Scapes


1 bag (or more) of scapes
Olive oil
Salt

Get a pan that has a cover or you can cover with aluminum foil. Put the whole scapes into the pan, drizzle the oil over top and salt to taste. Cover and put into a 350F preheated oven and roast for about 20 to 30 minutes. When they are tender and smell like roasted garlic they are done. You can also do this on the grill only pack them into aluminum foil with the oil and salt and put on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes.


What's in the Share

Asparagus-1 pound of mainly green. This is likely the last week for asparagus as the stalks are beginning to get tough even before they start to open.
Broccoli-new this week! Finally the broccoli is ready to harvest, or at least the first planting (we have at least two more younger stands). Fresh well grow broccoli is a delight.
Kale-a big bunch of Rainbow kale this week
Garlic scapes
Green beans-We started these in a hoop house so they are about 4 weeks earlier than normal. That's the good news. The bad news is there are not many and this stand has been infected by rust and may not be harvestable after this week-we will see. But there will be more and more beans over the summer so if this stand bites the dust, it's okay. you will notice that some beans look rusty and/or are misshapened-that's the rust at work. These beans are the heirloom, Black Valentine
Red beets-another early crop from a hoop house, like the beans we usually don't start harvesting these until late June/early July. Unlike the beans these have nothing wrong with them. these still have their greens which are sweet and yummy and this is where all the nutrients are as well-the greens have around 1000x times more vitamins and minerals than the beet root. Cook them as you would spinach or eat them raw.
Zucchini-you will get 2 or 3 small zephyr zucchini. we love to grow unique zukes instead of the flavorless dark green (referred to as black in the business) so we do several heirlooms and this wonderful hybrid. these are small enough to eat raw but grilling them is also a good choice. I suspect by next week you will get more in your share as the plants are loaded with tiny zukes.
Spinach-another week of spinach. Like the asparagus, I suspect this will be the last of the spinach until late fall/early winter. This is a plant that hates heat and dry conditions and thus hates Ohio summers
Cilantro
Savory
Thyme
Basil

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 7 (week 7)

 

 

 

 

Good Morning,

It's FSI day again (unless you are picking up later in the week, than the day you pick up your shares will be FSI day for you) and I have a lot of harvesting to do today for you guys and the store which is pretty much out of stock. We have a subtle shift is seasons going on. Because it has gotten hot all the lettuce has decided to get bitter and bolt (meaning it is making flowers and seed and not edible). The spinach is about 14 hours from doing the same thing (though it does not get bitter it just turns into stem and few leaves). So I need to get out and do some harvesting sooner than later this morning as the greens need to come in before the heat hits which is around 9 am. And all the other crops do much better if harvested when it is cool rather than when it is hot and sunny. The gist of this is for the first time you will not see head lettuce in your shares (and while I am listing baby lettuce  for this week that, too may be too bitter to use as well). Also we are beginning to see the first of the early summer things like turnips. In the next few weeks you will get peas of all kinds, zucchinis, Armenian cucumbers (These are suppose to be the long skinny cukes they shrink wrap and sell for $4 each), broccoli, red raspberries, haricot verts and regular green beans (I believe these will be ready next week as I already see beans on the plants), red beets (we also grow chioggia and golden) and onions.

I am pretty excited because we are eating the same stuff you are getting in your shares and frankly I am getting pretty bored with asparagus themed meals. I think we have eaten a pound of asparagus a day for the past 5 or so weeks. If it is true that asparagus is a cleansing food than we ought to as clean as a whistle by now. There are good aspects to having too much asparagus 1) we are making decent money selling it b) I have enough to do some great recipe experimentation and have come up with several good ones. iii) I have had more than enough to put up for winter by both freezing and fermenting (pickling with no vinegar-this is supposed to make the healthiest food we can eat. Last Friday I started 5 pounds of asparagus fermenting and as of last night it got quite lively. In another 2 to 8 weeks it ought to be all done and than I will put it into jars and start another batch of something. I don't really have any idea what I am doing with this but I have a book! Wild fermentation by Sandor Katz, a man with AIDS who claims fermented foods have kept him alive and healthy for the past 25 years he has been living with HIV/AIDS. Now, I am not a complete stranger to fermenting foods as I make my own bread and Eugene makes beer and wine. I guess this is the next step. And you too, can do this sort of thing if you get too much of something in  your share and you don't want to throw it out/compost it (which okay to do, never feel guilty about not being able to use everything in a share as there will be times when for one reason or another will happen).

Okay I will make this short because I must get out and start harvesting

No recipe this week

What's in the share

Asparagus-expect 2 to 3 pounds this week as we have a lot harvested and a lot more coming in all the time
Red Turnips with greens-these are salad turnips and can be eaten raw or you can boil them and mash them, use in soups and stews, etc..
Arugula
Baby lettuce - If I find this is bitter I will not include it in your share.
oregano
Rhubarb

Kale-a pound of rainbow and white russian kale
Basil-there should be more than enough for everyone to get a nice sized bag, perhaps enough for a nice batch of pesto
Parsley-Italian flat leaf parsley, one of my favorite herbs ever
Garlic scapes-These are the long skinny things that some people think look like green beans. these are wonderful roasted-350 oven put the scapes into a pan that can be covered, drizzle some oil over top and salt to taste. Cover and put in the over for 20 to 30 minutes. these will taste like roasted garlic and they look really weird.
Red Giant Mustard-this is sweet and hot like chinese mustard (I suspect the seeds re used for just this purpose). This is good in a stir fry or steamed
Garlic chives


The shares will be ready after 4pm today and will be in the fridge as usual. I suspect like past weeks each share will be two bags. I am pretty surprised that we have so much food so early, usually April and May are pretty thin on food selection and amounts but we have had a good growing season thus far.

 
 
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