Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative week 19

It's a new week and there are gonna be some new items in your share-yay!

We survived the yard sale-ended up with around 6000 people coming through and 6 people set up to sell their stuff. It was a very successful event. But it left us with little time for farming so the farm has gotten a bit behind and needs a good mowing badly-the weather has dealt us a bad hand rain wise-mowing was going to happen right before the Yard sale but we got 3" of rain on Tuesday last week which made it impossible to mow until Saturday at the earliest and by than we were simply too busy with the sale. The same is true with weeding-we have a lot of beds with newly germinated crops and a lot of weeds. The soils are too wet to hoe and hand pulling will take far too long. Hoeing a bed takes about 15 minutes, hand weeding takes about 1.5 hours and we have about 25 beds that need attention. So we prefer to hoe as we can get far more done

I think today it may be dry enough to hoe by this afternoon (if we do not get more rain, which is predicted, this afternoon). I thought mid August was our dry season. It's a mixed blessing to have rain in August-makes it possible to get a good fall crop started but it also brings on the weeds which normally we do not have much problem with this time of year. Usually we are just trying to get enough water to the fields to keep things alive. This is one of the things that makes farming fascinating-you never know what the weather will do. one year you won't have to do any mowing or weeding because it is droughty but you will have to pay close attention to irrigation. The next year the opposite

Despite the weeds, things are growing. The tomatoes are beginning to ripen. I do not believe you will see a lot of different maters this week, but next week there should be orange beefsteaks and some black maters added to the mix and by the end of the month most the 21 different kinds should be ripe. Like most of the eastern US we seem to have late blight on the maters and eggplant but we should still get a decent crop, though probably by late September the tomatoes will be over except for the late crop we planted in July to get us through October and maybe into November.

Speaking of growing things into late fall/winter, I need to get a handle on who is interested in doing a winter share? We will do on farm pick up twice a month, cost will be $100 a month ($50 a share). The shares will be larger than a summer share and will mainly be food that can store for months like taters, winter squash, onions, carrots, parsnips, a few canned goods, garlic, pears, dried herbs, leeks, etc.. If the weather is good to us, leafy greens (arugula, kale, spring mix, lettuce) and other things from the hoop houses will also be included throughout the season (we will certainly have them the first 2 or 3 pick-ups). This will start Wednesday November 11  and go through Wednesday January 20 for 3 months/6 pick-ups. Unlike the summer shares, we require people to pay the $300 for the entire winter share upfront, no month to month shares. We will have 12 shares available this year.

We did this winter share thing last year at the last minute (this is what got Boulder Belt back into doing a CSA program) and it went really well and I was surprised at the diversity of food we had to offer through the end of January. Shares had up to 20 different items. And to top it off, the weather did not get bad until the day after we shut down for the season, it was karmic. I figure it will be even better (if that is possible, it went off without a hitch last year) with a couple of months of prior planning.

So let me know sooner than later about this as we have to get plans nailed down in the next few weeks and I want to give current farm share members first crack before I go through my list of folks who were in it last year but not in the farm share initiative currently. I can guarantee we will sell out. Getting local winter food is hard to do around here as scant few of us farmers grow through winter. Not to mention, growing on the back side of the calendar has some major challenges not found in spring, summer and fall.

Thank you everyone who has brought in reusable bags. This is a big help to the environment. Off the top of my head we have 9 out of 14 members who have supplied us with reusable bags. Hopefully that number will be 100% by the end of the month (hint, hint). And thank you all for bringing back all the container items we use to pack shares.

You all will get two bags of food this week. There are large items and I need to start keeping the tomatoes out of the fridge as coolness kills the flavor and shortens the shelf life of maters. In other words, one should never refrigerate whole tomatoes. So look for a bag in the fridge and a bag outside the fridge (which will be a plastic bag unless you have more than 2 reusables here at the farm, than I will use 2 of those)



1 med eggplant, diced
1 pound tomatoes diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 pepper diced
1 medium zucchini diced
1 to 2 cloves of garlic either finely chopped or put through a press
1 TBL dried basil (if you use fresh add when you add the garlic and parsley and use 1/4 cup)
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
2 TBL olive oil
salt to taste

Prep vegetables while the pan heats over medium heat. Add the oil and than everything but the garlic and fresh parsley. Cook over medium to medium low heat for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally so things don't stick. At about the 20 minute mark add the garlic and parsley and cook another 10 minutes or so. Serve over pasta

Cantaloupe-you get either 1 big melon of 2 small melons. These have been so good this year
Kale-either the curly winterbor or the heirloom lacintino
Ailsa craig onion-2 pounds of sweet onions, some you may get onions that weigh a pound each
Garlic-3 corms of Chesnok Red this week
Green beans-a pound of blue lake green beans
Zucchini-mostly yellow patty pans this week
Cucumber-mainly lemons and poona kheeras this week-the long green cukes are not producing well at all so I do not think I will have enough for everyone.
Eggplant-you will get a purple one and a black one
Tomatoes-about 4 pounds of a mix of cherry tomatoes and mainly red heirlooms, though you may find a few other colors this week that are not yet ripe
Green and purple peppers-the purple peppers are in fact green and will ripen to a beautiful red
Delicata squash-aka sweet potato squash. This is the first of the winter squashes to come in. Unlike the later squashes these do not store all that well but are sweeter than all the others. This is easy to prepare, simply cut in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds and bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes
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