Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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FSI Newsletter Vol 1 issue 5

Greetings Farm Share Members,

We are into a new month. For us it means welcoming 3 new members and saying goodbye to to. Giving us a total of 12 members this month, we had 11 in April. A positive trend as we did not expect to fill all 30 membership slots in the spring. All we want is a steady increase in membership throughout the season. At this point we are 40% full and that is A-ok with us. The FSI is replacing the Tuesday uptown market as a marketing strategy and all we asked of it was that it make at least as much money as that market. So far it is making more than double for us.  So while you guys generally get more than the $30 you paid per weekly share we still end up making more money from this system of selling food. Instead of spending the entire morning and early afternoon harvesting, cleaning and packing produce, driving to Oxford doing the market and coming back around 9 or 10pm (often we would dine and socialize with friends after market) now we can spend Tuesday harvesting for the FSI (which takes about 1/3 the time because I am harvesting for a known entity instead of trying to guesstimate how much stuff we may need for market) in the early morning and than the rest of the day Eugene can spend on his farming projects while I get the shares cleaned and packed. In other words, because of the FSI we get an entire extra day on the farm which is almost priceless to us. Also we don't have to drive the behemoth Dodge van that get less than stellar gas mileage and we don't have to schlep around heavy crates of produce. During melon season (high summer) this is a major pain-100+pound crates to be moved in 90+ degree humid conditions. yes, this is a part the glamor of market farming. So the FSI is literally saving our backs, as we are not getting any younger.

The month of May also means the garden is transitioning from winter/early spring crops to mid spring/early summer crops. Gone is the spinach and soon the leeks will be too. We are now seeing strawberries, asparagus kale, lettuces, radishes, chives, fresh herbs (tarragon, thyme, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, savory) and soon will have peas (all 3 kinds, shelling, sugar snap and snow), zucchini, broccoli, cabbages, garlic scapes oh and some Asian greens we have never grown before but should be wonderful. A part of this kind of food buying is the adventure in eating aspect. And Eugene and I are adventurous eaters as well as growers so there will be brand new items on occasion in your shares that will likely be new to everyone. This spring it will be Tong Ho. A green from SE Asia. We have never grown it or eaten it. There is some chance it will fail the first time we plant (okay it already has and we have replanted because now we are quite curious as to what this stuff tastes like.). I will endeavor to figure out how to cook anything completely new before putting it in the shares so I can tell you guys what you are dealing with. And I do realize we already are putting in alien items for you that we have been growing for years and have come to look upon as normal. I mean doesn't everyone eat Mizuna or golden beets? They should if they don't.

The farm has been wet for the past week. This is great news-we were down over 3" on rainfall for 2009 and the 3.5" we got at the end of last week was just what everything needed. the farm has greened up and the crops, trees, flowers, grass and weeds are growing the way they should. Eugene has been doing a lot of mowing as keeping the grass short around the beds keep diseases at bay  by allowing air to pass freely over the crops as well as allowing sunlight in. Short grass is also a bane to pests like mice and voles, so it keeps them out of the beds where they can do a lot of damage. It's been too wet to plant seeds or seedlings or potatoes though with it being dry since Saturday I expect by Tuesday we will be back at it. There are about 50 pounds of seed  taters to put in the ground this week (and than we will plant another 100 pounds in 3 to 4 weeks and another 100 pounds 4 weeks after that), lettuce and celeriac seedlings to transplant into the market garden, hoeing, fertilizing, tilling and a zillion other tasks to do

Remember we have a pot luck dinner and farm tour coming up May 24th starting at 6pm. Recycle your bags with us-paper or plastic, just the clean ones, though. We will also take back all berry boxes, the plastic sheet on top and the rubber bands that come on radishes, asparagus, berries, chives, etc.. We do not want rubber bands or berry boxes/clamshells from non Boulder Belt Sources

Recipe

Spring Salad
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. Dress this salad with the following:

1/2 cup vinegar. I use a combination of rice and balsamic vinegar but really, any will do.
1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves of fresh garlic minced/mashed
2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup olive oil

This Week's Share

Leeks-Likely the last week for these. It was a great run.
Spring Mix
Lettuce-4 heads of mixed lettuces
Kale-White Russian kale, an heirloom we first grew last year and found it delicious
Strawberries-out of our hoop house and about 6 weeks earlier than if we gave them no protection. And some of the scant few organically grown strawberries in Ohio
Asparagus-A pound or so of green asparagus.
Fresh Rosemary-This is the classic poultry seasoning (along with sage). Also good with roasted veggies, especially taters and it is great in salad dressing
Radishes-Easter Egg radishes this week
Scallions-This may be the last week for the over wintered scallions as they are threatening to make flowers. But soon enough we will have scallion that were planted this spring to harvest.
Fresh Savory-this herb is great with dried beans (it lessens the fart factor as well as adds flavor), pea soup and about any savory dish (you think that may be where the term "Savory Dish" comes from?). This was a new herb to me 5 years ago and now it has become one of my mainstays as it is good in so many things be they vegan or meat dishes.

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