Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
[ Member listing ]

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 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.

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 5 (week 5)

 


 

 

Greetings FSI members,

It's week 5 of this food adventure and in the past 7 days we have been through 2 frost warnings and several thunder storms and high winds. Spring was replaced by winter (or late fall) for a couple of days, which was a real negative for the farmers market and the asparagus patch. No, the cold doesn't kill it but it does mean the asparagus will not produce for several days and that is what happened over the weekend-very little asparagus to be had. But the up side for all you asparagus lovers is once it gets warm and there is rain it comes back making up for lost time, which it did yesterday (and I supposed today, tomorrow and on and on...)

The other crops are doing well as well. This is because for the first time at this farm (we were at another, rented, farm for 13 years about 15 miles NW of where we are today) we did soil testing and than bought fertilizer (they make certified organic fertilizers and that is what we used) and have been putting that on all the beds and it has made a huge difference in quality and yields. For years we thought that adding compost, crop rotation and doing green manures/cover crops was enough. All these things have done much to improve certain aspects of our soil and we have seen a slow improvement in crop quality and yield (but glacially slow improvements). So this year we decided to try this 10-10-10 fertilizer and all I can say is Wow! It is better than compost and we can fertilize around 25 beds with this stuff in the same time we can fertilize around 5 beds with compost. Now all that said we still make and use compost as well as grow green manures because they feed the soil in ways granulated fertilizers cannot. But we can see now that McGeary Organic fertilizers will be an important part of our fertility program in the future.

We have a request-we still have openings in the farm Share Initiative and one of the best ways to get more members is for our members to talk to their friends and colleagues about us. Frankly, we have far fewer FSI members that we would like (we have 5 members/member groups right now, last year we had 12 at this point in the season) and because we are not made of money (farming is not the best way to get rich as most of us farmers are anything but) we cannot afford much paid advertising (and in the past, when we have gone this route all we have done is wasted money). So we are asking you to talk us up among the people you know.

I should have brought this up earlier in the season. We at Boulder Belt are all about sustainability and one aspect of that is reusing the packaging we send home with you in your shares. We want back all bags, rubber bands and boxes (when the raspberries and strawberries come in you be getting boxes in your share). We also will take all clean plastic and paper shopping bags. But we really don't want soiled bags as we put your (and other people's) food in these.  We  DO NOT want boxes and rubber bands from food other than ours. But if it came from us we want it back and ALL clean plastic and paper shopping bags no matter where they came from. Oh yeah, if you have not yet supplied us with reusable cloth/plasticky bags drop 2 to 4 of them off when you pick up your share today (or you can give them to us at the Saturday farmers market in Oxford). The bigger the bags the better. I can see that soon (perhaps today) I will have to start using two bags for the shares (I should have done last week as it was a tight squeeze to get everything in one bag).

Betty Update-her E-collar came off this morning and she does not seem interested in ripping out her stitches (which we will remove Friday morning) she is full of piss and vinegar. I believe the ordeal is finally over for all of us and soon the farm will be able to go back to normal. This event has meant that for the most part both of us could not work at the same time. That leaving Betty for more than 2 hours was always a bad idea (except between noon and 3pm when she takes her long nap). When we came home from the farmers market Saturday she had torn up a rather large piece of the carpet in the guest room along with putting holes in a few select items of clothing and some catalogs were ripped up. All because the dog had to stay indoors and she was lonely and frustrated. We understand but it has not been fun for any of us, especially her. Now we just need to find another Vet as the one that did this to her does not deserve our business.

The Pot Luck dinner /farm tour will be May 23rd at 6pm. bring a dish to share and something to eat from

Oh yeah, we have, in our freezer, whole pasture raised chicken that we raised last summer. We have too many to eat and need to sell some. If you are interested the birds cost $25 for 4 to 5 pounds of the most sublime chicken you will ever eat. they are professionally processed and shrink wrapped and look just like a bird you would buy at the grocery but that is where the comparison stops. If you want one today be sure to find me or Eugene when you stop for your food and we will get you one (or more). I believe we have around 15 to sell.

See you after 4pm today and before 6am Saturday morning. The food will be in the fridge in the store as per usual.

Recipe

Asparagus Bruschetta

1/2 LB asparagus trimmed and cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 LB mushrooms slices.
1/2 pound spinach, washed and chopped
1 or more cloves of garlic
any other veggies
Salt
Olive oil or butter
1 loaf of a good French bread (I get mine at the Oxford Farmers Market) sliced, brushed with olive oil and baked on a cookie sheet at 350F for 15 minutes or until it is crunchy enough for you.

In a large saute pan heat the oil/butter than add all the veggies except the spinach. Stir occasionally to keep them from burning and cook about 5 minutes. than add the spinach and cook another 5 minutes. the bread should be baking while the veggies are cooking so that when the veggies are done the bread is done. Put bread slices on a plate and cover with the asparagus bruschetta and eat. Yummy

this recipe was invented Saturday afternoon after the farmers market when faced with a lot of left over asparagus and some spinach. kale, sweet peppers, peas, broccoli, radishes and many other vegetables would also be good in this quick and versatile dish.


What's in the Share

Lettuce-at least 1/2 pound (likely more) of a mix of heirloom lettuces
Spinach-1/2 pound this has been very very good
Asparagus-a couple of pounds of green and purple
Arugula-1/4 LB bag
Leeks-a bundle of tiny leeks which are the last of last year's leeks that we finally dug up freeing up 2 beds for tomatoes later on this month
Rhubarb- 1/2 pound
Thyme-a bunch of thyme
Radishes-A big bunch of a mix of Easter egg (round) and D'Avignon radishes
Chives-these now have flowers which you can make a simple vinegar from simply by snipping them off the stalk and cramming in a small jar and covering with white vinegar. 3 days later you will have a pink oniony vinegar that is wonderful to make dressing with.
Kale-3/4 pound; This week you should see a new kale called rainbow kale (you have been getting White Russian) This is a brand new kale for us so we have no comment on the quality of this. But it sounded so cool in the catalog so we are now trying it. You should get a mix of purple, green and white leaves (really the veins within the leaves)

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 3 (week 3)

 

 

Welcome to week 3 of the FSI. This morning we wake up to temps in the mid to low 30's and that means probable frost. The good news is we expect such things to happen until Memorial day so we do not plant things too early and lose them. Yeah, I know the official last frost date is May 15th for this part of the world and I believe for Butler county and southward it really is. But here in northern Preble county we have been hit with light frosts as late as May 29th. the first time that happened to us we were I believe 3 years into market farming, didn't know much and it was a warm spring early and so we put out all the tomatoes and peppers and other heat loving crops in early May and felt pretty darned proud of ourselves for getting the garden in a timely fashion. Than it started getting cold and by Memorial Day weekend the low temps were going below 32F. Tomatoes and peppers will not tolerate such temp unprotected so we spent hours running around the 1 acre market garden (1/5 the size we work today) trying to protect the plants in the ground. And we did succeed in saving most by piling straw over top of each plant (and there were probably 400+ plants to protect. We did not know about using row covers or other techniques for protecting tender crops against cold back than so it was a real potential disaster. In the end, though as I mentioned most the plants were saved but later on we got bad yields because we found chilled pepper plants will pout all season and produce very little and chilled tomatoes will get hit with late blights and other diseases. So now we transplant these crops on or after Memorial day and while our crops come in a few weeks later than everyone else's they are generally in really good shape and productive and from a marketing standpoint we can sell the later tomatoes much more easily than early tomatoes as our main market is in Oxford, OH home to my Alma Mater, Miami, U (and where I was born and raised, as well) because the faculty and students coming back to school do not have home gardens full of tomatoes-in other words if we grow maters to harvest in July and early August we hit a big glut of them and it is very hard to sell them so most tend to go to the food pantry or the FSI members (and this means up to 35 pounds a week, literally. Which I think we all can agree is way too much for most people-I will warn you all if you are in the FSI this summer and fall you will get a lot of tomatoes, like 12 to 15 pounds a week unless we have a bad tomato year, which can and does happen (last year we had a pretty good mater year but most of the eastern US was hit bad by late blight which decreases the yield by around 75% and what you get is not the best quality).

Okay, we do have one crop we are harvesting that these cold mornings does effect and it is really hard to protect. That would be the asparagus. It gets frost damaged pretty easily so what we do is first cut all the tall spears and than cover all the remaining spears with little tents of straw. Most of the time we get very little damage by taking the extra hour to do this work. If the temps go below 28F all bets are off  on the emerging spears but the crowns (aka the roots) will be okay and after going dormant for 18 to 48 hours will resume production again. if it goes below 20F while the asparagus is producing than we are looking at major damage to the crowns themselves and probably losing entire plants. this is a very bad thing as it takes 2 to 3 years to get asparagus established. the good news is it almost never gets so cold around here in the spring and if it did I suppose we would have to go buy 20 bales of straw and get them on the asparagus beds to keep the ground insulated and warm.

Cold weather is something we are good at dealing with, far better than most farmers as a matter of fact. We were watching TV  news last night and they had a piece on the cold effecting crops and interviewed Monin's Fruit farm because they have tender crops that could get nuked by frost. they are now using row covers on their strawberries (after losing them completely 2 of the past 5 years) but mentioned the green beans they are growing will likely get killed or badly damaged by frost. Both Eugene and I laughed at the guy because we too are growing early green beans but we have row cover over them to protect them from frost (and ironically I believe we just took the row covers off of our strawberries because they were getting leggy and diseased, but since they are not in flower yet (and won't be for another 6 weeks because when you establish ever bearing strawberries you have to remove all flowers for the first 8 weeks) the cold will not bother them at all.

As FSI members, know that our knowledge and skill using season extension techniques is a big hedge against the risk we are all sharing and every year we get better and better at it.

Remember pick-up is after 4pm today. Usually I am all done harvesting, cleaning and packing shares by 2pm but today I suspect I will have to wait until 9am to start harvest (I usually start around 7am) so I may be working past 4pm to get things ready.

The shares are in the fridge to the right of the door.

Pot luck this Sunday after 4pm. Several of you have NOT RSVP'ed yet. Please to today, thanks. It only takes a few seconds to do so.

Recipe

This week's recipe is not really a recipe but rather how to deal with kale
You will get kale in your share this week (and likely most weeks through the season). Kale is delicious and very nutritious but a food most of us are not too familiar with or if we are, have only had badly grown kale (the kale from Wal-Mart is inedible for the most part-bitter and gritty. This is true of most industrially farmed kale).

So here is what you do with kale

First wash it than lay a leaf on a cutting board. You will notice a thick central vein, take a paring knife and cut it out, leaving the majority of the leaf and all the smaller veins behind. You cam eat this vein and the reason it is removed is it takes longer to cook than the rest of the leaf. If you want to use this part chop into pieces and toss into the cook water or saute pan about 4 minutes before the leaves are cooked. Now you know how to prep kale. Cooking kale is easy. The most basic thing to do is cook for 5 to 7 minutes in 1" of boiling water. It also is good sauteed in butter or olive oil with some onion and garlic. It also makes a nice omelette-sauté up some kale with onion and other vegetables. When done put aside and than make scrambled eggs. when the eggs are 2/3 done dump the veggies on top and top with cheese and put in a 200F oven for 5+ minutes (until the cheese is melted) and it is ready to eat.

What's in the Share

Lettuce- around a pound of lettuce
Kale-at least 1/2 pound of White russian kale. We grow 4 to 5 different kinds and you see different kales in your share over the season
Radishes-another big bunch of D'avignon radishes
Spring Mix-1/2 pound of salad mix. Remember to wash this and all of our greens.
Arugula-this is a peppery sweet salad green that is also great on pizza (top with arugula after cooking). You will get a 1/4 pound bag
Popcorn-this will be some of the best popcorn you will ever eat. It is an heirloom popcorn that pops up white
Rhubarb-I have no idea how much you will get in your share. I hope 1/2 pound but I have not looked at the rhubarb in several days so I don't really know how much is out there. You may get more than a 1/2 pound or perhaps less (but I seriously doubt that)
Cilantro-you will get a generous baggie of cilantro from our over wintered and volunteers that have sprung up all over the garden. Cilantro has become a weed around here but a harvestable weed
Asparagus-I believe you will get 2 pounds this week, 1/2 green, 1/2 purple (no matter how cold it got you would have gotten you asparagus as it was cut yesterday before the cold)
Garlic Chives-AKA chines chives. Like onion chives but with a garlic flavor.

I may toss a few other items into the shares, I won't know until I finish harvesting

PS as I finish this newsletter the temp is hovering around freezing and frost is forming on the barn roof but we will be A-OK.




Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
Eaton, OH
http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com



 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 10

It's been another busy week on the farm. First of all, I am happy to report that the storms of last week were easy on us. Eaton got golf ball sized hail. We got no hail at all and very little rain out of that storm (but we did get over 1/2 inch the next day). If we had gotten that hail I doubt we would have had much of anything to harvest. The row covers we use to protect against such things are not up to golf ball sized hail and would have been shredded along with the plants underneath. Leafy greens would have been ruined and likely the raspberries and strawberries as well. The beets, squashes, turnips, basil, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, onions all would have gotten damaged but would have recovered in time. But as I said, we dodged a bullet and all is well. But if we had not this would have been a lesson in the risk of farming and the result would be no shares for at least a week and we not having anything to sell for at least a week, probably longer.

We are in the midst of getting the tomatoes planted. This should be done by Tuesday afternoon as we only have about 100 plants left. This would have taken less time but we realized after about 3/4 of the tomato stakes had been put up that we do not have enough stakes for all the beds and we need to buy another 75 or so. That would be an easy task except we need two different heights and I lost the sheet that had all the data about what tomato were to be planted and how many beds of each and which beds took which stakes. Fortunately I had posted the list of the maters on my blog and from that I was able to basically remember how many beds of each type and which type takes which sized stake-big indeterminate heirlooms take 7' stakes and the determinants take the little stakes. Now almost all the maters are transplanted and we have a good idea of what we need stake-wise.

We could have opted to just go ahead and plant the tomatoes willy nilly and put up which ever sized stake was handy but we have been there, done that in the past and it works out badly-tall plants on short stakes growing well above the tops of the stakes than dropping down to the ground-that is a nightmare scenario for harvesting. And of course, you get short plants on tall stakes which is just a waste (but quite easy to harvest).

These are the things we deal with in our lives.

Don't forget there is a potluck/farm tour coming up on the solstice, Sunday June 21st. I encourage everyone to attend as these are fun, you will learn more about how your food is raised and get to eat some good food and have good conversation. let me know if you can/cannot come.

Oh yeah, a reminder to bring back all the plastic bags, rubber bands and fruit boxes and any other packaging we supply-we will reuse it all and lessen our impact and landfill use. Just leave such things on the counter in the store

Like last week (and until it gets cool again) your share will be in the fridge.

Recipe

Squash and asparagus
2 medium zucchinis, sliced
1 onion sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
2TBL butter
salt to taste

Heat a large frying/sautée pan and add the butter when it has melted and stopped foaming add all the vegetables and salt and cook covered on medium heat for 15 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally. remove lid and cook another 5 minutes and serve.



This Week's Share


Asparagus-a half pound this week. the plants are finally starting to go dormant. it was a good run.
Spring Mix-this has been so good the past couple of weeks
Lettuce-another bag of mixed heirloom heads of lettuce
Zucchini-a pound or 2 of zephyr (yellow and green) and Jackpot (dark green). I find the zephyr much tastier than the jackpot
Red Turnips-These are a salad turnip as they are sweeter than the purple top globe turnip that is by far the most common turnip in America. These can also be cooked and are very tasty this way as well.
Basil-this will increase in amount as the plants get bigger. Make a pesto, use in salads, freeze by putting basil and a bit of olive oil in a food processor and pureeing, than put the basil puree into an ice cube tray (that will forever have the essence of basil) and freeze.
Thyme
Mizuna/Tat soi-a bag of asian greens-this is good in a stir fry, braised or as a bed of greens topped with some cooke vegetables or meat
Red Mustard-a hot and sweet mustard. this does lose a lot of its' heat when cooked
Sugar snap peas-last week you got snow and shelling peas. this week sugar snaps which you string and eat pod and all

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Week 9

 

It's June! the start of summer or something like that. Early June is when we transplant the tomatoes as this is when we are about 99% assured there will be no frost (there was a frost after June 7th in the late 1980's I remember but 99 years out of 100 there is not). We have, with the help of my brother and sister who visited over the weekend, gotten about 20% of the maters in the ground and about 15% of the stakes, that will support the plants, erected. So far, there are Early girls, Paul Robeson (guess what color the maters will be from these plants?) Opalka (a nice heirloom sauce tomato) and yellow taxi an early lemon yellow tomato-we have another 17 or so varieties to get in the ground this week.

Other than tomatoes we have also been planting beans, cucumbers and zucchini, more spring mix (though I believe the seeds planted this past week will be the last as lettuce and spring mix do not do well for us in the heat of summer). Most seasons we do some sort of planting pretty much all the time but this year we will try to wrap things up in the next couple of weeks as it looks like we will not be getting much rain-in the past week we have received .3 inches. All but two weak storms have missed us. Not good. But we have irrigation and If Eugene is not tied up planting lots of seeds and seedlings than he can work on hooking up the irrigation system which takes a couple of days to do. We do have most of the drip tape laid out and now they need to be attached to the feeder lines and that takes a while because it is rare that the drip tapes easily attach to the lines. Once the irrigation system is 100% we will not worry as much about the lack of rain, at least for a while. But if we do not get a lot of rain in a couple of weeks and go into July down on rainfall we will start worrying about the well drying up. I seriously doubt this will happen as it is a fairly new well (under 40 years old) and deep bit no rain equals a low water table and low water tables are not good when you are taking about 70K gallons out of the well weekly when it gets dry. 70k gallons is a shocking amount but if we were to water with a hose or sprinklers it would be about 5x more water-yes, agriculture can use a lot of water but drip tapes use the least amount at 70% to 90% less than any other irrigation system.

And, irrigation will not allow the crops to thrive the way an inch of rain a week will. So pray for rain to fall on our farm. We are doing all we can-hanging laundry out, leaving windows open in the house and  vehicles, exposing flats of seedlings in soil blocks (which will melt into a solid mass of soil and roots if rained upon), leaving tools in the field. Perhaps we need to have daily outdoor events such as the potluck of a couple of weeks ago. We need to do something to call the rains to our farm-it gets close. There was a gully washer that got as close as 1/8th mile away on Friday. Most of the rain in the past week has been within no more than 2 miles but it will not fall here where we need it. Now that I think of it, the key maybe getting the irrigation all set up. In the past we have done this and have been rewarded with months of rain (this has happened 3 different times-we get the system set up and it starts raining within 24 hours for the rest of the season and we don't use it at all. But than there have been plenty of years where the irrigation was all that kept the crops going)

Your shares will be in the fridge in the store. I believe most everyone knows this now that I have been haphazardly putting them in there the past few weeks. now that it is above 75 degrees I like to keep the food chilled so it stays fresh longer in your fridges. I tend to be a bit obsessive about food quality. Eugene sometimes thinks I go overboard but I really hate sending out food that is not top shelf.

We are planning another potluck dinner Sunday June 21st, the summer solstice. I hope everyone can make it. these are really fun events and I feel it is important for all members to tour the farm as you will learn a lot about how we grow the food you eat. This is a big perk as we normally charge $25 an hour for a farm tour. So come out and get your money's worth.

Recipe

Roasted Garlic Scapes
These are wicked good

1 package of Scapes (1/2 LB)
1TBL olive Oil
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 350?. Put clean whole garlic scapes in a roasting pan. drizzle the oil over top and sprinkle salt to taste. Cover pan with lid or foil and put in oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Done when it smells like roasted garlic

This Week's Share

Lettuce-at least 3/4 pound of mixed heads
Spring mix-1/2 pound bag (we sell 6 ounce bags at market and the store so you get a BIG bag of this)
Arugula-1/4 pound bag of this peppery green
Zucchini-the squashes are getting bigger so you should get about a pound of  bigger than baby squash
Kale-a 1/2 pound bag of either russian white (what you have been getting all season) or Dinosaur which is dark green and an ancient kale. The dinosaur was almost ready last Friday and may be ready today (Tuesday)
Peas-1/2 pound of snow peas this week. And maybe some shelling peas, if enough are ready. If you get both the snow peas are the flat ones and are eaten pod and all (these will be loose). The shellers are dark green and you don't want to eat the pod (they are not poisonous, just fibrous)
Chives-Another bunch of chives with flowers.
Savory-this is an all purpose herb that everyone needs to use more often. It can replace black pepper and is good with anything except sweet foods. It is said to cut down on the flatulence factor in bean dishes and pairs exquisitely with dried beans.
Asparagus-at least 1/2 pound this week. I do not know how much longer this will be coming in. maybe a week, maybe a month
Garlic Scapes-These are the long green things in your share. Scapes signal the beginning of garlic season. These are the flower tops from our hard necked garlic and must be removed in order to get large heads of garlic. Our early garlic made their scapes over the weekend (right on time) and in 5 weeks we will harvest it. You use scapes much like you do garlic. Chop them up and put them in anything that needs garlic. they also are great pickled (though to make the canning process worth it you really need about 10+ pounds of scapes). These will last about 5 months in the fridge

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Week 7

It's another week of yummy food.

The weather is improving quite a bit. We got over 3" of rain over the weekend which was badly needed. It got cold but we did not get much, if any frost (I think a couple of the tiny asparagus spears got frost damaged but not more than .01%) and now we get some very nice dry and sunny days to get a lot of weeding/hoeing/tilling done.

The farm is very beautiful. The trees are leafing out and the early summer flowers are opening. Mostly irises (my favorite flower) with a bit of phlox and soon we should have a hillside covered in daisies

Monday was spent weeding, mainly onions and garlic. We have a really nice method to take care of the weeds that is not too labor intensive. First we get out the wheel hoe and hit the big areas. Next we use a stirrup hoe to get smaller areas that the wheel hoe blade is to wide to do. after all that is done we hand weed what's left. Usually there is hardly anything to hand weed but today we hit several beds that need a lot of hand weeding. The scallions are the worst but fortunately they are well on their way to being done. I am happy that the onions and garlic did not need much hand weeding at all, just a few thistle plants that had to be pulled per bed. if there is not a lot of little weeds growing up in between the plants and the weeds are small  we can get a bed done in about 15 minutes. If there are a lot of little weeds between plants than a bed will take about 2 to 3 hours with one person doing the work. From now until mid July when it usually gets dry we will be doing a lot of weeding, than the weed pressure usually lightens up a lot.

Beside weeding (and the perpetual harvesting) we are gearing up to put out about 750 tomato, pepper and aubergine seedlings. This means many beds to till (about 2/3 are tilled), than landscape fabric mulch and irrigation tapes are put down. the mulch is secured by digging in the edges. 7' tall metal fence stakes are driven into the ground for the tomatoes-10 stakes per bed so we have something to support the tomatoes. We also stake the peppers but they take much smaller stakes and could even use tomato cages, if we had any. We do not use cages for tomatoes as we grow great big indetermanent tomato varieties and they get way too big for cages so we stake them and support them a la the "Florida Weave" (google it).

A lot of crops are close to coming in. We should have a little bit of fresh basil maybe next week. We might have small zucchinis this week and if not certainly next week (they will be ready Thursday but are not quite ready to pick Tuesday so to keep things even we will probably wait until next week so everyone gets the same thing at the same time) The first peas are in flower and should have peas in 2 weeks. We grow three kinds, snow, sugar snap and a couple of types of shelling peas. The garlic should be forming scapes at the end of the month. Scapes are the flower stalks and have to be cut off, they are yummy. Broccoli is beginning to form heads. We will have cabbage, carrots, beets, chard, scallions (the one's you have been getting were from an over wintered bed that was planted around this time last year.), sweet onions  in June and beyond.

As some thing are coming on others are going away for a few weeks. This would be the strawberries. We grow an everbearing variety that sets fruit, fruit ripens, fruit gets picked and than it grows more flowers and sets more fruit. A cycle takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Cycle one in just about over.  So this will be the last week for strawberries for a while, I believe. But soon enough we will have red Latham raspberries (mid to late June)

We have the pot luck dinner coming up this Sunday. I have RSVP's from 4 people, The Platts, Gliddens, Lathams and Herbskerman. I need to know Yes or no from the rest of you, ASAP (sorry if I have forgotten your RSVP, you will have to tell me again-farming can make one brain dead). As mentioned, it starts at 5pm, we will conduct a tour of the main market garden at 5:15 or so, Nancy will do her herb demo around 6pm than we eat good food out under the apple trees. It should be a lot of fun and the perfect opportunity to get to know the farm and ask us questions. Try to be on time. oh and we will have a home brew tasting of some sort. We will provide a big salad, a couple of kinds of dressing and Apple cider. You bring a dish to share (meat, dessert, side dish, etc.,) things to eat/drink with/from (we really want to avoid disposable plate/cup/flatware use) and any wine beer, soda you want to drink if cider is not for you. We may have some pear wine left over from last year. We have many interesting people in this group so conversation should be interesting.

June is coming up I need to know if you are one of the members doing this by the month a) are you joining in June? b) if so and you pick up on Tuesday which 4 Tuesdays do you want-there are 5 in June.  I need to know ASAP about these things. Those of you who have committed to the entire season, don't worry about this 5 Tuesday thing.

Recipe
Asparagus and Kale Omelet


3 eggs, use pastured eggs you can buy at any farmers market
2 spears of asparagus, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 kale leaves, cut the mid rib out and chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or whatever pleases you), shredded
butter
salt to taste

In a pan over medium heat melt the butter and saute the onion, asparagus and kale, add the salt. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onions get translucent and the asparagus is tender crisp. Also place the top oven rack in the highest position and preheat the broiler

While this goes on beat the eggs in a small bowl

In a hot omelet pan (preheated over medium-heat-the pan must be hot for the eggs to slide out of the pan, not stick) melt some butter (don't worry if it starts to turn brown) and put in the scrambled eggs. With a spatula  stir the eggs, pushing them down the side. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes. Put eggs under the hot broiler for 30 seconds. The eggs should be puffed up and turning light brown, even. Remove put pan on a cold burner and add the veggies to one side of the eggs and top with the cheese. Put back under the broiler for 30 to 45 seconds, until cheese is melted. Flip onto a plate, veggie side first and let the rest of the eggs fold over top.



Asparagus-around a pound this week, you may notice some spears are purple-those are the purple asparagus and they are super tender and good.
Kale-Russian White kale, a big bag. this is simple to cook-cut the center rib out and chop and steam like spinach
Spring mix-another bag of salad
Lettuce-mix of reds and greens this week
Radish-lots of little radishes. This planting of radishes never did take off and now we need them out of the ground. hopefully the later plantings will do Much better for us.
Chives-the flowers are at their peak right now and quite edible
Garlic chives-another bunch of garlic chives
Oregano-many of you got this herb about two weeks ago instead of rosemary. This is the pizza herb and is also a good herb for digestion.
Strawberries/zucchini-Since the berries likely will not make it to Thursday the Thursday group may get zephyr zucchini in their shares this week
Arugula-Eugene says there is enough to harvest. As I write this it is 5am and I have not gone out to check nor will I until after dawn. There may be arugula in the shares or there may not be

 
 

Boulder Belt farm Share Vol 1 issue 6

Mid May on the farm means a lot of weed control. Since we do not use chemicals that means a lot of mowing (which also keeps small rodents from eating the crops, and this did happen over the weekend-something took out 1/2 bed of cabbage. Don't worry we have several beds of cabbage and Eugene has now gotten the grass short AND has caught a couple of voles in the area. So he thinks the rest of the baby cabbage plants will survive) hoeing when the soils are dry enough (which they were as of yesterday) and hand pulling. Oh and tilling. Something Eugene has not been able to do in about 10 days because they ground has been too wet. You really do not want to till wet/damp ground as it destroys the structure and you get clods that are hard to break down. But now the soil has dried out enough for the the tilling to resume and hopefully by tomorrow he will have most of the untilled beds tilled and the weeds that are in them killed. Most of these beds are for Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

If you want to know what tomatoes we will have come the end of August check out my blog http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com/2009/05/boulder-belt-2009-tomato-roster.html. It's a big list of fabulous heirloom maters (mostly). Those tomatoes are still tiny and a couple of weeks away from being able to go out side. I have contact with a lot of other growers via email list serves and a few forums and we start our tomatoes about 4 to 6 weeks after most everyone else in the US (except the folks in the Dakotas) but by doing this we get to miss the cloud of RoundUp that is hovering in our air as I write this (RoundUp literally melts tomatoes). This is because the no-till farmers use the herbicide to "burn down" the weeds in their fields a day or two before planting. Than there will be another huge application the beginning of June and another late July for weed control. This is one of the reason we use a lot of row cover-it keeps the chemicals off of our produce. Unfortunately it does not keep the herbicides out of our water table so in a month I highly recommend that you drink only filtered water so you (and especially your small children) are not drinking the stuff.

Another reason we start and plant our tomatoes and peppers later than most people is because there too often is a cold period in mid to late May that will injure such tender plants and cause them to produce later and less than they should (we are going through this right now and it would not surprise me if we get another round of cold air before Memorial day). So between the chemicals and the cold weather we are glad our tomato seedlings are tiny and safe in a warm room. The pepper and eggplant seedlings are big (I start these at least 3 weeks before the tomatoes because they take longer to get to a good size, though this year they both grew faster than expected) but also in the same warm room so safe.

Besides the nightshades (the family that peppers, potatoes, maters and eggplant all belong) we have planted in the market garden beets, green beans (or maybe wax beans), potatoes, carrots, celeriac, red turnips, rutabagas, radishes, early cucumbers, early cantaloupes, more lettuce, more spring mix, early basil, early zucchini (which is flowering so we should have zukes in shares in 2 to 3  weeks), chard and a few other things. I believe we have about 2/3 of the 250+ beds filled at this point and should be about filled by June 1st.

Oh yeah a couple of things. Oxford members St Rt 732 is closed this week by Houston Woods so you will have to find another way to get here if you use 732 to get to Eaton. The signs say it will be reopened May 16th. Don't for get the potluck dinner coming up May 24th  bring food to share and something to eat it on/in/from (we do not want to use paper/plastic plates and cups and don't have enough china to supply everyone). Member Nancy Glidden has graciously offered to do a short workshop on how to use culinary herbs which I think will be useful to most everyone. This will take place right after the farm tour and before dinner (or maybe during dinner as this will be a casual event and we can nosh and learn)

Recipe

Chive Dip

1 pint sour cream
1/4 cup chives chopped fine
1 TSP thyme chopped fine
salt to taste

Mixed everything into the sour cream, let sit at least 2 hours so the flavors can blend (over night is best). set out with good tater chips

Strawberries-You get 2 pints this week (oh Joy!!). These will come and go all summer and fall as we grow Day Neutral strawberries and not the June bearing type
Asparagus-a half pound of spears. I wish we could give more but the plants are not producing as heavily as we expected. Next year will be better as we will be able to harvest some of the new area (planted spring of '08) and in 2 years we will have twice as much to harvest.
Lettuce-another bag of mixed heads-the mix this week will be a red leaf lettuce some old guy, Tom Chance, from Eaton gave us last year and marvel of 4 seasons, a french heirloom (this is a bibb type)
Chive-These are beginning to flower. The flowers are edible but tend to be on the hot side. Still they make a salad beautiful
Spring Mix-This might be mostly baby lettuce. The spring mix beds we should be harvesting have huge lettuce and the rest of the greens, despite being sowed a week before the lettuce are not growing  much at all so have been too small to cut for the past 12 days. the cool weather should be good for this stuff and hopefully I will go out this morning to find beautiful arugula, mizuna, et. al.
Leeks-This should be the last week for leeks
Cilantro
Scallions
Thyme-Very small leaves, really good in things like potato and leek soup
Tarragon-This smells like anise, leaves green and slender

 
 

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.

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 4

It's been a busy week here at the farm. I have been starting hundreds of seeds-Asian greens (something called tong ho and a bok choy), celery that was completely unplanned but Eugene found a packet with a lot of seeds so I planted several hundred. parsley that should have been started about 3 weeks ago. And 5 kinds of lettuce for late May/early June harvest. Some time this coming week I will start about 1000 tomato seeds (I plan on starting around 20 different kinds). While I have been doing all that Eugene has been mowing, tilling, direct planting seeds for things like spring mix and I believe some spinach got planted as well but I do not have high hopes for it if it does not cool down a lot and start raining. You may like temps in the high 80's in April but this is very hard on the cool weather crops. lettuce gets bitter in the heat and the spinach wants to bolt to seed, among other things.

 Because of the heat I harvested most of the spinach on Saturday morning as it was either gonna bolt to seed or die of heat and lack of water. Either way it would mean the end of that crop and no more in your shares. So I decided to harvest early so you guys can get one last week of spinach.

Okay, we have also been doing a lot of transplanting. We finished off the leeks, put in about 100 lettuce plants and another 150 of broccoli, kale and cabbage. This we did in about 3 hours. If all we had to do was simply pop seedlings into the soil 3 hours would be a leisurely pace for us, but on Boulder Belt Farm most seedlings get the following treatment. A bed is raked smooth, seedlings are put in the soil. Than they are each given a drink of water spiked with freeze dried kelp and fish (smells like the seas shore) from a watering can. Than 7 wire hoops are put in place along with 14 heavy rocks per bed (and the rocks always seem to be in another part of the market garden so there is usually a good amount of toting) and finally a row cover is stretched over the whole thing and weighted down with the rocks. The row cover protects the seedlings from wind and hail as well as from insects and keeps the moisture in the soil and leaves. Things love growing under row cover.

This week we got 6 yards of compost from up north in Union City, OH. We had ordered the compost in Feb and were told we would have it the 3rd week of March and got it Friday evening. It would have been nice to have had the compost a month ago better a month late than never. This has added to our repertoire of chores. Big pile of compost must go on all 225 beds and that has been happening too.

And on top of all this, the asparagus and strawberries are coming in and need to be harvested at least once a day. Asparagus will be plentiful this week. Tuesday folks will get a double dose of it as they got none last week. No one will get any strawberries in their share before May. While they are beginning to ripen there is no where near enough to fill 11 shares this week.

If you are paying by the month you can leave a check (or cash with an explanation of who left the money) on the counter at the store to pay for the month on May. Oh yeah, please do not toss out the jars the apple sauce came in. If you are not going to use them (I know some of you are canners) I will take them back (lids and rings too) as I go through a lot of jars in a year and I don't want to see them recycled or (ugh) land-filled. One last important note. I have just changed ISP's (and DSL after 19 or so years with dial-up) and have a new email address- boulderbelt-at-embarqmail.com. Please update your address books. I will have the old email for another month or so but after that if you use it to try to contact me your email will be sent off into a void

 

Recipe

Asparagus and Leek Salad

4 spears of asparagus

1 leek

1/2 bag of spring mic

several radishes

1/4 of the chives (or more or less depending on your taste)

Cut the asparagus into 1" pieces. Cut the leafy green part and the root off of the leek than cut length-wise (as opposed to cutting it into rounds) and cut the leek into quarters, you will end up with a lot of julienned pieces. Put the leeks and asparagus into a saute pan that is on medium heat and has a dollop of butter or olive oil melted and hot. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Remove from heat and let these cool a bit, say 5 minutes While the veggies are cooking wash and spin dry the spring mix and wash and slice the radishes. Put the greens into a salad bowl, top with the radishes and right before you are ready to serve add the cook and still warm veggies. Top with a nice vinaigrette or other favorite dressing (ranch is really good on this)

Here's what's in the shares this week (kind of a small share this week but soon there will a myriad of produce coming out of the garden. We are at the point where late winter/early spring stuff is ending and mid spring/early summer stuff is just coming in)

Green Asparagus- We also have purple which is better but we are not getting much yet but should later in May for everyone to get some

Lettuce-like last week a bag of mixed lettuces

Spring Mix

Leeks-believe it or not this is about it for the leeks. We might have them one more week after this week Chives-a nice bunch of fresh chives

Radishes-Tuesday gets D'avignon and Thursday will get easter egg which are round radishes in pink, red, white and purple

Cilantro-this is really good in Macaroni and cheese

Spinach-I believe this will be the last week for spinach until fall or next spring. We never have much luck with mid spring planted spinach.

 
 
RSS feed for Boulder Belt Eco-Farm blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll