Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Eco-Farm FSI vol 3 issue 6

 

 

Good morning,

It is raining again and this is not good. The forecast is for warm sunny days ahead, I hope this time we get more than 3 or 4 and that the days do not turn to Hot sunny days as they did last week. Going from cold to hot to cold is really hard on the crops and the farmers. And no, we do not like it when the temps go above 75F in May, or ever really. Working in temps that reach the high 80's is not fun for us Boulder Belt farmers and I really do not understand why most Americans seem to think that 85F is a nice temp (unless you are in AC all day or by a body of water). Not to mention that such high temps this time of year can ruin lettuce, spinach (though the earlier flooding pretty much did that in-we have plants and they are green but they are also stunted) and other leafy greens who react to such heat but bolting to seed and often getting very bitter.

The weather is putting us way behind schedule. We have all sorts of seedlings that need to go into the soil but it has been too wet to do much tilling and way to cold for most of the things that need to go out (peppers and eggplant) we have gotten more broccoli planted (and it looks like you will get broccoli either next week or the week after) as well as more peas and the first beans (green, French and yellow wax). And I am happy to report all the beans have germinated and should be ready to pick in another 50 to 60 days. hopefully this week we can get the first potatoes in the ground. The beds have been tilled and trenches opened so all we need to do now is chit the taters and put 'em in the trenches and rake soil over top of the spuds.
Eugene plants bean seed

I was hoping that by now we would be harvesting broccoli raab but it looks like it has failed. We have plants but they are 3 inches tall and making flower tops. they should be 2 feet tall with big leaves before they make the flowers heads. I may just harvest it and put it in your shares today as it is edible and tasty but not doing what it should do and it needs to come out of the bed. I am very disappointed about this as I really love Raab and I know some of you do too. This is part and parcel of farming during the most difficult spring we have experienced in our 17 years of doing this (and we have had some really bad springs but so far this one tops them all).

I am happy with the things we have in hoop Houses. The strawberries are producing decently (if it were sunny and warm they would triple their production and get very sweet but we take what we can get), the tomatoes are beginning to make flowers which means cherry tomatoes probably by mid June and the zucchinis and cucumber plants are growing well and should start producing in the next couple of weeks. Without the hoop houses we would have not straw berries and the cukes, zukes and maters would be at least a week away from going in the ground. So you can see we have a 4 to 6 week jump on these crops.

The cold weather has meant that asparagus production has pretty much shut down until the sun and warmth return (asparagus reacts to weather more quickly than any other plant I can think of). So the past few days we have been able to harvest up to two pounds a day. Before this cold wet weather we were harvesting up to 15 pounds 2x a day.

The cold weather also means we are not seeing a lot of pest insect pressure which makes things a bit easier, though we are not seeing many beneficial insects either and not seeing the bugs makes me worry about the birds who eat bugs and right now are trying to raise babies. I have seen a lot of dead chicks likely tossed from nests by the parents, probably because there is not enough food to feed them.

Last week I implied that I would changed this newsletter-that it would be in full html and have  photos and everything. That has not happened yet. I have been screwing around with some designs but have not found or designed anything suitable to my style so I will stick with this "format" for the time being and simply add some photos.

The shares will be ready after 4 pm and will be in the front fridge as usual. And remember this is whole shares only this week, no half shares picking up.

Recipe
Spring Salad #1


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.



What's in the Share this Week
Strawberries-a pint of berries
Spring Mix-a 6 oz bag (or maybe larger) of salad that should include arugula (the arugula in the spring mix bed we have been harvesting has not been growing well but should finally be big enough to cut today)
Lettuce-around a pound of mixed heads of lettuce
Asparagus-around a pound of a mix of green and purple spears
Chives with flowers
Garlic chives
Greens-this will either be a mix of kale and tine broccoli raabs or I will make bags of raab and bags of kale and randomly put them in bags. there is some chance that the kale grew enough since last Friday that I can get enough for everyone and there may well be enough raab to get everyone at least 1/2 pound
Leeks
-probably the last week. We are down to the dregs-the smallest of the leeks
Rhubarb-again I do not know if I have enough for everyone to have a nice bunch. The plants have not been harvested in over 10 days and have been fertilized so I hope they have started growing better
Green Garlic-I spied several garlic plants that are growing where they ought not to be so we will pull them and you should get at least 3 of them, maybe more. All parts of this are usable.
Herbs-I should be able to find 2 to 3 different herbs for your shares, likely rosemary, tarragon and savory but possibly dill and/or cilantro

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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 3 issue 2

 


 

Good Morning,

It's week 2 of the 2011 FSI and we have a wet one. We got over 3 inches of rain yesterday which caused a lot of flooding here at the farm. The top field was probably under water for a couple of hours and I noticed a lot of the pea seeds had come to the surface of the soil, where we left them as Eugene is worried that they will rot if they go back into the absolutely soaked soil. This is a part of farming-the wet-that we do not like but is absolutely necessary. Without all this spring rain things will not grow properly and this rain recharges our aquifers so that in summer when normally it is droughty around here we have ground water with which to water our crops and ourselves. And over the many years I have done this, rain, even extremely heavy rains, rarely do much damage to the crops. But they do make them dirty and the fresh herbs and kale you get today will likely come to you in an unwashed state. The spinach and lettuce are washed as they were harvested several days ago when I took out all the spinach and a couple of beds of lettuce as it was time to do so before these crops bolted to seed and were ruined for eating. This will happen from time to time-We will harvest several days early for you guys because of conditions. Either the crop must come out or be lost due to going to seed, trying to split, etc., or because of weather (we don't harvest in heavy rain, for example). This week we got a combination of these reasons.

here is a short video I shot and put on my blog that shows the height of the flooding http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com/2011/04/april-showers.html
The water had all drained away within 2 hours, BTW

I had hoped to include asparagus in your shares this week but the asparagus Gods decided that this year the asparagus would have to wait until week 3 of the FSI before there would be enough. last year we had asparagus the first week of the FSI. this year it is a lot later. I have been able to harvest 1.5 pounds over the past 3 days which has meant we have been able to eat some asparagus but soon we should get around 20 pounds a day. We are simply waiting for the conditions to get warmer and a bit dryer so the 'gus goes wild. I hope this occurs before next week so you guys start getting some.

Another crop you can expect in the next 2 to 3 weeks is strawberries. We have a hoop house full of Albion strawberry plants in full bloom and I saw at least 20 berries forming on those plants. Yes Strawberries, about 6 weeks early due to our expertise at season extension. We found out years ago that putting a hoophouse over the strawberries in March will allow them to break dormancy and start producing in late April/early May and this also protects them from all freezes that we get in spring. Last year we did not have early berries because we decided to change the kind of strawberries we do and thus bought all new plants last spring and killed the old ones (they were quite old and it was their time). Thus we planted the new berries in spring and than had to remove all the flowers that appeared on them until Early July in order to encourage root/crown growth. Than we found the beds we put these plants into were full of grubs (mainly japanese Beetle grubs) and the grubs had a great time feasting on the roots of the berry plants and eventually killed about 65%. We in the end killed off about 90% of the grubs (and don't expect a repeat of this as there has been landscape fabric over the soil for a year now, the beetles won't lay their eggs on plastic and the few grubs that survived from last year should be adult beetles this year). We allowed the plants to put out runners (something we don't let them do normally as runners really cut down the yield potential in everbearing/day neutral strawberries. With the June bearing types, the runners are essential to keep the patch going on to the next year) and saved those runners, put them in pots and kept them growing over winter and last month put those plants in where they were needed so we are back up to 250 plants, more or less. We also planted 300 more everbearing strawberry plants in another location that will be bearing fruit in late July about 2 weeks ago. This variety is Seascape. The berries should be large and sweet. I am looking forward to a good berry year as we have not had one in several years.

Other crops to expect over the coming weeks D'avignon radishes, broccoli, more kale (but from new plants, the kale you have been enjoying is all from last years plants that over wintered), rhubarb, broccoli, cabbage, spring mix, arugula, broccoli raab (though we have had a dickens of a time starting this crop this spring and thought we would be harvesting some in a week or two. But it looks like mid May before we get any), green onion, green garlic, garlic scapes, more spinach, beets, baby lettuce, cilantro, etc..

This Saturday I am expecting a visit from one of my best friends from High School whom I have not seen in almost 30 years. It turns out he runs a CSA farm in Minnesota with his son and is in the area doing a talk at Miami University for a mutual friend's class on environmental subjects and so I emailed him and invited him out to see our farm. I am quite excited about this. Not only to see him but we so seldom get another farmer out here and it will be fun to pick his well educated brain about our strengths and weaknesses.

Expect the shares to get bigger each week from here on out

This week is full shares only. The shares will be ready after 4 pm today and can be picked up until Saturday morning

Sorry no recipe this week.

What's in the Share This Week
Spinach
-1/2 pound bag
Lettuce-At least 1/2 pound of mixed heads
Scallions-a bunch of 5 scallions (these are different than a green onion, BTW, green onions are baby onions that have not yet made a onion bulb. Scallions never make a bulb. And, as a matter of fact, many of these scallions are sexually mature and were pulled right before they made flowers (they went in last fall)
Onion Chives-a nice bunch, should be bigger than last week
Garlic Chives-see above
Garlic-you will get several. These are at the end of their lives and want to sprout (or rot) so keep them in the fridge where it is dark and cold (like winter) and be sure to cut t=he green sprout out before using or they will be bitter and no one wants bitter garlic.
Garlic powder-you get a small bag of our our powerful good garlic powder that we make from our garlic
Dried Sage-a jar of dried sage. sage is excellent with poultry and cheese dishes as well as any sausage based dish. this is whole leaf and to make "rubbed sage" simply rub it between your palms.
Kale-at least 1/2 pound of mixed kale
Tarragon-a small bag of fresh tarragon. Tarragon has an anise flavor that goes great with tomato based dishes
Leeks-you get a leek, maybe two
Parsley-you get a small bag of fresh Italian parsley which is great in about any savory dish.

 
 

Boulder Belt Winter Share vol 4 issue 3

It's farm share day. I hope you have eaten your way through the last share by now.

Several significant things have happened in the passed day or so. First we got more rain and than winter showed up again so today it looks like some light snow. This will not affect your share this week as we harvested everything for it Monday when it was warm and nice out (and this allowed us to wash everything as well so not too much mud on things, but there will be a bit). Winter means things happen more slowly. The crops grow much more slowly and we farmers work more slowly, often due to mud, ice and snow (hard to work quickly when one's feet keep slipping). The cold will start impacting your shares in the weeks ahead. As I mentioned, things grow glacially slow in winter (yes that was a pun) and even the protected crops will get wind and cold burns. We are planning on harvesting all the carrots, rutabagas, hamburg parsley (this is a root crop) and parsnips in the next week or so so they do not freeze in the ground and get ruined (not to mention the fact one does not dig roots out of hard frozen ground). This will leave the hardy leafy greens, most of which need to get hoop houses over them, as the crops left in the ground. My hope is the weather will be mild enough (meaning it gets up to the low 40's during the day and does not get colder than 17 at night) that the greens can continue to grow for another 3 to 4 weeks before they either die of cold or go dormant until late Feb. If we get hit with some truly frigid temps than the greens will probably stop early and the shares will be all things that have been stored for winter use. As it is, they are doing well and growing because we are finally getting the rain we needed several months ago


Second, the big food bill running through the Senate, S510 was voted on and passed yesterday morning. There has been an incredible amount of fear mongering about this bill. Wild claims that back yard gardening, seed saving, Organic farming, cooking at home, etc.. will all be shut down. None of these things will happen but there was worry that farms such as Boulder Belt, that sell direct to their customers would have to either shut down or invest quite a bit of money in infrastructure to get farm packing sheds up to FDA code. Plus they would have to keep more records and get annual inspections (actually, pretty similar to what the certified Organic farmers have to do). But because of the Tester-Hagan Amendment all farms who make under $500K, sell at least 51% of their crops direct and sell within a 249 mile radius of their farm are exempt from this bill. But from what I am still reading on the web by the nay-sayers it is still a huge disaster. I guess they all forget that the industrial food stream is corrupt and dirty and needs to be cleaned up ASAP. And this bill should go a long way in doing just that. I will note that before the Tester-Hagan amendment was attached to the bill the big food and farm corps were all for this passing because they saw it as a way to get rid of us little sustainable guys who are taking over 1% of their business. But once it was firmly attached, about 3 days before the vote, all the big industrial food and farm corps suddenly did a 180 degree turn and were against it. This tells me the bill when it becomes law has teeth and will clean up their acts.

The 3rd thing going on today is Tuttle the kitten is getting neutered. he is almost 6 months old and it is time. Looks like we got this done before the dreaded spraying started. We have lots of hoop house plastic that has been well marked by male cats we have had over the years. the smell stays active for at least 5 years. tuttle has been learning all about hunting mice and voles and will be an important part of our pest control come late winter and early spring when the voles and mice start to get active and will eat entire plantings of  seedlings and will move freshly planted pea seeds and hoard them under row covers. but between Tuttle, mouse traps, Nate (who is a very enthusiastic but rather inefficient voler/mouser) and us humans we should be able to keep the vermin under decent control. This also means we may not be home around 4pm as That should be about when he will be ready to come home.

Pick up after 4 pm today. Like last time expect two bags of produce (unless you have provided a really big bag and got just one bag last pick up) If your bags are not in the front of the store than go to the back and look in the huge silver fridge. Any bags not picked up by 7pm today will go there so that they do not freeze. You see, we do not heat the store building and when it goes into the mid 20's bags of produce on the floor will tend to freeze (they are fine when it is in the high 20's outside as the store generally stays about 10 degrees above the outside temp). But the fridge keeps everything well above freezing and in good shape. This is just more of the differences between doing a winter CSA and a Spring/summer/fall CSA


Don't forget if you sign up for next year's FSI before Jan 1st you get a mighty nice discount. We are already filling up spaces for next year so act soon (and if you are not doing next year please let me know ASAP)

Recipe

This week we feature radishes. I know some of you are not keen on radishes but this recipe makes use of a lot of them and is good for those of us who do not fully appreciate the radish (and I happen to be in this camp. I am not a radish fan but I love this recipe, who knew radishes could replace cabbage in a slaw recipe?)

Radish Cole Slaw (we can still call this cole slaw because radishes are a member of the cole crop (AKA Brassica) family

4+ cups of  radishes (this would be around 6 bunches)
1 small red onion
1 clove of garlic
several carrots (like 1 cup when shredded)
1 cup mayo
1 TBL sugar
1 TBL rice vinegar (or balsamic)
1 tsp celery seed
1 TBL olive oil
salt to taste

Also good in this are parsley, raw beets, walnuts and cucumber

Get out the food processor or a grater and put the radishes, onion and carrots through, using the shredding blade. Put all this in a bigger bowl than you would think you would need and add the mayo, oil, sugar, vinegar and the rest except the garlic. The garlic needs to either be put through a press or minced into garlic foam with a micro-planer. Add that to the radish mix and stir well. Put in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors can meld (but 4+ hours is best). This will store in your fridge for about 14 days.

What's in the Share

Spring Mix 6 oz bag
Arugula-1/4 pound bag
Leeks-2 winter leeks that are about 1/3 the size they should be thanks to the drought
Carrots-1.5 pounds of rainbow carrots
Potatoes-around 2 pounds of mixed potatoes
Sweet Potatoes-1 pound of yams
Red Onion 1.5 pounds of red onions (or it may be a mix of red and yellow). The red are a nice all purpose onion-can be cooked or eaten raw on sandwiches or in salads. the yellow is for cooking only unless you have a gut of iron.
Garlic 3 corms
Napa-at least 3/4 pound of Napa!
Broccoli Raab-A small bag as I was not able to harvest as much as i thought I could because much had gotten some pretty bad frost and wind damage due to their row cover coming off in the chilly and very windy night Sunday/Monday. Eugene reports that yesterday's rain has improved the raab greatly and it will be even better when we get a hoop house over top of it. We are hoping this will grow through January. We have never grown this in winter but it is supposed to be one of the hardiest of the winter greens, rivaling, if not surpassing, Kale. So far, though it has not been all that hardy. You get 1/2 pound
Bok Choy-if this is not the last week for it the next pick up certainly will be as the choy's are not very cold hardy and I noticed this stuff is beginning to make broccoliesque flowers. You get 3/4 pounds
Radish-you will get lots of radishes this week in order to make the recipe. not to mention we harvested most of them about 10 days ago and they need to be used (even though they will store without tops for at least 8 weeks in the fridge). You get 12 bunches
Rutabaga-like a turnip only better. Great in soups, stews and good roasted with other root veggies. You get a pound
Winter squash-a couple of acorn squash and a butternut
Tomatoes-several pounds of ripe maters and perhaps some green ones as well. You get 3 pounds
Celeriac-the ugly lumpy things that once cleaned and prepped are fantastic. use as you would celery, after all it is celery root.
Pears-6+ pears
Strawberries-you get a tiny box of berries. I wish there were more but as i have mentioned it was a rough strawberry year for us and we rarely had anywhere near enough to supply our FSI members. And now, as of  yesterday, the berry season is all done. Even with a hoop house and row covers most of the berries were freezing and turing into mold factories infecting all around them. And we know from lots exp that when that starts to happen it is time to put the berries to sleep for the winter. the good news is all the new plants we started from runners are working and we should have 2x+ more next year as this year.
Peppers-there will be some jalapenos (get out the popper recipe or make a chili with 'em) and some not hot green and ripe bells (on the small side and probably not the best quality)
Beets-a mix of red beets, yellow beets and even a few chioggia
Lettuce-a bag with 2 heads of heirloom lettuce.

Boulder Belt Winter Share vol 4 issue 2

Greetings,

It's CSA day (Woo Hoo!) and we have a larger share in store this week than 2 weeks ago. That one I made a bit smaller than I liked because of the drought conditions as well as getting a handle on how much food we have already harvested like onions, winter squash, garlic, potatoes, etc.. vs what we have growing still in the market garden. Not to mention, I had just gotten back from DC and the Jon Stewart Rally and, frankly, did not have my Farmer Head on at that time (I even missed taking a photo of the share for posterity and Face Book). This share is far better thought out and will be bigger (though not so big that you cannot use everything in 2 weeks) than last week

So, we got rain for hours yesterday, we got a whole inch! This will a positive effect on the plants still growing like lettuce, spring mix, bok choy, Napa, leeks. And especially the 3000 garlics we planted last Thursday and Friday into very dry (but not totally dry because we have improved our soil the 5 years we have been here and have added enough Organic matter that the soils are holding moisture even in very dry conditions). Without a good rain coming at exactly the time it came we would have been stressing over the garlic all winter. But we got the rain and know that the garlics will be fine and should grow beautifully through the winter and spring. Normally we would have planted the garlic about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than we did but things came up that kept pushing the chore back. Than we got coldish weather and decided to wait until last week and lucked out in that we got to plant garlic for about 12 hours in complete comfort. Usually it is rather wet and cold when we do this and we are usually quite muddy afterward, but not this year. This year it was bone dry and in the low 70's, can't beat that.

We still need another 8 or 9 such rainfalls in the next month to break this drought (we are down over 7" of rain, even with this rain event yesterday). This time of year I guess we should expect the rain to come as snow part of the time. This is fine with us as snow makes a super winter mulch that over wintered crops just love and, of course, it adds moisture to the soil so that in spring. though the down side is wet heavy snows (or over 10" of drier snow) will bring down the hoop houses. Now, when this happens, the plants inside the hoop houses don't mind because they always get covered in a wonderful and thick snow mulch. But the hoops and plastic generally get quite beaten up and too often cannot be repaired and must be replaced which costs money. Fortunately, this does not happen to us every winter even though we do keep our hoop houses sheathed in plastic every winter. And we see this as one of the costs of doing the business we do as well as pushing the envelope of season extension using no artificial heat sources.

Okay, I need to talk about the upcoming FSI season which will start Mid April. It is my hope you will a be member in 2011. On my web site I talk about substantial discounts ($675 for a full season vs $730) OR a payment plan for those who sign up before Jan 1st. My offer to you today is you can take advantage of both - a substantial discount AND a payment plan (3 payments due the first of the month of  $225). Why am I doing this? because I really appreciate my CSA members and I want to make it as non-onerous as possible for you to rejoin the Boulder Belt FSI in 2011. Oh yeah, and because our farmers market season was way down for us this past year (sales were down a good 33%) we are in need of off season money so we can do things like pay for seed orders, Property taxes and US Income tax. That's the big bill for us as we are considered entrepreneurs and thus usually have a $3K to $4K check we have to write to the IRS. And of course we have to pay this at the time of year we are making the least amount of income. Living cheaply, being good savers and staying out of debt allows us to be able to handle these debts as long as we have a decent growing year and decent sales. unfortunately this did not happen this year. Our CSA, farm store and farmers market revenues were all down for us this year so for the first time in over a decade we are gonna have to depend on early FSI/CSA payments to get through the winter and get all our obligations paid.

I hope you all are planning on great Thanksgiving feasts and using some local foods in those feasts. I am hosting parts of my family plus friends for turkey day. I will be roasting a pastured Certified Organic Turkey from Morning Sun farms near Gratis and will prepare mashed taters from our potatoes along with several other dishes that will come from our farm. My sister in law will bring food from non local sources, my Brother in law will probably do 1/2 and 1/2 with his food and the rest of  the family that is coming for the event are coming in from out of town, don't cook and could care less about locavorism (heavy sigh...). But I will make comments about the fact many things at the table are local and why that is important and likely be told to shut up (because family members are generally honest to a fault).

One last thing-there have been several news stories lately about nasty germs growing in the bottoms of our reuseable bags. So I suggest strongly, that you wash them out before returning them to the farm (or at least dump out the debris that build up in them). We don't want anyone getting sick, though, I suppose because I am not packing meat products, nor industrial produce into the bags there are really not many pathogens that could grow in them. And you should be washing pretty much everything before you eat it, anyways.

Okay, shares will be available after 4pm and can be picked up any time between than and 7 am Saturday morning

Recipe

Chinese Cabbage/Napa Lettuce Sauté


1/2 pound (or more, basically a whole bag) of Napa, cleaned and chopped
1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
2 Italian sausages (if vegetarian, replace with your favorite meatless sausage), cooked than sliced into pieces. About 1/2 pound
2 TBL Olive oil
1 TBL Sesame Oil
1 or 2 garlic cloves either put through a press or micro-plane (they need to be finely processed)


Pre heat a big frying or sauté pan and cook up the sausages. When they are done remove them from the pan and let them cool. In the same pan using the drippings from the sausages, add some olive oil (or butter or any other oil) and than the onions and cook them, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Than add the Napa/Chinese cabbage and cook that for about 4 to 5 minutes. While the greens are cooking slice the sausages and add them to the pan (they need enough time to heat up again and for the flavors to marry to the greens) and than add the garlic and sesame oil and cook for another couple of minutes and you are all done and it is time to eat.

What's In The Share

Rutabaga-these are a close relative of the turnip but have a richer, milder flavor. I use these mainly for soups and stews-simply peel them and chop into 1/2" cubes and add to a soup or other long cooking dish and these add great flavor. they are also good to roast with other root veggies.
Napa Lettuce/Chinese Cabbage-is it a lettuce or a cabbage? It is neither and thus has two stupid names that make this the most confusing green we grow. It is most closely related to cabbages but it is really a mild mustard green and is not at all related to lettuce but I think got that moniker because in the 80's and 90's it was a popular salad green along with romaine and iceberg lettuce (I know when I was a pantry cook I used a lot of it in the salad greens base until that restaurant started using a beautiful locally grown Spring mix that ultimately got me into market farming)
Lettuce-you will get around 3/4 pound of lettuce in the form of two heads of a deep red oak leaf and either a red and green leaf or a red and green butterhead
Kale-1/2 pound of either rainbow or White russian kale (or a mix of the two, which is the most likely as the Kale has been hit hard by the drought and as of last Friday was in the process of dying. But this rain should fix things up nicely)
Spring Mix-1/2 pound bag.
Arugula-1/3 pound bag
Cucumbers-these are coming out of a low tunnel and this will likely be the only time you get any. These are very nice Armenian cukes which are burpless and very sweet and mild. Due to the drought and cool temps these are not as big as they should be. you get 2 medium sized cukes. Enjoy
Beets-Likely a mix of red, yellow and chioggia (pink) beets. These will probably be on the small side again so I will try to make the bunches ample. remember the greens are quite edible and tasty (chard is basically beet greens).
Celeriac-the ugliest thing we grow. But the flavor is soo good. Use these as you would celery (well, peel them first). You get 2 bunches and they would be excellent in a turkey stuffing/dressing.
Potatoes-You will get 2 pounds of taters but at this point I don't know what kinds (it will likely be a mix)
Tomatoes-we should be getting tomatoes for at least 2 more pick ups. You will get a couple of pounds of 'em.
Green tomatoes-we have a lot and they can be oh so useful and tasty. You will get 4 to 5 of various sizes (about a pound) in this share
Carrots-you will get 1 pound of the rainbow carrots. There is some chance that many will be split as the beds we are digging were a bit too mature to survive all the rain without splitting. But because it was so dry and the soil will have taken up a huge % of the water. Plus the carrots themselves were dehydrated and should have been able to take in much more water than well hydrated mature carrots could. We will know later this morning when the carrots are harvested
Garlic-you get three corms
Yellow Onions-you get 1.5 pounds of  yellow cooking onions
Leeks-2 big winter leeks. I made a mighty tasty potato and leek soup with these last night.
Sweet Peppers-you get 5+ peppers. This is probably the last week for the peppers as they have been off the plant for almost 4 weeks and are getting well past their prime. Not to mention, they are getting really small. But they still taste good.
Butternut Squash-1 medium butternut
Seminole Squash-this looks like a pumpkin crossed with a butter nut but in fact is a rare heirloom squash that was invented by the Seminole Indians of the SE USA (and they are the only sovereign tribe in America as they refused to sign any and all treaties). Eugene has been trying to grow this for the past 6 years and finally this year it worked. the lesson here is it is quite hard to grow things in Ohio that are native to Florida but it can be done with enough patience and perseverance.
Sage-I am sorry you won't get a lot as the plants are on their last legs but not from drought. Rather these plants are about 4 years old and that is the life span of sage. this means this coming spring we will need to start new seedlings to go into the herb garden. At any rate, sage is one of THE poultry herbs (rosemary being the other) and essential for turkey and stuffing/dressing.
Parsley-you will get a nice bunch of this versatile herb
Radish-you will get a mixed bunch of d'Avignon and Easter egg radishes
Sweet Potatoes-you get a pound. I wish it were more but we are limited on how much we have available. Do know we do not sell these at any other venue but the farm share. Also know we farmers love our Sweet Taters and that is where they are going (other than to you)
Parsnips-1 pound. if you have not roasted these do it-they are amazing.
Pears-2 pounds of sweet hard keiffer pears. It looks like these will last through next month


 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 27 (week 27)

 

 

This is it, the last share of the 2010 FSI season. We all made it through and we should be proud of our locavore accomplishment. It is not easy to be in a CSA as an American eater as we American eaters are all about convenience and price and CSA tend to be neither cheap nor convenient. Not to mention, we small diversified foodie farmers like to grow unusual food than most people have never heard of much less ever eaten. Being a CSA member will certainly broaden one's food horizons.

We started off the year with 5 members and that is how we finished. At the height of the season we got up to 8 members. I really had planned on triple that number but I am glad we kept the number under 10 as from mid August up to now we have had a kind of hard time finding enough food to fill shares as the drought has badly impacted the market garden. It got so bad that we closed the farm store down in September so we had enough food to fill your shares and have things to take to the farmers market on Saturday in order to keep income incoming and if  the FSI were much larger we would have quit the farmers market as well. I am glad we did not have to make that choice because we really need the weekly income we get from the farmers market to keep on going. And as it is our income is down about 40% this year due to bad growing conditions but we will persevere. it does help to know that most of you are planning on rejoining our FSI for the 2011 season. You have no idea how much easier it is for us when this happens and we do not have to start a membership drive from scratch. This also means you can have a voice in what we plant next year (to a point, there are somethings, like bananas, we cannot grow around here and other things like Okra we will no longer grow-I am very allergic to it and it does not like being this far north so it grows very badly for us). If there is something you would like to see us grow let us know about it and we will see what we can do. That said, let us know before Thanksgiving as that is when we will be doing our seed orders so we can get them in before Christmas so the seeds we want are not already sold out. That's right, we market growers really have to jump the gun to get what we want and we are usually all done with our seed orders (and usually well into seed starting) by the time the home gardener catalogs are mailed out.

One thing you guys did not get was strawberries. Our strawberry season sucked for of a couple reasons. 1) we went with a new variety, Albion, with which we were not familiar so we had no idea what it would do for us. 2) we planted the strawberries in a spot we thought would be great but it turned out to be a rather bad spot on the farm and thus the plants have been attacked all summer by root eating grubs, berry eating voles and leaf eating caterpillars. this has meant that over 50% of the plants died on us this summer and that has greatly impacted the harvest. We should have been getting 30+ pints a week but instead we are lucky to get 10 pints a week and there was rarely enough to put in everyone's shares (I believe 1 or 2 times you guys got strawbs). And of course the lack of rain has been hard on the berries. They do get drip irrigation many times a week plus hand watering/foliar feeding and this is keeping them in production but it is not allowing them to thrive as much as they can. 3) we did not order and plant seedlings last fall in order to get them established so by April they are ready to produce fruit. Instead we ordered them in late winter, planted in early spring and had to remove all the flowers until late June (so the plants put energy into root and crown formation and not into berry production). This meant we zero berries until Mid July which is when the rains stopped and than it got hard for the plants to produce berries. 4) we did not plant enough. We ordered 250 plants and put out most of them in the spring but now realize we needed 400 to 500 plants to make any money and have ample berries.

This fall we will be planting at least 100 additional plants from runners we have been encouraging. I believe, when it is all said and done, we will get an additional 300 plants in the ground before winter comes. All from runners the mother plants put out. This will save us a bit of money (though strawberries are not very expensive, around 25¢ a plant if you order several hundred) and we should end up with plants that are well acclimated to our local environment. At any rate, Eugene says we have over 100 runner seedlings and I pointed out that at least 100 more have rooted into the aisle-ways in the berry patch, many being hidden under the landscape fabric mulch. So it looks like we will have plenty to play with and next year you guys will get plenty of strawberries in your shares.

Of course, this is the thing with CSA, seasons change from year to year and there is no telling what will do well and what won't. And this is something to keep in mind if you make requests for next year. We can plant it but that does not mean it will grow well (or conversely it may grow so well that everyone, including the requester, gets sick of the crop). But seeing as how both Eugene and I are really, really bad at predicting what the weather conditions will be 6 months out we just have to wing it every year like all the other farmers and take our chances.


Okay, as usual, your shares will be ready after 4pm today until 7 am Saturday morning. I noticed a lack of reusable bags this week so it looks like everyone will be packed in plastic shopping bags. these will have your name on it. please look for your name and take that bag as this lets me know who is picking up and who is not (well, unless all bags are gone, than I know everyone picked up and I don't have send out a reminder)


What's In the Share

Potatoes-around a pound of potatoes, you might get blue, Russian fingerling (small, yellow flesh), Pontiac Red (small red skin, white flesh) Kennebec White (white skin and flesh) or German Butterball (round yellow skin and flesh). I might even mix 'em up
Sweet Potatoes-at least 1/2 pound but likely closer to a pound. these have been super sweet
Peppers-more sweet peppers, probably more than 6 of them
Radishes without greens-a bunch of 6 to 8 Easter egg/d'Avignon radishes
Beets-around a pound of the 3 Grex beets that must come out of their bed. the greens look like excrement so I will likely remove them
Spring Mix-Finally this is ready for eating. This should have been ready a month ago, had the weather been at all reasonable. Oh well, better late than never. if you have not had our salad mix it is a mix of baby lettuces, mizuna, tat soi, red giant mustard and arugula, all cut at a small stage of life.
Pears-you will get another 8 or so pears which is around 3 pounds
Apples- another couple of pounds of apples
Tomatoes-we have maters ripening slowly in the store as we picked a lot last week when we were told erroneously that we would get a frost. So some of them will be ready to eat and some will need a few days. if you are in the winter share you will get better maters as we have an entire hoop house filled with plants filled with big green maters (which should start ripening any day now)
Red Onion-1/2+ pound of  small red onions. These would go well on top of the spring mix
Garlic-2 corms of garlic

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 26 (week 26)

 

 

Greenings and Saladations,

We have just two weeks left in the season which makes me happy and sad (I guess one could call that bittersweet). I am happy to be through what turned out to be one of the hardest seasons we have ever had. But not the hardest, that would be 2000 when it was hotter (several days above 100F) and drier and we were still renting a farm with no barns. That year our CSA members turned on us because they though because we were doing both a farmers market and a CSA we were shorting them on food because there was so little to distribute. In hindsight we probably should have dropped the farmers market so there was no perceived conflict but if we had I seriously doubt we would still be farming as doing so would have meant that we would have had to taken off farm jobs because we would have had zero income for many, many months (like August through April). I also remember that year coming back from a farmers market and finding 1 dead and one almost dead chicken struggling to make it to the waterer and shade. it was over 105F that afternoon and the hens were not dealing with the heat well. All we could do for them was supply shade, cold water and fans (which usually didn't do much as the dominant hens would take up all the room right in front of the fans and block all breeze to the birds behind them. Chickens are not the most generous of beings, kind of like humans in oh so many ways.) And that day it was not enough for two of them. I wish the story had a happy ending and I could say we saved the second bird but even after being put in cool than cold than ice water to get her core temp down as well as a valiant attempt at hydrating her she still succumbed. And the garden through September was in about the same condition. But eventually the rains came, the season ended and 2001 was better.

I am happy to say that this year was a lot better than 2000 even though I believe the weather extremes, over all, were worse. There are several reasons for this. One; we have 10 more years of farming experience under our belts which makes a huge difference. In 2000 we had been farming just 6 years and IIRC we were certified organic at the time and that had to have been our first full season of being certified Organic, as opposed to being in Transition to Organic (where you have to do everything as if you are certified-fill out the application, develop a crop rotation, have a farm map, use all Organic inputs, have soil improvement plant, etc., but you are not and thus cannot use the "O" word). Two; We are on another, better farm that has things like barns (the "starter farm" that we rented for 13 years had 2 small sheds that we stuffed as much into as we could and any farm stuff that could not fit in the sheds was stored in the house-out of  7 rooms in that house 3 were used for farm stuff. The computer room, for example, was also where seedlings were started and chicks were brooded. And we would keep the occasional sick hen in that room as well). Now we have lots of out buildings and much more room and that makes our job a whole lot easier to do. Also the old farm had weeds from Hell. For years we did not realize this, but the conventional grain farmer that farmed 20 of the 30 acres on that farm assured us that that farm was by far the weediest he or his father had ever seen (and we are talking about 60+ years of farming exp.). So when we moved to this farm we discovered that that guy was right. This farm has hardly any weeds in comparison (which is not to say we have no weeds, there are lots of weeds here but nothing like the old place). Three; This farm is far far better organized. This is because when we moved here we had learned how to lay out a farm. the old farm was a nightmare as far as organization because we had to work around our landlords' projects (they were into planting black walnuts all over the fields). Plus, while we ultimately managed 10 acres on that farm, this 10 acres was meted out over a 7 year period so we were always adding new land to our farming scheme (this drove our Organic certifier nuts) and the area was ever more sprawling so that eventually it covered about a mile of land. This farm has few of these problems. We own it so we do not have to deal with remote landlords, the market garden is laid out logically and is as compact as possible so we do not waste hours every day walking to a from areas and we do not have black walnut trees growing near the beds causing all sorts of growing issues (FYI, black walnuts contain a chemical called Jugalone that is a strong herbicide and kills most things that try to grow near these trees)

The next two weeks are easier for us as we are down a couple members. This is a good thing as the lack of rain-okay, we have had several very light rains the past 10 days but it has been nowhere near enough-even with supplemental watering, has meant our yields are going down which has meant is has gotten harder and harder to find enough stuff to fill 8 shares without getting too much into what we will need for the winter shares. I had hoped to supply you guys with either lettuce or spring mix this week but sadly, that stuff is not yet ready to harvest. In past years, you guys would have gotten such salad greens for the past 4 to 6 weeks (as well as several kinds of Asian greens, which are planted and growing but like the lettucy things, not ready) but with little rain that ain't happening this year. You also should have been sick of cilantro by now but not this year as we can barely get it to germinate (and we have zero volunteer cilantro this year-in past years by now we would have had several hundred plants popping up around the farm. The only volunteers we have found are coming up in a potted avocado and even with decent watering and being in shade they are barely growing)

As usual, the shares will be ready after 4 pm today. If you are planning on being in the winter share program I need to know ASAP (like today!) as we have only 2 spots left. 4 of you have already committed. I had hoped to be able to sell 15 shares this season but the growing conditions have been so bad that I cut it back to 6 memberships which doesn't even leave enough room for all our current main season members. It would also be helpful if you can tell me if you are going to join next season. I have already heard from 4 people and I am thrilled that you guys are all coming back next season. In the past, I have had a very hard time retaining members from year to year and have generally  had to start from square one each season. But as I have said in past newsletters, you guys really get this concept. That is a very rare thing.

Recipe
Jalapeno Poppers


This is to make up for all the hot peppers I have distributed in the shares this summer that it seems many of you have no idea what to do with. I love poppers and they are easy to make.

10 or more jalapenos cut in half lengthwise (pole to pole). Scape out the seeds and ribs with a spoon (I suggest wearing gloves so your hands don't get hot)
about a 1/2 cup of softened cream cheese
1 small sweet onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic mashed or finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small red peppers finely chopped
salt to taste
1 cup (or so) of bread crumbs
1 TBL melted butter
1/8 cup chopped cilantro

Pre heat your oven to 350F. In a bowl mix the cheeses, peppers, onions, garlic, etc together. In another bowl mix the bread crumbs, butter and cilantro together. take a jalapeno half and fill it with the cheese mix and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat this until all the pepper halves are filled. Than top with the bread crumbs and pop in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.

What's in the share
Pears
-more yummy pears. probably 6 to 8 of 'em
Garlic-2 corms of Music garlic. This is a great roasting garlic
Apples-Dr Matthews apples once again. These do need washing before eating. expect at least 6 in your share
Winter squash-It looks like you will get a couple of acorn squash this week. Like all winter squash these are easily baked-350F oven, split in half, remove seeds and bake 25 to 30 minutes face down on a cookie sheet. The seeds are also delicious baked (this is what "pumpkin" seeds are BTW)
Arugula-a bag of the zesty salad green
Tomatoes-more heirloom tomatoes. despite the weather the plants keep producing at a slow pace.
Kale/chard-I think you will all get kale this week but we may be a bit short so if you find a bag of chard in your share that is why
Eggplant-you get around 1/2 pound of some gnarly looking small aubergines. I tried some last night and they are decent. Probably the last if the year
Leeks-I have not decided if you will get the skinny summer/fall Lincoln leeks or the fat fall/winter/spring leeks called King Sieg. Either way there will be a leek or two in your share.
Peppers-Several sweet bell peppers
Jalapenos-at least 10 in your share and now you have a use for them.

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 23 (week 23)

 

 

Greenings and Saladations!

It's week 23, just 2 more weeks for the people who have bought 4 week shares (you guys are getting a bonus week as there are 5 weeks in Sept and you paid for 4 of them)  and 4 more weeks for the 3 month and full season members. Last year we would have had another 8 weeks to go which, considering the growing conditions, would not have been a great thing and I noticed by about the beginning of October most of our members were getting really burned out, as were we). But last year we had great growing conditions in the fall (and summer-2009 was a great growing season overall) and so had a lot of food both in shear amounts and diversity. This year not so much, though I gotta say, even with the dry conditions hitting us hard (we ate not officially in a drought yet and may never get there if we are fortunate) we still have a lot of food to distribute to you guys. We don't have a lot of food to sell at the farmers market which is a concern as this is the time of year we should make the most money so we can get through winter and have enough money to pay mortgage, utilities, property taxes, state and federal income taxes, insurances, etc.. Yes, just like the rest of you, we farmers have a whole passel of bills and debt that must be paid. Unlike you, we don't get a weekly (regular) paycheck in the winter so we must make enough money during the main season to put into savings in order to get through the winter. And in addition to the laundry list of debts we also have to buy seed, fertilizers, row covers, irrigation supplies, etc., over the winter so we will be pretty broke by the time farmers market season comes around in 2011 (even with selling FSI shares). It happens and we will weather the storm as we are fiscally very conservative, i.e. we know how to live very cheaply.

Doing the winter farm shares will help some and getting many early FSI sign-ups for 2011 will help (yes, that is a hint). So, yes, we are going to do the winter share program. If you are interested (and I know two of you are) consider yourself in the program. If anyone else wants to continue to eat local food November through January contact me ASAP as I have to severely limit who can be in this this winter. I was hoping to do 15 to 20 members this season but will be able to do only half that number

As you know, I have been on the fence about doing the winter shares but decided that the crops we are hand watering are doing pretty well and the stuff Eugene plants does germinate so it looks like we will have plenty of food (not as much as past years but enough). Yes, the fall cropping season appears right now the be far better than expected. Granted, it is taking twice as much work to keep things alive and happy but that is a part of farming-some years are relatively easy and very bountiful some years are really hard and not very bountiful. This is a hard year.

The last time we experienced such a dry and hot year was 14 years ago, the year we got married. That year we used the excuse of our wedding to stop farming and marketing in early September (our wedding was the 14th). As we were newbies to the farming biz back than, we had not yet gotten into major season extension or CSA's. Having a CSA means you are committed to providing food for the duration (unless you get an act of God like a tornado ripping through the farm) so cannot capriciously take off from work and just stop for no good reason. Season extension is kinda the same thing. You get crops started to go through winter and you have to care for them through the fall/winter/spring. Okay, it's not like caring for livestock, which needs care daily, as the crops can be ignored for days on end especially during Jan/Feb. I believe we had started fooling with row covers and may have even had a small hoop house but nothing on the level we do today (5+ hoop houses and miles of row cover used). So taking off from farming in mid September was doable for us (we also paid little to no rent, heated with wood so the utility bills were always under $70 a month, put up and root cellared most of the food we ate (still do), paid no land taxes, etc., so we lived really cheaply). That is no longer an option as we have embroiled ourselves into farm ownership and deeply into season extension of crops and now cannot fathom not growing and marketing through the winter. And I gotta say since we eat this food also, there is little better than eating a freshly harvested salad or mess of green in late fall/winter (and again in late winter/early spring) when your body is screaming for such foods. I am hoping, like the dry summer of 1996, we start getting rain in the next week or so. It is my memory that the rains came while we were on our honey moon and stayed around most of the fall and winter. And it looks like we will get rain tomorrow, which will be nice if it happens (and it is more than a couple of tenths of an inch). If we get decent precip over winter we will be in fine shape for next spring. If we do not than we will likely have issues concerning dry conditions, wells and irrigation, not to mention doing 2x to 4x the normal amount of work to get things started and to keep things going.

These are the things we think about and worry over.

We will have some new items showing up in your shares in the remaining weeks. Look for sweet potatoes, radishes, spring mix, possibly kale and head lettuce (by head lettuce I do not mean iceberg lettuce but rather whole lettuce plants as opposed to cut leaves as in spring mix). Right now we don't have much in the way of greens but hopefully next week we will have baby arugula (as opposed to much more mature arugula we have been cutting since July)

The shares will be ready after 4pm today. Any shares not picked up by 6am Saturday morning will be donated to the Oxford Choice Pantry. Last week we donated two shares which were very appreciated.

What's in the Shares
Garlic-this week 2 corms of Music, our best garlic
Onions-a couple of medium Copra onions. These are yellow onions and great for cooking but should not be eaten raw unless you enjoy stomach upset (they are hot and strong)
Watermelon-yes we still have some water melon and you will either get 1 medium melon or two small melons. They will either be red or yellow
Tomatoes-a couple of some of the last maters of the season
Sweet peppers-several ripening bell peppers
Hot Peppers-around 10 jalapeno and cayenne peppers
Keiffer Pears-6 pears. These are not quite ripe but should ripen up if kept out of the fridge. The yellower they are the riper they are.
Apples-6 Dr Matthew's apples. These are a nice eating apple sweet and tart.
Winter Squash-a couple of pounds of squash, probably delicata and acorn. All of these are cooked the same-cut in half, scoop out the seeds and bake face down in a 350F oven for about 1/2 hour or until soft.

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 21 (week 21)

 

 

It's week 21 and a whole new month to boot! September is often our most bountiful month but I am not so sure this will be the case this year as it is so hot and dry and this is now having a negative impact on the market garden. The crops are very stressed and many have started to shut down. You will see this beginning with this week's shares-they are definitely smaller. There will not be quite the variety and the the amounts of each item will be less than in past weeks. Granted, the past 3 or 4 shares have been HUGE, perhaps a bit too big for some and now they will not be so large. this is all part and parcel of being a CSA member. When the conditions are great and the farm is pumping out a lot of food everyone gets a lot of food. When growing conditions are not so great than there will be less food in the shares and perhaps not the variety. This is the risk you guys share with us as Boulder belt FSI members. Now, all that said, the share this week (and I suspect for the rest of the season) will have ample food and a nice variety. But I won't be choosing from over 30 different crops the 12 items to put in a share. Now I have around 17 different crops from which to choose at the moment.

The dry, hot weather is also impacting the fall garden. We have had to do a lot of hand watering in order to get the seeds we planted in early and Mid August to germinate so that the drip irrigation system can take over the watering chores. We also have many flats of kale, lettuce, zucchinis, melons, cabbage and broccoli sitting on the porch of the store growing and waiting to be big enough to transplant. If we get a decent rain tomorrow we will probably be just fine if not (which is more likely) than we will struggle on and hope for rain (but not too much)

The crops we planted in July-popcorn and dried beans look to be failures. It was simply too dry for them to produce much seed (that would be beans and popcorn) and they are in an area that is very hard to irrigate (impossible right now as we do not have anything that carries water running down into the valley). So it gets no irrigation. I suspect we will get something from both crops but not nearly what we expected when we planted them. These are things that were going to go to the winter CSA as well as be sold at the winter farmers market in Oxford. So not the best thing for our winter income. It does look like the potatoes we planted in that area are doing good, but of course we won't know for sure until we start digging them. The sunflowers are doing spectacularly.

Up top, in the main garden we are done with the melons (there are a few water melon vines still hanging on), the tomatoes are about over-it was a very short tomato season this year, only about 5 weeks for us. Though we do have a late planting that has flowers and perhaps a few tiny green fruits. We expect the late planting to be producing the end of this month and through the beginning (at least) of November. When cold threatens we will put plastic on the hoop house frame that has been erected over top of the plants to keep them from freezing to death and this should buy us another 4 to 8 weeks of production. The peppers are in high gear but I can see they will soon be over as most are starved for water and do not like such high heat. We have some beets that should be humongous but are only medium to large due to the lack of rain. The herbs are pretty much over. I am going to see what we got as far as basil and parsley are concerned as soon as I finish this letter. the basil does not seem to mind the lack of water-it just wants to go to seed in the worst way which means it gets harder and harder to deadhead them to keep the tender greens coming on. The parsley I find is a bit bitter due to lack of water and the heat. The celeriac looks like it will do nothing for us this fall. It was planted in a bad place and got far too little water. But the leeks are looking good. The arugula that we have been harvesting for what, 5 weeks, is doing great. This is supposed to be a cold weather crop and yet this is the 3rd year we have planted it in the heat of summer and the 3rd year it has done well in summer. The Chard is not looking great due to insect pressures but we have covered it with row cover and now are in the process of severely cutting it back which should allow tender nice new leaves to emerge under cover away from those nasty bugs. It would do better with rain but even without is holding it's own. So forgive the ratty looking leaves (they still taste good)  The summer scallions are about done and not due to the weather. We have managed to deplete the bed they were in. I believe I have about 100 or so left to pull and they are the small dregs of the scallions. We have another bed planted but it is only doing so so due to the fact cut worms have invaded and have been cutting off the greens. But I believe I caught the worms doing the damage so now the scallions can grow and give us green onion throughout the fall and winter.

We hope to have more beans and that they will not be as bug eaten. The beans you got last week were pretty bad and we apologize but that is what we had to work with. We have another planting that has just started to flower and hopefully will start making beans just as the bean eating critters are on a major wane (which they should be in a couple of weeks). And I believe Eugene just planted 2 more beds that will be covered with a hoop house so we have beans well into November (and those will be very clean as there will be very little bug or weed pressure)

Well that's the state of the farm at this point in the year

What's in the Share

Bright lights Chard
Sweet Peppers- you will get many in your share this week. These are easy to freeze BTW. Simply cut them into the shape you want (I like to dice them) and put them into a freezer bag and into the freezer. Now you have peppers to use in the winter
Arugula-another bag of the spicy sweet salad green. My Italian customers say this is great on pizza-put leaves on a slice after it is cooked.
Delicata squash-the earliest of our winter squashes. AKA the sweet potato squash because it is so sweet and yummy. To cook, cut lengthwise, remove the seeds, place flesh side down on a cookie sheet or other pan and cook in a 350F oven for 20 to 30 minutes
Garlic 2 corms of garlic, don't know what kind
Beets-a bunch of beets. These are called 3 Grex beets and are a combo of 3 colors-yellow, pink and red. I have no idea why they are called Grex but they are a nice beet that in good conditions will get to be around 3 to 5 pounds. this year they are much smaller.
Leeks-you get a Lincoln leek this week.
Apples-6 apples. I believe they are Dr Matthew's, like last week but we may also have some Macintosh. The sootiness on them can be scrubbed off. It is a mold that we get because we do not spray weekly with fungicides (all of which are carcinogens). there may also be other blemishes which come with the fact these apples are beyond organic. just cut them out or eat around them. I am quite surprised at how clean and nice the apples are this year, usually Organic apples are pretty scary looking (but very tasty)
Red Onions-you get around 1/2 pound of red onions this week. the elongated onions are an Italian heirloom and very good, despite the fact they look weird.
Tomatoes-you will get a pound, maybe two, this week as the maters are on the wane. I believe they will be mainly the two kinds of reds we grow-Glick's Pride (round) and Amish Paste (elongated). these will be on the shelf by the fridge as we don't want to ever put maters in the fridge
Potatoes-There will be several kinds including blue and Russian banana Fingerlings
Herbs-basil and parsley I doubt we will be able to put in nearly as much basil as in the past.

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 20 (week 20)

 

 

Wow it is week 20! Where has the time gone? It seems like August has sped by (unlike July which hung on for years and years). This means to all of you doing a full season or 3 month share you got 6 more weeks. Those of you going month to month have 4 weeks left. we will be doing a winter share starting the first Wednesday in November. Let me know ASAP if you want in on this. We need to get some sort of head count so we know how much to plant in hoop houses this fall. Also, we have many people interested in the winter share but I want give you first refusal (as they say in the realty biz). Unlike the main season, we do pick up every other week and you get a lot more food in your share (most of which can be stored for months on end so no rush to eat/preserve everything).

It is August and that means we are going into our most bountiful time of the year. I have been spending a lot of time putting up tomatoes (so far a lot of juice and about 1/3 the sauce I plan on making and canning), melons and making jam. Soon I will freeze peppers, make and can salsa and ratatouille, make apple sauce which will either be frozen or canned and dry apples. Hopefully, there will be enough green beans to freeze as well (but this dry weather is causing bad things to happen to the beans and you get them all this week, so none for us to put up). Doing all this work means we will eat well all winter and this is what our ancestors did in order to survive winters well. Doing this putting food by thing also means one must change how they look at and think about food. We modern Americans hardly give food any thought at all anymore as we can what we want when we want it literally 24/7. Of course, the food is usually adulterated, covered in chemicals and grown who knows where, low in nutrients, low in flavor and can even be the cause of poisoning. This is the price we pay for the "privilege" to be mindless about what we eat.

To be mindful as you all are finding out, means a lot more work just obtaining food (you joined a CSA and make weekly trips out to the farm to get your seasonal food). Plus you have to think about food much more. You have to start thinking about seasonality and what that means to your food choices. And when you take the next step-putting up food for winter you have start learning how to think ahead 3 to 6 months in the future as to what you will be eating. As farmers we long ago found you have to think ahead a minimum of 5 years when farming Organically in order for the crop rotation and soil fertility plans to work. we also have planted crops such as grapes, peaches and paw paws that take years and years to get to the point of bearing fruit. We hope next year we will have enough grapes to supply the FSI (we should have this year but got well under 4 pounds out of 30+ plants, such is life. We have been waiting on these things for 5 years). The paw paws will be another 4 to 6 years before we get anything and the peaches get attacked by deer and have yet been able to grow more than 5' tall (bucks rub their racks on the poor trees and break them off). At least the apples we planted when we moved here are beginning to produce. But I digress, back to long term thinking about food. farming forces one to take a really long view. Putting food up for winter forces one to think about food 6 to 12 months out. I do this pretty much with no thought anymore. I just know that when certain crops come in it is time to pull out the canning and dehydrating equipment and get working. But I also deal with people who are just getting into this sort of thing and know they face great disappointment when they waited too long to buy their canning maters or cannot find any bushels of green beans because 10 years ago we farmers found the market for bulk foods had disappeared so we all quit growing for that market and went with the much more lucrative selling by the piece or pound market (we make 2 to 3 times more this way than selling in bulk). The lesson here is, if you want to put up lots of food either grow your own rather large canning garden or contact growers before the season starts and ask if they will/do grow bulk quantities of what ever it is you want to put up for winter (and see, here is the whole "you have to think months ahead" idea again.).

Now all that said, we do have in bulk quantity Amish paste tomatoes, sweet peppers (or will in about a week), apples and it looks like pears (but they won't be ready for another 3 to 4 weeks). If you are interested let me know. The bulk tomatoes will last maybe another 2 weeks, the rest at least 3 weeks (probably longer). Let me know if you are interested in buying any of these things and I can give you prices and amounts.

The shares will be ready after 4 pm and like last week there will be two bags for everyone. One in the fridge and the rest (tomatoes) on the shelving by the fridge. Thanks to everyone who has been returning their containers, rubber bands, bags, etc., to us, keep 'em coming. It may not be much but every little bit we keep out of the landfill counts.

Okay here is this week's recipe (which i realize the share does not have all the ingredients for, oh well)

Ratatouille
1 or 2 eggplant, cubed
several tomatoes, cubed
1 medium yellow or red onion cubed
1 bell pepper (green or ripe) cubed
2+ garlic cloves minced/pressed
1 medium zucchini cubed
8 oz container of mushrooms sliced
1 TBL dried basil
1 TSP dried oregano
1 TBL dried parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan
olive oil
salt to taste

In a hot pan over medium heat add the olive oil, onions, shrooms, zukes, eggplant and peppers and cook stirring regularly. When the onions get translucent than add everything else except the cheese and cook covered (lower the heat a bit) for about 20 minutes. Now add the cheese, taste and adjust seasoning if needed and cook another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve over pasta. This will store in the fridge about a week and freezes well (without the cheese).

What's in the share

Pepper-several green to ripening sweet peppers.
Hot peppers- several jalapenos and cayennes. I have found the jalapenos to not be hot, is that your experience? Please let me know
Eggplant-several black bells and one white. I was hoping to include the other two types but after yesterday's harvest had less than 3 of each. Such is life on the farm.
Garlic-a couple of purple Glazer this week
Tomatoes-around the same amount of large tomatoes you got last week. around 1/3 of the cherry tomatoes you got last week.
Blue Lake Green beans-you will get close to 1.5 pounds this week. The heat and dry conditions have brought out the bugs so these beans are damaged but still very very usable (they just look ugly). This will be the last of the beans for a while. We do have more plantings coming up and hopefully the insect damage will be far less in September/October
Potatoes-you will get either red or white taters. Hopefully next week Eugene will decide to dig up some of the exotics like the fingerlings, German Butter Ball and Blue
Watermelon-a red water melon this week, i don't know what type as we grow 4 different ones. But it should be good
Cantaloupe-another cantaloupe this week, likely the last week for these melons
Raspberries-1 box of sweet berries, like the melons this is likely the last week for raspberries
Arugula-another bag of our arugula
Apples-The first of the fall apples. We believe they are an old apple called Dr. Matthew's (this is what the apple guy at the Oxford farmers Market said they could be). They are sweet/tart and crisp and unlike the vast majority of apples raised with no chemicals (which means they can be less than perfect). You get 8 of them

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 19 (week 19)

 

 

It's week 19 of our food adventure and the fun never stops. lets just get the bad news over with right from the start, kinda like ripping the Band-aid™ off really fast. The market van lost its' power steering coming back from market last Saturday and needs to be fixed before it can drive again. I am a bit worried about this as it is Wednesday and Eugene has done nothing to address the problem, electing to get well into fall garden prep and planting instead. He thinks it is either the power steering pump or a hose and either one should be an easy fix. And that is the extent of our bad news in a summer full of it.

In good news the weather got pretty darned wonderful the last couple of days, we go almost an inch of rain this past week, the tiller works so Eugene was able to prep something like 30 beds the past few days and got at least 2/3 planted in things like peas, spring mix, lettuce, carrots, turnips, beets, kale, broccoli, scallions, etc.. There are a few things he was going to plant like spinach but the soil is too warm for spinach and it will not germinate. This is a rather big issue with fall planting. We are trying to plant things that love cool/cold conditions when it is still really hot out. And many times germination is poor. I know with late summer planted spinach some farmers will go as far as putting the seeds in the fridge for a couple of days before planting and buying lots of bags of ice to put on the soil right after planting to fool the spinach into thinking it is March or April and forcing germination (which takes less than a nano second to happen and once the process starts there is no going back-the seed will either grow or die.). We will not go that far and will wait until conditions get better for such crops.

Despite the hot and dry conditions things are growing pretty well. Irrigation helps as do improving the soils (a long term project all well managed Organic farms do). We will have beans this week in the shares and I expect to have them for many weeks. The peppers are some of the best we have ever grown,. Usually by now the plants have lost a lot of leaves and the peppers themselves get sun-scald (a whitish patch on the side of the fruit that eventually molds and rots) but this year the plants have good foliage and there is far less sun-scald. But there is insect damage and you may well get peppers with some damage. know that unless they are gooey and brown on the inside they are quite usable. Just cut away the bad spot(s). The zukes are done for the year (unless Eugene puts in a fall crop, which is quite possible). I looked at the last planting and they were alive and had 1 deformed zuke out of 25 plants and few to no flowers. We do have some zukes for sale that if I have enough I may just include in your shares this week as a bonus item (they won't be necessarily pretty but they will be tasty, even the big ones). the summer cucumber plants have succumbed to wilt and age but you will have pickling cukes in your share. this will probably be the last of them for a while. I do know there is a fall crop of some sort of cuke started but they won't be ready until late Sept/October

My bother came for a visit this past week and painted the front porch (the only part of the house not clad in "lovely" vinyl siding) for us. He has been a professional painter for around 25 years (most of it in NYC, now he is in Detroit) and did a beautiful job. It really improves the house and our lives. I got a root canal last week which resulted in no pain in my mouth. This week I got a temporary crown on the tooth and in September I get the permanent crown. It is nice to be able to chew using all my teeth, another big improvement in my life (and Eugene's, as he often got the brunt of the bad juju my mouth would put me in). It would appear as we leave summer and go towards autumn life is looking up for Boulder Belt. We even picked up 2 additional members for September last week

Speaking of Autumn, as you know the FSI finishes at the end of September for the monthly Subscribers and mid October for those who signed up for either the full season of the 3 month subscription. We are planning on doing a fall winter share. This will start in early November (the 3rd) and end the last Wednesday in January (the 26th). We have done this "Winter Share program" for the past two years and how it works is every other week we have pick up. The shares will be around twice the size of the shares you get now (between 12 and 25 items). I believe we will limit this to 15 members (but maybe less depending on how well the fall crops do as well as how many storage crops, such as winter squash, parsnips, onions, garlic, potatoes we harvest-so far it is looking good). Cost will be $350 for the winter share (7 pick-ups) and unlike the spring/summer early fall FSI we do only whole season shares. Official sign up will be in October but but we always give our current FSI members first shot at this as we always sell out and would like to know ASAP if you are interested

Sorry No recipe this week

Okay I am running out of time and need to get harvesting so here is what is in the shares this week

Arugula-a bag of greens
Green Beans-I hope to have enough Haricot verts (French beans, they are thin, delicate and sweet) for everyone. The plants never yield well, even in the best conditions and I need around 6 pounds (8 is better) to cover your shares. So some of you may get Blue lake green beans (fatter, but an excellent bean) in your share. As I know between the two types I will have enough beans for everyone to get at least 3/4 of a pound, if not a whole pound. I like to cook these simply by putting around 2 inches of water in a pan, bringing it to a boil and putting in the beans, covering the pot and simmering them for 13 to 15 minutes. if you like them less done, than cook for less time.
Tomatoes-we are in the heart of mater season and that means you guys will get at least 5 pounds of a mix of maters. Yesterday I put up 17 quarts of tomato juice from all the maters that were either damaged or getting too ripe. it used up around 1.5 bushels. You will not have nearly as many to deal with
Cherry Tomatoes-around 1.5 pounds of a mix of cherry Toms
Eggplant-2 to 3 pounds of a mix of our aubergines
Peppers-2 or 3 green peppers (though there may be a few ripe ones tossed in if I can find enough for everyone)
Cantaloupe-either 1 large or a couple of smaller ones in your share. these need to be used ASAP. I have been freezing melons this week, easy to do. Just cut in half, remove the seeds than cut into wedges, remove the rind than cut into chunks and put on a cookie sheet and pop that into the freezer. When the melon is frozen than pop the chunks into a marked freezer bag and back into the freezer. these make nice ice cubes and are great for smoothies and tropical frozen drinks.
Raspberries-a 1/2 pint of the fall bearing heritage berries which have been super sweet due to the heat and dry conditions.
Garlic-a couple of corms of garlic, likely German white this week
Onion-The last of the sweet onions and maybe a couple of smallish reds this week
basil-another big bag of basil
Cucumbers-5+ picking cukes. these are strange looking because they got water starved and attacked by insects. A few weeks ago we pickled 17 pounds of them using a lacto-fermentation technique that uses no vinegar. I hope to include a few of these in your shares next week when they are more finished and I can figure out how to do this (they need to be in their brine so I guess they will come in plastic bags).
Bonus item-zucchini, if I have enough for everyone. This means if it is in your share I did have enough, if it is not I did not, capeche?

As always the shares will be ready after 4pm today. As there is a mix of things that need to be in the fridge and things that do not you shares will be split. Part of your share will be in the fridge plus there will be a bag of tomatoes and basil sitting on the shelving nearest the fridge. DO NOT FORGET YOUR TOMATOES AND BASIL !!!!

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 17 (week 17)

 

 

Greetings,

It is week 17 and the beginning of a new month. I hope August is better than July (though so far it has not started all that well-I went to the dentist to get a tooth filled and he drilled a bit too deep and not I need a root canal. this will be my 2nd one). We went to the preble County fair on Sunday to watch the horse races and Eugene won $81 on the last race which was the 17th race. He bet an exacta-1 and 7 (which could be interpreted as 17) and this is the 17th week of the FSI-some how this is all connected.

Things with the farm are busy. As you all know, this is the week of the BIG 127 Yard Sale. We have sold/rented all of our spaces and it looks like we will have an interesting and eclectic array of items for sale. Vendors have been coming in all week setting up and this afternoon/evening will be the big push to get 'r' done as we open for business at 8 am tomorrow morning and if it is anything like the past years we will be busy from that point onward.

In order for us to get things out of sheds we have had to do a lot of partial garlic cleaning. The garlic is hung around the farm in various building to cure and now it is all cured and in the way of the Yard Sale so I have been cutting the stems off the garlic and putting it into bushel baskets until I have time to clean it up. So far I have done this to the German White and today I will get the stalks off of the Chesnok Red/Shvilisi. The other 3 varieties can wait until after the sale as they are not in the way. I also have been dealing with onions. The storage onions-red and yellow are at varying stages. Some are still in the ground, some are curing on racks in the store and barn and some are done curing and at the point of clean up and some are all cleaned up and ready to either store or sell. Generally, with onions, they all get ready within a week or two of each other and all get pulled pretty much at the same time. But this year we had a bed of yellow onions ready for harvest about 5 weeks ago and they were all cured by the time the rest of the yellow and red onions were ready to harvest the past 2 weeks. this if a good thing as the onions got really big this year and if they had all come in at the same time we would not have had enough room on our drying racks for them all and would have had to improvise (which would have meant making hammocks out of chicken wire and snow fencing and putting those up where we park our car in the barn and parking the car outside for a month). Yellow and red onions are very important for our fall winter marketing. These crops store very well and we grow them in order to have income year round. This is why you likely will not see them in your shares unless we do a winter share again and you become members of the winter share program.

But I am not sure if we will do this yet. It all depends on how well the winter squashes do. So far they are doing okay-not the best year but certainly not the worst year. For those of you who have not done the  winter share what we do is distribute a double sized share every 2 weeks usually Mid November through January. The shares are mainly storage crops-winter squash, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, garlic, dried herbs, popcorn along with what ever fresh stuff we can grow in hoop houses-lettuce, kale, arugula, tomatoes (yes tomatoes-we usually can get these too work into early December than we pull the green ones when it gets too cold for the tomatoes to survive, get them to ripen indoors and often have maters through the new year), radishes, melons (like the maters we usually have these into early December), etc.. At any rate, you guys will be the first to know about the winter share and get first crack at signing up as we generally have to limit this to 10 or 12 members.

This week is the start of tomato madness. I will try and not overwhelm you all with too many maters but it is hard, as once they start to ripen they do so with a vengeance. Last year there were weeks where members got over 15 pounds a week. If this happens, than I suggest you put them up for winter. The easiest way to do this is to freeze them whole. Just put washed whole maters into a zip lock freezer bag and pop them into your freezer (I assume everyone has a chest or upright freezer-I know I have two in service). You can also make salsa, sauce, juice and can or freeze that as well. Or if you get too many and don't want to process them, just leave them on random people's porches (like zucchini). Another thing on the maters you will not see many red ones. We love to grow the unusual maters so we are big on blacks, yellows, oranges, whites and striped. Do not be afraid of these odd looking maters as they are sooooo much better than the pedestrian reds. the good news is this week will not be an overwhelming week mater wise as they are just beginning to get ripe. No, this week we are getting overwhelmed with melons and you will get several in your share

Welcome to the Boulder Belt late summer garden-it can be mondo-productive and despite our problems this summer it does look like this is the case. I hope all of you take advantage of the bounty and put some up for the off season as that is where the FSI becomes a great food deal.

Your shares will be ready after 4 pm this afternoon and as always will be in the bottom of the fridge in the store with your name on your bag(s) (I suspect with the melons and whatnot there will be two bags for those of you who have not provided reusable bags). If you cannot pick up today we will be around all weekend doing the Yard Sale. Remember that we will take back and reuse all bags, rubber bands, berry boxes, etc that comes in your share.


Recipe
Tomato salad

Several heirloom and cherry tomatoes cut into chunks/slices
1 medium Ailsa Craig Onion
2 cucumbers
1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
Arugula

Mix all this in a big bowl and top with salt, to taste, olive oil and a good vinegar and toss. You can also cover the veggies with your favorite salad dressing. Feta is really good in this as are croutons made from a good crusty Italian bread. Put the dressed veggies on a bed of arugula and you have one fantastic meal that did not involve heating up the house.

What's in the Share

Cucumbers-4 or 5 pickling cukes. We had so many we started lacto-fermenting 17 pounds (oh my, there is that 17 again. It seems to be the number of the week). i may include a small jar in your shares in 4 weeks or so when the fermentation is done
Gopher melons-a very nice muskmelon. these are supposed to the best there is and I must say they are very good
Templeton melon-the yellow melon you got last week. these should be a lot more ripe
Eggplant-several pounds of black and white aubergines. make baba ganoush or eggplant Parmesan this week
Big Tomatoes- probably 2 pounds of a mix of maters. I have Rose de Bern (pink), Japanese triffle (brownish black and kinda pear shape), Dr Wyches Yellow, Paul Robeson (black beefsteak), Crnkovich (another big pink, like the Rose de bern and rhymes with cranky bitch). You will get some but not all of these varieties in your share
Cherry Tomatoes-AKA the li'l guys. You will get over 1 pound of a mix of sungold (orange) Cherrywine ( dusky rose color-this is our exclusive home bred tomato and thus in our opinion the best of the lot), a red one and Fargo yellow pear. If you have a dehydrator these are really good dried. You don't even need to cut them in half (unless they won't fit in the trays.
Garlic-a couple of uncleaned corms of German White
Ailsa Craig Onion-2 pounds
Parsley
Basil

Potatoes-a couple of pounds of a mix of red and white
Arugula- a bag of  spicy greens

 
 
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