Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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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 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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