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 16 (week 16)

 

 

It's week 16 and I was really hoping to write a happier newsletter about working tillers, new kittens and better weather but at midnight last night a PC sheriff's deputy hit and killed Betty. I was asleep when he knocked on the door to inform us and than he walked us to her body apologizing profusely. He's a nice guy and I wish we had met under better circumstances (of course, we usually meet the cops out here under bad circumstances involving car wrecks and property damage. At least such things are rare considering the lay of the road). She had gotten out through a hole in the fence (there are several, usually made by cars running into the fence) along with Nate (who is just fine but in deep mourning as he is a very sensitive dog). Betty had become a great happy force in our lives and now she is gone just as she was becoming a great protector of the farm. RIP Girl. Because of all this we have not gotten much sleep so if the shares have missing items you have our apologies ( I don't think this will happen but I know this is going to be a rough day).

Dogs are very important to our operation because without them the deer will eat virtually everything in the garden in just a few nights (as will the rabbits, mice and voles). So instead of going out and spending $20K on deer fencing to surround the property we choose to deal with the problem with dogs. the dogs are on the farm to run off all critters who may do damage to the crops and livestock (chickens) when we have that going on (not this year). They may appear to be pets but in reality they are here for a job. And Betty was shaping up to be a great farm defender and she was not even a year old yet. With all our past dogs it has taken well over a year (in the case of Nate 3 years) for them to learn the ropes of living on Boulder Belt Eco-Farm. So this is a blow in many ways-we lost a dear friend and the garden will suffer from this.

In far better news, Eugene figured out what was wrong with the tiller, ordered the part, put the part on and now it works better than ever. So he spent the evening tilling up beds for fall  crops (with Betty following him as she loved tilling). I call them fall crops but they all must be planted in August so getting the tiller repaired was becoming essential. he said it was a simple repair once he got the part. getting the part was not so easy as this is an Italian machine and has an engine that is no longer made so finding parts for it can be a hassle. The place we have been going to for repairs and parts told us they could not get the part for the machine and to call either Boone's in Brookville (where we bought the thing) or Earth Tools in Kentucky. We called both and Boone's wanted $35 more for the part than Earth Tools. We suspect because that is who they would order it from and marked up the part before selling it to us. So we saved some money and the tiller is alive again.

I mentioned a kitten. We have a stray kitten, about 10 weeks old living under the store. Eugene spotted it about 10 days ago and we have been feeding it since than. Neither of us could get close to it but since last Friday I have been working on getting it to accept us and last evening it came right up to me and let me pet it, pick it up and sit in my lap. It's a boy and he has a nasty wound on his right cheek that needs attention but the would looks amazingly good considering he's been living under a building for at least 10 days. So we will be dealing with a new kitten in the house in the very near future and hopefully he will become an A-one mouser/voler. Now he needs a name.

The Market garden is having ups and downs. It looks like the melon crop is going to be smaller than expected as we are getting hit badly with some sort of virus that is taking out whole beds of plants over night. One day the vines are healthy and the next morning they are all wilted. Fortunately this is happening to plants that have melons that are either mature or close enough that they will ripen off the vine so this is not a complete loss. This is the first time this has happened to us in about 10 years. Fortunately the winter squash planted in the same are seem to be doing well. But they could get the same virus and poop out as well which will mean less revenue in the winter season for us. And the way our luck has been running we are now expecting the worse (but the worse likely will not happen). I will say the peppers are looking good and you should start getting green peppers next week. The tomatoes also look good and seem to have avoided blighting out this year. And soon we will be planting more greens and other things for the fall/winter garden


Next week is our big 127 Yard Sale event starting Thursday. If you like to shop come on up and see what our various vendors have to offer. I know we will have the Tie Dye guy back again as well as the Knife Lady. New this year are two different vendors selling antiquey stuff and a guy selling whimsical yard art. The madness starts Thursday at 8am and goes through Sunday afternoon. Also if you plan on picking up your share after Wednesday it will be chaotic and parking will be hard to find (we got over 10K people through last year).


Okay due to circumstances, once again there is no recipe this week. But I would make a salad out of the onions, cukes, basil and tomatoes with a simple vinaigrette. Some chunks of the melon would be really good in such a salad.

What's in the Share

Eggplant-3 kinds Galina, a black eggplant (the biggest of them), Casper, a white eggplant that is second to none and some sort of Asian eggplant who's name escapes me.
Blackberries-you will get at least one box. until last weekend all the blackberries were wild. Those have stopped and now the domestic berries are coming in. these tend to be bigger and sweeter
Chard-you can use this just like spinach in all sorts of dishes like omelets
Templeton Melon-this is an orange honey dew and something we have yet to try as this is the first time we have ever grown them. I would urge you to wait until the weekend to cut into one and eat it as the plants are dying so we have had to harvest them under ripe. But all melons will ripen up just fine off the vine if kept in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. when they begin to smell from the blossom end they are ready to eat.
Ailsa Craig Onions-more wonderful sweet onions, around 2 pounds
Cucumbers-another week of pickling cukes. you will get 4 or so in your share
Tarragon-it's a bit late in the season for tarragon as it is best in spring but the plants look good for late July so i am cutting some for you all.
Scallions-a bunch of very nice scallions
Garlic-2 cloves of garlic, probably German white
Basil-another largish bag of fresh basil. this is very easy to dry
Cherry Tomatoes-yes! the tomatoes are beginning to come in. Next week you will definitely have large pink maters in your share but this week you get what we call the rainbow mix of cherry tomatoes-pink cherrywine, red broad ripple, and fargo yellow pear
Jalapeno peppers-several hot  peppers (but the one's I had a week ago were not all that firery)

The shares should be ready after 4pm. Any shares not picked up by 6 am Saturday will be donated to the Choice Food Pantry in Oxford. Know that the door to the store is open 24/7 so you can pick up your share(s) any time. Also know the store is now air conditioned so please shut the door tightly upon entering and leaving



 
 
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