Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 2 (week 2)

It's Wednesday once again and that means it is Farm Share Day!!! It is also the day That the farm store officially opens which really doesn't mean much to you members.

I would like to talk about a couple of things. One there is kitchen equipment you need (if you do not have it already) the most important tool a CSA?FSI member needs is a salad spinner. if you don't own one go to my blog and on the right side bar are several items I am selling via Amazon. On the top line of the Amazon box is the Zyliss Salad spinner. I have owned one for over 10 years and use it almost every day (this time of year, several times a day). This is a big thing about eating whole foods, you have to have the right kitchen equipment to cope, otherwise it can get nightmarish-cut fingers, wet lettuce, etc.. Other things a whole foods kitchen should have
a micro plane-You can get these at any hardware or kitchen supply stores
A food processor. I am a Cuisinart girl but most do the trick.
A good vegetable peeler. For Christmas I got a ceramic peeler and it is the best. It will peel carrots and parsnips with ease and does a great job on the hard skin of Butternut squash (perhaps the best test of any peeler-if it goes through squash it will handle about anything else). Got it at Jungle Jim's along with a ceramic knife (for way too much as I see the same set advertised in the paper for 1/3 what I paid)
A good paring knife-I am in love with ceramic knives but stainless steel is also excellent. Ceramic will keep and edge for years whereas SS needs to be sharpened at least once a month (my SS field knife get sharpened daily, sometimes more often, but than that blade has to go through soil and rocks). BTW, the sharper the knife the safer the knife. At any rate, paring knives come in very very handy, you will use one a lot so perhaps you should get 2 or 3.
A good chef's knife-I used to believe that one needed to buy only the top of the line but an accident at a fraternity house where I cooked between the boys (likely extremely drunk and high) and my $300 chef's knife proved me wrong. They broke my knife and I couple not replace it on their dime with another top of the line knife so I had to get a fad cheaper model and It works well and 17 years later I still use the knife.

I know there are a few other items that are essential but they are not coming to mind right now. But what I listed is what I use, pretty much, daily

Life on the farm is busy-we plant, we harvest, we hoe/weed, we mow grass, Eugene tills beds, we water seedlings in cold frames and hoop houses, time is taken to train Betty on the ways of farm dog life-staying out of beds (which she has good days and bad days), catching critters (she got her first rabbit yesterday. You may think bunnies are cute but not when they eat an entire 50' bed of spinach that was supposed to be harvested for the FSI members. Rabbits, left unchecked, can do an amazing amount of damage to a several acre sized market garden. Add in deer and take away to dogs and in a matter of a week they can destroy around 75% to 85%), being cute (okay, she has that skill sewed up). This week we will get the rest of the onions seedlings planted (this is literally like planting blades of grass), along with cucumber, zucchini and Galia melon seedlings that will go into the last hoop house we erected. This will mean, if all goes right, that we will enjoy cukes, zukes and melons a good 8 weeks before they are in true season around here. When I say "If all goes right" I mean we have had armies of voles invade newly planted hoop houses and eat the heads off of every seedling planted earlier in the day. It is really maddening and depressing to find all the days of work (it takes a minimum of 15 days to get the seeds to grow into seedlings before they go out into the houses) destroyed over night. There are also insects that will kill freshly planted seedlings such as cut worms.

But all is not lost, 1) Betty and Nate (along with our resident snakes) have done some great control of the vole population sine the snows melted back in Feb. B) we will protect the seedlings by popping "Cut worm collars" made from old drip tape lines over them. What we do is take 6" pieces of drip tape split them in half length-wise and put them over the plants so only the tips of the leaves are showing. This thwarts bunnies, voles and cut worms (as well as reuses what other wise would be put into recycling) and ever since we have used this technique we have very low losses of our seedlings. This is one of the many ways we attempt to lower the risk we are all into with this Farming/FSI thing.

I have been thinking about the Pot-luck dinner/Farm tour and I think May 2nd would be a great day to have it. We will provide Chicken from the birds we raised last summer and have stored in the freezer, home brewed beer and home made wine along with salad and salad dressing. You bring a dish that will feed 6 people (ideally made with local ingredients, but this is not a requirement) plus flatware, plates, drinking vessels. last year I had planned on doing this sort of thing monthly but after the first dinner had few to no takers most months so this year I have scrapped the idea of a monthly event. But if you guys want to do a local foods dinner every month I am game. If you think your life will be too busy to swing this sort of thing that is fine too. Let me know if having a monthly dinner would be of interest, otherwise we will likely not do another until late summer/early Fall. I will need you all to RSVP Yes or No before April 30th about this upcoming event.


Potato and leek Soup
2 ways
2 pounds of potatoes, scrubbed and cut into smallish cubes
2 leeks cut into slices
1 TBL butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 to 1 tsp salt

In a 4 quart (or bigger) pot add the cubed taters and enough water to cover them buy an inch. Put that on the stove, cover and bring just to a boil (about 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat). While that is going on, in a 2 gallon heated pan add the fat and the leeks. Stir the leeks constantly and after a minute of so start smashing the leek rounds so that the layers separate. When the potatoes just start to boil add them AND the water they are in, to the cooking leeks. Add the salt and thyme. Let this simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour. When everything seems cooked enough get out a blender or food processor and put half the soup in and blend it for about 30 seconds until smooth (you will likely have to do this in 2, maybe 3 batches). Add the blended soup back to the soup pot, taste, adjust the seasoning and the soup is ready to serve.

This is vegan style. If you want Decadent Style than start with cut up bacon-put that in a hot pan and cook stirring constantly. When the bacon is crispy, remove and add some butter and the leeks. Continue as above. After you have added the processed leeks and potatoes back to the soup add a cup (or more) of heavy cream, cook on low heat for an additional 10 minutes and serve.

What's in the Share

Lettuce-5 to 6 heads of lettuce in the bag
Spring Mix
Broccoli Raab-this is the first time we have ever grown or eaten this. I asked at the farmers market how to prepare and was told either steam it like other greens (think spinach) or sauté it in olive oil with a bit of onion, garlic. While this is called broccoli Raab it is a much closer relative of the turnip and the greens taste somewhat like turnip greens (not a personal favorite of mine but I rather like this stuff). This is what makes CSA's a wonderful thing-the adventure in food, having to try new things.
Radishes-this week a big bunch of beautiful heirloom D'Avignon radishes
Potatoes-a 3 pound bag of  either Yukon Gold or Kennebec white (there will be a label on the bag. And just because the package looks like what you would find at the grocery store be assured we grew these taters-we simply have invested in packaging supplies)
2 or 3 leeks
Chives-use to top the tater and leek soup or in a salad or a dip
Thyme-for the soup

There may be a few other items stuck in the shares as well, like last week and the acorn and delicata squash.

The shares will be ready any time after 4pm. If you will not be picking up today please let me know by this afternoon so your share is not sitting out in warm conditions for 4+ hours

Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
Eaton, OH


Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 3

It's a new week. And it is Earthweek (Earthday being Wednesday). being in our farm share program is one of the greenest things you can do. planting a tree is also nice and that is something we did this week-planted several nut trees-english walnuts (carpathians), hazelnuts and I forget the 3rd nut tree. Our goal is to have a nut grove in the next decade or so. So far e have several carpathians and a scad of black walnut trees growing in the valley

 After a lovely Friday and Saturday, both days spent preparing or attending the Oxford Uptown Winter market, rain and coolness has moved back in and this is bad news for the asparagus lovers who pick up on Tuesday. I went out to see how much asparagus is out there Monday afternoon, and the answer is a lot of spears emerging from the ground. But very little is big enough to harvest. This might change by Tuesday afternoon but I doubt it. Because it is cool and cloudy the asparagus will not do much growing but as soon as it gets sunny and warm (that would be Wednesday afternoon and on into the weekend) it will start producing in abundance. That means that you Tuesday folks will probably not get asparagus this week and the Thursday folks will. So what I will do is put a double amount of asparagus into next Tuesday shares so everything is even steven. I feel bad about this but I cannot do anything to get the asparagus to grow more quickly.

We finished planting out the last of the onion seedlings on Sunday. We planted somewhere around 2500 onion plants that look a lot like blades of grass. We start our own onion seeds (as we do with everything we grow) in January and start transplanting them in mid March and in past years finish up the first week of May. This year we got done early. Eugene was commenting through out he planting process that we had gotten a lot faster over past years. We still have a couple of hundred feet of leek seedlings to put in when it stops raining. We have also put in cabbage, kale, broccoli and lettuce seedlings seedlings, as well as have sowed seeds direct for spring mix and peas (3 different kinds) this week. The strawberries are looking good and I think we will have them for the farm share initiative by the second week of May.

We cancelled the pot luck this past Sunday. Only one member was coming out and the weather was nasty so we said ferget it. There will be another Pot Luck dinner and farm tour May 24th. Along with the tour and eating we will have some home brew beer to sample (Eugene brews beer in the winter and is quite good at it). I hope everyone can make it as these have been a lot of fun in the past, the farm is very beautiful in May and our farm tours are quite informative for the non farmer and farmer alike.

Speaking of farm tours, we have been asked by Innovative Farmers of Ohio to hold a farm tour the end of August. This is a big deal as people will come from all over Ohio as well as Indiana, W Va, Michigan and Kentucky. We will be focusing on organic strawberries. It turns out we are the only farm in the state that grows strawberries sustainably/organically. Than in November we will give a workshop somewhere in Columbus on organic strawberries to follow up on this farm tour. Pretty exciting stuff for us. it has been several years since we have gotten into the educational side of farming and we have missed doing so but the move to the new farm meant we had to put a lot of things on the back burner in order to get this new place up and running sustainably and we have.

Okay, that is the news from Boulder Belt this week.


Leek and Spinach Quiche

1 pie crust (either home made or store bought. I do not recommend the "Pet-Ritz" style of pie crust, pre-made in a aluminum pan. Get the kind that comes in a box and you put in a pan if not making your own. Since I found out Eugene can make a better pie crust than just about anyone I have not had to buy pre-made crusts in about 12 years )
1/3 to 1/2 pound spinach, washed, spun dry and chopped (chiffinade)
2 leeks cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 medium yellow (not sweet) onion, diced
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cheese, grated
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil (any kind)
salt  to taste (when I cooked quiches at DiPaolo's we used Lowery's seasoned salt and paprika for seasoning.)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook 30 minutes or until quiche is golden brown and firm to the touch)

Saute the leeks and onion until tender (about 5 minutes). Toss the spinach in the last 2 minutes of cooking so it is just wilted and not over cooked. While that is going on scramble the eggs in a small mixing bowl and add the milk and seasonings. When the vegetables are cooked put them into the prepared pie crust than dump the grated cheese in than the egg mixture. Put the pie on a cookie sheet (there may be some boil over and this keeps your oven clean) and into the oven. let the quiche cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Asparagus-as mentioned, Tuesday members probably won't get any this week but will get a double amount next week-though you may get a couple of spears as a teaser if I can find 24 to 36 spears big enough for the Tuesday group.
Leeks-these keep on coming but boy are they gooood
Spinach-we have maybe 2 more weeks of spinach before it gets too hot and it all bolts. we were going to plant more spinach but it looks like we will have a hot mid spring and that means bad spinach conditions so we probably won't bother with it.
Lettuce-Mainly red heads this week. The round leaf type is marvel of Four Seasons, a French heirloom, I cannot ID the other red types-various leaf lettuces
Spring mix-a mix of several kinds of heirloom lettuce, mizuna and arugula. Normally there is also red mustard and tat soi but the first planting of those two things failed. in a couple of weeks we will be harvesting from spring mix beds that have all the ingredients
Garlic chives-aka Chinese chives. These have a nice garlic flavor that is not too strong. Use in a salad or chop and garnish the leek and potato soup right before serving. like the onion chives these do not take to cooking well.
Fresh tarragon-this is the first herb to grow in the spring. Taste is anisy and this goes well in tomato based sauces (I love this in marinara sauce)
D'avignon radishes-aka French breakfast Radishes
Apple sauce-I make this from a mix f the apples we grow. Also cinnamon, brown and white sugar and lemon juice. Everyone who has tried this loves it. if you love it the bad news is this is the last of the sauce until Fall when the apples come back into season
Garlic powder-I have been making our own garlic powder for about 10 years. It is a mix of the 3 kinds of hard neck garlic we grow. I dry it in dehydrators than grind it to a powder-et voila! Powerful Strong garlic powder. I have gotten many people addicted to this over the years. Granted, it is not the same as fresh garlic but considering the real garlic is all compost this is as close as we will get until July when the new crop is harvested (and you get fresh, uncured garlic which is the BEST.)

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