Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
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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 25 (week 25)

 

 

Good Morning,

This is the last week we have a full CSA. Next week is in October and we will drop all the month to month people-i.e. if you did not sign up for a 3 month or 6 month stint you are done after this week. We do still have a few slots (like 3) left in our winter CSA if you want to continue with local foods through January. The winter CSA starts Nov 3rd and costs $350. If you are unsure of your status either ask me or wait until next Wednesday. If next Wednesday you do not get an official Boulder Belt Eco-Farm FSI newsletter that means there is no share waiting for you at the farm. This also means that some of you need to take all your extra bags with you today. I will leave the bags that need to leave the farm by that person's share. If you are doing the winter share you bags are fine here.

We got rain but not enough to do much. I know Dayton, just to the east, got well over an inch. We got a scant 1/4 inch. It soaked the soil to an 1.5" depth which is good for germinating seeds and very young and shallow rooted plants but doesn't do much for everything else. The precip prediction for the next month shows no chance of rain. This means we are in a drought and that does not bode well for over winter and next spring. Of course, things can change over the coming months. Who knows, in 4 weeks we could be facing floods.

But if it stays dry this will not be good for us or any of the other farmers around here. We have to plant garlic between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Garlic needs around an inch of rain a week to get established before it freezes and than in spring is needs copious water (though not as much as it got this past spring when we had too much rain) to grow. We have 30 beds filled with new plants for our fall and winter sales and CSA. We will plant more between now and late October. Some things we have directly seeded, other things we start seed indoors and than transplant out the seedlings. Plus we have another 15 to 20 beds of established crops. Many things are on drip irrigation and/or soaker hoses but we still need to hand water 35+ beds pretty much daily and that takes the two of us well over 3 hours a day on that one task. Never mind weeding (fortunately, with the drought there are very, very few weeds), scouting for bugs, harvesting, planting, dealing with row covers on windy days, etc..

I will say on a positive note, I really like to hand water. You feel as if you are dong real good. Day after day I go out and put water on the babies and every day they respond by growing bigger and bigger. On the established crops like the parsley and chard there is not as dramatic an effect but there is a positive effect from getting watered several times a week (not everything gets daily watering). The parsley was pretty much a brown patch because we did not hit it with water through July and the first half of August. But after seeing several plants died and the fact we could not harvest more than 1 or 2 ounces from 100 plants we realized this dry period was worse than we thought so they went into the hand watering cycle and boy did it respond. As did the celeriac, though not as much. But the roots are getting bigger, though not as big as if they were getting 1 inch a week

I think my favorite crop right now is arugula because that stuff will put up with bad conditions. We used to think it was a cool weather plant (and it is) but several years ago we noticed it was volunteering in mid summer and growing well through the heat and dry conditions of summer. So last year we planted a summer bed of it and it did well. We did the same this year and, with virtually no watering, the bed did very well for us (it is still producing almost 3 months later). We planted another bed of it in our worst area (area "D" which are the beds against the north fence line and tree line) It is a bad area because in dry conditions the trees tend to suck up all the water leaving the crops with little to none. If you take a walk around our market garden you can see this phenomena clearly right now. Most beds look like they are half planted but in reality the trees killed the plants in the parts of the beds that look like they have not been planted. Except the arugula which has a full bed (though the half by the trees is smaller as we had issues with getting water that far out for a week or so, meaning Eugene gave up on that half bed but I did not when I noticed, despite a lack of water the arugula was trying to grow so I took several watering cans (the hoses do not reach quite that far) and hit the thirsty germinants with water and, like a chia pet, watched them grow. I believe they will be big enough to harvest by next week (the half of the bed that has been getting water all along has been harvested for 2 weeks).

I do want you all to know I have enjoyed this group of CSA members greatly, you guys have been a great group. Having a good group of CSA members has been rather rare over the 15 or so years I have done this. In past years I have had entire memberships I did not know (that was back when we did delivery to a few drop points), people who left the CSA without informing me (one guy moved out of the USA about mid way through the season, did not tell me and so I made up shares for him for several weeks before another member, who worked with the guy, informed me he would not be coming back, ever), memberships bought for others that were not used (and I no longer will do that sort of thing, even though it is free money for us, unless I am positive the giftee will use the membership). Complaints about things I cannot fix such as low production due to weather, not satisfied with picking up on the farm, shares cost too much for what you get (more and more people seem to think of CSA as a cut rate buying club, it is anything but that, though in a decent season members should get a good value for their money). Not getting the whole locavore idea about seasonal food. Not getting the whole "when you join a CSA you are taking on a lot of risk" factor. Not into the food adventure and welcoming new and odd foods. Not picking up shares after a few months (I call that the health club syndrome as in people join a health club to get in shape/get healthy and than after a few sessions quit going). In other words, in the past I have had members who were not at all suited to be CSA members (not everyone is) but you guys all are. You guys are hip and informed foodies who "get it" and I hope all of you will rejoin next year (and this is something I need to know sooner, rather than later. The reason why is if you come back next year and let me know before Thanksgiving we can take suggestions of what to plant next year. In other words, if there is something you would like us to grow just ask and we will do it (except okra-it does not do well for us plus I am really allergic to the plants and harvesting it makes me break out all over. Okay, there are things other than okra we cannot grow but the list of what we can grow is long). I also will have a good discount on joining for an entire season for those who re-up before the first of the year (but I have not figured out what that discount will be yet, so don't ask).

Okay on that note, shares, as usual, will be ready after 4 pm until 7:00 am Saturday Morning (our farmers market is starting an hour later so we will leave later hence the time change)

Recipe

Roasted Peppers


On a flaming grill place (we use apple wood but briquettes will work) whole peppers. Cook turning often until the skins are black and the peppers soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Put hot peppers in a paper bag to steam for 15 minutes or so. Remove peppers from the bag and remove burnt skins and seeds. You can wash the skin and seeds away but you get better flavor if you don't. Cut into the size/shape pieces you want. Now the peppers are ready to eat or freeze. You can also do this in a hot (450F) oven but you will not get the wonderful smoky flavor you get on a grill

•To freeze lay out the pieces on a cookie sheet, put in a freezer and when frozen store in a freezer bag. These frozen peppers will add a nice smoky flavor to any dish (better than liquid smoke)

What's In the Share
Despite watering things daily I do not have a good handle as to what will go into your share today. This list may not be inclusive (i.e you may get more than what is listed here). If you are confused as to what certain items are go to the Boulder Belt Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=535873&id=1349783876&ref=notif&notif_t=photo_tagged_by_non_owner#!/album.php?aid=174404&id=368403976315 and look at the photo from this week (which should be posted by this evening). if you are not on facebook and refuse to go there than email me with any questions.

Parsley-a bunch of Italian parsley
Arugula-a 4 to 6 oz bag of arugula for salad
Winter squash-I am not certain what kind, likely delicata and or bon bon
Tomatoes-some how despite diseases and drought doing bad things to the plants they keep on producing, especially the Amish paste. you will get around 1.5 pounds of maters
Peppers-expect 6 to 10 sweet peppers this week. This is so you have enough to roast and freeze (or use)
Garlic-2 corms of garlic
Radishes-another bunch of radishes. like last week a mix of the 3 kinds we grow-Cincinnati market (long, all red), easter Eggs round and either red, purple, white or pink) and D'Avignon (long red and white)
Scallions-this is the last of the summer bed. They are not all that pretty but they are tasty.

Apple-2 pounds of apples

Pears-3 pounds of pears
Whatever else I find-could be greens, herbs, roots-who knows!

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative Week 25

It's the first day of fall-we have made it through spring and summer and for us farmers it is all down hill from here. Most of the fall planting is done. Next we start cleaning up the market garden so it can be put to bed for winter. This means ripping out old spent plants and making several compost piles with their corpses, taking up the landscape cloth we use for mulch and storing it for the winter than putting in cover crops of annual rye or oats to feed the soil. Cover crops are often problematic for us as they go in late (we still have a lot of crops that won't be ready to take out until after frost) and more often than not we do not get adequate rainfall in the fall (which seems to be happening this year) to get the seeds to germinate and grow a bit before they go into winter dormancy.

The other big job we have is erecting hoop houses over the beds that have our winter crops. We will put up at least 3 this fall and we may have to build a 4th from scratch so we can get everything covered that needs it. In the past we have made do with less but have found that crops protected with just row cover rarely make it past December no matter how hardy they are. Leeks are an exception to this-they will make it through winter but they look bad and are hard to harvest when the ground is frozen. Leeks in a hoop house do much, much better over winter.

This past week we started harvesting dried beans and peas. These will mainly go for seed purposes, though we think the Blanton's peas (more like a black eyed pea than a garden or English pea) will make great soup and we do have a lot of these. Now all we have to do is thresh them and clean them up so they can be used. years ago we grew dried beans as an actual crop but found that they took up an awful lot of space for low yields and we could buy certified organic beans for less than what it cost to raise them so we pretty much quit growing them. You really need to grow acres and acres of them to make it worth the time and effort involved. But growing so many means there is no way they can be harvested and threshed by hand so that means we would have to invest about $50K in a combine (and that would be a used combine, a new one cost $1/2 million) and buy more acreage. So we have decided not to do that as it would bankrupt us.

The Winter Share program will start Nov 11th. I need to know if you are in or out ASAP. Just a simple yes or no will suffice. I have heard from several members already so you guys do not need to respond again.

Pick-up is after 4pm. As there are tomatoes on the list there will be two bags this week. One on the table by the fridge and the other in the fridge with your name on both.

Recipe

Roasted Peppers

You will need a grill (wood is best but propane or charcoal will do the job) a paper grocery bag (do NOT use plastic for this) and as many whole peppers as you can find. get the grill going and when it is hot with some flame put the peppers on. Cook them over the flame turning occasionally until the fruit is blackened and the skin is flaking off, about 10-to 15 minutes. remove from heat and put into the paper bag ASAP. Let the hot and charred peppers sit in the bag for about 15 minutes than take them out of the bag and remove the blackened skin from the peppers. I find it is best to do this over a sink as you will need to rinse them off. Also remove the seeds at this time. now you can either use these smoky tasting peppers right away in your favorite dish or on their own as a side dish/appetizer. or you can cut them into strips, put them on a cooking sheet and freeze them for later use. When the peppers are fully frozen put them into a plastic freezer bag and back into the freezer. These are great in salsa and chili, among other things.

What's In the Share this Week


Mistui Rose radish-AKA water melon radish because it is green on the outside and red inside. These are best used for cooking but can also be eaten raw, though I find them a bit on the fibrous side. I have not had the greens but they are quite edible and i am sure like most greens this is where most of the nutrition is. I would treat them like chard or spinach if you cook them. You get a bunch of three
Tomatoes-likely the last week for these. A few pounds of mix maters, many of which may not be in the best shape. late tomatoes are full of cracks, dings and late blight. Just cut around anything that looks bad.
Dill-an herb we should have had months ago but are just now able to harvest. Dill is a versatile herb that goes well with most veggie, cheese and fish dishes.
Parsley-a nice bunch of Italian Flat leaf parsley
Raspberries-a 1/2 pint box of raspberries this week. they just get better and better.
Red Turnips-a bunch of red salad turnips. these are meant to be eaten raw in salad, like radishes. That's right I am sending you radishes that need cooking and turnips that are best raw, confusing, huh?. The greens are also excellent (I like these and dislike all other kinds of turnip greens).
Potatoes-a couple of pounds of mixed taters. I do not know what we have harvested but there should be red, white and some different fingerlings.
Sweet Peppers-Some purple peppers and at least one red or orange ripe pepper. there would be more ripe ones but once a year Miami University (my Alma Mater) does a local foods dinner for the students and they ordered red peppers and pears for us so I have to make sure I can fill their order. seeing as how we have over 150 peppers plants full of ripening peppers this should not be an issue. But the peppers are ripening sloooowly and unevenly so it has become a small issue. In the coming weeks I will likely overload you guys to some extent with ripe peppers. These are super easy to freeze. Just cut them open, take out the seeds and cut off the white ribs and than cut the peppers into the shapes you want (I dice them) and put into a freezer bag (be sure to get out all the air) and into the freezer for winter/spring use. I suggest you do this with them when you get an overload.
Beets-The beets are back for fall. You will get a bunch of red beets with greens. Like the other root crops with greens this week, these too are edible and tasty and where all the nutrients are.
Green Beans-You will get a pound of either the Haricot verts (long and skinny) or Blue Lake (not so long or skinny) depending on what is producing today and Thursday. It looked like on Saturday that there would be a lot of Haricot verts Tuesday and lots of Blue Lake by Thursday. Of course we were also expecting a couple of inches of rain and not the drizzle we got most of Sunday that resulted in about 1/2" of rainfall. At any rate these beans will be far better looking than the beans you guys have been getting as we have switched from picking old beds to brand new beds.
Copra Onions-These are the best yellow cooking onions ever and that is why we grow them (I am a bit of an onion fanatic). If you want to use them raw just know that they will burn your guts. These do not need to be refrigerated
Garlic-a couple of corms of garlic. I believe you will get Chesnok Red (AKA Shivlisi) this week. This is our strongest garlic and originates in Georgia (Russian GA, not US GA)



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



 
 
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