Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 22


I am up extra early because today is the day we take our chickens in for processing. I will miss the birds but I will not miss the extra work they demanded, at least 2 hours a day that could have been spent mowing, cleaning garlic and onions, weeding, etc.. After today we will have more time to devote to the produce AND we will have sublime poultry to eat for the next 12 months or so. The chickens were useful for eating all the damaged and beginning to rot produce we had-they went through a lot of melons and tomatoes for us that would have ended up on the compost. Composting that sort of stuff is not a bad thing at all. bad produce makes up at least 50% of our compost. But allowing the chickens to eat that stuff  turned it into chicken poop which is very valuable stuff for our compost piles. I have also noticed things are a lot cleaner, compost material wise, when we have chickens. I guess because it is a lot more entertaining to feed the chickens than a compost pile.

You guys missed a great farm tour we had around 25 people from around Ohio attended and we talked strawberries and raspberries for a couple of hours. Unlike the casual farm tours we dour with you farm share members monthly this one had a moderator who formally introduced us, kept us from straying too far off topic and kept us on time during the tour. We gotten nothing but very positive feed back from the participants. I will admit we give good farm tour. I believe this is the 10th time we have done an official farm tour. There are some photos of the event on our blog and even more on my facebook account-if you do facebook and are not already my FB friend become my FB friend today and take a gander at all the farm tour photos (and lots of other farm photos and video).

The cold weather we are having this week does have have an effect on the crops. We re covering a lot of the warm weather crops and may be out of basil after 3 nights in the 40's. the basil has a double cover on it but I have not looked at it since the cold has arrived and it likely will have black spots all over. All we can do is hope for warmer nights (like in the 60's at the lowest) and cut back the plants and hope they can grow out of it. We may be in luck and find there has been very little damage done because they have been protected but in the past 48F has brought on damage to even protected plants. Now while the warm loving crops are not all that happy with this cool weather the cold loving crops are quite happy (though they would like some rain instead of irrigated well water)

It's a new month and we do have some new members and some old members that have decided to drop out. Reminder that pick-up is after 4pm on whichever day you opted to use (Tuesday or Thursday) in the store. the food will be in the fridge and/or on the table by the fridge (sometimes there are bags of things like tomatoes which should never be refrigerated).

The monthly potluck dinner and farm tour will be Sunday, Sept 20th starting at 6ish. RSVP about this (yes or no) in the next two weeks so we have a head count.

If you have not brought us some reusable bags it is by no means too late. If you are new to this we ask members to drop off at least 2 reusable shopping bags (bigger is better) so we can pack your shares into something other than plastic shopping bags. Please write your name on the bags.  Oh, and if you have a pile of such not very reusable plastic shopping bags sitting around your house or dorm we will take them as long as they are clean and reuse them at the farmers market and in our store for customers that do not bring their own.

Potato and Leek Soup

2 leeks cut into 1/2" rounds
1 pound taters cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 or 2 cloves of garlic either put through a press or chopped very fine
2 cups milk ( you can replace this with water if you are a non dairy drinker or use soy milk)
5 strips of bacon (vegetarians omit this ingredient and replace with a tablespoon of olive oil)
salt to taste

In a large pot (at least 3 gallons) put on med heat and let it heat up. When hot add the bacon and cook until crisp. when bacon is done remove it and drain it on paper and add the leeks and cook those in the bacon grease over medium heat. If using olive oil than put the oil into a hot pan and cook the leeks in that fat. While the leeks are cooking boil the potatoes in a separate pot. the taters need to simmer for about 10 minutes, which is about how long the leeks have to cook to get soft. When the potatoes are soft add them AND their cooking water to the pot that has the cooking leeks. About 3 minutes before this happens add the garlic to the leeks.

Let the leeks and potatoes cook for about 10 minutes than add the milk, thyme and salt and cook another 15 minutes. For a nice thick soup I put about 1/3 of the soup through a blender or food processor right before serving.

What's in the Share This Week

Potatoes-around a 1.5 pounds of mixed taters
Eggplant-black and purple and probably some of the mini white and purple striped aubergines
Green beans-about a pound of blue lake green beans
Tomatoes-a pound of mixed cherry types and fewer than 4 pounds of the big maters. I am giving you guys a break from tomato overwhelmation.
Leeks-2 leeks this week. the leeks are huge and wonderful, the best fall leeks we have ever grown.
Onion-two pounds of a mix of red onions and sweet onions.
Raspberries-A 1/2 pint of yummy red raspberries from our everbearing heritage plants, as opposed to the summer bearing latham plants that gave us such abundance in June and July
Mystery Greens-these are coming up in the fall white Russian kale. We have no idea what they are or where they came from but they are tasty-they seem to be a very mild mustard and would good either raw or lightly steamed
Thyme-a small bunch of thyme
Arugula-at least 1/4 pound of arugula this week, probably more as we have two beds producing it at the moment.
Garlic-3 corms of our hard necked garlic
Peppers-mostly purple peppers this week as the green peppers are beginning to ripen and I want to leave as many on the plants to get ripe as possible


Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 14

It's  new month and the farm share initiative has many new members thanks to some nice networking on the part of some of our members. This is exactly what should be happening in any healthy CSA type affair-members getting involved in their farm and going out and spreading the word. Way to go! For July we have 13 members, up from 9 members in June and 5 brand new members

First a little business-new members you share will be in the store in the fridge to the right of the front door. Each bag will have a name on it, take the bag with your name on it and leave the others (unless you are picking up for a group). Pick up is from 4 to 7pm. We are busy people and this time of year is a very busy time for us, so we may or may not be there to meet you. If you owe money and we are not around, leave it on the counter.

We will have a pot luck dinner/farm tour Sunday July 19th from 6 'til dark. I would like to know ASAP who will be attending (or not)

We will take back all packaging you get in your shares including boxes, rubber bands, plastic bags, etc..The more you bring back to us the fewer resources we will use for this project. And on this same general topic, some members have started providing us with cloth shopping bags. if anyone else can drop off 2 to 3 such bags (with you name written on each bag so we know who they belong to) this would be great. We have a gazillion plastic "T-shirt" bags but I would love to start getting away from using those or paper grocery bags to pack shares and go to something more sustainable. I can look into getting bags for everyone but frankly we all have such bags around the house and probably don't need another 2 to 3 of them.

Life on the farm has been busy, busy, busy. There is lots to harvest, lots to weed and it is time to plant crops for late summer. This means clearing out old crops-yesterday we harvested a bed of red turnips that had been sitting there doing nothing. Today all the pea beds will be cleaned up meaning plants taken out and put on the compost and the fencing used for trellising taken down and stored away. Hopefully this will get done early enough that Eugene can till these beds and prepare them for planting in the next few days. We plan on planting more beets, carrots, green beans, red turnips, rutabagas, etc., for late August/early September harvests.

We also have a lot of harvesting to do. Early July is raspberry season around here. our 400 or so feet of raspberries provides a lot of berries for us, the farm share, the store, the farmers market and yesterday I noticed an oriole family helping themselves (we have so many this year that we decided not to put any bird netting over the plants and until the orioles moved in this week not a lot of damage was done. Still, there are so many berries that I believe they will get their fill long before they have much impact on the harvest). Raspberry harvest has been taking about 6 hours a day to bring in. It is one of our most lucrative crops but I will be happy when the berries are over for this year. We had a fine garlic harvest. We decided to get the garlic out about 10 to 14 days early because we noticed some disease issues starting. So we jumped on harvesting the garlic and it is looking good and curing quite quickly. Our next big harvest will be the onions the beginning of August-we do all sorts of onions-red, sweet (yellow and white) and yellow cooking onions. The sweet onions you will start to see in your shares in the next couple of weeks others, like the yellow cooking onions, won't be available until fall and winter.

Cucumber salad

This is about my favorite summer food

Cucumber peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium sweet onion sliced
1 ripe tomato cut into chunks
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
Rice or balsamic vinegar (or mix 'em)
Olive oil

put the veggies in a bowl drizzle olive oil and vinegars over top that add the salt. Stir and let sit for about an hour. this is really really good with cubes of a good bread tossed in too. I have been using a dill bread I found at Jungle Jim's last week

Okay, here is what is in your share this week

Cucumbers-2 cukes, be sure to peel these well as the skin is quite bitter. The irony is we pay a lot of money for this particular seed because this is  supposed be a never bitter cuke and for over a decade was always sweet and perfect. but the past 2 years something has changed, climate change? a new breeding program? I dunno but the bitter cukes have made me a bit bitter.

Galia Melon-melon season has started you will get either a nice big melon or 2 smallish melons. the galia, or tropical melon was developed in the middle east. Eugene claims it is a cantaloupe but the catalogues have it in its' own category. At any rate the flesh is green but it tastes more like a cantaloupe than anything. it definitely does not taste like a honey dew despite the resemblance.

Chard-you get a nice big bag of  bright lights chard. If you are new to chard, cook it like spinach

Raspberries-you get 2 half pints this week

Mizuna-A nice bag of this mild asian green. I like eating this raw by using it as a bed for other veggies. The cucumber salad would go well on a bed of mizuna.

Garlic- 2 heads of one of the hard necked garlic we grow

Beans-a pound of mixed wax and green beans. I like to snap off the ends and cook them for 14 minutes. Mmmmmm Beans.

Carrots-a pound of our spring carrots. We have had great difficulty with weeds getting into the early carrot beds. We have spent literally hundreds of hours attempting to keep the beds free of weeds with little success but we were able to eke out a small early carrot harvest. The summer and fall carrots should be a lot better

Red Turnips-earlier in the season we distributed red turnips with greens. These have no greens and thus will store for weeks and weeks in your fridge (greens tend to suck all the moisture from roots leaving them soft)

Zucchini-the best squash we grow, costata romanesque is coming in. These green with grey stripe beauties are an old heirloom zuke with the best flavor of any zuke grown.

Savory-this is a peppery herb that is good in about anything (this is where the term "savory" dish comes from)

Potatoes-you will get around a pound of Kennebec white and Pontiac red (named for the Chippewa chief, not the car manufacturer). Soon we will have several other varieties such as red fingerlings, yukon gold, all blue, etc..

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