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.

Recipe

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
Parsnip
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
http://www.boulderbeltfarm.com


 
 

FSI Newsletter Vol 1 issue 5

Greetings Farm Share Members,

We are into a new month. For us it means welcoming 3 new members and saying goodbye to to. Giving us a total of 12 members this month, we had 11 in April. A positive trend as we did not expect to fill all 30 membership slots in the spring. All we want is a steady increase in membership throughout the season. At this point we are 40% full and that is A-ok with us. The FSI is replacing the Tuesday uptown market as a marketing strategy and all we asked of it was that it make at least as much money as that market. So far it is making more than double for us.  So while you guys generally get more than the $30 you paid per weekly share we still end up making more money from this system of selling food. Instead of spending the entire morning and early afternoon harvesting, cleaning and packing produce, driving to Oxford doing the market and coming back around 9 or 10pm (often we would dine and socialize with friends after market) now we can spend Tuesday harvesting for the FSI (which takes about 1/3 the time because I am harvesting for a known entity instead of trying to guesstimate how much stuff we may need for market) in the early morning and than the rest of the day Eugene can spend on his farming projects while I get the shares cleaned and packed. In other words, because of the FSI we get an entire extra day on the farm which is almost priceless to us. Also we don't have to drive the behemoth Dodge van that get less than stellar gas mileage and we don't have to schlep around heavy crates of produce. During melon season (high summer) this is a major pain-100+pound crates to be moved in 90+ degree humid conditions. yes, this is a part the glamor of market farming. So the FSI is literally saving our backs, as we are not getting any younger.

The month of May also means the garden is transitioning from winter/early spring crops to mid spring/early summer crops. Gone is the spinach and soon the leeks will be too. We are now seeing strawberries, asparagus kale, lettuces, radishes, chives, fresh herbs (tarragon, thyme, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, savory) and soon will have peas (all 3 kinds, shelling, sugar snap and snow), zucchini, broccoli, cabbages, garlic scapes oh and some Asian greens we have never grown before but should be wonderful. A part of this kind of food buying is the adventure in eating aspect. And Eugene and I are adventurous eaters as well as growers so there will be brand new items on occasion in your shares that will likely be new to everyone. This spring it will be Tong Ho. A green from SE Asia. We have never grown it or eaten it. There is some chance it will fail the first time we plant (okay it already has and we have replanted because now we are quite curious as to what this stuff tastes like.). I will endeavor to figure out how to cook anything completely new before putting it in the shares so I can tell you guys what you are dealing with. And I do realize we already are putting in alien items for you that we have been growing for years and have come to look upon as normal. I mean doesn't everyone eat Mizuna or golden beets? They should if they don't.

The farm has been wet for the past week. This is great news-we were down over 3" on rainfall for 2009 and the 3.5" we got at the end of last week was just what everything needed. the farm has greened up and the crops, trees, flowers, grass and weeds are growing the way they should. Eugene has been doing a lot of mowing as keeping the grass short around the beds keep diseases at bay  by allowing air to pass freely over the crops as well as allowing sunlight in. Short grass is also a bane to pests like mice and voles, so it keeps them out of the beds where they can do a lot of damage. It's been too wet to plant seeds or seedlings or potatoes though with it being dry since Saturday I expect by Tuesday we will be back at it. There are about 50 pounds of seed  taters to put in the ground this week (and than we will plant another 100 pounds in 3 to 4 weeks and another 100 pounds 4 weeks after that), lettuce and celeriac seedlings to transplant into the market garden, hoeing, fertilizing, tilling and a zillion other tasks to do

Remember we have a pot luck dinner and farm tour coming up May 24th starting at 6pm. Recycle your bags with us-paper or plastic, just the clean ones, though. We will also take back all berry boxes, the plastic sheet on top and the rubber bands that come on radishes, asparagus, berries, chives, etc.. We do not want rubber bands or berry boxes/clamshells from non Boulder Belt Sources

Recipe

Spring Salad
This a favorite at our farm

1/2 bag spring mix
at least 8 strawberries
Several radishes
2 to 3 scallions
Several spears of asparagus (as many as you want)

Wash and spin dry the spring mix. Cut the strawberries in half or quarters if they are huge. Wash and slice the radishes. Wash and slice the scallions. Wash and cut the asparagus into 1" pieces than blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender crisp, drain and cool. Put the clean greens into a big bowl and top with all the other veggies. Dress this salad with the following:

1/2 cup vinegar. I use a combination of rice and balsamic vinegar but really, any will do.
1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves of fresh garlic minced/mashed
2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup olive oil

This Week's Share

Leeks-Likely the last week for these. It was a great run.
Spring Mix
Lettuce-4 heads of mixed lettuces
Kale-White Russian kale, an heirloom we first grew last year and found it delicious
Strawberries-out of our hoop house and about 6 weeks earlier than if we gave them no protection. And some of the scant few organically grown strawberries in Ohio
Asparagus-A pound or so of green asparagus.
Fresh Rosemary-This is the classic poultry seasoning (along with sage). Also good with roasted veggies, especially taters and it is great in salad dressing
Radishes-Easter Egg radishes this week
Scallions-This may be the last week for the over wintered scallions as they are threatening to make flowers. But soon enough we will have scallion that were planted this spring to harvest.
Fresh Savory-this herb is great with dried beans (it lessens the fart factor as well as adds flavor), pea soup and about any savory dish (you think that may be where the term "Savory Dish" comes from?). This was a new herb to me 5 years ago and now it has become one of my mainstays as it is good in so many things be they vegan or meat dishes.

 
 
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