Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative week 19

It's a new week and there are gonna be some new items in your share-yay!

We survived the yard sale-ended up with around 6000 people coming through and 6 people set up to sell their stuff. It was a very successful event. But it left us with little time for farming so the farm has gotten a bit behind and needs a good mowing badly-the weather has dealt us a bad hand rain wise-mowing was going to happen right before the Yard sale but we got 3" of rain on Tuesday last week which made it impossible to mow until Saturday at the earliest and by than we were simply too busy with the sale. The same is true with weeding-we have a lot of beds with newly germinated crops and a lot of weeds. The soils are too wet to hoe and hand pulling will take far too long. Hoeing a bed takes about 15 minutes, hand weeding takes about 1.5 hours and we have about 25 beds that need attention. So we prefer to hoe as we can get far more done

I think today it may be dry enough to hoe by this afternoon (if we do not get more rain, which is predicted, this afternoon). I thought mid August was our dry season. It's a mixed blessing to have rain in August-makes it possible to get a good fall crop started but it also brings on the weeds which normally we do not have much problem with this time of year. Usually we are just trying to get enough water to the fields to keep things alive. This is one of the things that makes farming fascinating-you never know what the weather will do. one year you won't have to do any mowing or weeding because it is droughty but you will have to pay close attention to irrigation. The next year the opposite

Despite the weeds, things are growing. The tomatoes are beginning to ripen. I do not believe you will see a lot of different maters this week, but next week there should be orange beefsteaks and some black maters added to the mix and by the end of the month most the 21 different kinds should be ripe. Like most of the eastern US we seem to have late blight on the maters and eggplant but we should still get a decent crop, though probably by late September the tomatoes will be over except for the late crop we planted in July to get us through October and maybe into November.

Speaking of growing things into late fall/winter, I need to get a handle on who is interested in doing a winter share? We will do on farm pick up twice a month, cost will be $100 a month ($50 a share). The shares will be larger than a summer share and will mainly be food that can store for months like taters, winter squash, onions, carrots, parsnips, a few canned goods, garlic, pears, dried herbs, leeks, etc.. If the weather is good to us, leafy greens (arugula, kale, spring mix, lettuce) and other things from the hoop houses will also be included throughout the season (we will certainly have them the first 2 or 3 pick-ups). This will start Wednesday November 11  and go through Wednesday January 20 for 3 months/6 pick-ups. Unlike the summer shares, we require people to pay the $300 for the entire winter share upfront, no month to month shares. We will have 12 shares available this year.

We did this winter share thing last year at the last minute (this is what got Boulder Belt back into doing a CSA program) and it went really well and I was surprised at the diversity of food we had to offer through the end of January. Shares had up to 20 different items. And to top it off, the weather did not get bad until the day after we shut down for the season, it was karmic. I figure it will be even better (if that is possible, it went off without a hitch last year) with a couple of months of prior planning.

So let me know sooner than later about this as we have to get plans nailed down in the next few weeks and I want to give current farm share members first crack before I go through my list of folks who were in it last year but not in the farm share initiative currently. I can guarantee we will sell out. Getting local winter food is hard to do around here as scant few of us farmers grow through winter. Not to mention, growing on the back side of the calendar has some major challenges not found in spring, summer and fall.

Thank you everyone who has brought in reusable bags. This is a big help to the environment. Off the top of my head we have 9 out of 14 members who have supplied us with reusable bags. Hopefully that number will be 100% by the end of the month (hint, hint). And thank you all for bringing back all the container items we use to pack shares.

You all will get two bags of food this week. There are large items and I need to start keeping the tomatoes out of the fridge as coolness kills the flavor and shortens the shelf life of maters. In other words, one should never refrigerate whole tomatoes. So look for a bag in the fridge and a bag outside the fridge (which will be a plastic bag unless you have more than 2 reusables here at the farm, than I will use 2 of those)



1 med eggplant, diced
1 pound tomatoes diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 pepper diced
1 medium zucchini diced
1 to 2 cloves of garlic either finely chopped or put through a press
1 TBL dried basil (if you use fresh add when you add the garlic and parsley and use 1/4 cup)
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
2 TBL olive oil
salt to taste

Prep vegetables while the pan heats over medium heat. Add the oil and than everything but the garlic and fresh parsley. Cook over medium to medium low heat for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally so things don't stick. At about the 20 minute mark add the garlic and parsley and cook another 10 minutes or so. Serve over pasta

Cantaloupe-you get either 1 big melon of 2 small melons. These have been so good this year
Kale-either the curly winterbor or the heirloom lacintino
Ailsa craig onion-2 pounds of sweet onions, some you may get onions that weigh a pound each
Garlic-3 corms of Chesnok Red this week
Green beans-a pound of blue lake green beans
Zucchini-mostly yellow patty pans this week
Cucumber-mainly lemons and poona kheeras this week-the long green cukes are not producing well at all so I do not think I will have enough for everyone.
Eggplant-you will get a purple one and a black one
Tomatoes-about 4 pounds of a mix of cherry tomatoes and mainly red heirlooms, though you may find a few other colors this week that are not yet ripe
Green and purple peppers-the purple peppers are in fact green and will ripen to a beautiful red
Delicata squash-aka sweet potato squash. This is the first of the winter squashes to come in. Unlike the later squashes these do not store all that well but are sweeter than all the others. This is easy to prepare, simply cut in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds and bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 17

It's week 17 of the farm share initiative and things are going along pretty well here. So far (knock wood) we have had a great growing season. Despite being way down on rain for this year things are growing, likely because the cool temps and many cloudy days have prevented a lot of evaporation of water from the soil. this has meant great crops for a lot of things. I am a bit worried about the tomatoes and eggplant. Both are showing signs of blight. Some tomato plants have succumbed to it already and other likely will. But not all the plants have it and I believe we will get a decent tomato crop despite blight being around. I don't believe it is the type that has been going around the Eastern US thanks to blighted box store maters being sold this spring. I believe it is the blight we usually get which uglifies the plants, does reduce yields (but not enough to keep us all from getting sick of tomatoes by October) and eventually kills the plants. And, for insurance, we have planted a fall crop of maters-about 100 plants that should be ready to harvest the beginning of October.

The eggplant I know we will get some fruits because I see growing fruits. But I can also see that the plants that give us the big black bell type aubergines are hit hard with blight and likely will not produce well and probably will have to be ripped out of the ground in the next couple of weeks. That said, we grow several different kinds of eggplant and the other types seem to be in great condition

We are beginning to get watermelons. You will not see any this week but should next week. Cantaloupes may also be ready next week. Because of the cool dry weather we have not had the insect population of past years so the melons and squashes are doing quite well. Though, because of the cool weather the flavor in the melons may not be the best (or it could be the best ever, you really never know with melons). Generally the best flavor comes from hot dry conditions. We have had the dry but not the heat.

It has been a terrific bean year. We have not had such good yields in a long time (as well as high quality-man the beans are yummy). Yesterday I harvested 2 bushels of blue lake green beans. If you want extra beans to can/freeze we have them for $20 for a 10 pound sack of them. Let me know this morning (before 1pm ) and I will fix you up a bag with your name on it, just leave the money on the counter. I freeze beans and this is easy to do. trim the ends, than blanch for 1 minute in boiling water. Cool ASAP, spin dry in a salad spinner (or blot with a clean towel) and load into a freezer bag and freeze and than in january you can have locally grown beans for dinner and a bit of food security.

It is the end of the month and I need payment from some of you. Leave cash or check on the counter when you pick up your share this week, or send a check to PO Box 593, Eaton, OH 45320

Next week (not this week) we are doing one of our big events-The 127 Yard Sale, The World's Longest Yard Sale. This happens Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug 6, 7, 8 and 9. If you pick up on Thursday or Friday you will encounter hundreds of people on the farm shopping at our several vendor's stands, as well as our store. You may want to give yourselves extra time to check out all the vendors and see if there is anything you like. Your shares will be harvested and packed on Wednesday because I will have no time to do this Thursday ( I will barely have time on Wed either but at least I won't have to deal with customers, just set up and dealing with vendors coming in and setting up). The other change will be that your shares will not be in the front fridge. I don't know where they will be but I will definitely be around and will know by the 6th where I have put them.

If you have things to sell we have spaces for $10 a day. We get literally thousands of people stopping over the course of the is event and this year should be bigger than past years as more and more Yard Salers are coming into Ohio and I have gotten the word out about the Boulder Belt Sale on the official 127 Yard Sale websites

From member Jim Latham

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons Hellman's mayonnaise
3-4 cloves of the fresh garlic ( more or less to taste as it can be really hot on the tongue)
2 tablespoons homemade chive blossom, white, balsamic, or red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt - regular works fine
sprig of any of the fresh herbs in the share

Peel the garlic cloves and coarse chop

Place garlic, sour cream, mayo, salt, and herbs in blender or food processor - we use a hand blender and measuring cup

Puree the ingredients together adding the vinegar a little at a time until you get a smooth, slightly fluffy cream dressing

Keeps for 4-5 days in covered jar in fridge

Use over cucumber slices, fresh tomatoes, raw baby squash, fresh salad greens. It is also quite tasty on baked potatoes or a in place of mayo on grilled burgers.

What's in the shares this week

Shallots-3 to 4 shallots
Haricot Verts- true French Filet beans and because of great yields you get a full pound this week
Blue Lake Green Beans-the classic green bean, 1.75 pounds this week. And if you need more for putting up let me know ASAP.
Tomatoes-a mix of mainly reds- Matina (small) and Glick's Pride (bigger). Around 2 pounds or so.
Green Peppers-2 to 3 peppers this week
Scallions-a bunch of scallions
Basil-1/4 pound
Garlic-1 clove of each type we sell for a total of 3 garlics
Chard-a 1/2 pound or better of bright lights chard

There may well be other items in your shares such as lemon cukes or even a melon but I have not been out yet today to see if we have enough ready to cover all the shares.

Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
Eaton, OH

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