Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 11

We have reached mid June and true summer. The long days mean that the onions are growing at an explosive rate. The bulbs just about double in size daily (right now that does not mean much as they are just beginning to form bulbs but in about a week it will be really noticeable). we have pulled all the garlic scapes, or about all, there are always a few we miss no matter how many times we check, this means you will soon get fresh garlic in your share, by soon I mean next week. You should get raspberries next week as well. I though last year was a bumper crop but it looks like this year will easily out pace the 26 gallons of berries we picked last year. The plants are much larger and the stand is denser and they are loaded with ripening berries and flowers that are abuzz with pollenators. We have picked a scant few and they are fabulous!

Along with the 15+ hour days we have started getting good amounts of rain. Over 2 inches have fallen in the past 3 days (including the 1/2 inch that fell while AccuWeather told me we had less than a 3% chance of any rain at that time of day. I wish we could bet on this rain forecasting because I would have taken those odds.). All this means a lot of happy crops. The tomatoes we finished transplanting last week are growing really well. Some have grown about 6" in a week. the tomatoes we put out in April have green maters that look like they should start to ripen soon. We will start the tomato season with a yellow mater called Yellow Taxi, soon after will come the sublime red heirloom, Matina (this is seriously one of the best tomatoes I have ever eaten), than the orange cherry tomato, Sunsugar and another red heirloom, GL-18. I believe these will be ready in early July. The potatoes are flowering and huge. The beets are about a week from readiness. The scallions should be ready in about 2 weeks. Oh and the pea crop is coming in. We have loads of snow peas and soon will have loads of sugar snap peas as the second planting is what we are beginning to harvest from and this planting is bigger and the plants a lot more fruitful as they were planted in a warmer time than the first peas. We won't have shelling peas for another week. They are setting a lot of pods but the pods need a bit more time to fill up with peas.

We are leaving the planting period and going into the heavy duty harvest period. I figure by this time next week I will be spending about 6 hours a day harvesting raspberries, strawberries and peas. 3 days a week there will additional things to harvest for the farm share initiative and the Saturday farmers market in Oxford. I am not looking forward to the raspberry picking as that will fill most of the harvest day. I know last year there were a couple of days where both Eugene and I were out there together for 4 hours-that would be an 8 hour picking for one person. But the upside is raspberries are one of our more profitable crops and yummy.

This weekend there is a pot luck on Sunday at 6pm. I need to know if you are coming or not (i.e RSVP). Bring a dish to share, things to eat from and with. We will set up a grill and I plan on getting some local beef, probably from Salem Road farm (not organic but grass fed). Let me know no later than Friday if you are attending or not. The last farm tour pot luck was wonderful.

Recipe

Squash Lyonnaise

1 LB zucchini or summer squash
1 med to large onion
1 TBL Butter
Salt to taste

Slice squash into 1/4 inch slices, do the same with the onions. In a hot sauté pan melt the butter than add the onions, squash and salt. Cook over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is soft

In your share this week:

Chard-The first chard harvest of the year. Actually these are the thinnings-the chard needs space and you get to eat the results. If you are new to chard cook it like you would spinach.
Kale-You get a nice bag of kale this week. kale is one of the most nutritious foods we grow
Red Turnips-more turnips with greens. These can be boiled and mashed like potatoes only these will come out a pretty pink.
Snow peas-you will get a lot of snow peas this week, perhaps over a pound. These need to be strung and are best eaten raw. A very nice snack.
Sugar snap peas-you won't get as many snap peas as you do snow peas this week. Like the snow peas these need to be strung. these are good cooked or raw.
Zucchini-a couple of medium to small zephyr zucchinis. I think this may be the last week for zucchini for several weeks. the crop from which we have been harvesting is just about done and the next zukes have not yet started to flower and it will be a couple of weeks after the flowers start before there is anything to harvest.
Strawberries-They're baaack, and sweeter than ever.
Cilantro-a nice bag of cilantro
Garlic scapes-another 1/2 pound of scapes
Chives-I cut back the chives about 2 weeks ago to get rid of the fading flowers and tough stems. now they are ready to harvest again, without the flowers.

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Week 9

 

It's June! the start of summer or something like that. Early June is when we transplant the tomatoes as this is when we are about 99% assured there will be no frost (there was a frost after June 7th in the late 1980's I remember but 99 years out of 100 there is not). We have, with the help of my brother and sister who visited over the weekend, gotten about 20% of the maters in the ground and about 15% of the stakes, that will support the plants, erected. So far, there are Early girls, Paul Robeson (guess what color the maters will be from these plants?) Opalka (a nice heirloom sauce tomato) and yellow taxi an early lemon yellow tomato-we have another 17 or so varieties to get in the ground this week.

Other than tomatoes we have also been planting beans, cucumbers and zucchini, more spring mix (though I believe the seeds planted this past week will be the last as lettuce and spring mix do not do well for us in the heat of summer). Most seasons we do some sort of planting pretty much all the time but this year we will try to wrap things up in the next couple of weeks as it looks like we will not be getting much rain-in the past week we have received .3 inches. All but two weak storms have missed us. Not good. But we have irrigation and If Eugene is not tied up planting lots of seeds and seedlings than he can work on hooking up the irrigation system which takes a couple of days to do. We do have most of the drip tape laid out and now they need to be attached to the feeder lines and that takes a while because it is rare that the drip tapes easily attach to the lines. Once the irrigation system is 100% we will not worry as much about the lack of rain, at least for a while. But if we do not get a lot of rain in a couple of weeks and go into July down on rainfall we will start worrying about the well drying up. I seriously doubt this will happen as it is a fairly new well (under 40 years old) and deep bit no rain equals a low water table and low water tables are not good when you are taking about 70K gallons out of the well weekly when it gets dry. 70k gallons is a shocking amount but if we were to water with a hose or sprinklers it would be about 5x more water-yes, agriculture can use a lot of water but drip tapes use the least amount at 70% to 90% less than any other irrigation system.

And, irrigation will not allow the crops to thrive the way an inch of rain a week will. So pray for rain to fall on our farm. We are doing all we can-hanging laundry out, leaving windows open in the house and  vehicles, exposing flats of seedlings in soil blocks (which will melt into a solid mass of soil and roots if rained upon), leaving tools in the field. Perhaps we need to have daily outdoor events such as the potluck of a couple of weeks ago. We need to do something to call the rains to our farm-it gets close. There was a gully washer that got as close as 1/8th mile away on Friday. Most of the rain in the past week has been within no more than 2 miles but it will not fall here where we need it. Now that I think of it, the key maybe getting the irrigation all set up. In the past we have done this and have been rewarded with months of rain (this has happened 3 different times-we get the system set up and it starts raining within 24 hours for the rest of the season and we don't use it at all. But than there have been plenty of years where the irrigation was all that kept the crops going)

Your shares will be in the fridge in the store. I believe most everyone knows this now that I have been haphazardly putting them in there the past few weeks. now that it is above 75 degrees I like to keep the food chilled so it stays fresh longer in your fridges. I tend to be a bit obsessive about food quality. Eugene sometimes thinks I go overboard but I really hate sending out food that is not top shelf.

We are planning another potluck dinner Sunday June 21st, the summer solstice. I hope everyone can make it. these are really fun events and I feel it is important for all members to tour the farm as you will learn a lot about how we grow the food you eat. This is a big perk as we normally charge $25 an hour for a farm tour. So come out and get your money's worth.

Recipe

Roasted Garlic Scapes
These are wicked good

1 package of Scapes (1/2 LB)
1TBL olive Oil
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 350?. Put clean whole garlic scapes in a roasting pan. drizzle the oil over top and sprinkle salt to taste. Cover pan with lid or foil and put in oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Done when it smells like roasted garlic

This Week's Share

Lettuce-at least 3/4 pound of mixed heads
Spring mix-1/2 pound bag (we sell 6 ounce bags at market and the store so you get a BIG bag of this)
Arugula-1/4 pound bag of this peppery green
Zucchini-the squashes are getting bigger so you should get about a pound of  bigger than baby squash
Kale-a 1/2 pound bag of either russian white (what you have been getting all season) or Dinosaur which is dark green and an ancient kale. The dinosaur was almost ready last Friday and may be ready today (Tuesday)
Peas-1/2 pound of snow peas this week. And maybe some shelling peas, if enough are ready. If you get both the snow peas are the flat ones and are eaten pod and all (these will be loose). The shellers are dark green and you don't want to eat the pod (they are not poisonous, just fibrous)
Chives-Another bunch of chives with flowers.
Savory-this is an all purpose herb that everyone needs to use more often. It can replace black pepper and is good with anything except sweet foods. It is said to cut down on the flatulence factor in bean dishes and pairs exquisitely with dried beans.
Asparagus-at least 1/2 pound this week. I do not know how much longer this will be coming in. maybe a week, maybe a month
Garlic Scapes-These are the long green things in your share. Scapes signal the beginning of garlic season. These are the flower tops from our hard necked garlic and must be removed in order to get large heads of garlic. Our early garlic made their scapes over the weekend (right on time) and in 5 weeks we will harvest it. You use scapes much like you do garlic. Chop them up and put them in anything that needs garlic. they also are great pickled (though to make the canning process worth it you really need about 10+ pounds of scapes). These will last about 5 months in the fridge

 
 
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