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 5 (week 5)

 


 

 

Greetings FSI members,

It's week 5 of this food adventure and in the past 7 days we have been through 2 frost warnings and several thunder storms and high winds. Spring was replaced by winter (or late fall) for a couple of days, which was a real negative for the farmers market and the asparagus patch. No, the cold doesn't kill it but it does mean the asparagus will not produce for several days and that is what happened over the weekend-very little asparagus to be had. But the up side for all you asparagus lovers is once it gets warm and there is rain it comes back making up for lost time, which it did yesterday (and I supposed today, tomorrow and on and on...)

The other crops are doing well as well. This is because for the first time at this farm (we were at another, rented, farm for 13 years about 15 miles NW of where we are today) we did soil testing and than bought fertilizer (they make certified organic fertilizers and that is what we used) and have been putting that on all the beds and it has made a huge difference in quality and yields. For years we thought that adding compost, crop rotation and doing green manures/cover crops was enough. All these things have done much to improve certain aspects of our soil and we have seen a slow improvement in crop quality and yield (but glacially slow improvements). So this year we decided to try this 10-10-10 fertilizer and all I can say is Wow! It is better than compost and we can fertilize around 25 beds with this stuff in the same time we can fertilize around 5 beds with compost. Now all that said we still make and use compost as well as grow green manures because they feed the soil in ways granulated fertilizers cannot. But we can see now that McGeary Organic fertilizers will be an important part of our fertility program in the future.

We have a request-we still have openings in the farm Share Initiative and one of the best ways to get more members is for our members to talk to their friends and colleagues about us. Frankly, we have far fewer FSI members that we would like (we have 5 members/member groups right now, last year we had 12 at this point in the season) and because we are not made of money (farming is not the best way to get rich as most of us farmers are anything but) we cannot afford much paid advertising (and in the past, when we have gone this route all we have done is wasted money). So we are asking you to talk us up among the people you know.

I should have brought this up earlier in the season. We at Boulder Belt are all about sustainability and one aspect of that is reusing the packaging we send home with you in your shares. We want back all bags, rubber bands and boxes (when the raspberries and strawberries come in you be getting boxes in your share). We also will take all clean plastic and paper shopping bags. But we really don't want soiled bags as we put your (and other people's) food in these.  We  DO NOT want boxes and rubber bands from food other than ours. But if it came from us we want it back and ALL clean plastic and paper shopping bags no matter where they came from. Oh yeah, if you have not yet supplied us with reusable cloth/plasticky bags drop 2 to 4 of them off when you pick up your share today (or you can give them to us at the Saturday farmers market in Oxford). The bigger the bags the better. I can see that soon (perhaps today) I will have to start using two bags for the shares (I should have done last week as it was a tight squeeze to get everything in one bag).

Betty Update-her E-collar came off this morning and she does not seem interested in ripping out her stitches (which we will remove Friday morning) she is full of piss and vinegar. I believe the ordeal is finally over for all of us and soon the farm will be able to go back to normal. This event has meant that for the most part both of us could not work at the same time. That leaving Betty for more than 2 hours was always a bad idea (except between noon and 3pm when she takes her long nap). When we came home from the farmers market Saturday she had torn up a rather large piece of the carpet in the guest room along with putting holes in a few select items of clothing and some catalogs were ripped up. All because the dog had to stay indoors and she was lonely and frustrated. We understand but it has not been fun for any of us, especially her. Now we just need to find another Vet as the one that did this to her does not deserve our business.

The Pot Luck dinner /farm tour will be May 23rd at 6pm. bring a dish to share and something to eat from

Oh yeah, we have, in our freezer, whole pasture raised chicken that we raised last summer. We have too many to eat and need to sell some. If you are interested the birds cost $25 for 4 to 5 pounds of the most sublime chicken you will ever eat. they are professionally processed and shrink wrapped and look just like a bird you would buy at the grocery but that is where the comparison stops. If you want one today be sure to find me or Eugene when you stop for your food and we will get you one (or more). I believe we have around 15 to sell.

See you after 4pm today and before 6am Saturday morning. The food will be in the fridge in the store as per usual.

Recipe

Asparagus Bruschetta

1/2 LB asparagus trimmed and cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 LB mushrooms slices.
1/2 pound spinach, washed and chopped
1 or more cloves of garlic
any other veggies
Salt
Olive oil or butter
1 loaf of a good French bread (I get mine at the Oxford Farmers Market) sliced, brushed with olive oil and baked on a cookie sheet at 350F for 15 minutes or until it is crunchy enough for you.

In a large saute pan heat the oil/butter than add all the veggies except the spinach. Stir occasionally to keep them from burning and cook about 5 minutes. than add the spinach and cook another 5 minutes. the bread should be baking while the veggies are cooking so that when the veggies are done the bread is done. Put bread slices on a plate and cover with the asparagus bruschetta and eat. Yummy

this recipe was invented Saturday afternoon after the farmers market when faced with a lot of left over asparagus and some spinach. kale, sweet peppers, peas, broccoli, radishes and many other vegetables would also be good in this quick and versatile dish.


What's in the Share

Lettuce-at least 1/2 pound (likely more) of a mix of heirloom lettuces
Spinach-1/2 pound this has been very very good
Asparagus-a couple of pounds of green and purple
Arugula-1/4 LB bag
Leeks-a bundle of tiny leeks which are the last of last year's leeks that we finally dug up freeing up 2 beds for tomatoes later on this month
Rhubarb- 1/2 pound
Thyme-a bunch of thyme
Radishes-A big bunch of a mix of Easter egg (round) and D'Avignon radishes
Chives-these now have flowers which you can make a simple vinegar from simply by snipping them off the stalk and cramming in a small jar and covering with white vinegar. 3 days later you will have a pink oniony vinegar that is wonderful to make dressing with.
Kale-3/4 pound; This week you should see a new kale called rainbow kale (you have been getting White Russian) This is a brand new kale for us so we have no comment on the quality of this. But it sounded so cool in the catalog so we are now trying it. You should get a mix of purple, green and white leaves (really the veins within the leaves)

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 4

It's been a busy week here at the farm. I have been starting hundreds of seeds-Asian greens (something called tong ho and a bok choy), celery that was completely unplanned but Eugene found a packet with a lot of seeds so I planted several hundred. parsley that should have been started about 3 weeks ago. And 5 kinds of lettuce for late May/early June harvest. Some time this coming week I will start about 1000 tomato seeds (I plan on starting around 20 different kinds). While I have been doing all that Eugene has been mowing, tilling, direct planting seeds for things like spring mix and I believe some spinach got planted as well but I do not have high hopes for it if it does not cool down a lot and start raining. You may like temps in the high 80's in April but this is very hard on the cool weather crops. lettuce gets bitter in the heat and the spinach wants to bolt to seed, among other things.

 Because of the heat I harvested most of the spinach on Saturday morning as it was either gonna bolt to seed or die of heat and lack of water. Either way it would mean the end of that crop and no more in your shares. So I decided to harvest early so you guys can get one last week of spinach.

Okay, we have also been doing a lot of transplanting. We finished off the leeks, put in about 100 lettuce plants and another 150 of broccoli, kale and cabbage. This we did in about 3 hours. If all we had to do was simply pop seedlings into the soil 3 hours would be a leisurely pace for us, but on Boulder Belt Farm most seedlings get the following treatment. A bed is raked smooth, seedlings are put in the soil. Than they are each given a drink of water spiked with freeze dried kelp and fish (smells like the seas shore) from a watering can. Than 7 wire hoops are put in place along with 14 heavy rocks per bed (and the rocks always seem to be in another part of the market garden so there is usually a good amount of toting) and finally a row cover is stretched over the whole thing and weighted down with the rocks. The row cover protects the seedlings from wind and hail as well as from insects and keeps the moisture in the soil and leaves. Things love growing under row cover.

This week we got 6 yards of compost from up north in Union City, OH. We had ordered the compost in Feb and were told we would have it the 3rd week of March and got it Friday evening. It would have been nice to have had the compost a month ago better a month late than never. This has added to our repertoire of chores. Big pile of compost must go on all 225 beds and that has been happening too.

And on top of all this, the asparagus and strawberries are coming in and need to be harvested at least once a day. Asparagus will be plentiful this week. Tuesday folks will get a double dose of it as they got none last week. No one will get any strawberries in their share before May. While they are beginning to ripen there is no where near enough to fill 11 shares this week.

If you are paying by the month you can leave a check (or cash with an explanation of who left the money) on the counter at the store to pay for the month on May. Oh yeah, please do not toss out the jars the apple sauce came in. If you are not going to use them (I know some of you are canners) I will take them back (lids and rings too) as I go through a lot of jars in a year and I don't want to see them recycled or (ugh) land-filled. One last important note. I have just changed ISP's (and DSL after 19 or so years with dial-up) and have a new email address- boulderbelt-at-embarqmail.com. Please update your address books. I will have the old email for another month or so but after that if you use it to try to contact me your email will be sent off into a void

 

Recipe

Asparagus and Leek Salad

4 spears of asparagus

1 leek

1/2 bag of spring mic

several radishes

1/4 of the chives (or more or less depending on your taste)

Cut the asparagus into 1" pieces. Cut the leafy green part and the root off of the leek than cut length-wise (as opposed to cutting it into rounds) and cut the leek into quarters, you will end up with a lot of julienned pieces. Put the leeks and asparagus into a saute pan that is on medium heat and has a dollop of butter or olive oil melted and hot. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Remove from heat and let these cool a bit, say 5 minutes While the veggies are cooking wash and spin dry the spring mix and wash and slice the radishes. Put the greens into a salad bowl, top with the radishes and right before you are ready to serve add the cook and still warm veggies. Top with a nice vinaigrette or other favorite dressing (ranch is really good on this)

Here's what's in the shares this week (kind of a small share this week but soon there will a myriad of produce coming out of the garden. We are at the point where late winter/early spring stuff is ending and mid spring/early summer stuff is just coming in)

Green Asparagus- We also have purple which is better but we are not getting much yet but should later in May for everyone to get some

Lettuce-like last week a bag of mixed lettuces

Spring Mix

Leeks-believe it or not this is about it for the leeks. We might have them one more week after this week Chives-a nice bunch of fresh chives

Radishes-Tuesday gets D'avignon and Thursday will get easter egg which are round radishes in pink, red, white and purple

Cilantro-this is really good in Macaroni and cheese

Spinach-I believe this will be the last week for spinach until fall or next spring. We never have much luck with mid spring planted spinach.

 
 

Boulder Belt News-April 15th 2009

Greetings,

This is the third week of April and that means we will be at the last Oxford Uptown Winter Farmers Market in Uptown Oxford from 9:30am til noon in the public lot at Church and Main Sts.

We still have some room in the May Farm Share initiative. You can join for the month for $120 or for the rest of the season, 27 weeks for $810. Check out http://www.angelfire.com/oh2/boulderbeltcsa/csa.html for all the details.

Things on the farm are growing. The grass has greened up, the birds are back (though in lesser numbers than in the past is seems), leaves are unfurling on the trees. The hoop house strawberries have green fruit on them so we should have some berries by the first week of May. The first planting of peas is growing along with lots of heirloom lettuces. The over wintered spinach is ready for a big harvest so be prepared to get some spinach this weekend. It has been so darned good, almost addicting. The same is true with the over wintered leeks. they have loved the spring weather have gotten better than they have been all winter (and they have been fabulous!).

We have been busy starting seeds and planting a lot of seedlings. put out about 1000 onion seedlings (it's like planting  blades of grass) earlier this week and started hundreds of pepper seedlings to be planted in late May or Early June. We have lots of broccoli, kale and cabbage already transplanted in the garden and more seedlings waiting to go into the dirt in cold frames. many beds have been tilled up waiting seeds and seedlings when it quits raining and more will be tilled when it gets dry enough to do so. It's a lot to do but it's good work, we like playing in the dirt.

On that note here is a short list of what we expect to bring to market

spinach
leeks
scallions
cilantro
garlic powder
dried herbs
popcorn
hops plants (Cascade, I believe)
catnip
Spring mix
heirloom lettuce
radishes

Thanks, as ever, for your support.
 
 
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