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 17 (week 17)




It is week 17 and the beginning of a new month. I hope August is better than July (though so far it has not started all that well-I went to the dentist to get a tooth filled and he drilled a bit too deep and not I need a root canal. this will be my 2nd one). We went to the preble County fair on Sunday to watch the horse races and Eugene won $81 on the last race which was the 17th race. He bet an exacta-1 and 7 (which could be interpreted as 17) and this is the 17th week of the FSI-some how this is all connected.

Things with the farm are busy. As you all know, this is the week of the BIG 127 Yard Sale. We have sold/rented all of our spaces and it looks like we will have an interesting and eclectic array of items for sale. Vendors have been coming in all week setting up and this afternoon/evening will be the big push to get 'r' done as we open for business at 8 am tomorrow morning and if it is anything like the past years we will be busy from that point onward.

In order for us to get things out of sheds we have had to do a lot of partial garlic cleaning. The garlic is hung around the farm in various building to cure and now it is all cured and in the way of the Yard Sale so I have been cutting the stems off the garlic and putting it into bushel baskets until I have time to clean it up. So far I have done this to the German White and today I will get the stalks off of the Chesnok Red/Shvilisi. The other 3 varieties can wait until after the sale as they are not in the way. I also have been dealing with onions. The storage onions-red and yellow are at varying stages. Some are still in the ground, some are curing on racks in the store and barn and some are done curing and at the point of clean up and some are all cleaned up and ready to either store or sell. Generally, with onions, they all get ready within a week or two of each other and all get pulled pretty much at the same time. But this year we had a bed of yellow onions ready for harvest about 5 weeks ago and they were all cured by the time the rest of the yellow and red onions were ready to harvest the past 2 weeks. this if a good thing as the onions got really big this year and if they had all come in at the same time we would not have had enough room on our drying racks for them all and would have had to improvise (which would have meant making hammocks out of chicken wire and snow fencing and putting those up where we park our car in the barn and parking the car outside for a month). Yellow and red onions are very important for our fall winter marketing. These crops store very well and we grow them in order to have income year round. This is why you likely will not see them in your shares unless we do a winter share again and you become members of the winter share program.

But I am not sure if we will do this yet. It all depends on how well the winter squashes do. So far they are doing okay-not the best year but certainly not the worst year. For those of you who have not done the  winter share what we do is distribute a double sized share every 2 weeks usually Mid November through January. The shares are mainly storage crops-winter squash, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, garlic, dried herbs, popcorn along with what ever fresh stuff we can grow in hoop houses-lettuce, kale, arugula, tomatoes (yes tomatoes-we usually can get these too work into early December than we pull the green ones when it gets too cold for the tomatoes to survive, get them to ripen indoors and often have maters through the new year), radishes, melons (like the maters we usually have these into early December), etc.. At any rate, you guys will be the first to know about the winter share and get first crack at signing up as we generally have to limit this to 10 or 12 members.

This week is the start of tomato madness. I will try and not overwhelm you all with too many maters but it is hard, as once they start to ripen they do so with a vengeance. Last year there were weeks where members got over 15 pounds a week. If this happens, than I suggest you put them up for winter. The easiest way to do this is to freeze them whole. Just put washed whole maters into a zip lock freezer bag and pop them into your freezer (I assume everyone has a chest or upright freezer-I know I have two in service). You can also make salsa, sauce, juice and can or freeze that as well. Or if you get too many and don't want to process them, just leave them on random people's porches (like zucchini). Another thing on the maters you will not see many red ones. We love to grow the unusual maters so we are big on blacks, yellows, oranges, whites and striped. Do not be afraid of these odd looking maters as they are sooooo much better than the pedestrian reds. the good news is this week will not be an overwhelming week mater wise as they are just beginning to get ripe. No, this week we are getting overwhelmed with melons and you will get several in your share

Welcome to the Boulder Belt late summer garden-it can be mondo-productive and despite our problems this summer it does look like this is the case. I hope all of you take advantage of the bounty and put some up for the off season as that is where the FSI becomes a great food deal.

Your shares will be ready after 4 pm this afternoon and as always will be in the bottom of the fridge in the store with your name on your bag(s) (I suspect with the melons and whatnot there will be two bags for those of you who have not provided reusable bags). If you cannot pick up today we will be around all weekend doing the Yard Sale. Remember that we will take back and reuse all bags, rubber bands, berry boxes, etc that comes in your share.

Tomato salad

Several heirloom and cherry tomatoes cut into chunks/slices
1 medium Ailsa Craig Onion
2 cucumbers
1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

Mix all this in a big bowl and top with salt, to taste, olive oil and a good vinegar and toss. You can also cover the veggies with your favorite salad dressing. Feta is really good in this as are croutons made from a good crusty Italian bread. Put the dressed veggies on a bed of arugula and you have one fantastic meal that did not involve heating up the house.

What's in the Share

Cucumbers-4 or 5 pickling cukes. We had so many we started lacto-fermenting 17 pounds (oh my, there is that 17 again. It seems to be the number of the week). i may include a small jar in your shares in 4 weeks or so when the fermentation is done
Gopher melons-a very nice muskmelon. these are supposed to the best there is and I must say they are very good
Templeton melon-the yellow melon you got last week. these should be a lot more ripe
Eggplant-several pounds of black and white aubergines. make baba ganoush or eggplant Parmesan this week
Big Tomatoes- probably 2 pounds of a mix of maters. I have Rose de Bern (pink), Japanese triffle (brownish black and kinda pear shape), Dr Wyches Yellow, Paul Robeson (black beefsteak), Crnkovich (another big pink, like the Rose de bern and rhymes with cranky bitch). You will get some but not all of these varieties in your share
Cherry Tomatoes-AKA the li'l guys. You will get over 1 pound of a mix of sungold (orange) Cherrywine ( dusky rose color-this is our exclusive home bred tomato and thus in our opinion the best of the lot), a red one and Fargo yellow pear. If you have a dehydrator these are really good dried. You don't even need to cut them in half (unless they won't fit in the trays.
Garlic-a couple of uncleaned corms of German White
Ailsa Craig Onion-2 pounds

Potatoes-a couple of pounds of a mix of red and white
Arugula- a bag of  spicy greens


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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