Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative Week 23

Greetings Farm Share Members

It is week 23 for some of you and week 2 for others-it's a crazy farm share program we run. Almost no one else in the country will let new members in monthly. That makes us special. But it also makes it very hard to plan out the market garden for the farm share when we do not have a head count of members for the season. I do realize it makes it (somewhat more) convenient for members to be able to drop in and out of the farm share but I am finding that there is an inherent unfairness for the members that paid for a full season (or partial season). The full season members are taking the full risk of being a farm share member. If they go out of town they do not get to make up their missed week(s), for example. So things will change next year. I have not hammered out how they will change other than full season members will get a discount and I don't believe there will be a monthly option. I think monthly option will change to seasonal option where I split the season into 3 or 4 sections and people have the choice of either buying a full season share or a 2 or 3 month seasonal share. Full season people will have the option of a payment plan. seasonal members will have to pay in full. I will likely keep the cost about the same as this year. This is just a heads up for all you members who are planning on joining us in 2010.

Oh and don't forget we will be doing a Winter Share. There are still about 9 spaces left for that. Here are the details:
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.

I was going to write bout how dry the farm is getting  and if we don't get rain soon the yields will start dropping a lot and the fall stuff will be spotty. But we got over 2" of rain Monday and the market garden is much much happier. This means no more hand watering-literally taking 2 gallon watering cans out to the newly seeded beds and watering the seeds to get germination. Just like home gardeners do, only our garden is around 100x bigger. As I have mentioned in earlier newsletters, we do use drip irrigation but drip irrigation will not do for starting seeds. It cannot get the soil surface damp enough to ensure good germination. So we are forced to water by hand if it is dry.

As I mentioned, it rained and as long as it doesn't continue to rain non stop through the rest of the month we will be in great shape. If it decides to rain the rest of the month it will be tricky, if not impossible to get beds tilled for the rest of the late fall and winter crops (and even early spring crops like spinach) and seeds planted in the ground. I do not see that happening as September is our driest month of the year. Not to mention we have about 70% of these crops in the ground. So far for fall, we have planted arugula, spring mix, beets, green beans, carrots, radishes, red turnips, fall maters, fall zucchini, fall cukes, snow peas, sugar snap peas, kale, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli, daikon, and likely some other things. Plus we are harvesting a lot of winter squashes (butternut, delicata, acorn, etc..) and soon will be harvesting popcorn, parsnips, celeriac, celery for late summer through winter use. this week you will start to see the winter squashes, and while we do have hundreds harvested most still need to cure for another 3 to 4 weeks before they will be ready to eat. An uncured winter squash has no sugar development so the flavors tend to be dull and a bit off. But wait 3 to 5 weeks and that same squash will be fabulous.

What I want you all to come away with from reading this is just because the "Official" close to summer has happened i.e. Labor Day. This does not mean that us farmers and our farms have suddenly stopped producing. No, and in fact, fall is the best time of year for produce as it all comes in-both cold and warm weather items from mid September until frost when we lose the summer crops like tomatoes and peppers. It is a shame that a lot of non farmer managed/run farmers market close down after Labor Day as this just reinforces this myth on the non farmers of our country. But one of the things we at Boulder Belt Eco-Farm do is educate the general public on the fact that CSA's, Farm Stands and Farmers Markets (if they are still open) are at their best from now through frost. That there is a lot more going on than Corn mazes, Indian corn and pumpkins. That now is the time to buy in bulk so you can put up food for winter

Hey! There is a pot luck dinner/farm tour coming up Sept 20th. That is a Sunday. Please RSVP yes or no ASAP. We will be preparing roasted chicken that we raised for the meal (I can promise you that you will never have a better chicken). We may also offer some home brewed beer and home made wine to drink along with distilled water (this is very pure and excellent). You bring a dish that can feed 6+ people plus things to eat from (plates, cups, flatware). Meet at the store around 6ish and we will do a walk about around the market garden and explain what we do and take any and all questions, than we will eat like royalty.

No recipe this week, sorry.

What's in the Share

Tomatoes-several kinds of heirlooms and a mix of cherry maters. probably around 5 pounds, maybe a more, maybe less. The big reds are GL-18, the pale yellow are great White (one of our favorites), the  big round yellow orange fruits are Sun ray, the orange not so round and flatter fruits are Dr. Wyche's yellow, the small greens are green grape (excellent taste, don't let the color put you off), the smallish browns (black, actually) are Nyagous, the smallish reds are a saladette and some should be Green Zebra but are not. The more oblong big reds are Amish paste and excellent for canning, making salsa or fresh tomato sauce
Kale-a nice bag of White russian kale. this is a brand new bed of kale that needs thinning badly so you will get baby to adolescent kale. this should be tender and yummy
Scallions-a bunch on big scallions. I notice when i slice these they make me cry and yet the scallions themselves are not hot at all, despite being huge and about ready to split into 3 or more little scallions. Scallions, unlike green onions, never make a bulb. they instead divide into several new plants. green Onions, on the other hand are actual onions and if left in the ground will make a bulb and eventually the greens will die back.
Basil-a big bag of basil for using fresh or drying or freezing (see http://www.localharvest.org/blog/330 for old newsletters that tell you how to do these things if you are new or missed that week)
Leeks-a couple of lincoln leeks. These are good fresh or cooked.
Raspberries-2 boxes of berries. These are getting sweeter as the days get shorter.
Pears-heirloom Keiffer pears. These are hard and green but quite sweet and edible. If you want them a bit softer (they never get really soft until they start to rot) put them in a paper bag and wait a week and they should get a lot riper.
Peppers-still green and purple peppers but you may get one close to all ripe this week. Next week you will certainly start to see ripe peppers in your share as the peppers are beginning to turn from green (or purple) to red, yellow and orange. ripe peppers are sweeter and higher in Vitamin C and other nutrients than green. They are also a lot harder to raise as it is in the last 3 weeks of ripening that all the pests and diseases attack the peppers. This is why ripe peppers cost twice as much as green peppers at the market
Acorn squash-the first of the winter squashes. You get 2 medium or 3 small ones. We harvested these about 3 weeks ago so they should be perfect. To prepare cut in half, remove the seeds (which are excellent roasted, like pumpkin seeds so don't throw them out!). place flesh side down on a baking sheet and put into a preheated 350F oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Slather with butter and honey and you have a real treat.
Garlic-3 corms of garlic
Ailsa Craig onion-a pound of so of sweet onions
Potatoes-a couple of pounds of a mix of potatoes. likely White, red and Yukon golds though you may find some fingerlings this week.





Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
Eaton, OH
http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 22

Greetings,

I am up extra early because today is the day we take our chickens in for processing. I will miss the birds but I will not miss the extra work they demanded, at least 2 hours a day that could have been spent mowing, cleaning garlic and onions, weeding, etc.. After today we will have more time to devote to the produce AND we will have sublime poultry to eat for the next 12 months or so. The chickens were useful for eating all the damaged and beginning to rot produce we had-they went through a lot of melons and tomatoes for us that would have ended up on the compost. Composting that sort of stuff is not a bad thing at all. bad produce makes up at least 50% of our compost. But allowing the chickens to eat that stuff  turned it into chicken poop which is very valuable stuff for our compost piles. I have also noticed things are a lot cleaner, compost material wise, when we have chickens. I guess because it is a lot more entertaining to feed the chickens than a compost pile.

You guys missed a great farm tour we had around 25 people from around Ohio attended and we talked strawberries and raspberries for a couple of hours. Unlike the casual farm tours we dour with you farm share members monthly this one had a moderator who formally introduced us, kept us from straying too far off topic and kept us on time during the tour. We gotten nothing but very positive feed back from the participants. I will admit we give good farm tour. I believe this is the 10th time we have done an official farm tour. There are some photos of the event on our blog http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com and even more on my facebook account-if you do facebook and are not already my FB friend become my FB friend today and take a gander at all the farm tour photos (and lots of other farm photos and video).

The cold weather we are having this week does have have an effect on the crops. We re covering a lot of the warm weather crops and may be out of basil after 3 nights in the 40's. the basil has a double cover on it but I have not looked at it since the cold has arrived and it likely will have black spots all over. All we can do is hope for warmer nights (like in the 60's at the lowest) and cut back the plants and hope they can grow out of it. We may be in luck and find there has been very little damage done because they have been protected but in the past 48F has brought on damage to even protected plants. Now while the warm loving crops are not all that happy with this cool weather the cold loving crops are quite happy (though they would like some rain instead of irrigated well water)

It's a new month and we do have some new members and some old members that have decided to drop out. Reminder that pick-up is after 4pm on whichever day you opted to use (Tuesday or Thursday) in the store. the food will be in the fridge and/or on the table by the fridge (sometimes there are bags of things like tomatoes which should never be refrigerated).

The monthly potluck dinner and farm tour will be Sunday, Sept 20th starting at 6ish. RSVP about this (yes or no) in the next two weeks so we have a head count.

If you have not brought us some reusable bags it is by no means too late. If you are new to this we ask members to drop off at least 2 reusable shopping bags (bigger is better) so we can pack your shares into something other than plastic shopping bags. Please write your name on the bags.  Oh, and if you have a pile of such not very reusable plastic shopping bags sitting around your house or dorm we will take them as long as they are clean and reuse them at the farmers market and in our store for customers that do not bring their own.

Recipe
Potato and Leek Soup


2 leeks cut into 1/2" rounds
1 pound taters cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 or 2 cloves of garlic either put through a press or chopped very fine
2 cups milk ( you can replace this with water if you are a non dairy drinker or use soy milk)
5 strips of bacon (vegetarians omit this ingredient and replace with a tablespoon of olive oil)
salt to taste

In a large pot (at least 3 gallons) put on med heat and let it heat up. When hot add the bacon and cook until crisp. when bacon is done remove it and drain it on paper and add the leeks and cook those in the bacon grease over medium heat. If using olive oil than put the oil into a hot pan and cook the leeks in that fat. While the leeks are cooking boil the potatoes in a separate pot. the taters need to simmer for about 10 minutes, which is about how long the leeks have to cook to get soft. When the potatoes are soft add them AND their cooking water to the pot that has the cooking leeks. About 3 minutes before this happens add the garlic to the leeks.

Let the leeks and potatoes cook for about 10 minutes than add the milk, thyme and salt and cook another 15 minutes. For a nice thick soup I put about 1/3 of the soup through a blender or food processor right before serving.


What's in the Share This Week

Potatoes-around a 1.5 pounds of mixed taters
Eggplant-black and purple and probably some of the mini white and purple striped aubergines
Green beans-about a pound of blue lake green beans
Tomatoes-a pound of mixed cherry types and fewer than 4 pounds of the big maters. I am giving you guys a break from tomato overwhelmation.
Leeks-2 leeks this week. the leeks are huge and wonderful, the best fall leeks we have ever grown.
Onion-two pounds of a mix of red onions and sweet onions.
Raspberries-A 1/2 pint of yummy red raspberries from our everbearing heritage plants, as opposed to the summer bearing latham plants that gave us such abundance in June and July
Mystery Greens-these are coming up in the fall white Russian kale. We have no idea what they are or where they came from but they are tasty-they seem to be a very mild mustard and would good either raw or lightly steamed
Thyme-a small bunch of thyme
Arugula-at least 1/4 pound of arugula this week, probably more as we have two beds producing it at the moment.
Garlic-3 corms of our hard necked garlic
Peppers-mostly purple peppers this week as the green peppers are beginning to ripen and I want to leave as many on the plants to get ripe as possible



Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 21

Greetings,

It's Tuesday once again-time to begin another farm share cycle-week 21.

It's busy here at at the farm-lots of harvesting, weeding, tilling and planting going on to get ready for fall/winter growing/sales. I have had several folks ask what we will have this fall. it seems way too many people assume once school starts (which is now the start of autumn, even though school starts earlier and earlier each year and is actually starting in late summer-Fall comes the last 10 days of September) that we small farmers stop producing and roll up our fields and go somewhere for the winter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is come fall we have more food than at any other time of the year. Not only will we have all the summer items until the first frosts of the season kill them (and even than we should have tomatoes, peppers and a few other warm weather crops thriving in our hoop houses until November or even December-season extension is one of our specialties, after all) but we will add to that all the things we had in spring plus winter squash, parsnips, leeks, celeriac, celery, pears, etc.. The variety of food we will produce from mid September through late November is pretty amazing-around 45 to 50 different kinds of food
lots of food

tomatoes
peppers
onions
leeks
garlic
chard
kale
spring mix
lettuce
arugula
Mizuna
Red Mustard
a variety of winter squashes-butternut, acorn and others
zucchini
carrots
rutabagas
radishes
 basil
sage
tarragon
oregano
thyme
horseradish
parsley
celery
celeraic
potatoes
parsnips
scallions
snow peas
sugars snap peas
asian greens
broccoli
pears
raspberries
strawberries
popcorn
honey
garlic powder
cilantro
green beans
eggplant
ginger
melons ( if Eugene decides to plant a late crop in a hoop house and it doesn't freeze too badly-about 1 year in 3 we can grow these into late fall/early winter)

And we are not the only farm producing so much in the fall-most farms that go to farmers markets will have lots and lots of produce available at least through the killing frosts and more and more are jumping on the season extension band wagon and have fresh and local produce most of the winter. this leads me to the question any of you want to sign up for our winter share program? I have asked before and would like to know if anyone wants to be a locavore into January?

Onto another subject-we are having a big farm tour this Sunday from 3 to 6pm if you have never been to a pot luck/farm tour here this is one of your best opportunities to learn a lot more about the farm that grows your food. This is a major component of being in a CSA-visiting the farm. Most people (like 99.999% of the eating public) never get a chance to visit any of the farms that supply their food. This has lead to a deep disconnect between eater and farm that has in turn, lead to a more and more dangerous and nutritionless food supply. By joining the farm share program you have indicated that you are well aware of this fact (God, I hope no one is doing this simply because it is "in" right now to be a locavore-that is about the worst reason to join a CSA type program). I feel that farm visits (more than coming to pick up food, though that is going a lot further than most people, at least you can see the farm and see that it actually exists and grows food) are very important. That it is this component more than any other that sets the CSA movement apart from say shopping at a farm stand or farmers market. Add to that,  the fact most farms do not allow the public onto their land for a variety of reasons.  Sunday you have the opportunity to see your farmers in action leading a big regional tour (something we have not done in several years but in the past did well). This will be educational and entertaining. be there or be square

If you have any friends or colleagues who might be interested in trying out our farm share program we have about 8 opening for September/October. Let 'em know what we are about.

Oh yeah before I forget-I was cleaning out a freezer in order to get ready for our poultry harvest next week and found several shrink wrapped ODA inspected cornish hens. We have 5 for sale at $10 ea (they are about 2.5 pounds on average). Yes they are expensive but this will be absolutely the best chicken you have ever had. I also have 1 pound containers of gizzards for a buck a container (makes good pet food) and several packages of chicken backs for $3 each-these are great for making stock or pet food (I use them for stock personally) each package has 4 backs. Let me know this week or before NEXT TUESDAY (the new chickens will be processed next Tuesday and I will need the room by around 4pm that day). To reserve your chicken just reply to this email ASAP, tell me what you want and pick it up when you pick up your share.

Before I forget, September has 5 Tuesdays in it. Everyone who has not signed up for the entire season and paid in full (and picks up on Tuesday) will not get a share Next Tuesday Sept 1st and will resume the following Tuesday Sept 8th


Recipe

Fruit smoothie

various fruit-raspberries, bananas, melon, strawberries, etc..
1 cup orange juice
2 cups yogurt
Honey to taste (probably 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth.

If you want to make this alcoholic omit the yogurt and add about 1/4 cup of a good rum and 1 cup of ice. This is even better if you use frozen fruit (if you are going the alcohol route and use frozen fruit omit the ice). Makes about 4 cups.


What's in the Share This Week

Red raspberries
-2 1/2 pints of fall berries
Garlic-2 or 3 corms of garlic
Scallions-a bunch of green onions
Melon-I believe you will get a red watermelon but it might be a cantaloupe instead (but I am about 95% it will be watermelon)
Blackberries-1/2 pint of blackberries
Basil-1/4 pound bag of basil
Parsley-1/4 pound of parsley
Tomatoes-week two of tomato madness-expect at least 8 pounds of a mix of heirloom tomatoes, like last week.
Peppers-several green and purple peppers.
Rutabaga-the harvest is in and these are very nice-you will get a nice big one this week
Cucumber-several nice lemon cukes this weeks
Shallots-a hand full of shallots




Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
Eaton, OH
http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com



 
 
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