Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 16

It's week 16 of the farm Share initiative for many of you. Many CSA type programs go for less time than that. And here we do our Farm Share Initiative virtually year round. And that brings me to the question, are any of you interested in a winter farm Share? I am thinking charging $100 per month for two pick-ups a month. This would probably run 3 months. The shares would be quite a bit larger than what you get in summer. Something like 50% to 75% larger. Right now I don't know how many members we could supply for this as we are just beginning to harvest some winter items and other have not even been planted yet (that is done August and September) And yet other things like winter squashes are just beginning to set fruit. There is no rush on this as this program would not start until mid November but is something to think about.

It is very dry here. We have gotten basically zero rain since July 4th (and that was not a great big rain). The farm still is green and things are growing. I would not say it is exactly thriving at this point but things are a long way from dying. We do irrigate but that is no replacement for a amount good rainfall. Also our pump is giving us problems and kicks off on a whim. This has started happening several times a day and means Eugene must spend about 1/2 hour getting it to run again every time it kicks off. I think we are looking at a new pump in the very near future which will be costly but we can replace the pump we currently have with one that is designed to pump 75K+ gallons of water a day.

Yeah, a small farm uses a lot of water and we are using the most efficient method for delivering water to the plants-drip irrigation under mulch. Imagine how much water bigger farms that use those big sprinklers use. Sprinklers get about 50% of the water to the plants vs drip irrigation that gets 95% of the water to the plants. The rest of the water evaporates into the air. Wotta a waste and yet this is how most farms in the USA irrigate their farms (but the big commodities, corn and soy, are rarely irrigated). Generally, only smaller farms use drip irrigation, probably because of the difficulties of setting up a system for a 100+ acre farm. But this can be done. I was told about 13 years ago that row covers are useless on all but the smallest farms and now they are routinely used on large fruit and vegetable farms. I suspect soon we will start seeing the big produce farms out in California making use of a lot of drip irrigation and other water saving techniques as they are in a huge drought and have been pretty much banned from using what water is left.

So I have a problem with you all (but it's a good problem). It is getting harder and harder to keep your shares down to 8 to 12 items as we are going into the season of great bounty and food diversity. I want you all to sample everything we grow. This week you get 13 items and may end up with 14. I know some of you will welcome an increase in food but I have been doing this CSA thing long enough to know most members have a bit of difficulty using everything in their share and feel great "food guilt"  if they cannot use all of their share. So I keep it limited to no more than 12 to 15 items. If we were to go the route of truly giving you equal shares in the market garden and did not have other markets you guys would be getting something like 150 pounds of food a week and in August that would double (or even triple). And this is with, say, 40 members. The first year did a CSA this is exactly what we did and it overwhelmed our members and everybody quit. I remember the shares generally weighed about 40 pounds. The market garden was about 1 acre and we had no real idea about what we are doing as we had been farming for less than 5 years at the time. Now we know what we are doing, have a lot bigger garden on much better land and are able to produce far more per acre than we could 11 years ago.

Thanks to all of you who have brought reusable bags. I believe we are at about 1/3 of the members now-lets get to 100% by the end of the month.

Recipe
Mashed Taters with Garlic


1 to 2 pounds of pontiac red taters
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2
butter
1 to 2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste

Wash the potatoes and cut into largish pieces, peel the skins if you want. Put into a pan of cold water and and bring to a boil. When they are cooked through and soft mash them with a potato masher or a potato ricer if you are lucky enough to own one. Never use a food processor to mash taters, you will get a glue like substance that is pretty inedible. Add the garlic by either putting it through a press or my favorite way using a micro-planer to finely grate it straight into the taters. next add the butter, incorporate, than the 1/2 and 1/2 than the salt. The taters are now ready to serve


Here is what is in this week's share

Tomatoes- you get about 2 pounds of small red and yellow tomatoes, the same kinds as last week
Snow peas-this should be the last of the snow peas. the vines started producing again, i guess because it has been so cool
Garlic-2 corms of hard necked garlic
Strawberries-yummy berries
Zucchini-a mixed bag of zukes from the bright yellow patty pan to the lively green striped Costata Romanesque
Chard-a nice bag of bright lights chard
Red Giant Mustard/kale-The red giant mustard you find in our spring mix, eventually it will insist on growing to full size and that is when I cut it for mustard-this is sweet and peppery, just like a really good Chinese mustard (which it is). Thursday Shares get a kale medley
Ailsa Craig Onion-a wonderful mild sweet onion. This onion is named for the big rock in Scotland which is where the british open was played this past week.  they can get up to 5 pounds in size though it looks like our biggest will be about 2 pounds. This is best used raw in salads or on sandwiches. When cooked they get rather insipid. In a couple of months you will start to get good cooking onions in your shares
Green pepper-you will get a couple of green peppers this week.
Potatoes-1.5 to 2 pounds of  mainly Pontiac red potatoes
Tarragon-herb of the week
Garlic chives-these have a wonderful garlic flavor
Haricot verts-these are a true french filet bean. very delicate. Cook for no more than 7 minutes. You get about 1/2 pound.
 
 
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