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 18

It's a new month and that means we have a several new members and several returning members-welcome/welcome back. New members, there is a good chance that we won't be out in the store when you come to pick up your shares. Your shares will be in the fridge in a bag with your name on it.

If you want to see past newsletters go to http://www.localharvest.org/blog/330/. I have posted all of them here. For you brand new members this should be quite informative

Thursday folks-Remember this is Yard sale week and you should pick up your shares after 4pm on Wednesday unless you have made other arraignments with us. Things will probably be busy here Wednesday afternoon as we have several dealers showing up to sell over the weekend. this is not a normal rinky dink multi-family yard sale, this is a part of the largest Yard Sale on earth and we are doing a bigger and better event that we have in past (and those have been crazy busy for 3 days with literally thousands of people stopping at our farm to shop)

As I write this a series of severe thunderstorms with dangerous lightning are rolling through the farm. Hopefully there will be no hail with these storms. hail is very bad for crops. So far so good. I also hope these storms get out of here before 10 am so I can harvest chard, basil, scallions and a few other things. I don't mind harvesting in rain but ground to air lightning is something else.

All this rain is becoming too much of a good thing. It is making is difficult to harvest the onions-they really need to be dry when they are pulled or fungus problems will develop. Tomatoes tend to split making them unsellable (but I can make tomato juice from them if they are ripe enough when they split). ripening melons need dry weather to develop good flavor and too much rain on a full size cantaloup or water melon will cause them to split open making them absolutely useless. But things like basil, growing winter squashes, kale, chard, cucumbers, zucchinis, parsley and eggplant love all the rain.

We can't really complain it's been a great season thus far, even though we have been short on rain up until 10 days ago, it's been cool enough to keep the plants from stressing much. And it has been delightful for us humans that have to work outside in the weather. Though the down side is our heat loving crops such as melons are not ripening as fast as they should-but they are coming along slowly but surely. The other things that are not "ripening" as they should are the pest insects. We have seen hardly any Japanese Beetles and the cucumber beetle population is way down. But we have seen a lot of different beneficial insects and spiders around the farm helping to keep things in balance. So I guess cool weather does not impact the hunters as much as it does the herbivore insects.

New and returning members (and anyone else who has not done this yet) we would love it if you could supply a couple of reusable shopping bags so we do not have to use more plastic. We want to keep plastic bag use down to a minimum. The larger the reusable bag the better as you shares will tend to have large objects such as water melons. We also would like it if you would return all bags, rubber bands, boxes and other materials used in packaging your shares. We DO NOT want things that were not used in your shares as we cannot use produce bags you got from other sources.

We have a pot luck dinner/farm tour coming up August 16th. I canceled the last one due to lack of interest and will do so again if we get fewer than 3 member families RSVPing Yes. This is a very busy month for us what with the 127 yard sale this week and a huge farm tour we are doing with Innovative Farmers of Ohio at the end of the month plus doing farmers markets, farming, etc.. I am seriously considering canceling this aspect of the farm share initiative as there seems to be very little interest and these take more time than you would imagine to set up. We have already cancelled 2 out of 4 due to lack of interest.

Wow, I had to suspend writing this for an hour as a severe storm rolled through dropping over 2 inches of rain, lots of extreme lightning and some hail. Please excuse any holes in your chard and basil from the hail stones


Oh yeah, we have a beautiful new farm sign so it will no longer be a mystery as to who we are and what we do. You can read all about it and see pictures on our blog http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com/2009/08/new-farm-sign.html


Recipe
Apple Sauce

All the apples cored and cut in half or quarters. Be sure to remove all brown spots
at least 1/2 cup brown sugar (do this too taste. Some like a tarter sauce, some like it sweet)
1TBL lemon Juice
1-tsp (or more) cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a large pot cook the prepared apples in a bit of water, 1/2 cup should do it, until they are soft over low heat, stirring occasionally. When the apples are soft put them through a food mill to remove the skins and any seeds (if you do not have a food mill than peel before cooking and mash with a potato masher). Put the sauce back into a pot and put over medium low heat and start adding the sugar, lemon juice and spices until it tastes right to you. Now it is ready to eat. This will store in the fridge for at least a week

What's in Your Share This Week

Green peppers- You get two this week
Chard- A half pound of chard
Scallions- A bunch of green onions
Apples- These are from our trees. They are McIntosh, they are ugly but make wonderful apple sauce or pie filling. You will get about 2 pounds. it is almost impossible to get clean organic apples in SW ohio. we are blessed with over 450 different pests and diseases that hit apples. So without spraying some pretty nasty fungicides and pesticides several times a week throughout spring and summer they tend to be ugly but the flavor is still wonderful
Golden Beets- these are sweeter than the red beets and far less messy as they do not "bleed"
Tomatoes-a mix of two kinds of reds, matina (small) and Glick's Pride (larger) and some cherry tomatoes
Rutabagas-these are a close relative to the turnip  but with a richer flavor. I use these in soups and stews. These will store for several months in your fridge
Sweet Onions- a pound of sweet, heirloom Ailsa Craig Onions
Potatoes-over a pound of mixed taters-white, red and yukon gold
Cucumbers-a couple of cukes. You will get some combination of Poona Kherra, a gold to brown cuke from India (be sure to peel and de-seed these or they will be bitter), a green burpless cuke and/or lemon cukes (round and yellowish, no need to peel or de-seed these)
Haricot verts-you get 1/2 pound of french green beans. Slender and tender these need far less cooking time than their fatter American cousins
Basil-a quarter pound of basil. Make some pesto (but leave the cheese out) and freeze it in ice cube trays for winter use


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

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 10

It's been another busy week on the farm. First of all, I am happy to report that the storms of last week were easy on us. Eaton got golf ball sized hail. We got no hail at all and very little rain out of that storm (but we did get over 1/2 inch the next day). If we had gotten that hail I doubt we would have had much of anything to harvest. The row covers we use to protect against such things are not up to golf ball sized hail and would have been shredded along with the plants underneath. Leafy greens would have been ruined and likely the raspberries and strawberries as well. The beets, squashes, turnips, basil, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, onions all would have gotten damaged but would have recovered in time. But as I said, we dodged a bullet and all is well. But if we had not this would have been a lesson in the risk of farming and the result would be no shares for at least a week and we not having anything to sell for at least a week, probably longer.

We are in the midst of getting the tomatoes planted. This should be done by Tuesday afternoon as we only have about 100 plants left. This would have taken less time but we realized after about 3/4 of the tomato stakes had been put up that we do not have enough stakes for all the beds and we need to buy another 75 or so. That would be an easy task except we need two different heights and I lost the sheet that had all the data about what tomato were to be planted and how many beds of each and which beds took which stakes. Fortunately I had posted the list of the maters on my blog and from that I was able to basically remember how many beds of each type and which type takes which sized stake-big indeterminate heirlooms take 7' stakes and the determinants take the little stakes. Now almost all the maters are transplanted and we have a good idea of what we need stake-wise.

We could have opted to just go ahead and plant the tomatoes willy nilly and put up which ever sized stake was handy but we have been there, done that in the past and it works out badly-tall plants on short stakes growing well above the tops of the stakes than dropping down to the ground-that is a nightmare scenario for harvesting. And of course, you get short plants on tall stakes which is just a waste (but quite easy to harvest).

These are the things we deal with in our lives.

Don't forget there is a potluck/farm tour coming up on the solstice, Sunday June 21st. I encourage everyone to attend as these are fun, you will learn more about how your food is raised and get to eat some good food and have good conversation. let me know if you can/cannot come.

Oh yeah, a reminder to bring back all the plastic bags, rubber bands and fruit boxes and any other packaging we supply-we will reuse it all and lessen our impact and landfill use. Just leave such things on the counter in the store

Like last week (and until it gets cool again) your share will be in the fridge.

Recipe

Squash and asparagus
2 medium zucchinis, sliced
1 onion sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
2TBL butter
salt to taste

Heat a large frying/sautée pan and add the butter when it has melted and stopped foaming add all the vegetables and salt and cook covered on medium heat for 15 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally. remove lid and cook another 5 minutes and serve.



This Week's Share


Asparagus-a half pound this week. the plants are finally starting to go dormant. it was a good run.
Spring Mix-this has been so good the past couple of weeks
Lettuce-another bag of mixed heirloom heads of lettuce
Zucchini-a pound or 2 of zephyr (yellow and green) and Jackpot (dark green). I find the zephyr much tastier than the jackpot
Red Turnips-These are a salad turnip as they are sweeter than the purple top globe turnip that is by far the most common turnip in America. These can also be cooked and are very tasty this way as well.
Basil-this will increase in amount as the plants get bigger. Make a pesto, use in salads, freeze by putting basil and a bit of olive oil in a food processor and pureeing, than put the basil puree into an ice cube tray (that will forever have the essence of basil) and freeze.
Thyme
Mizuna/Tat soi-a bag of asian greens-this is good in a stir fry, braised or as a bed of greens topped with some cooke vegetables or meat
Red Mustard-a hot and sweet mustard. this does lose a lot of its' heat when cooked
Sugar snap peas-last week you got snow and shelling peas. this week sugar snaps which you string and eat pod and all

 
 
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