Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Initiative, Week 11

We have reached mid June and true summer. The long days mean that the onions are growing at an explosive rate. The bulbs just about double in size daily (right now that does not mean much as they are just beginning to form bulbs but in about a week it will be really noticeable). we have pulled all the garlic scapes, or about all, there are always a few we miss no matter how many times we check, this means you will soon get fresh garlic in your share, by soon I mean next week. You should get raspberries next week as well. I though last year was a bumper crop but it looks like this year will easily out pace the 26 gallons of berries we picked last year. The plants are much larger and the stand is denser and they are loaded with ripening berries and flowers that are abuzz with pollenators. We have picked a scant few and they are fabulous!

Along with the 15+ hour days we have started getting good amounts of rain. Over 2 inches have fallen in the past 3 days (including the 1/2 inch that fell while AccuWeather told me we had less than a 3% chance of any rain at that time of day. I wish we could bet on this rain forecasting because I would have taken those odds.). All this means a lot of happy crops. The tomatoes we finished transplanting last week are growing really well. Some have grown about 6" in a week. the tomatoes we put out in April have green maters that look like they should start to ripen soon. We will start the tomato season with a yellow mater called Yellow Taxi, soon after will come the sublime red heirloom, Matina (this is seriously one of the best tomatoes I have ever eaten), than the orange cherry tomato, Sunsugar and another red heirloom, GL-18. I believe these will be ready in early July. The potatoes are flowering and huge. The beets are about a week from readiness. The scallions should be ready in about 2 weeks. Oh and the pea crop is coming in. We have loads of snow peas and soon will have loads of sugar snap peas as the second planting is what we are beginning to harvest from and this planting is bigger and the plants a lot more fruitful as they were planted in a warmer time than the first peas. We won't have shelling peas for another week. They are setting a lot of pods but the pods need a bit more time to fill up with peas.

We are leaving the planting period and going into the heavy duty harvest period. I figure by this time next week I will be spending about 6 hours a day harvesting raspberries, strawberries and peas. 3 days a week there will additional things to harvest for the farm share initiative and the Saturday farmers market in Oxford. I am not looking forward to the raspberry picking as that will fill most of the harvest day. I know last year there were a couple of days where both Eugene and I were out there together for 4 hours-that would be an 8 hour picking for one person. But the upside is raspberries are one of our more profitable crops and yummy.

This weekend there is a pot luck on Sunday at 6pm. I need to know if you are coming or not (i.e RSVP). Bring a dish to share, things to eat from and with. We will set up a grill and I plan on getting some local beef, probably from Salem Road farm (not organic but grass fed). Let me know no later than Friday if you are attending or not. The last farm tour pot luck was wonderful.

Recipe

Squash Lyonnaise

1 LB zucchini or summer squash
1 med to large onion
1 TBL Butter
Salt to taste

Slice squash into 1/4 inch slices, do the same with the onions. In a hot sauté pan melt the butter than add the onions, squash and salt. Cook over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is soft

In your share this week:

Chard-The first chard harvest of the year. Actually these are the thinnings-the chard needs space and you get to eat the results. If you are new to chard cook it like you would spinach.
Kale-You get a nice bag of kale this week. kale is one of the most nutritious foods we grow
Red Turnips-more turnips with greens. These can be boiled and mashed like potatoes only these will come out a pretty pink.
Snow peas-you will get a lot of snow peas this week, perhaps over a pound. These need to be strung and are best eaten raw. A very nice snack.
Sugar snap peas-you won't get as many snap peas as you do snow peas this week. Like the snow peas these need to be strung. these are good cooked or raw.
Zucchini-a couple of medium to small zephyr zucchinis. I think this may be the last week for zucchini for several weeks. the crop from which we have been harvesting is just about done and the next zukes have not yet started to flower and it will be a couple of weeks after the flowers start before there is anything to harvest.
Strawberries-They're baaack, and sweeter than ever.
Cilantro-a nice bag of cilantro
Garlic scapes-another 1/2 pound of scapes
Chives-I cut back the chives about 2 weeks ago to get rid of the fading flowers and tough stems. now they are ready to harvest again, without the flowers.

 
 

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

 
 

Boulder Belt Farm Share Week 7

It's another week of yummy food.

The weather is improving quite a bit. We got over 3" of rain over the weekend which was badly needed. It got cold but we did not get much, if any frost (I think a couple of the tiny asparagus spears got frost damaged but not more than .01%) and now we get some very nice dry and sunny days to get a lot of weeding/hoeing/tilling done.

The farm is very beautiful. The trees are leafing out and the early summer flowers are opening. Mostly irises (my favorite flower) with a bit of phlox and soon we should have a hillside covered in daisies

Monday was spent weeding, mainly onions and garlic. We have a really nice method to take care of the weeds that is not too labor intensive. First we get out the wheel hoe and hit the big areas. Next we use a stirrup hoe to get smaller areas that the wheel hoe blade is to wide to do. after all that is done we hand weed what's left. Usually there is hardly anything to hand weed but today we hit several beds that need a lot of hand weeding. The scallions are the worst but fortunately they are well on their way to being done. I am happy that the onions and garlic did not need much hand weeding at all, just a few thistle plants that had to be pulled per bed. if there is not a lot of little weeds growing up in between the plants and the weeds are small  we can get a bed done in about 15 minutes. If there are a lot of little weeds between plants than a bed will take about 2 to 3 hours with one person doing the work. From now until mid July when it usually gets dry we will be doing a lot of weeding, than the weed pressure usually lightens up a lot.

Beside weeding (and the perpetual harvesting) we are gearing up to put out about 750 tomato, pepper and aubergine seedlings. This means many beds to till (about 2/3 are tilled), than landscape fabric mulch and irrigation tapes are put down. the mulch is secured by digging in the edges. 7' tall metal fence stakes are driven into the ground for the tomatoes-10 stakes per bed so we have something to support the tomatoes. We also stake the peppers but they take much smaller stakes and could even use tomato cages, if we had any. We do not use cages for tomatoes as we grow great big indetermanent tomato varieties and they get way too big for cages so we stake them and support them a la the "Florida Weave" (google it).

A lot of crops are close to coming in. We should have a little bit of fresh basil maybe next week. We might have small zucchinis this week and if not certainly next week (they will be ready Thursday but are not quite ready to pick Tuesday so to keep things even we will probably wait until next week so everyone gets the same thing at the same time) The first peas are in flower and should have peas in 2 weeks. We grow three kinds, snow, sugar snap and a couple of types of shelling peas. The garlic should be forming scapes at the end of the month. Scapes are the flower stalks and have to be cut off, they are yummy. Broccoli is beginning to form heads. We will have cabbage, carrots, beets, chard, scallions (the one's you have been getting were from an over wintered bed that was planted around this time last year.), sweet onions  in June and beyond.

As some thing are coming on others are going away for a few weeks. This would be the strawberries. We grow an everbearing variety that sets fruit, fruit ripens, fruit gets picked and than it grows more flowers and sets more fruit. A cycle takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Cycle one in just about over.  So this will be the last week for strawberries for a while, I believe. But soon enough we will have red Latham raspberries (mid to late June)

We have the pot luck dinner coming up this Sunday. I have RSVP's from 4 people, The Platts, Gliddens, Lathams and Herbskerman. I need to know Yes or no from the rest of you, ASAP (sorry if I have forgotten your RSVP, you will have to tell me again-farming can make one brain dead). As mentioned, it starts at 5pm, we will conduct a tour of the main market garden at 5:15 or so, Nancy will do her herb demo around 6pm than we eat good food out under the apple trees. It should be a lot of fun and the perfect opportunity to get to know the farm and ask us questions. Try to be on time. oh and we will have a home brew tasting of some sort. We will provide a big salad, a couple of kinds of dressing and Apple cider. You bring a dish to share (meat, dessert, side dish, etc.,) things to eat/drink with/from (we really want to avoid disposable plate/cup/flatware use) and any wine beer, soda you want to drink if cider is not for you. We may have some pear wine left over from last year. We have many interesting people in this group so conversation should be interesting.

June is coming up I need to know if you are one of the members doing this by the month a) are you joining in June? b) if so and you pick up on Tuesday which 4 Tuesdays do you want-there are 5 in June.  I need to know ASAP about these things. Those of you who have committed to the entire season, don't worry about this 5 Tuesday thing.

Recipe
Asparagus and Kale Omelet


3 eggs, use pastured eggs you can buy at any farmers market
2 spears of asparagus, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 kale leaves, cut the mid rib out and chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or whatever pleases you), shredded
butter
salt to taste

In a pan over medium heat melt the butter and saute the onion, asparagus and kale, add the salt. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onions get translucent and the asparagus is tender crisp. Also place the top oven rack in the highest position and preheat the broiler

While this goes on beat the eggs in a small bowl

In a hot omelet pan (preheated over medium-heat-the pan must be hot for the eggs to slide out of the pan, not stick) melt some butter (don't worry if it starts to turn brown) and put in the scrambled eggs. With a spatula  stir the eggs, pushing them down the side. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes. Put eggs under the hot broiler for 30 seconds. The eggs should be puffed up and turning light brown, even. Remove put pan on a cold burner and add the veggies to one side of the eggs and top with the cheese. Put back under the broiler for 30 to 45 seconds, until cheese is melted. Flip onto a plate, veggie side first and let the rest of the eggs fold over top.



Asparagus-around a pound this week, you may notice some spears are purple-those are the purple asparagus and they are super tender and good.
Kale-Russian White kale, a big bag. this is simple to cook-cut the center rib out and chop and steam like spinach
Spring mix-another bag of salad
Lettuce-mix of reds and greens this week
Radish-lots of little radishes. This planting of radishes never did take off and now we need them out of the ground. hopefully the later plantings will do Much better for us.
Chives-the flowers are at their peak right now and quite edible
Garlic chives-another bunch of garlic chives
Oregano-many of you got this herb about two weeks ago instead of rosemary. This is the pizza herb and is also a good herb for digestion.
Strawberries/zucchini-Since the berries likely will not make it to Thursday the Thursday group may get zephyr zucchini in their shares this week
Arugula-Eugene says there is enough to harvest. As I write this it is 5am and I have not gone out to check nor will I until after dawn. There may be arugula in the shares or there may not be

 
 
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