Black Dog Farms

  (Twin Falls, Idaho)
Eatin' Good, Livin' Good
[ Member listing ]

Attitude Adjustment

Many  moons ago, I was a fitness instructor at a gym. It was a pretty high end social type place, but we had a fairly large group of members who worked out diligently. My job was to keep them on a workout program and motivate them. Designing workouts was easy to do with my background in athletics, and my formal college training in physical fitness. Motivating people who wanted to get into good shape, but had limited interest in actually doing what it required was a whole different ballgame. These were the people to whom working out was nothing but a chore to be done. Oh they worked out just as religiously as other members, but it was obvious that they did not enjoy it.

As a food grower, I often see the same type of thought process among my peers. Many of our fellow farmers or growers (whatever you wish to be called), complain that farming is hard and that there is not enough money to be made. Like in the above example, they continue to farm and go through the necessary motions, but it is nothing but a big pain in the rear for them. Everything is stacked against them, they feel.

Back in the day, I used to tell the "hate to workout but must do it" crowd that they needed to find a way to start enjoying the gym. Find a way to make it fun. Partner up. Set realistic goals. Ask for help from experts in the field. Listen to music. Tell yourself that you can't workout, ever. Some folks saw the light and started having more fun. Others simply quit.

If growing food is nothing but a chore that needs to be done, you may want to reconsider your view of being a farmer. Just like working out, farming can be very hard work, very unrewarding at times, and very lonely.

 But if you can change the way you feel about doing it, it could very well turn out to be one of the best things you have ever done. Once your attitude adjustment is complete, the rewards will come, and you will have so much fun doing it, that the thought of doing any other kind of work will seem crazy.


Radish Tester

Checking on the garden/farm/plot this morning I found that my little test area of radishes is going crazy. About 50 of them are poking up and getting a bit larger.

Every year I plant a small test area of something that I have never tried before. Now, just the for the record, yes, I have planted radishes before. Many times. Just not these radishes. I am testing out a winter radish. They take a bit longer to get going than typical radishes, but supposedly they store over the winter. From what I have read, cooks prefer them stir fried rather than fresh.

 This morning I ate a few of them, just to see how they tasted. Impressive. All of my farm box owners will be getting a taste as well later on in the season. 

So far, so good!


Culinary Internship

We at Black Dog Farms are currently seeking a culinary student who would like to participate in a summer internship program. The intern would be responsible for coming up with recipes that would include vegetables that we grow here at Black Dog Farms. The recipes would be added to our weekly newsletter and our website. 

We would prefer an intern who is currently attending either a culinary, cooking, or related type of formal program.  If possible, we would register through your schools internship program, in order to get you some credit. Local residence is not critical due to modern technology.

If anyone is interested, please email me.


Potatoes Above Ground

Oh yeah. With the weather here in the Magic Valley finally warming up, again, things are starting to happen in the garden. Green things are popping up all over the place.

I noticed yesterday while checking the water system that the potatoes are finally popping up above ground. Little dark green leaves are forcing their way out of the ground, looking for a bit of sun.

Today we are expected to have a high in the 70's and that tells me more goodies will come up during the day.

Oh yeah!


Going Higher Tech

 For years I have used good old Excel in order to keep track of my business. Debits, credits, sales, etc. When I first started using a simple spreadsheet, back in the early 90's, it seemed like a wonderful invention. I would sit down every night and input all of the days pertinent entries. Every so often I would add another column or calculation to my little spreadsheet, which over time, became a pretty complicated form. But the best part of it was, I still just needed to enter a few numbers for the day, and in an instant, I knew if I was in the black or the red, and by how much. 

Starting a few months ago I began using Quickoffice on my smart phone. It looks a lot like Excel but some of the formulas are a bit different. While I am still learning how to set it up properly, it is already speeding things up for me. Instead of sitting down at a PC every night, I now simply enter the numbers right after they happen. In addition, I photograph every single receipt or check and then, when I get back to the office, send them to my printer via Bluetooth.

Last night I started looking at Android apps that would make this whole thing even faster and easier while still retaining the ability to keep very accurate books and god backups. I am still researching but if anyone has any ideas please forward them to me. Thanks.





Last summer I built a new little greenhouse in order to test out a few ideas. Basically my ideas revolve around planting some stuff that I have never really grown before. Give it a good start in the early spring and see how they do.

About 2 months ago I planted a whole lot of herb seeds in order to try them out. All of them were set into good dirt in black plastic 1 gallon containers, and stored in my new little greenhouse. So far so good.

It looks like most of them are coming up pretty good now and just may make some herbs for us. Only time will tell.

Not being an expert at greenhouse design, I do believe that a bigger footprint would have been better. It is hard to keep the temperature and airflow properly regulated, but I am reading what I can on the subject, as well as experimenting with different set-ups.

If anyone has any suggestions I am all ears.


Snow Onions Anyone?

Another huge weather change here in southern Idaho. A few weeks ago we were planting seeds while wearing shorts and T-shirts. Not today. This morning we woke up to a thin crust of ice on everything and a wake-up temperature of 27 degrees here at Black Dog Farms.

Yesterday it basically snowed all day in our area. The hills to the south of us are covered in white again.  Too bad the ski resorts closed up last week.

Oh well. The life of a farmer.



2 Weeks Left!

For anyone who missed the March special of $650 for a farm share, right now we are selling a share for only $700. On  May 1st the price will go up to $750.Typically we are sold out by the end of April though.

Email me with any questions please.


Do They Let Their Kids Eat That Stuff?

This morning, while running an errand, I happened to be driving by a local food growing establishment. A farm. I happen to know where they sell the "food" that they grow and I do not want it. Not after this morning.

A tractor was driving up and down the rows spraying some chemical out of an overhead device. I could smell whatever it was and at least to me, it did not smell like something that I would want to eat.

Yeah I know. Just wash my food off. Right. I am going to have to pass on that.


2 Shares Remaining

This year I had to pick up a bit of new land in order to accommodate everyone.Lots of new share holders. That also means more farm boxes for me to build. I had better get working. Not enough hours in a day from now until around the end of October.

I have to admit that growing excellent food and being able to hear from folks how good the stuff is really excites me. The whole farming experience is like a bit of nirvana to me. My little family farm definitely does not make me enough money to live off, but who cares. Growing food is so rewarding that I plan on doing it until the end of my days. 


More Green Stuff Above Ground

Even though it has been raining cats and dogs for the last 24 hours, with much more on the way, I went out and took a look at my rows last night. Besides onions, we now have radishes, potatoes, turnips, and rutabagas popping their tiny green shoots out above ground.

This is great news. Unless we have a bad freeze or frost, we should be eating some good foods before June 1st. Keep those fingers crossed.


Onions popping up!

It has been really nice around here for the last 5 days. Our highs have been in the 60's and 70's with loads of sunshine. Besides all of the onions and potatoes that I was able to get in the ground a few weeks ago, I now have rows of lettuce, carrots, turnips, rutabagas,and some radishes. If the weather continues to cooperate, hopefully, we will have our first boxes out towards the end of May.

Planting will continue this week.


Peas Onions Turnips Potatos

Got them in the ground. It will not be long now. We put a few types of each in the ground again yesterday and will do it again next week. In addition we plan to get quite a few root veggies in the ground over the weekend plus some different types of lettuce. In total, we should be able to get those first boxes out in May sometime. 

Welcome To All New Farm Boxers

I am not sure if Farm Boxers is a legal. Most English teachers would go nuts with that one. I am probably breaking more than a few grammar rules. All that college did not pay off I guess.

OK. Here goes. This year I have been getting inundated with possible new shareholders (or farm boxers if you will). I get at least one new email or phone call every day. 

As stated in a previous blog, I have acquired a bit of new ground so that we can accommodate more boxers this year. As always we will hand deliver all of your vegetables in a custom made farm box. New this year is a 5 week trial subscription that is taking off like wildfire.

Thanks to a bit of new farm land, we welcome all new members.



Almost Sold Out

Every year I get nervous in January. What if I plant a huge amount and no one wants to join? Maybe the old adage about build it and they will come is wrong.

I can relax now.  This year, just like the past few, they are still coming. And coming. Food prices up. Gas prices up. Who knows what chemicals are on the grocery store food. CSA is the way to go.

I hope everyone else is doing good too.

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