Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices
[ Member listing ]

Honored to be God's Steward

Jeff has been asked to be a guest on KFUO radio station this coming Monday, February 24th at 11:00am. He will be joined by Pastor Jeff Hemmer and radio host Andrew B Bates on Faith n Family discussing care for creation as part of KFUO's First Article theme for the week. If you are interested in hearing the program, you can live stream at http://www.kfuoam.org/

"To God be the glory! What an honor; I am humbled!!" - Jeff

So in preparation for the radio program, I thought I would blog a bit about how we take care of God's Creation at Bountiful Blessings Farm.

One of the most important things we try to do at the farm is take care of the soil. My grandpa worked very diligently to make sure the soil was healthy, Today, we strive very hard to maintain the soil and contribute to it's health. Adding organic content, keeping the soil fertilized, watching the pH levels and soil tillage are some of our top priorities. These measures help to insure proper stewardship of God's real estate.

Another area of concern is chemical use. At Bountiful Blessings farm we admit we are not organic. However, we do not use harsh chemicals that might endanger wildlife, bees or benificial life. We also take care in putting the well-being of ourselves and customers first by using methods that are safe and effective. We do not spray on a regimen and we incorporate sustainable practices and integrated pest management.  When we spray, we start with organic compounds. We don’t use anything stronger than a one-day post harvest interval. We strive to be good stewards of the many gifts and blessings God bestows upon us which include our education and knowledge of good agricultural practices.

We work very hard to insure the safest practices are implemented in our production of delicious, locally grown vegetables.

 
 

Spring Preparations 2014

We have been working diligently at the Bountiful Blessings Farm getting everything ready for another season. Kim and I have gone through the seed catalogs and selected the varieties we will be growing this year. In my last post I listed the peppers we will be featuring this year. We have received numerous requests to expand our pepper variety so we listened and did just that. This week I have been working on seed planting schedules, tractors and our wagons. The weather here has been very cold with lots of snow. We are all getting a bit tired of it! 

Last weekend we were to attend the DeKalb Winter Farmer's market, but ut was canceled due the weather. We will be present at the one scheduled in January. 

Please be sure to look at our CSA subscriptions on our website if you are interested in participating this year. We have held our prices despite the increase in labor and fuel expenses. Please consider joining us.

 
 

Pepper Preparation

Here is a list of some of the speciality and heirloom peppers we will be growing this year:

 

 

     Sport Peppers

     Giant Aconcagua Sweet Pepper

     Bhut Jolokia (Ghost) Pepper

     Naga Viper Pepper

     Trinidad Scorpion (Butch T Strain)    Hot Pepper

     Key Largo Cubanelle

     Tiburon – Poblano

     Large Red Cherry Hot

     Cayenne – Large Thick

     Cayenne – Long Slim

     Jalapeno – Telica F1

     Jalapeno – Suribachi F1

     Habanero

     Chocolate Habanero

     Ghost Pepper Bhut Jolokia

     Belcanto

     Oranos

     Xanthi

 

Heirloom Peppers

     Chervena Chushka Pepper

     Tequila Sunrise Pepper

     Wenk's Yellow Hots Pepper

     Jimmy Nardello's Pepper

     Hinkelhatz Pepper

     Fish Pepper

     Ancho Gigantea Pepper

 
 

It's Pumpkin Season at Bountiful Blessings Farm!

We have started picking pumpkins and gourds at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. Stop out and check out our selection!!!

 


 
 

Rain Rain Rain!!!!

Lots of rain our way the past two or three days.

 More storms tonight...

 

 
 

Update - - Tomatoes Coming Soon!!

 

 

 Tomatoes in the high tunnel...

 Tomatoes in the field....

 

 

 Another view of the field...

 
 

Planting Potatoes

 

Planting potatoes today! Very busy time of the year.

 
 

Yet More Peppers Grown at the Bountiful Blessings Farm

 

 Here are some more of the peppers we grow at the farm

 

Cayenne – Long Thin Pepper

The cayenne pepper—also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper—is a red, hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes and for medicinal purposes. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others. The Capsicum genus is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice of the same name.

Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form (such as in Korean, Sichuan and other Asian cuisine), or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. It is also used as an herbal supplement, and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his 17th century book Complete Herbal.

 

Jalapeños – Mucho Nacho

Most people think of the jalapeño as being very hot, but it actually varies from mild to hot depending on how it was grown and how it was prepared. The heat is concentrated in the seeds and the veins, so if you want it on the milder end of its scale, remove those parts.

Jalapeños are sold canned, sliced, and pickled. Canned jalapeños may be milder than fresh because they are usually peeled and the seeds removed. Pickled jalapeños are always hot.

A chipotle (pronounced: chi poat lay) is a jalapeño that has been smoked. The jalapeño rates between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units on the heat index.

Habanero Pepper

The habanero's heat, its fruity, citrus-like flavor, and its floral aroma have made it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and spicy foods. Habaneros are sometimes placed in tequila or mezcal bottles, particularly in Mexico, for a period ranging from several days to several weeks, to make a spiced version of the drink. Most habaneros rate 200,000 to 300,000 Scoville heat units. Yee ha!! That's hot!! HANDLE WITH CARE!!!!!

 

 
 

More Peppers at Bountiful Blessings Farm

 More Peppers We Grow at the Bountiful Blessings Farm

 

Wenk’s Yellow Pepper

The Wenk’s Yellow hot pepper is originally the Albuquerque’s South Valley, where it is incorporated into the local cuisine.  In terms of spice, this variety produces medium to hot peppers with a full flavor of citrus.  Because these waxy yellow fruits are very fleshy, they are often used for pickling.

Key Largo Cubanelle Pepper

Key Largo Cubanelle peppers are similar to Anaheim peppers but slightly less flavorful. They are considered a sweet pepper. Cubanelles can be stuffed or used in salads and casseroles. Also good on pizzas or subs. These thin-walled, long, tapered peppers have more flavor and a lower water content than bell peppers and are the perfect pepper for roasting and frying.

Cubanelle peppers are long and tapered, and either red or pale green or yellow. They can be substituted in recipes calling for Anaheim peppers. The Cubanelle should be firm, smooth and glossy.

Cayenne – Long Thin Pepper

The cayenne pepper—also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper—is a red, hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes and for medicinal purposes. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others. The Capsicum genus is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice of the same name.

Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form (such as in Korean, Sichuan and other Asian cuisine), or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. It is also used as an herbal supplement, and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his 17th century book Complete Herbal.

Ghost Pepper

The Bhut Jolokia — also known as Ghost Pepper has been around for many centuries and it is believed to have originated in Assam, India. The word Bhut, given from the Bhutias people, means "ghost" and was probably given the name because of the way the heat sneaks up on the one who eats it.

It was only introduced to the western world in 2000. In that same year, a report was published stating it's level of heat as almost double that of a Red Savina Habanero which was believed to be the world's hottest pepper.

In 2007 The Ghost Pepper was certified as the hottest Chili Pepper on the planet in The Guinness Book of World Records. Over 1,000,000 on the Scoville Scale.

 

 
 

New Wood Stove in Greenhouse

 We installed a wood stove in our seedling house today. Holding 70 degrees at this point. More testing to come. I will keep you posted on how it works. This is something new for us. The house measures 22X24.

 
 

Peppers at the Bountiful Blessings Farm

 These are a few of the peppers we are growing at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. Seeding under way!! It won't be long!!

Fish Pepper

 

This pepper is an African-American heirloom that predates the 1870s; the Fish Pepper is bright in color and crunchy, with a hot and bold flavor.  In the late 1800s, the Fish Pepper was widely grown in the Philadelphia and Baltimore area. Fish Pepper plants have beautiful green and white variegated foliage with pendant fruits that are 2-3 inches long.  When the fruits ripen, they change in color from cream with green stripes to orange with brown stripes, and then eventually to an all red eating pepper. Traditionally, the fish pepper was used in oyster and crab houses around the Chesapeake Bay. Rated as 3 on a heat scale of 1-5, the Fish Pepper is also perfect for mild-medium salsas.

 

Hinkelhatz Hot Pepper

 

Named by its Pennsylvania Dutch growers, the ‘Hinkelhatz’ is a rare heirloom pepper which translates to “chicken heart,” a description of its size and shape. The variety is one of the oldest preserved by this group of Mennonites, cultivated for well over 150 years.  It was illustrated in Charles L’Ecluse’s 1611 Curae Posteriores, though without a mentioned origin (presumed to be Mexico).  The peppers are usually red or yellow, though a very rare orange variant exists preserved among a small group of Mennonite farmers in Maxatawy, Pennsylvania and is slightly more top-like in shape.  Its flavor is described as “stocky” and it is considered to be quite hot.  The Hinkelhatz is traditionally used exclusively for pickling.  The Pennsylvania Dutch cooked and pureed it to make a pepper vinegar, a condiment often sprinkled on sauerkraut.  A recipe appears in 1848 in Die Geschickte Hausfrau. 

 

Jimmy Nardello’s Sweet Italian Frying Pepper

 

This variety of pepper was originally from Basilicata, a southern region of Italy.  It takes its name from seed saver Jimmy Nardello, who brought the seeds from Italy while immigrating to Connecticut in 1887. The Jimmy Nardello’s pepper is sweet and light when eaten raw.  It is considered one of the very best frying peppers as its fruity raw flavor becomes perfectly creamy and soft when fried.

 

 
 

More Reasons to buy Local Food

More Reasons to Buy Local Food

 

Local food supports local farm families. With fewer than 1 million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. The farmer gets less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food - which means farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.

Local food builds community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower. Knowing the farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the miracle of raising food. In many cases, it gives you access to a farm where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture. Relationships built on understanding and trust can thrive.

Local food preserves open space. As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. You have probably enjoyed driving out into the country and appreciated the lush fields of crops, the meadows full of wildflowers, the picturesque barns. That landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.

Local food keeps your taxes in check. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes, according to several studies. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, thus requiring higher taxes of all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services.

Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming. According to some estimates, farmers who practice conservation tillage could sequester 12-14% of the carbon emitted by vehicles and industry. In addition, the habitat of a farm - the patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings - is the perfect environment for many beloved species of wildlife, including bluebirds, killdeer, herons, bats, and rabbits.

Local food is about the future. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.

 

Adapted from "Growing for Market"

Reasons to Buy Locally Grown Food

 Reasons to Buy Locally Grown Food

 

1. Locally grown food tastes better. Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. Produce flown or trucked in from California, Florida, Chile or Holland is, quite understandably, much older. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.

2. Local produce is better for you. A recent study showed that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some “fresh” produce that has been on the truck or supermarket shelf for a week. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest, retains its nutrients.

3. Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment; for a tough skin that can survive packing and shipping; and for an ability to have a long shelf life in the store. Only a handful of hybrid varieties of each fruit and vegetable meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavors. Many varieties are heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation, because they taste good. These old varieties contain genetic material from hundreds or even thousands of years of human selection; they may someday provide the genes needed to create varieties that will thrive in a changing climate.

Taken from Growing for Market

 
 

CSA Information

Folks have been asking for information on our CSA subscriptions so I thought I would try to answer some questions here in this blog entry. Our CSA subscriptions have pretty much all the popular veggies. With our subscriptions, we include melons in season, but that is really the only fruit. Sometimes there is peaches, apples and plums, but only occasionally. As for veggies, a few are: beets, lettuce, Swiss chard, sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, summer squash, onion, radish, kohlrabi, carrots, beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and more - - All in season. A full subscription basically a bushel.

We are an integrated pest management farm, meaning we use a combination of growing techniques to control problems. We start with organic measures, and move into more conventional measures if organic measures do not work. We are not certified organic. But as for chemicals, we only spray when needed and we use "safe" products with PHI of zero to one. Our soil is very rich in organic matter and we work diligently to improve our soil each year.

I am a fourth generation farmer on the home farm. You are certainly welcome to visit the farm and talk with me personally. Thank you for your interest in our CSA program. If I can answer any more questions, or if you would like to meet and/or tour the farm, let me know.

 
 

Another Busy Week

This past week was a whirlwind. We have been busy sowing seeds, from tomatoes and peppers to lettuce and cabbage. As the Whitfield Farm mentioned in their blog post, our town lost a good friend and neighbor farmer. Our sympathy to the Danekas family and friends. Today we put brakes on the delivery van we use over the summer. It is all complete and ready for the season. Tonight the wind is blowing like crazy and it makes me really anxious for some warm days in the near future. Last year at this time we were planting potatoes and onions in the field. I think it is going to be a little while before we are able to get into the field. The soil in the high tunnels is drying out and looking favorable for planting in a couple of weeks. I am getting cabin fever and want Spring now! Anyhow, we are ready for another week of seeding and preparation for the upcoming season. Blessings on your week!!

 
 

A New Seedling House

We got the framework erected today for the new seedling house. Snow is predicted for tomorrow, so I will be seeding. I am a day behind. Then on Friday, we will finish the base frame, cover and install doors. If it would clear off tomorrow, I will finish the base frame. Thank you for helping Jorge Lopez!!! Great day's work. BTW - seedlings are looking great. They need more light, but that will be remedied soon.

 

 
 

Onion Seeding

The last two days I have been seeding onions. Like most growers, I started out growing onions from sets, which are small, immature onion bulbs. They were easy to grow, but now I want to expand my variety horizons, but with onion sets, choices were limited. So this year I turned to seeds. Growing from seed lets me pick varieties to suit the needs of our customers—such as the desire for an early-season sweet onion or a late-season keeper. Colors range from dashing purple to pure white and numerous shades of yellow. Shapes and sizes vary, too, from the bottle-shaped ‘Italian Torpedo’ to the plump perfection of ‘Ailsa Craig Exhibition’.

Most onion experts agree that, diversity aside, onions grown from seed perform better than those grown from sets. They are less prone to disease, they store better, and they bulb up faster, and there is less double bulb heads.

Onion varieties differ in the length of daylight and the temperature required to make a bulb. Short-day types are ideal for the South, where they grow through cool southern fall and winter months. They’re triggered to bulb by the 12 hours of sunlight that come with the return of warm, early summer weather.

Long-day onions are best grown in the North, where the summer daylight period is longer. These onions require at least 14 hours of light to bulb up. The plant grows foliage in cool spring weather, then forms bulbs during warm summer weather, triggered by the long days. Our farm is located in the north, so long day onions are the type we will be growing.

 I sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in flats filled with soil-less potting mix. I place the flats on the seeding rack in our seed room. Onions germinate in just a week at around 70°F.  Once they have produced 3-5 leaves I move the flats to to a low rack near the floor in the seed room where it is cooler. They remain under fluorescent lights, one warm white and one cool white bulb per fixture. I keep the lights just above the leaves, adjusting the lights as the plants grow. I feed the seedlings with a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength every other time I water, being careful not to keep them too wet. Once the weather gets a little warmer outside, I move them to the cold frame. They remain there until they are transplanted into the field.

 
 

Seeding!!!

Another day was spent seeding at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. I worked on onions and lettuce today. This is a very exciting time of the year. I love seeing the little seedlings start popping through the soil. Once the seeding was done today, I cleaned up the tool room, cleaned tools and put things away from weekend work around the farm. I want to make it a goal to keep things picked up and put away where they belong. In the busy season, things do not always get back to where they belong. We try real hard, but the busyness sometimes wins. I am hoping to encourage everyone helping us at the farm to put things back - and put them back clean. In the long run it will be more efficient. Moving all of my tools from the office building to the tool room should be a big help. We do most of our spring work in the main produce building, so having the tools over there should save time. 

Tomorrow we are supposed to get hit with up to 12 inches of snow. This is good for the moisture levels in the ground, but it will slow the process of building the seedling greenhouse. I was planning to work on that this week, but will most likely have to shift to something else. There is plenty to do in preparation for this season, so I am not worried about not having anything to do.

I filled out the paperwork today for two farmer's markets and got them in the mail. More information on that to follow. Now, for supper! Blessings!

 
 

The "To-Do" List

How many of you have a "To-Do" list? I am really not much of a list person, but in the effort to become more organized, I have created a "To-Do" list for the immediate time. These are some things I will be concentrating in the upcoming days and weeks:

  • Move more soil to transplanting area 
  • Bend hoops for low tunnels and row covers
  • Erect seedling house
  • Prepare transplanting flats
  • Back-fill around High Tunnel #2
  • Fix tire on hay rack
  • Put all produce boxes upstairs in building #3
  • Finish bean harvest
  • Package more popcorn
  • Put up small greenhouse for transplants
  • Change oil in my van
  • Take down old hoop houses
  • Cut wood for office wood burner
  • Organize tool room and storage area
  • Haul greenhouse tables
  • Prepare soil in high tunnels
  • Assemble drip tubes for High Tunnels
  • Measure plastic for low tunnels and row cover
This is just an abbreviated list. The work of a farmer never ends. When it is not fit to be out in the field or even outside, there is plenty of bookwork, planning and construction to do inside. So, you know I will be busy!!! Have a great day! Blessings!
 
 

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

Today we started to sow some of our hot pepper seeds. We have a small seed room with artificial lighting on racks made for seeding flats. We also have a seeding table which keeps the soil temperature at 80 degrees F. This remains stable throughout the season for consistent germination of most vegetable plants. For varieties that require lower temperatures we adjust the table accordingly. Anyhow, we plated some hot peppers today of several varieties.

     

We grow a dozen or more variety of chiles – hot peppers – each year.  One mild chile that we are growing this year is Pasilla Bajio, also known as chile negro. Pasilla Bajio is a mild chile with a smoky flavor. It is slightly less hot than a jalapeno and is often used to enhance the flavor in mole sauces. It can also be used to make salsas. These 8 to 10 inch long cylindrical peppers are thin walled and start off dark green before ripening to dark brown.

The Pasilla pepper should not be confused with the ancho.  The Ancho is the dried version of the Poblano pepper that growers and grocers frequently mislabel as the Pasilla in the United States.  The darker Anchos are also sometimes known as chile negro - thus generating much confusion - but they are not the same as the Pasilla peppers. The Pasilla can even create an interesting twist in the flavor and appearance of the standard red-chile enchilada sauce.  It is also a favorite in combination with fruits or accompanying duck, seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey or oregano.

Another hot pepper we seeded today is the Red Scotch Bonnet. This pepper is a cultivar of the Habanero and is among the hottest peppers anywhere. Its name derives from its resemblance to the Scottish Tam o' Shanter hat, though it appears primarily in the Caribbean and in Guyana and the Maldives. Other names for these chili peppers include Bahamian, Bahama Mama, Jamaican Hot or Martinique Pepper, as well as booney peppers, bonney peppers, Boab’s Bonnet, Scotty Bons and goat peppers.

The Scotch bonnet pepper is usually red or yellow at maturity. It typically features with jerk dishes including pork and chicken. Its apple-and-cherry-tomato flavor also pops up with other dishes in Grenadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Guyanese, Surinamese, Haitian and Caymanian cuisine.

The hottest pepper sown today was the Ghost Pepper or Bhut Jolokia Chili Peppers. These babies are officially the hottest peppers around, toping the Red Savina Habanero. It was awarded the distinction of World's Hottest of All Spices by the Guinness World Records in 2006. Use the Bhut Jolokia as you'd use a habanero, but remember that they are much hotter, up to 5 times the heat level. Use caution when cooking with them. Wear gloves and protect your eyes.

Bhut Jolokia belongs to the Capsicum Chinense family, like the Habanero, Scotch Bonnet and Red Savina. They originate in Northern India. It is also known as Naga Jolokia, Naga Morich, Ghost Pepper or Ghost Chili. Note: "Naga" mean "Cobra Snake" in Sanskrit.

Lastly, we planted some Red and Yellow Peter Peppers. This one here is becoming popular as a novelty. This very interesting little chili makes a great conversation piece in the garden or in the kitchen due to its distinctively phallic shape, hence its name. It grows to about 3-4 inches long and 1-1.5 inches wide, and matures to a bright red or yellow. Originally from Texas and Louisiana, they are grown commercially and seeds are obtained through private companies. We have heard they are great for salsas! (and a few laughs!)

 

 
 
RSS feed for Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll