Now that we are experiencing our longest days of the year, the work stops only to eat and sleep. Time becomes twisted, and it is hard to tell yesterday from the day before. And that is just the way that I like it.
Working in hay has to be done in the hottest days of June, in fact the hotter it is, the better. We start as soon as the morning dew has dried, and we don't let up until the evening dew has returned. Hundreds of acres have been mowed, tethered, raked, and baled. In the picture above you can see the long windrows of hay after being raked. What you don't see is Thomas, who is actually just over the crest of the hill driving over those rows, rolling them into bales.
Raking hay into the summer night.
The cows seem to be taking an obvious objection to the heat this week. They have started limiting there time in the sun to only brief periods of making the short trek from the shade trees to the water trough. Grazing is reserved for the somewhat cool mornings, and rather pleasant evenings. The rest of the time is spent, well, happily napping...lucky cows!
However, the bulls don't particularly care for the heat. They become quite cantankerous, constantly fighting over their girls. The astounding strength displayed in these sparring matches make me wonder who ever thought running from these creatures through a city street was a good idea?
You never know what you may find in the field while working in hay. Last week it was a 4ft black snake, and this week a pair of Eastern Wild Turkey eggs. We relocated them to our chicken coop in hopes that a broody hen will decide to hatch them out for us.
Lastly, an update for our CSA members. The first day of baskets will be Wednesday, June 26th!! It has been a long wait, but after sampling some of the vegetables this weekend for dinner, I am certain the first harvest is ready. We will have:
It will be a very short wait for the bulk of summer produce. Summer squash, cucumbers, and potatoes have all bloomed. Flowers are budding up, tomatoes are breaking color, and the soil is cracking beneath the onions. Life in the kitchen is about to be wonderful! As a service to our members I have started working on a "Now Harvesting" & "Farmhouse Recipes" page. Some members enjoy the surprise of finding new produce in their basket each week, and yet others want to plan their weekly menu ahead of time. The "Now Harvesting" page will have everything you can expect in your basket that week. Another area I am attempting to address is helping members find ways to use their produce. I have many recipes that are not only my favorites, but that have also helped convert several picky eaters. Picky eaters that were once adamant about not liking a particular vegetable, and now ask for it every time they visit. Look for these over the next week or two.
Freshly harvested collard greens and leeks.
Some members still have not completed their preferences. Remember we do not know where to deliver, or when to have your basket ready without this information. I will send another reminder email to those who have yet to complete it.
Thank you to everyone for your patience, and we look forward to finally meeting everyone this week!
Its funny how our cyclical our country is. We constantly fall in love with something, reject it, and then fall back in love. Often the second time around of loving something it becomes almost elitist.
For example, in the early 1800's most American's were in love with having pale, white skin...just look at those pasty gentleman in the photo to the left. Considering most work at the time was outdoors, dark skin equated a laborer, as those from money spent their afternoons resting indoors during the heat of the day. Then the Industrial Revolution happened. With the creation of new industries and factories people left their farming jobs and headed to the city. They began working on assembly lines, all day indoors out of the sun, causing them to now have pale skin. The wealthy refused to settle for such a thing, and quickly decided that tan skin would now be the new status symbol; as this meant you could spend all days outdoors in your flower gardens, resting by the pool, or lounging on the beach. This trend has stuck, and Americans have slightly altered the tan skin reputation by making it a more than billion dollar annual industry...now you actually need money to be tan.
Why did I tell you this little story? Because the same thing is happening with America's food movement. Primarily, the preservation of our food. As with most of our major scientific breakthroughs, they come from the need of the government. Before the invention of pressure canning most of our food was either eaten fresh, pickled, or dried. These preservation techniques were not very good for Napoleonic France trying to feed their rather large armies, and thus a hefty reward was announced for a new way to preserve food.
Thus, pressure canning was born.
It was a miracle.
...and we loved it.
Everything was then pressure canned. Having a pressure canner meant families could feed themselves through winter with out of season produce. Green beans in December? It was an amazing invention that completely altered the way the world consumed their food. With automation, canned foods came to our grocery stores allowing us access to incredible convenience and variety. After all, why would you spend the time and labor raising a garden and canning your own food when you could just purchase it? This is when canning saw its fall from grace. Canning now meant you didn't have the money to shop for your food.
But the last decade (and recession) has American's changing their old, and expensive habits. With any recession, the sale of food growing and preservation supplies rises. During our latest recession alone sales rose 11.5%. Couple that with our growing knowledge of the dangers of chemical pesticides and GMO's, and you create a food movement. People are going back to the basics to ensure their families health...and that starts with what you put in it. Every. Single. Day. So, everyone is talking about canning again...we love it. However, since most of our parents just headed to the supermarket for canned goods, the art of pressure canning was lost. Today most people think of it as complex, dangerous, and even out of reach. I hear people remarking about wishing they knew how to can all of the time. The truth is, pressure canning is very simple. There is an amazing government website, and of course the canning bible: The Ball Blue Book.
The best part about canning is the amazing value. But wait, with the cost of local, organic tomatoes around $3.00 a pound, how on Earth can you possibly save any money?
You read that correctly: Ugly's. This is the ever so affectionate term we give to produce that just isn't in Grade A marketable condition. They could have a bruise, a small blemish, cracked, split, or forked. These maladies make the shelf life decrease markedly, requiring them to be worked up rather quickly. The price makes it worth it. They are usually marked down between 50-75% of the usual cost. This allows you to purchase a large quantity for preserving and saves you a huge chunk of money at the same time. So, pull out your cookbooks and find that perfect marinara or salsa recipe, because it is going to be even better knowing it comes from fresh, field ripened, local tomatoes. A jar of homemade sauce in winter sure sheds a little light on those bleak evenings.
Since harvest is beginning next week, be sure to keep up with the blog to see what ugly's are available each week. They will also be posted to our facebook page as well.
A few of the many varieties nearing harvest: Above is romaine lettuce and below, potatoes.
Members, we expect to begin harvesting next week. It will primarily be romaine lettuce, loose leaf lettuce, collards, Kale, green onions, and possibly leeks and carrots. There may be more weather dependent. We expect full harvests to begin the middle of July (potatoes, onions, tomatoes, squash, etc). In order to continue to be enrolled in our program you must complete the form under the "Current Member" tab above. You can also click
You will notice that the Farmers Market is not listed as a pick-up site yet. This is because our garden slowly begins producing and about 2 weeks into harvest, really ramps up the production. So, it will be about 2 more weeks before you see us at market. In the meantime we will offer farm pick ups 7 days a week as well as making a weekly Thursday delivery to the Tempur-Pedic Headquarters. More info is in the form.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email, text, or call us...whichever is most convenient for you! Until next week...
It may be hard to believe, but patience was once considered one of the greatest virtues of our time. Yet, in true human fashion, we have worked tirelessly to avoid any sort of waiting. You no longer have to wait days for a letter to come in the mail, only a few minutes for email. For a price, theme parks will allow you to skip to the front of the line. Airlines can equally be bribed: for $25 you can get on the plane before anyone else. People refuse to be bothered with waiting and now our patience as a species is nearly extinct.
This is simply not the case on our farm. We put hours and hours of strenuous, back-breaking labor into our fields each week for no more than a few inches growth a month. The cold spring tested our patience beyond belief.
Plants refused to grow.
Seeds rotted in the wet soil.
Luckily, that patience is beginning to pay off. As the first of our plants give one final hurrah to make it to the finish line that is harvest, we are renewed. It is an invigorating energy that allows us to keep up our pace as well. The warm days and cool nights are just what our crops were waiting on. So, members, you can rest assured that harvest will begin in about 2 weeks! Keep your eyes out for an email containing a link to our website to verify your contact information, pick up location, date, and time, as well as your preferences.
Now, a little preview....
The onions are bulbing up quite nicely, and should be finished around mid July.
Romaine lettuce will be finished in about 2 weeks! The cool spring has kept these organic beauties pest free, so they are quite spectacular in appearance.
Tete Noir Cabbage is a small, tight headed, red cabbage that is extra crunchy. It doesn't hurt that the coloration is remarkable, after all we eat with our eyes first! While it has begun the heading process, it will not be ready until the first week of July.
One of my all time favorite greens: the all american collard green. Nothing says country as well as a mess of greens. Normally collard greens are ravaged by the cabbage moth larvae, but not this year! These little guys have needed hardly any care at all, and that makes eating them even more enjoyable! Here are a few facts about collards:
~One serving is over half of your daily need for Vit C.
~It has strong anti-cancer and anti-viral properties.
~308% of your daily Vit A requirements.
~1000% of your daily Vit K requirements!
~Good source of required minerals: iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc.
~Only about 50 calories per serving!!
Members, thank you for your patience. Once you sink your teeth into the first bounty, I am convinced you will never look at vegetables the same again, and you will be certain it was worth the wait! Until next week...
This week I thought it would be fun to show you how quickly things change on the farm during the summer. If you look away for even a second, it seems that animals have grown, trees are greener, and crops have begun bearing. It happens so incredibly fast.
First on our list is the potato. If you recall from previous blog entries we used the old-fashioned technique of chitting to get healthier, faster growing plants.
Potatoes on May 16th, 2013:
Potatoes on June 1, 2013:
Catching barn cats to get them spayed and neutered is very high on our list of goals this year. However, in the meantime, lets enjoy some kittens!
Kittens on March 18, 2013:
Kittens June 1, 2013:
The wonderful tomato. I would have to invent new words to explain my love for this plant. I eat them like apples, right off of the vine. It is not one of those silly, short term infatuations...no, no, no. This love has been firmly rooted in my life now for so long, and has long been my favorite food since a wee little child. I LOVE my tomatoes, and obviously, that is why they do so well!
Tomatoes on May 1, 2013:
Tomatoes on June 1, 2013:
Members, hang in there...harvests will begin before you know it! We are looking forward to it as much as everyone else. Since the days are getting much longer in the field, I will make this update much shorter. Until next week...