CSA Week 10

This Week’s Harvest

Heirloom Tomatoes

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Slicer Tomatoes

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Red and Gold Beets

Shishito Peppers 

Cabbage

Sweet Onions

Poblano Peppers

Italian Eggplant

Fairy Tale Eggplant

Tomatillos (last of the season!)

 

Farm News

Hello! This is Ben writing the blog this week. I haven’t written a blog post in a couple of years (!?!), but Emily drafted me to do so this week because she wanted to write about equipment and that’s really my role on the farm. It probably comes as no surprise that we are very dependent upon equipment – from coolers, to greenhouses, tractors, trucks, etc. – to make the farm work. We’ve spent years acquiring, building, modifying and repairing the things that make it possible for us to grow, harvest, wash and distribute produce to you. Not surprisingly sometimes things go more smoothly than others, but for 12 years now we’ve made it work!

I’ve come to like the ebb and flow of problem solving that comes with acquiring and maintaining a diverse set of tools to match our growing operation. There are always things that we do to improve operations on the farm and there are always things to fix. So if, or rather when, things break on the farm it gives us a chance to evaluate our systems and figure out if we need to upgrade our tools or scale back what we are trying to do with them.

For example we use Allis Chalmers model G tractors to cultivate all of the crops that we grow on the farm. If you aren’t familiar with these tractors just take a look at these images and you can see that these tractors are strange little machines. They work great for an organic farm of our size, the only downside is that they are old! They are literally 70 year old technology that we use and depend on daily.

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At the beginning of the season the engine went out on our G that we had been using for 10 years. Without time to rebuild the engine we went out and bought another tractor. This tractor had been updated with a modern engine. This modification was somewhat of a prototype, and it turns out that the design needs some work because this updated set up has destroyed two transmissions! So, the saga continues and today we are purchasing another G with the original engine to hopefully get us through the rest of this year.

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The plan right now is to hopefully make it through next year with our fleet of old cultivating tractors while saving enough money to invest in something more modern and reliable. In the meantime if you should happen to have any questions about fixing/maintaining an Allis Chalmers G don’t hesitate to ask!

Recipes

Chicken with Tomatillos and Poblanos (use some shishito peppers in place of bell pepper)

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake) you can use grated sweet onions in place of scallions and you can also add any other grated vegetable such as carrot, peppers, kohlrabi, zucchini)

Beet and Cabbage Borscht

Eggplant Parmigiana

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess…..) Sweet Italian Peppers, Fairytale Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Tomatoes, Salad Mix, Potatoes, Poblano Peppers and more!

CSA Week 9

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This Week’s Harvest

Tomato (first of the season!)

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Sweet Corn

Shishito Peppers 

Carrots

Red Onions

Zucchini

Bell Peppers

Green Beans

Purple Kohlrabi

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Farm News

We are grateful for our crew always, but particularly during holidays and heat waves. You see, farmers don’t stop for summer holidays like July 4 and Labor Day and we work through heat and rain.  On Thursday and Friday we shifted our start time earlier and were able to quit by 3. In addition to the usual harvest this week, we had a lot of greenhouse seeding for fall crops scheduled and the first big round fall crops ready for planting. It is certainly not ideal to plant tender seedlings in 95 degree heat, for both the plants and humans’ sake, but we didn’t really have any other options. Actually we are lucky we got a planting window in between a couple inches of rainfall this week. It’s always fun to plant for fall–it reminds me that while we are in the midst of the daily July grind, we are continuing the overarching rhythm of the farm and setting us up for a productive fall. IMG_6712

And while we manage the farm’s fall preparation, we harvest the summer offerings and stuff our faces with the tastes of summer– sweet corn, green beans, sungolds.  We hope you all enjoy it all as much as we do!

Recipes

Summer Succotash

Kohlrabi, Carrot and Zucchini Fritters

Shishito Peppers and Parmesan Lime Corn

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess……..) Shishito Peppers, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Beets, Tomatillos, Kohlrabi, Cabbage 

 

 

 

 

CSA Week 8

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6655

Green Beans

Fairytale Eggplant

Salad Mix

Sweet Onions

Cucumber

Garlic

Jalapeno Peppers

Tomatillos

Kale

Celery

Zucchini

Garlic

Farm News

We have made the transition from spring crops to summer ones. This is the last week of cooking greens until fall (I thought the Swiss chard was going to hang on but it looks pretty fried so we went with kale, which had a really good run this year). Head lettuce, spinach and arugula are through as well, so any salad greens in our summer boxes will take the form of our lettuce mix.  With the end of the cooler crops comes the beginnings of the summer crops. We are happy to include fairytale eggplant and green beans this week!

Tomatoes would have been in the box too, but our field planted ones aren’t ready yet and our hoophouse planted ones had a complete meltdown. Our crop rotation in the hoop houses is limited because we only have 2 of them.  So every other year we are growing tomatoes in the same ground. I think disease in the soil might be a problem. The other issue is that we installed our hoophouses before we really knew the lay of the land and they are in in a low spot that stays pretty wet in the spring. A few years back, when we had drainage tile installed, we put some tile lines in near the hoophouses, but we really need drainage directly under the houses as well.  This, of course, isn’t free and yet another investment we need to make to improve the farm.

Farmer friends of ours had issues with hoophouse tomatoes and had the soil tested. Turns out their water source is slightly acidic and years and years of use brought the pH of the soil way up and the tomatoes reacted poorly to the basic soil. So now they simply lower the water pH by filtering an acidic additive in when they water and have had great results. We don’t really know what’s going on until we get the soil tested and can game plan from there. Doesn’t really help us out for this year but soon enough we’ll be rolling in tomatoes! Our field tomatoes look fantastic! On Friday, we planted our final round of tomatoes, which meant we got all three planned plantings in the ground and should have a supply until frost (knock on wood!)

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Staking and tying round 2 of tomatoes

Recipes

Green Bean and Celery Casserole

Celery And Cucumber Salad 

Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini Wraps

Tacos with Green Beans and Tomatillo Salsa

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) Fairytale Eggplant, Green Beans, Radishes, Bell Peppers, Shishito Peppers, Red Onions, Zucchini, Carrots, Sweet Corn

 

CSA Week 7

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6582

Carrots

Cucumber

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash

Sweet Onions

Garlic

Salad Mix

Tendersweet Cabbage

Celery

Basil 

Tomatillos

Jalapeño Peppers

Farm News

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Oh July, you are a shock every year, even though we’ve been doing this 12 years. Vegetable farming is a marathon that you have to sprint! There is so much that needs to be done and not enough hours in the day or days in the week to complete it all!

We currently have 7 acres of vegetables planted, 3 coolers full of produce, and a greenhouse that is quickly filling back up with seedlings for fall. Weed pressure is high, bug pressure is higher, and the crops don’t stop needing our attention wether it be picking, tomato staking, irrigating, or fertilizing.

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This weekend we just wanted to nap (Ben) or watch the World Cup (Emily), but winter is for resting and relaxing, maybe a day or two in the fall, but certainly not in July. We sat over our morning coffee and tried to prioritize the to do list and come up with a game plan. It’s very stressful knowing that you can’t get to everything. The fact that it had dried out quick a bit, coupled with the heat and no rain in the forecast, made irrigating the entire farm a necessity that felt very daunting. We started our Sunday with no prospects of rain–both weather sites we use had a 10% chance of rain. So it was decided Ben would have to spend time getting water set up on the squash during the day and sweet corn during the night.

Fast forward to early afternoon and we were nearly done with our squash harvest for the day.  It had cooled off considerably and the cloud cover that had been with us all harvest started to thicken. Even so, rain was not on our radar so our pick pace reminded the same–fast but not frantic. When we got to the final row, though, we realized that it was in fact going to rain. Ben ran to get the tractor that sits in the middle of the field and houses all our picked crates as I speed down the final bed harvesting like a maniac (nothing like the threat of rain to kick you into high gear). We got the field picked and crates loaded, but not before getting SOAKED. The release of pressure to irrigate the entire farm right away far outweighed any feeling of discomfort. We happily road in (did I mention the squash field is the farthest field from the barn?), so amazed that this surprise storm hit us and actually produced enough rain to take a couple days off irrigating. Not only that, it meant that half the things on our to do list we could no longer do, so our decision making was decided for us and the day’s tasks suddenly became much more manageable.

However, now it’s 1 day later and dry enough to do all the things! Fortunately it’s no longer the weekend and we have a hard working dedicated crew to help us have a productive week!

 

Recipes

Celery Tomatillo Chutney

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto

Cabbage Soup

Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess….) Fairytale Eggplant, Zucchini, Sweet Onions, Swiss Chard, Bell Peppers, Radishes, Salad Mix, Celery, Carrots

 

 

 

CSA WEEK 6

THIS WEEK’S HARVESTIMG_2285

Carrots

Golden Beets

Fennel

Dill

Green Leaf Lettuce

Kale

Basil

Scallions

Broccoli

Zucchini and/or summer squash

FARM NEWS

Garlic is out of the field and curing in the barn! We actually pulled it a couple weeks ago right on our preferred pull date of 6/20. We used to let it grow longer but we have a pest, the onion maggot, that shows up in July.  The conditions were not ideal–this was during the wet spell– but more rain was forecasted and it was dry enough to get the job done. At first we thought we were going to have to pull it all by hand– which would have been very tiring and slow. And we did in fact have to pull the first 30 feet of each bed by hand, but the rest of the field was just barely dry enough to drive the tractor and under cutter through.  A heavy duty bar attached to the tractor gets dropped into the bed and lifts the soil and every thing above it up. This is a great way to harvest root crops and garlic is no exception. We harvested a full wagon load and transferred the garlic to drying racks in our barn. I just checked on the drying process and everything looks great! No rot and no maggots! You’ll enjoy your first of many bulbs next week! Until then enjoy another allium– scallions– which are making their final box appearance this week.

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Not the best stand of garlic, but the ones that made it are nice!
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Testing to see if it was dry enough to use the undercutter
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Success!
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old Killdeer nest amongst the garlic planting
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In and out of the rain!
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Garlic and Onion drying tables
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Looking good!

 

RECIPES

Maple roasted carrots with carrot top chimichurri

Caramelized fennel and kale pesto pizza

Salmon with dill butter and fennel

Skillet eggs with Kale and Leeks (use scallions in place of leeks)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess……) Carrots, Cucumbers, Sweet Onions, Celery, Garlic, Green Bell Peppers, Zucchini, Salad Mix, Broccoli, Fennel

 

 

CSA Week 5

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6386

Escarole

Head Lettuce

Swiss Chard

Salad Mix

Scallions

Garlic Scapes

Kohlrabi

Cilantro

Broccoli

Cabbage

Zucchini and/or summer squash

Farm News

Happy Summer! Let’s hope summer is a bit drier and calmer than spring was! The wet weather is wreaking havoc on Ohio farms.

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According to the USDA, by June 9 only 50% of Ohio’s corn crop and 32% of its soybean crop were planted. And I imagine a significant number of the fields that were planted have experienced flooding. Vegetable farmer friends of ours are weeks behind and the weather just isn’t breaking. For us we’ve managed to have long enough breaks in the rain to get field work done and even had to run the irrigation a couple times this spring. But this past week was the first time I felt that we had indeed gotten too much rain. The ground was saturated after a first round of rain and then we got more rain on top of it. With water logged ground, crops will melt down. Disease thrives in wet humid conditions so we have to monitor crop health. We missed a salad and basil planting and have some late season peppers and eggplant ready in the greenhouse that won’t get in the ground unless it dries out in the next couple of days.

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The good news is we have plenty to do harvest wise to keep us busy during this wet spell.  In addition to harvesting a large variety of crops 3 days a week, some of our spring bulk harvests are underway including cabbage, kohlrabi and beets. These crops keep for months and we can sell them out of our cooler to CSA, market and wholesale accounts.  Which brings me to another wet day project– building another cooler as we are quickly running out of cooler space!

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…….) Kale, Golden Beets, Fennel, Basil, Carrots, Zucchini, Salad Mix, and more!

Recipes

Escarole Soup with Sausage and Zucchini (use scallions in place of onion)

Garlic Scape Vinaigrette (make a hardy salad with hard boiled eggs or grilled chicken or both)

Stir Fry Veggies with Rice Noodles and Peanut Sauce (use any veggies you’d like and garnish with chopped cilantro)

Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw

 

 

 

 

CSA Week 4

This Week’s Harvest16DB4039-8336-4228-87C8-BB367BF1B805

Sugar Snap Peas

Spinach (last of the spring season!)

Kohlrabi

Salad Mix

Garlic Scapes

Beets

Flat Leaf Parsley

Arugula OR Braising Greens

Radishes

Swiss Chard

Save the Date

Our CSA member field walk will take place Wednesday June 26 from 6:30 to 8:00. We will have light refreshments and tour the farm. Come see how your food is grown and ask your farmers your questions! We’ll see what we’ve been picking and what goodies are still to come. Comfortable walking attire is recommended! See you then!

Farm News

With the arrival of our brand new rinse conveyer, custom built by an Amish farm equipment manufacturing company in Pennsylvania, our redesigned packing barn is complete! 

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Unloading the rinse conveyer using unconventional methods

Just last year a third of the packing barn (where produce comes in from the field to be cleaned,  processed and stored) was unusable. Now the entire space is being used. With space restrictions lifted, we are able to wash both produce and bins so much more efficiently than years past. With so many variables out of our control in this line of work, how efficient we are is key to the success of the farm.

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Lights and concrete are also new additions to the pack barn this year

So imagine my delight when it only took 10 minutes to wash 80 some bunches of radishes for the inaugural run of the rinse conveyer. Just the day before, when the rinse conveyer was on the property but not yet set up, it took 45 minutes to wash the radishes. In fact, I ended up having to work past 5 to get the washing for the day complete. 

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We’ve had 4 work days with the rinse conveyer and everyone is happy with the upgrade. Washing and sanitizing our bins is done in no time, produce is handled less and gets cleaner,  and mud from the field is contained. Even though the packing barn space is now bigger, it takes less time to clean it up at the end of the day.

This piece of equipment was not inexpensive and it has been on our wish list for a couple of years. We are so glad we could finally get one and can see how it will easily repay for itself! A farmer we follow on instagram who recently acquired the same rinse conveyer commented that it was their best farm tool.  I think I’m going to second that!

Recipes

Garlic Scape and Parsley Pesto (toss with steamed snap peas, pasta or dollop on pizza recipe below!)

Roasted Beets and Kohlrabi

Beet, Chard and Garlic Scape Pizza (red beets will fine in place of golden)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…….)  golden beets, snap peas, butter lettuce, scallions, radishes, kohlrabi, cilantro, escarole