Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CSA Week #1

Hooray! It's great to have the first week of CSA deliveries done. I always LOVE handing a box of fresh produce to an excited customer. Yesterday I had one customer open their box right in front of me and start snacking--awesome. I feel fortunate that we had good weather yesterday morning for harvest. Early Tuesday morning CSA harvest is a time John and I both enjoy together, out in the field, talking, drinking coffee and harvesting fresh food. I hope everyone is enjoying their goodies, and I can't wait for next week!
Week #1 CSA Box • June 25th, 2013
In our Week #1 boxes: French Breakfast radishes, green romaine (Winter Density) and red romaine (Rouge d'Hiver) lettuce, spinach, beet greens (yummy thinnings from the beet patch), Amish snap peas and apple butter from our 2012 harvest. We also included our newsletter, a MN Grown seasonal chart, and a guide on 'How to Store Fruits and Vegetables' from the Berkeley farmers' market.

Red and green romaine lettuce, ready for packing.
 Beautiful colors in the box this week! Greens in varying colors of red and green (they are complimentary colors you know).

Bull's blood (red) and Detroit Dark Red (green) beet greens.
 I love beet greens sauteed!

French Breakfast radishes.
 The heat brings out the spicy flavor radish lovers adore!

CSA box assembly line.
Harvest begins at day break, everything gets time to cool in the walk-in cooler, and then gets packed prior to delivery in the afternoon.

A view in a box packed and ready for delivery!
 From planning starting in mid-winter, to beginning seeding inside in March, to beginning seeding outside April 29th, to the dinner table in June. Hooray.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Photo Update 6.23.13

Rouge d' Hiver heirloom romaine lettuce, red with a green heart.
Here's a view of what's new at the soggy Alternative Roots Farm! So far this month we have had 5.93" of rain (2.1" in the last 48 hours). We have been getting a lot of use out of our rain gauge. We do rain gauge monitoring for the Brown County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), so we mark down any precipitation each morning--rain or snow--and send in monthly data.

Rain gauge.

Windswept onions.
The field is wet and mucky. Last night it was pretty windy, as you can see by the onions above--they will right themselves after a little bit.

Late season potatoes in bloom.
However, the potatoes are lOving all this moisture--the early, mid and late season varieties are all blooming and all hUge.
Bunching onions, leeks, lettuce, cabbage & cover crop.
Another view of the wet field. Weeding has been a challenge, as much of the time it's too wet to hoe effectively, and part of the time when we have hoed weeds have re-rooted after subsequent rain! Either way, it's not out of control, just irritating ;)
Barley and buckwheat fields.
The barley is starting to form heads and the buckwheat is tall and beautiful in bloom. Buckwheat is a great cover crop, it's full and weed smothering and a good soil builder.

DeCicco heirloom broccoli.
 The broccoli is really coming along--can't wait to put delicious full heads of broccoli in the CSA boxes! I am fascinated by how broccoli grows, and love how it tastes.

Young apple, ping pong ball size.
The apple crop is looking good this year! The apples are growing nicely, about the size of ping pong balls. A great big Thank You to our volunteers from last year, the incidence of Plum Curculio is visibly down--picking up all those dropped apples really made a difference.

Amish Snap heirloom peas.
The pea vines are getting full of pods and it looks like we'll get a good picking just in time for our first week of CSA.

Winter Density heirloom romaine lettuce.
 Ooooo, can't help but say this lettuce looks absolutely delicious. Salad for lunch! Members, get your favorite salad dressing ready!

 Have a great week everyone :)

Greener Pastures

Brooke's family came out to the farm this past week and we moved the pigs to new pasture. Here's a photo documentary of the event :)

 First we gave them some wheat nibbles to put them in their shed.

Then Jeff, Sarah and Tyler helped to take down the electric fence string. Everyone helped to move the posts, which are easy step-in plastic posts.

With the fence posts moved John hooked mom's vehicle up to the shed to move it. (I think this is probably the first time she has ever towed anything!)

This spot will provide them some nice shade in these hot days! Unfortunately we weren't completely on top of planning, as we had mowed the area a few days prior, but this time of year is nice because they also start getting garden scraps! We also cut other forages and feed them that as well, because they love it and we love them :)

Moving the shed forward into the new pasture area. On the right you can see their first pasture growing up with a hog pasture mix, this is where they will go back to next. We will also seed the 2nd pasture area to this lush mix.

Jeff peeking in on the pigs--time to put the string back up!

 The pigs loving their new digs! They also love spilling their water, as you can see one of them laying on the water tub. After they created a little rut (which didn't take long), we gave them a nice little mud hole :)

Hooray for nice green grass and shade!

Lined up for dinner! Those are some happy pastured pigs.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Photo Update 6.15.13

Good old dependable radishes, they forge on despite the weather. The first thing out of the ground, the radishes say, "We don't need no stinking sunshine!" But now we have sunshine and more produce will be quick to follow this lead!

French Breakfast radishes
The sunshine and warmth recently experienced is boosting the life of all the plants in the field, and allowing us to get ahead of the weeds!

Lacinato 'Dino' Kale
 It's always SUPER exciting when things start blooming! The peas began flowering today, and the cucumbers did a couple days ago.

Sugar Snap peas, flowering.
Double Yield cucumbers, climbing and flowering!
Can't wait for fresh cucumbers!

Yellow onions and parsnips freshly weeded.
 I am excited about our new bunching onions. They are perennials, and will create delicious colonies of onions for years to come.
Bunching onions, freshly weeded.
 The spinach is getting ready for it's first picking.

Early Jersey Wakefield
 The cabbages are making heads and looking lush and fabulous. The beets are looking full and ready for thinning, the third succession is coming up nicely--there will be plenty of beets this year!

Detroit Dark Red & Bull's Blood beets (and some weeds!)
 We have many herbs planted this year--cilantro, summer savory, parsley, oregano, french tarragon, lemon thyme, rosemary, dill, sage and chives. Chive flowers are pretty, and edible.

Chives in bloom.
 And your dose of cute pigginess! They love the yummy weeds we pull from the garden.

Thanks for stopping by and reading our blog! Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine that we have all waited so patiently for :)

Farmer John

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Turtle Named Spring

Things are a little slow all around the region...but yesterday the sun peeked out, did you see it?!
Sunshine on Dino kale
Check out this article from the Pioneer Press:  Off to the Farmers' Market for Fresh Veggies? Not So Fast  "Jerry Urban of Urban's Farm and Greenhouse summed up the spring hardships this way: "You put more work in, and you get less dollars. But as my father said a long time ago, 'If it was easy, then everyone would do it.' ""

The garden is full of produce, everything due to be planted is in, but growth has been hampered by the lack of sunshine and warm weather.

Given the stories I have read from other farmers, and my visit to another farm last week I feel pretty fortunate with what we were able to get in the ground, and as early as we were able to get in.

So, although it may be behind what we were planning, we are thrilled to begin our CSA deliveries June 25th, and look forward to our first harvests of the season.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10 Update

It's quite foggy here this morning--I can't wait for the sun to come out! Today and tomorrow sound gorgeous. The rain continues to be great for the garden, with another inch in the past week. What we are waiting on now is sun and heat to really make things grow. We are closely monitoring everything to  confirm a start date for our CSA delivery soon!

Here's a pic of the entire field from May 28th.

Foraging (harvesting wild edibles) has been fun this spring. We found a nice small batch of gray and yellow morel mushrooms, and were gifted some, so we have a nice batch drying in the shed. The wild asparagus has been delish--I am always sad when that season wraps up! Next year we will be able to start harvesting our home crop, so that will be nice. We did not find any wild ramps this year, but I am hoping to dehydrate some spring nettle for nutritious tea. Do you forage?

Out of the woods and into the field...spring tends to be salad season! Here is a look at our head lettuce. Three successions of plantings. The spinach is also filling in, and the radishes are looking tasty. I am looking forward to trying this radish butter recipe!

 The cabbage is starting to forms heads. We are growing two green and one red variety this spring.

Early Jersey Wakefield
Baby robins all nestled in and growing fast! The abundance of bird life all around is really one of the perks of being outside farming every day.

I had a little fun this past week with the pigs, for Schell's photo contest :) These hogs are really growing fast now.

Hope you are following us on facebook--we post lots of great pics on there as well! Once we start harvesting watch for recipes too!

Have a great week!