Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Open House and Plant Sale!

Nearly all of our transplants are in the ground, but we have extras! 
Good reason for a little pop-up plant sale. Come out, check out the farm, and pick up a couple plants for your garden - try a new variety that the local stores don't offer.

Friday May 30th, 4-6 pm
Plant Sale and Open House

A limited amount of plants are available.
Offered first come, first served.
No reservations.

What plants will you have available?

Heirloom Tomatoes: cherry and slicer types
Nufar Basil
(Potentially more.)

Blue Borage

Some fresh herbs will be available for purchase as well.
Oregano, tarragon, chives and more.
Acorn squash transplants in our field.
Tomato transplants.
Brooke with a tomato transplant.
Come check out the farm!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Photo Update 5.27.14

What a fine weekend it was on the farm! We transplanted and seeded absolutely everything that needed to get in, which amazingly was followed up by a 1.8" rain. More fencing was finished and stakes put in - I love seeing this structure being added to the field. Now we have many heights, hues, seedlings and plants (and weeds).
A view of the field from the West end.
Awesome tomato transplants are in the field
(aka farmer selfie).
The field is getting full and the orchard went into full bloom this week. The bees are a-buzz amongst the trees, doing their busy work. The renovation John has been doing becomes more and more evident every year, with the health and production of the trees. This year 57 of the 58 trees are blooming, a record.

Mason bee house in the orchard.
Apple blossom, on the right is the "king blossom".

A view from the road. Many apple trees blooming and
one tall, lone pear tree.
There is much excitement amongst the animals of the farm too - with baby chicks and piglets expected in the coming weeks. Around the first of the month twenty heritage breed chicks will arrive. Mid-June, as CSA begins, the two sows will farrow and welcome their little piglets into our growing herd.

The momma's bellies are hanging low and we can even feel the piglets moving inside. We moved Lilly and Vera to fresh pasture for farrowing, which also has to buildings and better shade.

Now that's a pregnant sow!
 We have been busy with more than just the plants and animals - we've been having some wonderful opportunities to connect with people. At the end of May Brooke went to Northfield to visit our farmer mentor's farm, Open Hands, touring and learning with Erin and Ben. Then Ben came to visit our farm and we spent a whole afternoon talking about many aspects of the business. Continuing education is very important to us, we are grateful for the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service and the Land Stewardship Project for creating this opportunity for us.

John, our farmer mentor Ben and Brooke.
Then we held our Pre-Season Member Meeting with our CSA and Farm Share members - what a great time! We had a wonderful turnout and the evening was just energizing. Seeing people - old and new customers - looking forward to our CSA, fresh produce and connecting first-hand with a farm is so cool. All members who attended went home with a mason bee home, which John created out of cedar sections.
Mason bee homes for farm members.
 Now, a walk about the farm...
Glaskins Perpetual rhubarb, first season of harvest.
Sparkle strawberries, in their first season of production.
From left to right you can see: a corner of the
asparagus bed, strawberries, snap peas and
two plantings of wax beans.
The garlic and shallots are growing by leaps an bounds.
The first squash went in last
weekend - acorn (pictured) and zucchini.
An early cabbage gaining size.
The lettuce bed, with four plantings of lettuce
already in the ground.
Why hello carrots! It's lovely to see you again.
One of two onion beds, with shell and snow peas in the background.
Tomatoes! Getting the tomatoes in the ground is always so thrilling.
John and I disagreed about what is the best smelling plant
to transplant - he went with tomatoes and I went with basil.
2014 apple tree grafts are starting to "break bud". They spend one
year in this nursery bed, before moving to their permanent locations.
Sign in the garage. We use the back door a lot.
 There is so much more than what is pictured!! Spinach, potatoes, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, parsnips just started coming up, melons are waiting in the wings, broccoli and more broccoli. It's going to be a great year!

•Tentative start dates for CSA and Farm Share deliveries are June 16/18 - the first pre-season newsletter has gone out; another will follow to confirm the start date.

•Farmers' Market begins July 5th.

•Not getting our emails? Make sure to put in your address book. We had to add an email with yahoo's most recent updates - is still our main contact email, but newsletters will come from the other email.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Herb Garden :: Oregano

Oregano growing in the kitchen garden.

...Oregano, flavorful and nutritional...

• bold, warm, balsamic and aromatic flavor
• the name means "mountain joy"
• a member of the mint family
• anti-bacterial (containing thymol and carvacrol)
• anti-oxidant properties (contains beneficial phytonutrients)
• nutrient-dense (fiber, vitamin K, manganese, iron, calcium)

...How to bring oregano into the kitchen more...

• fresh or dry, add at the end of cooking
• garnish your pizza (even store bought)
• pairs well with mushrooms, onions, garlic
• infuse olive oil
• add to eggs - omelets, frittatas
• sprinkle on garlic bread
• add to salad dressings
• steep in vinegar
• toast lightly in a pan and add to your favorite chili or taco recipe
• sprinkle over a salad

World's Healthiest Foods: Oregano
The Epicentre: All About Oregano

Monday, May 12, 2014

Buds, Birds and Blue Skies (Photo Update)

Oregano, made it through the cold winter.
Blue Skies
The sun doesn't seem to want to make an appearance today, but the overcast and moisture is very nice for the abundance of transplants and seeds in the field. Saturday we put in a very full day and were able to get 99% caught up with seeding and transplanting in the field, plus the fruit trees were planted out and some fencing went in (before the lightening and rain pushed us out)! What a great feeling.

A view of the field, carrot seeding under row cover.
So what's outside now? Yellow and red onions, potatoes, spinach, beans, peas, lettuce, parsnips, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, kohlrabi and herbs.

What's waiting in the wings? Celery, brussels sprouts, cucumbers and flowers.

Transplants, hardening off in the trailer outside, before
heading into the ground.
What's in the basement? More flowers, more broccoli, a forest of tomatoes, zucchini, winter squash, peppers, ground cherries and herbs.

What's left to start inside? Only melons!

Beets, planted before the first big storm, finally emerging
from the ground - all they needed was a rain-sun combo!

Hello garlic, you are looking mighty fine.
John sent me this exciting photo this morning - look at those apple blossom buds! We can't wait to see the orchard in full bloom. At the farm there are blossoms on the peach tree and the pears look like they will bloom this year. Also, the first flower bud on the strawberries was spotted.

The chicken run was fully enclosed just over a week ago and the chickens really seems to be enjoying it. They have plenty of space and green area. When it is 100% done there will be a fence through the middle, so we can rotate them back and forth to sustain a green pasture for them. In less than a month the baby chicks arrive!

Other bird notes, a yellow-headed blackbird was spotted down our road - pretty cool. We've been fortunate to have a pair of bald eagles living in the neighborhood too. I know John would have more bird notes, but that's all from me!

More Around the Farm
The first item planted was our bed of snap peas. They are looking full and amazing and we got the fence up, so they can go bonanza.
Snap peas going strong.
The peas and potatoes both went in before the first big storms came through. As Saturday's storm rolled in the potatoes began emerging in their trenches.

The first potatoes broke ground.
John is adding to the orchards each year with custom-grafted trees. Here he is planting out this year's grafts into the nursery bed. Last year's successful grafts were planted out into their permanent spots - apples and plums.
John planting this year's apple stock.
 These gals are so funny, every time I try and walk around them to get a good angle for a photo they just follow me. The storms leave them digging for earthworms with muddy snouts. Another month and there will be more pigs!

Have a great week!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Photo Update 5.2.14

Well the camera is not working properly, so I am going to do a photo update with pics a couple days old. Imagine everything a little bigger!!

These lovely cucumbers are about twice the size now! They are ready to go outside when it warms up. Mmmm, fresh cukes.

Double Yield Cucumbers.
 Kale! Some of the cutest darn transplants. Red Russian on top, and below, Dinosaur or Lacinato kale. These have also bulked out and sturdied up.

Kale transplants.
 These couple of pics are pre-monsoon. Here we have the first row of peas planted on the 22nd. Huzzah! Field work. When we can get back in the field the fence will go in.

Snap peas in the ground.
Potato trenches! Our new rotary plow attachment is amazing! It made creating these trenches a breeze, which makes John's back very happy :) This plow address a "logjam" in our farm management and will allow us to better utilize our cover crops (more organic matter!) as well as create trenches for things like leeks, potatoes and more. Awesome.

Late season potato bed.
 The pigs are out on the flint corn field from last year. There is not tons of green grass, but they have been cleaning up the corn remaining and digging up every square foot. What amazing tillers! Now we just need things to dry up a little for them. Those mamas are looking more and more pregnant all the time.

The pigs are digging their expanded pasture space.
 Oh chickens, you constantly entertain us with your antics.

Hen, giving me the once over.
We're celebrating! Today is John and my fifth wedding anniversary - how time flies. Here's a pic from our wedding day, May 2nd, 2009, at Lake Bemidji State Park. Cheers!

Another reason to celebrate--my little brother and his wife welcomed their first baby into the world a couple days ago. Welcome little Abigail Laine - we can't wait to meet you!

What a wonderful week - the sun has even decided to make an appearance today!