Our 2016 CSA signups are now open!!

Sign up for our CSA program today and help us help you meet your health and wellness goals for the year!

Our Community supported agriculture program lets you become a member of the farm. Members make a contribution at the beginning of the year and in turn receive shares of local farm fresh produce, weekly, throughout the growing season. We also share monthly newsletters to members informing them of what to look forward to in upcoming shares.  These are packed with pictures from the fields and tried and true recipes from Matt’s career as a Chef, for creative ways to use your bountiful harvest.

We also have community building events on the farm planned this year for members to get the full picture of what goes into providing sustainable local food to our community.

These shares are limited and go very quickly, so don’t wait and jump on over to our CSA page to review our 2016 expected crops  in our 2016 CSA flyer and our updated member agreement.

CSA Page

Have questions? Give us a shout, or shoot us an email and we will be grateful to share some info.

Balancing act

“O to be self-balanced for contingencies, to confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as the trees and animals do.” -Walt Whitman

Balance is underrated. I see this very clearly after this growing season. I push myself hard. Real hard. At the end of the week when I look at the revenue, I find myself saying “that’s it?”   I worked so hard for very little. So as a growing small business I celebrate the small successes. Conversations with customers about a creative way they used something that I grew.  Savoring the feeling you get when a summer favorite brings a smile to a CSA member, or providing a farm to school program with fresh veggies from the rows.  In the end I am lucky to have plain hands in the dirt work.

I’m always looking to try new ways to streamline our systems. Sometimes this means taking a hard look at ways to work smarter, not harder. Last year, I wrote a post similar to this and we were looking to add a compact tractor to our arsenal of equipment. Well, here it is a year later, we have saved the money, now it is just a matter of finding the right deal. A compact tractor with a cultivator for the tight rows, would have brought much more return on our annual investment, as we had a hard time with weed control this year. The very wet, early summer and the expansion of our crop rotation gave us too much ground to cover with the chores we had. Which is back to my point. Balance.

Split between  farming, a 2nd full time job, and the travel to get to the farm, something has to give. A couple things actually. As much as we love Nursery Lane,  renting land is not ideal, particularly land that is an hour drive including two costly ferry crossings. This cuts hugely into our pockets, cost time, and gas to make the commute. We are actively looking for new property much closer to our markets. In addition we have plans to make staying at the farm more comfortable and efficient if we end up where we are for another season.

Bringing the farm closer to the community we serve opens up opportunities for working with local schools to incorporate experiential learning in our gardens. We will also be able to work any project we please as we will own the land.  We could work on long term projects with more security in the return on our investment. With this ability to work the farm daily and offer new revenue streams, it could provide a way of leveling the work/life balance. Add this to our gaining experience, strong will, determination and growing clientele, we cant be stopped.

Market insider: 2015 Spring

These guys popping up in the garden. So look for these tasty treats at markets.

I’ve jotted down a simple take on grilled Asparagus…your welcome.

IMAG2095_1_1 Grilled Asparagus

Get a bundle of Asparagus, scrub em up, cut the woody ends down, and peel the lower half if fattier than a pencil.

Drizzle this stack with some olive oil & toss with kosher sea salt.

When the grill is a medium heat, maybe after you grill a nice ribeye, and let the coals die down a bit, lay the Asparagus across the grill evenly.

Don’t mess with them too much.

Give about 3 min and roll em bad boys.

They should have a nice charred color to them.

Give them another minute or two and pull em off.

Devour!

Morel MushroomsIMAG2144

These guys are a special find and worth the price tag.

Their texture is that of a nice steak. Wait, that is the second steak reference in one post, I must be hungry.

Morels have a short foraging season, you can find em yourself in early spring.  Following an overnight rain, walk the woods and look for elm and decomposing or injured trees.  Scan the down foliage and look for their camouflaged caps.

They are easily confused with “False Morels”, so educate yourself.  If you find a nice patch of  morel mushrooms, move slowly and search the immediate surrounding area as they often grow in groups.

Many people brine them, fry them or saute them with pasta. The internet is full of recipes and suggestions for their preparation.

Microgreens

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Microgreens are the seedlings of plants that are consumed fresh before the 14th day of their sprouted life.

They are a safer alternative to bean or alfalfa sprouts because they are grown in sunlight and a growing season medium. Traditional sprouts are grown in dark damp conditions which provide a breeding area for bacteria.

These little babies are tasty on any salad, they make excellent garnishes for dishes and add a nutty flavor to fruit and veggie juices. They are high in alkalinity and antioxidants, fighting free radicals and cancer causing cells.  These tasty tenders contain up to 40 times the nutrients of their full grown counterpart in Vitamins C, A, E, and K. Examples of fun blends we grow at The Root are “Russian Mammoth Attitude” “Brassica blast” and “Lechuga, Lechuga” which use red cabbage, Russian kale, radish, broccoli, peas, arugula, and various lettuce seedlings.

Spring Onions and Overwintered Leeks

These two items are essential to any spring green salad dressing, or rainy day simmering soup. I use leeks in a great vichyssoise (french potato soup) that I serve cold with crusty bread and braised pork shoulder.  Both onions and leeks are known for their healing properties and help with spring allergies and fending off the common cold.

We grow Giant Musselburough leeks and varieties of both red and yellow onions. We plant in the spring and in the late summer for a second fall harvest.

CSA shares

At early spring markets it is a great time to sign up for a CSA. What is a CSA you might ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

These programs give you a great opportunity to support your local community growers. You pay to become a member of the farm, but without the work.

In return, you get a weekly share of the harvest for the entire growing season.It is a very good deal if you like to experiment with different ingredients and recipes. CSA’s help you spend your money locally, and get to know the producer of the food that you and your family eat.

Check out our member agreement here and start receiving a share from our farm this season.

and we’re off….but wait its only February.

Cheers to knocking off some of the winter checklist.

Around here there is always things to do, and someone dreaming up a better way to do them

 The Quail hutch is built, just needs to be screened. That’s right you heard it. Quail.

Quail start laying eggs after just six weeks and are full grown after ten weeks.

photo courtesy of wikipedia

Added bonus is that the market is not totally saturated with quail egg producers.

Plus, cute little quail eggs are the perfect size hard-boiled egg in a kindergarteners Spiderman lunchbox.

Three Rivers Beekeeping workshop was last weekend.

I learned so very much from the keynotes over the 12 hours of mentoring.

Honey bees will provide diversity to our farm and our market stands.

We are going to use locally farmed bees and colony raised queens.

The LSLFM Annual Farmers meeting was on Saturday.

It was great to see so many familiar faces, and the scatter of eager newcomers.

I left motivated to get this season started off right.

Opening Day (April 4th) will be here in no time.

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Under the lights, the seedling trays are filling up with what spring and summer’s bounty.

We have made some improvements to help set these seeds more efficiently.

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All in all the winter has been mild and I am itching to get back in the dirt daily.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Get the “Good Stuff”

Don’t miss out!

Get the good stuff.

Support your local farmer, and get good food, grown right!

  Sign-up and become a member today, and share in the bounty throughout the entire growing season.

Join our CSA program for a weekly share of the harvest, fun recipes, and garden tours!

Meet you new year’s health goals.  Let us help!  Support local business and grow your local food circle.

Our  non GMO, heirloom, organic abundance can be yours!

View our member agreement below, and contact us with any questions.

TRG2015CSAagreement

Read my awesome little poem… and maybe become a member?

As the last of the leaves fall from the trees, and the air has a crisp bite in its breeze.

When rain takes other forms as sleet and snow, and colors turn the silver glow.

 Keep close thoughts of summer days of heat, with gardens a bloom and herbs so sweet.

Again will come the waving neighbor walking past, and the sunburned task of cutting grass.

While we have these fading memories of summer, remember your farmer, and our poor poetry skills.

We responsible producers of fresh food must always stay ahead of the changing seasons to provide you with the best produce.

  Its never to early to secure your weekly CSA shares from our farm for the upcoming growing season, shares are limited and go quickly.

Say What?What’s a CSA?

CSA stands for community supported agriculture.

Well, simply put, you become a member of our farm, and each week you get a chunk of the bountiful harvest. Your membership fee helps us cover the upfront costs of providing awesome food to our corner of the world. All the while,  you get to try all kinds of cool, different veggies and a  get a little guidance on how to use them. That’s right, click on over to our CSA page for all the details on our CSA  membership program and print off a copy of our member agreement. Have more questions? Leave a comment, shoot us an email, or give us a call.

Making the turn

Wait, It’s dark already? 

That’s right. The days are getting shorter, and the summer heat, and night light, are fading to the fall colors of change. Once again the living cycle is making the turn, and as a grower in the midwest, we start to clean up and reflect.

This past season, even with low yields, was considered a success in great variety.  We were able to provide a total of 16 weeks of fresh tasty produce to our  CSA members.  We also served some of these same members, fall harvest shares for an additional 6 weeks.  We were able to get out to a total of 30 Market weeks at LSLFM, using this time to connect , and increase distribution of local organically grown veggies and heirloom starter plants  to our community. 

Yet our growing season isn’t quite over; Radishes, greens, peas and root veggies can bare a frost for sure, and the greenhouse tables are perfect temperatures for micro- greens. We are also putting together our  CSA membership info to have available for early sign ups.  So pay attention to our website and facebook page to see when we will be at local markets this fall and winter.

We have partnered with the neighbor to begin farm fresh egg shares ASAP and have plans to start our own egg laying flock in the Spring, focusing on rotational free range grazing with some heritage breed birds.  I also have a tip that there is some forgotten bee boxes on our property that I can utilize if I can locate them.  Along with our egg layers in the Spring we look to have broiler chickens next fall.  We have become more organized, systematic and efficient in our practices.  We look forward to adding a tractor to our working fleet over the winter months, and are making adjustments to the layouts of our beds and future expansion to maximize  efforts. With these improvements we look to add staff, increase shares, and provide to multiple markets next season. Stay warm and stay tuned for more updates.

Hey teachers! Want to bring the kiddos out to the farm to play in the dirt  and tour the farm next Spring? Hey members and foodies! Any specific veggies or starter plants that you would like us to offer next year?  Wanna shoot the shit, or swap recipes? Give us a shout.

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Lets Cook

IMAG1558_1_1 We were fortunate enough to help educate the community this week with cooking classes at Crider Health Center. We focused on affordable fresh meals that are able to be used in creative leftover dishes. We even used some of our green beans from the farm.  It was a great collaborative effort and offered helpful feedback for the direction of future lessons. We always enjoy sharing our love for food with the community.

update from the dirt

 Spring has kept us busy. We have been fortunate to miss any damaging storms and river floodings, so our harvests have been on track. Our CSA is in week 5 and the summer veggies are on the move. 

 One thing about this cool wet start to the summer is that the bugs are plentiful. Particularly the beetles. Flea beetles wiped out 140 eggplant in two days. Potato beetles have been spotted in our tuber rows, and I am already finding squash beetle larve  on the undersides of young plants.

 To hinder pest populations in your gardens remember to keep rows and beds clean from debris and dead weeds, as pests use this as cover to overwinter their larve into the next growing season.

Stagger transplant dates to the field, maybe a late plant, preventing last years larve from hatching to a buffet of your tender transplants.

Use companion planting, certain plants aid each other in pest control and also promote better growth.

 All the while remembering to be diligent in crop notation and rotation, detailed garden logs keep you organized through changing seasons, and rotation of crops stunt pest infestation while maintaining healthier soil.

How do you control pests that love our veggies as much as we do?

 

Come on Spring… Come on (whistling dog call noise)

So its March 20th, The first day of spring. Or is it?

This is the time of the year that with I share a “love/hate” relationship.  I love the anticipation of change in the season,  and all of the improvements and plans for growth in the coming growing season.  I love looking back over stacks of notes of what worked in the gardens and things I have learned to avoid.  Looking at what was profitable at markets, and what is currently trending in the culinary world. For example, this year we are adding good foods like quinoa, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, and kohlrabi, as well as increasing our herb selections.  We are increasing our yields by increasing pollinators with the addition of honey bees.  Our greenhouse is complete, and new  drip irrigation system is under way. 

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I do bite my nails more in March. Watch the radar and weather patterns constantly. As it’s a tricky lady, that Midwest month of March.  For it is officially Spring but we get funky weather into April. Last year I remember getting snowed on during a canoe trip on the Buffalo river. So is the life of a farmer.

Wendell Berry once wrote a poem that read “Don’t worry and fret for the crops. After you have done all that you can for them, let them stand in the weather on their own… The real product of any years work, are the farmers mind and the crop land itself.”

We have plants available for you fellow gardeners, we have a few CSA subscriptions still available for you foodies, and starting April 5th (Opening Day) we will be at the LSLFM

Come on Spring