Posts

Bringing in the Harvest in April 2021

Image
  April brings excitement! We see the shift from winter crops to spring, longer daylight hours, and the rapid growth of all the crops. As we monitor the night time temperatures, we can gauge how quickly the vegetables will grow. Anticipation has us guessing when the first asparagus will be harvested. Although we have been growing all sorts of vegetables this year in our tunnels, there is something about asparagus that is special. Somewhere between April 6 and April 30 for asparagus to appear—you guessed it, all depending on the weather! And sometimes we get a few asparagus starting and then … nothing until we have a few more moderate nights. I personally look forward to rhubarb, the strange stalk of a perennial plant. Do not eat the leaves, as they are slightly toxic for humans (pigs and goats seem to do just fine). The tart stalks are perfect for cobblers, pies, jams, sauces, or stews. My grandfather even enjoyed it raw. Rhubarb usually shows up at the end of April. This year, we have

The story of Louisa: May we all have a sense of humor and find fun and happiness in life.

Image
In Honor of Women’s History Month: Louisa Schulmeister (1839-1912) In my lineage of strong women, I am fortunate to have the German ancestors who uprooted themselves to try for a new life on a new continent. They were smart, talented, capable, and people of good heart. They were, in many respects, ordinary people. They worked hard, suffered disappoints, had to cope with disease, death, financial hardships, and overwork. But they persevered, found joy in daily activities, and built strong families. Here is the story of Louisa. In the 1840s, all you had to do was get here. After that, you could work, own land, run a business, participate in community life without repercussions.  Louisa Schulmeister came as a child with her parents in the 1840s from Alsace Lorraine. They settled in Philadelphia with other German immigrants, possibly in Germantown (hence the name). Her father was a cabinetmaker and continued his work with wood once the family came. It was in the mid-1850s when she met anot

Apple Cider

Image
Just so you know, there are about 2 lbs of apples in each glass of apple cider. Yum. I love cider. But only our cider. Picky, picky, picky. Yep.  What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Juice has been filtered, so that there is no pulp. It tends to be clear, and a light golden amber in color. Cider is unfiltered and unsweetened, pressed from apples. It is dark brown and opaque due to the apple pulp in suspension in the liquid.  I lived In Colorado for almost 10 years. Beautiful countryside, right at the base of the Rockies. Gorgeous. But they don’t grow apples and they sure as shooting did not have cider. The first fall I was there, I searched. And searched. I found stuff labeled as “Apple Cider,” but it was filtered and clear, just like apple juice. I gave up. I drank cider when I came home to visit. And since I’ve been back to stay, cider remains a favorite. Ingredients: apples. No preservatives, no added sugar, pressed fresh, not from concentrate. Nothing added,

Kohlrabi

Image
Kohlrabi…what? I was introduced to this alien looking vegetable about 20 years ago. I had to think long and hard about (1) whether I wanted to grow it, and (2) if anyone would want to buy it and eat it if I did. But flying saucers are popular, right?  And then I started eating it. This is one tasty vegetable! Stir fry, sauteed, raw. The first time I made Kohlrabi slaw, I devoured a lot of it. A lot. Ok, this was worth adding to the growing repertoire. But I recognize that most people are still unfamiliar with kohlrabi, so we don’t have it all the time and we don’t put it in shares frequently. So let me introduce you to kohlrabi. It is a German word, meaning “cabbage turnip.” It is in the cabbage family, but kind of looks like a turnip. But it is not related to turnips and tastes nothing like turnips. The round part is actually the stem of the plant, and the leaves are edible as well.  As you might guess from the name, kohlrabi is popular in German speaking countries, but it is also gro

Fruit Divine: PERSIMMONS

I have taken the last of the persimmons in to my mother to be turned into persimmon bread. We had a fresh batch of persimmon jam made. And you (and I) had the opportunity to eat wonderful, fresh persimmons. I keep thinking I will do something fancy, but then I pick one up and it’s in my mouth. Maybe next time. I first planted persimmons over 15 years ago, when I found a variety that was supposed to grow in our area. It took about 6 years before we got any persimmons. And now the trees produce reliably well. We have planted additional trees, because, hmmm, many of you decided you like persimmons as well. We are thrilled that we can grow persimmons without any sprays, even organic sprays, which fits with our mission of growing green and clean. My first introduction to a persimmon was a Hachiya-type persimmon. Beware! These are fabulous when fully ripe, but they cause an unpleasant puckery-y sensation around the lips if not ripe,   due to a high tannin content. The tannin dissipates a

December 2020

Image
We have learned some basic things over the years about our customers. You like to eat regularly. Every day even! And all year! You tell your friends where you get awesome produce. So, we are always looking to grow more efficiently and more productively and to extend our growing seasons. Two years ago this month, we started something new for our farm—hydroponic growing. We did not really know what we were doing but figured, hey, we’re smart! We’ll figure this out. And indeed, we did figure out the basics. Still learning. However, the excitement of trying something new remains with us. I love watching seeds pop up in the germination trays. I love seeing the baby plants transplanted into the nursery channels, And I love seeing the plants growing so well to maturity. And everyone is thrilled at harvest time—quick harvests, clean greens (no bugs, no splash back dirt, no pesticides). The hydro house made it possible for us to increase our productivity without needing more acreage. We sti

November 2020

What a strange fall! Well, what a strange year, right? Amazingly mild temperatures, we have dipped below freezing only once, and that but a week ago and with little damage done.   Next week promises colder temperatures—it’s ok, it is December next week! We have been grateful for this milder weather, as it has given us time to work on the new high tunnel. The frame is up, sides are on, now waiting for heaters, fans, and end walls. Then on to the next one. We finished the new unheated tunnel, and spinach is up and looking great. Pomegranate trees will be planted shortly. The outside harvests have continued with barely a twitch, as these crops thrive in cool weather. Broccoli, cauliflower, and salad turnips have filled out those CSA bags, and the kale, collards, mustard greens keep growing and have provided multiple harvests. Kohlrabi is coming soon! We have transplanted a few crops into a tunnel to extend their harvest. In the meantime, the hydro house has been producing many of th