May 20th, 2013 · CSA
Here is our list for tomorrow:
Tuesday May 21:
Bunch Green Garlic – Fertile Grounds Farm
Bag Young Red Russian Kale – Elm Tree Organics
Bag Miners Lettuce – Elm Tree Organics
Head Red Leaf Lettuce – Plum Hill Organics
Head Red Romaine Lettuce – Riverview Organics
Bunch White Scallions – Friends Road Organics
1 Lb. Red Rhubarb – Elm Tree Organics
Bag Young Rainbow Chard – Elm Tree Organics
Bunch Spinach – Farmdale Organics
8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms – Mother Earth Organics
Bunch Green Kale – Fertile Grounds Farm
Head Red Romaine Lettuce – Riverview Organics
Bunch Easter Egg Radishes – Crystal Spring Farm
Bunch White Scallions – Sunrise Ridge Organics
Bunch Spinach – Farmdale Organics
Head Red Butterhead Lettuce – Maple Arch Farm
Head Bok Choy – Millwood Springs
January 28th, 2013 · CSA
We are very excited to announce we have gone live with our new sign up method for the Spring/Summer season. Many of our returning members will wonder where Farmigo has gone. We have decided to switch to a simpler in-house method of sign up.
We are also happy to announce some new options this year. We have added a smaller vegetable share we are calling the 60% Share, and we have an installment payment plan available for the Full Vegetable Share.
Some of the pick-up sites have changed from last year, and we will be adding more sites in the coming weeks. There is a map on the join page to help you find the location that works best for you. If you are interested in being a site host and don’t see a location near you, please contact us for details about hosting.
We are looking forward to having the best year yet. Thank you for joining us to eat Local, eat Healthy.
This past year treated us to a climate change preview in spades: crazy heat waves, prolonged drought, and epic storms like Sandy. To help us stabilize the climate, before we reach the point of no return, we must tap the immense potential of our food system… Read more here:
The Agricultural Fulcrum: Better Food, Better Climate – The Atlantic.
August 2nd, 2012 · cooking
Fennel is so good in salads. There are several good ones at Huffington Post.
If you steam it with potato and beet and blend them, add butter & salt – that is very nice combo. And you can chill it and dribble olive oil on it to serve cold.
Roasted on the grill with other veggies is also very nice.
June 23rd, 2012 · farmer
Two plantings of Romano beans - early to the left and late to the right
On 43 acres of fields, which was purchased by his grandfather over thirty years ago, Christ (pronounced like ‘list’) is a young farmer just getting established on the family land. Since many of his nearby relatives are guiding his growth, the venture is bound to be successful. For years he was assisting his cousins Elam and Amos, who both operate Co-op member farms. That’s where he learned how to raise a reliable crop and keep things neat and tidy.
At Meadow Brook the land is shared by the usual array of structures, livestock, gardens, produce and grasses. It lays flat which makes it easy to observe the organization of the entire operation. The buildings are the central component – a house, several barns, and sheds. Impeccably maintained, the lawn is edged with precision where it meets the gravel driveway. In the lower-level of the main barn, the deep lows of cows could be heard – the morning milking was in process. Around the buildings are gardens and produce fields. The remainder of the land is pasture for thirty-five cows.
In the produce fields, Christ is growing onions (red and sweet yellow), Malabar spinach, French breakfast radishes, arugula, Romano beans and, in the fall, will be seeing an abundance of butternut squash. The squash has a certain fondness for Christ, he said, “it’s something good to eat – so it makes sense to grow something I like.”
Rows of expertly maintained onions - red and sweet onions
Onions are a primary crop for Meadow Brook. Right now, Christ is sending some fresh onions through the CSA. In a month he will begin harvesting them for storage. This means that after pulling them from the ground he will lay them out so that they can dry in the sun. Next, he will take them to his barn, cut the tops off, spread them out in a single layer, and set up fans to keep the air circulating, which will ensure they don’t become rotten. After about a week or so, they will be ready for storage – at that point they will appear like the onions found most often in grocery markets.
Elsewhere, the Romano beans are almost ready for picking. They are an Italian flat-pod variety that is similar to green beans.
Close to the plot where the beans grow is a large garden where Christ and his wife, Katie, raise food for themselves and their newborn (a four-month-old girl). This garden is planted tightly with all sorts of produce. A common feature on most family farms, a garden is an opportunity to experiment with new crops and alternative methods of agriculture. For instance, he is using old tires as planters for his watermelons and blueberry bushes – a good tip for any at-home gardener.
Overall, things are kept in meticulous order at Meadow Brook Organics. The same attention to the lawn is given to the fields and gardens. In between the rows of onion, Christ and a farmhand were cutting weeds. “Weeds are always something to keep in mind,” he stated, “if you think that your crop is almost done, a rain might come and boost the weeds.” Last year, this scenario played out and seemingly overnight the weeds sprouted and were higher than the crop they were growing around.
Such considerations are characteristic of a farmer that wants to steward the land through to the next generation and beyond. When all facets of the farm are administered with such care, Meadow Brook is in line to sustain their organic tradition.
Tags:arugula·butternut Squash·Christ·French breakfast radishes·Malabar spinach·Meadow Brook Organics·milking·onions·Romano beans
June 15th, 2012 · farmer
Between the strawberries and peppers is a row of garlic
“It’s a long list,” Elam said rather sheepishly. He rattled off the crops he is raising this year at Liberty Acres in Drumore, PA. “Strawberries, peas, tatsoi, rainbow chard, purple kohlrabi, French green beans, lemon cucumbers, honeydews, cubanelle peppers, sweet onions, potatoes, garlic, and globe artichokes.” Then later, while passing through his fields, more came to mind – asparagus, which he just started this year, and something called mulukhiyah, also known as Egyptian Spinach.
The dizzying array of produce at Liberty Acres would keep even a seasoned farmer on their toes – Elam, though, is in his second year on his own. He is using part of the land his father once used for alfalfa and corn that, until recently, had been uncultivated for many years. Even though it’s his second year, Elam is no stranger to the Co-op. He worked part-time simultaneously at member farms Maple Lawn Organics and Riverview Organics, where he earned his education in unique crops, such as chard and tatsoi.
Farther down the road is another Co-op farmer, Omar, who operates Outback Farm. Elam and Omar visit each other frequently to compare notes about garlic and other plants. It’s these common threads that form the essence of the Lancaster Farm Fresh cooperative culture.
This spring, Liberty Acres was one of several farms growing strawberries. His inspiration for raising them, Elam said, was his mom, who had strawberries for as long as he could remember. Elsewhere, the green peas are just finishing up their production, and the French green beans a few rows over will pick up where the peas have left off. In the hotter summer months, the lemon cucumbers (named for their appearance – they have yellow skin and are spherically shaped), cubanelle peppers, and honeydew will be producing.
Asparagus just starting out - it will be several years before it's ready
Overall, Elam is quite pleased with the assortment of produce. “I’m trying a lot of crops – finding what I like. See what does well on the land.” For every farmer this is critical – using the land to its best potential means understanding which plants thrive and which ones struggle. For someone just starting out, there’s a reverse logic in trying many crops – they might not all do well (which limits income) but at least it will be quicker to find the best performers so in years ahead they can be effectively planned.
For now, though, the variety of crops being grown at Liberty Acres will compel shareholders to reach for their recipe books (and visit our recipe blog).
Tags:asparagus·Cubanelle peppers·Egyptian Spinach·garlic·honeydew·lemon cucumbers·Liberty Acres·mulukhiyah·strawberry·tatsoi
Eating seasonally: it’s been talked about, it’s been practiced by some, prepared by several restaurants. In theory, only eating seasonally grown, local, and inexpensive produce sounds amazing. In practice, however, it’s nothing short of a challenge. We have gotten so used to the plethora of produce in our supermarkets that we forget that sweet corn in December isn’t normal, tomatoes should never be white when you cut into them, and blueberries in February just feel sacrilegious. But summer blueberries? Bliss.
Luckily, we are headed into summer, one of the best times to eat seasonally. Root vegetables are gone for now and we can finally say goodbye to brussel sprouts (if you’ve gotten over their notoriety in the first place). Read on to find out how you can eat seasonally this summer in the District.
Why eat seasonally?
1. Basic economics tells us when quantity goes up, price goes down. So when produce is in season, the abundance of the crop typically makes it more inexpensive.
2. Seasonal produce just tastes better! In the summer you can pick up strawberries at many local farms and taste their juicy flavor. But if you want strawberries in the winter, you will have to hit the grocery store and settle for a watered-down taste.
3. Buying seasonal produce provides an exciting opportunity to try new foods and to experiment with seasonal recipes. Look through what’s in season this summer, and test your culinary skills by incorporating something new into your diet each week.
4. It is healthier for you. When we attempt to locally grow produce in its off-season, it doesn’t grow as well and its nutritional value is compromised.
What’s in season now?
Where can I eat seasonally?
So what does this all mean for the environment?
For answers to these questions, see the full article.
Tags:livegreen·local·seasonal·why eat seasonally
June 8th, 2012 · farmer
A few weeks back, Sam, at Bellview Organics, called the LFFC office to announce that his first crop of Bok Choy was ready for the CSA. “I have about 600 heads,” he said, “they should go tomorrow.” That was all it took to seal the fate of the large, dark green member of the cabbage family. The Bok Choy was a trial – over the winter, Sam was given several samples of seeds to experiment with. He planted the crop in a single row, and now, save for a few stragglers, it’s completely harvested.
Sam has yet to decide if Bok Choy will make an appearance at Bellview Organics again – it could be planted this fall if he wanted to give it one more test. This has been his method for expanding diversity at the farm – try something once, maybe twice, and see if it suits his land and his style. That is how he started with produce. Five years ago he was entirely focused on milk production – but had an urge to start planting things in the ground. It began with potatoes the first season, then he integrated Napa cabbage because he knew that Sam, at Co-op member farm, Countyside Organics, had experience with it.
This year Bellview is growing potatoes, Napa cabbage, radicchio, fava beans, and orange and yellow seedless watermelons. Except for the watermelon, the crops are arranged side-by-side in long, straight rows in a relatively flat field. There are two types of potatoes being grown – the Purple Viking and the Kennebec. The radicchio, a variety called Chioggia, has leaves that are marbled in eye catching reds and greens.
At the edge of the primary field are four rows of bushy fava bean plants. Its stalks are beginning to fill up with the long, pods – which almost look like a pack of fuzzy caterpillars crawling upwards. Before harvesting, Sam said, “I want these to be a little fatter.” To measure their development he opened a pod to expose four dime-sized beans; they’ll be ready when they enlarge to the size of a quarter. At the moment, though, the beans are a nice treat eaten raw – even the outer pod can be eaten at this stage, much like a green bean. Once they do become available, the harvest will last for a quick two week period. This year looks optimistic, Sam predicted, “if we can harvest even half the flowers,” referring to the blossoms that can eventually, but not always, turn into pods.
On the other end of the field are three acres of potatoes. This is a drastically reduced area compared to the eight that was planted last year. Sam admitted, “I had too much on my list,” and couldn’t harvest them as quickly as they were ready. This realization of his limits is an example that good crop planning aims for steady, moderate production – not too much and not too little.
While the number of crops might seem limited, Sam is finding it best to concentrate on a fewer number and do them well. He still maintains some cows for milking which also requires much attention. It’s early yet, but his ideas are already forming for next year’s trial crop.
Article by Chris Breimhurst
Tags:Bellview Organics·bok choy·Chris Breimhurst·fava beans·Napa Cabbage
June 4th, 2012 · farmer
It’s charming the way the fog lays in the small valleys of Christiana and Kirkwood. The area, while generously wooded, is mostly farmland that contours with the hills. As one stands in an open field, the horizon becomes hazy and sounds are muffled when the fog settles in. For Stephen, at Sunrise Ridge Organics, it means the already still land is all the more silent.
On a recent Friday morning, the order for the day was to do some planting and cleaning. Fridays are a day that does not require much harvesting, so tasks that can wait during the week are finally tended to. Stephen was out with his brother planting cantaloupes, which were seeded three weeks ago. They take about 80 days to mature, putting them on schedule for harvest in late July through August.
The cantaloupes are an heirloom variety, “they come from Mom’s garden … they’re called the Pride of Wisconsin,” Stephen said. The melons that were planted earlier are currently under quick hoops. These hoops are covered with a white cloth, like a quilt, protecting the young plants from insects and helping them mature somewhat faster.
Elsewhere at Sunrise Ridge, Stephen has collards, scallions, carrots, gold beets, sweet potatoes, and Yukon gold potatoes in various stages of maturity. Collards and scallions are harvested daily. This is Stephen’s first summer with collards, and he has been given some tips on how to raise and harvest them from Joe, at nearby Co-op farm, Soaring Eagle Acres.
Nested in high-mounded rows, sweet potatoes are a family tradition, as Stephen’s father, Amos, started with sweet potatoes while operating a dairy farm. They were Amos’ first foray into produce and have now become his specialty. The sweet potatoes planted at Sunrise Ridge were started from the slips that initially grew at Amos’ farm, Pine Hill Organics, just across the road.
Amos and Stephen joined the Co-op during the same season in 2010. Stephen had just moved onto the land he occupies now – 17 acres that were in danger of being turned into a housing development. It was a long process, but Amos was able to acquire the land so that Stephen could start his own farming venture.
Now, with his wife Katie and their one-year-old, there’s a bright future ahead for Stephen. Each morning, except on those foggy ones, their farm is the first to catch the first sunrays because it sits on the tallest hill in the area. Aptly named Sunrise Ridge, it’s a wonderful place to greet each day.
Article by Chris Breimhurst
Tags:cantaloupe·Chris Breimhurst·family tradition·heirloom·Pride of Wisconsin·Sunrise Ridge Organics
May 31st, 2012 · FYI
Today I had a nice conversation with Blueberry Gardens site hosts Michael, Robert and Deborah and with a couple members who dropped by to pick up. One member went to the farm picnic and had a great time. We got talking about healing herbs and the name Doctor Duke came up.
Dr. James A. Duke is a world renown botanist. He is known for his numerous publications on botanical medicine, including the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. He is notable for developing the Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases at the USDA. The Sean Connery movie Medicine Man was rumored to be about Dr. Duke.
Tags:Blueberry Gardens·James A. Duke·Medicine Man·Sean Connery