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Posted 10/12/2016 7:43pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings,

The transition into fall and winter continues on the farm. The green leaves on the trees are gradually turning colors. The farmers in nearby fields are beginning their harvest of soy beans and corn. On the farm we continue to harvest sweet potatoes, potatoes, and plant winter greens. We have many preparations to do before cold weather hits. We have not yet replaced the plastic that was torn off one of the greenhouses what seems to be way back in July. Also the hoop house that was damaged in an April storm has yet to be put back together. Both will need to be done in the next couple of weeks in order for us to grow in them this winter. And let’s not forget about planting garlic, a fairly large undertaking. All in all, I think the transition is going well and we have a few weeks of good weather yet to get it done.

In this week’s shares: Arugula - a great fall and spring salad green (see this week’s recipe for arugula /kale salad). Fall  Kale (see this week’s recipe for Kale/Arugula pesto). Green Bell Peppers great for a stuffed bell pepper recipe. Butternut Squash. Some shares will receive Carrots while others will receive Beets. A great fall bounty that can be used in so many fall recipes. Enjoy, Jim

Posted 10/5/2016 8:01pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings from the farm,

We have had another great weather week. The working conditions have been perfect for the field work we have been performing this week. We had about an inch of rain last Friday night into Saturday and that did delay a few items early in the week. Chip and I have been working alone this week as Dayton is off on his Honeymoon. Congratulations to Dayton and his Bride. They were married this past Saturday.

Chip and I have had two primary concerns this week on the farm. The first one being to prep the growing beds for winter seeding. The seeding has been started this week and will continue for the next 2 weeks. The other concern has been to finish the potato harvest and start the sweet potato harvest. The ground proved too wet again to harvest potatoes this is concerning because I am worried about them starting to rot or sprout in the ground. We were able to harvest half the sweet potatoes and the yield is very good. Sweet potatoes need to cure at a high temperature and high humidity for at least a week. We converted one of our walk in coolers into a ‘cure room’ by adding a space heater and humidifier. This curing process turns the starches in the sweet potato to sugar, a very important step for sweet potato storage and edibility. With only a few weeks left in this season’s CSA we hope to get the sweet potatoes cured in order to put a hefty portion of them in your last share. We continue to have a lot of loss in our winter squashes this year. A high percentage of them are rotting in storage. We have found some that have a worm in them that we are not familiar with while others just seem to go bad. I feel most of the problem has to do with the late summer rain and humidity since most of the squash lay in direct contact with the soil until harvested. None the less we do have quite a few butternut squash that seem to be holding up. We anticipated having fall carrots and beets in the shares this week but they just not quite there yet. I’m pretty sure they will be good to go next week. Less sunlight and cooler temperatures have slowed the growing a bit.

In your shares: Shiitake Mushrooms are back; we are continuing to have good success with growing them. Check out this week recipe for Cream Mushroom Sauce also I added an info flier with some facts about Shiitakes and their health benefits. Also in your share this week will be Purple Bok Choy (great for a stir fry or lightly sautéed), Lettuce Mix and Acorn Squash. If you have not tried roasted stuffed Acorn Squash check out the recipe on our website. The mushrooms would be perfect to add to the filling. Enjoy, Jim

Posted 9/28/2016 8:18pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

It’s been great to experience the fall like weather this past week. Our new greenhouse is great. It went together without a hitch. The guys from Nifty Hoops out of Michigan did a fantastic job and Chip, Dayton, and I enjoyed working with them and doing something different for a change. The farm has taken on a new look in part due to the new greenhouse and in part to the progress we are making  mowing, weeding, and cleaning up of old garden plots. We are also working on winter plots getting them ready for seeding. That always brings a nice tidy look to the farm. Timing is critical with winter growing.  We only have a small 3 week window in October to seed our winter greens. There are no do-overs. The ground gets too cold for proper germination by late October and early November. Needless to say, September and October are 2 of the busiest months on the farm. As busy as we are it is still some of the more enjoyable times for me working the farm. The weather is cooler, we can see the daily transition from summer to fall to winter with the trees changing and corn and bean fields turning from green to golden brown. Almost daily we will see wild turkeys crossing the fields, gorging themselves on grasshoppers and other insects. Deer are popping their heads out the woods more often and can be seen early in the morning and a few hours before nightfall. Soon we will have most of the larger garden fields cleared of weeds and rubble and the fields put to bed for winter.

In this week’s share:  All the makings of a hearty fall soup! You will receive a nice bunch of Leeks perfect for potato leek soup, Potatoes, Kale (see this week’s recipe for potato kale soup), Mesclun Salad Mix, and Radishes (don’t forget that the radish tops are edible ad very good in a stir fry or salad)

Enjoy, Jim

Posted 9/21/2016 9:02pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

By the time you are reading this we hope to have a new 30’x96’ high tunnel built. We are erecting it on Wed. Hopefully we will be able to share some pictures with you sometime soon. There’s not much else to report on from the farm this week as this project has been all consuming. The 3.5” of rain we received on Saturday pretty much put a damper on any farming that needed done early in the week. I hope to have more to report on next week.

In your shares: Dragon Tongue Snap Beans (a flat pod bush bean that has some purple streaking on good flavor), Butternut Squash, Sweet Bell Pepper Mix,  a few Tomatoes, and Lettuce Salad Mix.

More to report next week, Jim

Posted 9/14/2016 7:12pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings,

Fall is in the air. The working conditions on the farm have been much improved the last couple of weeks. With fall we are also able to see the change in some of the crops. Seed germination is much improved and we are seeing some of the more vibrant colors returning to the salad greens brought on by the cool nights. With the bringing in of the new season we also see the end of the past season. Tomatoes and peppers are just about gone. Green beans a few more weeks. We continue to dig potatoes, sweet potatoes, and harvest winter squash for storage into the winter season. On the farm we are definitely now in winter grow mode.  

Within the next week we will be adding a new high tunnel (greenhouse) to the farm. This new structure will be the largest yet on our farm.  I have a very strong passion for growing fresh vegetables during the winter months and this new high tunnel will increase our winter growing capacity by more than 30%. High tunnels are also used during the summer months for more of the heat loving crops with the controlled environment producing higher quality crops compared to the same crops that are field grown. September and October are very busy times on our four season farm but this year we will be pulling double duty in order to have this high tunnel built and keep up with the usual fall and winter preparations.

A few weeks ago I reported that we had begun growing Shiitake Mushrooms on the farm. I’m excited to announce that so far so good. Even though we are in a steep learning curve we have had some early successes. We have had much success in growing the mushrooms and sales at the market have been good. All that being said we will be sharing a few mushrooms with our CSA members this week.

In the shares: A good mix of seasons past, upcoming seasons, and new.  A tomato or two (just about done). Fall Leeks (see this week’s recipe for Potato Leek Soup), German Gold Potatoes (again see the recipe).  Okra (out with the summer season). Salad Mix (a good mix of lettuces and other fall greens). The new “Shiitake Mushrooms” (a good sample great for omelets, homemade pizza, or mushroom sauce).

Enjoy, Jim  

Posted 9/7/2016 8:45pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings,

I hope everyone got some rest and relaxation over the Labor Day weekend. Chip, Dayton, and I all took advantage of the long weekend for some time away from farming. It was a much needed break. It seems even with the short work week we are making some headway in cleaning up some of the garden plots and growing fields. Chip and Dayton have been concentrating on transplanting some fall and winter kale and working hard on harvesting winter squash. I have been primarily mowing grassy areas and preparing and seeding some late fall greens, beets, and radishes. I sure hope we are done with the 90 degree days. We have had a little difficulty with germination of some of our fall crops due to the fluctuating weather from mild to extreme hot. Most cool weather crops require lower germination temperatures.  All and all it has been a pretty good week on the farm despite the heat and humidity. It’s always exciting to see the winter storage crops being harvested and brought into the barn. Even though our squash did not produce the quantities we had hoped for it seems we have a fair amount of high quality squashes. We will finish up the squash harvest and it will be on to harvesting the remaining potatoes and sweet potatoes that are in the ground. It appears the sweet potato crop did well. We’ll know better once we start digging them up.  I keep telling myself fall is almost here. This year it can’t come soon enough.

Planted this week: Red Stem Spinach, Bulls Blood Beets, Chioggia Beets, Watermelon Radishes, Red Radishes, Lettuce Mix, and the last of the Winter Carrots. Transplanted to the field - Winter Kale.

In your shares this week: A few tomatoes (we actually had some field tomatoes that produced a few late ones), a sprig or 2 of Basil (enough for a tomato salad), Green Beans, Sweet Bell Pepper assortment, Sweet Potatoes (we dug these a few weeks ago and let them cure, they should be very tasty).

Enjoy, Jim  

Posted 8/31/2016 6:52pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings All,

There’s not much new to report from the farm this week. We are continuing to try and get the fields cleaned up in order to do more fall planting and general maintenance but with more rain last Saturday and a few sprinkles here and there, it continues to be bothersome. Somehow, some way, we have been able to pull enough products together to fill the shares and have a little left for market. Late August and early September are always some of the more difficult times on the farm. Normally it’s from dry and hot conditions, this year it has obviously been from all the rain, humidity, and heat. All and all I think we’ll make it through it. We are starting to see some headway and have been able to start planting a few things this week. Fall is almost here and I can hardly wait.

Planted this week: Fall/Winter scallions, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Raab, and Baby Kale. Chip and Dayton also transplanted the larger fall Kale.

In the Shares: Watermelon (small), Eggplant, Beets, Mesclun Salad Mix, and Summer Onions.

I hope everyone takes some time and enjoys the Labor Day weekend. Jim

Posted 8/24/2016 6:32pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings,

I don’t think I have to tell anyone about the weather we have been having but I will anyway. I often accuse myself of only writing about the negatives that are happening on the farm. With all the rain we have had in the past 10 days (8”plus and it’s raining as I write this newsletter) it’s hard not to write about what is happening on the farm. We are seeing much devastation on the farm. Most of our older lettuce and greens beds have significant rot in them. Newer seeded beds have been washed out. Mature pepper, egg plant, and tomato plants are showing signs of wet feet (wilting because the roots are water logged). We spent much time this week digging small trenches trying to drain off some of our growing beds. At this point we are still just not sure where all of this is going to leave us in the next few weeks. We were able to replant some lettuce and salad mixes today but they will be 30 days out at the earliest. So I guess what I am saying is we are going to be struggling the next few weeks to provide a bountiful share to our CSA members. Stay tuned I’ll do my best to keep you informed.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom on the farm this week. After a long wait with much anticipation we finally kicked off our Shiitake Mushroom operation. This has been something that has been more than a year in the making. Last winter we built what is called a mushroom cave in the barn. Basically it is a room that provides a controlled environment for growing mushrooms. We ran into some problems obtaining some of the mushroom growing supplies and our operation was delayed. We hope these problems are past us now and we can move forward. We have also started an outdoor Shiitake operation using hard wood logs. We started seeing some of the outdoor logs forming mushrooms this week (probably triggered from all the rain). Exciting stuff for me. Although we are starting out small we hope to at some point have a few mushrooms for our CSA members and expand into mushroom sales at markets and to restaurants.

In your shares this week:  Acorn Squash (see this week’s recipe), Okra (see this week’s recipe), a mix of Sweet, Bell and Hot Peppers, Lettuce Mix, and a nice portion of Adirondack Red Potatoes (red skinned and red fleshed).

Enjoy, Jim

Posted 8/17/2016 7:20pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Rain rain go away. Who would ever think you would hear me say that in the middle of August. Typically I would be praying for rain during August but so far this week we have received almost 6” of rain. All plants need water but too much water to fast can actually smother the roots of plants stunting their growth and sometimes even killing them if doesn’t dry out. No field work this week.

Actually the rainy overcast days gave us the opportunity to clean the old tomato plants out of the high tunnels. Cleaning tomatoes out of the high tunnels is not one of the better jobs on the farm. It is usually hot, there are rotten tomatoes to deal with, and the plants always stain everything green. The cooler days this week did make it a little easier to deal with and we had the shelter of the high tunnels from the rain. Even though we could not really work in the fields this week we were able to get a couple of the more unpleasant task out of the way. Let’s hope it dries up soon we have potatoes to dig and fall crops to plant.

In your share this week: Tomatoes, a few less than in the past weeks we are starting to run low. Beets, Lettuce Mix, Basil (big bunch time to make more pesto). Ice Box size Watermelons. These are the small personal size watermelons. It can be hard to tell just when to harvest watermelon if you receive a melon that is either not ripe or to ripe (mushy) let me know and we will try again next week. This week’s recipe is for pickled watermelon rind. I have not tried these but have been told they are very good. Another easy way to use more of the food we normally discard. Jim

Posted 8/10/2016 6:19pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

As I’m writing this newsletter the farm is getting a much needed drink of water. Even though there has been rain in the area the past 2 weeks most of it has skirted around the farm. After enjoying a pleasant past weekend the farm crew has suffered through another hot sticky week. Everyone seems to be holding up well with hopes that this weather pattern we are in has to break sometime soon. Farm clean up is starting to take priority over many other chores right now. It never seizes to amaze me how we can have the farm looking so good in the early months of summer every year only to watch it slip into what appears to be total despair by August. When I say despair I am mainly talking about the weeds and mowing and the aesthetic of the farm,  most of our crops are continuing to do well. We have several large field plantings of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.  These crops can only be weeded and cultivated up to certain point. Sweet potatoes and squash both have many vines and at some point we just have to let the weeds go after the plants are strong enough to survive and we can no longer get equipment over the vines without doing damage. Little by little we will start to harvest these crops and will be able to clean the fields up before fall. We have started to harvest our main crop potatoes for winter storage and soon those fields will be sowed to a cover crop to protect and feed the soil through the fall and winter months. All in all, the farm is doing pretty well this year. I just hate when we get too busy to mow and keep up with the appearance of the farm. We’ll catch a breather soon and get the opportunity to put things back in order just in time for fall,  one of my favorite seasons.

In your shares this week: Fingerling potatoes a very nice small gold fleshed potato. Green beans, these are the variety called Jade which are dark green, crisp and flavorful (see this week’s recipe for southern style green beans).  Of course you will receive tomatoes, Mesclun salad mix and a few summer onions.

Enjoy, Jim

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From the Fields of Freedom Valley Farm 6.14.17June 14th, 2017

Hi Folks,Whew! Just came in from a pop up thunderstorm here at the farm. Much needed rain but this one had some really strong winds and came in really fast. These summer storms can be so almost violen

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