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Posted 5/31/2017 11:45pm by Joe Baughman.

Hi All,
I hope that you all enjoyed a great holiday weekend. I know I did. It was busy as we sold at 3 farmers markets on Saturday and had company in on Sunday and Monday cooked out on the grill and enjoyed listening to the race on the radio. We are still behind on our plantings and feeling the pressure of summer creeping in. The short week does not help but I think the break is good for everyone. I once had a farmer tell me if you ain’t behind you ain’t a farmer. I’m starting to believe there is some truth to that statement. With still 1/3 of our potato planting left, all of or sweet potato planting, and the entire winter squash planting we are definitely feeling the pressure. Next week the forecast looks to be a little drier and perhaps we can make some progress. Most of the crops we have left are the winter storage corps that help supplement the winter farmers markets that we sell at. Due to the wet springs we have had the past 3 years we have really struggled to get these corps planted on time. They are fairly large undertakings compared to some of the other succession plantings we do throughout the spring and summer. With a little luck and some long hours we hope to get it done in the next few weeks.


Planted this week: The 2nd third of or potato corp. we transplanted Basil, cabbage, broccoli, and dill. Seed were red and gold beets, radishes, cucumbers.


In the shares: Greens Salad Mix (a mix of lettuce, spicy greens, and spinach), Kohlrabi (see this week’s recipe), Asparagus (only the half shares will receive this week. Full shares next week) carrots, and chard for the full shares only, scallions (aka green onions), cucumbers and zucchini (we will be mixing these up a bit as we do not have enough of either for all shares, Garlic Scapes. If you are not familiar with these they come off the garlic plant. Dice them up and use them as you would garlic. They are milder than the garlic bulb/clove. See the recipes on our web site for garlic scape uses.


Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 5/24/2017 6:37pm by Joe Baughman.

Hi All,
Well chalk up another wet May. This will be the third May in row that we have seen excessive rain fall. It seems we just get dried out enough to do a little of something and we get rain again. This week was not a total wash out though. We were able to transplant what we are now calling the Bio Char Tomatoes. The farm has been working with Purdue University now going into a third and final year of studying the effects of Bio Char in the soil. Bio Char is basically charcoal, not wood ash, it is made by heating wood and other products to a temperature in which it chars without exposing it to open flame. The char is then ground up and added to the soil. In theory the Bio Char is supposed to latch onto other nutrients in the soil and slowly release them rather than the nutrients being leached away by rain and snow. So far the two previous crops tested for the most part inconclusive. I feel good that we will see some results this year with tomatoes being the test crop and also being three years in. Purdue has provided the farm with an intern each summer to not only work on the project but also provide a good deal of time working on the farm as part time summer help. This year’s intern is Lia BoBay she is an IU student. She started on Monday a beautiful day but still very muddy from the weekend rains. Today she helped harvest carrots and beets in the rain and mud. She hasn’t seemed to mind and has done a good job so far. Let’s hope with her help and a little luck we will have a good crop of tomatoes from the test plot that we all can enjoy. I will keep you posted.
Speaking of Purdue University, the farm is  working with them on another project this year. The project is a study ‘How to grow early cucumbers in unheated high tunnels’. Our CSA members will be receiving and enjoying some of those cucumbers in their shares this week. Cucumbers are very cold sensitive and need warm weather to grow. Typically they must stay above 50 degrees to survive let alone thrive. We are studying using a grafted cucumber plant. The cucumber plant is actually grafted onto a hardy Chinese squash root. We planted the cucumbers in late March in our high tunnel and have been harvesting them now for three weeks. This would be three weeks earlier than normal. I think the study shows good promise for early cucumbers. Early fresh organic cucumbers can be sold at a premium at the farmers’ markets. So far so good!
Planted this week: We transplanted the Bio Char Tomatoes to the field. Chip and Dayton were also able to transplant our large Heirloom Tomato field planting over 600 plants. The conditions were not ideal but they got it done. Cabbage, fall tomatoes, and cucumbers were all seeded in pots for future transplanting.
In this week’s share: Fresh Carrots (finally - they seem to take forever), Beets, Kale, Lettuce Mix, and Cucumbers. *This week’s storage tip: If you receive fresh root vegetable with the tops on them and wish to store them for future use, remove the tops and place the root vegetable in a plastic bag before storing in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Don’t forget that most of the green tops from these vegetables are edible. Beet, carrot, radish, and onion tops are all edible and will also store well in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 5/17/2017 7:39pm by Joe Baughman.

Once again as I am writing this newsletter blog we are faced with high winds and thunderstorms in the forecast. I actually can hear thunder rumbling in the distance. Today has been extremely windy with 20 plus mph sustained wind and up to 40 mph gust. It brought back a memory of last week’s CSA harvest day that I thought I should share. If you remember last week in the area we had severe thunderstorms roll in on Wed evening into the late night. With that storm came a power outage, which we have quite often out here in a rural setting. When it happened late Wed evening I didn’t think much of it. When I woke up early Thursday morn ready for CSA harvest and the power was still out I got a little nervous. We need electricity out on the farm to run the well pump for fresh water. Went about my business and thought well surely they will get power restored soon and we will be able to clean the produce for the CSA shares. We started the harvest in a reverse order of what we usually do. Normally we harvest all greens very early while it is cool and they are still crisp, but we like to clean them in cold water immediately after harvest, this helps to preserve their freshness. So we went about our harvest radishes, onions, beets. Ok still no power so these items may not be too bad to send dirty but we still like to rinse them off. Eleven then twelve o’clock rolls up still no power. Ok harvest the kale it’s not too dirty and won’t be that bad to send. One o’clock still no power no water what are we going to do about the lettuce? The lettuce was extremely dirty because the storm the night before had splashed dirt up on it. We started scrambling Chip went and got his Dad’s generator maybe we could rig it up to the well pump and have water. As Chip pulled up with the borrowed generator suddenly the lights flickered and we had electricity again. Somehow we got everything washed and ready to load just in time for delivery. Let’s hope the power holds this week. We take a lot of time, effort, and pride to delivery clean fresh produce to our members and market customers. If you ever receive dirty produce from us you will know something went wrong. Let’s hope we don’t have to go through that again.

Planted this week:  We had a pretty good week. I spent a lot of hours on the tractor from Sunday through Tuesday evening working dirt for our field plantings of potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini. Chip and Dayton were able to plant about half of our potato crop and I hope to have them transplant heirloom tomatoes on Thursday while I deliver the CSA shares. Also planted were zucchini, onions, lettuce, and carrots.

In your shares: It’s stir fry week! You will have Pak Choy, Leeks, Asparagus, Red Stem Spinach, and Shiitake Mushrooms. No recipe this week. You are on your own with all these goodies. If you opted for the Shiitake Mushroom option you will receive them plus something extra this week.

Enjoy, Jim

Posted 5/10/2017 7:34pm by Joe Baughman.

Hi Folks,

After the 8.5” inches of rain last week we are finally starting to dry out. It was not without some losses though. We lost 2 beds of spinach and our high tunnel tomatoes were completely flooded out. The tomato plants don’t look so good right now but I think they may pull through if it stays dry for a few more days. Several people have commented last week about “I bet you like all this rain”, but too much of anything can be a bad thing. The plants’ roots need to breath and when we get really sogged out like last week everything stalls out or in some cases like our spinach will not make it at all. With a little luck we have a dry out in the forecast and we can get back to somewhat normal next week.

Planted this week:  Really not much. We were able to transplant some leek plants and some summer onions. We also seeded basil and dill in plastic pots to be transplanted at a later date. Again with any luck we might be able to get a few succession plantings in before the end of the week.

In your shares this week: Lettuce mix, Beets (see recipe), scallions (aka green onions), radishes, Kale (most shares), Swiss Chard (some shares).  A little light this week but we should be able to get things going again soon. Thanks, Jim

Posted 5/2/2017 8:19pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Welcome to our 2017 CSA spring/summer season. The farm crew (Chip and Dayton) and I have been busy the past 2 months doing everything possible, weather permitting, to get the season off to a good start. Even with current rash of thunderstorms we feel the farm is off to a good start. Even though the recent weather has delayed a few crops we had hoped to have in your first CSA share we feel we have a good bounty of fresh greens and few other treats to get things started out.

For those of you who may be new to our CSA or any CSA for that matter, you will find that your weekly share will be very seasonal. We strive to provide as much variety as possible each week, and to fill your shares as if it was coming from your own garden.  We will always push the limit to bring you fresh produce that is in season for our region. The season will change throughout the 20 weeks of your CSA. Starting with lots of greens like lettuce, spinach, salad mixes, radishes, green onions, and braising greens. As warmer weather and daylight allow you will start seeing more items like carrots, beets, cabbage, and broccoli. Warmer weather will bring on summer squash, tomatoes, pepper and egg plant, green beans, and potatoes. The end of summer will bring on fall type crops like sweet potatoes, onions, and a return of many of the spring crops like salad mixes, beets, and carrots. We also strive to plant many crops in succession throughout the season in order to keep up with variety.

In this week’s share:

Spring Lettuce Mix. This is a mix of several types of leaf lettuces great for a salad, or using on sandwiches. We triple wash all of our greens and you will find them very clean and ready to use.

Red Stem Spinach. A vary versatile spinach that can be eaten in a salad, sautéed, used on pizza, in soup, pasta or omelet.

Poc Choi . Some call it Chinese Cabbage but it is not like the cabbage we know here in the states. Poc  Choi is great steamed, sautéed’, braised, or used in a stir fry. There are many recipes on line but I like to lightly sautéed’ or steam it with some chopped onion and garlic, salt, and pepper. The stem is very edible and I believe the best part.

Radishes. Great addition to a fresh salad, eaten raw, or roasted. Most people don’t know that the radish tops are edible. Great sauted’ or in a stir fry.

Pea Shoots. Good to garnish a salad with, used in stir fry’s, or just for grazing. See our website for a good stand alone pea shoot salad.

I hope you enjoy your first share.  See you at pick up. Jim

Posted 2/24/2017 8:04am by Jan Schofield.

We are accepting memberships for Summer 2017 season!

Posted 10/19/2016 5:55pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings,

Has it really been 24 weeks since we started this season’s CSA back in May? That’s right this is week 24 the final week of the 2016 Season. At times I feel like it  flew by quickly, but to be honest there are always those times in the middle of the season that I wonder if we are going to make it but make it we did and every season must come to an end. I hope all members have enjoyed this year’s CSA and will plan on signing up next spring (please tell a friend or relative about us). I want to personally thank all of you for supporting our small local farm. As I have said before it’s our CSA members that give us the drive and motivation throughout the season to do what we do.

For those members that took advantage of the vacation week option, your last share will be next week. I or Chip will be confirming with you when you pick your share up this week.

Many have asked if we were going to offer a fall - winter CSA this year. Unfortunately we will not.  At one point I felt like we would be in good shape to do so but the late summer rains and humidity had ill affects on most of our winter storage crops. We will however be at the farmers markets throughout November (outside downtown Bloomington) and also the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market at Harmony School starting the first Saturday of December and running through March. Please drop by and see Chip or Dayton. We will have plenty of the freshest winter greens, carrots, and mushrooms that you have ever eaten. CSA members from this past season will always receive a 10% or more discount on any purchases made at the farmers markets.

In your share this week: Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash (see recipe), Blue Potatoes, Radishes, Salad Greens, and Mustard Green Braising Mix.

Thanks again. I hope to see you all at the farmers markets and or next year at CSA time. Jim

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

From the Fields of Freedom Valley Farm 8.16.17August 16th, 2017

Hi All,It seems the summer weather has returned the past 2 days. The heat and humidity have been up for sure. I was really getting used to those 80 degree days and really liking the 55 degree mornings

New recipe: Classic RatatouilleAugust 16th, 2017

Olive OilEggplant (1” cubes)Zucchini (1” cubes)Onions (1” cubes)Green Bell Peppers (1” squares)Tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and coarsely cubed) Garlic (peeled and finely chopped)W

New recipe: Grilled Jalapeno PoppersAugust 9th, 2017

Fresh Jalapeno PeppersCheese (cheddar, cream, cheese, or any type that melts well)Bacon (1-slice for each pepper)Toothpicks Cut the top or stem end off the pepper. With a small paring knife clean out

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Freedom Valley Farm - Season Extension from Local Growers Guild on Vimeo.