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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

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

From the Fields of Freedom Valley Farm 9.27.2017September 27th, 2017

Greetings,This week is always the most difficult newsletter blog for me to write. As you know it is the last week of our 20 week CSA season. I could write about the weather or tell you how busy we are

New recipe: Baked Winter SquashSeptember 20th, 2017

Winter Squash can be very versatile. Savory or sweet or a combination of both. Below is an easy bake recipe that can be used for any of the many types of winter squashes. Winter Squash, halved, quarte

From the Fields of Freedom Valley Farm 9.20.2017September 20th, 2017

Greetings,As I write this I can hardly believe that we are on week 19 of our 20 week CSA season. Next week will be the last share of the 2017 season with the exception of members that took advant

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