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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

Posted 8/3/2016 5:58pm by Jim Baughman.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere. This week has been all about tomatoes on the farm. It’s that time of summer when tomatoes seem to be all consuming. We seem to wait so long to taste the goodness of vine ripe, Indiana Tomatoes but when they come on they really come on. The farm crew and I have spent the better part of 3 days now picking, cleaning, packing, storing, and dealing with the spoiled or rotten ones that we can’t seem to get anything else done on the farm. This all comes at a time when weeds are rampant and fall and winter plantings are scheduled to be done. But hey we go through this every year and I still feel it’s worth it. You just can’t beat a good red ripe tomato and really the window is fairly short for such a treat.

Speaking of tomatoes and a short window. I have canning tomatoes available to CSA members at a reduced rate (cheaper to our members then what I sell them for at market). These are seconds that have blemishes, cracks, bug bites, and other defects. Most of them are good enough to slice and eat but unfortunately will not sell at the market. If you are interested I have boxes of 22 lbs plus which should be enough to can 7 quarts of whole tomatoes or juice.   Please email me in advance of your scheduled pick up day and I will have them with me.

In your share this week: Tomatoes, of course. Pickling cucumbers check out this week’s recipe for Refrigerator Pickles. Eggplant, another recipe this week for Grilled Egg Plant Sandwich. Sweet Bell Peppers, a tad bit of basil, Beets (the tops are crappy so we cut them off), and Swiss Chard.

See you at pick up or Market, Jim  

Posted 7/27/2016 6:38pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Well we made it. Believe it or not we reached the half way point of this seasons CSA. That’s right week 12 of the 24 week season. I’m sure you noticed the change of season in your weekly share from fresh crisp greens early in the season to tomatoes and peppers of mid-summer. Tomatoes will continue to be a part of your CSA for several weeks along with the occasional sweet pepper or 2 and eggplant . As we head into September you will start to notice some of the spring items again as the weather cools and changes the growing season. We will continue to try to stretch summer into September as well as try to provide some of the fall crops like sweet potatoes and winter squash. I love the change of seasons and the change of produce.

Planted this week: Purple and orange carrots for fall, succession crops of spicy greens and lettuce. Fall zucchini.

In your shares this week: Tomatoes, Blue Potatoes (we grew these a couple of years ago, they are really good), Green Beans, Carrots, Lettuce Mix, Green Onions, and a small bit of Basil.

A big thank you to all members for supporting our small farm and the local food movement!

Jim

Posted 7/20/2016 5:23pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Whew the heat and humidity. It’s been a hot muggy week on the farm. Pop up thunderstorms and warm afternoons have slowed things a bit on the farm this week. Luckily we have a lot of crops ripening that is allowing us to fill the CSA shares and take to market. This week I will be selling at a second farmers market. Chip will be manning the Bloomington Market for several weeks while I explore selling our produce at the Downtown Terre Haute Farmers Market. I’m excited to try out this market. I believe Terre Haute is an up and coming market for the local food front. They have a nice farmers market located downtown right by the Clabber Girl Bake Shop. I’ll miss not seeing my loyal customers and CSA members at the Bloomington Market but Chip will be there to serve all and at some point Chip and I may switch up in order for me to touch base again.

It’s been more about harvesting on the farm this week then planting.  We continue to have daily harvest of tomatoes, egg plant, zucchini, and green beans. The summer onions have kept us busy harvesting and curing them for short term storage. We have not been able to plant anything due to the rains keeping the soil to wet.

In your shares this week you will receive Green Beans (check out this week’s recipe), Lettuce Mix, Tomatoes (see this week’s recipe for Salsa), Cilantro, Zucchini, Summer Onions,  Jalapeno and Green Peppers.

Enjoy the taste of summer, 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.