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Posted 5/25/2016 6:44pm by Jim Baughman.

Sunshine and dry out at last. The birds are happy, the worms are happy, and Farmer Jim is happy. What a difference a week can make. This week we have been starting work at the farm to the sounds of Bob White Quail and Turkeys calling in the morning sun. As the soil is drying allowing us to work it we have been seeing many worms a true sign we must be doing something right in terms of building soil health. Chip, Dayton, and I have been scrambling like crazy to get as much planted before anticipated rain is to return mid to late week. In just the few dry days we have had we have been able to work much soil and cultivate many crops that were on the verge of being consumed with weeds. And oh what a difference it makes to hear the birds calling, feeling the warm sun and light breeze as we work each day.

Planted this week: Cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, heirloom field tomatoes, beets, Swiss chard, salad greens, spinach, cucumbers, green beans, and zucchini. With hopes of a few more crops before week’s end.

Welcome Emilee Egnew. Emilee is this year’s Purdue intern that will be working on the farm as part of a 3 year study on Biochar. Emilee is from Greene County and studies agriculture at Ivy Tech. Emilee started this week. Biochar in its simple definition is basically ground wood charcoal that has been added to the soil. Biochar absorbs, retains, and gradually releases minerals and nutrients into the soil. This is year 2 of the 3 year Purdue study which involves 4 other similar farms across the state.

In this week’s share you will receive carrots (the carrot tops are edible), kohlrabi (see attached recipe), spring lettuce mix, radishes, and green onions. Some shares will receive red stem spinach and some shares will receive bok choy. A few shares will receive asparagus as we continue to distribute to those who have not yet received it.

Enjoy the long weekend, Jim

Posted 5/18/2016 7:41pm by Jim Baughman.

Brrrr,

It’s been chilly and blustery out the past week or so. As many of our returning members know I write (complain) about the weather a lot. I can’t help it. The weather is so critical to a farmer’s day to day activities and outcomes that it is always on our minds. Already this year we have had the wind (in April) take down one of our hoophouses, one week ago we had a hail storm that shredded our new spinach bed making this week’s spinach crop unharvestable, the past 3 weeks it seems to rain every few days just about the time it dries out enough to work the soil. One month ago we were at 80 degrees and the past few evenings we have been below 40 with threats of frost. Somehow through all of this Chip and Dayton (the farm crew) have managed to keep planting and maintaining our existing crops in order to delivery weekly shares of fresh produce. It seems that some crops may be stalled out with the cool weather and lack of sunshine we know that with better weather in the forecast we will soon see their bounty. Bring on the sun and warm temperatures.

Asparagus. Asparagus is a very seasonal crop. It is only available in this region during the mid weeks of spring. We do grow asparagus on Freedom Valley Farm however it takes several years to establish once established it grows for 15 to 20 years. Some members will be receiving asparagus each week for the next 3 to 4 weeks. The current established planting does not provide enough to fill all the shares in one week so I will be adding what we have each week to some shares with the goal being that every member will get a taste this year. My hope is that we will someday have enough of an established planting to provide more to our members in a single season.

In your Shares this week: Bok Choy (see this week’s recipe link), Scallions aka green onions, Spring Lettuce Mix, Salad Mix, Green Garlic, and Asian Turnips.

Looking forward to warmer, sunnier weather,

Jim

Posted 5/10/2016 8:14pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Welcome to our 2016 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 though the cold spell we had a few weeks back and the more current rash of thunderstorms we feel the farm is off to a good start. This will be the first year ever that we have had all of our potatoes, onions, and high tunnel tomatoes planted before the end of April as they should be. 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 24 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.

Greens Salad Mix. A mix of greens, primarily Asian Greens that can be spicy, flavorful, and very high in nutritional value. This mix makes a great stand alone salad or can be mixed with other greens like lettuce to add more flavor. This mix can also be sautéed or stir fried as you would mustard greens or other large leafy greens.

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

Salad Turnips (aka Asian Turnips). A spring and fall treat. Much milder than regular turnips. These salad turnips can be eaten raw, sliced or grated into a salad, roasted like you would roasted vegetables 0r sliced mixed with sliced potatoes and made into an Augratin. The green tops are also good sautéed or used for stir fry.

Green Garlic (aka spring garlic). A baby version of full grown garlic that looks like a large green onion. This garlic is very mild and can be used in any dish that you would use garlic bulbs in.  Slice and or dice the white bulb and green stalk. Green garlic will store for several weeks in the frig. I hope you enjoy your first share.

See you at pick up. Jim

Posted 2/20/2016 6:04am by Jim Baughman.

Learn about our 2016 Summer CSA

Saturday, February 20th 9:00 am - Noon

Harmony School Gymnasium

Posted 12/31/2015 9:40am by Jim Baughman.

Happy 2016 everyone!

We will be at the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market on Saturday January 2nd

from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm.

New this week we have purple Kohlrabi in addition to our other fresh produce.

Here is a picture of Chip harvesting the Kohlrabi for you buy at the market!

Chip with purple Kohlrabi

Posted 9/23/2015 7:22pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

It’s been a while since I have updated you on the farm. This being the first day of autumn and maybe the first time I have felt like I have had a breather in the past month or so I’ll try to catch you up. The past month has been hectic to say the least. With Katie, our summer help, going back to school the first of August it has left Chip and I to try and keep the ship upright. It hasn’t helped in that I have had a rash of dental problems (2 filling replacements and a root canal in the past 3 weeks). All in all we have somehow managed to get the CSA shares out and to get to market each week. We have really had some good working weather the past few weeks although we could use a little more rain. Go figure - after all the rain we had in June and July it has been really dry, almost drought like for the past 6 or 7 weeks.

With only 3 weeks left in the 2015 CSA season (after this week) we are headed down the homestretch and I feel we just might make it. The dry conditions have made it extremely hard to germinate lettuce, spinach, and salad greens. This will be the first year ever that I have headed into the fall season without greens. We do however have a good planting of kale, cabbages, and chard that will be in the shares the last few weeks. Also on the way will be more green beans and hopefully some sugar snap peas. Unfortunately we were not able to get our winter squash and pumpkins out due to the rainy weather in June so we will not have those items in the shares this year. We did have a somewhat pleasant surprise today while cleaning up and out one of the tomato greenhouses we were able to come up with enough tomatoes to give everyone a few in this week’s share. They are not the very pretty, kind of small, and may have a few bug bites but what can we say the very last of the last tomatoes for the season.

In your shares this week you will find kale and all red potatoes (red skin red flesh). Make sure to check out this week’s recipe for kale, potato, sausage soup. Also in the shares will be kohlrabi, beets (the tops on the beets were pretty crappy so we nipped them off this week), and the few tomatoes I mentioned earlier.

I’m sad to say that Freedom Valley Farm will not be offering a fall/winter CSA this year. Offering and maintaining a good fall/winter CSA requires that we would have a good supply of winter storage vegetables like winter squashes, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. We have struggled with all of these crops this year due to the wet conditions back in June and July. We do plan on having fresh greens throughout the winter months and will be selling at both the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market and the Indy Winters Farmer Market starting the first Sat of December through March 2016.

Thanks, Jim

Posted 7/29/2015 9:37pm by Jim Baughman.

From The Fields of Freedom Valley Farm  7/29/15

Hi Folks,

It seems the rain has finally stabilized somewhat, or at least it has in the area of the farm.  I actually welcomed the brief shower we had this morning as we have now begun to need some rain to help germinate some of the new crops we planted in the past week.

Even with the rain subsiding we have seen much damage and crop loss on the farm.  As I have mentioned before we have seen most of or root crops like carrots, onions, and garlic rot in the ground.  Most of the heirloom and cherry tomatoes are succumbing to blight and we have lost a planting of zucchini to powdery mildew.

This being said we have a pretty good crop of beefsteak tomatoes, potatoes are doing good so far, and green beans have come through the past week or so.

All of this leads me to let you, the CSA members, know that we may struggle a little in coming weeks to fill the shares or provide the variety of different crops that we had planned on or have been used to.

We are planting and replanting as fast as we can in order to have enough produce to finish strong in the late summer and fall.  Most crops fall into one of three growing periods: 30-day, 60-day, and 90 or more days.  We are past the time to plant anything that will take 90 days or more because that will take us into frost and decreased sunlight.  That leaves the 30-day and 60-day crops.  We will do everything we can in order fill your share each week and keep planting in the hopes of finishing strong in the fall.

In your shares this week you will have:

Okra.  Something new for this season.  Please try the grilled okra recipe, which can be downloaded from the link provided in this week’s email.  We are harvesting okra much smaller this year and I have found it much better in recipes and even for eating raw.  

Beefsteak Tomatoes.  You’ll receive a lot of these over the next few weeks.

Green Beans.  Last week for these until the new crop comes in.

Potatoes.  These have done well.  I’ll try not to overload you with them, but we have a lot.

Basil.  A small bunch.  Try the bruschetta recipe, also linked.

Jalapeno Peppers

and a Cucumber rounds out this week’s share.

Enjoy,

Jim

P.S.  Farm Tour News.  The Bloomington-sponsored annual farm tour was this past Sunday, and this year Freedom Valley Farm was the host.  The turn out was the highest ever:  80 people either rode the tour bus or drove out to the farm, including four of our CSA members / families !  There were about 100 guests altogether.  Chefs cooked a great meal and everyone enjoyed socializing.

Below is an email from Marcia Veldman to those who worked on this year’s tour day:

July 28, 2015

Hello Farm Tour Team,

I just wanted to send out a big thanks to all of you for making the tour at Freedom Valley Farm one of the best ever. It had a great feel. The farm looked beautiful, the set up lovely, the food fabulous and most importantly everyone was so welcoming, setting the vibe for an engaging, interactive, educational and fun evening.

It's such a pleasure to work with all of you!

If you have any evaluative notes, please send them my way and I'll compile them to assist us in planning for future tours.  I'll be sending a survey to participants and share those results, as well as the evaluation notes in the next couple weeks.

Gratefully,

--

Marcia Veldman

City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department

Farmers' Market Coordinator  

Posted 7/1/2015 7:19pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Everyone,

There is an old saying that goes “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”. That’s exactly what is happening with all the rain we have had the past 3 weeks. Normally you would hear me complaining this time of year about the lack of rain and the fact that I am spending so much time irrigating the crops. Not this year. We have now received 3” of rain each of the past 2 weekends and have a total of over 7” of rain the past 3 weeks. Some farms in Indiana have had much more than this. In the past 2 weeks I have had a lot of people approach me and say “oh the crops must be doing really good with all this rain” well, that’s not really the case. As much as plants need water and need it regularly too much water can be bad for plants. The root of the plant needs to breath they actually need oxygen. When the roots of the plants are in saturated soil basically underwater they begin to stress and eventually the plant will die or be damaged to a point that it will not be productive. This is what we are now seeing as we have lost our lettuce beds, spinach, and watching the yellowing leaves of other crops. Excessive rain will also cause leaching of nutrients from the soil something we work so hard on all the time to maintain. And the weeds, oh my the weeds. I have yet to figure out why weeds seem to be exempt from too much rain or drought. We have been able to do some hand weeding in the growing beds but the larger field plantings require tractor cultivation and it is just to soggy to take the tractor in the field. I just have to keep telling myself its farming, pull the rubber boots on, try to hold my head up and sludge forward. Let’s hope and pray for some dry normal weather this holiday weekend.

Freedom Valley Farm to Host the “Homegrown Indiana Farm Tour”

In your share box this week you will find a flyer for the “Homegrown Indiana Farm Tour” this is put together by Bloomington Parks and Recreation. Freedom Valley Farm has been honored with the request to host this year’s summer tour on Sunday July 26th. The tour includes a farm to fork dinner prepared by local chefs. Owen Valley Winery wine sampling and Bloomington’s Function Brewing and oh yeah you would get to see my farm. Please take a look at the flyer for more details. We would love to have you out. Registration is through the Bloomington Parks and Recreation.

In your share this week you will find baby beets (most will be baby beets a few shares may have larger size) no tops on the beets we had to discard them they were crappy looking from all the rain. Most shares will receive kohlrabi. We were able to cut enough lettuce, spinach, and Asian greens together to make a nice Mesclun Mix for everyone. Micro greens. Also there will be cucumbers and zucchini. Really trying not to overload you with the zukes and cukes but I have a lot of them and I’m not going to market this Saturday. If you would like extra cucumbers I will have some with me when you pick your share up and you can help yourself. Try one or both of this week’s recipes for zucchini brownies or a rich chocolate zucchini cake.

Happy Independence Day, Jim

Posted 6/17/2015 5:57pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

It’s been a while since I have taken the time to write and update you on the farm. I have really struggled as of late to just take the time to write a few paragraphs and let you know what’s going on. Well this morning I went to the dentist for a root canal. Never fun, but done now, that coupled with an evening rain shower has given me a break and some time to write.

The weather has continued to play havoc. We are still running behind on some major plantings due to the timing of significant rainfalls. We have yet been able to get our sweet potatoes, sweet corn, watermelons, and winter squash planted. We had just gotten the fields worked up about 2 weeks ago and then got slammed with a 1.5 of rain and it has seemed to rain a little just about every day since. We now have about a 2 week window to get them in or forget about those crops for the year as it will run them too late into the fall to mature before frost. We are really close and with just a little dry time I think we can get it done. On the flip side the rains have helped the crops we have planted. Potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer squash are all looking pretty good right now. We have green tomatoes the size of tennis balls right now with tons of smaller ones and blooms on the plants. Early potatoes are blooming meaning they are setting potatoes in the ground so it won’t be too long for them. Garlic is shooting out their scapes meaning that we should be digging up garlic bulbs in about a month.

This year’s farm crew is settling in nicely and starting to learn the ropes. Chip who has been with us now for 3 years has been solid as a rock and really leading the 2 newbie’s Katelyn, and Colton. Combined we have really been able to keep up with most of the critical stuff but the weeds may be starting to get an upper edge with all the moisture.

In your shares this week you will find some great veggie’s for snacking raw or fixing up a stir fry. This week you will receive zucchini (see this week’s recipe), kale (last of the season till fall), snow peas (great for snacking raw or stir fry), garlic scapes (check out our web site for some great recipes) green onions, lettuce mix, and everyone should receive a cucumber they have just begun to ripen.

Have a great weekend, Jim

Posted 5/13/2015 4:07pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

I hoped you enjoyed your first share of the spring and summer season. This past week we received the much needed rain we were hoping for allowing all of our plantings of the past few weeks to germinate. We are now seeing our field transplants of cole crops coming to life and with a little more rain and sunshine we should be enjoying some kale and kohlrabi in a few weeks. A long with the germination of crops has come the germination of weed and grass seed that will keep the farm crew busy the next few weeks.

Speaking of farm crew we have 2 new employees on the farm. Katelyn Greenberg a graduate student from IU joined us last week and this week Colton Miller a Purdue intern started his work on the farm. Colton is an intern provided by Purdue to work on the BioChar study that is being conducted on the farm for the next 3 years. Biochar in layman’s term is more or less charcoal. Added to the soil as an amendment it helps retain and distribute nutrients that would normally be leached away by rain and water. This year’s test crop is potatoes. I will have more on this program throughout the year.

On the farm this week the crew kept busy transplanting summer and winter storage onions, planting potatoes, snap peas, cucumbers, and staking the first planting of tomatoes. Weeding and cultivating will begin towards the end of the week.

In your shares this week you will receive more of the same as last week. Red stem spinach, spring lettuce mix, carrots, radishes, and asparagus. We may not have enough asparagus for everyone. If you do not receive asparagus this week you will receive an extra bunch of carrots and you will receive the asparagus next week. We have a bumper crop of radishes so please check out the 2 recipes this week for easy different ways to enjoy radishes.

Enjoy, Jim

From the Fields of Freedom Valley Farm 6.21.17June 21st, 2017

Hi Folks,Some would say summer is finally here. Others, like me, would say I wish I had a few more weeks of spring. Spring is the time when and if you can get your crops in the field in a timely manne

New recipe: Zucchini Parmesan CrispsJune 14th, 2017

2 medium zucchini1 Tablespoon of olive oil¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, (3/4 – ounce)¼ cup plain dried bread crumbs1/8 teaspoon saltFreshly ground black pepper Preheat oven

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