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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

Posted 7/13/2016 8:24pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi,

A much better week this week on the farm. So far we have not had all the drama the weather provided last week with all the rain and wind. As well it’s been back to a full week of work without the Holiday break. Most crops are doing well despite the high heat and humidity. Many of the summer crops seem to be coming on but have been slow to give us the quantities we like to see in order to fill the CSA shares and take to market. Tomatoes, egg plant, and bell peppers continue to just give us a few a week yet there are many on the vines just not quite ripe. We thought we were going to have green beans this week for everyone but as we approach this week’s share we see there are only a few ready with the rest appearing to be ready for next week. But that’s how the gardens grow and we just take it day by day and week by week. Farm activities this week have mostly been trying to keep up with the fast growing weeds and grasses, and trying to work dirt as it dries out and before we get another pop up shower. We continue to plan our seeding and plantings for the last half of the summer CSA and market season. In the heat and humidity of these long summer days it’s sometimes nice to think and plan for the shorter cooler days of fall.

Planted this week: mostly succession crops of lettuce, greens, and summer squash. We also transplanted a fall crop of basil. This week has been more about maintaining what we have and dealing with weeding.

In your shares this week you will receive tomatoes, basil, and green onions. Perfect for some fresh brushetta (see this week’s recipe). Also you will receive beets (the green tops of the beets didn’t look to hot so we removed them). The storms knocked quite a few green tomatoes off the vine so we are sending one or two in the shares. Try some fried green tomatoes. As of this writing I am not sure we will have lettuce or salad mix. We cut lettuce last week but the re growth has been slow and the newer plantings are not quite ready. If we do not send a salad mix we will substitute something else.

See you at pick up, Jim

Posted 7/6/2016 6:30pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Well it’s about the weather again. Just hours before the writing of this farm newsletter high winds hit the farm and did structure damage to one of our greenhouses. This is the second time this year. I feel somewhat lucky this time as the structure itself was not damaged but the plastic covering was tore off. Still an expense and what will be a large undertaking to replace. Luckily everyone is OK. At this time I’m not sure what damage may have occurred to some of our crops in the field. This storm came in quick and powerful with little to no time to react or respond. Everything looks kind of laid over from a far but I am sure most will be ok.  So we’ll pull on our boots on, try to hold our head up, and move on. The sun will surely rise in the morning.

Planted this week: We continue to seed our fall crops of kale, cabbage and broccoli. Also seeded on Saturday before the rain hit were succession crops of lettuce, spinach, and salad greens. Fall leeks were transplanted to the field on Tuesday and Wed morning.

In your share this week: Everyone should get their first taste of tomatoes. I think we have just enough ripened up to give everyone one or two. Mesclun salad mix, eggplant, cucumber, summer onions. You will also be receiving zucchini. Please check out the recipes for different zucchini cakes (attached to your email reminder). Zucchini makes some of the best cakes and breads I have ever enjoyed. They are always so moist and flavorful. For more zucchini recipes check out the recipes on our website at www.freedomvalleyfarm.com

Jim

Posted 6/29/2016 8:42am by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Things are going pretty well on the farm. The crew endured the heat wave and they are enjoying working in the milder temperatures. The farm seemed to survive as well. We have had a few crops that have not done to well mostly the early broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. For whatever reason they just did not seem to take off this year and most went to seed before producing a decent crop. We do have another planting of broccoli and cabbage that we hope will come through but they are cool weather crops and I’m not sure how the recent hot weather may have affected them. Other crops are doing pretty good and so far appear to have survived the heat and humidity. We are seeing the first blush of a few tomatoes with hopes of having our first true taste of summer tomatoes in a few weeks. Green beans are blooming, and most of our winter storage crops like squash, sweet potatoes, and storage onions look pretty good. We’ll keep working to control weeds, pest, and fungus with hopes of getting a bountiful surplus.

Planted this week: This week has been all about weeding and maintaining what we have growing. We did seed some fall crops of multi colored cauliflowers, brussel sprouts, and broccoli.

In your share this week: Carrots. These are summer carrots they have good carrot flavor but lacking the sweetness of winter and early spring carrots. Great for roasting or honey glazed carrots. The carrot tops can be made into pesto. New potatoes these early red potatoes great anyway you fix (see this week’s recipe). Beets some shares will receive gold some shares red.  Zucchini, green onions, and kale will round out this week’s share. Sorry we will not be able to provide a salad mix this week our older plantings succumbed to the heat of summer. We have some newer plantings that should be ready in the next few weeks. I hope you will be able to enjoy the July 4th weekend and celebrate our independence.

Jim

Posted 6/22/2016 3:56pm by Jim Baughman.

Summer is here. It’s official as of today. Although we would have all thought it was here 2 weeks ago. I have already lost count of the days over 90 degrees this year. I know that it has to be more then we sometimes see in the entire summer. Today is the longest day of the year with daylight hours being just shy of 15 hours per day. This year is one of the rare years that we have a beautiful full moon coinciding with the summer solstice. If you haven’t seen it yet check it out one evening soon. On the farm we are preparing for a long hot hopefully not to dry summer. Out come the shade cloths to protect the tender greens from the late day heat and increased sunlight. Irrigation water is hooked up to water most of the field plantings. On with the floppy hats, head bands, and sun screen. Short water breaks out of the sun become plentiful for the farm crew. Ahh summer with all its hot long days can produce some of the best produce of the year in tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans, and potatoes. The work is hard and hot but the rewards can be many.

Planted this week on the farm. Watermelon and pickling cucumbers (better late than never). Also planted were succession green beans, salad greens (cross our fingers tough to grow in this heat), transplanted okra, and transplanted late fall tomatoes. All a little risky in this heat. Believe it or not it is now time to be thinking about our fall plantings.

In your share this week: More sugar snap peas the last until early fall, spinach (some shares), Asian greens salad mix (some shares), kohlrabi (small but tender despite the heat), cucumbers, zucchini, and summer onions (the onions will be perfect mixed with sliced cucumbers for refrigerator pickles).

Chip will be at the Sat market this week. Same vending spot as always. Enjoy, Jim

Shiitake Mushrooms Info - 5.7.2018May 7th, 2018

Shiitake Mushrooms                    (Oak, Chinese or Black Forest)(Lentinjus edodes) Shiitakes range in colo

CSA Day Promo on 2/17/2018February 13th, 2018

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

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