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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

Posted 6/14/2016 6:11pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

It’s a happy day on the farm today. As I am writing this farm news blog I’m watching the much needed rain fall. Stuck with four days in row of temperatures over 90 degree and the last rain fall over ten days out I was beginning to get very worried and very weary from late night watering. With day temps in the 90’s and full sunshine it does very little good (and sometimes can be damaging) to water crops during the day. This only leaves us with the last hour of daylight and the first couple hours of daylight for the watering to be effective because it will more or less evaporate or bake the ground so crusty nothing will grow. With night fall not approaching until 10:00 PM these days it has made for some late nights and early mornings the past several days. We direct seeded or winter squashes and pie pumpkins the end of last week with the hope of a few pop up showers to water the seeds and germinate them. The rain went around the farm each for 5 days. With fear of the seeds not germinating and working with a closing window date for winter squash we began the desperate chore of hand watering hundred’s of row feet of planted squash. Each seed had to have a splash of water each evening until we saw signs of germination. A lot of effort but it worked. By Monday morning we started to see plants popping thru the crusted soil. With the much needed rain today we should see them take off beautifully. Chip and Dayton have worked frantically the past 2 days installing irrigation lines in fear we were headed into a real dry spell. It was a job that needed to be done sooner or later but we didn’t expect to need it quite this early. Thankfully it rained and hopefully it will cool off a bit.

Planted the past week on the farm: Butternut, Acorn, and Kabocha Winter Squashes. Pie Pumpkins. Cilantro, Basil, and Green Onions. We transplanted Egg Plant and the last of the Sweet Peppers and Hot Peppers. Our high tunnel tomatoes are looking good with lots of small green tomatoes on them.  We should have sugar snap peas, summer sweet onions, and new potatoes very soon.

In the shares this week: Mesclun Salad Mix (a mix of lettuce, spinach, and any other greens we have growing). Kale, spinach, radishes (see recipe), and zucchini. New this week will be cucumbers make sure to check out the recipes for a nice refreshing  cucumber dish.

As always enjoy, Jim

Posted 6/8/2016 8:03pm by Jim Baughman.

Of broken tractor and fresh cut hay...

The weather has been beautiful the past week or so. We had a dry out and got rain over the weekend just when we needed it. But you know with farming there is no way you’re going to get the perfect week. It’s always something. Towards the end of last week the tractor broke down. Hoping it was the simple thing, like ran out of fuel (the fuel gauge only works when it wants to), a good fuel up, purge the lines and go. No. Nothing seemed to work. It would not start. Chip is more mechanically inclined then I so we gradually tore into it a few hours a day trying different things and gradually had the tractor tore down in the middle of the field with parts all around. When you have these situations I think it is human nature to think the worse. I think Chip was googling and you tubing everything he could to find answers. Come to find out and just happened upon chance it was something very simple. There used to be a safety kill switch on the seat of the tractor, get off the seat the tractor shuts off, not very practical in the real world of farming. Years ago I bypassed the switch. Well my bypassed wire (located under the seat of the tractor) had come undone not allowing the tractor start. After a few stressful days of tractor down time it’s back to much needed field work.

Oh, I almost forgot the fresh cut hay. As I am writing this letter this evening they are cutting hay on my property. If you have never experienced being around a farm when they are cutting hay it is one of the most wonderful aromas I think there could be. Fresh cut hay smells very sweet but will last for only a few days around the property. A true reward and balance between stress and relaxation.

Planted this week: Not much planting we mostly have been working on cultivating and weed control. The recent rains have really brought on the grasses in the growing beds. We have managed to transplant the Basil to the field and plant our succession plantings of greens like lettuce, spinach and other salad greens. We hope to seed our winter squashes, pumpkins, and melons before the week is out. We are really behind on these crops and the window is just about to close. I think we can just pull it off though.

In your share this week: Gold Beets, Spring Lettuce Mix (see recipe), green onions, and radishes. The Zucchini is coming on and I think we may just have enough for everyone to have one. Good news the Asparagus is finishing strong and I think I’ll have enough for all members to have one more taste of this spring treat. If you do not receive Asparagus this week we will substitute something and get it to you next week.

Note for those that pick up on Sat. We have 90 degree plus weather in the forecast. Please try to pick your share up early at the market. I try really hard to keep the shares as fresh as possible by using ice packs and such but shares sitting out in hot weather at the market can affect the freshness and longevity of the produce inside. Thanks, Jim

Posted 6/1/2016 4:39pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

The Memorial Day weekend has now came and went. I hope all had a chance to take a day of rest and relaxation over the weekend. The farm crew and I took Monday off for a much needed break from the farm. As much as we enjoy what we do it can get tiresome and at some point we all need a day or two to get away. Today it’s back to work, a little behind with a big to do list, but rested and ready for the task at hand.

The weather has continued to cooperate and allowed us to start our fall crops of sweet potatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, and midsummer melons. Although as of this writing we were not able to get all of these planted we got a really good start on prepping the soil, laying mulch, and transplanting some of the sweet potato slips. These are all warm weather crops that are so critical to our fall and winter sales. Also planted this week will be the remainder of the sweet and hot peppers and eggplant transplants. We are a little late on transplanting our peppers and eggplants but they should be fine if the weather holds its current pattern.

In your share this week: Gold Beets, these beets are a beautiful gold color inside and out with excellent flavor. They have some really nice tops on them that are wonderful sautéed with a little butter, garlic, and onions. Also in your shares, Carrots ( don’t forget to remove the tops off the carrots if you are not going to eat them right away this will help them store better), and Red Stem Spinach. Some shares will receive Kale while others will receive Napa Cabbage. Shares that have not yet received Asparagus will receive theirs this week.

Enjoy, Jim

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

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.