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Posted 5/6/2015 5:33pm by Jim Baughman.

From The Fields of Freedom Valley Farm   5.6.2015 

Hi Folks,

Welcome to all new and returning members. The 2015 season of fresh produce has begun. With the wet weather we had throughout March and most of April it has been a tough spring so far on the farm. We were not able to work the soil until the most recent past week or so and even early crops we planted in our greenhouses seemed to suffer with poor germination and cool night time temperatures. All in all it has left us struggling to get anything to market and even worse at one point we thought we might have to delay the start of our CSA season. But we have taken inventory and feel like we have enough fresh goodies to roll out the start of the 2015 season.

Although I can say we may be struggling a bit to pull things together these first few weeks. The dry spell we have had the past 2 weeks has allowed us to get things planted and we have plenty of crops germinating and growing well now although I can’t speed up Mother Nature or the days it takes most crops to reach maturity.

On the farm I have been a little short handed. Grant Pershing has moved on to start his own farm and we wish him well. That has left Chip and I trying to get caught up from the wet weather. We have some help on the way but replacing a seasoned farm hand takes time. We have planted so much the past two weeks I really can’t list it all. Chip has been on the tractor and I have been working the growing beds planting as much as we can. April through June is indeed the busiest times on the farm.

Please take a look at this week’s recipe for ‘honey glazed carrots’. I might also mention that the fresh green carrot tops are edible. They can be chopped and sautéed in olive oil or butter and added to a pasta dish. There are even recipes on line for carrot top pesto. If you are not going to eat your carrots right away, the tops should be removed as they will start to take away from the freshness of the carrots.

Enjoy, Jim

Posted 3/26/2015 4:14pm by Jim Baughman.

Meet Jim Baughman & learn about our Summer CSA

Saturday, March 28th 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

Harmony School Gymnasium

Posted 1/28/2015 7:17pm by Jim Baughman.

Hello,

Has it been 14 weeks already? It was 14 weeks ago that we started our first Fall/Winter CSA. This week’s share will mark the end of the Fall/Winter CSA season. I can’t thank our members enough for participating this past season. As I always say it is you the members that keeps me going and growing each week. This past fall and winter have been one of the more difficult fall/winter growing seasons I have experienced to date. Mostly due to some poor timing on my part and the abnormal cold blast we had in November, followed by almost the whole month of December without a sunny day. Although we had a fair amount of storage crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. We really struggled with the leafy greens and carrots this year. With the storage crops almost depleted we are only now starting to see some growth in the leafy greens.

I hope you have enjoyed being a part of our farm the past 3 months. Your membership is a big part of what I’ll call survivability through the winter months. Your membership has helped keep 2 local employees (Chip and Grant) working through the winter months at a time most farms would lay off any hired help. It has helped us to see that even through a tuff winter we can still provide good, fresh, wholesome, organic food to the local community. Thank you for being a part of our farm and supporting the local food movement. We will have details forthcoming soon on our Spring /Summer CSA.

We will begin signing up members at the end of February through March and April with the new season beginning in May. We are looking to expand our membership this year so if you have a friend or family member that may be interested make sure to let them know. This year we will be offering a referral bonus to our previous members. Details will be sent out soon. We are also looking for potential drop off sites for our share deliveries this summer. If you know of a place please email me at jim@freedomvalleyfarm.com

In your share this week you will receive German Gold Potatoes, Spinach (see this week’s recipe for Potato and Spinach Gratin), Butternut Squash (see this week’s recipe for an Easy Pan Roasted Winter Squash with Apple), Asian Green Mix, Arugula, and Mixed Lettuce.

Even though the CSA season has come to an end,Freedom Valley Farm will still have leafy greens and micro greens to offer at the Bloomington Winter Market each Sat morning thru March. The Winter Market is located at Harmony School in Bloomington. If you want greens come early we normally sell out by mid morning. Market hours are from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM each Saturday.

Stay Warm and Healthy,

Jim

Posted 1/21/2015 6:30pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

What a nice change in the weather we are having. It almost has a touch of spring in the air. Sunny warm days and low wind conditions have made the winter greens happy and we are finally starting to see some significant growth for the first time in months. I have had to remind myself several times in the last week that it is still winter and we will probably see more winter conditions in the next several weeks. Let’s hope Mother Nature keeps the sun shining. Daylight hours and sunny days are what keeps the winter greens happy.

On the farm this week we started cleaning up some of the used up winter beds. The first early spring carrots were planted. Asparagus beds were fertilized with chicken manure and wood ash and soon will be mulched in anticipation of an early harvest. It was nice to turn our attention away from firewood for the week and back to farming.

In your shares this week you will receive carrots, spinach, mescalun mix (mix of lettuce and other greens), radish sprouts and or micro greens, and sweet potatoes. This is the last of the sweet potatoes somewhat small but still can be peeled cut up and made into a nice dinner side.

Note: Next week will be the last share delivery of the Winter/Fall CSA. Thanks, Jim

Posted 1/14/2015 6:51pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

We continue to try and unthaw this week as temperatures have been better but still below freezing. Even with the sun shining a few days we still cannot get into our outdoor carrot beds or beet beds in order to harvest. The heavy rains we had right before this last chill down stuck the covers to the ground really good. Any attempt we tried to get them found us damaging the covers so we have decided to forgo a carrot or beet harvest until warmer days next week. The green houses are finally starting to warm up above freezing in the afternoons. Spinach seems to be the only leafy greens that are growing. We definitely had some freeze damage to some of the lettuce crop and some of the Asian green salad blend. Although I think with some warmer temperatures it may still come around. All and all I think we faired pretty well and should be able to make it through the last 3 weeks of the winter CSA shares.

On the farm this week we began to mulch the garlic planting with spoiled hay. Using spoiled hay for mulch is nothing new to many farmers but this will be a first for me. We took advantage of the frozen ground in order to move the large 5’x4’ round bails from the hay fields to the farm and then began the process of rolling the round bails by hand over the frozen garlic beds leaving about 4” to 6” of mulch on the ground. Our hope is that this will be enough to keep the weeds smothered and still let the garlic pop through. Garlic does not do well with weed pressure so I’m hoping this works.

In your shares this week you will receive German gold potatoes, radishes, micro greens, red stem spinach, mescalun greens mix, and baby kale. Time for some potato soup and nice salads!

Note: Last week I wrote that you would receive spinach in your share. The weather did not allow us to harvest the spinach so we substituted a Kabocha winter squash. Sorry about that but we were at Mother Nature’s mercy.

Jim

Posted 1/7/2015 9:54pm by Jim Baughman.

Hello to Everyone,

Brrrr! Old Man Winter has arrived. I don’t really need to tell anyone how cold it is, but let me tell you it is cold and oh the wind. It’s a good time to stay in, find a good book, and stay close to the fire. Let’s hope this comes and goes in a few days and doesn’t hang around so much like last year. We are and will be struggling to harvest any greens this week but feel we should be able to eek out enough for our CSA members and maybe just a few bags for market. The greens have finally grown to a marketable size but I just don’t think Mother Nature wants us to take them yet. Winter grown greens actually freeze just like anything else in the cold but to our delight when they thaw in temperatures above 32 degrees they can be harvested. If harvested frozen they will spoil very quickly. This becomes a problem when the daytime high temperatures are below 10 degrees are so. Even with full sun today our greenhouses were 34 degrees at 3:00 PM when it was 8 degrees outside. That does not allow us enough time to harvest for the day as the warming sun dissipates late in the day. We are normally pretty lucky and get a window or time frame throughout the week to get the harvest in but this week has not allowed us that time. Even with the cold temperatures I still enjoy growing produce in the winter time. I guess it’s because it just always amazes me at what can actually be grown in the cold even if sometimes we can’t always get the quantities we may like.

Not much farming done this week. Monday and Tuesday were spent pretty much stocking up on firewood getting ready for the cold snap. We have been working on adding some much needed lighting in the processing barn. Harvest will only come in the short time frames that Mother Nature and Old Man Winter will allow. In your shares this week you will have carrots (we were able to harvest them on Tuesday before the ground froze to hard), Spring Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Micro Greens, and Pea Shoots. Make sure to check out this week’s recipes for Honey Glazed Carrots and Pea Shoot Salad. The internet is a great source for more recipes and uses for Pea Shoots.

Market Reminder: The Bloomington Winter Market is a great place to shop at and supplement your CSA. You can find farm fresh meats, honey, vegetables, eggs, and flowers. There are also many other local made pastries, breads, and homemade goods. The winter market is held each Saturday from now through March from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM at Harmony School in Bloomington.

Keep Warm, Jim

Posted 12/31/2014 8:15am by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

I hope all had a Merry Christmas and had an opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends. One more day of celebration and then we will settle into the New Year. As they say out with the old and in with the new.

This is the time of year that I spend a lot of time reflecting on the results of the farm from last year and working on a plan for the New Year. Where were our failures? What were our successes? What can we do better? Should we try something new? Within the next month there will be a lot of time spent on developing a seeding and growing plan, ordering seed, reading a few books, and working on marketing strategies. This year I will be looking at, and trying, a somewhat new model for the farm of growing more intensively and improving efficiencies. Although we already grow some crops very intensively there are others we can do better with. We will also be looking at the overall farm layout with day to day operation in mind. Things like irrigating, harvesting, succession plantings, even weeding. How can we do all of this in a more efficient manner while still producing high quality vegetables and being good stewards of the land, soil, and environment will be the focus of our planning this year.

There is not much to report on as far as actual farm activities the past two weeks. The holiday schedule has created a lot of time off for the crew and me with only minimal task and daily chores being done. We did plant 500 asparagus seeds on heated mats in the barn. Asparagus is generally planted by transplanting crowns (roots) directly in the garden and then waiting 3 years for the first harvest. By starting it by seed in late December we actually use a method of tricking the plant by starting it and letting it go dormant and then transplanting the plant into the field in April. This takes two years off the growing process and allows us to start harvesting lightly next year. Maintained properly asparagus will produce for 15 years or more. In your shares this week you will receive potatoes, beets, spring lettuce mix, spinach, radishes, and micro greens. Please check our website for recipes. Micro greens are great on sandwiches’, baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, and much more. They are packed with nutrition with just a few tablespoons providing more nutrition then a whole salad made with other fresh greens.

Have a Happy New Year, Jim

Posted 12/16/2014 8:59pm by Jim Baughman.

Merry Christmas to All,

I can’t believe that Christmas is just a little more than a week away. The Fall of the year has gone very quick with the solstice (winter) just a few days away. I must say that this has been one of the more gloomy Fall seasons I have ever seen. As of this writing we are at 18 days of overcast with only 4 hours of sun. This has not been good for our spinach, lettuce, and greens growing. We have even seen the affects with some of our micro greens, only harvesting one third of what we should have off last week’s harvest. Hopefully with the passing of solstice will bring more sunlight as the daylight time’s increase each day.

On the farm there is not much new to report. The fields are too wet to work. We continue to weed the greens beds and gather firewood. We are seeing some of the fall planted garlic starting to emerge through the soggy soil. This is somewhat encouraging as we know the garlic is rooted and sprouted ready to take off come spring.

This is the week we send a little larger share for the Holiday week. We certainly thought we would have a few more greens to send. In your shares you will receive potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, radishes, lettuce mix, and garlic. Make sure to check out this week’s recipe for sweet potato pie a great southern treat for a Christmas dinner dessert.

Reminder: There will not be a share delivery Christmas week.

Have a Merry Christmas, Jim

Posted 12/9/2014 10:17pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi All,

Where has the sun gone? Although we are feeling some warmer temperatures the sun has remained in hiding behind the clouds for the past ten days or so. This time of year we expect days of shorter daylight and maybe a little less sun but Mother Nature is keeping the sun covered up more than usual. Sunlight is always an important factor in plant growth but successful winter growing depends more on sunlight than any other factor. Most of the crops we grow in the winter are cold hardy crops that can most of the time survive cold temperatures but will not add any mass or lush growth without the affects of sunlight. The lettuce, spinach, and greens are alive but waiting for the sun to shine in order to boost their growth. I still feel at some point in the upcoming weeks we will have a lot of winter greens. For the time being we will fill the shares with crops stored over from a good summer of growing.

On the farm this week we are staying busy with weeding the growing beds. Chick weed is particularly bad this year. Normally weeds are not much of an issue in the winter but if you’re familiar with chickweed it is fast growing, kind of viney, and can consume a bed of lettuce or greens very quickly. Weekly planting of micro greens and pea shoots continue as well as the never ending chore of firewood. In you shares this week you will receive German Gold Potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, pea shoots, a nice salad mix with lettuce and other greens, and kohlrabi. Make sure to check out this week’s recipes for kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is great sliced cooked as an au gratin with sliced potatoes and cheese sauce.

Best, Jim

Posted 12/3/2014 7:49am by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

I hope everyone had a joyful Thanksgiving and enjoyed the produce we sent in your shares. The farm has gone back to a full work week schedule this week after having several days off through the month of November. The unseasonable cold weather has left the firewood supplies lower then I like to see and chick weed has reared it‘s viney self in the winter greens beds. All in all, the farm is faring pretty well considering the unusual early cold snap. Lettuce and greens are definitely behind from where they should be growth wise. This is probably due more to the lack of sunshine than the cold. The good thing is they are predicting warmer than normal weather in December and with a little luck and sunshine our greens should come around at some point.

Thanks, 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

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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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