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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

Posted 11/20/2014 9:42pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi,

As expected we have seen some pretty brutal weather in the past week, at least brutal for this time of year. So far the crop losses have been about what we expected. Crops like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower that weren’t quite mature yet did not survive the extreme 9 degree low we experienced Monday morning. However most of our greens look like they have survived but their growth rate has been almost non-existent this past week. Seasonal weather looks to be in the forecast and as I have said before as long as we get plenty of sunshine we’ll probably be alright.

Your share this week will contain some larger portions of some of the produce. Being the week before Thanksgiving your share value will be double this week and there will not be a share delivered next week as the farm will take off to celebrate the holiday and take a little rest and relaxation. We have so much to be thankful for I hope all will take time to do the same.

In your share this week you will receive 4 lbs of russet potatoes. Russet potatoes are the best in my opinion for making mashed potatoes. You will also receive 3 lbs of sweet potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash, carrots, and garlic. I will also be sending a pie pumpkin and a Kabocha squash. Be sure to check out my recipe for making fresh pumpkin pie for the holiday meal. We will be trying to send plenty of greens. As of this writing we know we will be sending spinach and a green salad mix. We won’t be sure about the lettuce until we get into the low tunnels on Friday. Our hopes are to send enough greens to get you through the holiday… mother nature willing.

Reminder: There will not be a share delivery next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving to All,

Jim

Posted 11/13/2014 8:35pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Winter has come a little early. Brrrr! I’m hoping this early blast of cold will not affect the field greens we have under the low tunnel covers. These are the crops we anticipated carrying us through November and early December. We typically do not see these types of low temperatures until mid December or later by that time the greens and crops we have growing in our high tunnel greenhouses are ready. Sunshine will be the key the next 10 days or so. If we can get more sun days then not. we may just make it. On a good sunny day at 32 degrees we can see temperatures of 80 degree plus in our solar passive greenhouses. We then put covers over the crops to retain as much heat from the ground as possible throughout the cold dark night. Sunshine is the key in winter growing it is more important than the actual temperature.

On the farm this week, most of our time was spent cutting and gathering firewood that we use to heat our barn and one of our 4 greenhouses. The one greenhouse that we do heat is only heated to 35 degree at night and then the solar heated throughout the day. This greenhouse is where we grow micro greens, radishes, and lettuce. These crops can handle the cold but do not do very well going below freezing. More time was spent buttoning up waterlines, plastic covers, and field crops. All much earlier then we normally have to. In your share this week will be German Gold Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Cabbage, Swiss Chard (small but tasty), Green Salad Mix, and Lettuce (if it survives the cold evening temps). 

Thanks, Jim

Posted 11/6/2014 7:11pm by Jim Baughman.

From The Fields of Freedom Valley Farm 11/6/14

Hello Fall/Winter Members,

Thanks for supporting our farm through the fall/winter season. Your support helps us to continue our winter growing endeavors and efforts to provide fresh organic produce to the local community. ‘All season’ growing is catching on and we are seeing more local farmers experimenting with season extension practices. I welcome and encourage all the farms and farmers that are extending the seasons. Their efforts can provide data and practices for other farmers all while providing fresh locally grown produce to area communities. We have been very busy on the farm throughout October. Being an all season farm makes October one of the busiest times of the year for us. Our winter grown greens are seeded in succession each week and for the most part should be complete by the end of October at the latest. This year we will have 25 beds of various winter greens in our solar passive unheated high tunnels. Each of these beds needs to be watered almost daily and hand weeded at least twice before we start harvesting from them in December. We also have over 40 beds of various crops growing under low tunnels out in the fields these crops are more vulnerable to the weather conditions as they are grown out in the fields covered with cloth and plastic on the coldest nights and days. With the exception of root crops like beets and carrots most of these field crops will be harvested by the end of December and will not survive much past that time depending on the weather conditions.

October also is the time to plant garlic. With the wet fall this year, field work has been difficult but we did get our garlic planting done this past week. This year’s garlic planting is the largest yet. We planted over 8,000 cloves of garlic this year with hopes it will provide over 8,000 bulbs of garlic. After a dismal garlic harvest this year we’re crossing or fingers that this planting will bring us back to the great garlic we have experienced in previous years. In your share this week you can expect to receive beets (fall/winter beets are very sweet great roasted), broccoli and kale (both great for some fall soups), butternut and acorn squash, spring lettuce mix, and green salad mix (Asian greens, baby kale, baby Swiss chard).

Please check our website for great easy recipes!

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.