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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!

Posted 10/14/2014 9:07am by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

I can hardly believe it has been 24 weeks since our CSA season started. That’s right this week’s share will be the last for the summer CSA season (unless you took advantage of the vacation option see below). This is also the time of year that I express my deepest gratitude to you for your support of the farm and the local food movement. I hope that you have enjoyed your membership and will consider joining up next year. I do plan on expanding our memberships next year so please tell a friend, family member, or co-worker about us.

As you have seen the flyer and email notice, we are offering for the first time a fall winter membership I hope you’ll consider 12 more weeks of fresh fall and winter vegetables. Fall and winter produce can be some of the best ever. Winter beets and carrots are of the sweetest grown. The spinach, greens, and lettuce have crispness and color like no other time of year. Winter storage vegetables like squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes make the best of soups and hearty winter delights.

The farm will also be at the Bloomington outdoor market through the end of November and will then be at the Bloomington Winter Market beginning in December through March. Grant Pershing will be taking on the vending duties at the Bloomington Markets as I will be taking November off from the markets and then vending in Indianapolis at the Indy Winter Market throughout the winter.

Thanks again for your support and thanks in advance for your continued support. In your shares this week will be sweet potatoes. See this week’s recipe for some easy sweet potato recipes. Also after a much to long delay the return of spinach. You will also receive beets, salad greens, garlic, and pea shoots. Enjoy a taste of spring this fall.

Posted 10/5/2014 5:38pm by Jim Baughman.

Now accepting sign up for membership in Winter CSA.

Winter CSA is Nov. 1 - Jan. 31. 

 

 

Posted 10/2/2014 5:48pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Fall is officially here! We can see the leaves on the trees changing almost daily. The dogwoods, sassafras, and poison ivy vine have all turned a deep red. Sugar maples, persimmon, and others have that yellow to orange hue. We can see the field corn turning from green to yellow with the hard dried ears of corn starting to turn down indicating they will be ready for harvest soon. I think it must be the gradual daily change that makes me enjoy fall so much.

On the farm we can start to see the bare fields again cleared of weeds some already tilled in with a cover crop sown in hopes it will germinate, establish and hold the soil until spring. Irrigation lines are gradually being taken up and the mowing of grass and weeds commences. Butternut squashes have been harvested and all but one of the winter squashes remains in the field. Chip and Grant began digging sweet potatoes this week with a few varieties producing some real whoppers while a few others are just so so. The fall and winter lettuce and greens beds look beautiful with their vibrant green, red and purple colors. I feel I must truly be blessed in order to be able to work the soil and observe on a daily basis the change of season.

In your shares this week it’s time for some hearty soup and delicious fall deserts. Please check out this week’s recipes for Kale Potato Sausage Soup you’ll receive the kale and potatoes in your share. Also see this week’s recipe for Pumpkin Apple Crisp. You will receive a small pie pumpkin in your share. Try making a fresh pumpkin pie, it’s fairly easy with ‘how to’ details available on the internet. Also in your shares you will receive a large bag of spring mix lettuce, Asian greens mix and a butternut winter squash. Butternut squash is great baked or made into a variety of winter soups or stews. Enjoy this season with a taste of fall.

See you at market, Jim

Posted 9/18/2014 9:41pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

This week saw several unseasonable chilly mornings, some unexpected rain, and some beautiful sunny days. Fall continues to get closer. As of this writing I’m watching my farmer friend Eddie bale hay in my pastures. My share of the hay will be turned to compost and used for winter mulch. Eddie’s share will go to feed his livestock through the hard times of winter. Truly a win win. I’m glad to see that he mowed close to the persimmon trees as the persimmons are beginning to ripen and fall and it will make it much easier to pick them up, if I can beat the wildlife to them.

Fall activities continue on the farm this week. Acorn winter squash was harvested and is curing in the sun for a few days. We continue to dig potatoes a few beds at a time when the soil is dry. Hand weeding of the fall and winter growing beds is occupying a lot of time but is something that has to done. Fall plantings of greens remains behind due to the unexpected rain early in the week. The timing of the rain this year has been a real problem with preparing the soil and growing beds for our greens crops but it looks like dryer times are in the forecast. I wish I had planted more greens in August but really just got caught up in so many of the storage crops we have this year. With the early fall temperatures mother nature has set the stage for some hearty squash, pumpkin, and kale soups along with a few sweet treats that can be made with the squash and pumpkins.

Speaking of squash, in your shares this week you will receive the first of several varieties of squash we grew this year. This week we will be sending you a Kabocha Squash called Sunshine. It is deep orange in color and resembles a small pumpkin. It has a delicious nutty flavor and is, as is most squash, very versatile. Baked, cubed for stews and soups, cooked and pureed for pies and desserts are just a few ways you can use a winter squash. Winter squash can be used in any recipe that calls for fresh pumpkin. Some claim that it actually makes a better pie then pumpkin. Please don’t be inhibited by the large size of some squash. You can very easily bake a squash and enjoy some of it for dinner and purée the rest and freeze it in 1 cup portions for later use in soups or desserts. Winter squash is very high in nutritional value and fiber. There are many ways to use squash and pumpkin on the internet. I am including an easy bake recipe this week. In your shares this week you will receive as mentioned above a Kabocha Squash. See this week’s recipe for baked squash. Also there will be greens, either lettuce or Asian greens mix or a mix of both, green beans (last for the season), potatoes, some sugar snap peas (enough for a stir fry or pasta dish or eating fresh) and micro greens (great on everything sandwiches, soups, eggs, baked potatoes, salads). Those of you that have the micro green option will receive something additional rather than 2 micro greens.

Enjoy the taste of Fall, Jim

Posted 9/13/2014 11:44am by Jim Baughman.

Fall is in the air. We are definitely having a taste of fall this week. Windows are open and air conditioning is turned off. Fall clean up and winter planting continues on the farm this week. It’s so nice to see spinach, lettuce, and other greens germinate in just 3 days compared to the poor germination we see though out the summer. Carrots planted recently germinated in 7 days compared to 14 days when planted in mid August. We have also seen the reduction of some insects like the awful flea beetle which chews all those tiny holes in so many of the greens all summer long and cabbage moths are few and far between. We will continue to have some weeds in our growing beds but even weeding is not all that bad in the cooler temperatures also knowing that soon weed pressure will be reduced dramatically. It seems like we have been able to catch our breath a little the past 2 weeks and it has been welcomed indeed.

Chip and Grant started harvesting winter squash and pie pumpkins this week and the crop looks very good and plentiful. Winter squashes and pie pumpkins are better when they are cured for a few weeks after harvest and even better after a few months of storage. You will start to receive different samplings of squash next week and up to the end of the season. Chip made a pie with one of the heirloom pie pumpkins and said it was really good. I have been checking out winter squash recipes and really did not know just how versatile this vegetable is. More on that in the upcoming weeks.

In your shares this week you will have a little taste of fall and a little taste of summer. The fall kale came early and we managed to keep most of the flea beetles off of it. Try this week’s recipe for baked kale chips or sautéed kale. There are also many soup recipes that call for kale that can be found on the internet. For the taste of summer you will receive one of the small Yellow Doll watermelons. Also in the shares this week will be spring mix lettuce, beets, and okra. Full shares will receive some Kohlrabi.

I hope everyone gets a chance to get out and enjoy the milder weather that is in the forecast.

See you at market, Jim

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

New recipe: Baked Winter SquashSeptember 20th, 2017

Winter Squash can be very versatile. Savory or sweet or a combination of both. Below is an easy bake recipe that can be used for any of the many types of winter squashes. Winter Squash, halved, quarte

From the Fields of Freedom Valley Farm 9.20.2017September 20th, 2017

Greetings,As I write this I can hardly believe that we are on week 19 of our 20 week CSA season. Next week will be the last share of the 2017 season with the exception of members that took advant

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