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Posted 8/21/2014 8:17pm by Jim Baughman.

Hello,

Ahh the dog days of summer. I suppose that phrase was made up to associate the hot days of summer and the fact that most dogs are very inactive on the hottest days of summer. I know that has been the case for Gus, my English Setter, the past few days. His only activity on these 90 degree days has been finding a mud puddle or other mucky water to whaler in and then finding a shady spot to take a nap. It’s hard to find good help these days.

The weather has been truly amazing this year but we had to figure Mother Nature wasn’t going to let us slide all summer without throwing a few 90 degree very humid days at us. The rain has helped with newly planted crops but has continued to cause damage to some of the older plantings that we expected to get a little more life out of. Damage in the way of bacterial blights and mildews. I’m guessing we have about 2 weeks of tomatoes left before late blight totally consumes them but it’s been a good tomato year for the farm thus far and all good things must come to an end. Most farms and gardeners are reporting much of the same. Enjoy the bounty of organic tomatoes while you can. I’m sure some of the non organic growers will have tomatoes later into the fall by spraying with fungicides to control the blight.

As we continue to transition into late summer and early fall I thought I might update a bit as to what you may expect to see in your shares the last third of the season. Please keep in mind that this is only a projection and some of these crops may succumb to whatever. In the upcoming weeks you should see in your shares - sweet corn (soon if we can keep the raccoons out of it), sugar snap peas, beets, garlic, potatoes, watermelon (cross your fingers), basil, lettuce, Asian greens, spinach, pea shoots, radishes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and kale.

In This Week’s Shares: Cabbage (half shares will receive a smaller head of cabbage and full shares a larger head), heirloom tomatoes, sweet bell peppers (most are colored red or gold), egg plant (somewhat smaller than in the past), zucchini, garlic, and cilantro. Also a jalapeno or two in order to make some fresh salsa. Check out this week’s recipes for Cabbage Augratin and Grilled Eggplant and Bell Pepper Sandwich.

Enjoy, Jim  

Posted 8/14/2014 6:09pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

What a beautiful day it was today with the mild weather and finally some sunshine! I have really been enjoying the cool weather in the early mornings. It seems to really make starting the day a little easier. I think I’m to the point I will start complaining about the rain though. After a really soggy past week, and more or less being rained out at last Saturday’s Farmers Market, we started seeing some problems on the farm due to the wet mornings and rainy days with the lack of sunshine. Problems mostly in the way of foliar diseases like powdery mildew on the squash plants, late blight has shown up on some of the tomatoes, and the most unfortunate and discouraging was a black mold called ‘Black leg’ that showed up on the broccoli and cabbage over the weekend. Some cabbage may be salvageable by removing the affected outer leaves at harvest but the broccoli became ruined as most of you Tuesday members know as we had intended to have it in your shares but did not. Most crops need a drying out period after being wet for several hours. The high humidity and morning dew with the lack of sunshine the past 10 days are so has just not allowed them to dry. So we’ll hope for some sunnier days in the upcoming weeks to keep these problems at bay.

Its transition time on the farm. Now is the time we will work the dirt and try to get in as many of the winter root crops like beets, carrots, turnips. As the day light hours continue to decrease and we head toward fall with even cooler temperatures the growing process will slow dramatically in the next 30 days. Crops like carrots are 70 days to maturity from germination this will change to about 90 days this time of year making them harvestable around November, although we will keep them in the ground covered up and only harvest them as needed throughout the winter. Winter transplants of kale, cabbage and broccoli will be planted in the next few days.

This week in your shares you will see a little less variety then most weeks as we are in a slight transition period with crops and we lost a fairly large planting of broccoli and cabbage as I mentioned above. However just because the variety is down does not mean your share will suffer. We dug some really nice German Gold potatoes this week and had quite a few that are baking size. You’ll receive in your share a nice portion of regular size potatoes plus a few bakers. These are my favorite potatoes that do so well for the Crash Potato recipe or parsley potatoes. Also this week you will have a larger than normal portion of green beans. If you feel you have to many green beans to eat this week try freezing some for later use. It’s easy - just blanch the beans in hot boiling water for 2 to 3 mins and then transfer the beans into ice water for 2 to 3 mins, drain, pat them dry and freeze in freezer bags by portion size. You will also receive tomatoes an assortment of heirlooms and some really ripe beefsteak slicers. We are not putting zucchini or eggplant in the shares this week. If you would like a zucchini or an eggplant and I have some left at market, please ask. Other than that we may come up with a surprise or 2 in the next day that can be added in as well.

Hope for some sunshine, Jim

Posted 8/7/2014 7:49pm by Jim Baughman.

Sometimes you win sometimes you lose. As it goes in life it goes in farming.

I have found in farming that sometimes we have crops that do very well and some years for whatever reason we have crops that have done well in previous years but fail. That is exactly what happened to our garlic this year. After 3 years of really good crops of garlic this year’s crop just did not do well at all. Although not a complete loss we found, as we had feared, that most of the bulbs were very small in some cases not even worth digging up. I’m not sure at this point what went wrong it was perhaps a combination of the cold winter (garlic is planted in the fall and overwinters) followed by the wet weather we have had but for some reason it just never looked right this year. We’ll gather up what we have and let it cure. We have enough to send some to the members in a few weeks. None for winter storage this year. But then we have the winners - tomatoes, potatoes, squash (the winter squash looks really good so far). These are all crops that have not done particularly well in previous years. As disappointing as the garlic harvest was we have had so many crops do so well I really can’t complain. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose.

On the farm this week we cleaned up the rest of the beefsteak tomato beds and began to prepare them for winter carrots. Fall cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and basil were transplanted to the field. The last succession planting of zucchini was planted as well fall beets were seeded. With a little luck, some rain, and continued cool weather you should see these in your shares come October. In your shares this week you will have broccoli (a winner). Lettuce mix, zucchini, and eggplant. Also you will receive bell peppers, pablano peppers, and jalapeno peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and a small bunch of cilantro. Make sure to check this week’s recipe for fresh salsa or spicy zucchini dish. Looking for a good way to use that eggplant go to our website and try the recipe for grilled eggplant sandwich. While on the site look up the recipe for grilled pablano peppers.

Enjoy the taste of summer, Jim

Posted 7/31/2014 8:33pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

What a nice week we are having weather wise! The current weather pattern has made it even more enjoyable than usual, growing fresh vegetables and working outdoors. We had a hard job this week, cleaning out tomatoes from one of the high tunnels (green house). These tomatoes had pretty much run the course and there were a lot of spoils. On Monday, when we did the clean up, it was 73 degrees and slightly overcast much better then what would be the average temperature of 88 degrees and sunny. Working with spoiled tomatoes and big bushy tomato plants are never a pleasure but the weather certainly helped.

Speaking of tomatoes the end is in sight on our beefsteak tomatoes that we have grown, and enjoyed, from our two high tunnels. We continue to work through one more high tunnel of the beefsteak tomatoes to sell at market and wholesale. The end of the beefsteaks doesn’t mean the end of tomatoes this year.

On with the heirlooms,The big uglies as I often call them. Heirloom tomatoes have a tendency to grow big with a lot of cracks and blemishes. They are open pollinated which means they are true to their genes each year compared to hybrid varieties that are cross pollinated each year and bred to be disease resistant and pretty. Most people say that heirloom tomatoes have superb flavor compared to the hybrid varieties. I found this to be true today as we started sampling some of the many varieties of heirlooms that are coming ripe here on the farm. This week in your shares you will start to receive many of the heirlooms we are growing. This includes some all red heirlooms. That’s right although there are many colors of heirloom tomatoes some of them are red. These heirlooms will not be the perfect red tomatoes you have been seeing the past few weeks. Many will have cracks and blemishes but oh the flavor. We have over 20 varieties of heirlooms growing this year in all colors, red, yellow, orange, green, white, pink, and black. Over the next several weeks I will try real hard to send some of each to you for a sampling.

In your shares this week you will receive freshly dug Adirondack Red potatoes. These are the sister potatoes to the blue ones you received a few weeks ago but red inside and out. Back this week by popular demand will be lettuce mix and Asian greens mix. Beets are back. And of course a good sampling of heirloom tomatoes. Check out this week’s heirloom tomato salad recipe. I hope all will take some time and enjoy the nice weather and enjoy the taste of summer with the veggies in your shares.

Jim

Posted 7/24/2014 8:39pm by Jim Baughman.

 Hi,

Can you believe it? We are past the half way mark on our summer season CSA. Time goes so quickly when we stay busy. This is time of year I try to stop (just for a minute or two) and reflect on the season and figure out the direction for the rest of the year. It’s also time that I express my thanks to you the members. Thank you! It is you the members that drive what we do on the farm every day. That is what I really enjoy about being a CSA farm. When we plant, harvest, and pray for rain or sun it’s you the CSA member that takes priority in our thoughts and everything we do on the farm. For this I say thanks again.

On the farm this week we continue to try to work through all the tomatoes. Picking, cleaning, sorting, and finding markets for sales. In between the tomatoes we somehow have found the time to do some fall plantings and hook up irrigation on all the winter squashes we have growing. The squash seems to be doing quite well by the way. Next week we will start digging garlic and more potatoes. In your shares this week you will have egg plant. We have grown 3 types of egg plant so you may get white, black, or the heirloom purple and white stripped. Egg plant is great grilled. Make sure to check out this week’s recipe for Garden Casserole that is made with several of the crops you will receive this week. Zucchini is back, of course more tomatoes, basil, a small bunch of chard, and green beans.

Eat healthy and be well,

Jim

Posted 7/17/2014 6:40pm by Jim Baughman.

 Hello,

Wow! What beautiful weather we are having for mid July. I hope everyone has had an opportunity to enjoy at least part of one day or an evening outdoors the past few days. A very rare treat for Indiana residents in mid July. The weather was great for the Tuesday evening farmers market in Bloomington and I enjoyed the evening and the extra crowd it seemed to bring to the market. On the farm we have come to that point where most of the crops that are growing need to harvested daily or every other day. The rain early in the week on Sunday and again on Monday has not allowed us to do much field work but there has been no lack of things to be done. We have been blessed with a great beefsteak tomato crop this year from the early plantings in our high tunnel s. We pick tomatoes pretty much vine ripe (orange/red) every 3 days. They then have to be sorted by size and for defects, wiped cleaned, and put in storage for a few days. After a few days in storage the tomatoes go through another inspection and are packed for CSA, market, or other sales. It becomes almost a continuous process. We can only hope that our heirloom tomatoes in the field do as well. We’ll know in just a few weeks. Other crops that have required almost daily attention are zucchini, cucumbers, okra (just coming on), and green beans that will be in your shares this week. The rains and temperature have been just about right let’s hope it holds till fall.

In your shares this week you won’t see as many items as usual but will receive some nice quantities of what we have. Green beans finally after a few failed crops this year we have our first harvest. Make sure to check out this week’s green bean recipes.

Something new this year is Adirondack Blue Potatoes. That’s right it is blue all the way through and has great flavor. This was an experimental planting and we did not plant a lot of them but after trying some for dinner I would say you’ll see more of them next year. Also in your shares you will receive yet a few more tomatoes then previous weeks including another sampling of the heirloom cherry tomatoes. Enjoy the weather and enjoy the seasonal produce.

See you at market,

Jim

Posted 7/10/2014 7:49pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi All,

It’s amazing. Here we are not quite in the middle of July, just in the beginning of tomato and pepper season and we are already thinking and planning on fall. That’s exactly what is going on at the farm this week as we started planting crops for fall harvest. Counting back the days from first frost (aprox Oct 20th) to figure what and when we can plant that will mature before being affected by the shorter days and cooler temperatures. This is generally crops like green beans, summer squash, cucumbers, and basil followed by crops that are a little more tolerant like cabbage, kale, and broccoli. Most of these crops are hard to get to germinate this time of year due to warmer temperatures and lack of moisture. So far not the case this year let’s hope the weather holds for a few more weeks to get these fall crops off to a good start. As I always say being an all season farm we have to ask ourselves everyday what did I plant today?

In your shares this week you will receive tomatoes, a few more then last week and basil. Check out this week’s recipes for Bruschetta and for Pesto. Also in your shares will be Chioggia Beets they are an Italian Heirloom that are actually candy striped white and red inside when sliced raw, however the red fades when the beet is cooked. I find these beets generally a little sweeter then the red beets. To round out your shares you will receive Swiss chard, and kohlrabi. Sorry there will be no salad greens this week. We have so few that all shares will not be able to have some so I will be selling what few we have at market. The heavy rain 2 weeks ago flooded out the existing beds and washed out the newly seeded beds leaving the farm with very few greens for the first time in 4 growing years. We have replanted and should have more in about 3 weeks.

Reminder: For the next several weeks we will be sending tomatoes, peppers and other crops in the pulp quart containers and plastic pint containers to protect them from being crushed. We would really appreciate it if we could get these containers back for reuse. Thanks to everyone for doing such a good job returning boxes and water bottles this year. See you at Market, Jim

Posted 7/2/2014 6:06pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi,

Can you believe it’s the 4th of July already?! The 4th is one of my favorite holidays. I think it’s because I have so many fond childhood memories of the time spent with my family. We always seemed to have a cook out or picnic of some sort followed by a fireworks display. My dad was from Linton, IN and every year they have a large parade and most local families would cook out and picnic in the park afterwards. Then there was the time spent with my brothers doing all those mischievous things with fireworks and such. Back then I didn’t think much about our independence or what it really meant. Now days I think a lot more about our independence and what it means for me and others. I feel it is this independence that gives us so many choices in the way we live compared to so many others in the world. This 4th of July we will be doing a little bit of celebrating, a lot of cooking out and a lot of time remembering those childhood days we are so fond of.

Speaking of cooking out. In your shares this week you will find a supply of vegetables perfect for cooking out or grilling. The first harvest of new red potatoes. Make sure to check out the recipe for crash potatoes it can be easily adapted to the grill. You will also receive zucchini perfect for grilling or using on kabobs. Jalapeno Peppers try making grilled poppers, slice off the stem end, clean out the seeds, fill with cream cheese or a chunk of sharp cheddar, wrap with bacon , insert a tooth pick to hold the bacon on and grill. Green onions great for grilling or dicing up on top of the crash potatoes, and don’t forget the sliced tomatoes. Yes that’s right their finally here. This week we are harvesting the first of many tomatoes to come this season. All members will receive just a few this week as they are just coming on.

I hope everyone can take some time to celebrate the 4th for its true meaning, enjoy some company with friends and family, and enjoy some great food.

Jim

Posted 6/26/2014 10:28am by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,

Another week that was all about the weather. If you haven’t noticed I seem to write a lot about the weather. I guess because the weather and farming go hand and hand. We farmers are always asking each other if there was rain in the area or what’s in the forecast. In a perfect world we would receive about one inch of rain a week maybe divided about every other day or so. This past Tuesday we received 3” of rain in one hour. Rain accumulation of this amount can be detrimental. I try really hard to be a good steward of the land and the soil that feeds us. Freshly worked soil leaves itself vulnerable to erosion. This is exactly what happened on Tuesday. We had just worked about a ¼ of acre of sloping slightly rolling ground and planted sweet corn. The rain really washed the field out. Lost is so much of the top soil and soil amendments we strive to hold onto so much. Gone must be so much of the seed we planted. We’ll check in a few days to see how much of the corn germinates and replant if needed. We will also plant a cover crop between the corn rows and start to reestablish the top soil and control the erosion. We are pretty sure we lost a few beds of salad greens as well. Most were under water and will take several days to dry out. Still not complaining much. I would rather have the rain then to have to deal with drought.

Important Notice. Due to the holiday falling on a Friday and the farm crew ready for a much needed break the farm will not be at the Saturday Market Sat July 5th .

Additional Products this week:

Gold Beets. Use them just like red beets. They do not stain or bleed out like red beets. See this week’s recipe for Beet and Feta Cheese Salad

Cucumbers. We have so many cucumbers right now. They are so versatile. See this week’s recipe for Scandinavian Cucumbers.

Salad Greens. Lettuce, baby arugula, and baby Asian greens.  All in separate bags to mix your own.

Micro Greens. Micro green are great on sandwiches, baked potato, scrambled eggs. They are very high in nutritional value. 

Enjoy, Jim

Posted 6/19/2014 9:04pm by Jim Baughman.

From The Fields Of Freedom Valley Farm 6/19/14

Hello,

The dog days of summer have come a little early this year. This week we saw our first days of temperatures in the low 90’s and oh the humidity. Funny how after receiving more than 2” of rain in 3 days last week this week leaves us hoping for rain. So far this week all the rain has seemed to skirt around us but there is more in the forecast. I guess there is just no pleasing us farmers,it’s either too much or not enough, never just right. This week on the farm we did a little less planting and a lot more maintenance. Finally got some mowing done around the farm and we were able to start cultivating some of the field crops, hilled soil up on the potato plants, and staked the remaining field tomatoes. Speaking of tomatoes we are starting to see a slight blush on some of the beefsteak tomatoes in the high tunnels. It won’t be long now before we hope to have some ripe tomatoes. Those first tomatoes seem to take so long. There is an old saying that when boiling water a watched pot never boils. I think this is true of the first green tomatoes of the year. Every day we look and search only to say not quite yet. Soon, soon should be a couple weeks.

Special Note For Saturday Share Pick Up This Week. The Saturday Market will close at 12:00 noon this week due to the Taste of Bloomington being held at the market site. Please make sure to pick your share up early. Parking and entry into the market is a little more difficult.

In this week’s share: Snow peas. Great eaten raw, in salads, or stir fry

Beets

Swiss chard Spinach. Great mixed with arugula for a salad

Arugula. Great mixed with spinach or used in a stir fry or pasta dish

Zucchini. See this week’s recipe for grilled zucchini.

Garlic scapes. Last week for garlic scapes they gotta go. See this week’s recipe for garlic scape pesto. Thanks to a few of the members telling me last week about this thought I would share with the others. Remember garlic scapes store fairly well in the frig. You won’t see a garlic product now until about mid August or so when this year’s garlic will be harvested and cured. Enjoy your week. Stay cool and hydrated. 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

New recipe: Zucchini Parmesan CrispsJune 14th, 2017

2 medium zucchini1 Tablespoon of olive oil¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, (3/4 – ounce)¼ cup plain dried bread crumbs1/8 teaspoon saltFreshly ground black pepper Preheat oven

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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