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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

Posted 6/12/2014 7:22pm by Jim Baughman.

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

Hi Folks,

Do you believe in luck? Tuesday morning I found a four leaf clover while we were harvesting for the Tuesday shares and market. It turned out to be quite the lucky find. Coming back home from the Tuesday evening market tornado warnings were issued in the area of Freedom with a tornado confirmed in the Bloomfield area. Storms like this can be very nerve racking to most and I am no different. I get really worried about the greenhouses when high winds and sudden storms come in. This time of the year the greenhouses are left wide open to get as much ventilation as possible. A wide open greenhouse can be like a giant parachute if the winds are strong enough. The storm hit before I made it home fortunately there was no damage to the greenhouses or the crops growing inside yet there were a few trees blown down and we received about an 1.5 inches of rain in 15 minutes. When I arrived to the farm the storm was over it was still raining with the sun was out and there was a huge rainbow over the farm.

Four leaf clover, rainbow, seemed to be some Irish luck at play. Luck indeed!

This week on the farm we finally got the rest of our major field plantings done. Chip and Grant hustled up Monday and Tuesday and planted over 1000 sweet potato slips (plants). They also seeded over 30 100 foot rows of winter squash, watermelons, cucumbers, and 14 rows of sweet corn. Most of these crops should have been planted a month ago but we just could not get the fields worked due to all the rain. We finally got a small window and the guys did a great job even working in the rain on Tuesday and Wed. Speaking of rain we have had over 2” on the farm in 3 days.

In your shares this week: All kinds of new goodies.

Cucumbers: Check our website for some really good cuke recipes.

Zucchini: Try the recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Chips on or website.

Sugar Snap Peas: I love just eating them raw out of hand. Great in salads or pasta dish or stir fry. If you plan on cooking these remove the string by snapping the stem end and pulling the string out. No need to string if eating raw.

Kale: Check out the internet for kale chips and other recipes.

Kohlrabi: Check out this week’s recipe attached to the e-reminder. See the recipe for more info.

Garlic Scapes: Garlic Scapes are the part of the garlic plant that tries to go to seed. They must be removed from the garlic plant in order for the garlic to bulb up nicely. They are great chopped up like a chive for fresh eating and can be used in many recipes that you would use garlic. They store very well in the frig. Check out our website for several scape recipes or go on line for more info and recipes.

Salad Mix: This week we will be sending a mix of lettuces and greens all in one bag.

Jim

Posted 6/5/2014 9:01pm by Jim Baughman.

From The Fields Of Freedom Valley Farm   6/5/14

Hi Folks,

What a great week we have had on the farm this week, despite the 2” of rain we had that kept us out of the fields, despite the high humidity and almost 90 degree temperatures. Why such a good week? A great week because we are now seeing some of the fruits of our labor in the way of some of the early field crops coming in like beets, snap and snow peas, cucumbers, zucchini, kohlrabi, garlic scapes. All to be ready in the next few weeks. Some this week. Some of the early high tunnel tomatoes are tennis ball size (still green) and our heirloom cherry tomatoes are green and soon to be ripening. Yes it’s a good week when we can almost taste what the near future has in store for us.

Planted this week. Okra transplanted to the field, hot peppers and fall bell peppers transplanted to the field, round two of zucchini, fall leeks seeded, and the last of the field heirloom tomatoes transplanted.

In your shares this week you have beets. Make sure to check out this week’s recipe for an easy beet salad and helpful hints on preparing them. Don’t forget the beet tops are edible and can be prepared in the same way you would chard, or large spinach. This week you will also receive radish sprouts. Radish sprouts are a large micro green that are great for snacking, salads, or stir fry’s. I like them with ranch dressing. One cucumber. Yes that’s right the cucumbers just started coming on this week and we had just enough to give everyone one. More next week for sure. Also baby leaf spinach, lettuce mix, and a small bag of large leaf Asian greens for braising or stir fry, would be great with your beet tops.

Reminder all members have a vacation week option. If you go on vacation or can not pick up your share one week we have a make-up week at the end of the season in October. Just send me an email. Sorry we can only do this for one week per season. Have a great weekend and enjoy some good food. Jim  

Posted 5/29/2014 9:12pm by Jim Baughman.

Hello Members,

I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. The holiday made for a short week on the farm this week without much of anything new to report. I spent a large portion of the day on Monday working the soil, trying to out run the rain coming in on Tuesday , only to see it rain late Monday evening delaying working conditions on Tuesday. It did dry out some on Tuesday and we were able to get some field work done on Wednesday. The wet conditions did give us a chance to stake and trellis the heirloom cherry tomatoes we have growing in the field. This year we are growing 5 different colors of cherry tomatoes and they are all heirlooms. So far so good, they have grown large enough to be staked and trellis and we are seeing a few blooms. Speaking of heirloom tomatoes, we had a chance to plant Grant’s Trustee Red. Grant Pershing works for the farm and has been involved in seed saving for many years. Many years ago he was given some seeds from tomatoes that a guy called Trustee. This gentleman had been growing this tomato for many years and said it was the only one he grew each year. Grant has been planting it for many years and claims it is one of the best. We planted a 100’ bed of these tomatoes with hope they live up to its name. Grant will be taking select tomatoes from this planting to save seeds; the rest with a little luck will go to our CSA members and market.

Also planted this week. Egg plant, 3 colors, the last spring succession planting of kohlrabi, broccoli, and cabbage, green beans, and of course more greens. This week are seeing cucumbers 2 to 3 inches long, high tunnel beefsteak tomatoes ping pong size, and kohlrabi starting to form on the stalk. It won’t be long now before we start seeing some new items in your weekly share.

New in your shares this week will be Swiss chard. I love chard. Make sure to check out this week’s recipe for Creamed Swiss Chard. This recipe can also be used for creamed spinach. Also in your share this week will be more green garlic, scallions, and a mix of salad greens.

For those members who pick up on Tuesday evenings, this coming Tuesday will be the start of the Tuesday Evening Farmers Market in Bloomington. The market is held at the same place you have been meeting me at for your share each week. I will be selling at the market and will be set up in the market at about the same place you have been meeting me each week. I will have a red top tent and a farm table banner.

See everyone at one of the Markets, 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.