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Posted 9/27/2017 7:21pm by Joe Baughman.

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 on the farm preparing for the winter growing season or even about the covey of Bob White Quail I saw running around in the weeds on the farm. Pretty cool. Instead I will write a big Thank You to our members. Thank you for supporting our small farm and thank you for supporting the local food movement. I hope you have enjoyed the CSA this year. It is our CSA members that drive the farm from early spring to fall. Although the CSA season is over for this year you will still be able to enjoy our products by visiting the farmers market at Bloomington. The outdoor market runs through the end of November and we will be there most Saturdays. We also will be at the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market indoors at Harmony School beginning the first Saturday of December and every Saturday through the end of March 2018. We hope to see you at the markets.
Important Notice:
If you took advantage of the Vacation Option Week your last share will be next week. I will be leaving a reminder with your share this week and we will be sending you a reminder by email next week. Your share pick up will be at your usual place next week.
In your share this week:
Sweet Potatoes the taste of fall and winter. See this week’s recipes one of them is my favorite for sweet potato pie. German Gold potatoes are on the menu again one of my favorite potatoes. A mix of colored Sweet Peppers and a few Green Bell Peppers perfect for stuffed peppers. Butternut Squash and Buttercup Squash. I have not tried the Buttercup Squash but have heard it is very good. And to round things out Lettuce Salad Mix. Enjoy the taste of fall.

Help Needed:
Freedom Valley Farm is now hiring. We are looking for an honest, hard working individual that likes to work outdoors, all seasons, and wants to learn about growing vegetables and selling at farmers markets. If you know of someone that would be interested please have them call me or email me. Jim Baughman 317-508-3845 jim@freedomvalleyfarm.com .
Thanks,
Jim

Posted 9/20/2017 7:58pm by Jim Baughman.

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 advantage of the one week vacation option it will be made up the following week. I have to be honest I feel we are somewhat limping across the finish line this year. As good as the year has been the farm has suffered a bit from different weather conditions throughout the year. Most recently has been the very dry conditions, hardly any rain for the past 8 weeks. Almost everything has been grown with irrigation water which makes germination of the fall crops difficult at best, let alone things just don’t seem to grow as well with irrigation water compared to good old rain. Earlier in the season back in May and early June we had too much rain which made for later than normal plantings of some of our late crops like winter squash, late potatoes, and sweet potatoes. All of those crops are doing ok but could be better if they were planted earlier and we would have gotten a little more rain late in the season. All in all though we will make it through the season and the markets have been good this year. Speaking of weather ( like I don’t speak of it enough) can you believe it as soon as I wrote about the abnormal cool temperatures we were having and how it was affecting the crops it’s like somebody turned the thermostat up and now we are forecasted for several days of abnormal high temperatures in the 90’s. Oh well I always say there is no pleasing us farmers when it comes to weather.

In your shares this week:
Acorn Squash. The first of the winter squashes to be harvested. Please see this week’s recipes for a good baked squash or stuffed acorn squash recipe. Lettuce or salad mix, sweet peppers, a mix of hot peppers, and a couple of pickling cucumbers to replenish your refrigerator pickles or just to eat fresh.
Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 9/13/2017 10:13pm by Jim Baughman.

Greetings,
Fall has been in the air. As much as I love the fall season this year we received an early taste of it that almost brought the farm to a screeching halt. With night time temperatures in the low forty’s and day time highs in the 60’s it definitely slowed the growth on the last of our summer crops. Even the lettuce that grows really well in cooler temperatures slowed to a point it was not large enough to harvest for market last week. I think fall can be a somewhat bittersweet time for a vegetable farmer. As much as we are tired of dealing with tomatoes we suddenly realize that the tomato season is over and we will soon be wishing we had more of them. It’s actually a very short season. That summer staple zucchini that so many weeks we had so many and we relentlessly look for new recipes to use them, their growth slows to a crawl with the cool night time temperatures. Soon we will be wondering why I did not freeze more for use in winter breads and pastries. Yes as much as we will soon miss these summertime treats bring on the cool fall temperatures with all the fall colors and all those fall vegetables like winter squashes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and carrots. I love fall! It just seems it has come a little early this year.
Planted this week:
One lonely bed of lettuce. The last of our late fall crops were seeded last week. This week has been spent cleaning up the tomato leftovers from the greenhouses.
In your shares:
Zucchini. This will be the last of the zucchini this season. This week they are a little larger than usual; great for shredding and freezing or making zucchini boats (stuffed zucchini) see this week’s recipe. This week I am also including the recipe for zucchini chocolate cake my favorite. Also this week you will receive sweet peppers and Shiitake mushrooms (both can be used in the zucchini boat recipe). This week a new fingerling potato called Papa Concho - a somewhat oddly long shaped potato of Puerto Rican decent (great for slicing up and roasting). Lettuce mix and a tomato or two will round out this week’s share.
Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 8/30/2017 8:31pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi All,
We had a good work week on the farm. The weather has been mild and we received some significant much needed rain fall. With the tomato crop winding down we have switched into fall/winter mode working and planting any available bed or spot we have with fall greens or winter carrots; all the while, we are still dealing with the last of the tomatoes and the harvest of other crops like green beans and potatoes.
Yes fall is in the air and coming soon. Our winter squash planting is doing ok; it seems the plants did not set as many fruits as they should have but the squash we have is growing well. The sweet potatoes need more rain in order to size up properly; the recent rain will help but really need some more in the next few weeks. All in all I think we have come through the summer fairly well and seem to be in pretty good shape for fall. The farm is in serious need of a cleanup and mowing but we should be able to start easing into some of those chores as fall approaches.
With the Labor Day weekend coming we will be taking a much needed break next week. Next week will be the last of the vacation weeks from the CSA and maybe a break from a few of our farmers' markets. Although there will still be work to do on the farm we will have a reduced schedule with a little less pressure to meet schedules. I hope everyone will take some time this Labor Day weekend to spend time with either family or friends or both.

Planted this week: The last of the winter carrots have been seeded. Fall lettuce, Asian Greens, and spinach.
In your shares this week: Green Beans (see this week’s recipe), German Gold Potatoes (similar to Yukon Gold but better), Tomatoes, Sweet Red Bull Horn Peppers (some call Italian Frying Peppers), Zucchini, Green Tomato.

*Notice* the farm will be taking a vacation break from the CSA next week. There will not be a share pick up next Thursday Sept 7th. This will be the last of our vacation breaks and we will be back to wrap up the last few weeks of this seasons CSA.

Best,
Jim

Posted 8/23/2017 7:32pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi All,
The “Eclipse” has come and gone. In a matter of hours or minutes here and gone. It was without much fanfare here on the farm. Unfortunately we had a cloudy day with severe thunderstorm warnings out to the direct west of us in Illinois just as the eclipse was happening. I have to admit even though we were not in the totality zone it was a bit eerie as the light and temperature diminished in small waves and the earth became quiet. It was a bit like severe weather was coming but not quite the same. I couldn’t see the sun because we had cloud cover but also I did not have a pair of the special glasses for viewing. On a 90 degree very humid day I took advantage of the cooler temperatures and did some extensive field work prepping some beds for carrot planting. It was actually quite pleasant after experiencing a very hot and humid morning to have it cool off with a nice breeze. I worked hard to try and actually seed the carrots to see if the eclipse would have any effect on them but a brief rain shower popped up just as I was to seed plus it was just about at the end of the eclipse. Oh well maybe we will get another chance in seven years with the next eclipse. It is said that the path may be directly over the farm next time.

Planted this week: Carrots, carrots, carrots. As I said last week our winter carrot planting is quite the undertaking we are about one third of the way there a little behind but I feel in pretty good shape. Also planted were winter beets. This year we are dedicating four of our high tunnel inside growing beds to beets. We have grown beets in the winter before but always out in the fields and the results have been subpar. We hope by growing them in one the high tunnels we will have better yields and be able to have them fresh late into the winter. Fall cucumbers were transplanted as well as fall zucchini.

In your shares: We have Green Beans finally. Better late than never. After several failed attempts this year we finally had some come through. Check out this week’s green bean recipe. Also new this week will be pickling cucumbers. These are the cukes you want to pickle although they can be eaten fresh as well. Pickling cucumbers can be eaten or pickled at any size although the larger they get they have more seeds then a slicing cucumber has. Be sure to check out this week’s recipe for refrigerator pickles. It has some helpful tips, and recipes for pickling different types of vegetables not just cucumbers. You will also receive tomatoes, zucchini, and lettuce in this week’s share. As always enjoy the fresh taste of summer.
Jim

Posted 8/16/2017 7:17pm by Jim Baughman.

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. I guess it is still summer after all. We could use some rain at the farm it has been 4 weeks now since any significant rain fall. We dug potatoes today and the dirt had no sign of moisture in it at all. Myself and the farm crew have been moving irrigation hoses and lines around like crazy. Getting new crops to germinate has been really difficult. I always find it amazing that our crops won’t grow without water but the lack of water sure doesn’t stop the weeds from growing. We have been so busy harvesting, mostly tomatoes, that we haven’t mowed in several weeks. I suppose it’s like this every year. We always seem to get it cleaned back up in the fall. Fall can’t come soon enough for me. It’s my favorite season of the year.

Planted this week: We started our winter carrot plantings. This is a fairly large undertaking for us. We grow and sell a lot of carrots through the winter months and we have about a 3 week window to get them planted and germinated in order to have them for winter. Also planted were fall salad greens.

In your shares: It’s Ratatouille time. In your share you will have Egg Plant, Zucchini, Green Bell Peppers, and Tomatoes. See this week’s recipe for Classic Ratatouille. Also in your share you will have Magic Molly purple fingerling Potatoes. These are new for us this year. They are a gourmet potato kind of small and oblong shaped. These have a deep purple skin and flesh. Very good roasted. Lettuce mix will round out the share this week.
Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 8/9/2017 7:36pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,
Hasn’t the weather been nice? We could use some rain on the farm but the temperatures couldn’t be better in the middle of summer. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. It’s that time of year when our tomato crop is all consuming. We actually cut back on the amount of tomatoes planted this year, primarily because we were planting so many the past two years only to see them devastated by blight. This year the smaller planting has been very successful and we have been busy just trying to keep up with all of them. We try to pick our tomatoes as ripe as possible. Unlike the home gardener who can leave them on the vine until completely red ripe, most farms of our size have to pick them somewhere between green with a little blush and red ripe in order to clean, sort and pack them for market and not let them rot. We choose to pick our tomatoes almost red ripe and let them ripen up by the time we get to market. We probably have more waste of rotted tomatoes this way but I feel the longer you can leave a tomato on the vine the better the flavor. Tomatoes have to harvested, sorted, cleaned and packed. Then we store them in a 65 degree walk in cooler. Before we go to market we again go through all of them to make sure they are all still in good shape. This process right now is taking us about 4 days out of the week as we harvest tomatoes every 2 to 3 days. I could see why a larger tomato farm would harvest them green and let them ripen up but I feel the end product is not quite as good. There’s nothing like a good ripe Indiana tomato. Even with all the hard work we are enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Planted this week: Not much - we are going to have to get on the ball. I managed to plant a few beds of succession greens and lettuce to keep us going until fall but believe it or not the window is closing on the days we can germinate and bring a crop to maturity before chance of frost.

In your Shares: Guess what? Tomatoes. Red Slicers and Heirloom Tomatoes. Beets (the tops have been removed). Lettuce Mix. Zucchini is back but not a lot everyone will receive at least one. We have the last of a cucumber crop so again everyone should receive at least one. Also Basil, Green Onions, and Jalapeno Peppers.
Thanks much,
Jim

Posted 8/2/2017 6:28pm by Jim Baughman.

Hi Folks,
Well here we are, well past the midway part of the season (week 13 0f 20) and I have failed to express my mid season thank you to all of our CSA members. So a big THANK YOU to all for supporting our farm and supporting the local food movement. At mid season plus I have to say the farm is doing pretty good this year. The farm crew is a little battered and torn (nothing too serious). Chip has been having some back spasms and had an 'off farm' laceration to his leg that required a few stitches, Dayton has been fighting off (think he has it whipped) a sinus infection for about 2 weeks, and I keep chugging along sometimes don’t quite know how. All in all we seem to be managing even though it is one of the busiest times of the season with the all consuming tomatoes this time of year. The weather has been pretty good and seems to have settled into a pattern of just enough rain every week (at least around here). As I have said before it is the CSA and our CSA members that keeps the sense of urgency high at the farm, which is a good thing. I feel our CSA keeps us growing a diverse selection of crops along with a little more variety then we would if we were a market only farm. We are always thinking and responding in ways that evolve around next week’s or next month’s share. Having a CSA and a loyal membership definitely contributes to the success of our farm and to that again I say 'Thank You'.

Planted this week: Fall zucchini succession crop. We seeded our fall early winter kale. Also seeded was a late succession crop of cucumbers.

In your shares this week: All Blue Potatoes - these blue skinned blue fleshed potatoes are great for roasting or frying. Eggplant - see this week’s recipes for Eggplant Tomato Bake or grilled Eggplant. Also there will be Slicing Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, and a Lettuce Greens Mix.

I hope you are enjoying the taste of summer.
Thanks,
Jim

Posted 7/26/2017 7:51pm by Jan Schofield.

Hi Folks,
It seems to be that time of year where we are just going through the motions at the farm. Although we are starting to think about some fall and winter crops (carrots) and where to plant them that activity is still a few weeks off. We have fallen into maintain and harvest mode. Our potato and squash crops are looking good and are requiring very little attention right now. We will start harvesting some of the more gourmet type potatoes next week. This year we have the blue potatoes and two types of fingerling potatoes along with our more winter storage varieties. Tomatoes continue to ripen but not as fast as I would like or would have thought a week ago. This year our heirloom tomatoes are doing well. We are starting to see some blight on them but expect a pretty decent crop. We have been pleasantly surprised with a few ripe heirlooms the past few days. Although sometimes a little ugly looking you can’t beat the flavor of the heirloom tomatoes. We are also beginning to get some ripe egg plant and peppers but not quite enough for our CSA shares and hardly enough to take to market but we know more are coming. We have definitely settled into summer on the farm with all the summer crops and summer weather.


Planted this week: Succession crops of lettuce and greens. We transplanted watermelon plants although late for the year we feel if successful we will have watermelons in September. Also seeded were fall cucumbers, kale, and late zucchini.


In the shares: Tomatoes a mix of heirloom and red slicers, beets some shares will receive red others gold, cucumbers (see this week’s recipe), summer onions, basil and dill, and jalapeno peppers.
Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 7/19/2017 7:33pm by Jan Schofield.

Hi All,
The heat is on. With temperatures in the 90’s the past few days and forecasted for the next several days we definitely know we are in the dog days of summer. So far the farm crew and I have handled it quite well. Drinking lots of water and taking some short breaks out of the sun and heat from time to time. We can only hope the crops will hold up. Generally a day or two of 90 degree plus weather doesn’t have too much affect on most crops but when you have several days back to back and add in no rain it can stress some plants. Tomatoes for example will not germinate in temperatures above 90 and can suffer from blossom drop losing all there blossoms. Most plants will wilt and stress in the heat of the day only to regain vigor when the sun goes down too many days of this in a row will eventually cause plant set back. All in all most of our crops are handling it well. We will keep the irrigation going and hope the heat wave is short lived and we get some normal rain fall soon. In the mean time the farm crew and I will try to stay watered up and not over do it.


Planted this week: This may be one of the few weeks throughout the spring, summer, and fall season that we did not really plant or seed anything. Most of the week has been spent weeding, irrigating, or harvesting. We are starting to see peppers and egg plant beginning to size up and tomato harvest is becoming a daily event.


In the shares this week: This week will see the first of the red slicing Tomatoes. Although some of them are a little smaller then we like we will have larger ones in the weeks to come. Also in the shares will be Red Potatoes, Leeks, Zucchini, and salad mix.
Enjoy,
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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