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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

Posted 7/12/2017 8:04pm by Jan Schofield.

Hi Folks,
I hope everyone enjoyed some time with family or friends or maybe just a few days off work around the fourth. I know I did although not a full week off we definitely enjoyed the break from the weekend to the fourth. I’ll bet our CSA members are more than ready for the return of some fresh veggies this week. The farm had actually planned to take most of the week off and not go to any farmers markets but that didn’t quite work out. We found out that the veggies don’t take a break from growing and we had a little surplus so off to 2 markets we went last weekend. We still enjoyed the break earlier in the week and it definitely helped to recharge the batteries so to speak. So back to a full work week. We are starting to see the summer crops come on a few ripe tomatoes here and there is a good indicator we will be flush with them in a few weeks. Eggplant and peppers all have small fruit on them so will be a little while yet. The midseason potatoes are looking good loaded with blooms and plenty of small tubers. So far the rain has been pretty steady just about when we need it. All in all the growing season is going pretty good. We are glad to be back this week and bringing our CSA members their fare share.

Planted this week: We transplanted a succession crop of zucchini; the old patch maybe has a week or two left in it. We also transplanted watermelon, better late than never, we will see how they turn out. Also a large planting of pickling cucumbers for late summer pickles. We finally had a planting of green beans come up properly. We have planted them over four times this year with very poor germination each time so looks like we will have some at some point just later than we like.

In your shares this week: A full serving of Cherry Tomatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms (grown on our outdoor oak logs), a couple of slicing Cucumbers, Summer Onions, Lettuce and Greens Salad Mix, and a sprig or two of fresh Basil and fresh Dill.
Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 6/28/2017 7:01pm by Jan Schofield.

Hi All,
With all the major field plantings done, finally, we have been able to concentrate this week on much needed mowing, weeding, and general straightening at the farm. We still have a ways to go but we put a big dent in it this week. We have reached that time of the year where we can now concentrate on maintaining the crops we have planted and nurture them onto harvest. We will still have many succession plantings of various crops but the major project plantings are done. Irrigation and watering have been all consuming this week. The farm is going on 3 weeks again without rain. Yes that’s right seems everybody got rain last Thursday and Friday except us. Bummer. I hope the slight chances in the forecast for Friday and Monday favor us. Some will have a long holiday weekend with the 4th coming on Tuesday. We plan to take a few days off at the farm next week for a much needed mid-season break. Speaking of breaks, there will not be a CSA share drop next week. Please read the important notice below.


Important Notice:
There will not be a CSA share drop next week on Thursday July 6th. Next week is one of 3 preplanned and designated weeks that the farm is taking a break. When planning our CSA this year I decided that the 24 week season was too grueling on myself and the farm workers and that we could use a little time off so I decided to plan into the CSA 3 farm vacation weeks and shorten the season 1 week early making a total of 20 weeks this year rather than the previous years’ 24 weeks. We will send out a notice next week reminding you not to pick up a share.


In this week’s share:
Asian Green Salad Mix, Radishes, Green Onions, New Red Potatoes, Zucchini, and another sampling of Cherry Tomatoes (we have a ton of green cherry tomatoes we just can’t seem to get them to ripen in quantity).
Enjoy the 4th holiday,
Jim

Posted 6/21/2017 7:32pm by Jim Baughman.

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 manner things really grow. Most plants need the spring weather to build up a good root system to survive the warmer and dryer days of summer. This year we really seem to be behind on a few of the larger plantings because of the wet May we had and timing of several large down pours of rain. Last week we got the sweet potatoes planted I would say about a month late but they should be okay if we get a few decent rains this summer. Tomorrow we will finish planting our winter squash. Being behind on this one concerns me a bit more due to the fact that we ‘direct seed’ our squash. Meaning we plant the seed directly in the ground where it grows. The seed requires quite a bit of consistent moisture to germinate, something we may not see this time of year. Squash takes about 90 days to mature from germination. This puts us right at or about frost time in the fall. All in all though we have had a good past two weeks on the farm. The crew has been working hard and steady through the heat. We now have all the large field plantings done and can really just start to work on maintaining the crops we have. Summer is here and soon will be the taste of all our labors in the way of those tasty summer crops.


Planted this week: Winter Squash - 5 different varieties this year: Butternut, Acorn, Kubocha Sunshine and Winter Sweet, Burgess Butter Cup, and an heirloom Sweet Winter Pie. Although not a planting we did stake our Heirloom field tomatoes this week. This is a very large undertaking of staking and stringing over 600 tomato plants. Glad that’s done. Also planted were a succession crop of beets.


In your shares: A taste of summer to come. Everyone will receive a small sampling of cherry tomatoes the first of the season not a lot but we harvested what we have and will divide them up in the shares. There will be larger portions in the near future. Also more summer goodness - Cabbage, New Red Potatoes, Kale, Zucchini, Beets (tops removed), and garlic scapes.
Enjoy,
Jim

Posted 6/14/2017 8:20pm by Jan Schofield.

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 violent when the temperatures reach the low 90’s and suddenly drop 20 degrees or so. Makes me very nervous but at the same time after a hard hot day in the field it feels really good. The nervousness comes from worrying about our greenhouses and the violent winds. When the greenhouses are open a strong wind can get under them and you have the parachute effect which can be very damaging. This time of year we have our greenhouses wide open because of the excessive heat if we were to close them it would be 140 degrees plus inside them. The problem comes when there is a predicted storm with these day time temps you can’t close them up until it’s almost too late or if you make it at all. Today everything is good. As I said the rain was much needed. We had been in about a 3 week dearth and have been scrambling to hook up irrigation the past week. We also had just completed today before the rain our sweet potato planting. The rain will really help them get off to a good start. I guess I would much have the rain come in like this when needed rather than no rain at all.
Planted this week: For the most part we spent most of the week prepping the field for our sweet potato planting. This year it was a pretty big undertaking. Last year’s sweet potatoes were received very well at the winter markets so I decided to double the planting this year planting close to 2000 sweet potato plants. We hope that will be a lot of winter and Holiday nutrition coming your way.
In your share this week: Zucchini is on the menu. Our zucchini crop is doing fabulous. We are sending a pretty good portion in the shares this week. Please check out this week’s recipe. You may also want to check out other recipes on the internet for this great summer staple. Also in the shares will be Lettuce Mix, Green Onions, Radishes, Cucumber, and Broccoli. All shares will receive Broccoli but we may not have enough to double up in the full shares if not we will be substituting a surprise item.
Stay cool,
Jim

Posted 6/7/2017 7:21pm by Joe Baughman.

Hi All,
Have you ever heard the old saying “let’s make hay while the sun is shining”? The neighboring farms around here have been doing just that. There has been a bustle of tractors and hay implements going up and down the roads taking advantage of the sunny dry days to get the hay in. I love it when they cut hay there is a sweet smell in the air for several days and the landscape takes on a different view. It also reduces the pollen in the air, which has been very heavy this year. Here on the farm we to have been taking advantage of the sunny, dry, and mild weather and have made some strides in getting somewhat caught up, at least being able to see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. We could not ask for better working conditions then what we have had this week. The dry fields have allowed us to finally finish the last third of our potato planting. A month late but I feel they will be alright as they are our winter storing varieties and will be fine as long as we get some rain this summer. Speaking of rain, we could use a little it’s been almost 2 weeks now and getting a little dry. I know there is no pleasing us farmers either too much rain or not enough. We will continue to make hay while the sun is shining and hope for just enough rain in between.
Planted this week: As said above the last of the potatoes, finally. We transplanted Sweet Bell Peeper Plants to the field and high tunnels, as well Jalapeno Peppers. A succession planting of cucumbers, green onions, and Asian Greens. One other finally and about time Green Beans, late but they should be ok.
In the shares: Kale (see the recipe for Kale Chips and Kale Pesto. Beets, Purple and Orange Carrot mix (half shares), and lettuce mix. Full shares will receive asparagus this week.
Enjoy the mild weather summer is coming.
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.