Thursday, February 23, 2017

Getting the Ball Rolling

The 2017 Fair Share Farm CSA is officially set into motion. Here we go for yet another unique season of farming and eating. We hope it is a good ride this year as we work to improve the farm, the CSA, and our fermenting skills.

Not sure why we keep calling this a sabbatical year, but we do spend time studying and taking time to focus on things. We have gone to several conferences, taken a short trip to Jeff City to discuss organic farming concerns with our State Rep., worked on farm landscaping, and have implemented an on-line system for member signup.

2016 members can expect an email with signup info. We are scaling back to 100 members and a smaller share size for this season.

Meanwhile on the farm we have been tending the chickens and our newest flock has begun laying. We have plenty of eggs for sale. Pick up at the farm anytime. The hens are happy and healthy and a treat to see.

We have been penning them in areas that were mulched last year with hay. Their constant scratching of the ground really fluffs up the soil. The beds in the picture above have been the chicken winter quarters for several years. The organic matter in this area has reached 5.2% and is steadily increasing. Our soil sampling demonstrates the improvements that biological farming can provide.
Next to the hens we are trying a method pioneered by Jean-Martin Fortier. This silage wrap is black on top and white on the bottom. Conditions are created where weed seeds germinate and sprout, but then die due to lack of sunlight. It's a 50' x 100' piece of sail that can be tricky to manage.

The greenhouse is up and filling. The number of flats is less than in the past and that makes us nervous, but things are growing well. Thanks again to Purple Cow Organics for the high quality potting soil.

And the high tunnel requires lots of tending also. Manage the row covers, clean up and amend the beds, irrigate, seed, and keep it warm and well ventilated. Covered growing is a method all unto itself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

In the Share: Week 7 extended season

SWEET POTATOES  orange-fleshed Beauregards

LETTUCE MIX  More mix from the fields






ROOT MIX  A mix of radishes, turnips, beets and carrots

HERB CHOICE thyme, rosemary or dried herbs

NEXT WEEK:  The 2016 CSA season is over.


What a week!  As I said in an email to the membership after the election, no one is going to build a better world for us.  That is true no matter who is in the White House.  We must work together to create a world that is just, fair and based on love and mutual respect.  In our small way, these lofty goals were visible this past Sunday at the CSA meeting.  Thanks to all who participated.  For the full rundown on what transpired, check your email inbox.   We appreciate everyone's interest and support of our plans for sabbatical in 2017.

The end of the CSA season has arrived with the final shares to the extended season members.  This usually is cause for bittersweet celebration at the farm.  The first shares went out in mid-April, almost 7 months ago.  Since then we have been on a weekly CSA schedule that is relentless.  Until now.  We are looking forward to the winter work of maintaining equipment, organizing the barns and planning for the year ahead.

What to Do With Your Share---Extended Season Week 7

Well this is it for 2016. Thanks once again for the support that helps us be able to keep doing the work we are doing. As always the season was filled with good food, fun work crews, unpredictable weather, and life.

This closing chapter includes a wonderful variety of produce and seasonings. Today we harvested the marjoram in anticipation of low temperatures that will finally do it in. This Mediterranean herb may just be my favorite. Nothing is more aromatic among our dried herbs.
Beautiful marjoram growing robustly in mid-November
With this week's share, and any vegetables you may have left or stored up from previous shares, your options are many right now. A few suggestions include: tagine sweet potatoes, leek and tomato pasta, angel hair pasta with leeks, and curried hakurei turnips. Remember you can always search the blog. With 9 years of posts you should be able to find something good.

Taking time to walk the grasslands of the farm

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

In the Share: Week 6 extended

LETTUCE  salad mix from the fields



SWEET POTATOES  Bonitas with yellow flesh





HERB CHOICE  Cilantro, dill, or cutting celery

NEXT WEEK:  sweet potatoes, garlic, greens, herbs,

I am beginning to write this on Monday night before the election.  That's a day earlier than usual due to the fact that I may not be able to tear myself away from the election results tomorrow.    I hope for a brighter day after a year of intolerance and division.

Besides voting, the big task tomorrow is preparing for frost.  Looks like we are going to have one Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  I happy to see cold weather in the forecast after what has been a very strange fall season.  Perhaps the crisp mornings will remind us that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away.  We encourage everyone to go local and organic for your holiday meals.  For those in the extended season, you get your last share the week before Thanksgiving.  For all of our other members, feel free to order off of our email bulk list.  And for everything else, consider shopping the  KC Food Circle Holiday Pop-up   .  Fair Share Farm will be in the house with ferments, sweet potatoes, garlic and greens.  Click the link to see a list of all the awesome vendors.  Hope to see you there!

What to Do With Your Share---Extended Season Week 6

Not your average blog night. They've started calling states and my attention is being drawn in another direction. A big night in American history.

We still have to eat though, and the fields have been quite generous lately. We have been making quite a few stir-fries, and have been using the lingering flavors of past meals to make our sauce. As an example, we cooked up some ribs recently in our dutch oven, and kept the pan drippings for future use. Namely, to add some umami to a pan of sautéed vegetables.

Volunteer bok choi
We are getting the kitchen warmed up, taking what time we have as we wrap up the season to build up an inventory of ferments. It has been a pleasure to have such a functional space to prepare our products.

An early morning view into the kitchen

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

In the Share: Week 5 extended

SPINACH   The leaves are large and in charge.

SWEET PEPPERS  The weather has forgotten that it is November and so we still have sweet peppers ripening in the fields.

HAKUREI TURNIPS  The leafy growth and warm weather has attracted some aphids in the high tunnel.  You might want to wash your greens extra carefully if you don't want extra protein.

LETTUCE  We continue to try to make the lettuce last.  Huge heads of red leaf had to be picked on Friday.  A salad a day keeps the doctor away.

LETTUCE OR ARUGULA  A choice of a second head of lettuce or arugula.

BROCCOLI/GAI LAN  We are down to side shoots of broccoli which are much like the gai lan.

SWEET POTATOES  Orange type this week.

RADISHES  red globes from the fields and high tunnel.

HERB CHOICE  Cilantro, parsley or dill.

NEXT WEEK:  Greens, turnips, garlic, bok choy, lettuce, sweet potatoes, kale, bulb fennel.

With us now in November a killing frost is surely not too far away although there is no sign of it in the 10-day forecast.  It has happened that it waits until practically December.  It has been very dry as well as warm and so we have fired up the irrigation pump to keep the peppers and the field greens going.  We gave the strawberry patch a good drink as well so that they will be healthy and strong while they are dormant.  The high tunnel is the opposite of dormant right now.  We continue to struggle to keep up with it's leafy growth.

Pretty fantastic looking, really!  Makes a farmer proud.  All this leafy-ness is not all fabulous, however.  We plant beneficial alyssum to draw in predators like brachnid wasps, but we still have aphids especially on the radish tops.  Which if you have to pick a leaf for an aphid to go after, it could be worse.

On Saturday we completed the tomato teardown and expanded the chicken yard into it.  They really enjoyed the old hay that we use to mulch the tomatoes and quickly put their heads down into it hunting bugs and seeds.

What to Do With Your Share---Extended Season Week 5

It is often amazing to see just what influence the weather has over our crops. The weather of late has allowed our plant to "put on growth." We are fortunate with modern weatherforcasting to have know to harvest before the mid-October frosts, so that we can enjoy the new fruits and greenery of this late fall burst of produce.

Our latest sweet pepper harvest ever
I was talking to one of my sisters the other day and she said that they had a large garden harvest of peppers last week and proceeded to make stuffed peppers. I searched our archives and found a couple recipes that should help a resourceful cook also make some stuffed dishes out of what is in recent shares.

The first, of course, is stuffed peppers. Our newsletter from way back in September 2004 (our first CSA season), has a great recipe for cheese stuffed peppers. While the recipe calls for cherry bell peppers, you can use whatever ones are in your share.

The other is stuffed chard leaves. Kale can also be used for this recipe. Just about any vegetable in the share can be added to the stuffing.