Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How is Organic Different

Dear friends,

I'd like to share just a piece of information on how USDA Certified Organic crops are grown differently than Non Organic.

To provide nutrients for plants to grow conventional farmers spread chemical fertilizers that are made from petroleum products. Imagine a large bag of Miracle Gro. These chemicals (Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus) NPK will make the plants grow fast and beautifully, but they actually destroy the millions of bacteria and fungus that are found natuarally in the soil. Overtime a conventional farmer grows dependent on chemical fertilizers as the soil become more and more depleted of good soil and soil organisms.

Sustainable Harvest Farm does no such thing. We try to take care of the soil and organisms by feeding the soil a complex mixture of dead plant material and compost. The organic matter that we add to the soil (compost) feeds the organisms which in turn create wonderful soil that has all of the nutrients that the plants need and ultimately that end up in our body. There is actually research that promotes the fact that Organic crops have more beneficial nutrients that promote our health than convential crops.

But let me share a struggle with you. We have been leasing a piece of property from a gentelman 1.5 miles down the road. In order to get the soil filled with more good stuff for next year I've been spreading this compost that we make on our farm with an old piece of equipment called a manure spreader. Don't worry, we don't put raw manure on our fields that you're crops are coming off of this year. We won't actually use this field that we're spreading compost on until 2012, but anyway. This old piece of equipment has a long history behind it that I'll have to share some other time, but it keeps breaking, and breaking, and breaking, and...........breaking. It will hold probably 1.5-2 tons of compost at a time. Its job is to throw the compost off in a 8 foot swath about 1/2 in thick and completley covers the soil with this compost. The only problem is that if one of the chains gets a tiny bit out of alignment the machine no longer does its job and you have to unload that 3-4000 lbs of compost off by hand so you can fix the part that broke. Well that's happened 4 times in the past week.

So, if you ever wonder if I always love farming....no I don't. What's the alternative?

1-buy a different manure spreader-3000 dollars

2-borrow a neighbors- maybe break his and spend 500 dollars fixing it
3-rent one-they are always rented when you need it
4-quit organic and go conventional
5-keep trying to fix it
6-start buying lottery tickets

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Friday, June 24, 2011

CSA Week 3

We are starting to transition from leafy green vegetables that may not be as familiar to you to more standard crops.

This week in your basket you will find:

Green onions
Mini Yellow Squash
Mustard Greens

One of my favorite things that Amanda cooks that with the turnips and radishes is this recipe. Super Easy and Yummy http://www.marthastewart.com/318907/glazed-radishes~

Don't forget about the link in the upper right hand corner called http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/index2.php?cmd=storageusetips

WHAT TO DO WITH extra greens

If you're wondering, as I have, what you'll ever do with another bag full of greens here are some ideas that are getting us through "greens" season:

1) When in doubt, Option #1 - make a quiche
Make or buy your favorite pie crust and fill it with....
-5-6 eggs lightly beaten
-half a cup of milk
-1 cup of your favorite cheese (I like sharp cheddar or parmesan)
-1-2 cups of steamed or sauteed greens (you MUST MUST MUST drain the water off very well or you'll end up with soggy quiche - yuck)
-Bake it for 45-55 minutes at 350 (until the center is set), and you have a tasty treat full of whatever veggies you couldn't fit in anywhere else in your weekly menu.

When in doubt Option #2 - lasagna
-Steam, saute or boil your greens and use the cooked greens to replace the spinach in a spinach lasagna or calzone. YUM!

We hope you're having a great week, enjoying the cooler weather, and looking forward to some more fresh veggies in your basket this week!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What is this veggie?


I've added a link on the top right of the website that shows pictures and basic storage information of every vegetable.

Thank you,
Ford Waterstrat

Friday, June 17, 2011

WHAT TO DO WITH............?

Please let me know if you are ever unsure of how to cook, store, or use the vegetables that you get.

Red Beets - organic
The first beets of the season! Remove the roots from the stems and use the greens either raw in a fresh green salad, or cook with your kale. Beets are known to be good for anemia, your heart and circulation. They also contain notable amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium & phosphorus.

Refrigerate for storage; the root will keep for several weeks, the greens should be used within a few days. Recipes can be found on our online web blog, and included here.

CSA Week 2

Welcome to week # 2!

All is well on the farm. The cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, watermelons, cantaloupes, okra, eggplant, cabbage, fenell, and other vegetables are coming along very nicely! It's really neat to see all of the plants growing so well.
On the farm there are always new challenges and blessings.

This week the rabbits and ground hogs found the lettuce and have eaten well over 100 heads, so there will not be as much lettuce as I’d like. We should have some more in a couple of weeks. The cooler weather made the broccoli head out nicely. If it gets too hot and can go to seed to quickly and ruin the heads.

In your basket you will find the following USDA Certified Organic Vegetables.

• Several Large Bunches of Broccoli
• Red Beets
• Bunch of Mustard Greens.
• Small bag of lettuce
• 1 head of Bok Choy
• 1 big bag of Purple or Green Kale
• A bunch of Radishes
• Some Small White Turnips-The greens can be cooked as well as the white root part. This variety of turnips is better small than large.
• A bunch of Basil. It has not been washed. You do not want to wet basil until right before you use it. Wetting it will make it get black spots.
• Bunch of Parsley

Looking to the future

-In 2 weeks we should have plenty of yellow and green squash, possibly cucumbers and cabbage.

-Early July the tomatoes, corn, and peppers should be ready

Friday, June 10, 2011

CSA Week 1

I hope you're excited as I am about this first CSA! Thank you for your support!

In your basket you will find the following USDA Certified Organc Vegetables.

  • 2 heads of Bok Choy

  • 1 big bag of Purple or Green Kale

  • A bunch of Radishes

  • Some Small White Turnips-The greens can be cooked as well as the white root part. There are several that are a bit small, but I didnt know how many of you liked turnips.

  • A bunch of Rainbow Swiss Chard

  • 2 Heads of Lettuce and/or Some Oakleaf Lettuce

  • A bunch of Basil. It has not been washed. You do not want to wet basil until right before you use it. Wetting it will make it get black spots. So please excuse the dirt that splattered up from the torrential, but much needed rain fall Friday.

  • Bunch of Mustard Greens.

I will email you all some recipes.

Thank you so much for your support!

Ford, Amanda, and Finley.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Amanda feels that a picture of our son is a lot neater than hearing about calf pulling

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Calf Pulling

An old school cattle and tobacco farmer that I know came by. To make it short, the calf got it's foot backwards and hung and I had to shove the calf back inside the cow then reach in and get the foot going the right way and then pull the whole calf back out. Unfortunately the calf did not survive, but we saved the cow. What a day!