Friday, July 29, 2011

Week 8

New Potatoes

Cherry Tomatoes
Green to Red Bell Peppers
Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn -Non Organic
Pickling Cucumbers
Flavor Burst Peppers
Yellow Squash
Yellow Zucchini

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's in the Name?


I took this information word for word from Elmwood is where I received a lot of training as a farmer. They are located in Georgetown KY. If you have any friends that live in that area, Elmwood is by far the best CSA farm around. Check out their website.
What's In a Name?
Often we are asked questions at the farmers market about organic, or what does sustainably grown mean, or what is all-natural? Does grass fed mean no grain was fed, but aren’t weed seeds considered grain? There are many terms in food marketing to describe production principles, sometimes even willful intention to confuse the public and throw the scent off your understanding. So let’s try to clear some of this up.

Organic is owned by the USDA and denotes a strict set of guidelines, that are overseen by a 15 member Board, administered by a certification agency, with third party inspections for verification. This is a thorough and tedious process that involves verification of every input and an audit process. Only producers, stores or products that are certified organic can legally use the word as a descriptor.

Sustainably Grown- This means the farm or processor decides what they consider sustainable and make you think it is almost organic. Who knows?

Natural- USDA allows food products to use this term for meats when nothing was added to the product after it was harvested. There is no oversight about how the animal was raised with regard to antibiotics, genetically modified grains, hormones, or animal welfare issues.

Cage Free, Free Range, Free Roaming are terms for laying hens that are loose in a ‘house’ that often contains thousands if not tens of thousands of birds that share an egg laying box with other hens but never go outside nor have space to exhibit their “chickenness” as Joel Salatin would say.

Pastured Poultry- Layers, broilers or turkeys that have access to pasture and consume plants, insects, and can scratch in the dirt for dusting or can exhibit their chickenness.

Grass Fed- There is an American Grassfed Association that is wrestling with growers and consumers about any grain in the diet. The issue for cattle and sheep is when feeding grain, it changes the pH of the digestive system, therefore altering the fatty acids in the meat in a way that tends to be less healthy for us to consume.

Locally Grown- For large grocery stores this generally means an eight-hour truck drive from the distribution center, not sure about the farm location.

Certified Angus Beef means the animal was all or mostly black and meets a certain meat quality standard. This gives a consistency in the marketplace, but says nothing about how the animals were raised.

USDA Organic” is the gold standard of truth in labeling for food merchandising. And we are proud to bring it to you weekly.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Week 7

This week's CSA basket if purchased without your CSA agreement averages out at around 28 dollars. You're Price 22 Dollars!! A CSA member mentioned that this amount of vegetables at Good Foods/Whole Foods/Etc would easily cost 50 dollars. How fresh do you think the items at those stores are? At Good Foods Co-op I remember seeing Cherries from the remote mtns of WA state where my dad grew up.

Thank you for your support!

New Items for this week

  • Several Varities of Red Tomatoes

  • Cherry Tomatoes

  • Green to Red Bell Peppers

  • Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn -Non Organic

  • Marketmore Cucumbers

  • Egg Plant

  • Mini Purple and Mini Regular Cabbage

  • Green Beans

Other Items

  • Flavor Burst Peppers

  • Basil

  • Yellow Squash

  • Zucchini

  • Yellow Zucchini

  • Cucumbers

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

LIKE Tomatoes?

Dear Friends,

  • It looks like the CSA baskets should all get a couple of ripe tomatoes.

  • If it dries out enough, I should also be able to dig some red and white new potatoes.

  • For the next several weeks we should have extra cucumbers, peppers, and squash. If anyone would like to purchase extra of any of these for canning/freezing/etc. please let me know and I'll give you a deal to die for.

  • if you "Facebook" please "LIKE US/MAKE US" YOUR FRIEND or however that works, I'm still trying to get the swing of that.

Sincere thanks!

Ford Waterstrat

Saturday, July 16, 2011

God is Good

I wanted to thank all of you for your support in our farming endeavor. Our day at the farmer's market was a real blessing! I got to meet some more people that are so supportive of our Organic Farming Practices. Many of you shared that with me that you follow Christ. It is wonderful to be surronded and supported by you all.

Sincere thanks
Ford Waterstrat

Friday, July 15, 2011

Notes from Email

A few things about sweet corn

  • It's tough to grow USDA Organic Sweet Corn. It's even tougher to keep the coons out of it. That's right 90% of my sweet corn got gobbled up by coons. I harvested enough for everyone to get one ear of Organic Sweet Corn. Mind you, the coons took the best ones, so these are a little puny.

  • You will be receiving non organic sweetcorn in your basket that my father in law grew. He's a great guy and didn't spray it at all. The only non organic substance is the seed itself and bagged fertilizer

  • We harvest at peak ripeness and then "hydro cool it" Hydro cooling is like giving it an ice bath for 30 mins. This prevents the sugary sweet taste from going to starchy starch tasting. Once it is cooled down, I put it into the walk in cooler @ 42 degrees.

  • Since we didn't spray any of it here might be one out of your several ears that have an earworm at the end of it.

  • A couple of other things to note. As we're getting into the big harvest season, there will be items that aren't harvested the morning that you get your basket. Crops that need to be cooled down in order to preserve freshness are harvested Friday morning. I'd really like to harvest everything the day you pick it up, but since I'm not a full time farmer I can't swing that. Ideally CSA pickup would be an afternoon/evening.

  • We might have cantaloupe and eggplant next weekend. For some reason, I can never get okra seeded right in the greenhouse so we don't have the several hundred plants liked I'd what I'm going to start doing is putting okra in half the baskets and rotating weeks.

  • Tomatoes should be in your basket next week. If they aren't ripe yet, I'll spray paint them red and they'll taste like a regular store bought tomato anyway! Just kidding.

    Ok, that's enough info for now.

CSA week 6

In your basket you will find the following USDA Organic Produce

  • Savoy Cabbage

  • Yellow Squash

  • Zucchini

  • Yellow Zucchini

  • Fennel

  • Green and "Flavor Burst Peppers"

  • Cucumbers

  • Sweet Corn

  • Parsley

If you'd rather have lettuce or kale instead of parsley, please let me know at the market.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Storing Basil

Drying basil is very simple, and there are several tried and true methods for doing it. The first is to merely hang it in bundles. This does tend to discolor the basil so you should place a thin layer of stripped leaves in between two folded sheets of newspaper. You can then hang it on a wire rack and turn it twice a day until completely dry. The paper will reduce the discoloration and oxidation that it would go through without the paper. Some basil lovers like to dry their herb on a special basil-drying screen and then finish the process by baking it in the oven.
When you are drying basil in the oven you should first remove all the stems from the plant leaves. Then, after tearing the basil leaves into tiny pieces, you can lay the pieces on a baking sheet. The oven should be no higher than 350 degrees to reduce the risk of browning. It should take approximately 7 - 10 for the leaves the thoroughly dry, but it may take less time in electric ovens. You should bake them until they are crumbly, but take them out before they turn brown. If this happens you won't be able to use the basil because of the burnt taste it may have. Once your basil has cooled you want to crumble it up more in order to refine it to how you like it. Another way is to use a sieve to help to thin out the basil leaves.
Oven drying is a source of argument among herb enthusiasts. Some say that it removes essential oils, and nutrients that basil has in it, and yet others don't think anything is ruined in the basil. It is really your personal preference in how you dry the basil.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Week 5

In your basket you will find the following USDA Certified Produce

  • Kale-some more kale chips, cook them down, or try using the savory kale recipe we sent you.

  • Cabbage-If you haven't tried the cabbage casserole recipe, you're missing out!

  • Bell Peppers

  • Mild Chili Peppers

  • Yellow Squash

  • Yellow Zucchini

  • Zucchini-The Zuchinni Cheese squares recipe I sent you can substitue any of the squashes.

  • Fennel-please see email about how to prepare/use it

  • Basil-I will send you all home with extra basil. I will also post a way to dry it so you can store it for later use.

  • Broccoli

  • Cucumbers

CSA Week 5

I hope all is going well for you all!

The week on the farm has been nice. Many of you are probably familiar with vegetable production, but let me shed a few ideas of what happens in providing you with vegetables for 22 weeks.

Many vegetables are planted more than once. We have 3-4 different plantings of tomatoes, 8-9 cucumber/melons plantings, 4-5 squash plantings, many plantings of lettuce. Those are the "summer vegetables" With this many plantings we can almost guarantee that you should have these throughout the summer/fall season.

Your spring and fall vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, lettuces, radishes, turnips, swiss chard, onions, etc) are started in the greenhouse about 6-8 weeks before they go into the ground and once they are in the ground they take 30-90 days to be ready to be eaten. Some things are quick like radishes, others take a long time like some varieties of cabbage.

We also try to plant several varieties of the same crop that mature within a week or two of each other. Most vegetables have a short window of peak ripeness and then quickly decline in quality. Cabbage and broccoli have about a 1-2 week window of when they are harvest able. So we plant 2-5 varieties that mature at different times. I think our earliest variety of cabbage matures on average in 50 days and the longest one takes 85 days. Now...if you get some cloudy cool weather thrown in there it throws the schedule all too pieces. When that happens you hopefully have enough of something else going well to provide you all with a full basket.

Ok, Enough for now. Sometimes some of you are probably surprised that I'm inside emailing you back and forth in the middle of the day. Since we're not pro's at this 22 week CSA yet, I spend a lot of time planning, researching, and praying!

Thank you all so much!

Ford Waterstrat

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You know its organic when......

"Even Finley has acquired a taste for fresh, raw organic vegetables! Here he is on July 4th teething on some freshly harvested squash. (Don't worry, we didn't sell this particular squash!)"

Friday, July 1, 2011

CSA Week 4

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weather that we've had.
A couple of things I'd like to share with you. Most importany, Amanda and I really appreciate your support with our CSA. It really is a wonderful way for us and you to enjoy our produce.

  1. Amanda and I would love to have the CSA members out for a farm tour this fall

  2. The fall crops are in the green house and doing well. Fall brings a lot of the same things that we've had up to this point. Broccoli, Cabbage, spinach, lettuce, etc

  3. My first posting on this blog was about helping a neighbor pull a calf. That same neighbor has a big manly tractor (mine is like a toy compared to his). Anyway, he came and helped me spread compost and lime for next years crops. Using his big tractor and a piece of equipment saved tons of time. It is really neat to work with a successful farmer that offers lots of great advice. He's actually Amanda's cousin/uncle/something like that. Neat guy though. He and his wife raise cows and tobacco.

  4. Corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers are on their way.

In your basket you will find......

  • o Broccoli
    o Mustard Greens
    o Regular and Savoy (Crinkled Cabbage)
    o Yellow Squash
    o Yellow Zucchini
    o Regular Zucchini
    o Parsley
    o Green Onions
    o Mustard Greens
    o A few green peppers
    o A few hot peppers

  • turnips

  • beets