2013 Farm News
It's a hot and dry Sunday here on the farm. It feels like summer is back after the cooler weather of the past couple weeks. The tomatoes are ripening again and the peppers and eggplant are happier, too. We are still hoping we get some nice rain tonight since it is getting very dry yet again.
We're going to keep this short and sweet since our energy levels are a little lower than normal and we are trying not to come too close to hitting that mid-season wall that just about every vegetable farmer hits this point in the season.
First of all, the online farmacy is open now until Monday at 7 AM. Lots of tasty veggies are available for your healthful consumption: greens, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers, basil (in bulk, too), sweet corn, squash, herbs and more! Pick-up at the farm from 3-7 PM on Monday.
The field tunnels are looking beautiful, full of winter goodness to come. Last week, we planted 1500 Kale, 1100 Swiss Chard, and 400 Collard plants in the tunnels, we weeded the carrots (they, too, look really good), and prepared the soil for more winter vegetables!
Thank you to all of the farmers market customers, CSA members, and farm stand customers for your continued support. And, thank you to Malia, Food Dance, the People's Food Co-op of Kzoo, and Rustica for ordering this week! We are grateful.
This Thursday night the farm will be featured in Food Dance's Farm-to-Fork series (order tickets here). We're not totally sure what Chef Robb has up his sleeve yet, but it is sure to be tasty. Hope to see you there.
Have a wonderful week.
Trent & Ruthie
The chickens on brassicas last week:
Good Morning, Friends!
It appears Mother Nature flipped on the 'Fall' switch. We've been enjoying the pleasant, cool mornings and more comfortable work days as of recent.
Speaking of Fall, the fall brassicas [broccoli, kale, cabbage, and collards] are growing well, as is the chard. We continue to sow beets, carrots, turnips, and radishes. The first sowing of salad mix, arugula, and spinach went in a week and a half ago, and we managed to get more in Thursday morning just as the rain started. Probably 2-3 weeks until it's back in the inventory. We're clearing the tunnels and preparing them for fall and winter growing. See photo below of the carrots in the Nifty 2 tunnel that sprouted this past week. With 1800 row feet of them, there will be more than enough for munching on in the cooler weather. We can't wait to eat the frost-sweetened ones, too! Kale, chard, Japanese spinach, parsley, collards, spinach, green onions, and salad mix all have spaces reserved for them in our 5 tunnels for your fall/winter eating pleasure.
A couple weeks back, I stumbled upon Still Tasty, "Your ultimate shelf life guide." Wondering how long kale will keep? Search for it, and you'll find out how to best store it in your fridge, how long it keeps, and how to and how long it will freeze. It's not just limited to produce either. Meats, drinks, grain, spices, nuts, baked goods - you name, they will likely have it.
A couple quick reminders: Thursday, August 30 from 6-8PM is the dinner at Food Dance featuring our produce. Julie Stanley told us at market yesterday that they are half full, so it's not too late to still purchase tickets. Chef Robb will be coming out to the farm sometime in the next week or so. Also, Barn Bash is Sunday, September 30 from 1-3PM. RSVP to Ruthie by replying to this email by Wednesday, September 19 only if you are able to attend.
We are still needing jars and vases [we're using larger ones now]. Simply drop off at the farm when picking up an order or your CSA box or at the Battle Creek Market on WED or the Bank Street Market on SAT, and we'll take them off your hands. Thank you!
Lastly, check the Online Farmacy for great veggies: tomatoes, kale, chard, onions, herbs [we now have thyme], squash, peppers, zinnia bouquets, CSA sampler boxes, and more! Order until 7AM Monday and we'll have your order waiting for you Monday from 3-7PM. As a reminder, please make sure you receive a confirmation email from us; otherwise, your order did not process and we won't know that you placed an order.
May you have a wonderful week, All, and be in good health!
Ruthie & Trent
Carrot cotyledons [first 2 leaves of any plant] poking up in a row in the Nifty 2 tunnel this morning. Looks like we got a good germination rate on these lovelies. The greenish blur on the left side of the tunnel is the sweet potato tops - they're going wild!
Good morning, friends!
With the sun shining brightly, we have another beautiful day in store! After a couple gloomy days, it's nice to see those sunny rays again.
We had some serious rainfall on Friday, getting over 2" of rain. It just kept coming and coming down. While we and the vegetables were grateful, it didn't make for the most pleasant harvest day. We all went through three sets of clothes to stay dry and warm. It was the first disgusting harvest day of the year, so there's no room to complain.
Fortunately, the many Fall crops we planted on Wednesday evening were happily watered in. Many market customers have been asking when our salad mix will return. We are on track to have the mix again in early to mid-September, so not long now! Spinach and arugula will be back about that same time period, as all these greens thrive in the cool and wet weather of fall in Michigan.
Our high tunnels (field greenhouses) have been active spaces on the farm this past week. We are ripping out summer crops, fertilizing, rototilling [see photo below], and replanting with fall and winter crops. On Wednesday, we planted nearly 1800 row feet of carrots in one tunnel, which we we should have available late November to February. The crops don't grow after November in the tunnels (there's not enough light to photosynthesize). The tunnels basically act as giant refrigerators and we can go in there and harvest as needed.
Enough about fall, though. We still have plenty of tasty summer produce available right now. Many kinds of tomatoes, squash (click here for Roasted Summer Squash recipe and photo), potatoes, onions, eggplant, peppers, basil, and more available via the online farmacy now. Order today or until tomorrow at 7 AM. We'll continue to be at the Battle Creek WED morning Downtown market and Kalamazoo Bank Street Market on Saturday mornings. Thanks to all those that have been supporting the farm.
Set your calendars for Sunday, September 30 from 1-3PM for our 5th Annual Barn Bash! We ask that you bring a dish to pass incorporating local, seaonal ingredients and a suggested donation of $10 to help the farm cover the costs. More details in the coming weeks as we pin them down. So we have an idea of how many to expect, please RSVP by Wednesday, September 19 to email@example.com ONLY IF YOU ARE ABLE TO ATTEND. We hope to see many of you here for a fun, food-filled afternoon down on the farm!
Lastly, quick reminder about the Green Gardens Farm to Fork dinner at Food Dance on Thursday, August 30 from 6-8PM. We would love to help them fill all the seats for this tasty event!
Enjoy this beautiful day, friends, and have a splendid week.
Trent & Ruthie
Clay rototilling in the second Nifty Hoop tunnel; this is where we planted the nearly 1800 row feet of carrots
Roasted Summer Squash [from Everyday Paleo]
2 lbs of summer squash, cut into bite size pieces [about 7-8 squash]
1 red onion, thinly sliced
8-10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coconut oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely diced
Preheat oven to 450. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the squash, onions, and garlic with the coconut oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the squash evenly on a baking sheet and bake in the center of your oven for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir the mixture half way through the cooking time. Toss the roasted squash with the diced fresh basil and serve. Try with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
We hope you are all enjoying this lovely Sunday afternoon! What a treat this weather is after what we've endured most of this summer.
Thanks to everyone who continues to support the farm through our numerous outlets: the CSA, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Farmers' Markets, online farm stand, and restaurants. We started a new account this week with Sandra Kiger of Frona's Pantry in Hickory Corners.
We are beginning to get on the dry side again at the farm. Last night, we hoped for a nice rain, but only got a few sprinkles. Not enough, so we continue to irrigate. Crops are fairing well, overall, though. We are finally starting to pick some field tomatoes, and the eggplant and peppers are picking up. Squash are still pumping out strong. Sweet corn was a big hit in the CSA boxes last week, and the tomatillos are getting close. The yield on our beans has been down due to the drought, but we hope to get some big harvests before Fall.
We continue to battle weeds (do they ever go away?) and are beginning to prep areas for Fall planting outside and in the tunnels. After this hot and dry summer, we are excited to gear up for winter growing!
The online farm stand is open now until Monday at 7 AM. Pick-up on Monday from 3-7 PM at the farm. We have some tasty crops to tantalize your taste buds. Want to squirrel away some pesto for this winter? We sell Genovese basil by the pound. There's also peppers, squash, zucchini, onions, tomatoes galore, carrots, eggplant, kale, chard, flowers, and more! Order here.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Trent & Ruthie Thompson
Farmers, Green Gardens
Ruthie picking yellow zucchini this morning:
We pick zucchini every day to prevent it from getting oversized and seedy.
Good Afternoon, Friends,
Well, our rain gauge may have broken a couple years ago, but that was some rain we received Thursday! Trent's guessed 2". We literally watched the crops, grass, and weeds perk up as the rain came down. It doesn't make up for the past weeks, but it's a good start. With more rain in the forecast for the week, we just might be back on track.
If you have a garden, you've probably felt the effects of this year's odd weather. Others of you may not. Even so, you will likely noticed food prices increasing in the coming months as the combination of the mild winter and warm spring with later frosts, as well as this drought, make for less-than-ideal growing conditions and a whole hosts of problems. 97% of Michigan's tart cherries failed this year, other fruit tree crops are estimated to have high (80% +) losses, and row crop farmers all throughout Michigan and the mid-west are coming to the realization of purchasing feed for their animals since their own fields will have low/minimal yields. Additionally, since 75% of products in the grocery store use corn by-products in them, don't expect prices on processed food products to decrease any time soon. 75% is a startling number, actually, showing our societal dependence on a limited number of raw ingredients to produce food products. This could be just the opportunity you need to support a local grower/producer to purchase truly healthy foods and to incorporate a more diverse variety into your diet.
In a more positive light, things are doing pretty well. The tomatoes have come on strong. Our field plantings are beginning to ripen. The field zucchini/squash rotation is full of flowers, and will start to take over for the rotations from one of our Nifty Hoops tunnels. A combination of compost and as much water as we could give them has resulted in a stellar onion crop. We are flush with basil. Eggplant and peppers are about to go crazy. We dug the first potatoes of the season this past Tuesday, with the help of about 21 GreenFist interns from Sprout Urban Farms. They also helped harvest eggplant, dill, peppers, tomatoes, and shallots for the CSA. We are very grateful for their help.
We have happy chickens! Egg production is about 6 1/2 dozen per day, and the eggs are finally getting larger from this year's batch. Many customers tell us that these are the best eggs that they've had...and it's true! Happy, healthy, outdoor chickens produce tastier, healthier eggs. We moved their coop this morning, and boy, do they ever make lots of noise while not-so-patiently waiting for Ruthie to open the door. They love exploring fresh ground and eating oversized squash, reject tomatoes, and wilty greens. These "cooler" temperatures are much more kind to their feathered bodies. See photo below for how they try to beat the heat.
Getting your Green Gardens veggies couldn't be easier. Through the Online Farmacy, you make the order from now until Monday 7AM, and we'll have it ready for you to pick-up Monday 3-7PM. This week, you'll find tomatoes galore, red onions, cooking greens, herbs, CSA sampler boxes, flowers, eggs, meat from Two Thumbs Ranch, pistous from DirtSong, and soaps from Maple Leaf Farm. Order early for the best selection.
Be well, friends, and happy eating!
Ruthie & Trent
This is what a hot chicken looks like. On hot nights, they also roost with their wings out.
Green Gardens on Facebook - check out our photos of the crops, chickens, markets, Ruthie's culinary creations, and neat farm sightings!
Good afternoon, Friends!
The storms that rolled through last night finally showered us with about 2/10" of rain. This doubles the amount that we've received in the past 6 weeks. Certainly not as much as we need, but the plants perked up a bit. Ideally, we would get 1" a week to keep the plants thriving. To give you an idea of how lacking we are in moisture...a CSA member told us this past week that she saw a 15' trench in town, and saw no trace of moisture until 11'-12' down. If we don't, however, get more rain in the next week or so, crops will really start suffering. In the meantime, we continue to irrigate nearly 24/7 to keep the crops we do have growing, alive.
A big thanks to everyone who came down to the Battle Creek Farmers' Market this past Wednesday morning! You made our first market of the year extremely successful! Trent will be back again this Wednesday from 9AM-1PM with more flowers and yummy, fresh vegetables.
Speaking of flowers, if you have any extra glass jars [think, salsa and tomato sauce-sized], we would love to take them off your hands. Bring them to market or drop them off at the farm if you make an order or are picking up your CSA box. We'll use them for the mini bouquets. Also, we are well-stocked egg cartons for the time being. If you've bought eggs from us, you can return those, though. Thank you to everyone who has given us some, from 1 to 41. We'll let you know when we need more.
For those of you wanting your weekly dose of Green Gardens veggies, check out the Online Farmacy. We have numerous tomato varities [heirlooms, red slicers, cherries, Brandy Boys], red and Walla Walla onions, herbs, flowers, cooking greens, squash, CSA sampler boxes, free-range eggs from our organically-fed hens, and more. We still have bulk basil for those of you interested in making pesto. Order now until 7AM Monday. [Note: this slight change allows us to harvest crops a bit earlier before the heat sets in. We thank you for your understanding and apologize for any inconvenice this may cause.]
Have a wonderful week, All, and keep up those rain dances!
Trent & Ruthie
Flowers on their way to the Battle Creek Market this past Wednesday. Clay designed and built the bucket and jar holder so we can transport flowers more easily. He also built one for the box truck, too.
We all hope you have a happy 4th this week with friends and family!
This has been the driest and hottest spring/summer in our short farming history. It has been a struggle to keep up with the irrigating, but we are managing to stay on top of our most important crops. We have neglected to water certain crops and delayed planting others in order to maintain what we have in the ground and not get overextended.
Tomatoes are beginning to blush, the Walla Walla onions are fattening up, and the summer squash and zucchini are beginning to produce bountifully. The flavors of summer have begun.
We will continue on with the Online Farm Stand this week. There are lots of crops to choose from. Order today (SUN) or tomorrow morning (until 7:30) and pick-up tomorrow evening (3-7 PM) at the farm.
The CSA route will continue on the 4th of July. We have sent an e-mail out with additional options to pick-up your share at the farm on MON/FRI or cancel your share this week for those of you with a WED pick-up. Please let us know your intentions in a timely fashion so that you can enjoy your veggies this week.
We will also attend the Downtown Battle Creek Farmers' Market on WED, July 11, from 9-1 PM. We are looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces again!
On a sad personal note, our brother Trevor passed away last week from a severe stroke. Despite physical and mental disability, Trevor was always happy and grateful. His kindness and gentleness taught those he touched to be better human beings, more compassionate and caring. We want to thank all those in the community that helped Trevor live an exceptional life, including his numerous caregivers and teachers, the Doris Klaussen Center, and Community Inclusive Recreation. We couldn't be more proud of the care he received from our parents Dave and Linda and grandparents Don and (Jean-now deceased). His obituary is in the Enquirer today. Thanks to Gift of Life, he will help others survive and live on.
Thanks to those that have, but please do not send notes of your thoughts/prayers. We would urge you, instead, to do something for someone less fortunate than yourself or for an organization that provides needed services for the poor, sick, or disabled. This is what Trevor would want.
This experience has again crystallized the importance of family to us. Farming is great, we love what we do. However, at the end of the day, our familial bonds mean more than anything to us. They help us survive droughts in our hearts.
Bumper crops ahead.
Trent & Ruthie
Trevor was so excited and proud to be the Best Man in our wedding last summer. This was the best day of his life.
'Morning Farm Friends!
We hope you all are having a splendid weekend as it is officially summer now!
These warm, ok hot, temps recently have given the summer crops just what they desire. The rate they grow these days is positively astonishing. We had the first cherry tomato harvest: 12 pints for the Bank Street Market yesterday. Bell peppers, eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and basil are starting to come on strong. Trent even saw a few slicing tomatoes starting to blush! Just a couple more weeks until the harvest for them begins. Beans put out their first flowers this past week. The oh-so-sweet Walla Walla onions are sizing up nicely. Look for them next week or so. We harvested mini cabbage for market, so look for them over the next three weeks. We have beautiful beet and carrot rotations. This year, we're striving for a continuous supply of both. Potato digging will begin soon, starting with Red Gold, a red-skinned yellow-fleshed melt-in-your-mouth beauty.
With summer crops coming on, that also means certain cooler-weather crops phase out until September. Salad turnips, Napa cabbage, spinach, and salad mix struggle in the heat, so we wait until fall's cooler temperatures to bring them back into rotation.
Our first dahlia popped open this past week! We planted them in the high tunnel to spoil them and also with the plans of just mulching them instead of digging up the tubers before winter. The sunflowers in the high tunnel look to pop very soon. Perhaps you will see some at market this Saturday! Zinnias in the low tunnel love all the composted manure we spoiled them with, and as so, have some pretty huge heads.
To partake in all this goodness, check out the Online Farm Stand. Beets, carrots, turnips, Swiss chard, kale, green onions, cabbage, kohlrabi, squash, CSA sampler boxes, cherry tomatoes, basil, dill, parsley, plus meat from Two Thumbs Ranch, pistous from DirtSong, and soaps from Maple Leaf Farm. Order until 7:30AM Monday for pick-up Monday from 3-7PM. For your convenience, we accept all major credit cards here at the farm.
Here's to another wonderful week! Be well, friends.
Ruthie & Trent
A brilliantly-pink zinnia in the low tunnel.
Green Gardens on Facebook - we have lots of great photos from around the farm; also, keep an eye out for more tasty recipes with photos from Ruthie
Muggy afternoon greetings, friends:
We hope you all are enjoying this steamy afternoon in Michigan. We got a few drops of rain earlier in the morning, but nothing worth measuring. We will continue irrigating. What a drought we've been having!
Life on the farm continues at a hectic pace as we try to stay on top of our plantings, weeds, and harvests. We are grateful we at least haven't had to mow the grass!
In farm news, we continue to have bountiful harvests for the Kalamazoo Farmers Market and CSA boxes. Thanks to the farm's investment in field greenhouses, we've been getting a lot of questions like "This is a Michigan pepper, or basil or carrot?" Why yes it is, and we picked it yesterday! We are looking forward to all the eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash which will likely begin to produce heavily out of the tunnels in just 2-3 weeks.
Look for us at the Downtown Battle Creek Farmers Market on WED morning soon. We will be sending out an e-mail once we can verify we will go for certain.
Today you can shop the Green Gardens bounty at the online farm stand and pick up your produce tomorrow (MON) from 3-7 PM. Enjoy beautiful salad and cooking greens, roots, herbs, eggs, Two Thumbs Ranch beef, and if you're thinking about doing the CSA in 2013, give a CSA Sampler Box a try. We have recipes for every crop we grow, so if you're not sure how to use something, just let us know and we will get you started with something quick and easy like Collard Chips or Swiss Chard Quesadillas.
Enjoy the rest of your afternoon and eat well,
Trent & Ruthie Thompson
Farmers, Green Gardens on Facebook
The 1st tomato harvest of the 2012 season! One of the tasty perks of being a farmer.