Farm News

Posted 3/30/2012 12:28pm by Trent Thompson.

Greetings, folks:

We hope all of you are enjoying the cooler spring weather. I have to admit that I liked the heat we had over the past few weeks, but it also just didn't feel right either. The greens, roots, and peas are breathing a deep sigh of relief with the cooler temperatures.

Tomorrow is market day at the Kzoo Foods Market from 9-12:30! We'll have some beautiful and super tasty spring salad mix. This is the first cut of the year and it is exceptional. We'll also have some spinach, radishes, sunchokes, and free-range eggs.

Tomorrow is also a big day at the farm, as we construct high tunnnel #2 with Nifty Hoops out of Ann Arbor. If you are interested in helping out, we would love to have you. Food and beverage will be included. Come have a great time and be part of building the future of sustainable agriculture in Michigan. Contact Trent at if you can make it out for the build.

In other farm news, we are busy finishing the mobile chicken tractor 2.0, putting 8' woven wire fencing around the entire farm (to keep out deer), building another small greenhopuse, and trying to stay on top of other field and greenhouse plantings. This is a busy, busy time of year for us.

We hope to open the online farm stand in April - stay tuned.

Hope all is well and happy, healthy eating!

Trent & Ruthie
Farmers, Green Gardens

Photo below of Ruthie washing salad today:

Ruthie washing salad mix

Find Green Gardens on Facebook!


Posted 3/15/2012 10:54pm by Trent Thompson.

Greetings, All:

Goodbye winter, hello summer! Where did spring go? After the fourth warmest U.S. winter on record, we are busy gearing up quickly and early for another great season of Green Gardens produce. Yesterday and today we have been busy planting an extremely early round of snow and snap peas, Rainbow and Nelson carrots, spinach, and beets. The garlic and shallots came up beautifully and are already about 4" tall.

First off, on Saturday we'll be at the Kzoo Foods Market from 9-12:30 PM at the corner of Crosstown and Burdick with sweet spinach, chard, and kale. We'll also have some delightful pistous (a concentrated pesto minus the cheese and nuts) from our friends, Tim and Stephanie Pierce, of DirtSong who recently moved up north. If you're ready for some summery flavors already, the dill, cilantro, and basil pistous might be just the thing for you!

Next, we've got a big event here at the farm on April 21st! Mark your calendars. 12:30-3:30 PM at the farm. We're going to have a Fun Farm Field Day (say that three times fast!). We will be having a delicious local food lunch, (if it's dry) watch draft horses plow some new farm ground, learn about the fancy and functional chicken tractor 2.0 and managing intensive grazing techniques with chickens and sheep, get a tour of the new high tunnel, and learn about four-season growing in Michigan. It's FREE to all, but we recommend a small donation to help cover our costs. Also, in order to get an idea of how many to expect, RSVPonly if you are able to attend to Please bring the youth as we want young minds interested in local and sustainable agriculture!

In CSA land, Green Gardens only has a couple CSA spots left. Reserve yours now or it will be too late! We also want to spread the word about a couple other local producers: Two Thumbs Ranch in Bellevue with herd (milk) shares and Pleasant Hill Farm in Ceresco with meat and egg shares. Information on Pleasant Hill's meat CSA can be downloaded here. Kelly Vallelunga, formerly of Green Gardens, has started her own farm, Long Valley, in Kalamazoo and has a CSA this season! We are excited and proud of her work.

If you'd like to get some dirt under your fingernails and learn about the Farm Bill, do so at the Mt. Zion Church in BC from 10:00-12:30 PM on Saturday, March 24. Click here to attend. Also that day, you can volunteer with Sprout Urban Farms at the new Bright Star Farm as they prepare to plant. Bright Star Farm is a new 3/4 acre urban farm on Kendall Street in Battle Creek.

Alright, that's it for now, folks! We hope you've been enjoying this splendid weather, and we're anxious to see you again soon!

Trent and Ruthie
Farmers, Green Gardens

If these e-mails no longer satiate your hunger for GGCF info, find even more information on Facebook!

Photo below of our ginger FedExed from the Big island of Hawaii. We wound up getting only 5 of the 30 LBS we ordered due to a partial seed crop failure. Puna Organics is the only reputable ginger producer (from tissue culture), so we have nowhere to go for replacement seed. However, we are still excited to begin our ginger growing experience. It will be rationed out mostly to CSA members and some farmers market and online farm stand customers in September. The 5 LBS should turn into 40 LBS of baby ginger crop.

ginger to plant

Plow to the End of the Row (hear it) is a great song by Adrienne Young, an amazing artist and advocate of sustainable agriculture.



Posted 3/5/2012 12:40pm by Trent Thompson.

Greetings Green Gardens Friends!

A few notes as we slowly begin the 2012 growing season:

1) We will be at the Kalamazoo Foods Market SAT, March 3, from 9AM-12PM [SW corner of Crosstown & Burdick] with frost-sweetened spinach, kale, and Swiss chard from our high tunnel.

2) If you are interested in joining us on a grand eating adventure this growing season, we still have a few CSA shares available. 8-week, 21-week, and 26-week shares with pick-up points across Battle Creek [WED], at the farm [WED and FRI], and at the Bank Street Market [SAT]. For more information, check out this page. If you're ready to sign-up, this page will get you started.

3) The 70 or so 4-week old baby chicks in our basement continue to grow like feathery weeds. Construction on the larger moveable chicken coop has begun, so the chicks will be moving out by the end of the month. Our older girls have been spoiled this winter [just like the rest of us], and have kept up with egg production. We know they're eager for green grass.

4) We're building another high tunnel [field greenhouse]! Actually, Nifty Hoops from Ann Arbor will be bringing a crew out on [tentatively] Saturday, March 31 to build the entire 30'x96' structure in 1-2 days. If you consider yourself handy in the construction realm and want to help out or simply watch one of these behemoths built, let us know so we can keep you updated. We're excited to have early tomatoes and baby ginger come from this tunnel!

Hope all is well with you. We'll see you soon! Nicer weather is on its way, folks!

Trent & Ruthie


Picture below from Friday morning's harvest of spinach from our high tunnel.


Green Gardens Farm on Facebook!

Posted 1/18/2012 11:06pm by Trent Thompson.
Greetings, folks:

We hope that you are all having a great winter and New Year!

Despite the snowy, cool weather outside, the farm has already sown the first seeds of 2012! In early January, we direct-seeded spinach in one of our small field greenhouses, and chard, kale, lettuce, bok choi, and Napa cabbage were started in our starter (plug) greenhouse to be planted in the large field high tunnel in February. The farm is now growing every month of the year and selling in 11 months this season. We had a great turnout (thank you to those who attended!) for our Kalamazoo Foods Markets in December and early January. We plan to return on Saturday, March 3.

The 2012 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program at Green Gardens doesn’t start until June, but we encourage those interested to sign-up now since a limited number of spots are available. Click here for more information on the CSA. Or, if you’re ready to eat fresh, local, natural, and healthy food, sign-up up here!

We are excited about some new crops and investments for 2012. New additions to the crop menu include shallots, baby ginger (can you believe it?), sweet potatoes, and pineapple tomatillos. The farm will continue to heavily invest in infrastructure to extend the growing season and increase yields on its small space. Some of the bigger projects we plan to tackle include constructing one (and possibly two) new greenhouses, installing a well to improve irrigation, protecting crops with an 8-ft woven-wire deer fence around entire growing area, and building a much larger chicken tractor (moveable chicken coop) to accommodate over 100 laying hens.

You already are changing the food system by supporting the farm, but if you are interested in becoming actively involved locally and putting pressure on our representatives in Congress, there is a Fair Farm Bill Campaign Kickoff Meeting on Thursday, January 19, at First United Methodist Church (111 E. Michigan Ave) in Battle Creek from 7-8PM. RSVP here.

We look forward to seeing you in the spring! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Trent & Ruthie Thompson
Farmers, Green Gardens Community Farm

Green Gardens Farm on Facebook

Photo below of last year’s chicks. Seventy-five, one-day old chicks will join the farm in three weeks! Peep, peep, peep!

Posted 1/9/2012 10:07pm by Trent Thompson.

The 2012 Community Supported Agriculture [CSA] program here at Green Gardens is now open to the public for sign-up.

We have 3 share types available for pick-up on Wednesdays and Fridays in Battle Creek at 5 locations throughout town plus at the farm, and at the Kalamazoo Bank Street Market on Saturdays. Egg shares from our free-range chickens are also available.

For further details about the CSA program, click here. Boxes from past years can be seen here.

Posted 1/1/2012 4:52pm by Trent Thompson.

CSA members have a voice in how the CSA runs and what goes into the boxes. As the farmers, we try to be as responsive as possible to the needs of our members. We want to make them happy!

Here are the results from the end-of-season (weeks 12-21) survey from 2011.

Are you interested in the 2012 CSA? We can't guarantee you a spot, but there's a chance you might get in. The sooner you contact us, the better. If you don't make this year's list, you'll at least be at the top of next year's.

Sign-up here to get your name on the waiting list.

Happy New Year, folks!

Posted 12/4/2011 1:08pm by Trent Thompson.

Greetings, folks:

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

We thought we'd send another quick reminder that we still have lots of delicious produce from our unheated hoophouses and the field. Junk food manufacturers beware! Our candy carrots our the tastiest treat we've ever snacked on. A woman on our Facebook page this week said, "We bought two bunches of these today at People's (Food Co-Op) and they are SO GOOD. My 2-year-old has eaten four of them already and is munching on one as I type." Need I say more? Purchase them at the Food Co-Op in Kzoo or on our online farm stand along with other delicious delights until 9 AM tomorrow (MONDAY).

Also, need a gift certficate for the Holiday season? Purchase a gift of good eating and health for your friends or family from Green Gardens with a gift certificate. They are redeemable at the farm through the online farm stand or at the Kalamazoo Bank Street market in 2012.

We will be at the Kzoo Foods Market again this upcoming Saturday from 9-1 PM at the corner of Crosstown and Burdick.

The chickens are really enjoying this weekend. The warmer weather has meant that they can pick through the grass again for worms and bugs. The snow (see photo below from last week) gave many of them some puzzled looks last week!

Have a wonderful week, Trent and Ruthie

Find the farm on Facebook!

Posted 12/2/2011 10:02pm by Trent Thompson.

Written by Jill Ettinger

Like the saying goes, the only constant is change. We may resist it all we want, but Time and its inevitable evolution of everything in its path is unaffected by our attempts to stop it. The resulting trajectory of humanity's nascent ascent appears to be positioning itself to sweep us into progressive new times, especially where our food choices are concerned, as nearly 7 billion people are now standing on the little scraps of land that we share with some 55 billion rather large animals raised for food each year. (As another famous saying goes: This town ain't big enough for the both of us.) So, beef (and all factory-farmed meat) may be going from rib-eye to relic as we transition to a greener world... literally -- as in leafy, green vegetables.

Environmentalists cite meat production as one of the biggest contributors to global warming, and the USDA's new food pyramid (MyPlate) suggests the healthiest choice is making vegetables and fruit the biggest part of every meal by reducing consumption of animal proteins. Kale is far more nutritious than other leafy greens, but these seven reasons why it is such an important futurefood may just surprise you.

1. Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is the number one cause of arthritis, heart disease and a number of autoimmune diseases, and is triggered by the consumption of animal products. Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, potentially preventing and even reversing these illnesses.

2. Iron: Despite the myth that vegetarians are anemic, the number of non-vegetarians with iron-deficiencies is on the rise. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.

3. Calcium: Dairy and beef both contain calcium, but the U.S. still has some of the highest rates of bone loss and osteoporosis in the world. Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy.

4. Fiber: Like protein, fiber is a macronutrient, which means we need it every day. But many Americans don't eat nearly enough and the deficiency is linked to heart disease, digestive disorders and cancer. Protein-rich foods, like meat, contain little to no fiber. One serving of kale not only contains 5 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, but it also provides 2 grams of protein.

5. Omega fatty acids: Healthy fats play an important role in our health, unlike the saturated fats in meat. A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.

6. Immunity: Superbugs and bacteria are a serious risk to our health. Many of these come as a result of factory farm meat, eggs and dairy products. Kale is an incredibly rich source of immune-boosting carotenoid and flavanoid antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and C.

7. Sustainable: Kale grows to maturity in 55 to 60 days versus a cow raised for beef for an average of 18-24 months. Kale can grow in most climates and is relatively easy to grow at home or on a farm. To raise one pound of beef requires 16 pounds of grain, 11 times as much fossil fuel and more than 2,400 gallons of water.

The author forgot to point out it tastes really f'ing good, too!

Posted 11/27/2011 4:02pm by Trent Thompson.

Greetings, folks;

We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! If you'd like to recover from your holiday indulgence on Thursday, we have some healthy selections to get you back on track!

Vegetables are available to order on the Online Farm Stand. Order now until Monday at 10 AM and pick-up Monday night (4-7 PM) at the farm. It's almost December, but we still have cabbage, candy carrots, salad mix, spinach, three kinds of kale, swiss chard, Japanese spinach, leeks, salad turnips, and the Thanksgiving Recovery Box which includes many of the previously listed crops, as well as storage onions and the amazing German Butterball potatoes.

We want to thank all those who attended the Kalamazoo Foods Market Saturday in Kalamazoo. We had a great turnout and will be back Saturday, December 10 (9 AM - 1 PM). Thanks to the People's Food Co-Op in Kalamazoo, too, for putting our delicious carrots in their produce department. You can find our salad mix there also.

In other farm news, we are busy doing a lot of planning for next season already. In fact, we've even made a few seed purchases to secure varieties that we love for the 2012 season. There are some exciting new crops that we are looking forward to having: baby ginger, pineapple tomatillos, shallots, sweet potatoes, and some different herbs.

CSA folks: We are in need of a site host near Columbia Ave in Battle Ceek Lakeview. Let us know if you're interested. 2011 CSA Survey is going out within the next couple days. We are shooting to open the 2012 sign-up for existing members within 10 days! An e-mail will be send out with "2012 CSA Sign-Up" in the subject line.

For all you Facebook folks, find us there. Now that our ourdoor workload has greatly dimished, we will have time to upload photos from this season for your viewing pleasure, as well as posting more food-related articles and links. We also post what we will have at market, big farm happenings, reminders that the Online Farm Stand is open, so 'like' us to stay up-to-date with Green Gardens happenings.

As always, thanks again for all of your support this season. We are grateful to be your farmers.

Trent & Ruthie

Dino Kale after our brief snowstorm a couple weeks back:

Looks like more snow is in the forecast next week. Get ready for it!

Posted 11/27/2011 3:55pm by Trent Thompson.

Definitely not tomato season anymore, but I got the biggest kick out of this farmer's tomato hornworm killing! Enjoy!