At least once a week I send out an electronic newsletter of sorts telling my subscribers what we have been up to and when and where we will be selling our goods along with a (somewhat) complete list of what we are harvesting that week.
And that is what I have been doing this morning since around 9am-writing the news letter than sending it out to the 300+ subscribers all the while listening to the Royal Crecent Mob's record (okay CD) "Omerta" which is one of my all time fave CD's. The RC Mob was a happening white boy funk band outta OHIO that broke up about a decade ago. Some of the members went on to become Foo Fighters along with members of Nirvana.
But I digress. Below is the current electronic newsletter. If you want this in your inbox about once a week send me an email at goodows(at)infinet.com (change the (at) to @ and the addy will work) with "Newsletter" in the subject line. If you leave the subject line blank I will assume it is porn spam and delete it without looking at it.
It's been a cold one this week and it looks like the cold will continue until tomorrow morning meaning that we just might miss the farmers' market or if we do come we will not have nearly everything on the list below. Right now it is 10:00am Friday morning and it is still below freezing. We did a subfreezing market last winter and lost a lot of squash and taters and we are not going to make that mistake again. The good news is we will have everything on the list below (and probably a few items I forgot about) at the farm store which is heated to a balmy 60 degrees and open today, tomorrow and Sunday. So if the oxford Farmers' market leaves you wanting jump in the car and take a nice ride out into the country and buy your local and organically grown food at the Boulder Belt Eco-Farm Store this weekend (if you are lucky and ask nicely we might even take you around the farm and show you where and how your food is grown)
Cold weather also means it is just about time to plant the garlic for next season and move the hoophouses to their final winter spring beds.
Garlic is a fall planted crop and one of our favorite things. we have been planting garlic for about 10years now. We started with one type, Hardy German White and now do 3 kinds of garlic, Shvilisi and Persian Star. All are hardnecks, meaning they grow a flower stalk called a garlic scape that we harvest in late May and early June. Most of the garlic we find at grocery stores are Chinese grown softnecks that do not have as hearty a flavor nor are they grown organically.
The plan is to prepare and plant the garlic sometime next week. There are several steps involved. First we have to have beds ready to go. This means they are tilled and raked. next we have to split garlic heads into individual cloves. We plan on planting around 2000 garlic cloves so that means splitting up hundreds of heads which can be hard on the fingers and takes the two of us several hours to complete. After the cloves are ready we than take them up to the garden along with string and stretch the string out over the length of the bed so we are sure to plant in straight lines (makes it a lot easier to get a how between the plants in the spring when we have to weed). We than put the cloves where we want them, 400 per bed (4 rows of 100 cloves per row) and finally we poke each clove into the soil and we are done. In late November/early December we will put a row cover over top of each of the beds for the winter to keep the soil from freezing and thawing. This causes "frost heave" which is where the cloves get heaved out of the soil and tend to die or if they live, make weak plants.
The hoophouses right now are protecting tender summer crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupes and peppers but it has been too cold for these crops to keep on producing well (or at all-the cukes and melons have been a complete bust this fall) so soon we will either remove the hoophouses and let the tender crops they were protecting die and than move them over to protect kale, cabbage, spinach, spring mix. Or we will remove the spent crops, leaver the hoophouse where it is and use those beds to plant early spring crops such as lettuce, radishes, spring mix for the winter farmers' markets and our farm store (which is heated and out of the elements so we can keep going as long as we have produce to sell).
Even after killing freezes there is still a lot to do here at Boulder Belt. We will have less to do soon as tomorrow is the last regular farmers' market of the year in Uptown Oxford. After this week we go to the once a month (3rd Saturday of each month starting Nov 18th) market through April. But our farm store will be open Thursday through Sunday 10am to 7pm (2 to 7pm this Saturday) for the foreseeable future. We are EZ to find just a mile north of eaton, OH on US 127 at the top of the hill.
On that note here is what we will be offering this week:
Winter Squash-We have 5 kinds of winter squash for sale. We have Butternut, Acorn, Buttercup, Lakota and Candy Roaster (a beautiful pink and blue heirloom pumpkin that has a rich buttery, sweet flavor. Incredibly rare)
Kale-The kale is as sweet as it is nutritious this week.
Bright Lights Chard-Chard is a mild leafy green, closely related to beets. It is one of my favorite things.
Spring Mix-We have a small amount of spring mix this week. The dark cold weather we have been having the past 3 weeks has really slowed down the spring mix so despite having a lot planted we are getting small harvests. But it is wonderful salad that we wish would grow more.
Tomatoes-We have been picking tomatoes out of the hoophouse for about 5 weeks now and the ones that are not eaten by the mystery varmints (voles and rats we think) have been quite beautiful fruits though not as tasty as summer grown maters but better than grocery store maters. Hey, it's November and most local tomatoes were killed off weeks ago. we do not have to give up on summer quite yet (she says with a heavy frost on the ground)
Baby Zucchini-This is one of the hoophouse crops, normally one cannot grow zucchini in October/November but with season extension capabilities one can. we do not have a lot of zukes because it has been so cold and dark this past month that few of the male flowers developed enough pollen to fertilize the female flowers so a lot of the tiny squashes could not develop and rotted on the plants. But we are getting a few pounds each week of this rare, tasty and special veggie.
Kohl Rabi-We call these cabbage radishes-they are crunchy like a radish but taste more like cabbage. These are good raw or cooked.
Red Meat Radishes-These are a hot sweet radish that is white on the outside and red in the middle. If you like a hot radish you will fall in love with these.
Strawberries-the cold has not been kind to the strawberries but they are still producing some nice big berries. Cold weather tends to encourage a gray mold on the berries and soon we will come to a point where more berries are moldy than not and we will give up on picking them for the season. But we are not quite there yet so we will have berries at the store this week.
Pac Choy-We planted pac choy (Chinese chard) as an after thought so the plants got ignored most of th season. despite that they have grown into some very nice pac choy plants perfect for stir frys or on their own.
Potatoes- There are few things better than freshly dug taters. And taters are of those foods you want to buy from as organic a source as you can (that would be us). On the bulletin board of our store is a poster all about all the toxic substances applied to the vast majority of taters grown commercially, it's an eye opener. We have have 4 kinds of spuds-fingerlings, all blue, Pontiac red and Kennebeck white. All are tasty.
Leeks- Cold weather has not scared the leeks none, they laugh at freezing temps and tend to get more flavorful. this means we have a nice supply at happy tasty leeks this week.
Parsnips-We have been digging some funky looking parsnip. We did not use hybrid seed and it seems this farm has a problem with parasitic nematodes (something we believe we have taken care of by applying beneficial nematodes) so we get parsnips with split roots. but they are very tasty once you get passed their bizarre appearance.
Carrots-Between flooding, parasitic nematodes and other ills we almost did not get a carrot crop this year and what we have is not our best effort. But the fall planted carrots are showing promise and despite the roots being on the homely side they are great tasting-crisp and sweet with no turpintiny flavor. oh and they come in 3 colors-yellow, orange and red.
Onions-We have the heirloom Ailsa Craig, a nice yellow sweet onion and Mercury a nice sweet red onion.
Garlic- We have 3 kinds of hardneck heirloom garlics. They range from fairly mild to hot and pungent. They are all better than the Chinese grown garlic found at the major grocery chains and I will be honest with you they cost more to because we American farmers cannot live on the $600 a year that a Chinese farmer survives on. That, and they are far higher quality garlic. Oh yeah, they are grown organically meaning they are in lively soil and have not been exposed to toxic chemicals
Sweet Potatoes- We have some nice but smallish sweet taters.
Sweet Peppers-We still have peppers coming out of the hoophouse but soon they will be just a memory so get yours now. peppers freeze well and are very easy to freeze. Simply remove seeds and cut the peppers into the shape you like best to cook with and put in freezer bags and into the freezer. One thing I like to do is take whole peppers, fire up the grill (gas, charcoal or wood). put the peppers over the flame and let them get all black and soft, remove them from the heat and put in a paper grocery bag (not plastic!!!) and let them sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Than peel or wash the blackened skin off, cut open and remove the seeds and you now have roasted peppers ready to eat or freeze. To freeze cut into strips or cubes and put on a baking sheet and into the freezer. When frozen put the peppers into a well marked plastic freezer bag.
Spinach-People have been asking for this and we finally have some, but not a lot. It is sweet and e-coli 157 free.
Lettuce-It got cold so we harvested all the lettuce we could yesterday before the freeze did it for us. We have some nice bags of red and green mixed heirloom lettuces.
Fresh Dill-We have been waiting literally months for the dill to grow up big and strong and it is finally ready for its' first cutting. Need Dill? We have it.
Dried Herbs- Many people claim dried herbs are never as good as fresh and I say au contraire. Dried herbs are often the better choice for many dishes as they have a more concentrated flavor (that's basically what drying does, concentrates the flavor). Granted dried basil, for example, makes a horrible pesto but it is better than fresh in a tomato pasta sauce that requires a few hours of simmering. We have on hand the following herbs- Basil, cinnamon basil, tarragon, oregano, savory, coriander, parsley, dill, garlic powder & sage
Honey-(Farm Store Only) We have local honey in two sizes. Soon we will be getting more sizes and chemical free honey (I'd call it organic because the bee keeper who raises the bees that make this honey is into deep organics and understands that the bees are not living better thru chemistry but first I gotta sell a bit more of the honey I have on hand which is raised by bee keepers who do believe in using chemicals on their bees and hives)
Tomato Juice-Homemade mater juice that is sooo much better than anything you will buy from the industrial food stream. I have made this from a blend of 8 or 9 different tomatoes and some herbs and spices grown right here on the farm. If you like tomato juice you will get none better.
Apple Sauce -We have home made apple sauce and it is excellent. Sweet and tart with a rich apple and cinnamon flavor you will not find from store bought apple sauce. Perhaps this is because I do not use insipid tasting apples such as golden and red delicious in my sauce but instead use apples with good flavor.
Bearded Iris Roots- It is by no means too late to plant irises (or any other bulb). As a matter of fact now is the perfect time to plant for some great color next spring and summer. That said we have no idea what colors we are selling as a lot of these plants were so in need of splitting up last season they did not bloom. but now they have been split up and should put on a garish display.
Pretty in Purple Pepper Plants (farm store only) we have some very nice decorative pepper plants that can supply you with yummy hot peppers all winter and if things go right for the rest of your life. You see, peppers are a tender perennial that if brought indoors when temps drop below 45˚F can live for 100 years.
Basil Plants (farm store only)-need absolutely fresh basil? than you need a big ol' basil plant and we got 'em. If cut back and kept indoors these plants should provide you with fresh basil well into early winter
Oh yeah, we still need YOUR paper or plastic clean shopping bags. We can always use bags for the store and the farmers' markets. Many thanks to those of you who have been supplying us with bags. Your recycling efforts are greatly appreciated on several levels.
As always thanks for your support
Lucy and Eugene Goodman
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm
3257 US 127 N