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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Basset Hound

Interesting day.

had a stray basset hound show up in the morning while we were foliar feeding some of the crops and weeding. He crossed 127 and almost got hit several times before making onto our farm, driving our dogs nuts. He was not a stranger to us as yesterday a couple of women drove up with him and asked if he were ours. They said they stopped and picked him because he was trying to cross 127 going towards us so assumed he was our dog. We told them to check out a couple of farms on Kayler Rd and they did and the dog was gone until this morning.

So the basset somehow got behind the fence with our dogs and seemed to have a whee of a time with them all morning and a good bit of the afternoon. Finally we decided he had to go and through a series of events he ended up going to the PC Humane Society shelter with a concerned woman in a black truck.

We thought that would be the end of it until around 6pm the dog's owner shows up looking for her basset. We told her he was at the no kill shelter. She was not happy about that. But we told her we did not know where he lived, that this was the second day he had visited us and perhaps she should confine the animal. She told us Willie (we now have a name) was a rescue (we could see he had been badly treated recently) and she felt bad about chaining him up as that is how he had been treated. But if she does not tie Willie up or put him in a kennel he will continue to follow her out her driveway and get on the highway and will likely get hit. or live with us part time, something we do not want as we really don't want to deal with training another dog to be a Boulder Belt dog right now. Or at least Eugene doesn't as he seems to think 3 dogs is more than enough (he is forgetting how much protection those dogs give us and the garden against all sorts of critters and the fact we have two old dogs that will not be around for much longer and they will do a lot to help train a youngster). Me I could easily have a couple more dogs, though I think I would like at least one to be on the small side.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where is Boulder Belt? Or Why Geography is Important

I am more and more amazed at how bad Americans are at geography. Over the years because our farm name has the word "boulder" in it I get a lot of hits on the Boulder Belt Farm Website (not so much on this blog) from Colorado. I understand that when you Google "Boulder farm share" or "Boulder Organic" or "Boulder Farms" you will get links to Boulder Belt Farm. That said, in the Google description it clearly says that BBF is in SW Ohio and yet they still visit looking for local food information for Boulder Colorado. Okay, but when I get emails and better yet phone calls I have to wonder if people have any clue exactly where in the USA Ohio is. I wonder because every page of the website says at the top Eaton, OH.

-Yes I realize the above paragraph will drive Coloradans to this site-

Today I get an e-mail via Local harvest from a person in Lexington, Ky (which is about 1100 miles closer to us than Colorado) wondering about joining the Farm share Initiative. I wrote back to the person and told her we are 3.5 hours north of her and that she would do better to look for more local food venues-a closer CSA or farmers markets. And in the past 2 or 3 weeks I have had a couple of queries from Colorado about the farm share initiative.

This would not be bothering me so much except Dear Abby today was all about Americans not knowing where the 50 states are located or even that states like Minnesota, New Mexico or Delaware are states. I am a bit of a geography nerd-give me an atlas and I am happy for days or even weeks on end. I was the lone person in my field archaeology class who thought that learning to use a transit and than after we used to transit learned how to plug the raw numbers we got into equations (and I have a math phobia so I should have hated this part but loved it) in order to make a topo map was fun with a capital F. As a kid I would sit and draw maps of places (including a legend and a compass rose) that did not exist. I learned my states and capitals early in life along with how to read a map and use it for navigation (I am the person you want with you if you are driving in a strange place-I do great navigation).

So this whole deal with people not knowing apparently zip about basic geography sorely vexes me. And GPS systems ain't helping out one whit. Now there is no real reason for people to have anything approaching a sense of direction. No longer do people need to know how to read a map, much less how to use a compass. Of course, if the system fails I suppose there will be masses of people wandering around completely and utterly lost.

And here is the irony (I really love this) Boulder Belt Eco-Farm is not in the GPS system. We do show up on Google Earth, though the photo is old and very poor resolution. But we will not be found if you use a GPS system to find us. GPS (and Map Quest and all the other such services) will send you to a non existent address south of Eaton.

So if you want to buy food from us you better bone up on your geography skills and learn where Eaton, OH is and how to read and map

Monday, May 11, 2009

Planting Celeriac

Celeriac on the cart ready to be planted

Eugene laying out the celeriac plugs

Eugene (and Nate) inspecting his work, making sure all the plugs are lined up correctly so the are evenly spaced and have enough room between rows for a hoe.

Lucy finishing up planting the celeriac plugs

Saturday, May 09, 2009

St Alphonso's

I see the number one search to this blog right now is "Saint Alphonso's".

The 31st edition of St. Al's will be held Saturday May 16 2009 at Hannon's Camp America
More information at the Face Book St Alphonso's Group

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Boulder Belt 2009 Tomato Roster

I just finished pricking the main tomato crops and here is the run down of the different varieties we plan on having this summer

Paul Robeson-a black beefsteak, name for the actor and activist Paul Robeson. I have wanted to grow this for at least 5 years and finally found seed. We got this seed from Baker Creek
Green Zebra-Green-a medium sized green mater with yellowish striping. This heirloom seems to be all the rage. We grew this about 8 years ago and stopped because of bad sales. We got this seed from Baker Creek
Glick's Pride-We have been growing this Heirloom red for about 14 years. This is one we always save seed from.
Yellow Taxi-this is the tomato we have been saving seed from the longest. It is also our earliest tomato. A nice medium to small bright yellow mater with a pink heart when fully ripe.
Yellow Pear-This was almost a failure. 50% of the seed did not germinate and I was able to prick 7 into large soil blocks. This means if we are lucky 5 will be alive when it is time to transplant them. We grew these from saved seed
Black Krim-Another black tomato. I believe this was the first heirloom tomato I ever tasted. back in the early 1990's when I worked at DiPaolo's these started appearing in the kitchen for a few months than disappeared and I thought no more about heirloom tomatoes until I moved to the farm. These are a medium sized black mater that hails from the former Soviet Union. We grew these from saved seed.
Nyagaous-Yet another black mater. Originally got the seed from Seed savers Exchange 2 or 3 years ago. A small black round tomato that almost never cracks. very good flavor. We grew these from saved seed.
Crinkovich-A pink Beefsteak from Yugoslavia, IIRC. Like the Nayagaous these originally came from SSE and we have been saving them the past couple of years. This has great flavor though the fruits tend toward ugliness
Costoluto Florentine-an Italian red tomato that is beautiful and delicious. The fruits are medium sized, flat and fluted. About the best tasting red I have ever eaten. Seeds are from an outfit called Gourmet seeds. This is an heirloom and I will save seed this season as I used the last of the commercial stock.
Opalka-A great sauce tomato I believe from Poland. The fruits are oblong and can be up to a 1/2 pound. The flavor is very good raw and excellent when cooked into a sauce. they tend to get blossom end rot and can be low yielding but the flavor keeps us planting them year after year. they also will cross with other tomatoes pretty readily.
BB Striped-A cross between Opalka and pink Brandywine. This is one of our own varieties we have bred here at Boulder Belt. Years ago we planted what we thought were Opalka. When the plants started to bear fruit what we had was not Opalka but a variety of different shapes, colors and sizes of tomatoes. So I selected striped fruit and saved seed and replanted the following year. The second year we planted and the plants came up and this time about 45% were striped. I again selected striped fruits and saved seed and did this over and over again until about 90% of the plants were bearing striped fruit. I am hoping this year it is almost 100% striped fruit. At any rate, this mater is a blocky fruit, a lot like the German Johnson but with better flavor (we grew GJ 2 years ago and found BB Striped out produced it and had better overall quality)
Matina-This is the best saladette sized red tomato I have ever eaten. I was disappointed that scant few of the seeds came up but that's okay because we have an early crop of these in a hoop house. we grew these from saved seed
Cherrywine-another Boulder belt original. A cross between )we think) Pink Brandywine and Sunsugar cherry tomato. dark pink cherry tomatoes with a great flavor. prolific fruiting with little cracking
Green Pear-this seed comes from a sport we found last year in with the yellow pear. I cannot figure out what the yellow pear crossed with, not a green tomato because until last season we had not grown any green tomatoes in about 4 years. In another 7 years or so we should know if this is a viable variety.
Green grape-I thought this was an ancient heirloom but Carolyn Male corrected me and said this was developed in the 1980. This is a large cherry tomato that ripens to a mottled yellowish green. flavor is A-1. We grew this from seed we saved.
Dr Wyche's yellow-This is one of our all time favorite tomatoes. Huge orange/yellow beefsteak tomatoes with excellent flavor. We originally got the seeds fron SSE as a replacement for Russian persimmon and found the two to be almost identical except that Dr Wyche's was about a week earlier and did not catface or crack as badly. So we eventually abandoned the Persimmon for Dr Wyche's Yellow.
Sun Ray-Our Friend Wyatt Jones gave us several sun Ray plants 3 years ago. We saved seed and planted them last year and really loved this mater. Nice big, smooth, sunny yellow fruits with great flavor.
Early Girl-I was told this was a hybrid but I have grown this out successfully for the past 2 years from saved seed. Nice red round mater with really nice flavor for an early tomato
Amish paste-Several years ago our Opalka seed got too messed up with foreign genetics and we could not find pure seed. So we decided to try Amish paste as out canning tomato and I gotta say, while I love Opalka, this is better. Great taste, heavy Yields, very little blossom end rot. We grew this out from saved seed.
Red Grape-I believe this is seed from the hybrid Santa and we get all sorts of wierdnesses from each seasons' planting. Frankly I don't know why Eugene keeps saving seed from this. Nor why I continue to start these seeds. if they come at all true to type they will be small red and oblong with so so taste.
Sunsugar-one of the few hybrids we grow because these are the best cherry tomato ever! Nice round orange fruit that is sweet and tangy. Seed comes from Fedco Seeds
Red Saladette-another homebred. These come from the red grape tomatoes, I believe. Smallish round red or pink tomatoes with really nice flavor.

That's the Boulder Belt 2009 Tomato roster

Monday, May 04, 2009

First Farmers Market of 2009

Saturday May 2nd was opening day at the Oxford Farmers Market and here are some pictures from the day. Despite the rainy forecast, the day turned out to be beautiful. Sunny and not too warm

The market around 8am. It was pretty slow early on, but things picked up later on and we ended up selling out of almost everything

Joel Parks, opening day's Chef at Market took advantage of the light crowds and bountiful harvests to shop for his cooking demo that was held later in the market. Here he and Brent Marcum of Salem Road Farm talk about produce

People talking to Larry Slocum, the market manager, about renewing their Friends of the market membership

Calamity Rain played live acoustic folk music

Karen selling her hand crafted soap to Roger Adkins

Joel parks doing the cooking Demo. Jane Stripple is sampling some of his fare.

Norma Hurston dealing with a crowd of eager buyers of her baked goods

Marge Glaser taking a picture of me taking a picture of her in front of Norma's booth

Me and Doug