Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vilsack To Head the USDA-Obama What Are You Thinking!??!

I do not do a lot of political posts even though I feel food is a very very political thing and I am fairly politically active (I write/email my reps and I vote).

So I was incredibly disappointed and even disillusioned by Barak Obama's pick of Tom Vilsick for Secy of the USDA. I know I did my best to suggest far better people to head the USDA and be leaders of real change, people such as Jim Hightower. I was encouraged several weeks ago to learn that Vilsack had been deleted from the short list (or so the Obama people told the Organic Consumers Association and the organic food and farming community. Was that his first big lie to us foodies?) The Obama people said they were intersted in appointing someone who would change the USDA and make it much more firendly to eaters and farmers and not so friendly with Big farma, corporations and biotech farming.

Well Obama, you have nominated a man who is in lock step with everything that has made our national food and farming system so unsustainable and dangerous. You have shown me that, at least as far as the very very important sector of food, (far more important to our collective well being than energy-that we can live without but we cannot go more than a few days without food before nasty riots break out and no more than a few weeks before the riots die down becuase of all the starvation that is killing off anyone who was not killed in the food riots) you will be doing business as usual which is not good for the eaters and farmers of this great nation. But this will be wonderful for Monsanto, Cargill, ADM etc..

I voted for change and so far have seen very little indication there will be any. I had faith that Obama would at least listen to his constituants but I don't think he is listening to we the people and the websites that allow us to put in our thoughts and opinions are simply ruses. Something to keep us busy and thinking we are making a difference. I hope I am wrong and this is an anomaly but it is not looking good from where I stand.

I should have voted for Nader. This appoujntment soo pisses me off

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Farm Share Program Week 3

We are at the mid point of the Boulder Belt Eco-Farm Farm Share Program (like a CSA only more so...). So far so good. Between what the market garden is still producing and what we have stored there is still a very good variety and I am having some problem picking and choosing and letting the shares get too big (I don't think this would be much of an issue for the farm share members but if they shares get too big we start losing profitability).

As it gets colder and I am more and more tempted to start using things from storage like onions, potatoes, garlic, dried herbs, winter squash, etc.. But the garden, despite the early deep cold, is still producing a surprising amount of stuff so instead of using the easy items to fill shares Eugene and I go up to the garden and harvest things in quite cold and wet conditions. The kind of conditions where your hands are bright red and totally numb so you have to look at what they are holding to be sure you picked the item up because you sure as hell can't feel the item in your hands.

Oh the joys of gardening on the back side of the calendar. Farming this time of year is interesting as it is very hard to do. It is not at all pleasant to be cutting arugula or spring mix when it is spitting some sort of precip, the row covers are hard deal with because either they have frozen to the ground or they start to freeze while you have them partially off the bed while harvesting things. (That happened yesterday as the temps dropped quickly and in 15 minutes not only were my hands red, unfeeling chunks of ice but the row covers got almost too stiff to put back over the lettuce.) And because you are hunched over the bed your butt crack is exposed and the cold wind and rain becomes very hard to deal with (next time I will wear the coveralls not have that problem). But working in such conditions does make the harvest taste just that much sweeter.

So here is the list of what our members got in their shares this week (12/13)
3 to 4 celeriac
5 leeks
1/4 pound arugula
4 to 5 yellow onions
1 pound red potatoes
1 pound parsnips
1 bag fresh thyme
2 carnival squashes
1 pound chard
1 pound kale
5 pears

Not a bad haul at all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Greens

It is one of the colder and nastier Decembers in the past several years and yet, remarkably, we have leafy green crops growing just fine under row covers. What's even more remarkable is these crops seem to be doing far better than the crops in Hoop houses and under row cover. This gives them a lot more protection, in theory. Thus the hoop house crops should be doing a lot better than the crops that have only a double layer of row cover over top.

And yet they are not. I suspect that in Feb they will either take off and give us lots of high quality leafy greens or they will decide it is time to reproduce and bolt to seed and be unusable as food crops (but we will likely collect the seeds for future use).

I am not sure why this is happening to the hoop house crops but I suspect because they have been too protected and too coddled. The plants in the hoop houses have never been exposed to wind, full sun, rain or any other weather other than cold temperatures and the cold temps have not been good for a lot of crops in the hoop houses. The crops, especially the leafy green crops, in the houses are rather tender. In contrast the outside crops were exposed to all sorts of weather before being ensconsed in a double layer of row cover so these crops are much more hardy, much more as it turns out, as there is hardly any frost or wind burns on these things. This is good, because there is a farmers market this coming Saturday and I can harvest literally whole beds of small heads of heirloom lettuces that will probably not get any bigger than they already are. There is also nice arugula and mizuna along with spring mix. The Napa cabbage is not looking as nice but I will be willing to bet the cold conditions have made it much more yummy. Frankly, I don't know why Napa keeps being planted, we rarely sell any despite being told it is a very popular vegetable at the farmers market (if it is so damned popular why are we the only farm with it and why is it not selling at all?). And yet there it is in the garden, again.

I wish the hoop house crops were doing better and the crops not in hoop houses had all died because it is much much more enjoiable to go into a hoop house and harvest. In hoop houses, especially if it is at all sunny out, it tends to be spring like-warm, no winds, humid, nice. Contrast that with the plants outside that tend to be harvested in cold, windy wet weather, not nice.

But the outside crops have not died and are quite high quality so we put up with harvesting when the weather allows and doing it in generally pretty nasty conditions

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Boulder Belt FSP Is Official

The Boulder Belt Eco-Farm Farm Share Program is official. It now has a web page. Check it out and join up. It's like a CSA only more so...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

This and That

So it's December and it is cold and dreary with a bit of snow. Not much going on in the market garden. Lots of things under double row cover we are hoping are not getting too damaged by low temps around 23F. We did have the kale in a hoop house bite the dust. No one put a row cover over top and it all got frosted. I doubt it's dead but it likely won't produce leaves until mid Feb. In the past the kale has done just fine with no row cover in a hoop house but in the past the kale was started outside and was toughened up by being exposed to the elements. This kale was started in a hoop house and was very delicate and could not take the cold. Learn something new, next time make sure the kale inside has lots of protection or do not start kale in a hoop house, start it outdoors and move a house over top in November.

We entertain ourselves with bad TV, cleaning popcorn, making beer, making cider, cleaning and cutting up the last of the peppers and freezing them. Pretty mundane stuff.

I have found myself spending more and more time on FaceBook. I love FaceBook. Through it I have found so many people I had lost contact with from as far back as high school. FYI I still see a lot of my high school friends as I still live in the same area where I grew up. But a lot of people got out of the great Oxford Metroplex. FB has been an incredible tool for connecting. It also is a great time waster. I have started a farm and have a super power, both take time. But time is something I have at the moment.

I have started working on a web page for our CSA/Farm Share Program. We don't like the term CSA as it either represents us as supporters of the Confederate States of America (which we are not, being born and bred Yankees) or it is simply a bad description of selling food shares. So we prefer "Farm Share". Any Hoo, I have started working on an informational page about the farm share program which will commence the first week of April. That outta keep me busy for a few days. So far, I have gotten the thing about 20% done and lost everything. That's okay, it was all replaced by better copy and design. If everything goes right, I should have it functional by the end of this week