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Monday, December 26, 2011

Early Morning Surfing (and a recipe)

I was looking at blogs that have recipes for rutabaga kugel and found one that had a good recipe (or at least it sounds good and you can find this recipe here and noticed on this blog that they are protected by Copyscape. So I surfed over to their site and found I could check this here blog out for plagerism.

And I did

And I found that a lot of people are pulling the "12 Reasons to Eat Local and organic" from this blog. And that is just fine with me as  I pulled the list from the OEFFA web site (with their permission) years and years ago. and as far as I am concerned your all can continue to copy that list (though a link back here would be awful nice, if you do)

It was nice to know that no one is ripping off my photos or original writing and using it as their own (or at least I don't think this is happening. But than again, Copyscape only gives me 10 hits for free and there is a chance that if I bought their services I would find out all sorts of plagiarizing and copyright infringement has been done with this blog.

But I don't care enough to subscribe.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Putting Together a Winter Share

Harvesting the produce is only half the battle putting it all together into a share is the other half. Once things are out of the field and cleaned up than the produce is ready to be bunched, boxed, etc.. and than put together into shares. The following pictures show how we put together the most recent winter share.

after weighing out and/or bunching or bagging finished items are put into 15 individual piles, one pile per winter share member. So far this pile has carrots, cilantro, leeks dried tomatoes and root parsley

Because our members get what would be a double regular share we had to make 2 piles per member and this is the beginning od th pile #2. We have shallots, garlic and wheat berries

Collard greens bunched and ready to add to the pile. these things are so sweet that the dog stole several leaves and ate them while we were harvesting
Eugene weighing Up potatoes

The piles grow and now we have added beets to this side..

...and spring mix, collards, kale, broccoli and parsley and a bag of lettuce. And there are 3 boxes of winter squash one has butternut, one has delicata and one has acorn. they got one of each kind in their shares

Pears and spinach have been added

Close up of 1/2 of a finished share with the potatoes added to the pile

and here is the other half, it's a lotta food

Eugene is doing a final check of the shares to make sure we got everything just right.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We are in Acres Magazine!!

A couple of months ago a woman contacted me about doing an interview for Acres USA about storing food/winter CSA's. I said I would certainly be interested in being interviewed and a week or so later sent me a bunch of questions via email, I answered them. She sent some more a bit later, I answered those and below is the result.

I have long wanted to be in an Acres article and now it has happened. Life is good.

I did leave 1/2 the article out of this post as it does not concern Boulder Belt Eco-Farm and not important (and if you want to read the entire article you will have to buy a copy at a place like TSC).

I'm pleased with the article and I hope you are too. Enjoy

Printed in the Dec 2011 issue

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soil Test Results for 2011

For years we avoided soil testing but last year we finally got around to it (soil testing and Soil test results) and found our soil profile was wanting. So we took steps to remedy the situation and applied a lot of sulfur (I believe 200 pounds to around 1.5 acres worth of beds) and 500 pounds of McGeary's fertilizer (I don't remember off hand the NPK ratios, maybe 7-10-5, maybe something else) along with foliar feeding fish and kelp.

Retested the top area November 18th and got the results back yesterday and here they are with last years results below this year's. Now that we have two years of data we are beginning to see what is working and what is not. We are losing boron but that could be as much (maybe more) because of record setting rains in the spring and fall and we tested during a wet time. We are gaining Organic matter which is still low but a lot higher than last year and when it gets to where it should be (I think around 3.5%) than the boron deficiency should be remedied. But until than we will apply boron in some form. Our Potassium and Phosphorus are very low and lower than last year. Green sand and rock phosphate will be a big part of fixing those deficiencies. our sulfur is going up so we know that applying all that sulfur last spring is working for us but we need more. We are losing zinc which ain't good but both seaweed and zinc sulfate will help. Nitrogen is low too.

Looks like we will be spending some money on soil amendments in 2012.

Friday, December 09, 2011

A Winter Harvest

Harvesting some crops in the snow for our Winter share members.

A bed of spinach.

Freshly pulled rutabagas

Freshly pulled and very dirty beets

A beautiful head of red oakleaf lettuce in among some red beets

Meg and Eugene harvesting rutabagas. The white specks are snow flakes

Harvesting Broccoli in the snow. Note the row cover That Meg is lifting off the plants so we can harvest that bed. It is because of that row cover that we have any broccoli at all. it kept the environment just warm enough and wind free enough that the broccoli heads did not get a lot of damage. If the had a hoop house over them they probably would have had no damage but even with just 2 layers of row cover on hoops we had 2/3rds come through a lot of nights in the mid 20's A-OK.

Fresh broccoli with leaves. The leaves are very good to eat.

A panorama of the farm shot from the NW corner and looking South, southeast

Dirty Daikons

Clean daikons

and Leeks

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Garlic Powder revisted

As many of you know I have been making garlic powder for many many years, at least 10, maybe more. This is what you do when you grow thousands of corms of garlic and have many unsellable corms (too small, damaged by bugs or harvesting, or one clove is bad but the rest of the corm is good). This year we had a bumper crop of small corms as the Purple Glazer garlic we grew was a complete failure and all the corms instead of being huge as they are supposed to be all were tiny things, elven garlic if you will.

I had gotten to the point of dreading the garlic powder manufacturing. Peeling a bushel of garlic, literally tens of thousands of cloves is incredibly daunting. Plus the past 3 years the powder has, despite the use of many, many silica desiccating packs, gotten moist and turned into a garlic powder brick. So I was not going to make any garlic powder this year until I saw this short video

This has changed how I peel garlic and a job that used to take several days to do now takes several hours (and is a pretty good work out to boot, maybe better than the Shake Weights that seem to be all the rage).

So after 2 hours I had this big bowl of about 4 pounds of garlic cloves ready to be put through the Cuisinart food processor.

And that is another change I have in how I make garlic powder. In the past I would usually not peel the garlic at all and put cloves with skins still on into the dehydrator and than when they were dehydrated and a bit smaller, than I would remove the skins. This was still tedious but took about 1/2 the time of peeling fresh cloves but it still meant hours and hours of peeling. But it also meant 3 to 5 days in the dehydrator at fairly high temps (130F) to get the cloves dry.

But with the noisy bowl technique, I get beautifully peeled cloves quickly and because they are naked I now put the cloves through the food processor using a few good pulses as you want a very rough chop and not a puree (I believe you can use a blender for this or even chopped them by hand) and than put the chopped garlic into the dehydrator (I have a big Excalibur with a temperature setting, most cheaper dehydrators do not allow you to set the temp) at 110F which means it does not cook. The chopped garlic is dehydrated in about 12 to 24 hours. Once dried it is ready to be processed through a blender with a glass or stainless steal carafe (do not use plastic, you will be sorry as you will now have a blender dedicated to garlicky things and you may get microscopic plastic chips in your powder) or you can use the chunks and do no more processing.

I would love to say, it's that easy but making garlic powder in small batches by hand is not easy at all, even with the noisy bowl technique it still takes days to make a couple pounds of the stuff. but once you taste it it is hard to go back to the insipid stuff posing as garlic powder you buy at the stores for real cheap.