21 02 2010

The greenhouse has almost completely come together. I am not sure how the end caps will go on, so it might just be a hoop house for the time being. It still gets hot enough for the lettuce and onions to germinate. Gotta love south facing slopes in the Applegate.
A large portion of seeds being planted are being contracted out this year. Wolf Gulch farms planted all of the first succession of lettuce and brassicas.
For all the seeds that I am starting, we are using homemade compost and homemade seed starting mix. I sort of follow the Eliot Coleman recipe.
Lastly, I am contracted to grow orach as seed again this year. I planted the orach that I seed saved from last year, and planted 200 starts of it. CSA members may get some in their salad mix.


Farm Scavenging

5 02 2010

The trellising for the first succession of peas has gone up. A 300 sq ft bed was hand tilled. Anytime now, the seeds for our snap peas will arrive from Fedco, the soil will be amended, and they will go in the ground. I am also planting shelling peas as well. I dream of peas and morels.
This trellising was all scavenged or donated from old pasture fencing, and I have a friend giving me some more. But I have to go dig it out.
I am getting ready to start the first big round of seeds for 2010. It will be mostly brassicas, onions, and lettuce. I am making all the seed starter mix that is based off the Elliot Coleman recipe.

2010 we welcome you

2 02 2010

Well a new year brings pretty much a new everything. We have a new location, and a new business that better embodies all the same values that formed our farm. We are certifying ourselves organic (not that we want to), to allow more access to markets.
Restarting a farm from scratch is not easy. We have the help of many good friends, and my body is already feeling the burn. A new hoophouse is almost finished, and the new field is totally taking shape. The 2010 farming season has totally started.
Almost of our seeds have arrived, and I am excited about the diversity of vegetables that we will be bringing you this year.
We have some rhubarb and strawberries already planted, and we are making an attempt at some late started garlic. There is going to be a full acre in organic production, but the other 4 acres of the field has already been put into cover of oats and peas. I am going to use this to increase the organic matter, and nitrogen in the soil. I am also going to use cuttings to mulch the row crops.

We are quickly getting the brochure revised, and it should be done and printed this week. We are raising the price a bit, but the result will be the highest quality produce we have ever achieved. Plus home delivery!!

We got this recycled this bath tub to wash veggies in, and  it turned out it was a huge cast iron tub that could easily fit 3 children.  It is ridiculous how heavy it is.  Anyways it had to be hauled from here to there and back again.  Hopefully the veggies will be cleaner than before, and I will never have to move it again.

So heavy

Soup Dinner

13 02 2009

We were not able to concern ourselves with seed starting today. It is true what they say, there is always tomorrow.
A friend told me today that it is going to be a long season. He too has noticed that has already been significantly warmer; sooner this year. He was gearing up.
This means that we need to get our shit together.
We need checks to arrive, and seeds need to be started.
While we procrastinate, we eat.
We had a meal this evening that adequately represent how well we eat.
Simple, and without waste.

Sweet Potato Soup
3 large Sweet Potatoes, whole roasted
5 Carrots. med. dice
3 yellow onions, med dice
1/4 bulb fennel, I just actually used one thick stalk, small dice
1 head garlic, chopped
1-10# fresh ham
1.5 c. long grain white rice
2 c. veg stock
1 magnum chardonnay
1 c of tomato sauce.
1-16 oz can unsweetended coconut milk
3. bay leaf
6 Tbl Mustard Seed
2 Cinnamon Sticks
10 Cloves
Black Peppercorns
1/2 c brown sugar
3 Tbl Ginger Juice

1 Tbl tumeric
1 tsp nutmeg.

This may seem like a lot. It is. It took about a 4 days.
1. Toast  5 tbl Mustard, the Cinnamon, Clove, and bay leaf.
2. I forget the total amount of liquid. The total amount of liquid will be enough to completely submerge the 10# fresh ham. I used a 1 cup to 1 gallon ratio to make brining solution. Pour brining solution over toasting spice. Add Brown sugar and bring to boil to dissolve salt completely. Cool. Add ham.
2. I brined it for 2 days. I read somewhere that you could do it up for three days. Brine the ham at least overnight.
3. Remove the ham from the brining solution and drain. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
4. Pan sear entire ham. Place in braising dish.
5. Deglaze pan with some of the white wine. Add liquid to braising dish with ham. Hard Sautee about half onions and carrots.  Quickly sweat about 5 cloves of garlic in the same pan and deglaze with the rest of the wine. Add this to the braising dish with pork in it.Adding water, bring the liquid to covering the pork by 2/3s.  Add bay leaf.  Cover and placeS in the oven overnight.
6. Remove pork. Toss it to scoundrels. Take braising liquid, bring it to simmer, and skim off crud.
7. Meanwhile make rice with the veg stock and the tomato sauce in a pilaf style.
8. Take the last of the onions, carrots, and the fennel. Sautee until very tender. Sweat garlic, then add the last of the mustard seed, the nutmeg, and tumeric.  Cover with ham jus.  Add Ginger juice.  Simmer together for a while.

9.  Scoop roasted sweet potatoes out of their skin and add to soup.  Add coconut milk.  Use and immersion blender to make soup more or less homogeneous.  Then add cooked rice.   Add water to adjust thickness.  Cook together for 5 minutes.

It is even better the next day.  It is good to share with Sadie too.  Could it be our inspiration to get our asses in gear and start planting?

The ham, carrots, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce were obtained directly from the producer.  The ham local to southern Oregon and USDA cerifitied.  Finding USDA certified meat around here is hard because there are no local processing facalities.  The pork has to be shipped as live wieght to a government approved facility few hours away, and then has to be shipped back to be sold in local marketplaces.  The prices this ham, and products like it are reflected in its cost.  The bureaucratic hoops that have to be jumped through are many.  And the overhead cost are sustaintial.  Too large for smalls producers to own, run, or operate, or cooperate.  It is undermining local production of meats here in Southern Oregon.  Non-USDA meat cannot be sold to the general public by way of stores or restaurants.  Therefore, the market for non-USDA meats has to be out of public view.

Lets put it like this.  Consumers are taught to go to the store to get stuff.  If that stuff is food related items, especially meats, it has to go through USDA inspection and regulation.   The overhead costs of having USDA inspected meats are most affordable to larger meat produtions.  This also goes for restaurants.  High costs make it difficult for small producers to get food on market shelves.  People shop at markets and eat out at restaurants.  Local food is not featured, and people have no other choice but to buy non-local.  Here is a disconnect between producer and consumer that is an issue affecting small meat producers.

We got this ham locally from Willow Witt Rance in Ashland.  It did good.

In Sadie’s sandy soil, she sows seeds

2 02 2009

Well most of the seeds will be sown in the greenhouse as transplants because that allows us more planting accuracy.
In theory seed saving is a great idea. However, we as a farm have not quite figured out the logistics of seed saving enough for the coming year. Ben saved some of the tomato seeds that we enjoyed last year for both flavor and productivity. Tomatoes are easy to seed save because they don’t cross pollinate. In the mean time we buy almost all our seeds.
This year we had a combination of leftover seeds, and lots of gifted seeds. This slightly reduced the amount of total seeds we had to buy. We bought all or our seeds from 4 catalogs. It just became way too mind numbing to comparison shop through more than 4 catalogs. The catalogs that we used were Bakers Creek heirloom Seeds, Johnny’s Seeds, Seeds of Change, and Territorial. These gave us enough diversity in seed types to be able to choose seeds that would best fit our operations. Characteristics that we were looking for in seeds were unit size, uniqueness, flavor quality, and most importantly how well the plant would handle in our ecosystem. Spending about 300 dollars on seeds this year in this order is in line with our projected cost.
Yet this doesn’t include the cost of seed potatoes, cover crops, garlic, and starter onions. The cost is then increased if we consider plants purchases, such as trees, shrubs, herbs, and other perennials. We are projecting the cost for all new plant life on the farm to be about 1000 dollars.

We actually went to look at some fruit trees today.  Gabe saw some she liked.  The trees from this nusery in Murphy were pretty large, and the price reflected their size.  The bigger the trees thes sooner we get some fruit.  2 years instead of 5 years.