Category: CSA (page 2 of 6)

CSA – Community Supported Agriculture

The Power of Produce – Field Notes Volume 3 | Number 2 June 8th, 2015

Field Notes Volume 3 | Number 2 June 8th, 2015

The Power of Produce

I think I always liked veggies. ItÂ’s been a long time since I was a kid, although sometimes it seems like it was yesterday, so I canÂ’t exactly remember. But IÂ’m pretty sure I liked to eat about everything- even a lot of stuff (like soap and poison berries) that I shouldnÂ’t have wanted to eat. Most kids donÂ’t seem like that. There are the odd few who feel kindred spirits to me who have an adventurous spirit and will try just about anything- but most donÂ’t like much of anything thatÂ’s green and some donÂ’t even like the sweet stuff. I have spent a lot of time pondering over peopleÂ’s pallets wondering why some of us like some

?Magic Molly potato plants

Magic Molly potato plants

things, some like others, some like pretty much everything and some seemingly donÂ’t like much of anything thatÂ’s green. I donÂ’t have the answers, and honestly havenÂ’t researched it enough to have an opinion based on anything more than that. I have my theories- mostly based around what a mother eats during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but they are only that. But even with all of these ideas I feel confident that most people can learn to love vegetables and live and feel healthier for it.
All you old and grown folks please accept my apologies in advance- I love it when yaÂ’ll get excited about what we grow, when I can see the kid inside shine through and a bit of that chlld-like joy shine through, but nothing gets me more excited about growing vegetables than when I get to see and to share in the joy of a kid who eats a vegetable for the first time and likes it. Honestly I even get a kick out of seeing them make those little faces of displeasure when something doesnÂ’t suit their palate. 🙂

Lately I have gotten to see a lot of these kids around the markets, particularly at the Bridgeport Market, where my lady friend Athena has developed a program called POP, or the Power of Produce. This program, which is modeled after one of the same name that was created in Oregon, seeks to introduce kids to the fun and excitement of veggies, through activities and giving kids tokens that they can spend of veggies at the market. It just got started, but already seems on its way to great success by the looks on the childrenÂ’s and their parents faces.
This kind of thing is especially important in our state, since we face a crisis in our food system and rising incidence of childhood diseases related to nutrition- such as diabetes, as well as many lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular disease, increased rates of cancers, and even allergies and asthma (which have some correlation to exposure to both positive and negative agents such as microbes), which tend develop with the choices that we make early in life. I won’t get too far into this, since I am a bit out of my depth, but for me the causes and solutions are simple- a good diet, a healthy lifestyle and healthy environment means a better chance at good health and a good life.

View in the Field

View in the Field

ItÂ’s all too easy for us to make the wrong choices, since our lifestyles and eating habits have been geared towards a lifestyle of convenience, where were have largely given up responsibility over what we eat and placed it instead in the hands of food scientists and large multinational corporations that just donÂ’t have our health or best interests in mind, but rather are most interested in profits, market share and efficiency of production.
We always have a choice, and I commend you all and your families for seeking to make healthy choices by incorporating fresh organically raised vegetables into your daily lives, but the longer we eat unhealthy foods the harder it is for us to break those patterns. Our bodies actually adjust to what we eat and it even effects the basic composition of our beings (for instance in the flora of our digestive system). And thatÂ’s why itÂ’s so vital that we get kids interested and excited in eating vegetables- because they are the basis of a healthy diet, but for me all of these words are really just a big excuse for trying to get kids to be excited about what they eat and maybe smile at a vegetable.
Enjoy-Farmer Sky

CSA pick-list
Salad Mix – Enjoy!
Kale – Great sauteed, pan fried, or baked into kale chips. We have been enjoying quite a bit of kale salad lately
Peas (either sugar snap or snow peas) – Can be eaten whole. Sweetest thing of the season.
Broccoli! – Should be around for at least another week- this hot weather takes a bit of a toll on it though
Baby Beets – Great roasted or boiled. The greens are very similar to swiss chard
and should be prepared the same. I will be making a roasted beet salad for lunch tom orrow
Scallions- enjoy!
For Market-Style CSA Customers:
You will receive Salad Mix, Peas, Broccoli, and Beets with your choice of addtional items.

Feed everyone.

Feed everyone.

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Laying an Egg. – Field Notes Volume 3 | Number 1 June 1st, 2015

Field Notes Volume 3 | Number 1 June 1st, 2015

Laying an Egg.

Some times I feel like a mother hen. ItÂ’s as if I was sitting on a big egg, which happens to be the whole farm- worrying and waiting and tending and doing all of the things that I imagine go through a hens little head. Sometimes I envy the simplicity of the hens life- how simple it would be if my needs and the farms needs were as simple as just sitting on an egg and eating my fill. The farm is more complex than that. On the good days I feel like a conductor orchestrating all of the little parts that go into making the symphony of the garden sound sweet. Some days I am a plumber, some days an electrician, some days a carpenter, some days a factory worker, and some days an accountant, and every day a boss 🙁

Chard Gleaming in the sunshine

Chard Gleaming in the sunshine

Some days its great, some days itÂ’s not, some days its both. Every day there is at least a moment when I am thankful for this life, for being able to hear the sweet sound of bird song, for the sunshine, for being able to look over and see my buddy Moses laying in the sun. ThatÂ’s when I know that life is good, when I can look across the field and see everything growing and all of the promise of sharing that joy with you.
That’s what it is all about. Because for every day with sunshine, there is another that is miserably cold or miserably hot. Everything evens out except the joy that we can share with others. That’s the good stuff. That’s the taste of the sweetest corn we have ever had or the juiciest tomato sandwich. It’s the prayer before a meal and leaning back in your chair when it is done. Those are the blessings that make this work worth doing and that is why we farm.
This winter two venerable farmers who have touched my life passed on, and put their mud boots away for one last time: Del Yoder of Owl Creek, and Patricia Keith of Ridgeway Farm. My words would never do their lives nor deeds justice, but I feel the need in mentioning their passing, not to express the immensity of their loss to this world, but for what it means to the farmers who live and carry on after them.
Farming is a struggle- that is why less than one percent of Americans do it and even less try to make a living at it. Its a gamble, and a fight, and a hard road to walk upon. I can’t speak too much about down the road (because I am not there yet), but I imagine that some things get easier and some things get harder the further down the road you get. Many folks quit, or sell the farm, but these folks were not that sort. They are the kind of people that aren’t made any more, who carried on with the determination and perseverance in the face of all challenges, who took them on with open minds and determined hearts. They struggled not

Moses checking on The broilers

Moses checking on The broilers

only to improve their own lots but also the lot of others around them and those that would come after. For that I owe them a great debt, because without folks like that- who are too faithful and foolish to believe that dreams are impossible, but can be made real through sweat and blood, this country would not be so great, this life and this place we call home would be poorer for it. IÂ’m not too sentimental a man, but I think that is worth a bit of sentiment, so there it is. 🙂

For me IÂ’ll sweat while I can and try not to complain too much. Every year is a great gift to us all and I am truly thankful. This season, although it is shaping up to be a challenging one, has started off blessed and we look to be in for good and fruitful harvests. I am lucky and thankful to share this with you. So for me and for you- lets remember to enjoy the sunshine while its still light out.

Enjoy. -Farmer Sky

CSA pick-list
Salad Mix – Enjoy!
Red Kitten Baby Spinach- Enjoy it as a salad green, or try it lightly cooked. It is so light and tender though right now that it would be best raw.
Lacinato Kale – Great sauteed, pan fried, or baked into kale chips.
Rainbow Swiss Chard – Enjoy!
Sugar Snap Peas – Can be eaten whole. Sweetest thing of the season.
Broccoli?! – ItÂ’s just about ready, if we can harvest enough for everyone I will be a happy man. 🙂
French Breakfast Radishes – Spicy, Crunchy, Crispy. Great addition to a salad or on buttered bread.
For Market-Style CSA Customers:
You will receive Salad Mix, Spinach, Snap Peas, and Broccoli with your choice of addtional items.

Mixed lettuce

Mixed lettuce

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The Culture in Agriculture – Oct 24, 2014

Howdy Folks!?

The last week is here can you believe it?

It’s been great to have you all as a part of Harmony Farm’s CSA!

In this weeks pick list I tried to include a bunch of stuff that would keep well, so that you can enjoy some of our veggies throughout the colder months, but if you still want more, we will be at the Morgantown Market and the Bridgeport Market until the veggies run out (not any time soon!). I’ll send an email out soon with more details about the markets. We also are about to slaughter 25 pasture raised chickens that Tom raised and those will be for sale soon. More details to follow.

Pick list
Salad mix
Spinach
Cabbage – should store for a couple of months
Hot peppers- should keep quite a while
Potatoes
Acorn Squash- should keep a couple of months
Garlic – keep in a dark place, hopefully will last you for a while
Cilantro
Maybe something else

The Culture in Agriculture

This is the last week of the CSA. Firstly, I want to thank everyone who took part in Harmony FarmÂ’s CSA, and the people who helped make it happen. There is no Harmony Farm, no agriculture without the people who support us.

ItÂ’s a special day for me- Last year at this time I had just gotten out of the hospital, most people who I told that I would farming again this year thought I was crazy. Maybe I am crazy, no I know IÂ’m crazy, but sharing my dream of fresh, healthy food with you folks is what itÂ’s all about for me.

After my accident, I was in the ambulance barely holding onto consciousness, a paramedic over me putting IVÂ’s into me and a tourniquet on my wrist and I was crying. Big surprise hungh? A bad accident and I was crying. Well, for me it is a big deal, I donÂ’t cry no matter how bad it hurts or how deeply I feel, somehow my body just doesnÂ’t work like that (or maybe my brain, but letÂ’s not get into that now). What I was crying about wasnÂ’t the pain, or the risk of losing my hand, but that it felt like my dream of farming was over. So after surgery, when I woke up and still had a hand I realized then that the dream was still alive and I told everybody I saw that IÂ’d be farming again this year. Honestly it is what has pulled me through, knowing that I had people to feed and plants to care for.

This isnÂ’t just about me though. This is about something bigger and greater than myself. This is about being human, being alive, being American, being from West-By God- Virginia, and calling Morgantown our home. Agriculture is important. ItÂ’s how we eat and itÂ’s how we survive. In modern America we can take for granted where our food comes from, because it comes from the super market from God knows where, but even then it is important to us. We cook when we want to celebrate, when we are feeling sick, when we are depressed, when someone dies, or someone is born. It is essential to our humanness and thatÂ’s why there is culture in Agriculture.

To culture means to grow, it also means a society of a particular time and place. American culture is a conglomeration of many cultures, many peoples who have left their mark on our identities, our language, our arts, our foods. Today, much of what defines us as a modern society is made by machines, in far off factories where the people who work speak in foreign tongues. They tell us that this is necessary and that it is good. We do all reap the benefit of global industrialization, but it can be all too easy to forget that what makes us who we are is not just the things we own or what we do, but the place we live, the people who share our lives, what we eat for dinner, and where we spend our money. That is why Harmony Farm, local agriculture, and local business is so important to me (and why I believe it is so important to you too!). When we invest our money in local businesses, we support people who live and work with us. We can care for and nurture one another and see the results of our contributions.

Harmony Farm employed as many as 5 workers this year, in addition to myself (not to mention all of the volunteers!). ItÂ’s seasonal work, which can be grueling and the pay is low, but what that means is that by being a part of the CSA you helped at least six people who live in your community, who contribute to the future of Morgantown, West Virginia, to live here and hopefully make it a better place for all of us (or at least make it more interesting). I can tell you there were definitely some interesting conversations, some good friends made, and a bit of romance too. We also do our best to buy locally and support other local businesses, what that means is that chances are your money hasnÂ’t travelled too far from home. I believe that that is how we make this a rich and vibrant place to live by supporting where we live, the people around us, and hopefully putting a bit more culture into agriculture and back into the place that we call home.

This year Harmony Farm fed 37 families through our CSA program and served many more through the Morgantown and Bridgeport farmerÂ’s markets. How many meals that made I donÂ’t know. How many children smiled over a bite of something sweet (or frowned over something spicy L) I can only imagine. I hope that there were some romantic dinners prepared, maybe some comfort food, maybe something made for a party. However you ate it means a lot to me and thatÂ’s why itÂ’s so important that it made a grown man cry.

As always, with love and gratitude.

Farmer Sky

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Fall is a lovely time of year, we must agree. – Oct 3, 2014

Howdy Folks!?

I finally made it back from New Mexico, after way too much traveling and an unplanned layover in Charlotte, NC.
Travel can bring out the worst in people, but I think we can all give a little more and make it better for everyone.

Just a short note this week-

Cheers,
Farmer Sky

Fall is a lovely time of year, we must agree.

When I left it seemed that summer was carrying on as usual, but to my joy and surprise on my return the leaves had begun to change in earnest coloring the countryside with oranges, yellows, reds, and purple. Fall is magical. Life is still vibrant and flowing from the earth and the sun, whose light has yet to begin its precipitous waning into the twilight of winter. For us now this is a joyous time, when the fruits continue to ripen, yet the nights are cool and the days not so oppressive as in the peak of summer.
Going back to New Mexico was lovely, the aspen groves that mark the mountain sides were at their peak color- a rich golden saffron that blankets the slopes. When I was there they got their first frost and snowfall upon the upper peaks. Harvest was in full swing there as well, at the farmerÂ’s market, vendors had red chili powder, and ristras(a long dangling bunch of dried red chills) hanging from their stands, and the air was filled with the pungent smoke of roasting chilis. The light this time of year is amazing, its long beams seem to impart everything with a golden hue. When people say that New Mexico is the land of enchantment (their state slogan), they do not lie- there is something in the air and in the earth there that casts a spell upon most who venture there, as it does to me. I was happy to visit, to see old friends, to meet new ones, to witness the wedding of my dear friends Cory and Joanna. It is a great blessing that in this world that filled with so much angst and negativity, we can find love and that it can lift us up and make us better than who we are alone.
I did miss West Virginia though. Although New Mexico calls to me in a certain way, West Virginia always calls me back, and on my return I was greeted by that soft song that the earth hums here.

Picklist
Tomatoes- Rainbow salad slicers
Peppers- Green Bells, the red sweets are almost here!
Baby Spinach- Enjoy!
Baby Red Kale
Basil- Red and green
Potatoes
Easter Egg Radishes
Carrots

Enjoy!
Farmer Sky

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Changing of the seasons and a farmerÂ’s fashion.

As farmers we live with the seasons.

The life of a vegetable grower starts well before the first seed is planted in the ground, inside where I like to wear something comfortable, like overalls and flannel. When the first hint of warmth breaks through in early spring, when the ground begins to come alive, when the first scent of the living earth awakens- I wear overalls and flannel. When the mornings are still cool, but the days get balmy and the fragrance of flowers overtakes the air and rushes upon our senses- I wear overalls and flannel. When the days get hot and the nights are filled with the sultry hum of insects calling out in desperation for a mate- I wear overalls and a button up shirt (gotcha!). The summers it seems are all too short and give way again to the cool nights and chill mornings when the grass is covered by a heavy dew and the cry of insects gives way to the shrill song of the mercurial songbird who glides through the air on gilded wings calling to us that life is short and that we must get what we can while it is before us- I wear once again overalls and flannel.

Overalls and flannel- now that is a fashion statement, but not a fashion statement at all.

Once, when I worked for others, as soon as the temperature was tolerable I would throw off my shirt and work with my back naked to the sky. I would go shirtless until the cold became too much for the furnace that fired within my skin, but alas those days have passed. Maybe I have changed, or maybe its realizing that my body is the foundation of my work and that if I do not protect it with the care that I would give my machines, then I risk everything. Lately the farm staff and volunteers has been composed mostly of women, they seem to enjoy working in tank tops and short shorts. There has even been talk of farming in bikinis and it always makes me cringe. I must admit that I believe that the feminine form is better than any tomato, that it is the loveliest creation of this great earth, but when there is talk of farming in bikinis I long to cover all of that exposed skin in overalls and flannel, and a straw hat.

Once, when I was farming outside of DC, I was invited to join in a photo shoot of young farmers. They requested that we wear mud boots, work pants and flannel and bring along a shovel or a pitch fork. I protested, and actually did not participate, because for me my mud boots are not a fashion statement- they are what we wear so that we can do our jobs the best that we can. I went along to the photo shoot that day with a lady friend who was decked out in her sexiest mud boots and flannel shirt, but although that day I was in fact wearing mud boots, work pants and flannel, I changed out of them as soon as I had a chance. Maybe IÂ’m just contrary- I am definitely just contrary.

The point is- flannel is in this fall.

Flannel is always in for farming.

Speaking of fall, its almost here! (Tuesday, September 23rd)

This year it has felt as if it has been coming early, with the cool summer that we have had, although it is more or less right on schedule. IÂ’ve noticed a bit of color to the leaves here and there, and these nights and early mornings have definitely gotten chillier. The geese are moving southward, and currently are camped out at Owl Creek.

What that means at the farm is that the summer fruits are slowing down, although they hopefully will be with us until first frost which is typically October 15th in this area. It also means that greens, and roots are once again in season down here in the lowlands. We have plenty planted- Many lettuces, spinach, cabbage, kale, arugula, asian greens, broccoli, cauliflower, etc, which will taste better and better as the weather gets cooler. For me fall is the finest season for vegetables in this area. The greens are at their best, and although the tomatoes donÂ’t quite taste as sweet they are still with us in the field.

So enjoy it folks, because as the songbirds sing- life is short, but oh so sweet (or at least thatÂ’s what I think they are saying),
Farmer Sky

Picklist-
Sweet Corn (probably the last of the season)
Tomatoes
Basil (purple and green)
Zucchini
Cucumber
Potatoes
Green Beans
Radishes (very mild)
Mixed Salad Greens

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Making Love in the Garden. – Sep 12, 2014

Making Love in the Garden.

by Sky Harman

Advisory: For anyone who would rather not think about sex and procreation, please do not read this post!
Advisory: For everyone else, this isnÂ’t as sexy as you hoped.

Fact: There is a lot of sex in the garden.

The birds are doing it, the bees are doing it, every insect around is treating the farm as their own personal swingers club. I donÂ’t often kill bugs- for me the problems that they cause are greater and more complex than can be solved by squishing them- but on occasion I do, and sometimes (quite often in fact) I catch them in the act of doing it. I donÂ’t feel so bad for ending a life then, because even if its a bugÂ’s life that is not such a bad way to go. The plants are doing it too, in fact much of what we eat from the garden is the fruits of their labors. Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers, even beans and peas are the products of procreation. I might feel worse about eating their babies if I hadnÂ’t planted the seeds and nourished them to fruition myself.

Advisory: You can open your eyes and ears and let the kids read again.

But thatÂ’s not the kind of love IÂ’m talking about. IÂ’m talking about the love and care that we give which is more akin to a mother and child than what Marvin Gaye was singing about. For me every plant is my baby. Many are started by seed indoors long before they ever reach the field, others (although no less important) go directly into the ground. We nurture them, we feed them, we water them, we tuck them in when they are cold, we mourn an early death, and we feel pride when they go out into the great wide world and make their way to you.

I am sure that everyone out there doesnÂ’t feel the same. Some people might just see this as a job, although they would be crazy (since we could be making more money mowing lawns!) I believe that this is one of the greatest differences between small scale and large scale farming- that we have the ability to love no just our job, but what we do on a daily basis, and I believe that this must get into the plants somehow, that the positive energy that we give them is present within them.

Enjoy the much loved veggies!
Farmer Sky

Picklist for this week:
Sweet Corn- Bicolor (Montauk)
Salad Mix- Enjoy!
Green Beans- Enjoy!
Fresh pressed apple cider! Please return the containers as we will reuse them.
Tomatoes- Assorted heirloom varieties
Potatoes- Enjoy!

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The Culture in Agriculture – Sep 5, 2014

The Culture in Agriculture

By Sky Harman

Hey there folks!
Things are swell here.
Everything is planted for the fall, the tomatoes are ripening rapidly at Ridgeway, the other summer fruits are coming back on line, and itÂ’s finally feeling a bit like the summer we never had!

I hope yaÂ’ll enjoyed the sweet corn! I know I have. It should be around for at least a couple of weeks and IÂ’ll try to stretch it as far as I can.

If anyone is interested in purchasing extra we should have it available until further notice at a CSA special price of $5/dz or $30 per bushel.

For eons, at least since the beginnings of human history, we have been intrinsically linked to the growing of food. Once our lives moved along with the rhythms of the season and we built our cultures and holy days around the planting, harvesting, and preservation of food. Many holidays today seem to have their roots in these rhythms- Easter (vernal equinox), July the 4th (summer solstice), Halloween and Thanksgiving (autumnal equinox), but today we largely overlook our connections to the land when we celebrate, and by and large overlook the land in our lives as a whole.

This may have been the first of many fractures in our culture where we now struggle for personal meaning and a greater sense of community. There is something inherent about the cycles of the earth through the seasons which forces us to confront our needs and desires, to unite with others in common interest and to celebrate the blessings which we receive from the earthÂ’s bounty.

This I believe is where agriculture can fit into our lives today. Through redeveloping a connection with the land as not only a thing to move upon, or build on, or extract from, but as a thing which brings rhythm to our lives, provides us with nourishment, brings us together as communities, and provides us with the means and ends to celebrate.

We try to do a bit of that at Harmony Farms. It is a challenge, because in this day and age our work is so varied, our schedules so different, and our interests so far apart, that organizing is almost like herding cats.

Did you know that our ancient ancestors herded cats? It is a tradition long since forgotten, and the last remnants of this old art were the product “I can’t believe it’s cat butter!”, and silly you tube videos.

Just kidding.

On this note I want to invite you all to a celebration, a sharing, and a good old fashioned work day. On October 11th Harmony Farm invites you, your friends and family, and anyone else you know, to our new farm site (which we would love to talk about and to show off) at Ridgeway Farm in Cheat Lake at 3pm, to take a look around, to take part in a potluck meal, and to help plant the coming seasonÂ’s garlic.

More information will follow. If you are interested in checking out the site the address is 217 Morgan Hill Rd.

This weekÂ’s pick list:

Tomatoes

Yellow Sweet Corn

Cucumbers

Kale

Peppers

Hot Peppers

Red Onions (maybe)

And Pears from Ridgeway FarmÂ’s trees!

Cheers,

Farmer Sky

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Preserving Your Excess Veggies – Aug 28, 2014

Preserving Your Excess Veggies

by Patsy Harman

Once upon a time, Tom and I and our fellow hippies on the commune, had a root cellar full of hundreds of canning jars filled with tomatoes, green beans, beets, corn and winter squash and apples. Their colors gleamed like jewels in the dim cellar light. We grew and preserved all the produce that we ate, but those days are long gone. Now, we donÂ’t have the time.

The thing is you donÂ’t have to be the king and queen of mason jars to enjoy summer and fall produce, long after snow has covered the ground.
If your veggies are mounting up in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter, donÂ’t abandon them to the compost pile. HereÂ’s some easy ways to preserve your produce that wonÂ’t take all day.

Easy ways to Freeze (and if your fridge doesnÂ’t have a big enough freezer you can buy an energy efficient new chest freezer for around $200. Used ones on craigslist are more like $100)

1. Tomatoes. Simplest way. Wash tomatoes, cut off the bad spots, pop a few in a freezer bag and chuck them in the freezer. Really!? Come on!
(I have a friend who always does this.) In the winter, you thaw them out, slip off the skins if you wish, cut them up and throw them in with your lentil beans, beef stew or casserole. Is that cool or what?

2. Multi veggie soup stock This is what I do, and itÂ’s not very hard. If I have a little of this and a little of that, one summer squash, four soft tomatoes, a handful of green beans and an onion, I get some V-8 juice or maybe some organic chicken broth and after cleaning and cutting up the produce cook it up until just barely tender, add salt to taste, let cool, pour it into quart freezer bags and put them in the freezer. In the winter, you can add meat or rice or pour over noodles. Yum! Summer veggies in February! Makes you feel rich.

3. Corn on the Cob Peel off the husks, rinse and blanch for three minutes, let cool enough so the cobs wonÂ’t melt the plastic and then put 5-6 ears in a gallon freezer bag. (You can save room by cutting the kernels off and put them in the bag without the cobs, only itÂ’s not as much fun.)

And thereÂ’s an even easier way. Take very fresh corn, peel off most of the husk, leaving only a thin layer of green and without blanching put the corn cobs in bags and freeze. No kidding. You donÂ’t even cook them. I havenÂ’t tried this method yet, I just found it on-line, but IÂ’m going to experiment. The blogger said she has kept the corncobs, with good results, for 6-9 months and they still tasted great. It works best if you get the fresh local produce in the freezer the day it is picked.

Drying IÂ’ll admit in the old days, back on the hippie farm, we dried both veggies and fruit on window screens out on the yard, but thereÂ’s a newer better way and IÂ’m thinking of trying it. Online or at Target or Sears you can buy a dehydrator for between $40 and $100. WouldnÂ’t that be great in the winter? To have dried tomatoes with basil and oregano? Dried green beans with a little salt or hot sauce? Dried apples? Dried slices of squash?

Whatever your method of preserving, donÂ’t kill all the vitamins. You are saving a bit of sunlight for the cold and stormy days ahead.

Farmer SkyÂ’s Mom, Patsy Harman

pick list this week:
sweet corn- the first of many!
salad mix
tomatoes
cherry tomatoes
potatoes
eggplant

enjoy!

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Animals in the farmyard?! Part 2 – Volume 2 | Number 11 August 22nd, 2014

Field Notes Volume 2 | Number 11 August 22nd, 2014

Animals in the farmyard?! Part 2

by Sky Harman

Baby animals are cute. There is nothing more to say about that, other than baby animals grow up to be big animals and sometimes they arenÂ’t so cute anymore, or sometimes they stay cute but donÂ’t act nice or play well with others. Sometimes teenagers are like that. I was and IÂ’m guessing some of you were too. In those cases we just have to hope they grow out of it. Some animals never do.

Sheriff Moses guarding a chick

Sheriff Moses guarding a chick

Around the farm there are a lot of cute animals, some babies, so big and not so cute. At Ridgeway the Cheat Lake site, there are a pair baby fawns just losing their spots these days, who look up with innocent eyes when we drive up to the farm. Their mother and the rest of the herd of anywhere between 10 and 30 deer look up the same way, and over the years they have lost their fear of people, and even expect people to feed them. One of the first times I was ever in the field there, I spotted some deer and tried to scare them away, by throwing rocks in their direction, but they just thoughtfully looked at me and walked my way hope that the rock was something to eat.

Maybe at first they thought the garden was such a place. When we began the season there, we planted things that I wouldnÂ’t have thought deer would eat, especially when there was so much green growth around- Tomatoes, Peppers- Hot and sweet, and Squash. Things seemed fine for a while, then one day 2 plants had been topped, then 2 more, then all of them- 300 tomato plants and 500 pepper plants. Out at Owl Creek, since I thought I knew the deer, I wasnÂ’t as concerned, but less than a week after they had struck at Ridgeway, they jumped the electric fence out at Owl Creek and ate 200 pepper plants with almost ripe peppers hanging below. Needless to say deer have been an issue this season. At Ridgeway, we completed an 8 foot fence a week after the deer struck. It has still been a work in progress (with the occasional deer running headlong through the fence), but the deer stooped doing damage after they ate all of the peppers and tomatoes. Just the peppers and tomatoes. Luckily most of the plants have bounced back and pepper season is about to commence. 🙂

Sheriff Moses guarding the corn.

Sheriff Moses guarding the corn.

Deer are cute to some people. They might look cute to me too when the light shines on them just right, but inside them I see a menace. Maybe thats just me, but around here we have a problem with the deer. There are too many walking around hungry, without much to fatten them up and plenty to sample in peoples yards and gardens. Combine that with the fact that it is more or less illegal to hunt them by normal means in many of these areas and we find ourselves with a problem.

IÂ’ve been speaking with the DNR about our problem, but they donÂ’t seem as concerned as I am (maybe because the deer pay their paychecks and not myself).

Moses loves deer. He loves to chase them and I am pretty sure he would love to eat them too. Sometimes he gets awfully close. Whenever I see the fawns around I make sure to give them a long head start before he goes after them, because even if they are baby vegetable eating machines I would feel awfully bad if he caught one. Now when the deer see Sheriff Moses come around they start running, because they know that if they donÂ’t move fast enough he might just catch them.

Moses is rather fond of chickens. We have 25 baby chicks at the house, and theyÂ’ll be out on pasture up at Rdgeway in the next couple of weeks. More details on this to follow.

As it is now, the deer are still around and hopefully the fences and sheriff Moses will keep them at bay until the DNR gets it together and we start to manage the herd.

Cheers- Farmer Sky

CSA pick-list

Tomatoes – Heirlooms, red slicers.
Cherry Tomatoes- Pink- Sun Peach, Orange – Sungold, Yellow- White Cherry, Red – Nectar, Bunched Red – MattÂ’s Wild, Red/Black – Black Cherry. Enjoy!
Green Onions- Enjoy!
Kale- Enjoy!
Parsley- Try freezing, for tasty herbs in winter
Basil- Just a bit, Enjoy!
Hot Peppers- Just a few for starters. Enjoy!

Baby goat at Ridgeway Farm, Daniel Richter - herdsman.

Baby goat at Ridgeway Farm, Daniel Richter – herdsman.

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Animals in the farmyard?! Part 1 Volume 2 | Number 10 August 14th, 2014

Volume 2 | Number 10 August 14th, 2014

Animals in the farmyard?! Part 1

by Sky Harman

Living creatures are the essence, the joy, and the pain of the farmer. We grow things- in our case vegetables (which are totally living even if they donÂ’t have a brain or a central nervous system like animals- but we also manage many living creatures, some that benefit us, some that do us harm and some that do both. At times it can be hard to see the difference between a good animal and a bad one. Moses is good usually. Deer are bad. Bees are good, mice are bad. Some things are rather clear-cut like those examples- some not so much. Many insects are the primary pollinators of the plant that they prey upon- such as the hawk moth and the tobacco horn worm, or the cucumber beetle. One of the things that differentiates

A Monarch Caterpillar

A Monarch Caterpillar

organic farming from its modern conventional counterpart is that we look upon nature in a vitally different way. Men have sought to control and dominate nature for quite some time, but in modern times scientific and technological innovation has allowed us to effect the natural world around us in ways that were previously unimaginable. Today many conventional farms sterilize their soil through chemicals, and provide their plants nutrients through chemicals, and keep every unwanted plant or insect away with chemicals. Some of these chemicals are getting into the food they grow.

Organic agriculture is supposed to be different. We look at nature not as an adversary to be conquered, but as a partner (or in fact the source of our livelihood) to be nourished and cultivated. We are challenged to look at broader issues of soil and plant health and find natural ways to address those problems and become closer to nature. Modern Organic agriculture is not this way. The large industrial agri companies have co-opted the words and legal structures of organic farming, while denying the fundamental principles that essentially have defined it. Practically, this means that one set of factory made fungicides, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and a bunch of other cides have replaced another, with little regard to the impact of these “organic” chemicals on the earth, living things, or the people that eat the food. At Harmony Farm we are seeking another path, even if at times can be a struggle. I believe that food should be as pure as the air or the earth in which it grows, and that your children (or my hypothetical ones) should be able to eat from our gardens, with no concern of how it will affect them other than a hope that she’ll smile. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Animals love organic vegetables and thats why farmers spray chemicals- to keep the animals away.
Sometimes organic is easy, and its my continuing naive belief that it will always get easier (so long as I don’t fight it), but sometimes its hard. You would not believe the untold number and variety of bugs around the farm- there is the squash bug, the blister beetle, the striped cucumber beetle, the spotted cucumber beetle, the Japanese beetle, the flea beetle, the onion maggot, the parasitic nematode, the colorado potato beetle, the aphid, the thrip, the this bug and that bug- let’s just say its a lot. Some are bad, some are really bad, some are devastating, and some will leave you alone unless you start a fight. I believe that organic farming is not about starting a fight with every bug that comes along, in fact the more diversity of bugs in nature the healthier an ecosystem is, but organic farming is about understanding the underlying causes of which an imbalance of harmful insects is a symptom. This problem can’t be solved with something out of a can, and takes something that we have less and less of these days- time. So there is no easy solution, unless you want to spray. Me I can’t do it, even if it costs me dearly. I am a stubborn man, and I know that if I keep trying, if we look hard enough, we’ll see that nature is not reaching out a claw, but a hand, and we just need to give her the right handshake to gain entry into the Garden of Eden again.

Keep it Natural. Farmer Sky

CSA pick-list

Tomatoes – Heirlooms, red slicers.
Cherry Tomatoes- Pink- Sun Peach, Orange – Sungold, Yellow- White Cherry, Red – Nectar, Bunched Red – MattÂ’s Wild, Red/Black – Black Cherry. Enjoy!
Baby Carrots- Enjoy! Last until fall.
Red Cabbage- Enjoy!
W hite Potatoes- Enjoy!
Zucchini- Enjoy!
Garlic- Enjoy!

Blurry image of a magical Bug (it was just too small to focus on)

Blurry image of a magical Bug (it was just too small to focus on)

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