published occasionally at the whim of the editor
In this issue:
The Beef on Beef
Stuff in Jars (Honey, Fruit…)
On the Home Front
Question of the Month: When do shares start? Hopefully mid-June. Weather depending.
Today is Memorial Day and it’s high time I let everyone know what’s up and when garden shares will start. Honestly, I’m amazed you’ve all been so patient.
It was a long, cold winter followed by a long wet spring. Produce has been increasing at the Owensboro Farmers Market every week, but it’s still mostly from folks who have the benefit of greenhouses, high-tunnels, or locations that are warmer and drier than ours. But we have a lot of crops in the ground: lettuce, various greens, peas, beans, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, summer squash, and so forth. As always, we have high hopes for this years’ garden crops … just as we do this time every year before the floods and droughts and weeds and insects attack. Just like farmers everywhere, this is the time of year we are optimistic that this year will be that perfect season where everything goes right.
The bottom line question is “when will shares start?” I can’t give you an exact date, but we’re hoping by mid-June to be able to make good on our promise of at least 8 things each week.
As I mentioned above, we have a number of crops in the ground, and more will be planted. We generally plant many of the crops multiple times to extend their availability. Unfortunately, the soil conditions have to be just right for us to plant and then for those seeds to germinate and grow. We’ve had more than enough rain – not enough to flood or cause huge losses, but enough that the fields have been wetter than ideal. But things are moving along.
For those of you new to the CSA concept, we have a Garden FAQ on the web site that might be of interest and I’ve added it to the blog, too. Every year we have folks who join the CSA thinking it will be an awesome thing (which it is) then realize that they’d be better suited to a Farmers’ Market or simply sticking with whatever the local grocer has imported from Peru. There are just folks who can’t quite make the transition to everything a CSA means. In fact, it seems counter-productive to our business, but we have actually suggested to some people that they shouldn’t purchase a CSA share. We want our members to be happy with their CSA experience, not frustrated or disappointed.
Eggs: Just a reminder that summer egg shares don’t technically start until June 15. For those of you with summer egg shares, if you’d like to start your shares now to coincide with your garden shares, it may be possible. It all depends on how many of you are interested.
In other eggciting news, we have been taking about 20 dozen eggs every week to the Owensboro Farmers Market (look for the Kramer Homestead booth under the blue canopy), and have been selling out each week. An egg share will hold your eggs until you arrive at the Market or at the Farm, which ever you choose.
We have also been taking Goose Eggs (actual eggs from actual geese, not the kind you get when you forget to close the cabinet door) and they’ve been reasonably popular. If you want one to try, the geese will stop laying soon.
Chicken (to eat): It’s always a slow start every spring getting our meat birds hatched and grown, but they should be ready for butchering in a month or so. They’re growing, I promise. Not all that quickly, of course that’s the nature of this kind of chicken, but they are growing.
We get requests almost weekly at the Farmers Market for chicken and we do have pasture raised / free range (they do actually run loose pretty much all over the farm) heritage chickens. Sadly, we can’t bring them to the market. Market rules don’t allow live animals, and state and federal laws prohibit us from bringing meat that is not USDA inspected across that pesky state line. The closest USDA poultry facility is clear down in Bowling Green and that would make the cost of the processed birds prohibitive, so we do the butchering ourselves. That just means you need to come to the farm to get them. But most people seem to enjoy coming for a visit and seeing the critters wandering around. Right now there are lots of babies.
Turkey: We have several young turkeys that will be ready for November/December harvest and we still have some available. So if you’re interested, consider getting your down payment in as soon as you can.
Waterfowl: Imagine a Christmas Goose roasting for that old-fashioned Dickensian holiday meal. We have lots of geese and lots of goslings. Those who have had it have loved it.
Our ducks, on the other hand, are very limited and we will hopefully have enough for our Farm Table Shares.
If you haven’t tried our heritage Mulefoot pork, you gotta try it. It’s amazing. We have a fair amount of pork still here on the farm that was Indiana inspected (so we can’t bring it to the Market to sell). We are making butchering arrangements soon so we have pork for the Market as well as for our meat sharers (including FTS).
If you’ve never seen bacon seeds, we have a passel of them on the farm right now. 5 of our sows delivered pigs in a 3 day period a couple weeks ago. In fact, if you’re considering feeder pigs, now’s the time to be in discussion.
The Beef on Beef
Grass-fed, local, non-cemmercial beef. 100%, really! They are born on pasture, and the leave the pasture to go to butcher. The only grain involved is to pregnant or nursing cows if there isn’t enough grass to keep them healthy.
Copperhead Hill Farm, who grows the beef, is actually Glenn’s brother, Alan, who is a neighbor and regular helper on our farm. There are some pages under the Barn heading on our website about his farm and cattle and he has a Facebook page, too (managed by yours truly and admittedly rarely updated).
Stuff in Jars
Bee Buzz: This winter was extremely hard on bees. We lost about 2/3s of our hives. The good news is that the surviving hives are very strong and are making lots of honey. We’re hopeful that by mid-summer we should have honey for FTSs and the Farmers Market. It will not last long, I can promise you that.
Fruit Fans: The mulberries we get our name from are just coming into season. In fact, we had a delicious mulberry cobbler last night (recipe on the website). The reasons you don’t see them in stores or at the Farmers Market is 1) they are extremely delicate and don’t store or travel well at all, and 2) most people don’t even realize they’re edible, let alone this tasty. Probably because of #1. They are one of the great unknown fruity treats of nature. Come to the farm in the next couple weeks to try some.
We have a field of strawberries. The deer love them. Enough said.
On the Home Front
This is one of the busiest times of year for us. Actually, March through November is the busiest time of year. We have lots of baby animals, gardens to plant and maintain, post-winter and pre-overgrown clean-up, fence and building maintenance and construction, and lots of other tasks going on all simultaneously. Add to that the daily tasts of animal feeding and care, and then there’s the family!
School is out for the summer and Maggie’s been busy with end of year activities. She is working on completing her 30 (yikes) 4H projects for the fair next month and hopes many of you will come see her show her hogs, goats, and/or heifer! We’ll let you know dates and times, but the Spencer County 4H Fair is June 27-30 at the 4H fairgrounds south of Chrisney. Don’t confuse it with the carnival in Grandview that goes by a similar name and has no agriculture except items that might once have been vegetables fried in vast amounts of batter.
New and exciting things are (always) happening. Life is in a constant state of flux and there is nothing routine or boring here.
Recipe(s) of the Month:
For now, I’m pointing you to our website recipe pages because there’s a lot there. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, drop me a line and I’ll fix the problem or add the information. I’m always interested in new ways to prepare the stuff we grow.
And here’s shout-out right off the bat for preserving some of your summer yumminess. It’s not hard, doesn’t really take that long, and you’ll thank yourself in January. Check out the save-some-for-later pages.
And please – I designed the website to please myself and I don’t honestly know how user friendly it is. If you have suggestions to make, if a link is broken, if you find the whole thing corny and think I ought to go with a standard menu plan, don’t hesitate to tell me. Just be nice.
Drop me a line any time or give a call to share your stories, recipes, questions, concerns, or just chit chat! We really do want to focus on that “C” in CSA.
Thanks for eating locally!