Friday, December 17, 2010

Name Change?

It's been awhile since I've blogged...we are contemplating many things about the farm. One of those is a name change. When we named the farm "Picket Fence Farm", we thought it was unique to our area. Since then we have found out about Picket Fence Creamery in Woodward, Iowa that has been around longer than we have. In an effort to be more unique and original we want to rename our farm. So we are currently brainstorming ideas. We are also coming up with new marketing ideas, farming practices, and deciding what we will grow for the 2011 season. We are thinking at this time we will operate a small CSA and try out selling at area farmer's markets as well. Our goal is to try to make our farm our primary source of income in the coming years so that we can do it better. It is hard having the husband working full-time off the farm, as well as trying to raise a family and grow a business. This farm is what we are passionate about...providing local, farm-fresh, chemical-free food for our own family and our community.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #19

Picket Fence Farm HappeningsSeason 2 Issue #19

What’s Happening on the Farm
Well, the garden is in pretty bad shape this week; there is not much left to harvest. This will be our final delivery/pick-up of the season. It hasn’t been the best year for growing...the weather definitely did not cooperate, but we had many blessings along the way. Thanks to all of our CSA customers for sticking with us (even during weeks when the bags weren't as full as they should have been). This winter we will be coming up with new plans and ideas for our business and gardens, so please keep reading our blog for new developments. If you know you want to join the CSA again next year please let us know so we can write your name on our list. We will be accepting a limited number of people on a first come, first served basis (with current members getting first choice). We are excited for next year and the possibilities that a new season will bring. Here’s to a better 2011!

What’s in the Box?
Jalapeno Peppers
Lettuce-All season mix
Cooking Greens
Herb Bundle-Rosemary and Thyme

Recipe Ideas

Mandarin Mixed Greens Salad
2 cups torn mixed salad greens
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

3 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced gingerroot
1 garlic clove, minced
Place greens on two serving plates; top with oranges and walnuts. In a blender, combine the vinaigrette ingredients; cover and process until blended. Drizzle over salads.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Help Crooked Gap Farm!

Our friends at Crooked Gap farm have some great farm raised meat for sale. Help support a local farmer by checking out their info below to order some.

Crooked Gap Farm

Friday, October 1, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #18

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #18

What’s Happening on the Farm

The weather this week has been great. It has been dry so we are getting some field work done, finally. The garden is starting to wind down, so we will probably only have a couple more weeks of deliveries/pick-ups. Farm Crawl is this weekend, and I would encourage everyone that can make it to go. It is always a good time, plus you get to support local farmers--for more info you can check out the website at On a sad note, we lost 4 chickens this week. We learned a lesson the hard way...when moving the chicken house and some chickens escape, don’t just let them go and think they will come back to roost at night...they DON’T know where their house is. We were able to catch 5 of the escapees, but 4 just would not let us near them (and they are fast, by the way), so we gave up discouraged and said they were on their own. Well, that didn’t go so well, because there were feathers in the yard the next morning and we haven’t seen the chickens since (besides the carcass of one left in the field by our house). Some lucky animal(s) had a nice chicken dinner.

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-Big Beef, Celebrity, or Roma
Cherry Tomatoes, assorted varieties
Jalapeno Peppers
Cucumbers-Tendergreen, Diva, or Lemon
Sweet Potatoes-Georgia Jet
Assorted Pumpkins

Recipe Ideas

Sweet Potato Pie
1 (1 pound) sweet potato
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #17

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #17

What’s Happening on the Farm

Well, the farm is MUDDY this week. Fall is supposed to be a drier season, but not so this year (yet). We hear it is the third wettest year on record. Not the best conditions for gardening, but we continue to push on. The tomatoes look to be about done...we have some green ones on the vine, so we will see if they get the warmer temps they need to ripen. We have some pumpkins this week. They are mystery varieties as they grew on their own accord out of our compost pile. The pumpkins and winter squash that we planted in the field were a total loss, yet these did great...they loved the fertile compost I guess. We will be spreading our compost on the garden this Fall in hopes of a more abundant season next year.

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-Big Beef, Celebrity, or Roma
Cherry Tomatoes, assorted varieties
Cucumbers-Tendergreen, Diva, or Lemon
Green Beans--Maxibel
Lettuce-All Season Mix
Chives-Garlic or Onion
Assorted Pumpkins

Recipe Ideas

Garlic Thyme Potatoes (
2 pounds small red potatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Peel a narrow strip of skin around the center of each potato. Place potatoes in a steamer basket; place in a saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 20-30 minutes or until tender. In a serving bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add potatoes and toss gently to coat.

Cheddar Thyme Flaky Biscuits (
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or a fork until it is the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the mixture and measure the milk, cheese and thyme into the bowl. Gently mix until a soft dough forms. Roll or pat out on a floured surface to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into circles and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the biscuits are golden brown.

Some Pictures...

Below are some pictures from today's harvest. Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and herb bundles (Chives and Thyme). I love the Fall colors of the pumpkins!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #16

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #16

What’s Happening on the Farm

We are starting to harvest some cool weather crops this week, like the greens and lettuce. The lettuce looks nice...we grew it in a raised bed covered with a low tunnel. It had hardly any weeds or dirt on it. We are loving this new system and hope to expand on it next season. We are plowing up more land to sow pasture seed in hopes for some animals next Spring, and we were also able to get our clover seed planted for our cover crop/green manure where the high tunnels will go next season. We have a friend coming out next week to help us get 2 of the high tunnels set....we still need to get plastic ordered to cover it, then we’ll be set to plant! Our chickens are really laying, so we have eggs for sale every week now. Please email us before Friday/Saturday if you would like to purchase some at your time of pick-up or delivery. They are $3.00 per dozen.

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-Big Beef, Celebrity, or Roma
Cherry Tomatoes, assorted varieties
Cucumbers-Tendergreen, Diva, or Lemon
Green Beans--Maxibel
Turnip Greens
Lettuce-All Season Mix

Recipe Ideas

Delicious Greens and Ham (from

vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 pound chopped cooked ham
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound fresh turnip greens, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add ham and onion; cook and stir until onion is clear. Add the tomatoes and turnip greens and cover the skillet. I use a 12 inch skillet and I have to pack the greens down a bit to make them fit at first. When the pan starts to steam, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 12 minutes. Transfer the greens and ham to a serving bowl and toss with apple cider vinegar.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #15

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #15

What’s Happening on the Farm
We’re loving this cooler weather on the farm! It is feeling like Fall. All the lettuce and greens are up and growing; this cool weather will be good for them. We have sweet potatoes this week, but maybe not as many as we would have liked. It seems some bug has been feasting on them underground and many of them have big holes. The green beans have been growing better this time around, so we had a pretty good harvest of them this morning. We continue to get more eggs from the chickens, so if anyone needs eggs, please ask. We usually have some for sale. On the agenda for the weekend: sowing our pasture mix seed and clover cover crop. The clover will fix nitrogen to the soil and add organic matter to the soil when we till it under in the spring.

What’s in the Box?
Tomatoes-Big Beef, Celebrity, Roma
Cherry Tomatoes, assorted varieties
Okra- Clemson Spineless
Cucumbers-Tendergreen, Diva, or Lemon
Green Beans--Maxibel
Sweet Potatoes- Georgia Jet
Herb Bundles-Basil, Thyme, Chives

Recipe Ideas

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

4-6 sweet potatoes, cut into fries
2 Tbsp oil
Salt and Pepper to taste OR
Brown sugar and cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a plastic bag, combine the sweet potatoes, oil, and seasonings of your choice. Close and shake the bag until the fries are evenly coated. Spread the fries out in a single layer on two large baking sheets
Bake for 30 minutes, or until crispy and brown on one side. Turn the fries over using a spatula, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until they are all crispy on the outside and tender inside. Thinner fries may not take as long.

Creamy Herb Spread

1 8oz pkg. cream cheese
1 Tbsp fresh minced thyme
1Tbsp fresh minced chives
1 garlic clove, minced
Assorted crackers

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, thyme, chives and garlic; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with crackers.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Double Yolks

Double yolk eggs from the Picket Fence Farm chickens...these are some productive ladies...we have been getting quite a few of these!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #14

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #14

What’s Happening on the Farm

Well, we have been planting some cool weather far lettuces, spinach and broccoli raab. We were also able to set up our first low tunnel. It worked out great. We will also be experimenting with raised bed systems and deep mulch in the garden. Next week we will have sweet potatoes ready. We dug a couple today and they are is just too muddy to dig them all after the rain we’ve had the last few days. We have eggs for sale now too, so if you are in need of some let us know. They will be $3.00 per dozen. We can have them ready on the day you pick up your produce as long as we know ahead of time what you want.

What’s in the Box?
Tomatoes-Big Beef, Celebrity, Roma, Lemon Boy
Cherry Tomatoes, assorted varieties
Okra- Clemson Spineless
Cucumbers-Tendergreen, Diva, or Lemon
Green Beans--**Saturday deliveries only this week**

Recipe Ideas
These recipes come from

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups white sugar
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced green bell peppers

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Place the cucumbers, onions and green bell peppers in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.

Grilled Okra
1 pound fresh okra
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Cajun seasoning

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil the grate. Roll the okra in the melted butter and then in the Cajun seasoning. Grill the okra until charred, about 2 minutes per side.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #13

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #13

What’s Happening on the Farm

We have had some cooler temps this week and we are starting to think about Fall! We have some pumpkins turning orange, although the crop hasn’t faired well this year (all the rain and weeds, I guess). Hopefully we will have enough for everyone to have one. We lost all of our winter squash, which is a major disappointment. We planted some fall spinach and lettuce this week, and the lettuce is up and growing already. We were able to make low tunnels to cover them. We have insect barrier on them now, and can add frost fabric when the weather turns colder (which hopefully won’t be for awhile). We were able to have the corn and potato fields plowed up this week...we need to get some green manure crops planted to improve soil and add nitrogen. Also on the agenda is to get our fruit trees protected from deer that like to munch on the leaves...we lost two peach trees last year to a buck scraping them and we don’t want that to happen again either!

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-Big Beef, Celebrity, Roma, Lemon Boy
Cherry Tomatoes, assorted varieties
Okra- Clemson Spineless
Cucumbers-Tendergreen, Diva, or Lemon
Some will have Zucchini - assort. varieties
Basil- Genovese
Chives-Garlic or Onion
Green Beans--**new crop for Friday pickups only, Saturday deliveries will receive them next week**

Recipe Ideas

Idea for Basil-- if you want to preserve for later use, chop up and freeze in ice cube trays with some water...use later in pasta sauce, pizza sauce, soups, etc.

Basil Pesto
This freezes well, use the ice cube tray trick again! Great on pasta or as a sauce for pizza.
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, spinach, or additional basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds
1 large clove of garlic, quartered
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine basil, parsley or spinach (if using), cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt. Cover and blend or pulse until a paste forms. With machine running slowly, gradually add oil and blend until it is the consistency of soft butter. Can refrigerate for 1 to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #12

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #12

What’s Happening on the Farm

Well, the garden is still growing and we have vegetables to harvest, so that is a blessing. We have a new crop of green beans and different varieties of cucumbers that should be ready for next week. We will also be planting more lettuce and greens for fall this weekend if the weather cooperates with us. Also on the agenda is to get a plan together to set up our first greenhouse. We need to order a few supplies for it. We may also try to set up some low tunnels... we’ll see. Next week we will have a few dozen eggs for sale, so if anyone is interested let us know now and we can reserve them for you. We should have about 7 dozen available. They will be $3.00 per dozen. Our chickens are free range and are fed organic kitchen scraps along with feed that has no animal by-products.

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-Big Beef, Celebrity, Roma, and assort. cherry types
Potatoes- Red
Okra- Clemson Spineless
Cucumbers-Tendergreen, Diva, or Lemon OR
Zucchini - assort. varieties
Basil- Genovese
Eggs- 1/2 dozen

Recipe Ideas

Tomato Basil Salad

4 tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. olive oil, divided
2 TBSP. white wine vinegar, divided
1/2 lb. feta cheese
1 c. basil leaves, chopped
1/4 c. pine nuts

Place tomatoes on serving platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with half of oil and vinegar. Top with cheese, basil, and pine nuts. Drizzle with remaining oil and vinegar. Let set for a while to marinate. Serve at room temperature.

Zucchini and Onion Quiche

1 10” pie shell, unbaked
2 medium zucchini, shredded
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 c. half and half
Salt and Pepper
4 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a saucepan , cover zucchini and onion with water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes, drain well and let cool. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese over bottom of pie crust. Spoon zucchini mixture evenly over cheese. In a bowl, stir together half and half, dill, salt, pepper, and eggs until mixture is combined well. Pour mixture over zucchini and top with remaining cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center of quiche comes out clean.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #11

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #11

What’s Happening on the Farm

The garden this week is more like a swamp with all of the rain we have had this week. In three nights of storms we received 8 1/2” of rain at the farm. More rain is likely today. We were not able to dig potatoes this week because it is just too muddy. The excess rain has caused our ripe melons to crack open in the field, so the melon crop is not looking so great. Same happened with some tomatoes (but luckily not all of them)! It looks like some of the new seeds we planted for fall crops have washed out as well. We’ll have to see how they come up and if we need to replant some things. This season has been so trying with the weather. We appreciate our customers hanging in there with us! Hopefully next season will be better with the new greenhouses and possibly same raised bed gardens.

What’s in the Box?

Sweet Corn- Incredible (this is the last of the corn)
Tomatoes- Big Beef, Celebrity, Roma, Lemon Boy
Cherry Tomatoes- Red, Grape, Sungold, Yellow Pear
Okra--Clemson Spineless
Cucumbers- Tendergreen or Diva
Zucchini- assorted varieties
Herbs--Rosemary and Garlic Chives

Recipe Ideas

Herb Focaccia Bread

11 oz tube of refrigerated French bread dough
2 T. olive oil
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. pepper
Fresh or dried herbs or choice (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, chives, etc.)
Optional: marinara sauce, warmed
Unroll dough and pat into an ungreased 15X10 jelly roll pan. Press the handle of a wooden spoon into dough to make indentations. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden. Cut into rectangles and serve with warm marinara if desired. This would also work with homemade pizza or bread dough.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #10

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #10

What’s Happening on the Farm

This week on the farm we started planting for a fall harvest of veggies. So far we have planted carrots, beets, chard, greens, and kohlrabi. In another week or so we will start to plant more lettuces and microgreens. We have tried out our new flame weeder and it seems to work pretty well. The chickens are laying more eggs, so we decided to give the members each a 1/2 dozen to try (adding value to your bags, since we have had a few weeks of lighter than normal produce). Please return your egg cartons when you are finished with them so we can reuse them. In not so great news, we have discovered that we have lost one of our bee hives. We were skeptical that one of them did not have a Queen (and without a Queen, you don’t get new worker bees). Worker bees only have a lifespan of a few weeks normally, so we are thinking they all died off. The other hive is going strong and does have honey in it, so we will have to see how much we will have to harvest and sell. We hope to add more hives to the farm next year.

What’s in the Box?

Sweet Corn- Incredible
Tomatoes-Big Beef, Roma, assorted cherry types
Cucumbers- Tendergreen or Diva
Zucchini-**Friday pick-ups only
Okra- **Saturday deliveries only
1/2 dozen eggs

Recipe Ideas
The following recipe is from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Farmer’s Market Favorites.

Iowa’s Best Corn Soup
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 c onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 c fresh corn kernels
2 new potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 c vegetable broth
3/4 c milk
1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, and cumin for 5 minutes, or until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients except milk and cilantro; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add milk and cilantro; cook and stir to heat through. Makes 8 servings.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #9

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #9

What’s Happening on the Farm

Today’s harvest is the largest yet, and we were able to get it all done before the rain storm hit. The rain was much needed for the garden and the timing was perfect. The chickens are getting along better since we expanded their fence...they have more room to run outside. We are starting to get more eggs now too, and will probably have some for sale soon. We are thinking of purchasing some meat birds yet this summer, so if any of you are interested in whole free range chickens for your freezer let us know. Also, if you get your produce in a box this week, please return the box next week so we can reuse them.

What’s in the Box?

Potatoes--White or Red
Sweet Corn--Incredible
Zucchini--assorted varieties
Cucumbers--Tendergreen or Diva
Tomatoes-assorted varieties (Red Cherry, Yellow Pear, Red Grape, Sungold, Big Beef, Roma)
Jalapeno Pepper
Okra **(Friday pick-up only, Saturday deliveries will get it next week)

Recipe Ideas

Fresh Tomato Salsa

3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, opt.
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice

In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator before serving. I also like to add about a tsp. of sugar to my seems to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.Serve with tortilla chips!

Easy Cucumbers
(This is my Grandma’s recipe...she has been making it for years.)

Cucumbers, sliced (peel if you would like, or leave the peel on)
Onions, sliced
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar

Sweat cucumbers 15-20 minutes with salt and drain off excess water. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and pepper and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Keeps up to 3 weeks in refrigerator. The longer they set, the better they taste.

Fried Okra
This is a recipe idea I saw on another blog.

Cut okra into pieces, soak in buttermilk, dredge in cornmeal and deep fat fry...salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sheep and Chickens

So, we are thinking of purchasing some Katahdin lambs and broiler chickens soon. Is there any interest from our local customers in buying meat? We would be raising them on pasture, naturally with no chemicals. I have been in contact with some breeders and they say the lamb chops from their Katahdins taste like ribeye steak and the lamb burger is better than hamburger. The chickens are bought as baby chicks and then butchered at around 7-8 weeks of age for whole fryers. If you are interested, please email us and let us know (especially for the chicken) so we know about how many we should order.

This is a pic from of a Katahdin lamb:

Here is a pic of a broiler chicken from Murray Mc Murray Hatchery. Not quite as cute or cuddly as the lamb:)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #8

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #8

What’s Happening on the Farm
Well, believe it or not, we haven’t had rain for a while and the garden could use a little drink, especially the newer plantings. Our old tiller broke, so we had to buy a new one. It seems to be working well. We try to only shallow till when needed so we don’t disturb the soil life and structure too much. We just planted a new crop of green beans and cucumbers a few days ago and they are already up and growing. They seem to like this warm weather. And in chicken news, some of our new pullets are starting to lay already...hopefully more of the ladies will follow soon. The bees are doing pretty well also, one hive is better than the other and needs new supers added for honey storage...Yay!

What’s in the Box?
Potatoes--White Cobbler
Garlic Chives or Onion Chives
White Onion
Assorted Peppers-Bell, Jalapeno, or Italian Roaster
Assorted Tomatoes-1st of the season, some cherry types, some Big Beef
Zucchini--assorted varieties OR
Cucumbers-Tendergreen or Diva

Recipe Ideas

Fried Green Zucchini
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 eggs
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup prepared spaghetti sauce, heated

Mix together the seasoned bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and garlic salt in a shallow bowl. Beat the eggs in a second shallow bowl. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling, but not smoking. Dip the zucchini slices into the beaten egg, then into the crumbs, and place in the skillet in a single layer. Fry the zucchini slices until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip them over and fry until the slices are cooked through and golden brown on the other side. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the slices, and cook the slices 1 to 2 more minutes to allow the cheese to melt. To serve, spoon hot spaghetti sauce onto plates, and top with fried zucchini slices and melted cheese.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #7

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #7

What’s Happening on the Farm
More rain, more weeds, more mud. I feel like a broken record. Some things are stunted, or behind in ripening. It has been too muddy to plant some more of our succession plantings and things that will be ready for Fall harvest. This season has been very challenging to say the least. It sounds like other farmers and gardeners in the area are having similar issues. We are already looking forward to next season! We thought by now the boxes/bags would be quite a bit heavier, but the weather is preventing that. We hope things will shape up soon. On another note, we have part of our new greenhouses at the farm! We still need to go get the other half, which we will do soon. It will be exciting to see them up and ready for planting. We also brought our other 15 chickens to the farm this week. Half are a gold production type that will lay brown eggs and the other half are Silver Laced Wyandotte's (also brown egg layers). They are getting adjusted to their new home and roommates. We have 4 Red Star hens that “rule the roost”. They are quite bossy and pushy with the new birds. I hope things will settle down in the hen house soon. The new hens are pullets that are about to start laying, so when they do and we have a consistent supply of eggs we will have them for sale to members that want to purchase them.

What’s in the Box?
Mixture of green beans, wax beans, and Dragon Tongue Bean (yellow with purple stripes)
Radish--French Breakfast
Bags will contain at least two of the following:
Zucchini--May have green, yellow, or round
Baby Cabbage

Friday, July 2, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #6

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #6

What’s Happening on the Farm?

We have been trying to take advantage of this nice, DRY weather to work in the garden. Lots of weeding, harvesting, and fertilizing with fish emulsion fertilizer. Things are shaping up in the garden, but we still have a lot of work to do. All this rain has really stunted things, so bear with us as we try to get more planted and wait for what is already planted to ripen. The boxes are a little lighter than we would like, but all of this rain has really effected how things are growing...just one of the reasons why we are so excited for the new high tunnels for the farm. We hope this dry weather continues next week (sounds like maybe some rain over the weekend though). The work continues on Saturday with more planting (more tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, basil, cucumbers, and green beans).

What’s in the Box?
Green Beans (may have some yellow wax beans mixed in)
Onions--small yellow
Carrots--mixed varieties (Mokum, Red Cored Chantenay, Parisian)
Baby Beets--**Friday pick-ups only**
Zucchini--May have green, yellow, or round**only for the Saturday deliveries this week**
Herb Bundles--Garlic Chives, German Thyme, Rosemary

Recipe Ideas
This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch Farmers’ Market Favorites:

Summer Herb Butter
1/2c. butter softened (1 stick)
1/4 c. fresh herbs, chopped (such as basil, thyme, sage, parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, oregano, marjoram, or rosemary)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 t. pepper

Blend all ingredients together. Spoon onto a sheet of wax paper and shape into a log. Twist ends of wax paper to seal. Refrigerate one hour to allow flavors to blend. Use within 2 weeks. Makes 1/2 cup.

More Herb Ideas: Add chives to dips, dressings, and salads. Rosemary is great in bread (like Focaccia--look on for some good recipes ) in Italian dishes, and potato dishes. I am going to make Herb Roasted Potatoes by cutting potatoes into pieces, tossing with olive oil and the rosemary and thyme, along with some garlic, salt and pepper and baking in the oven. You could probably grill these in foil packets as well if cooking out for the holiday weekend).

A note on the herbs: --Put these in a glass of water (like you would cut flowers) to keep fresh longer. Also, to use the rosemary and thyme in recipes, strip the leaves off the stems and use the leaves only.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mowing in the Garden

Well, with all the rain we have had (almost 14 inches in the month of June alone), the weeds are growing like crazy. We resorted today to mowing in the garden. We have sections that had early crops that are now done, plus in between rows that are a mass of weeds, so we just mowed them down. We will have to start thinking about sowing seeds in July for a Fall harvest, so we will till these plots under again before we replant. We also have a new flame weeder we will be trying out. We are hopeful that it will help too. We also worked on putting weed barrier down around the tomatoes. There is A LOT more weeding to be done, but it felt good to make a dent in it anyway. Tomorrow we will start weeding melons, zucchini, and probably sweet potatoes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #5

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #5

What’s Happening on the Farm
The most exciting thing happening is the purchase of 2 new greenhouse frames for the farm. We plan on reconstructing them into 4 moveable high tunnels for our vegetable production. The weeds are still terrible, but I feel like that's all I ever complain (I mean talk) about. We have purchased a flame weeder from Johnny’s Selected Seeds and hope to use that as soon as it arrives, along with mowing then tilling. We need to get ahead of the weeds somehow. It sounds like we will be getting a few dry, sunny days in the week ahead, which is a blessing. All of this rain is not making gardening very easy at the moment. The garden isn’t a total loss yet however, so I need to remember all the positives: green tomatoes and peppers growing (no blight yet!), eggplants blooming and starting to grow mini fruits, cantaloupes and watermelons blooming, baby cucumbers that will be ready soon, zucchini growing and looking healthy, sweet corn waist high, potatoes about ready to dig (if the mud would dry up), and no mold or mildew problems yet.

What’s in the Box?
Romaine Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Green Cabbage
Green Beans
Greyzini Zucchini **(Friday pickups will receive zucchini this week, Saturday deliveries will receive zucchini next week).**
Red Onion

Zucchini Alfredo
This recipe came from and is very good.
1 12 oz pkg. uncooked egg noodles (I have served this over pasta also)
3 TBSP oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or use a tsp or so of dried)
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook noodles according to pkg. directions, drain.Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes. Mix in zucchini and cook 10 min. until some of the moisture has evaporated. Pour the milk in the skillet and add the cream cheese, stir until melted. Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve over cooked pasta.

Creamy Coleslaw
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
3 carrots, shredded
1 small head of cabbage, shredded

Mix mayo and sugar. Stir in cabbage and carrots just before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Sometimes I add a little more mayo, adjust amounts to your liking). Can also add a splash of vinegar--I like Balsamic.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away and a New Purchase

Well, this rain is just getting ridiculous! We haven't been able to get out in the garden and weed for a week and it's looking crazy out there! We need dry weather. I am hoping to get out there tomorrow to assess things and see what we will have to harvest this week. If it doesn't start to dry up I am worried we will start having mildew and disease problems on the plants. On a more exciting note:

We were able to make a new to us purchase for the farm off of Craigslist. We bought 2 high tunnel greenhouse frames, 1 is 18X84 and the other is 18X96. They need new end walls and plastic covering, but the frames are in good shape. We plan on making 4 moveable greenhouses out of them that travel on skids...allowing us to rotate plantings and extend our harvest. We are excited for this purchase! It will help us to get an earlier start and harvest later into winter. It will also be a more controled enviroment (more protected from pests and the weather). The below pic is off of Craigslist...the next big task is getting them to the farm!

Friday, June 18, 2010

What's On My Food?

I received the above link in an email and thought it would be VERY beneficial for all to check out. All you have to do is click on a vegetable/fruit item and it lists possible pesticide/herbicide residue on the conventionally grown item (and compares VS. Organic). It also tells if the chemical is a carcinogen, hormone disruptor, etc. VERY eye opening...I hope you all choose to by organic/chemical free when possible.

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter Week 4

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #4

What’s Happening on the Farm
One word...MUD! Well, maybe two...MUD and WEEDS. All of this rain is making it hard to get in the garden and weed. We’ve been able to get in there a couple times, but there is A LOT more work to be done. Between the weather and us learning how much we need to plant for our customers (our membership increased quite a bit this year) the bags are a little less full than we would like. Please bare with us! As we get further into the season your bags will get fuller! The green beans and zucchini are really close to being ready... I hope by next week we’ll have some. Some of you will have either Sugar Snaps or Kale but not both. This hot weather has been hard on the cool weather crops and these things are either sparse or done. We’ll be planting more for a Fall harvest, however.

What’s in the Box?
Lettuce- either Buttercrunch OR Tom Thumb variety
Radish- either French Breakfast OR Cherry Belle
Kohlrabi- Kolibri
Onion-Sweet Spanish
Sugar Snap Peas OR Kale-either red or green

Recipe Ideas
*Kohlrabi can be cooked, but many people like to eat it raw with a dip. It has a cabbage/turnip type flavor.

*Kale is a cooking green and is excellent in soups or casseroles.

*Sugar Snap Peas are great raw in a salad. I hope we have more of these in the Fall!

I found the following recipes on

Vegetarian Kale Soup
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 yellow onion, chopped
· 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
· 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
· 8 cups water
· 6 cubes vegetable bouillon
· 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
· 6 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
· 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans (drained if desired)
· 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
· 2 tablespoons dried parsley
· salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot; cook the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the water, vegetable bouillon, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Simmer soup on medium heat for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise
1 pound radishes
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook sugar snap peas in a pan of boiling salted water, about 30 seconds, or just until they turn bright green. Drain and plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Drain. Cut cucumber and radishes cross-wise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Toss peas, cucumber, radishes and sesame seeds with vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Little Rainy...

It has been raining buckets off and on again since yesterday. This mornings Pella drop off was VERY wet to say the least! When we got home we checked out the rain gage and there was 5 inches in it! That is all from this week, and it is supposed to rain more the next couple of days. We are under flash flood warnings and I can see why...on our way back to the farm we saw a lot of standing water,rushing water, and washouts on the gravel road. I just wish we had our rain barrels in place already...we could have caught some rain water today!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weather Problems...

I also wanted to let our customers now that this warmer than usual weather we have been having is cutting some of our cool weather crops short. We had hoped to have more spinach and other cool weather greens, however many things are starting to bolt and get bitter a little sooner than normal. We will try to do the best we can with what we have for now, and hope that we can get more spinach, mescluns and lettuces planted for a Fall harvest. Gardening is full of unknowns based on weather, this is just one of them!

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter Season 2 Week 3

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #3

What’s Happening on the Farm
The plants are growing, along with the has been hard to get out there and weed with all the rain we have been getting lately. It sounds like there is more rain forecasted too. We have harvested a few raspberries and strawberries...this is the first year for them, so hopefully by next year we will have fruit in our CSA boxes. It usually takes a couple years for fruit to start producing. Things are starting to bloom and that is always exciting. We have blooms on green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant! I don’t know about you, but I am longing for that first ripe garden tomato. We are also reading books on extending the harvest, hoping to implement ideas on extending our growing season on into Fall, and getting an earlier start for next Spring. We are also learning about ways to reduce weeds, better amend the soil, and the use of floating row insect barrier to reduce bug damage on crops. Fresh, local, chemical-free food is important to us, and we hope it is to our customers as well. We have lots of ideas for 2011...We’ll keep you posted!

What’s in the Box?
Sugar Snap Peas
Swiss Chard--Green
Swiss Chard--Ruby (with some Bright Lights mixed in)
Garlic Chives (best stored in a glass of water in the fridge)

Recipe Ideas
*Cook Swiss Chard as you would spinach. It can be added to soups, casseroles, etc. It is also good sauteed in oil with garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar . If the stalks are large, cut them up and sautee a few minutes before adding the leaves to wilt...they take a little longer to cook.
Swiss Chard is similar to spinach and beets with a flavor that is bitter, pungent and slightly salty. It is high in Vitamins K, A, C, Magnesium, Potassium, and Iron, along with many others. Check out for the nutritional analysis of many fruits and veggies.

*Garlic Chives can be added to soups, sauces, cream cheese, butter, sour cream, dips, or sprinkle on potatoes and omelets.

*I like to check out for ideas for fresh veggies.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter Season 2 Week 2

What’s Happening on the Farm

The garden is growing well...this rain we have gotten lately is really helping things along. This week has included weeding (of course) and some planting. We were finally able to get our cantaloupe and watermelon transplants in the garden. We also planted our hills of pumpkins (4 varieties) and winter squash (3 varieties). We also checked on our bees this week and so far they are doing well. They are starting to make honey, so that is great! We are hoping they do well and we have some honey for sale this fall.

What’s in the Box?

Lettuce--Green Ice
Lettuce Blend
Spinach Mix
Radishes--Cherry Belle

Please Take Note

Our produce is field washed. I would suggest washing once more before eating. We do not use any chemical sprays, so you may find a few holes in the greens.

Recipe Ideas

Garlic Broccoli
· 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
· 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
· 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
· 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
· 1 tablespoon soy sauce
· 2 garlic cloves, minced
· 3/4 teaspoon sugar
· 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Place 1 in. of water in a saucepan; add broccoli. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil, vegetable oil and red pepper flakes over medium heat for 2 minutes or until hot. Stir in the soy sauce, garlic, sugar and lemon juice. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Drain broccoli and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour garlic sauce over; toss to coat. Serve warm or chilled with a slotted spoon.

FYI: Regarding the CSA Boxes

We only have one box per customer this year, so please return to us each week. We will also be alternating with sacks as well. This will be a sort of experiment to see if we (and you as well) prefer the boxes or the sacks. If you could save and return the sacks, that would be well as the rubber bands. We will not reuse the storage baggies however.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Newsletter Season 2 Week 1

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #1

Welcome to Picket Fence Farm!

We are glad to have you as a customer this season. We have new members and returning members, and we hope to provide all of you with a great season of fresh, local produce. As always, we grow everything on our farm chemical-free, the way God designed. All of our fertilizers are “natural” as well...NO synthetics allowed. We are in the business of nourishing the soil, so it in turn nourishes us through the food that is grown in it. The garden is growing well, and we are excited to see how this season unfolds, as we hope you are as well. We want this to be a great experience for you, so if you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask...this is YOUR farm and we are YOUR farmers.

What’s in the Box?

Green Onions--white and purple
Radishes--Easter Egg Blend, French Breakfast, Cherry Belle
Turnip Greens--Seven Top

Please Take Note

Our produce is field washed. I would suggest washing once more before eating. We do not use any chemical sprays, so you may find a few holes in the greens. Also, some of the radishes were probably picked a week too late...if some are big they may be hollow...they all seem to taste fine however. We should have some more ready for next week that will be smaller.

Recipe Ideas

Turnip Greens (slightly bitter, should be used cooked-not raw)
*Saute in olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
*Boil gently, drain and use as you would spinach in a recipe.
*Good on pizza, in pasta (a baked dish like lasagna would be good), or in an omelet.

Radishes are good raw in salads of course, but you can also cook them. Slice and saute in oil or butter and season to taste...good alone but better in a stir -fry with other veggies.

FYI: Regarding the CSA Boxes
We only have one box per customer this year, so we will be alternating with sacks as well. This will be a sort of experiment to see if we (and you as well) prefer the boxes or the sacks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our first harvest this season...

Tomorrow will be our first harvest of the season. We'll have green onions, radishes, turnip greens, and MAYBE lettuce...we'll have to check it out and see if it is big enough to cut. On farm pick-up will be Friday afternoon and Pella delivery will be Saturday morning at 9:00 am. I have sent out an email to our members, so hopefully everyone will know to make it! We are excited for this growing season and hope our members are too. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Well, the rain yesterday at the farm was very heavy and some of our rows that were just sowed with seeds got washed out...bummer. It seems to be worst along one edge of the garden, so hopefully most of the rows will still be intact. It even washed out a pepper plant already established in the ground...I replanted it and hope it didn't disturb the roots too much. So is life on the farm. Unexpected things happen sometimes. We are just blessed it wasn't worse (like hail--which they said was possible). On a happier note, the melons and cucumbers in the greenhouse are doing great and they will be planted out very soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flowers Planted...

Well, this morning we were able to get out in the garden to plant our flowers before it rained. We planted zinnias, cosmos, calendula, asters, alyssum, a variety of sunflowers, and a wildflower mix. The pictures above are of some of our flowers from last year (mostly cosmos and zinnias). Hopefully this rain watered them in nicely and we'll have beautiful flowers for our members this summer!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Garden Update

The garden is growing well, and this rain we are getting today will be great for all of our new plantings. I thought I would give an update as to what is planted so far:
peas-shelling (they are blooming right now, so it shouldn't be too long for peas!), peas-sugar snap, onions, scallions, garlic, lettuces, chard, spinach, radishes, turnip greens, beets, carrots, green beans, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, herbs (chives, rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, cilantro,parsley, spearmint, lavender), potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. We'll soon be planting melons(watermelon, cantalope, and honeydew), flowers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and winter squash. I feel like I may be forgetting something, but this is pretty much all. Our first delivery should be coming up soon...I hope next weekend...I will keep all of our members posted by email.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Research in Pesticides

This is from the Des Moines Register and can also be found online. Yet another reason why organic/chemical free is so important.

Research links pesticides with attention-deficit disorder:

A new analysis of U.S. health data links children's attention-deficit disorder with exposure to common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. Although the study couldn't prove that pesticides used in agriculture contribute to childhood learning problems, experts said that the research is convincing. "I would take it quite seriously," said Virginia Rauh of Columbia University, who has studied prenatal exposure to pesticides and was not involved in the study. The findings are published in Pediatrics.

Another link for this info is:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's Growing?

The garden is growing, and I thought I would give an update. We should have a few things ready in the next week or two...we'll be sending out an email to all of our customers about when to expect their first box. Things that should be ready soon include radishes, green onions, and greens. The peas are growing well, as is the spinach and chard, so they shouldn't be too far behind either. I'm sure you are all ready for fresh garden produce (I know we sure are)! It has rained ALOT this week at the farm. The garden needs weeded in the worst way, but right now it is a muddy mess in there. My rain gage says 3 inches total this week. I think it will stay dry for the next couple days, but another chance of rain Sunday night with more dry weather to follow after that. We have a bunch of transplants that need to go in the ground soon, so I hope it will be dry enough by this weekend. The greenhouse is full of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and herbs awaiting their new home in the garden!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Our First Egg...

We finally got our first egg! We have one hen that is laying so far, she has laid one a day for the last three days. I am sure the others (three more for now as the others come in June) will be following soon as they are the same age. The breed we have is called Red Star and they lay big brown eggs. I am suprised at how big these pullets eggs are...I was expecting them to be smaller...I would say they are about the size of a medium egg from the store. We haven't eaten any yet... I thought about collecting enough for a quiche or egg casserole with some of our fresh garlic chives. Sounds good to me.
The chickens are fun to watch too, as they have little "personalities". The kids like to watch them and talk to them...they have given them some interesting names (to say the least). Red Velvet, Pepper and Spices, and Spiderman...I tried to explain they were girl chickens, but my youngest insisted on Spiderman. I said the fourth should be Layla, because we want them to lay a lot of eggs! I'll try to get pictures up as soon as I figure out my camera problem.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Dirty Dozen/Clean Sixteen

I received this info by email and thought it beneficial for all to read.

Buy These Organic as they rate high in pesticides:

1 Celery
2 Peaches
3 Strawberries
4 Apples
5 Blueberries
6 Nectarines
7 Bell Peppers
8 Spinach
9 Kale
10 Cherries
11 Potatoes
12 Grapes

1 Onions
2 Avocado
3 Sweet Corn
4 Pineapple
5 Mangos
6 Sweet Peas
7 Asparagus
8 Kiwi
9 Cabbage
10 Eggplant
11 Cantaloupe
12 Watermelon
13 Grapefruit
14 Sweet Potato
15 Honeydew
16 Melon

Why Should You Care About Pesticides? The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides. What’s the Difference? EWG research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load. Will Washing and Peeling Help? The data used to create these lists is based on produce tested as it is typically eaten (meaning washed, rinsed or peeled, depending on the type of produce). Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all produce and buy organic when possible. How Was This Guide Developed? EWG analysts have developed the Guide based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2008 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at our dedicated website,

THE POWER OF INFORMATION Headquarters 1436 U St. N.W., Suite 100 Washington, DC 20009(202) 667-6982

Learn More at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rain and Garden Progress

It had been really dry here for the past few much so that I have had to water the garden. This weekend it finally rained and the garden needed it! I think they are saying we received over 3 inches total. It sounds like we will have a few dry days now and then more rain toward the end of the week. The sugar snap peas, shelling peas, onions, garlic, cabbage, and broccoli are looking good...I am seeing rows of greens, spinach, lettuces, radishes, kohlrabi, and chard coming up as well. I suspect that the potatoes are starting to come up or will be soon, but it is too muddy to go check today. Things are coming along in the garden and overall I am pleased. The rain is helping our newly planted fruit trees and bushes as well. We are looking into the possibility of purchasing a high tunnel for the farm...that would help us get an earlier start on the season and also be able to extend our season into early winter. We are reading a few books by Eliot Coleman about extending the harvest and they are very good. We would love to be able to provide a Summer share as well as a Winter share someday...maybe next year...we shall see.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Berries and Brambles

We received our berry bushes in the mail today! I ordered some from Hartmann's Plant Nursery and some others from Pinetree Garden Seeds...they are all alive, which is a bonus! The varieties are: Poorman Gooseberry (6), Encore Raspberry (6), Blueberries (2 each of Hannah's Choice, Jersey, and Blue Ray), and Seascape Strawberry (100). We also received our Jersey Knight Asparagus (50), and garlic. I would like to plant them tomorrow, but if it rains tonight (like they are predicting) it may be too muddy. We'll have to wait and see. This weekend is supposed to be sunny with nice temps, so we can get some more work done then. I should also be getting my fruit trees any day from Stark Bros. I ordered 2 peach and 3 plums. I can't wait until all of this fruit starts producing!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Planting Has Begun!

Well, yesterday was a beautiful day and we were able to get much accomplished! We cultivated the soil and got it ready to plant, then we planted shelling peas, sugar snap peas, onions, scallions, garlic, chard, spinach, kale, kohlrabi, turnip greens, and potatoes (red new potatoes, Red Norland, and Yukon Gold). The rain today was perfect timing to water it all in too! Hopefully we will have a few more dry days next week to plant some more. So far things are looking good to start CSA deliveries Mid-May. Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate with us!

We are also painting our honey bee hives and getting ready for the new bees to arrive in the next couple of weeks...that and finishing up and painting the new chicken coop. A few of our chickens are scheduled to arrive around April 20th, with the remainder arriving in June. Spring has finally arrived after such a long Winter, and I am thankful for it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Update

Well, I tried to get some pictures on here and it's not working, so I will try again soon. Anyway, we have been having some nice weather (with some rain too) and have been able to get outside and get some work done! We set up our greenhouse and I have green cabbage, baby bok choi, broccoli, and napa cabbage starts going. I am going to get my head-type lettuces in there today as well. We have been working on getting grass seed down in our yard, which is currently mud! And, the chicken coop is coming right along...we almost have it finished...hopefully I will be able to post pics when it's done. We are looking forward to next weekend (Good Friday)... weather permitting, we'll get our potatoes and some onions in the ground!

Monday, March 15, 2010


The snow has melted, yay! But in it's place: MUD. The frontyard, backyard, garden, driveway...all mud. But, I am not going to complain because Winter seems to be over and the temps are going up. We can't wait for it to dry up so we can start working in the garden. Yesterday was beautiful, so we spent the afternoon working on the chicken coop and pruning our fruit trees. I brought the trimmings from the trees inside and put them in water, hoping to force the branches into bloom. If it works I'll post a picture. I also need to post pics of the coop, but my digital camera is giving me fits...I think it is time for a new one. Next on the agenda for this week...buying grass seed and more rock for the driveway. Hopefully we can get rid of some of this mud!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is Spring in the Air?

I am hopeful that Spring will be here soon! They are saying temps should be in the 40's and 50's by the end of the week...such good news. I think everyone I speak to has been tired of winter for quite some time now.
In farm related news, we are starting to build our portable chicken coop. I will post some pictures when it starts looking like a coop. Our chickens will be arriving on the farm around April 20th. We are ordering pullets that will be about ready to lay once they get here. We are also working out our planting rotation and where everything will be going...and we just purchased a small greenhouse, so hopefully we can get that up with some of this nice weather and be ready to start some seedlings in the next few weeks. We also have plans to try growing some cool weather crops in it this fall and see how long we can extend the growing season. We would really like to purchase a large high tunnel (when money allows) to be able to extend our growing season for the CSA. Some CSA's provide a summer share and a winter share (through December anyway)...we would like to get there someday! More pictures will be coming soon...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


We received our order from Pinetree Garden Seeds last week, and I'm dreaming of spring planting time! The following are the types of seeds we ordered:
green beans
yellow beans
cabbage/chinese cabbage/pak choi
swiss chard
english peas
sugar snap peas
micro greens
summer squash
winter squash
basil,parsley,cilantro, dill
We will also be planting sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), eggplant, strawberries, asparagus, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, berries (blueberries, raspberries, and gooseberries), peaches, and plums. I look at this list and think...we have A LOT of work to do, but we are excited to get outside in the warm sunshine and get some work done!
(If any of our customers would like a certain variety planted, now is the time to let us know...we can try to find it before spring arrives) :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter...Will It Ever End?

Only with winter patience can we bring the deep-desired, long awaited spring.
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I am trying to be patient for this winter to be over, but it is getting more difficult with each new winter storm. I am tired of SNOW! Please Lord, bring the spring quickly!!!!

***Edited to add:
On the news last night they said we have gotten 52" of snow so far this season, breaking an old record set in the 1880's...with more snow expected on Saturday:(

Monday, February 1, 2010

Farm Fresh Eggs

Anyone interested in purchasing farm fresh free-range eggs? We have a few pullets (hens that are just about ready to lay) that are arriving on the farm in April. They will provide us with some eggs for our Summer CSA season, but we are thinking of expanding our egg production by purchasing chicks at the end of this Summer/Fall to raise over winter so that they would be laying by next Spring. We need to get an idea of how much interest there is to determine how many chickens we'll need. Anyone interested can email us at the link to the right.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beekeeping Class

This winter we have been taking a beekeeping class and we are learning alot! It has been really interesting and we are hoping to expand our beehives this Spring. We had 3 hives on our farm last year (1 belonging to us and 2 others belonging to a friend) and we could really tell that they helped pollinate the garden. We saw bees all of the time and our yields for most things were good, even though we had a less than ideal growing season with our wet and cooler than normal Summer. The wet and cool weather also took a toll on the honey harvest. We were only able to harvest 3 pints of honey from our hive and our friend harvested around 150 lbs. ( I think) of honey from 4 hives. We have learned in our bee class that in a good year it is nothing to harvest 150 lbs of honey per hive! We are hoping to add 2 more hives to our 1 that we already have...and we are hoping for a Summer that is a bit warmer and drier! If all goes well, we'll have some all natural honey to sell!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2010 Membership

We just wanted to let everyone know that our 2010 member list is quickly growing, so if you are interested in becoming a member you need to email us soon. Also, for any members from last year that would like to continue membership this year (and you HAVEN'T contacted us yet) please do so soon so I can add your name to the list as well. Here's to a great 2010 growing season!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Longing for Spring...

Is anyone else tired of winter? I am longing for a warm spring day to be outside in the garden. I've been looking through seed catalogs, putting together my orders and it makes me want spring here even more! It seems we have had all types of winter weather this year in Iowa...Lots of snow, frigid cold, fog and hoar frost, now an ice storm. Winter can't last forever, right???