Saturday, April 20, 2013

And just what are the Bobiers doing this year??

We've been getting calls and emails from you all, as well as new families wanting CSA shares this year.  Bill and I have decided we need to cut back and take a break from the responsibility of providing CSA shares, and growing so many acres of vegetables.  We both still work other full time jobs, and are now in our 60s and it was just too much work. We will really miss it, as we've enjoyed feeding people!  We've learned to grow more efficiently, extend our seasons, and eat better while providing food for 100s of others.   Most of the younger folks who have farmed here over the years will be growing for market.  Check them out.

We will still be farming!  Keeping 80 - 100 cows, chickens, and growing the hay and grains for them means plenty of chore and tractor time.  We will also still be growing a half acre or so of vegetables, with some possibly available for Market or sales off the farm.

It's actually a huge relief to NOT be responsible for providing boxes of veggies in a month, with Spring being practically non-existent this year!  We still have no onion plants or early crops planted outdoors.  We have some harvest from the hoop house, and plants started in the greenhouse, but nothing is growing like normal, and the ground is too wet and cold to even prepare for planting.  Please be patient with your local growers as they deal with this weather.

We are still at Sweetwater Local Foods Market on Saturdays from 9am - 1pm with beef, organic olive oil and organic and fair trade coffee.  There will be extra produce from time to time.  We will still do some sales at the Farm, too.

Remember, you all are capable of putting in a few chard and kale plants, some lettuce, a few pepper and tomato plants.  It's easier than you think!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Season End

Thank you very much for participating this year in our CSA.  We've enjoyed feeding you!  It's especially nice to introduce families to eating more vegetables and different, new vegetables than you are used to.  What did you like?  What didn't you like?

It's important to remember that 'Minimum daily requirements' or 'Minimum servings per day' are just that ~~  MINIMUM!  Not OPTIMUM!  For the best health, try to eat optimum amounts of nutrient-dense foods every day.

Stay healthy!  Keep your good eating habits!  Come see us at Sweetwater Local Foods Market!

Mike, Patti, Nic, Carolyn, Sandy, Kathleen, Kwame, Bill and Patrice

Monday, September 24, 2012


We got some reports that the Escarole was so bitter it was inedible.  I happen to love love love it!  Mix it with other salad greens if you are not fond of it.

Escarole:  Escarole is a variety of endive whose leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of the endive family. The ends of the outside leaves are a little bitter, but even those ribs are sweet!  The hearts are really sweet. In taste -- but not color -- it is almost indistinguishable from radicchio.

Like radicchio, kale and chard, escarole is a hearty green that thrives late into the growing season. The heart of an escarole head is less bitter because the leaves haven't gotten as much sunlight. (Some farmers even cultivate these pale leaves by covering the plants and depriving them of sunlight.)

High in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and K, escarole can be eaten raw or gently cooked. Try tossing a few escarole leaves into a mild salad, serving some quickly wilted with lemon juice, or stir chopped escarole into soup.

Sweet Potatoes Will Need To Be "Cured"

 Curing and Storing Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are not very sweet or moist when first dug. It takes six to eight weeks of proper curing and storage before they have the sweet, moist taste and texture desired when baked.

After the roots are dug, they should be cured to heal the cuts and trigger development of the sugar-creating enzymes. Cure by storing in a warm, humid room for five to 10 days. A temperature of 80 degrees to 85 degrees and a relative humidity of 80 percent to 90 percent are ideal. These exact conditions will be hard to establish around the home, so select a room or building that comes close to these conditions.

After curing, store roots at 55 degrees to 60 degrees for six to eight weeks. This storage further develops the sugars and maltose sugar-creating enzyme. This enzyme will really kick in while baking at 350 degrees to 375 degrees to develop the sweet, syrupy sugars that yams are famous for.

Stored cured roots may last several months or more. The length of time sweet potatoes can be held in storage without sacrificing quality will depend on the environment they are stored in. The conditions above are “ideal,” but sweet potatoes are held under a variety of environmental conditions, and quality and longevity in storage will vary accordingly.
Exposure to low storage temperatures for several days will cause the sweet potatoes to develop a hard center and reduce their eating quality.

When the roots are stored at high temperatures for a long time, they begin to sprout, shrivel and become dry, stringy and pithy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tomato Jams

This is a great site for making and canning yummy summer veggies to save for winter!
Here's Yellow Tomato and Basil Jam.
I also have made this Tomato Jam, which is similar to Mark Bittman's recipe in The New York Times.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Freezing Herbs

How to: Freeze & Preserve Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil

1. Choose fresh herbs from your CSA, the market or your own garden.

2. You can chop them well, or leave on branches and leaves. 
     In the photo, the herbs are finely chopped.
3. Place on trays of ice cubes (about 2/3 full of herbs).
4. You can mix herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary).
5. Place extra virgin olive oil or unsalted melted butter over the herbs.
6. Cover with plastic and freeze.
7. Remove frozen cubes and store in small containers or bags to freeze.
8. Do not forget to label each container or bag with the type of herbs (and oil) inside!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Russet Norkotah potatoes

A mild potato flavor with a soft texture and moderate denseness. Tends to bake up creamy and moist, not grainy. Moderatly chewy skin. White to pale-yellow interior.  It's good for frying, baking, roasting and  mashing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beautiful Beet Dressing - one of our summer favorites!
1 beet, grated
3-4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Olive Oil
3 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tsp sea salt
4 pitted dates
2 TB honey (or to taste)
1/2 tsp rosemary (I forgot today)
Put this all in a blender and blend together well. I use an immersion blender. It makes about 1 1/2 cups of fuchsia dressing. You can also use a golden beet for variety.

Monday, August 13, 2012

How Do You Tell a Tomato Is Ripe?

Especially when it's green or pink or yellow or brownish when it's ripe?  Pay attention to softness, blush if it's not a red tomato, full-on redness if it's a red tomato.   Some of the Heirlooms ripen unevenly and keep green shoulders, or split as they ripen.   Softness is probably one of key signs of ready-to-eat. Read over the list of tomato varieties, too, as that will help.

Some of you have been forgetting your container of tomatoes at the Farm or at Sweetwater Market (not sure if that's happened at Fishmonger's, too).  Please remember to take them, and if you let us know you've forgotten them, we'll try to make it up to you.

Today's tomatoes: There are a lot of small, firm romas - Heinz variety.  They make great sauce or salsa as they are not juicy.  I love to make fresh tomato sauces once they are ripe.

If you are not a big tomato eater, you can roast and freeze them or dry them for winter flavor.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Here's an alphabetical list of the tomato varieties we are growing this year.

Amana Orange  ~ Huge heirloom beefsteak tomato named for the Amana Colonies in Iowa. Beautiful light-orange, irregular shaped (fluted) heirloom tomatoes that can grow to 2 pounds or more, with an average diameter of 5 inches. Excellent sweet, almost  tropical fruit flavors.  

Amish Paste ~ Very productive red heirloom from Wisconsin that produces up to 12 oz, deep-red oxheart-shaped, meaty fruit. (Probably one of the largest paste tomatoes) Lots of sweet, tomatoey flavors from this coreless meaty fruit. A great slicing and sauce tomato.

Aunt Ruby’s German Green  ~ Heirloom beefsteak variety from Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, Tennessee who passed away in 1997. Slightly flattened, 1 pound fruit that ripens to a pale greenish-yellow ("lime jello green") with a slight pink blush that extends to the inside. Superb, fruity sweet and slightly spicy taste.

Black Cherry  ~ The only truly black cherry tomato. 1", round, deep purple, mahogany-brown cherry tomatoes. Fruits are irresistibly delicious with sweet, rich, complex, full tomato flavors that burst in your mouth, characteristic of the best flavorful black tomatoes. 

Black Prince  ~ Purple-Black Heirloom, Originally from Siberia, this is one of the most popular and favored black tomatoes. Originally introduced from Irkutsk, Russia and is regarded as a "true Siberian tomato" that does very well in cooler climates. Until only recently this was considered a rare variety in the United States. However, it's popularity has grown so much in Russia that there is now a company in Volograd that is producing an extract of the Black Prince called "Black Prince Tomato Oil." The Black Prince tomato is said to have considerable health benefits beyond the presence of lycopene. These deep garnet round, 2-inch (2-3 oz.) tomatoes are full of juice and incredibly rich fruity flavors. Perfect for eating fresh, and in cooking in tomato sauce or other culinary wonders.

Blue Beech  ~ Large elongated paste, best taste.  Not seedy.  Adapted to colder climates.  6-8 oz. green shoulders

Bobcat  ~  10-13 oz main crop, excellent taste. Medium Red.

Cherokee Purple  ~ Purple-black Heirloom from Tennessee cultivated by Native American Cherokee tribe.  Very productive plants producing loads of dusky rose to purple colored, 12 oz.-1 lb., beefsteak tomatoes with deep red colors to the interior flesh and dark shoulders. A very popular market variety because of it's rich, complex and sweet flavors. One of the best tasting heirloom tomatoes.

Cosmonaut Volkov Red  ~ A Ukrainian heirloom variety named after the famous Russian cosmonaut who died while landing. Russians grow this variety for prize-winning, 1-2 pound fruits. Round, slightly flattened fruits have a full, complex flavor and nice acid/sweet balance.

Costoluto Genovese  ~ Italian, heat-loving, heirloom tomato that has been enjoyed for many generations along the Mediterranean. Large, deep-red fruits have a singularly fluted profile, are deeply ridged, and heavily lobed. Meaty, full-flavored, slightly tart, and delicious. Because of its scalloped edges, perfect for use in an arrangement of different colored sliced tomatoes. Makes a rich and pungent pasta sauce.

Glacier  ~ Heirloom.  Our earliest tomato, very flavorful 2 to 3-ounce, round, red tomatoes. 

Golden Jubilee  ~ Orange 8 oz fruit, sweet and mild.

Goldie  ~ Open-pollinated heirloom.  Deep orange beefsteak average 16-20 oz.  Has a rosy blush on the bottom.

Green Zebra  ~ Developed in 1985.  An unusual and exquisite green tomato chosen by Alice Waters for her restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. The 2-inch round fruit ripens to a yellow-gold with dark-green zebra-like stripes. The flesh is lime-emerald in color that has an invigorating lemon-lime flavor. A great green tomato for brightening up salads and other tomato dishes. 

Heinz Paste  ~ Open-pollinated amazingly early red plum type 2.5-3 oz fruits.

Jet Star  ~ Red. Indeterminate Hybrid; Dependable 7-8 oz globes of premium quality.

Juliet  ~ 1-2 oz grapes, red, good flavor

Lollipop  ~ 1-1/4 inch Cherry sized, almost translucent, creamy, yellow cherry tomatoes in clusters of 6-10, that hang on the plants like lollipops and have unique, fruity-sweet, lemony flavors unlike other cherry tomatoes. Produces fruit continuously, even under high temps. This is an excellent cherry tomato suitable for farmer's markets. Also great as a salad tomato, or as a snacking tomato, or for adding to culinary creations.

Mountain Fresh Plus  ~ Able to tolerate cool and wet conditions, this big red tomato produces attractive, 8-16 oz. slicers with good taste. 

Old German  ~ A Mennonite family heirloom from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Fruit color is yellow with red mottling and striping on the outside and throughout the flesh.  Not a heavy producer, but fruit harvested is deliciously sweet and very decorative.

Opalka  ~ An heirloom originally from Poland.  (aka Polish Torpedo)  Vigorous vines produce some of the best tasting  red paste tomatoes with 5-inch long fruit shaped like a banana pepper with a pronounced tip on the bottom. Fruit has very few seeds, is extremely meaty and loaded with rich sweet flavors lending to its’ sauce appeal.

Principe Borghese  ~ Red Italian heirloom tomato. short determinate plants that prolifically yield big clusters of 1-2 oz. red, plum shaped, crack-resistant paste tomatoes that are a great substitute for Roma tomatoes. Tomatoes are prized for drying because they retain more flavor than most other drying varieties. Italians are known for hanging the whole plant, loaded with fruit, up to dry..A great sauce tomato or eating fresh in salads or canning. Also prized for reconstituting in olive oil or crushing dried fruit into flakes to add to a sauce for quick thickening.

Pruden's Purple  ~ Many folks find this tomato variety comparable in every way to the favorite Brandywine. It has even ranked higher at times in taste trials.  1-lb., slightly flattened, pretty, blemish-free, purple-pink fruits with few tomato seeds and excellent flavor.

Rose de Berne  ~ Open-pollinated medium-sized pink tomato with robust flavor

Rutgers Tomato  ~ Rutgers was developed by the Campbell Soup Company in 1928. 4-6 oz., dark-red tomatoes with thick walls that are loaded with delicious flavors. Excellent canning tomato. 

San Diego Paste  ~ Uniform, 2.5 oz paste tomatoes.  

Siletz  ~ The earliest larger Deep-red tomato we grow, excellently flavored.

Striped Cavern  ~ Prolific producer of medium (2 1/2 inch) fruit perfect for stuffing. Blocky, pepper-shaped, hollow, red fruit with orange stripes.

Sungold  ~ cherry tomatoes, deep sweetness, rich apricot color.  They tend to split, but we love them so much we grow them anyhow.

Supersweet 100  ~ Red Cherry 1” round, ripens in clusters.  

Taxi  ~  4-6 ounce, meaty, uniformly-round, delicious, bright-yellow  tomatoes that are very sweet (almost seem acid-free). A wonderful choice to add a zesty spark to tomato salads. or a splash of bright yellow color to your favorite salsas. Tomatoes hold up well to slicing as they are very suitable for sandwiches. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shares this week!

The mint is from Patti's mom and her family home in Ohio.  Use it for iced tea, mojitos, tabouli.  
Melons:  Petite Yellow is one of our favorites!  The cantaloupes are either Hannah's Choice or Halona (can't remember from the kitchen).  We also have Jenny Lind (a green sweet melon) coming on.
Tomatoes!  I'll post all the varieties soon so you can know (guess) what you are eating.  These early ones are mostly Glacier, and there are a few Taxis, Sungolds, Sweet 100 Red Cherries, and Juliets.
Sweet Peppers:  Any pepper loose in your box will be a SWEET Pepper.  Hot peppers that we put in your box will be in plastic bags marked HOT.  Our sweet peppers come in many shapes, sizes and colors.

Patti Kreilick was born in Oceana County (I was at her birth!), but didn't live here for very long before she moved back to Ohio with her family.  We have stayed in touch with her parents through the years, and reconnected with Patti about 4 years ago.  She said then she wanted to come work on our farm!  Well, It didn't work out that summer, but the next summer she came, and has worked every summer since.  Patti met Andrew Skinner, Editor and photographer for the Oceana Herald-Journal, her first Fall, and they were soon an item.  Ahhh, what a perfectly lovely result!  We wish them many happy years of bliss!  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chard Salad with Peanut Dressing

Chard Salad with Peanut Dressing
Ingredients for salad:
1 bunch chard
2 carrots
1 bell pepper, color of your choice
1 scallion
Ingredients for dressing:
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Take the chard and separate leaves from the center ribs. Slice very thinly in a chiffonade fashion. Peel the carrots of their outer skin. Then take your peeler and slice the carrot as much as you can, creating very thin carrot strips. Slice the bell pepper very thinly with a knife. Slice the scallion normally, down the entire stalk. Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl.
To make the dressing, combine the oil, apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of the peanuts, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Blend everything together until it is a smooth liquid. Top the salad with the dressing. Garnish with reserved 1/4 cup peanuts and serve.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sorry, Haven't written in a while!

It's been busy!
We finally got irrigation to the potatoes.  The sweet corn does not look good.  We hope to get a small crop so all of you can get some.
We water some part of the gardens almost every day.   It's hard to get seeds to sprout or do transplanting, or even work in this heat!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Drought and Oppressive Heat

But no terribly destructive fires or storms...
We are suffering working outdoors in this weather, right along with the vegetable plants.  In the South, where I'm from, people don't try to garden much in the summer because of extreme heat like we are having here in Michigan!

We irrigate every few days, but still are having trouble keeping some crops cooled enough to survive.  The tomatoes, peppers, melons and eggplant are loving it, but most crops do not like it quite this hot.  We have transplants to put into the ground, but they will not transplant well with it this hot.  We are working earlier in the day and later in the evening, trying to do what can be done in the cooler hours of the days.

Sweet corn and potatoes are our crops that are not irrigated, and we hope the few rains have been enough to help us get some production.  Winter squashes are irrigated, but are still drying up.  We should still have enough for CSA, but maybe not for winter storage.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great Turnip recipe!

Kashmiri-Style Kidney Beans with Turnips
recipe image
Submitted By: Priyanka
Photo By: sueb
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Ready In: 55 Minutes
Servings: 4

"This flavorful recipe is a winter staple in Kashmir."
2 turnips, peeled and cubed
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri garam masala
1.Place turnips into a saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the turnip is soft, about 5 minutes. Once tender, stir in the kidney beans, and cook 5 minutes more.
2.Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the cumin and fennel, and cook until the spices toast and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, and cook until it turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and salt, and continue cooking until the mixture turns pasty. Finally, stir in the paprika, turmeric, ground ginger, and 2 tablespoons water; cook 2 minutes more.
3.Add the tomato mixture to the turnips, and simmer 10 minutes. Season with garam masala before serving.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2012 Allrecipes.comPrinted from 6/27/2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pesticide Residues - from The Environmental Working Group

Gardens Update

We finally got rain!  We have most of the crops irrigated with either sprinklers back at the house or drip-tape under plastic in the fields.  Field crops without irrigation are potatoes,  some beets and carrots, leeks and sweet corn.  These crops have really been suffering with the drought.  Saturday's and Monday's rain brought about 2 inches.  We hope that's enough to save the sweet corn especially.
I picked the first of the peas last night:  snow peas.  We planted twice but had poor germination, so won't have as many snow peas as usual.  The sugar snap peas (edible pods) look great and abundant, and shelling peas look good.
The Kohlrabis and Pak Chois are done this week.  We'll hope for a fall planting.
The head lettuces have really suffered with the heat and are not nearly as nice as usual. We normally have great Romaine heads, but they have not developed like they should, and now just want to make seed heads.  We have some Anuenue coming - a summer heading crisp lettuce, as close to iceberg as we grow, only with more color and nutrients.  There's a little Sierra (crisp with red highlights) still growing.  More flats of head lettuce plants will be set out when it cools down a bit.
Tomatoes look good!  Eggplant and Peppers, too.  These crops love hot days.
The cucumbers are suffering from cucumber beetles eating their leaves, but they are starting to set tiny cukes, as are the summer squash.
Melons look great!
Onions and garlic are both doing well.  We'll have scallions soon for CSA shares.