Monday, October 17, 2011

Last Veggie Week for 20 week shares

You've got a good variety in your box this week.  The Sweet Potatoes are not our usual great quality - they have some bore holes in them.  We aren't sure why.  Please cut around them - Sorry!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wendell Berry: The Pleasure of Eating

Wendell Berry: The Pleasure of Eating

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hot Peppers

Let us know if you want some! We are overloaded right now. Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno, Hot Bulgarian Carrot, Thai, Long Red Cayenne. Hot Hot Hot!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tomatoes for Canning, Freezing, Roasting or Drying

Are now available. Let us know if you are interested. Lots of varieties, even Heirlooms!

Bintje Potatoes

Bintje is the most widely grown yellow-fleshed potato variety in the world. It is an heirloom developed in the early 1900′s by a Dutch botanist and school master who named this potato after his best pupil Miss Bintje (pronounced Benjee) Jansma. The Dutch have more than 150 varieties of potatoes! They lag behind Peru which has ~3,000. Compare that with the US where 90% of our potatoes come from fewer than 12 varieties. It's a waxy potato. Various cooking sites recommend this flavorful high-starch variety for excellent roasted potatoes and oven fries.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fresh Pickles

A simple recipe:

Printed from COOKS.COM

3 large cucumbers
1 bell pepper (green or red)
1 onion
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

Wash and scrub cucumbers. Slice into a medium sized bowl, leaving peel on, about 1/8" thick. Wash and remove seeds from pepper; remove skin from onion and scrub well under cold running water. Finely chop the onion and pepper; add to cucumbers. Sprinkle with salt and celery seed. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.

In a small saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil then remove immediately from heat. Stir in sugar, stirring until dissolved. Allow to cool, then pour over cucumbers (after they have been sitting for 1 hour, as above).

Mix well; cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

Quick Fresh Pickles

4 large pickling cucumbers
1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
3 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt (for the cukes) + 2 Tbls. kosher salt (for the brine)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/4 tsp. dill seed
1/4 tsp. Aleppo chili flakes
1/4 tsp. coriander seed
1/4 tsp. fennel seed
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1 bunch of fresh dill

Yields 16 pickle spears

Slice and salt the cucumbers
Grab your pickling cukes. Scrub them well under cold water, then dry them off.
Slice each cucumber in half.
Then slice each side in half again, so you wind up with quarters.
Repeat with the other cucumbers. Put the cucumber spears in a medium-sized bowl.
Sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
Mix the cucumber spears around well to distribute the salt.
Let the cucumber spears sit in the bowl like this, on the counter, for about an hour. Salting the cukes like this helps draw out excess water—which in turn helps keep your pickles crunchy.
After about an hour, your cukes will have let off a fair amount of water. Drain that off and discard.
Make the brine for the pickles
Put the rice wine vinegar, water, and white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar) in a medium-sized pot.
Toss in the sugar and 2 Tbls. of kosher salt.
Set the pot on the stove over high heat. Whisk to combine.
Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Bring the mixture up to a boil.
When it starts to bubble, toss in the garlic, coriander seed, fennel seed, dill seed, mustard seed, and Aleppo chili flakes.
Whisk to combine. Take the pot off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes to help release the flavor of the herbs.
Pour the brine over the cucumbers
In the meantime, pack your cucumber spears into a smallest bowl that will hold them all. You want them to be fairly close together so that they’re all covered by the brine.
Pour the hot brine over the cucumber spears.
Trim your bunch of fresh dill so that it will fit in your bowl. Lay it on top of the pickles.
Let them sit on the counter like this until the brine cools to room temperature.
When it’s cool, push down on the mixture with your hand.
You want to submerge the pickles and douse the dill with brine.
Soak the cucumbers in brine overnight
Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.
Set it in the fridge overnight to let the brine soak into the cukes.
Serve & enjoy
The next day, unwrap your pickles.
And that’s it!
When you’re ready to serve, fish the pickles out of the brine and heap them up on a platter along with pieces of garlic and a few strands of dill.
Pickles will keep for a few weeks in the fridge if they last that long.

Augusta Potatoes

So far, they are a new favorite! They are a waxy potato, good for boiling, soups, casseroles, potato salad, roasting = same uses as Red Norlands. We are growing them instead of Yukon Golds or the other Gold potatoes we have tried. The yield seems to be much better, quality is good, etc. Enjoy!


  • Shape: Oval to long
  • Skin: Smooth Yellow
  • Flesh: Deep Yellow
  • Market Use: Fresh Markets
  • Medium Maturing

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pickles for Sale

Pickles are a variety of cucumber bred and grown for a smaller size and crispness. They are picked anywhere from gherkin size to dill spear size. We pick them every single day in order to keep up with them.
$15 per half bushel (should make up to 20 quarts). Let me know if you are interested.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The best way to store your celery

Cut the leafy parts off and wash and ziplok bag them. Store the stalks in a separate ziplok, closed, and the celery will stay crisp and fresh longer. Enjoy! The flavor is stronger than store-bought. We dry some for use through the winter.

Tomatoes Tomatoes Tomatoes

These are the varieties we have planted this year, with a little info about each type gleaned from the internet!

Amish Paste
Days: 81 Size: Indeterminate
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
Days: 79 Size: Indeterminate
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.

Beefy Boy
Days: 70; Indeterminate
Bred specifically for maximum flavor, the taste is sweet yet meaty, with more solids and less gel than other varieties. The globe-shaped tomatoes are gorgeous, with deep red skin and smooth shoulders (thanks to uniform ripening).

Beliy Naliv (aka Belii Naliv)
Days: 55 Size: Semi-Determinate
Red Heirloom, Means "white ripening", most likely named after popular variety of apples in Russia. A short indeterminate (42") that produces an abundance of early bearing 2", red, round, crack-resistant fruits that are sweet and tangy.

Black Cherry
Days: 64 Size: Indeterminate
The only truly black cherry tomato. Produce large, sprawling, indeterminate, regular-leaf, vigorous tomato plants that yield abundant crops in huge clusters of 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. Beautiful to mix with other colored cherry tomatoes. Unique tomato variety. Disease resistant. Once you try want MORE.

Black Prince
Days: 70 Size: Indeterminate
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. This is a tomato that chefs I deliver to rave about for it's rich flavors. The small fruits contain deep rich colors on the inside. Perfect for patio gardens. Perfect for eating fresh, and in cooking in tomato sauce or other culinary wonders.

Cherokee Purple
Days: 80 Size: Indeterminate
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
Days: 72 Size: Indeterminate
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
Days: 78 Size: Indeterminate
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.

Days: 65 Size: Determinate
Heirloom. An early, short-season, open-pollinated, potato-leaf variety that flowers when it is only 4-inches tall then sets loads of very flavorful 2 to 3-ounce, round, red tomatoes. Good flavor.

Golden Jubilee
80 Day Indeterminate
Orange 8 oz fruit, sweet and mild.

90 Day Indeterminate
Open-pollinated heirloom. Deep orange beefsteak average 16-20 oz. Don’t harvest it till it has a rosy blush on the bottom.

Grandma Mary
Days: 70 Size: Indeterminate
An extremely productive red paste variety producing 1 1/2 oz., 3-inch long red fruit.

Green Zebra
Days: 75 Size: Indeterminate
Developed in 1985 by tomato breeder Tom Wagner, this is 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 2653 Paste
68 Day Determinate
Open-pollinated amazingly early red plum type 2.5-3 oz fruits.

72 Day Compact Indeterminate Hybrid; Dependable 7-8 oz globes of premium quality.

60 day Indeterminate Hybrid; 1-2 oz grapes, red, good flavor

Days: 79 Size: Indeterminate.
Cherry, disease-resistant, big, bushy, regular-leaf plants with wispy foliage that yield huge amounts of 1-1/4 inch, 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
75 Day Determinate Hybrid
Able to tolerate cool and wet conditions, this big red tomato produces attractive, 8-16 oz. slicers with good taste. Developed by Dr. Randy Gardner at NC State University. Vigorous plants provide plenty of leaf cover. Nematode tolerant and resistant to V1, F1, and F2.

Old German
Days: 85 Size: Indeterminate
A Mennonite family heirloom from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Big regular leaf plant yields 1-2 lb. beautiful fruits. Fruit color is yellow with red mottling and striping on the outside and throughout the flesh. Best color of several strains of this heirloom. Not a heavy producer, but fruit harvested is deliciously sweet and very decorative.

Days: 78 Size: Indeterminate
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
Days: 78 Size: Determinate
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
Days: 75 Size: Indeterminate
Many folks find this tomato variety comparable in every way to the favorite Brandywine. It has even ranked higher at times in my taste trials. Great for hot day and cool night climate. Large potato leaf vine produces lots of 1-lb., slightly flattened, pretty, blemish-free, purple-pink fruits with few tomato seeds and excellent flavor.

Days: 105 Size: Indeterminate
Good producer of 2 x 3-inch, 1 lb., plum-shaped, red ,paste tomatoes. Sweet, tangy, meaty fruit. One of the best flavored sauce tomatoes.

Rose de Berne
80 day Indeterminate
Open-pollinated medium-sized pink tomato with robust flavor

Rutgers Tomato
Days: 75 Size: Indeterminate
Rutgers was developed by the Campbell Soup Company in 1928 from a cross of Marglobe and J.T.D. The variety was later refined by Rutgers University in 1943.] Yield 4-6 oz., dark-red tomatoes with thick walls that are loaded with delicious flavors. Excellent canning tomato. Disease Resistant.

Days: 52 Size: Determinate
Developed by Dr. James Baggett of Oregon State University. Plants do very well in cooler climates producing deep-red, excellently flavored round, slicing tomatoes 8-10 oz. Very good flavor considering how early a tomato it is.

Sophie's Choice
Days: 55 Size: Determinate
An heirloom from Edmonton, Canada and introduced by Carolyn Male in 1997. Considered to be the "best choice" for an extra early tomato. This is the earliest variety to ripen for me. Strong disease resistant short determinate (24") produces an abundance of 8 to 10 oz. globes. fruit is a red-orange outside and deep red inside. Best production in cooler climates.

57 Day
Indeterminate Hybrid, cherry tomatoes, deep sweetness, rich apricot color. Splits in rain.

Supersweet 100
78 day Indeterminate Hybrid
1” round, ripens in clusters. Splits in rain.

Days: 68 Size: Determinate
Color: Yellow-Orange
The best tomato variety for an early, lemon-yellow tomato. Very popular. produce compact, bushy, determinate, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield 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. Taxi can be grown well in most areas. They even hold up well in hot, humid growing regions.

Heirloom Tomatoes


An heirloom is generally considered to be a variety that has been passed down, through several generations of a family because of it's valued characteristics.

Heirlooms can be four categories:
  • Commercial Heirlooms: Open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940, or tomato varieties more than 50 years in circulation.
  • Family Heirlooms: Seeds that have been passed down for several generations through a family.
  • Created Heirlooms: Crossing two known parents (either two heirlooms or an heirloom and a hybrid) and dehybridizing the resulting seeds for how ever many years/generations it takes to eliminate the undesirable characteristics and stabilize the desired characteristics, perhaps as many as 8 years or more.
  • Mystery Heirlooms: Varieties that are a product of natural cross-pollination of other heirloom varieties.

(Note: All heirloom varieties are open-pollinated but not all open-pollinated varieties are heirloom varieties.)

The Importance of "Heirloom" Tomatoes.

In the past 40 years, we've lost many of our heirloom varieties, along with the many smaller family farms that supported heirlooms. The multitude of heirlooms that had adapted to survive well for hundreds of years were lost or replaced by fewer hybrid tomatoes, bred for their commercially attractive characteristics.

Remember they will not be pretty - they split when ripe, they crack, they are misshapen. Tomatoes have been bred to be picked green and shipped, handled roughly. We pick ours ripe and are gentle with them! Enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011


We have peppers coming on very well now. Any pepper in your box loose will be a sweet pepper - no matter the color or shape. This week's peppers are mostly New Ace (green), plus Lilac and Feherezon (small yellow). There's no sign of red peppers yet, but they are coming, plus we have a few large yellow and orange peppers.

Hot peppers are always in a ziplock bag. If you do not like hot peppers, please let us know, or pass them on to someone else. Our hot peppers are also multi-colored and shaped, with various degrees of hotness. We find that the same type of pepper will vary in hotness from plant to plant, and supposedly the amount of sun and water also affects it.


Thursday, July 28, 2011


It's been a hard year to grow carrots so far - they are picky about seed germination. They take weather that isn't too hot nor too cold, adequate moisture, and with perfect conditions, still take 3 weeks to germinate! They are so tiny when they first come up that they tend to get stepped on. They can't be weeded till about 6 weeks after they are planted, and then they won't grow fast unless they get thinned, which is tedious and time-consuming. We've planted as many as last year, and have harvested about 1/5th as many carrots.

We are hoping for a better Fall crop, if it cools off and quits raining so we can get the seed planted.

Check out the newly released Michigan’s Guide to Local Cooking by local resident, Susan Clemente.

I first met Susan last year, after knowing her father for many years as a regular customer at Sweetwater Market. Susan and her mom came out to visit the Farm and she talked about the book she was writing. It's a recipe book just for Michigan foods. We sell copies of it here at the Farm and Susan will be signing copies of her book Saturday at Sweetwater Local Foods Market from 9:00am - 12:00pm.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This is what your parsley plants should look like. You can pick any time from the outside, lowest stems and leaves. It should last until November. Please return the pots them came in if you still have them around. I forgot to ask for them back! Thank you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer vegetables are coming up!

It looks like we will have summer squash next week! We also picked the first sweet pepper and the first hot pepper today. We've had about a pint of Sungold cherry tomatoes so far, and I picked the first early red tomato today, too. We can see little cucumbers on the vines, and peppers are setting fruit well. These crops all love the hot days!

Summer cooking greens should be available most weeks - either Kale (3 kinds: Lacinato, White Russian or Winterbor) or Swiss chard (3 kinds: Bright lights, Fordhook or Ruby Red Rhubarb). If you ever want more, just let us know. In weeks where you get nice beet greens, we usually skip the kale or chard. Be sure to ask for recipes if you are unfamiliar with these greens. They are just as wonderful as spinach! Please share your own recipes, too!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Radicchio (pronounced rah-DEE-kee-oh) usually has white-veined red leaves. It has a spicy and bitter taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted, or when added to sweeter salad greens.
In Italy, where the vegetable is quite popular, it is usually eaten grilled in olive oil, or mixed into dishes such as risotto. In the United States it is gaining in popularity but is more often eaten raw in salads.

New Potatoes: Are simply immature potatoes, and are particularly valued for taste. If the plants had not been dug, the potatoes would double in size in a few weeks, so you are getting a treat but getting them small like this! We ate the smallest ones for lunch today, boiled with a sprinkling of large grain celtic sea salt, with a healthy chunk of butter added after the water boiled off.

Fresh Beets with Greens: We didn't thin the beets as much as past years, so these are a little small. The Greens are quite nutritious! Eat them! They will not all be as nice as the first picking. This is the best time of year for beet greens.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why do other farms have peas now and we don't?

Most, if not all, of farms with peas ready are conventional, not organic. They plant treated seed that will not rot in cold, wet ground like organic or untreated seed will. We planted and replanted peas 3 times, trying to hit the weather right for germination without a lot of luck. Our peas are blossoming, and forming pea pods, but slow...

It's the same with sweet corn. We plant untreated seed and have to wait till the ground warms up. Farmers who plant treated seed can do so earlier.

Would you rather have your food come from wholesome seed or chemically treated seed? Actually, if you get veggies from us, you don't have a choice. We won't buy the commercially treated seed to put in our soil.

Andrew Skinner • Oceana’s Herald-Journal

Farm Work

We have been busy catching up with weed control in between rain storms. That means hoeing and tilling and a lot of hand weeding. Blisters. We've also been putting more transplants into the gardens, preparing the field for fall cabbages, broccolis and cauliflowers, and getting those brassica seeds planted into cells in the greenhouse.

In normal years (is there such a thing??), we are eating tomatoes by now, but there's only a hint of color on one cherry tomato that I've seen so far. We have been working to keep the tomato plants trellised. That keeps the fruit off the ground and in better quality. There are lots of buds and small green tomatoes forming.

The peppers are blooming and beginning to set fruit, as are the cucumbers and summer squash. We have planted squash and cukes at least 3 times in order to extend the season for picking. We have about 70 summer squash plants in so far, with seed planted in at least another 30 hills. There are maybe 8 varieties of squash planted.

Cucumbers: 4 varieties are planted. One kind is an Asian cuke that is trellised. We also have long salad cukes and smaller pickling cucumbers that I personally like sliced as well as the long ones.

The Farm other than veggies: Bill has baled about 150 large bales so far, and has a lot of hay down getting rained on at this moment. We have 6 calves still to be born to first time heifers. The rest of the herd is out on a large pasture, not needing to be moved every few days. Fencing repair and upkeep is constant. We have 6 miles of fence with maybe 75 gates to keep the cattle in and moving between pastures.

Our garden tours last weekend were a huge success! We had about 100 people here Friday, Saturday, and another group on Tuesday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nice chart for egg storage


Store raw eggs in shell 3—5 weeks in refrigerator. Do not freeze; instead, beat yolks and whites together, then freeze.

Store raw egg whites 2—4 days in refrigerator. Freeze 12 months.

Store raw egg yolks 2—4 days in refrigerator. Yolks do not freeze well.

Use raw egg accidentally frozen in shell immediately after thawing. Refrigerate to thaw.

Store hard-cooked eggs 1 week in refrigerator. Do not freeze.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hesperia Library Garden Tour on Saturday

HESPERIA — A stop at the library, a visit to four gardens, a guided tour of two wildlife trophy rooms, and fresh strawberry shortcake served poolside will be the highlights of the 2011 Hesperia Area Garden Tour Saturday, June 25.

Featured will be the gardens of Eileen Homan at 284 Munn St.; Kellie and Charlie Jackson at 8900 E. Newfield Dr.; Earthscape Farm at 4220 Loop Rd.; and Ed and Betty Dean at 6060 E. Loop Rd. A book and plant sale will be at the library during the tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are a donation of $7 per person, and can be purchased in advance at the Hesperia Community Library at 80 S. Division St. and at River’s End in Fremont and Montague. On the day of the tour, they can be purchased at the library or any of the gardens.

The annual event, which will go on rain or shine, is hosted by the Local History Committee of the Hesperia Community Library and the Hesperia Beautification Committee. Proceeds will benefit the local history room at the library and the village beautification project.

Hesperia Community Library

80 South Division Street

It has been said the name Hesperia means “beautiful garden” and it seems an appropriate name for a small village nestled low among the hills and close beside the White River. The public is invited to visit the local history room to see how volunteers are working to preserve the history of Hesperia and the families who live here. There will be a book and plant sale on the library lawn during the garden tour hours. In case of rain or extreme heat, these events will be inside the library in the community room. Public rest rooms are available. People are encouraged to drive through the village on Division Street to enjoy the beautiful hanging baskets and potted plants that are planted and maintained by the Hesperia Beautification volunteers. People might also enjoy a stroll through the newly landscaped Webster Park next to the library. The four gardens may be visited in any order.

Eileen Homan

284 Munn St.

The daughter of a farmer, Eileen says the desire to grow things is in her genes. Working in her garden sometimes until the daylight runs out reminds her of her dad working late in the fields. Eileen’s garden is artistically cluttered. There isn’t a real landscaping plan, just a love of plants placed wherever she can find room for them. As with most gardens, it is always a work in progress. She has many plants that came from her childhood home — her mom’s peonies, iris, creeping myrtle, and daffodils, as well as many newer perennials and beautifully arranged potted annuals. Eileen likes certain colors, mainly pinks and purples, and you will find those colors in abundance in her garden. Her most recent venture is learning the art of growing dahlias.

Kellie and Charlie Jackson

8900 E. Newfield Drive

Not far from the village and situated along the White River is the chalet-style home and the gardens of Charlie and Kellie Jackson. In what Kellie calls her “two front yards,” the landscape offers areas of strong sunlight as well as areas of deep shade. Enjoying the sun are several varieties of grasses and colorful annuals and perennials in various stages of bloom. Near the house, be sure to notice the window boxes, the “flower fountain,” the tiered flower box placed on a stump, and the row of sugar snap peas on the fence. Closer to the river you will see many hostas and other shade loving plants (see if you can find the parsley fern) arranged in borders and clustered around the trees. You may not be able to resist sitting for a moment in the swing, which faces the river where Kellie loves to sit and read. Water for irrigation is provided by the river and keeps the lawn lush and green which, in turn, provides a backdrop for this beautiful, peaceful garden.

Ed and Betty Dean

6060 E. Loop Road

The Deans have participated in many wildlife hunting expeditions in locations such as Russia, Mongolia, Spain, Canada, Africa, New Zeeland and Mexico, in addition to many locations in the United States. They have brought back magnificent trophies which are on display in two large, beautifully designed trophy rooms. You will see a lion from Tanzania, an orbi from Zambia, a javalina from Texas, a polar bear from the Barrow Strait, Northwest Territories, a fallow deer from Spain, a brown bear from Russia, and many, many others. The Deans will be available to narrate your tour and to answer questions. Following your tour of the trophy rooms, you will proceed outdoors to the deck overlooking the pool, where strawberry shortcake will be served. While there, be sure to enjoy the many plantings around the pool. Feel free to explore the beautifully landscaped and manicured yard and border garden where the shrubs and plants are exceptionally well-placed and maintained.

Earthscape Farm

4220 Loop Road

Drive down the lane to Earthscape Farm and you will see gardens that are not just ornamental. With an increased emphasis on the benefits of consuming locally grown food, your visit to the farm will be an interesting and educational experience. Earthscape is in rural Oceana County on 200 acres. The farm’s mission is to provide families with wholesome foods that have been raised using organic and sustainable farming methods. Owners Bill and Patrice Bobier have farmed the land since 1972, growing most of their own food since then. They started selling their extra produce to other families around 2002. This evolved into a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) endeavor in 2004. Currently, 40 families are shareholders in the program and receive fresh produce weekly from June through October. A partial list of produce grown on the farm includes: spinach, pak choi, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, radishes, onions, leeks, garlic, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, kale, eggplant, kohlrabi, cabbage, summer and winter squash, beans, melons, corn, celery, beets, peas, cucumbers and this summer nine varieties of potatoes in rows that equal 1 ¼ mile in length. In addition to the Bobiers, there are three full-time and about eight part-time workers responsible for the farm’s operation. Excess produce is sold at the farm, Sweetwater Local Foods Market in Muskegon on Saturdays year-round and at local restaurants (Mia & Grace and The Hearthstone, for example). Grass-fed Angus Beef and eggs are also raised on the farm and are available for purchase. Patrice will have iced herbal tea available for you to try and bathroom facilities are available. To learn more about the farm, go


We've gotten about 4 inches of rain this week. It is wet! Can't cut hay, can't work ground, can't put in transplants, can't plant seeds. It's very disturbing to soil structure to work it or even walk on it when it's this wet. It compacts it. So... We are still picking veggies to fill shares - can't not do that! But the rest of our work is on hold, awaiting dry weather.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garlic Scapes are the seed heads of garlic that should be cut off in order to get bigger bulbs. They taste like garlic and make a yummy addition to anything that needs garlic flavor. You can also make garlic scape pesto. Simply grind the scapes with almonds or pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil and sea salt. Spread this on a Roast or piece of Whitefish, or good bread.

My favorite way to eat turnips is peeled, cooked in a small amount of water till tender, and mashed with butter, salt and pepper.

The turnip greens can be washed, chopped and sauteed with my usual - garlic and onions!

The turnip's root is high only in vitamin C. The green leaves of the turnip top ("turnip greens") are a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. Turnip greens are high in lutein, also.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Where's the heat? And sun?

It's very hard to grow summer crops with this kind of weather. The melons look awful! Even the 2nd planting still in cells in the greenhouse are dampening off (dying) because it's cold and wet. We aren't touching the tomato plants because we don't want to spread disease in them. So... they are in need of trellising and it can't be done yet.
All the late cabbages, cauliflowers and broccolis are being planted in cells for transplanting out in a month. We've also started the ornamental sunflowers, more basil, scallions, and a third planting of summer squash.
We hope it dries out enough tomorrow to hill the potatoes again and finish planting the winter squash and pumpkins.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Broccoli Raab

Yum! We had some for lunch today! This raab is called Sessantina and is not bitter or strong - it tastes like sweet fresh broccoli to me!

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 lb broccoli rabe
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise, or a stalk of green garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/8 -1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges (we skipped the lemon wedges).


Cut off and discard 1 inch from stem ends of broccoli rabe. Chop the onions, garlic and stems of raab. Saute them about 3-4 minutes while you chop the leafy part of the raab. Add that to the pan and cook it till it wilts. Toss with salt and cover. It's ready in minutes!

Photo of Broccoli Raab, Broccoli Rabe, Brocoletti, Cima di Rapa  'Sessantina' (Brassica r

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Farm Work

This past week we've gotten the sweet potatoes planted. Did you ever grow a sweet potato vine from a piece of sweet potato suspended over water with toothpicks? The plants we put in are called slips and they look like little pieces of sweet potato vine. We planted 2 kinds: Beauregard and Centennial.

We transplanted the first flats of melons - same varieties as last year. 3 Muskmelons: Halona, Hannah's Choice and Jenny Lind. 3 Watermelons: Petite Yellow, Quetzali and Sweet Dakota. They seem to do well in our soil, and hopefully will again if this is a cooler summer. There's another 150 plants to put in when they grow a bit larger. We do multiple plantings to extend the season for you (and us!)

All the summer squash transplants are in, though I doubt they liked the 49 degree morning. We also planted some more seed and will start another planting in cells in a week or two. We put in about 100 summer squash plants: 4 varieties of zucchini, 2 of yellow squash, and patty pan. They get picked nearly every day all summer long. It's very boring and monotonous after about the first 6 weeks.

More carrots were planted this evening. A lot of brassicas for fall and winter storage were started today, and there are many more seeds to plant. We've stored 100s of cabbages in our root cellar before, to eat and sell in winter. They keep really well!

I saw the first garlic scapes today. They will be in share boxes the next week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beef for sale!

Beef Quarters for sale at the Farm today! Let me know if you are interested. If you have a particular way you would like beef cut, you can order a quarter cut your way if you get the order to me soon. These are grass-fed, supplemented with a little home grown and ground grain (think of it as dessert).

Their great great great grandmothers were raised on our farm. Healthy, humane, no antibiotics or hormones, reasonable pricing. In fact, we may be raising our prices, as the last time we checked, most of our cuts were equal or cheaper than Meijers grass-fed!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reduce, ReUse and Recycle

Please return boxes each week when you pick up your share, or drop them off for me at Sweetwater Market on Saturdays 9-12:30. Please keep them clean, and be careful when you collapse them to not tear them. They have to last all season. We'll also take Earthbound-type plastic containers and clean plastic bags for reuse.

CSA Begins!

And of course I was busy with a birth! But we had a great crew here, and shares were done on time. Thanks, Mike, Viki, Patti, Stacey, and Carrie!

Read the list of WHAT'S IN YOUR BOX? on the right.

Enjoy the green garlic! It's one of our favorites. We are out of garlic bulbs saved from last year. I usually roast some garlic when it's starting to get softer, and freeze little balls of it to get us to the green garlic harvest. Green garlic is young garlic, pulled before it makes the bulbs with cloves. Use it like you would a scallion, chopped raw, sauteed, added to any dish that benefits from garlic flavor (isn't that ALL dishes??).

The lettuce is a head of Buttercrunch or Winter Density. The salad mix has fresh chard, kale, arugula, mustard greens, a few fresh herbs as well as lettuce mix. You're getting a great amount of spinach - 1# - so eat it fresh and steamed, on pizza or in omelets, as a salad, etc. There will be a smaller amount of spinach next week.

My favorite scrub brush is in your box. We cool almost your veggies in water right away to preserve nutrients and freshness, so most everything is washed somewhat, though not 'ready to eat'.

The parsley plant is an Italian Flat Leaf - the only kind of parsley according to the Italians. It will thrive in a large pot or in your flower bed. Cut the outer-most stems to chop in whatever you are serving.

Ask questions if you receive a mystery item - call or email. If you have a favorite recipe, email it to me and I'll share it with everyone else.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Quote from Wendell Berry

One of our favorite farmers and philosophers:

‎"And so you make the farm, and so you disappear into your days, your days into the ground. Before you start each day, the place is as it is, and at the day's end, it is as it is, a little changed by work, but still itself, having included you and everything you've done. And it is who you are, and you are what it is."