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.