Full and By Farm: Updating Technologies

Ray the Full and By Farm cattle herd sire (Credit: James Graves)

Ray the Full and By Farm herd sire (Credit: James Graves)

High speed internet and cell phones are new and novel technologies around here—we’ve switched over from dial-up and our old land-line just this year. While there was a lot of kicking and screaming to get us up to date, since getting an old i-phone James has not looked back. Along with apps to keep track of how he spends his time and to have his calendar remind him when he is supposed to be somewhere, he has been snapping pictures all over the farm. He captured this shot of our herd sire Ray under a moody sky, just after he destroyed an ant hill up in Triangle Field.

Cider

We’ll have the cider press going for veggie share members this evening. Stay for awhile to help throw apples in the hopper and wring the juice out with the big press wheel. Please bring a jar to take some cider home.

Winter Membership

Winter membership forms are available tonight for the next season which starts up January 2nd. It’s been a beautiful growing season and the storage rooms are loaded to the brim with potatoes, cabbage, garlic, onions and five types of dry beans already. We have a good harvest of leeks, lots of roots and dry corn for milling yet to come. We’re planning for a more consistent supply of fermented goodies (kraut and kim chee) as well as strawberry jelly mid-winter, and maple syrup in spring. We’ll have beef, pork, broilers and eggs all available for the entire winter too. We’re extra happy to have the new, larger root cellar and walk-in cooler this year to keep all of our veggies happy and healthy for a long storage season.

This season’s share is not winding down just yet. We’ll be going through the end of December with plenty of fresh greens coming out of the field. Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes yet to come.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: celery, spinach, winter squash, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce, kale, chard, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white cooking onions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and cider. Gourds and pumpkins are still available for late decorators.

In the meat share: Fresh pork available; chops, ribs, hamsteaks and roasts. Beef and chickens in the freezer. Sausage and bacon are in the works, coming soon.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Winter Fields Ready

The last of the winter-time veggie field prep was finished as the sun fell yesterday evening, just in time for the slow, soaking rain to move in. All of the summer crops and trellises are out, compost spread and cover crop seed drilled in. It was a strange project to be sweating over on a warm, seventy-something day.

Cattle crossing the road at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Cattle crossing the road at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

The field is now a series of orderly stripes—lush green pea-oat cover from August, bare soil that was just cleared and seeded down, and narrow rows of the late season hold-outs—leeks, brussel sprouts and corn drying down for grinding into cornmeal. The western-most section of field is vibrant still with rows of winter roots, huge broccoli plants and lettuce heads. Despite the warm days, the weather did manage a quick frost this past weekend, reminding us that fall, if not here quite on time, is really on its way.

We had a great time last week taking the horses and hay wagon out to the field to pick pumpkins followed by a campfire, dinner and tasty desserts. Thanks to everyone for coming out. Special thanks to Allison and Jennifer for decorating the barn and making the place look beautifully festive for the celebration.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: celery (delightful with peanut butter and raisins), spinach, winter squash, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce, kale, chard, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, red and white cooking onions, scallions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, wheat berries, whole wheat flour.

In the meat share: Fresh broiler chickens in the cooler. All cuts of beef are available as well as pork chops, roasts, and scrapple in the freezer. Pork in the share next week.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Digging for Potatoes

Crates of potatoes and onions at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualdavis)

Crates of potatoes and onions at Full and By Farm (Credit: virtualDavis)

I’ve spent much of the last two weeks on my knees, digging through the soil on the search for potatoes, a cloud of fine dust has been following me all through the day like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown. This year the search hasn’t been very hard. We have 2900 pounds so far, and a row and a half of fingerlings yet to go. It’s a huge harvest for us, and they’ve been beautiful tubers, with little worm damage and no rot—a promise of potatoes all winter and into next year’s spring and summer.

Tomorrow we plan to bring in the winter squash, which has been curing in the field in this wonderfully dry, cool weather, and the dry beans, vines and all, before the next rainy spell glues them down to muddy pathways. The vines will be spread in the hay mow of the bank barn until we have time to thresh and winnow them once the rush of autumn harvest passes by.

Farm Dinner and Pumpkin Harvest

Pumpkin Harvest

Pumpkin Harvest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re in the midst of planning next Thursday’s farm dinner and pumpkin harvest. We’ll gather pumpkins on the hay wagons during share pick-up (all hands are welcome, the more the merrier!), then bring them down to the barnyard with the horses at 6. We’ll make some hearty fall soups and have bread and salad. Members bring desserts and drinks to share and a table setting for yourself. Then, take home your favorite pumpkin for Halloween! Please rsvp by Tuesday so we can plan enough food.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: winter squash, spinach, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli shoots, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, white, blue and fingerling potatoes, garlic, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and ruby kraut with caraway and onion! There are still plenty of sungolds, tomatillos and beautiful flowers out in the field for picking.

In the meat share: Fresh steaks for the grill tonight. Ground beef and pot roast, pork chops, scrapple and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken and beef organ meats and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Frost in the Forecast

Chickens at Full and By Farm

Chickens at Full and By Farm [Credit: virtualDavis]

Patchy frost is in the forecast for tonight so we’re preparing the fields for our first real cold of the season. The tomatoes have been suffering from the chilly weather all week and early blight for the last month. They are happy to call an end to the season. The peppers are just picking up steam though, we harvested the first few colored peppers last week, and a few more this week. I’ll cover them tonight and hope to protect them from the cold so we can enjoy a few more with the warmer temps during the coming week. We will likely be looking for potato diggers next week, and bean pickers soon. Keep warm tonight with cream of tomato soup and whole wheat biscuits. The beginning of fall veggies and beef pot roast next week.

Pullets Wandering

Keep an eye out for the young pullets in the barnyard tonight. Our older birds are still out in the pasture leaving the new girls the indoor winter coop. With no snow on the ground or cold wind to keep them in the barn, they’ve quickly learned how to go over and where to sneak under the fences, allowing them to pretty much free range around the barnyard. They are rewarded with lots of tasty green vegetation and all of the insects they can manage. The horses haven’t quite gotten accustomed. They spend most of the day eyeing the activity around them, stamping the ground if anyone gets too close.

Bring Back Jars

Please remember to bring glass jars back to the farm. They should be exchanged each week when you take new ones. Breakage happens, but please don’t keep jars to store your other household goods in. They are a costly part of our very tight budget, and we rely on returns to make ends meet.

Watermelons from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Watermelons from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Cauliflower, green beans, watermelon and cantaloupe, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, fingerling potatoes, garlic, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour. Next week: spinach, leeks, potatoes and winter squash. Soon: giant halloween pumpkins and decorative gourds.

In the meat share: Scrapple samples at pick up tonight! Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well. We are planning fresh beef for next week’s share. Pork in early October.

Full and By Farm: Fall Moving In Slowly

Full and By Farm, Fall (Photo: virtualDavis)

Fall is approaching at Full and By Farm (Photo: virtualDavis)

We are still enjoying plenty of summer treats held over from last week’s hot weather—sweet corn and big, juicy melons. Fall is moving in slowly though, cool days, cold nights and cloudy skies. The fields are emptying out with the change of season. This summer’s field of wheat has been harvested and is now laying empty, ready to plow for next year’s corn. The cover crop where the next wheat planting will grow is turned under, the soil worked up, prepared for seeding next week. The dry beans, potato and squash vines have all died back, exposing huge butternut and delicata squashes for feasting on, plump bean pods and the biggest halloween pumpkins yet. Get your carving knives ready.

Our new batch of laying hens have arrived. They are just starting to lay, which means there may be some little eggs mixed in to your carton.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Sweet corn, green beans, loads of watermelon and cantaloupe, garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, lettuce heads, fingerling potatoes, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, basil, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour—all purpose and pastry and dry beans. Coming soon: leeks and winter squash. We have plenty of pole beans and eggplant for putting up, let me know Thursday if interested.

In the meat share: Fresh scrapple this week, three flavors. Scrapple is the tasty breakfast treat made by combining a rich pork stock with grains and fresh herbs. Slice it thin, fry in a skillet with a little fat and top with maple syrup. Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Final Haymaking Week

Haymaking at Full and By Farm

We are in the final week of this year’s haymaking, with the last two beautiful, clover-rich fields cut and drying. We’ve been slowed all summer by broken parts and pieces, with lots of help from friends and neighbors to keep up a cobbled together hay making system. Our horse mower went first, then both the tractor and tractor mower. We’ve had an old broken wheel that we haven’t been able to replace on one of our wagons from last year, leaving us just one to work with. We finally got the horse mower back together, borrowed a horse-powered tedder and second hay wagon from Reber Rock, borrowed two different tractors to run the baler and finally relied a great deal on Dave Lincoln who put all of his equipment to work, as well as lots of his time. Thanks to Todd Goff as well for loaning his tractor just in the nick of time for this week’s work! If all goes well raking and baling to come tomorrow.

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

We’re seeing the first of the ripe melons this week. The overall cool and cloudy weather has meant the fruits have been sitting on the vines for awhile. They are not the sweetest or firmest fruits, but they do hit the spot for a good summertime fix. We’ll have lots out today, feel free to cut into your melons to make sure you get a good one before heading home.

The next planting of sweet corn is coming soon. The ears are full size and waiting to fill out the kernels. The pole bean vines are loaded with tiny fruits, lots of green beans to come soon.

We are swimming in wonderful eggplant. Take all you can eat and more tonight. They are terrific sliced thin and grilled with a little oil and salt. Eggplant also freezes easily for winter use—just dice and blanch or make a spread by roasting till the flesh is soft and puree with seasoning.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, lettuce heads, fingerling potatoes, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli shoots, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, basil, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour—all purpose and pastry, kim chee and dry beans. Sweet corn, green beans and more melons coming soon.

In the meat share: wonderful, hand made soap from  Reber Rock Farm from our lard. Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Wet and Muddy

Pigs at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Pigs at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Apologies first for a run of weeks with no farm note. Our internet has been going down every time we have a rain storm. As those of you who have ventured out to pick muddy flowers and sungold tomatoes know—this is a weather pattern that has synchronized nicely with Thursday farm pick-up.

It is wet and it is muddy out in the fields. Crops that were well established before the rainy spell are still growing like gangbusters. The potatoes, winter squash and dry beans are having a stellar year. Onions were harvested earlier this week and came in with over three times the yield of last year’s crop. With individual onions at 2 lbs a piece. The fingers of the fingerling potatoes belong to giants.

The weeds have enjoyed the weather more than any of the crops even; they have been hard to manage and keep growing not matter how you cultivate, easily replanting themselves with the next good, drenching rain. It has not, of course, been an ideal year for peppers and melons. The plants have grown well, but the fruits are not as big and tasty as in a dry year.

Radishes at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Radishes from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

We still have plenty of tomatoes each week for canning, as well as summer squash, and cucumbers. Talk to me at pick up if you are interested in reserving any to put up. Extra veggies are free to the all you can eat veggie share members, wholesale prices to others.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Garlic, kim chee, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, fingerling potatoes, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli shoots, green and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, basil, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour—all purpose and pastry, and dry beans. More successions of sweet corn coming soon. Watermelons and cantaloupes are full grown on the vines and waiting for a spell of good, hot weather to ripen up.

In the meat share: wonderful, hand made soap from Reber Rock Farm from our lard. Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Rain Continues

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

After last week’s quick rain storm refreshed the plants James remarked that we really needed about 4 more inches to replenish the soil fully. With 3.5 by the end of Monday, and new storms moving through now, I say we could have stopped awhile back. The soil in the fields is heavy, thick and slurping at your boots when you try to walk through. Tomato and bean harvest stopped just as it started today, with dark rumbling clouds overhead. We plan to get back out just after the thunder and lightning pass. Fingerling potatoes are also in the works, hopefully there will be a long enough break to dig those out of the muddy field as well. There are beautiful savoy cabbage heads and giant, sweet summer onions that are perfect on the grill.

Flowers and sungolds are u-pick now. Wear your rain boots to get into the field.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, garlic, sweet summer onions, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli shoots, cabbage, green beans, carrots, beets with greens, garlic scapes, kale, chard, bunching onions, basil, celeriac, fresh cut herbs, u-pick flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. The first succession of sweet corn is coming soon!

In the meat share: Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Storms Bring Relief

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Yesterday’s storms brought great relief to the dry fields. The momentary chill in the air was all too quickly replaced by steamy heat to offer much relief to farmers and animals. This morning we are happily back to sweatshirts and chilly hands for morning harvest and chores.

What’s Growing?

The zucchini and cucumbers have taken off in the heat, consider ways to put them into every meal. Cucumber-kale smoothies have been big around here, as is grilled zucchini—slice lengthwise, rub with some olive oil and salt and grill. We eat it just as is (usually as the rest of the meal is being prepared), add it to burritos and sandwiches, or use a few slices to top off a burger. It is one of the tastiest summer foods and takes but five minutes to make. We lost much of the lettuce crop to heat this week, there will be new leaf lettuce by next pick-up and lettuce heads a little further out. I was hopeful that the current lettuce planting would fair well being nestled under a giant canopy of squash leaves, but the heat and dry were still too much.

Veggies in the share at Full and By Farm

Summer veggies in the share at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

The winter squash and halloween pumpkins are thigh-high and expanding everywhere. The vines are already loaded up with nice sized fruits. There are quite a few watermelons and cantaloupes on the vine too, though still small. Peppers and eggplants are flowering and setting fruit. Tomatoes are still limited since there is only one variety ripening in earnest. The others are just starting to blush with color, so it won’t be long until we are overflowing.

The flowers have filled out nicely now. They are u-cut this week, allow a little extra time to walk out to the field edge and grab some for home. As zucchini, cucumbers and green beans are rolling in, there will be leftovers for canning and freezing. Please let me know if you are interested in the surplus.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Zucchini, cucumbers, first of the tomatoes, broccoli shoots, green cabbage, loads of green beans, carrots, beets with greens, garlic scapes, kale, chard, bunching onions, basil, potatoes, celeriac, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. Coming soon: new potatoes and sweet summer onions, lots more tomatoes.

In the meat share: Fresh broiler chickens this week. Beef and pork in the freezer. We have beef stock and chicken organs available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Summer Heat

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

The work load has felt like full on summer for a few weeks now. The heat however just caught up—the kind of miserable, sticky heat that makes even the easiest projects feel unbearable. The kind of heat that makes the swim after work feels like the only thing keeping you going. The rush of work only feels good when you look behind you and realize how much you have gotten done in a short amount of time. We are one field away from having all of our first cut hay put up, a quick season for such a large project, rewarding us with a nice long break before second cut begins.

The fall brassicas are all started in the greenhouse, the first round will go into the field in the next few days. The last of the winter storage roots will also be seeded any day now. Harvest has just heated up too, The strawberries have taken all we’ve got to keep up with, the peas are just starting in now and green beans are right around the corner. The broccoli is in full swing this week, make sure to take at least a double helping tonight. Beautiful heads of green cabbage are just in time for fourth of July cole slaw, topped with grated carrots for color.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Broccoli, green cabbage, peas, carrots, beets with greens, garlic scapes, strawberries, kale, chard, bunching onions, head lettuce, mesclun mix, lettuce mix, basil, napa cabbage, potatoes, celeriac, fresh cut herbs, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. Summer squash coming up!

In the meat share: Fresh beef—ground, stew beef and organ meats. Broiler chickens and pork in the freezer. Fresh chicken next week.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm