Saturday, December 27, 2008

Here Comes the Rain!

Looks like it is finally going to hit. The wind was sure a bear yesterday while I was trying to secure the floating row cover down - like trying to fold up the jolly green giant's parachute while he was still falling!

Everything can use a good drink - there is nothing better for a garden than a nice rain.


Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Rooster's Tale

I wanted to let you know, as the community supporting this farm, that there is a bit of warm water on the stove where a frog is about to be heated up. You know what I mean - a simple and seemingly harmless regulation is on the table for passing - yet in doing so, it will bring us one step closer to losing our rights to feed ourselves what we want to. I'm not going to re-post the entire letter I have submitted to the local paper for publishing regarding the "outlawing" of roosters in Balch Springs, but I invite you to read it here.

Whereas we don't have enough of a flock to supply ourselves with eggs right now, it will never happen if they keep me from having roosters around.

Perhaps a couple of you would be interested in coming to the next city council meeting in January, the 2nd Monday of the month. I plan to read the letter during citizen's comments and anyone connected to the farm that wants to come stand with me is welcome to do so, or to add your own 3 minute comment. Your support would be helpful. Thank you.

Eat Your Food - Naturally! (and, fight for your right to do so - before it is against the law!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I rec'd this on one of my farm newsletters today;

(Adapted from Gourmet mag. and Akin Farm's Wendy Akins)

Simmer a pound of trimmed small turnips in salted water to cover until perfectly tender.
Meanwhile, toss the remains of a baguette or other crusty bread into the food processor and make fresh bread crumbs.*

For 2 cups of crumbs, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet large enough to hold the turnips.

Add either one fresh garlic clove, minced fine, or two or more cloves caramelized roasted garlic.

Mush around in the butter to mix well and then stir in the crumbs. Saute briefly, then put in the turnips and heat through.

A bit of snipped parsley on top is a nice touch. Or cilantro or chives or onion tops; something green

* I never use store bought bread crumbs. I save the bits and heels of good bread in the freezer for all kinds of use.

Sounds yummy!

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

In the News

Well, there were a lot of folks to choose from for Secretary of Agriculture - and while none of the names being thrown around seriously were all that well known for supporting the things organic farming supports I suppose, but it looks like we got a doozey in Mr. Vilsack. One friend says it is a step backwards from GE food technology protection for organic farmers as he is a big ag biz supporter. Great.

Here is an interesting article about the choice made.

What can we do? Know who grows our food - try to eat organically as much as possible as it may be the only way you will know what you are actually eating. Just cuz it looks like an ear of corn, doesn't mean it is just an ear of corn.

See you Saturday.

Please remember - the farm will not have a pick up next weekend 12-27. Enjoy the holidays and your families. Thank you.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture

Thank you for the feedback some of you have offered about our progress thus far with the farm. I wanted to take that moment to review where we are planning to head and some of the challenges, victories and clarify any potential for misunderstandings.

Due to some kind of glich, the farm's listing was duplicated on Local Harvest so I ended up on Local Harvest's CSA page. I thought it did a great job of explaining Community Supported Agriculture and for anyone new to CSA or thinking about it, here is the link. I think it may help answer a few of the questions that I may not have answered directly, and it helped to re-inspire me as to the real purpose behind CSA's creation back in Japan many years ago.

I hope more community members will gather together, find farmers and places to farm so that this wonderful movement to secure our food supply is realized in the DFW area (and beyond of course). I also hope through these farms, youngsters can be encouraged to get into farming so I'll have someone to rely on to grow me healthy food when it becomes time for me to hang up my overalls some day when I'm too feeble to drag bags of cottonseed meal around, sling manure off a trailer or spend hours out in the sun - I hope that day doesn't come for decades - but we have to plan today for the future farmers of tomorrow.

Thank you again for your support of CSA.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


A weather blast from the Arctic is NOT what our seedlings needed. We soaked them in seaweed water before planting and watered them in and covered them up with row cover - that is about all we can do - besides pray a lot - and wait till the weather breaks, apparently Thursday, and see what happens. I'll give them another round with seaweed water, then, too, and hope for the best.

The good news is that it is early enough that if we need to replant for winter crops we can. I'm looking into what is available the soonest from the certified organic grower we got the present starts from. However, we didn't get them all planted anyway so there are still a good number of most varieties we can replant this weekend to replace any we may lose.

On another note
I had a great conversation with another farmer today, (to line up some goodies for us this weekend), and it was interesting to hear her take on the weather this year. She said they'd had a difficult year themselves, and they've been farming for over 30 years so I'm sure they've seen their share of challenging weather. Too much rain in June drowned her tomatoes, the strong summer winds that seemed to never end this year drying everything out, the lack of rain this fall which made plowing up a new area all but impossible, now these early, long lasting freezes.

In fact, she said she heard on the news today that this is the coldest, deepest, Arctic Blast we've had the earliest in the year, since 1901! And, unfortunately, that is what has done in the season's squash and cucumbers I'm afraid. They seemed to hang in there for the few frosty nights we had early on, but between the freezes in November, I think I counted 3 of them at below 32, and now this long lasting freezing 20's, I'm afraid they are toast. Or mush actually. The plants are still alive, but I don't know yet if they'll reflower and continue to produce after this last blast. A little unheated hoop-house can only protect them so much. It's not like we put up green houses out here.

Anyway, another farmer I spoke to over the weekend said we sure picked a difficult year to start farming. She too noted plenty of difficulties, many echoed the ones Wendy cited. But, every year will have its challenges. That is part of farming and why it isn't for everyone.

Those who support a farming endeavor and those who do the farming are few and far between or else we'd have a lot more local farms around. And with this recent resurgence in the interest of eating more healthful foods, you could say that we are all pioneers of sorts as small farms are making a comeback.

It warmed my heart to hear the kind words of encouragement from these two seasoned farming women though. And although I realize that supporting a farm via community supported agriculture is not going to be for everyone, I think it is going to be rewarding for those who are able to endure the start ups and downs. Despite the slow start, the set backs and the challenges unseen yet, I am still excited about this project. The ways in which people who are part of it will benefit will be priceless.

Our working share members and volunteers have helped me and worked very hard to get this plot of land going, and to see their faces when we pulled 34 pounds of some of the best looking veggies we'd seen out of that ground last Saturday was worth its weight in gold! "We grew that!" Yep - and we'll grow a lot more as time goes on.

A lot about farming is timing - and, as my friend Wendy told me, you can do all the planning you want, but it doesn't always, or even usually, go the way you planned it. You have to be patient, flexible and understanding to rely on a farm for your livelihood and your food.

This fall we could have caught every drop of rain on time, planted in early August, as planned, and had a hail storm dump on us as the flowers bloomed on the plants - and we'd still have gotten very little for our work. It is a big risk to farm and to eat from a farm as opposed to a grocery store. But to me it is worth all of the work. And to many of you, it has been worth it, too. I'm glad to hear that because it has not progressed as well as any of us had hoped, I'm sure.

But you have to decide for yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks. And I know I'm not willing to make that decision after only a few seasons, much less the first one. I'm in this for the long haul for one thing because it is too important to give up on. Those of you who may know me personally know that I'm not a quitter. I'm determined to grow organic, healthy safe and local food for myself and my community and to spread the word about local farming, encouraging the next generation to follow.

I'll keep you all posted on this weekend's share pick up via email. But it looks like we'll have turnips, golf ball sized and perfect for cooking, turnip greens and some mixed greens, too. I will check with Judy to see if she can supply us all with eggs as well as keep trying to reach Harmony Harvest Farms, too. I only want to supply your shares with locally grown food, and that is why we are doing this - to support local agriculture.

We'll also be working in the field and taking advantage of the warm snap this weekend. We may move plastic to the newly planted lettuces and replant the things that didn't make the freeze we're enduring as I type this. We'll also try to get an early jump on potatoes this Jan. so we'll start preparing those beds soon, too. Even though early potatoes may not like whatever weather we get in February, oftentimes we can get them going early here in North Texas. We'll have a back up crop to go in later on, too. And onions will go in around Valentine's Day or so. We'll see what old man winter says about that.

As for soybeans, my friends tell me yes, we can grow them - I'll just be careful who supplies the seeds as we all know there are a lot of GMO soybeans out there. Ick.

Keep warm and please pray for mercy on those seedlings. A lot of folks worked a lot of hours to get them into the ground this weekend. I'd hate to think this early cold snap would do them in.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From Sunny CA to Chilly Dallas

The winter season plants have started to arrive! Now they still have to get in the ground and grow, but I estimate some of them will start to be ready to harvest in late February/early March if winter is kind to our farm.

We have a great opportunity this weekend for you to get your hands in the dirt and help plant them, mulch and harvest from our fall crops, too. What a neat chance for children to see plants going in and then come back to harvest and eat what they planted months previously. And be sure to bring them by once in awhile to see the progress of growth, too, of course! Community Supported Agriculture is about the farm and the community - that is YOU! So please, always feel free to be a part of what is going on out here at the farm even if you are not a work share member.

One of our members is actually a co-worker of mine at my "day-job", Dave Shepard, and he was kind enough - not to mention very excited - to snap some pics of the arrival of the veggie plants. Surely they are shivering from our cold welcome - they were growing in CA until Monday! But, I'll harden them off gradually this week and we'll treat them with kid gloves till they go in the ground. Last night, in fact, some of them even got to spend the night in the dining room - talk about spoiled plants! Now, my dining room wasn't heated, but I think it was still warmer than being outside - even in the greenhouse. They are tiny but numerous and they'll cover a lot of ground once planted.


Let me know what you would like for me to try to secure for spring growing - now is the time to think about that. If you want to do some growing at home, let me know as I'll be ordering 4" organic plant starts for the shop this spring. As Eden's CSA members I'll work out some kind of special discount for you.

And watch your email for a survey soon. I'll be putting one together and I hope you'll take a few moments to answer a few brief questions as to your relationship to Community Supported Agriculture and connection to this farm and local food in general. It will help me understand what your goals and objectives are for supporting the farm.

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon!

Eat Your Food - Naturally!