Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here We Go Again....

Thank you Eden's Garden CSA supporter Sara Barnard for the heads up! I missed this one somehow - usually I'm deluged with emails when another broadbrush piece of trash, I mean legistlation comes out of DC or Austin that aims to make what we're doing here either harder or outright illegal. That is right. Illegal. They want to outlaw raw milk altogether, really restrict value added products like breads, jams, canned goods, etc. and give me a pile of paperwork to do - or be forced to hire someone else to do for me.

Folks, I realize we need to have safe food and food safety guidelines. But to what extent and who do those guidelines need to be aimed at? The farmer who picks your food, puts it in a basket and hands it to you or the assembly line owner? You decide with your vote at the grocery store, this and other farms and, by letting your local congress person hear your voice.

Thank you for your support.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Something to Ponder

An old classmate of mine from back up in the Midwest, I recently found out, also turned out to be a farmer. He, unlike me, grew up each summer at a cousin's farm - whereas I grew up at the public pool. But this is something I never knew about my classmate, Robert. Well, as a result of us finding out we have followed similar paths, he and I have been exchanging news articles, pics of our farms, stories and info. He and his wife have raised pigs, chickens, crops and lease some land out as well. I hope to get to visit his farm soon.

The link in the title up above contains an interesting article we've exchanged, written by the witty farmer out east, Joel Salatin. He's got some great antidotes, stories and better yet - solutions, to many of the problems that plague this country's food industry problems. You saw him in the movie FOOD, Inc. (Still playing at the Magnolia by the way.)

Seems in this article he suggests knocking big agribiz down a size or two. Not a bad idea. But how? I remember the phrase, "I refuse to participate in the recession!" Well, many people did'nt seem to really be affected by it then, and many seem to be handling this one, too. Now, was it positive thinking or was it creative solutions that kept them afloat? Maybe both. But, by not actively taking part of the problem, big agribiz in the case of the food crisis we have, we can help avoid the problems that come with it, such as unsafe, unhealthy foods.

I think it is an interesting read if nothing else. Just click here or on the blog's title link above.

I hope you all are enjoying our spring harvest. We pulled in about 75#, way over a bushel, of potatoes, and just enough tomatoes for you all to get about a half pint of those sweet 100's and large cherry reds and at least one heirloom. I know, just enough to tease you. I don't know when all of those green ones hanging out there are going to turn red - but something tells me it is going to be all at once!

With this heat, it seems if I don't pick the almost ripe ones right then when I see them, they are red as Christmas ornaments the next day and over ripe. I hope you all didn't get any you couldn't use. We refrigerate them the very day we harvest them to keep them from continuing to ripen.

Those 1015's are wonderful, we'll be sure to plant again next year and the squash continues to be tasty, too. The squash have slowed down production some - but then so hasn't everything including us? Heck, even the cats and chickens are out there panting! The heat stops many plants in their tracks from much growing.

The eggplant have put on some more leaves and a few blooms have popped so they should be putting out fruit soon. The cantaloupe don't seem to mind the heat either and we picked our first cucumber - only one was ready - and I'm going to taste test it for you. ;'p

The other day the breeze fooled me as it was 3pm before I got hungry and realized I'd been out there 8 hours straight, and it was over 100 again. Thank goodness for straw hats and breezes....The soil temps are well over 100, too, cooking everything but the fire ants who seem to enjoy the scorching sand, but finally the end is in sight....Monday, I hear, clouds and a chance of rain with a high UNDER 100! Whew, won't that feel nice. This is NOT a normal June pattern but then what is normal anymore?

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

ps - this was my dinner last night....100% local, cept the butter....and who knows, maybe some day we can have that here, too?

Mashed Eden's Garden spuds, rosemary, squash, onions, maters and olive oil, (ok so that's not local either), local chicken and bread from our market day ranchers and producers. Yummy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Regulations....You Have to Be Kidding!

I think in this entry's title link above, the author says it all. The government is wishy washy with their regulations. They allow us to assume risks in some areas, but not others. They make it so difficult and expensive to do what farms have done for centuries - milk animals and drink it - that folks go covert to do so, making criminals out of honest, hardworking good-health seeking people like you and me.

I am able to get fresh, unpasteurized goat's milk - blessed that I personally know someone who raises dairy goats. But I'd give nearly anything to be able to allow the legal sale of it at my farm's market days. So many people can not tolerate pasteurized cow or goat milk - but would benefit from raw milk. But the state of Texas thinks it is too risky for you and me to drink.

There is a hearing coming up in Austin about Raw Milk regulations. I don't expect you all to jump in the car and drive down there, but if you can - do so. And if you can't, make a call, send an email or fax to your local congress person telling them you are a big person and can decide for yourself whether or not to buy raw milk from a local farmer.

I fear this is a slippery slope folks. First it is raw milk, then it is various types of meats which HAVE to be slaughtered and processed in gov't. regulated facilities - which are usually less sanitary than family farm facilities - and now I hear rumblings about fresh eggs in Austin restaurants. Next will it be produce? ( should have details.)

Here are a few links that our new CSA member John Christens sent me over the weekend about local, sustainable food and where to find it. (I just submitted Eden's today so it won't appear just yet.) You'd better write them down someplace because if the gov't keeps cracking down....we're all going to have to go underground. (cool website - recipes, info and ideas) (I think this is part 1 of 3 that we previously posted - worth seeing again!)

Tomatoes are ripening a bit more every day. We'll surely have some for next weekend. The heirlooms for sure, maybe some of the others, too. This is one section that is tomatoes...about 800 plants in all. That is a lot of maters my friends....get ready to come pick some. I'm not a big tomato eater so y'all, come and get em'!

Thank you all for supporting local agriculture and helping make local, healthy, organic food available in the community. Eden's couldn't do it without you!

Be well.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

FOOD, Inc. Premiers in Dallas!

The movie that has rec'd lots of hype in the locavore world, FOOD, Inc., finally arrives in Dallas tonight!
Free screening at the Magnolia (7:30 show, but plan to arrive at least an hour early), and the official opening is Friday. Join us for an Eden's Watch Party at the 7:30 show!

Watch your market day email reminders for details on how you can win 2 free tix to Saturday night show!

See you tonight - and I'll be there Friday night, too. This one is worth seeing more than once!
It will change the way you look at dinner.....

Eat Your Food - Naturally!
UPDATE: Just returned from the movie screening - GO SEE IT! And take a friend with you - preferably one who may not otherwise go see this movie. Someone with kids who get their calories from a box at a drive thru or, in one of our public school lunch programs...
This movie should make you think. It makes me prouder than ever of what we're trying, and DOING, here at Eden's Garden. You can see my review of the movie at the link above - the link to the movie site is
Don't forget, we're having a watch party Friday night at the 7:30 viewing at the Magnolia. (It is also opening at the Angelica in Plano for you north group folks.) And I'll be raffling off a pair of tix to the Sat night show at the Magnolia at Market Day Saturday morning.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Storm That Wouldn't End

Well gang, the farm hasn't quite floated away - or blown away - but it was a tense night and the storms are still blowing up.

This old house was built before A/C so as you can imagine, there are windows everywhere for the circulation. So, with 70mph winds and tornado warnings all night long, I took my pillow, my laptop, camera, cell phone and a blanket and spent the night in the hallway - the only part of the house besides a closet, without any windows. And if it wasn't bad enough to spend the night on the floor, I was awaken twice more throughout the night after the midnight storm blew in that sent me from my bed, it hit again at 2:30 and again at 5:30. So much for sleeping....

Here are some pics of the storm's aftermath and a quick video of it's brewing this morning before it broke loose again - as I type it is pouring and storming, but no real danger or severe winds this time. Thankfully. But it did reveal another leak in the house roof.....guess it is time to get the other half done.

I went out in between storms to check on things and the wind turbine is up - Herb and my brother Joe reinforced it the last time it came down - and the fields look pretty good considering I'm sure we've gotten about 3 inches of rain or more by now.

I hope this finds all of you safe and sound, too. Thanks for praying for rain - next time, maybe we need to refine our request a bit.....could do without the 70mph winds!

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Rain! Wind!

Wow, I wonder if I'll ever be able to relax when it storms again. Today when it started to rain, I was just enjoying dinner and a movie at Parker Chiropractic College with our friends Leo and Emily, farm volunteers and future CSA operators once they return to their home of Florida.

They called off the movie, right in the middle of it, and asked us all to go into the restrooms/hallway.....that hasn't happened to me since school! Now of course most of you remember the farm's tornado experience that left the place resembling the aftermath of, well, a tornado's path! Trees down, limbs and branches everywhere and, the roof of our barn torn off. So, needless to say, now when the radar looks a bit more than green, I tend to get a bit concerned.

Well, the link in the title was round 2's storm map and the pic above is the calm before the storm started up again. I had just gone to bed at 11 with my last bit of water for the night and really until some time tomorrow late morning as I have my blood work done with Parker, and I was rattled up out of my sleep. I'm not sure how much more rain we got yet, the first round brought almost exactly half an inch - just what I had hoped for. From the sounds of it, I bet we got at least .25 more. And a ton of thunder and lightening that scared the beegeebers out of me and the cats! I don't like it at all, much less when there are no MISSISSIPPI's inbetween the flash and the rumble!

I'll go out in the morning and check everything again for damage. Round one brought 70mph winds. Our turbine seemed to handle it fine and although laid down somewhat, the crops seemed ok, too. No hail damage that I could see in the dark. And I don't think round 2 brought any hail. Just a LOT of lightening and thunder. And, more rain and some wind.

So, a weekly dose of rain would be awesome - but do you think we can get it without the severe weather? I hope so. My nerves can't handle this every week like last year. Every Thursday after the tornado in April, it stormed for like 5 weeks in a row.....ugh.

Hope all is well at your house - we'll see you soon.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Let's Eat!

It was so nice to see everyone again today! I guess it has only been a few weeks since our last pick up, but it seems like a long time. So many of you had such wonderful things to say - thank you for your continued support of Eden's Garden!

Just last week the new mayor of Balch Springs came by, at my invitation, to see what we were doing over here on the edge of town. As you know, they have been considering an ordinance that would regulate the number of chickens and outlaw ownership of roosters as well as require cooping all poultry here in town. After explaining to Mayor Gordon that there are families right here in town that, for health reasons, rely on organic food, including organically raised poultry and eggs, I feel very confident we'll prevail in our struggle to maintain our right to eat free range poultry and eggs. Just as she was leaving, one such resident pulled in to my driveway explaining her son, who has autism, is basically prescribed organic food so his body dosen't have to process the chemicals and pesticides. Nor can he drink the city water due to the highly toxic fluoride in it.

While my farm would likely be exempted due to the acreage size, many home owners with smaller yards would be adversely affected. Some of these are the very people who have lived here in town for many years, in some cases, generations, raising livestock, including chickens.

While I agree you need a minimum amount of space to raise and process large livestock, a small flock of chickens needs only a small area comparatively, and the occasional crowing of roosters, that are needed to keep a closed flock sustained, can be compared to many other noises heard in any community, such as the barking of a dog, the singing of a mockingbird or the laughter of kids playing nearby.

When people rely on the nutritional values and affordability of raising their own food, it seems a mute point to complain about a little noise or the way it may look to someone. This goes way beyond a nuisance issue. I've been asked to sit on the committee that will oversee many of the ordinances that are up for review - including the one about livestock/poultry ownership. I've accepted the invite and will keep you posted. Thanks for your support on this issue. If we're ever going to get our flock up and organized enough to lay us tasty free-range eggs for our group, we need to be able to let them roam free. Free range should mean more than 4'x4' areas of dirt....not much omega 3's there......

The 2 kinds of potatoes we harvested this week do look very much alike but are supposed to be very different types. The Yellow Finn are a creamy, buttery type, great I would say, for steaming or mashing. Try it without adding butter. The Binjinte are a French Gourmet potato that is supposed to be great for frying. Both sound good to me!

I sauteed myself some onion, potato and squash with the rosemary Robert brought us for dinner tonight. Deelish! Thank you Robert! (he has apparently got a monster rosemary bush that needed a hair cut.)

Hopefully the heirloom tomatoes will start turning red here soon and we'll have those to add to your shares. The sweet 100's, Beefsteak and Large Red Cherry are growing and blooming - and the wind is helping pollinate them, but no fruit just yet. It was a late year with Easter coming so late and that freeze the Tuesday beforehand. But we've got eggplant, more squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe and some sorry slow growing peppers in the ground. I even put in some corn, which I noticed was up the other day. I'll admit I've not had great luck growing corn in the past, but I wanted to give it a try in this soil my farmer friend Jack says is soooo great! We'll see.

The irrigation system is running very well, thank you Herb, and an article about that very renewable energy system running our pump/irrigation system is going to be in print very soon! Herb is getting published in Mother Earth! We'll let you know which issue so you can be sure to bring it and get his autograph. ;)

The whole idea behind this system, besides providing green energy for our farm, is to help show other farmers how they, too, can do this. In fact, a couple of brothers stopped by the farm today to ask about our set up and Herb filled their ears with the set up he has put in for us, explaining it is all about to be put on line for the taking.

By using natural energy, a farm can pretty well be put out in almost any field where there is a tank or ability to capture rain water or tap into a spring or well. Electricity won't be needed if the farmer uses wind and solar energy to power things. This opens up a whole new frontier for some people living "off the grid".

We're getting closer to having our own web site just for Eden's Garden CSA members - that will replace our weekly newsletter email. Butch will explain how we can all tie in so we'll know when something is updated on it and our pick up notices, recipes, driving group conversations, etc., can all be accessed through one place rather than all of the emails. I don't know about you guys, but my in box gets FULL! I'll still put up entries here on the blog, as it isn't just us that follows this, but more of the CSA news will be on the web site and this will be more "farmy" news, instead.

Well, I hope this finds lots of happy taste buds and full tummies tonight. I'll keep planting if you guys will keep eatin!

Be well!

Eat Your Food - Naturally!