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Posted 7/10/2017 1:15pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Happy Summer folks!                  We made it to July and we are happy to report that things are growing and thriving at River Road farm! The Spring of 2017 will go in the books as another cool and wet one. We had over 10 inches of rain in the month of May alone. So, Lots of delayed direct seeding and the unfortunate loss of over 600 pepper plants. Unfortunately, this means there will be no RRF peppers this summer. Such a bummer! Just too wet and cold for finicky peppers. Thankfully, June ushered in some very hot (high of 96) and sunny days, so things are really looking good now and we’re excited to see everything taking off.                  We are particularly excited about two new River Road Farm projects this year. The addition of monthly ‘Family Farm Days’ and a brand new, much larger, high tunnel greenhouse. Our Family Farm Days were born out of a dream we’ve had for years to share the abundance and gifts of the farm life we love so much. We wanted to create a program where families could get away from screens and connect with each other and the natural world. So, we decided to open the farm one Saturday a month to anyone wanting to enjoy the blessings of living on a farm. We are inviting families to experience the messy, tasty and wild side of life on a farm. There have hosted three successful events already this season. It has been such a joy to meet local families, hear parents express their gratitude for having a place where their kids can meet baby pigs, collect eggs, play in the woods, and snack on fun and new farm treats. And most importantly, be their loud and wild and playful selves! Feel free to check out our events page on our website https://www.riverroadfarmwi.com/upcoming-events to sign up for our upcoming family days!                  The other big and exciting addition to River Road Farm in 2017 is our new 30x96 moveable high tunnel greenhouse. Yup, it’s almost one hundred feet long and it moves on a track. Last summer after the epic flood we did some re-evaluating on where and how we were going to continue farming this land, and the one absolute necessity we identified was to acquire land on high ground and establish greenhouse production there. With the generosity of our neighbor to the north we were able to lease land and invest in our dream high tunnel. We’ve laid the tracks, build the trusses and are now assembling end walls and prepping to put it all together. It’s taken a bit longer that we had planned but we can see the light and the end of the tunnel now 😉. Funny how building a high tunnel during the growing season sounds like such a good plan in February but feels awfully daunting come July! Our goal is to have it ready to roll for our fall plantings. So, no matter what the river decides to do, this high tunnel of crops will be high and dry! As always, we want to shout out a big “Thank You!” to all of you, our members, for supporting us and helping to make sustainable farming a viable living for our families!

Kelsey and Seija

Posted 7/2/2017 7:51am by Stefanie Jaeger.

If you missed it in the newsletter, here is what's happening at Great Oak Farm! 

June is probably the most exciting month on a vegetable farm - each year I am thrilled to see it arrive, and just as relieved to see it go. Here at Great Oak Farm it is a season in and of itself, an unpredictable transition from Spring to Summer, a wild ride that can quickly go from long johns to shorts and back again! June starts off with big harvests of leaf-crops in the hoop houses (like greens and scallions). It finishes up with the first fruits - hoophouse tomatoes and cucumbers - as well as the first field crops, getting ready for harvest. In June, we’re doing nearly every task imaginable on the farm all at once – seeding both in the field and greenhouse, transplanting tender starts, prepping fields outside for those transplants, spreading rock minerals and compost, weeding a-plenty, harvesting and packing veggies, and the list goes on. All the while, the weather in June is far from settled or predictable. Early in the month of June, we can often expect to see our last frost, usually around the first full moon if that falls in the first 12 days of the month or so, but sometimes even later. In June, we’re going full throttle 12-16 hours a day in between screeching halts due to wet spring weather, which we had plenty of this year. June gets the season going, then sets the stage for the rest of the year in many ways, and we’re racing the clock to have things in the ground on time for fall harvest. In early June, we need to have transplanted the winter squash crop and seeded the first of 8 plantings of green beans. In late June we must have seeded the last of 10 different plantings of broccoli, as well as over 3 miles of fall/winter carrots – neither of which will be harvested until October or November! Last week, I finished seeding the fall carrots at 11:30 pm (right before it rained the next day) to a serenade of frogs and crickets under a sliver moon in the night sky, with an escort of dancing fireflies. It was a gorgeous night, and thank goodness for tractor headlights! This June threw us some curve balls with cooler than usual weather, so your boxes have reflected that seasonal variability. The summer field crops are about 2 weeks behind where they were last year - we had hoped to have enough broccoli in particular for every box this week, but try as we might Mother Nature will have the last word, and we’ll see how it’s looking next week. The carrots are on the cusp of being ready as well – maybe 10 more days to go before they are nice and plump. While 50 and 60 degree overcast, rainy days are not “tomato growing weather” the greenhouse tomatoes are at last beginning to ripen – we’ll get as many as we can in the boxes this week, and expect more regular appearances in boxes to come! One of my early season favorites, the sugar snap peas, are finally beginning to flower – they are another candidate for boxes next week, but again we’ll have to see what the weather holds. While we’re talking about the veggies in the boxes, I wanted to chat a bit about the greens – chard, collards, and kale. While greens are a springtime vegetable staple, powerhouses of nutrition, if you are not as familiar with using them you may find yourself wondering, “Why are there so many greens in our boxes?!” While those bags of greens may appear large, when cooked they really shrink in volume. The official serving size for cooked greens is one cup, so it takes a good amount to “count” as a serving. Whether it’s in a soup or just simply sautéed in some butter with a dash of salt as a dinner side (my personal favorite) don’t be shy – eat ‘em up! If the ideas in the newsletter don’t get your green gears turning, Google can help find some recipes that might. Greens freeze well if blanched first, and are an easy addition to later season soups. Also, check out the Lake Superior CSA Recipe page on Facebook, where members can share cooking ideas and tips for using what’s fresh in the boxes this week. Often in our typical Midwestern diet, vegetables are used as a garnish more than actually as a part of the meal. I recently heard a simple “rule” for getting more veggies in our daily diets called the “1-2-3 rule.” Try to have one veggie with breakfast (like spinach or scallions in your omelet), 2 with lunch (a salad with your soup or sandwich), and 3 at dinnertime (main course soup or several sides of greens.)   I like that – easy to remember, and a good goal to aim for! Until next time, thanks again so very much for making us your farmers, and for making the commitment to fresh local veggies! Yours in community – Chris Duke, Great Oak Farm

 

Posted 7/2/2017 7:16am by Stefanie Jaeger.

I touched on this briefly in the newsletter, but here are the links for how to store both tomatoes and herbs! Hint - the fridge is not always your friend! 

How to Store Herbs

How to Store Tomatoes

 

 

Posted 6/26/2017 5:05pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Greetings from Maple Hill Farm!

To say this has been a cool wet spring would be an understatement. On Maple Hill Farm we raise hogs and grow most of our feed for them. Corn is the main field crop we grow and generally strive to get our fields planted by the middle of May. The cool wet spring delayed our planting by two or more weeks this year. We always have our eye on the calendar. The corn variety we grow takes about 79 days to mature. We need the corn to mature and dry down so we get the nutrients in the corn and have it dry enough to store all winter and not mold. So far our corn looks pretty good with only one field underperforming. The other day I disked in about half of that field and will plant an emergency crop of Sorgum- Sudan grass. We plan on harvesting this feed and making it into silage. Actually, hogs really like ensiled feeds although it can only comprise about 10-20% of their diet. We also have a 25 foot by 95 foot greenhouse and use it to produce peppers and tomatoes. The plants we use in the greenhouse are started indoors in late February and are planted in early May. I always enjoy getting the greenhouse planted and spending time in the spring-like environment in the building. Growing high value crops like tomatoes and peppers in the controlled environment offered by a greenhouse allows us to spread out our risk. Growing these crops in a greenhouse also allows us to offer extremely high quality products to our customers. Maple Hill Farm sells the majority of our peppers and tomatoes to Northland College and the Chequamegon Food Co-op. You will however see our greenhouse products in your CSA box from time to time as we help fill in any gaps in production from our primary producers. We hope you are enjoying the many quality products our Bayfield Foods producer’s labor many hours to produce for you. Your business is greatly appreciated by all of us.

Posted 6/26/2017 5:03pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Week 5 Veggies

Week 5 Veggie Mini

I forgot meat! 

Posted 6/26/2017 5:00pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Oops we forgot to take pictures!!

 

Posted 6/26/2017 4:58pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Posted 6/26/2017 4:39pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Posted 6/20/2017 10:01am by Stefanie Jaeger.

If you missed the newsletter, here is an update from Wild Hollow Farm!

Happy Summer Solstice from Wild Hollow Farm! We are your newest farm member of the Lake Superior CSA, providing fresh cut flowers. We are a family farm located 10 miles south of Ashland, just up the road from our neighbors at River Road Farm. In addition to providing the Lake Superior CSA with spring and summer flower shares, we also supply our local grocery store and food co-op with fresh seasonal bouquets and do many weddings and events throughout the summer.   Flowers have been a part of our farm since we began farming in 2004, but it wasn’t until we started growing them for sale that I came to appreciate the power of flowers and the important role they play in bringing them into our homes. Flowers bring healing, nostalgia, comfort, and peace into our everyday lives as they grace our kitchen tables, guest rooms, and coffee tables with their raw beauty. I used to be so hesitant about picking even a few stems to bring in, thinking they were more beautiful in their natural setting than in a vase on my table. Now, after making hundreds of bouquets and arrangements, I can’t imagine life without a steady stream of flowers in our home from the first tulip in March to the last lisianthus coming out of the hoop house in November.   Whether you are a member of our flower share community, or are picking flowers from your yard or garden, here are a few tips to help you extend the vase life and enjoyment of your flowers:

·      Harvest flowers at the right time and stage of maturity. The ideal time to cut flowers is during the coolest part of the day when they are well hydrated, either in the morning or late evening. Each flower has its ideal stage of development to cut in order to maximize vase life. In general, harvesting flowers while they are still in bud but not fully bloomed allows you to enjoy the process of them fully opening. There are, however, some flowers that will not continue to open if they are picked too soon – like zinnias, for example. You can do research on specific flower varieties, or I encourage you to experiment with stage of harvest in your own garden!

·      Allow flowers to rest in cool, clean water before arranging. Allowing flowers to rehydrate for a few hours will make them much easier and happier to work with. As you cut the flowers and place them in water, strip the lower half of the leaves off the stem. This will minimize wilting by focusing hydration to the top portion of the stem.

·      Use clean vases. Dirty containers encourage bacterial growth in the water, which will make flowers unable to take up water and therefore decrease vase life significantly.

·      Place flowers out of heat and light. After arranging your flowers or bringing your flower share home, place your flowers in a place out of direct sunlight and heat.

·      Re-cut stems and change the water every few days. This will encourage continued hydration.

·      Enjoy! Bringing flowers into your home is another way to enjoy and appreciate the seasonal flow of nature, just as many of you do by participating in the CSA’s vegetable shares. Flowers feed your soul!!

Posted 6/12/2017 2:22pm by Stefanie Jaeger.
I am in the middle of converting some pasture to tilled land that has not been opened up in a long, long time. It is a bit of an archeological discovery process with most of the junk being of late 20th century man such as soda cans and metal fence posts. But one artifact was a leather belly strap from a horse harness, how long the half-life of one of these might be that has been buried in the soil is unknown to me. The similarity to a human belly strap and a horse belly strap is also difficult to distinguish so maybe I am romanticizing this discovery. I chose to think it might be a horse artifact circa 1900, along with the pile of stone on the back of the farm and a few rusting horse drawn implements. My farm sits on one side of the "barrens" a jack-pine forest on the Bayfield peninsula with a  thin under story on sandy soil. The area was cut over and then farmed by unlucky immigrants who suffered on soil that was too dry to grow much. Still the county built farmers a railroad to get their produce to Duluth and a "farm to market" road still runs through these barrens, though no farms are still on the land. The railroad was an improvement to the stagecoach which could only run in winter on account of the deep sand that tops the barrens and mired the travelers. My soil turned up with some clay and silt and sits atop a deeper clay layer, so I feel more fortunate than those earlier settlers.

John Adams
Yoman Farm 
 

Photos: Horses escaping the rain in the shed. Horses in the blooming apple orchard. The spud planting machine.