Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sap Gathering

Today was one of learning about some of the Amish ways and about sap gathering.  I met Andy at the house a little after one o'clock.  I only made one wrong turn in the little over an hour trip from our house to Cedarmore Farm. (Along the way I saw a huge flock of turkey and a pair of trumpeter swans and three cygnets.  I couldn't drive and take pics because this trip I was solo.)

Before driving (I got to be the designated driver since Andy doesn't drive) down the road to the maple trees we stopped off and Andy showed me the work Lizzie has been doing with the seedlings for the gardens.  Come back next Sunday to see the pictures and see what is already growing for the CSA this season.

 What I saw as we drove down the road were trees with white/clear bags hanging on their sides. I envisioned galvanized buckets with vented lids and little silver spigots that would have sap dripping out of them.  Boy, did I have a lot to learn...about a lot of things today.  Andy removed one of the bag and I got to taste raw sap.  I thought it would be sweet.  Nope, just tasted like water with a little bit of a funny taste.

 When each bag is filled Andy brings a wagon filled with empty five gallon buckets.  The bags are dumped into the buckets and then the buckets are taken to a holding tank at Lizzie's sister and brother-in-laws house on down the road.

 This clump of trees seem to be the best producers of maple sap.  This is the second year for sap gathering and Andy is hoping for a large amount.  Sap gathering depends on the weather.  Seems that cold nights and then warmer days make the sap run.  A good temperature would be around the 20's at night and then a warm up to the 50's in the day.

 Andy has placed 650 bags on the trees.  If you stand and look around the woods, it seems that they go on far as you can see.  The neighbor across the road even has some on his trees this year.  On a really good run the bags can be filled in a day and a half.  That's a lot of 5 gallon buckets to fill.

 I learned that it takes 50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.  Once there is a wagon full of 5 gallon buckets they are taken to the 'holding tank'.  From the 'holding tank' the blue hose takes the sap to the Sugar House.  Andy has two holding holds 1500 gallons and the other holds 2100 gallons.

This is the place to be if you want to smell something sweet and stay warm.  The Sugar House is designed with a high ceiling so that when the water is being cooked off, the steam has room to rise.

 The sweet smell of sap cooking over a wood fire is almost as good as apple butter cooking in a cooper kettle.   I am still not quite sure how the sap keeps moving along the little canals in the 'cooker' but it somehow makes it way from being clear in the beginning of the process to a rich caramel sweetness in the end.  Many hours of cooking.  Everyone takes a shift because the fire needs to be fed during the entire and night  The length of the cooking process varies according to how much water is in the sap.  There might be some straining that needs to be done during the process also.

 I found my favorite spot...right here at the opening of the fire.  The stack of wood that was being used to fuel the furnace was taller than me (I'm 5'9") and about 25 feet in length.

 On the opposite side of the tank from where the sap enters it is 'measured' and I can only imagine a few tastings have occurred at this site also.  The sap is poured into this cup so that it can be checked.

 It might be a little hard to see but there is a thick red line on this thermometer.  Once the thermometer can stand along and floats at this line it is ready for the last step in the processing.

 Large stock pots of maple syrup are cooked until the syrup reaches 180 degrees.  After which it is poured into plastic jugs and sealed ready to fill the orders for the CSA.  If you would like to know more about the prices of maple syrup or any other items offered from the CSA just click here.

As you can see I got to bring home lots of different pieces of Cedarmore Farm today.  I think we might be having a big country breakfast tomorrow morning.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Growing Methods on The Farm

 Healthy soils are of vital importance to The CSA of Cedarmore Farm.  Farming all starts with the soil. If you have healthy soil, you will tend to have healthy plants as well.  Healthy plants can fight off insects and disease much better that unhealthy ones.  Also healthy have a higher concentration of brix (sugar content).  Most insects don't like a plant that has a high content of brix.  So that means that the healthier your soil is the healthier you plants will go along way for insect and disease control.  When Cedarmore Farm was established three and a half years ago, the soil was in very poor condition.  The soils were basically dead soils...nothing much grew in the ground except weeds.  But Andy is seeing a significant change since they have been applying their grwoing methods for these three and a half years.

By being able to use what their soils produce, and it will ultimately have an effect on our health. That's why good farming methods begin by carefully observing and addressing the needs of the soils.
A good healthy soil will go a long way on insect and disease control on the crops. But sometimes they find that insects and disease pressures gets to the point where we have to use other methods as well.

One of the methods they like  to use is Row Cover.  Row Cover is a white fabric that lets the sunshine and rain through, but keeps the insects off of the crops. They simply cover the crops with this Row Cover, but whenever they start to bloom they have to uncover them so the bees can get in and pollinate. We also use the following products (which are approved by the National Organic Program). Garlic, Neem Oil, Cedar Oil, Surround, Pyganic, Oxidate, Copper Sprays, and a product called
Mycotrol O.     Surround is made from Kaolin Clay. It forms a white coating around the plants when they spray it on. The white coating helps deter insects away from these plants. Garlic and Cedar oils deter insects away from the plants because they don't like the smell  of Garlic and or Cedar. Neem oil is made from a Neem tree that grows in Africa. It is quite affective on aphids, white flies and the like.
Mycotrol O is actually a beneficial fungi that eats the eggs of numerous insects before they hatch.  All the above mentioned sprays will not harm the beneficial insects that we have around. Pyganic is
fairly affective on a wide variety of insects, but the downside is that it will also kill some beneficial insects as well. For this reason they do not use it as freely as the other sprays.

Tehy think of these organis sprays as band-aids for their crops.  In other words if something is going wrong with a crop its is an indication that there is something going wrond somewhere else.  Perhaps the soil isn't balanced quite as well as it should be.  They uses these organic sprays until they can figure out the core problem, so they can then correct it.  Thet is always their goal.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

CSA Share Choices

Choose Your Shares
Spring Share (first full week of May through first full week of July)Sign-up by March 1, 2011 (one box /week for 10 weeks) $160.00
Summer Share (second full week in July through last full week in September) Sign-up by April 1, 2011 (1 box/week for 12 weeks) $144.00
Fall Share (first full week of October through the first full week of December) Sign-up by May 1, 2011 (1 box/week for 10 weeks) $140.00
All Seasons Share (first full week of May through the first full week of December) Sign-up by March 1, 2011 (1box/week for 32 weeks) $430.00
Pasture Range Egg Share Available each week with your order from above $3.00 a week
Weekly Canned Goods Share One surprise jar each week with your share from above. Possibilities are ketchup, tomato juice, tomato chunks, pizza sauce, pickled beets, pickled sweet peppers, sweet or hot pepper butter, bread and butter, dill or mustard pickles, strawberry, blackberry or red raspberry jam, peach or pear butter and more! $4.00

Delivery Fee $3.00 per week

Pick-Up Locations.....Dates.....Times

Cedarmore Farm: 12612 Turley Lane, Hillsboro on Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm
Batavia: 3553 State Route 222, on Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm
Oakley: 2733 Arbor Ave. Cincinnati on Fridays 5:00-8:00pm
Eastgate: 4873 Beechwood Road, Cincinnati on Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm
Hillsboro: 245 East Walnut Street, on Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm
West Union: Murphin Ridge Inn, 750 Murphin Ridge Road, on Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm
Mason: 106 West Church Street, on Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm
Loveland: 865 Miami Ridge Drive, on Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm
Anderson: 7225 Cobblestone Court, on Fridays 5:00-8:00pm
Covington: 1137 Audubon Road, Park Hills, KY, on Fridays 5:00-8:00pm
Westwood: 3110 Coral Park Drive, on Fridays 5:00-8:00pm
Payment Plan
  • Pay total now
  • Pay 50% of total now and 50% on July 1
  • Make your check out to Cedarmore Farm
Cedarmore Farm
12612 Turley Lane
Hillsboro, OH 45133

Email questions, comments, get a copy of the CSA form, or to add baked goods to your pick-up:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Price List For Canned and Baked Goods, Eggs and Maple Syrup

Baked Goods (pre-orders only)

  • Wheat Bread...........................$3.00 per loaf
  • Cinnamon Rolls.......................$5.00 per pan
  • Cherry Pie...............................$5.00 each
  • Apple Pie.................................$5.00 each
Canned Fruit Products
  • Red Raspberry Jam..............$4.50 a pint or $2.75 a half pint
  • Strawberry Jam.....................$4.00 a pint or $2.50 a half pint
  • Blackberry Jam......................$4.00 a pint or $2.50 a half pint
  • Pear Butter.............................$4.00 a pint or $2.50 a half pint
  • Peach Butter...........................$4.00 a pint or $2.50 a half pint
Canned Vegetable Products
  • Pickled Beets..........................$3.50 a pint
  • Mustard Pickles.....................$3.50 a pint
  • Hot Pepper Butter..................$3.50 a pint
  • Sweet Pepper Butter..............$3.50 a pint
  • Soon: Tomato Juice, Ketchup & Pizza Sauce!
  • NEW! Bread&Butter or Dill Pickles $3.50 a pint or $2.00 a half pint
Maple Syrup (from our own trees here on the farm)
  • One Gallon...................................$45.00
  • Half Gallon...................................$25.00
  • One Quart....................................$14.00
  • One Pint.......................................$8.00
  • Half Pint.......................................$5.00
Pasture Range Eggs
  • One Dozen...................................$3.00
*Most of the Baked and Canned Goods are made by Lizzie.
*Availability is not guaranteed.
*Prices subject to change.
email for order form