Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Important Farm News

It has now been seven years that we’ve been running this CSA. And in those years we’ve come to know quite a few of you. Some of you only vaguely and others quite well. Either way we’ve come to enjoy being your farmers and providing organic food for you, while you make it possible for us to remain a farming family.

  It would be nice to just imagine that things would always stay the same, but we know this is not the case. We feel like the time has come for us to announce our plans to you. We have plans to move to another Amish community in Missouri this coming winter. So I guess this will be our last season of providing food for you and running this CSA.

  Don’t be alarmed, my sister and her husband (John and Anna Zook) have plans to take over and run this CSA where we leave off. They will be using the same organic methods we’ve been using, and we have already started giving them hands-on training, teaching them how we do things. The growing part is not new to them as they both grew up farming and have always had a large garden. Also for the past two years they have been growing produce on a larger scale. So, look for next year’s Cedarmore Farm sign up info from them soon.

  So, while its hard for us to let go, we are happy to have someone else be able to take over who wants to do this type of thing, who highly values family life at home on the farm, and has a passion for organic and sustainable farming.

  Our neighbor Rue, will still be doing the e-mails same as always. And since he’s been a part of this CSA all these years he will be helping John and Anna make the transition as well. We are trying to do what we can to keep the system running the same as it’s always been run.

  I do want you to know that our decision to move has nothing to do with farming here. We like it here. We like the community, the land, and the people. A part of us will always stay here and we will miss you people, both inside and outside the Amish community.  In short, we feel like this move is for the betterment of our growing family. We will be doing the same type of farming there, although we are not sure yet what marketing strategy we’ll be using. Another CSA? A roadside market? There is a good wholesale outlet out there so we will most likely start out with that.

  Like I said, we will miss you all but we will be coming back through the area every now and then to visit friends and family so maybe we will see some of you then. Besides, we still have the rest of this season to finish.

Thank You,

I was beyond shocked when I heard the news.  So shocked that I cancelled everything I had scheduled that night and drove straight to the farm.  Interrupted dinner and bawled my eyes out.  I now I am being really selfish when I say that I really don't want them to move.  I want to see the kids grow up.  I want Lizzie to teach me how to hand quilt.  I want Andy to be there when I have farming questions.  I want to be able to go to my happy place.  But when I stopped and talked and really listened to Andy I realized how selfish I was being.  It was a hard decision that has taken them a long time to make.  They will 'lose' everything here and have to begin again in a new community.  Loading up everything...and I mean EVERYTHING on the farm and traveling by bus to a new city isn't going to be easy.  Not to mention rebuilding EVERYTHING.
Andy promised that since there will be family and friends that they will want to see, they will be back once a year to visit.  And they even said that I could visit the new place.  I've already figured out how far it is and how long it will take me to drive there.  I still have plans to go to Anna's wedding when she gets married.  We will write.  I will cry and they will laugh and shake their heads at this crazy English woman.  I will surely miss them terribly.  They are my Amish family.
Andy tells me that I will love his Sister and her family.  He made a point to tell me they had lots of kids...8 of them.  He thinks I will like them and they will like me.  I hope they want to continue the blog.  I enjoy my time at the farm and writing about things I have learned about the Amish ways of life.  I hope they accept me the way Andy, Lizzie, the kids, and the community have. 
I will do my best to be positive and help with the move any way that I can.  I will wish them all the best.  I will hug and love on the kids as much as I can.  But I won't hug Andy.  Lizzie is still up in the air about that one. (The Amish don't hug)  I'll do my best.  And try to keep a smile on my face.
But my heart still hurts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Harvest

Time flies when you are having fun.  Or in our cases...having good vegetables.  It is hard to believe that we are already into the middle of September.  Following this week we only have two more weeks left in the share and then it is on to the Fall Share.  The fall crops are looking very well so Andy is hoping for a bountiful harvest.  There are still some Fall Shares available.  If you are interested please email Rue at Cedarmorefarm@gmail.com  and he will get in touch with Andy and Lizzie at the farm.

I have never seen such a good looking box of vegetables.
More About The Growing Methods On The Farm
The chicken house (egg mobiles as Joe Salatin calls them) are built on wheels so that they can be moved from place to place in the field.  this allows the chickens to spread their own manure as they roam to eat grass, bugs, and old vegetable plants.  This is another way of building up the soil.
Cover crops are also an important part of building up the soil on Cedarmore.  A cover crop is basically a crop that is grown for its dense foliage.  After it matures the will wither plow or disc it into the soil.  It then decomposes into the soil and becomes food for the soil and the next crop.  In the hot of summer Andy uses buckwheat.  It can grow from a tiny sprout into a three foot tall crop of dense foliage in just three weeks.  In the winter they like to use rye because of its cold hardiness.  They also like to use tillage radishes because they root deeply into the soil and pull up minerals into the top part of the soil where they can be used by the vegetable crops.

Recipe Of The Week: Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Sour Cream and Onion Dip
1 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon on salt or season salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
Combine all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Anyone Need Tomatoes?

Tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes.  The tomatoes at the farm are producing fairly strong.  But with the weather turning coder and the days getting shorter, Andy things production will slow down.  The large pinkish tomato is a Heirloom tomato that has been handed down to Andy from  his parents, from their parents...I love them.  We agree that they are our favorites.  They have the best flavor of any tomato in the box this week for sure.  But you need to eat them quickly...like tonight...because they don't keep long no matter what you do.  The long skinny tomatoes are Italian heirlooms.  they are meaty like a  Roma.  The orange-red ones are hybrids called Mt. Fresh.  The other tomatoes have the best taste but the Mt. Fresh have the better yield and you can keep them longer than the other two.
 More About Growing Methods Used At Cedarmore.
How does Andy build up hi soil you ask?  First, Andy believes that animal manure is a very important part of the soil building process.  In the winter when the grass is not growing they keep all the animals in the barn and bed them down there.  Before adding the bedding they sprinkle a layer of corn.  They do this all winter to build up a layered effect.  Then in the spring the animals go back out.  Andy then turns the pigs loose in the stalls where the other animals have been all winter.  The pigs root and get to the corn in the layers.  They are actually mixing everything together.  This turns the nice bedded manure pack into rich compost.  All of the compost gets spread on the fields in the fall.  Then the plants benefit the next summer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Recipe Of The Week Tomato Bacon Square Appetizers

Tomato Bacon Square Appetizers
6 slices of bacon, crisply cooked, drained, and crumbled
1/3 cup of dices bell peppers
1 teaspoon of dried basil
2 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
3/4 cup of shredded Swiss cheese
4 medium plump tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/3 cup of chopped onion
12 inch pizza crust
1 clove of garlic, pressed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine bacon, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and basil in a bowl and mix lightly.  Mix mayo with garlic and spread over crust,  Top evenly with bacon mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese over the top.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until till top is bubbly and crust is browned.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CAUTION: Heavy Box This Week

Hope you bring your muscles this week because the box is filled to the brim with some 'heavy' vegetables.
Who needs any meat for dinner when you get all of this!
We get lots of sweet corn this week but Andy seems to think the corn crop is behind last year.  The cooler weather we have been having isn't the best weather for growing corn.  It needs to be HOT.  The ears ore fine the just take a little longer to mature enough to pick.
It has been a god growing season this year so far for most of the crops.  Most of the time there has been plenty of moisture in the ground which means that Andy has not had to run the irrigation system much.  Potatoes have by far been the best grower this year.  So we should be getting lots more potatoes in the coming months.
More About The Growing Methods:
The good cycle works like this...Andy takes care of the soil and then the plants do well and have a better defense system so that means he doesn't have to use any chemicals to protect the plants.  The microbes do very well and they are able to provide the minerals for the crops.  When his animals do well and they don't have to use any antibiotics or hormones, the composted manure they help make (which is rich in minerals and nutrients) is put back into the soil.  The cover crops do well and when they work them into the soil.  They provide lots of good things for the soil life.  The microbes and earthworms love it and thrive very well in this type of environment.  They break down the residue into a useable form for the plants.  With each cycle that is successful everything grows better.  We as humans are on the top of the food chain and thus we have choices to make.  Which cycle do we support by the food we eat?  The good or the bad cycle?
Answers and more on the in next weeks blog.

Recipe Of The Week: Sauteed Corn

Sautéed Corn
1/3 cup of chopped pepper
1/3 cup of chopped onion
3 Tablespoons of butter
3 cups of fresh cut corn
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
Sauté pepper and onion in butter until soft.  Stir in worn and seasonings.  Cover and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Variation:  Fry 4-6 slices of bacon and reserve 3 Tablespoons of drippings. Sauté vegetables in drippings.  Add less salt.  Sprinkle with crumbled bacon before serving.