Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Open House and Plant Sale

Come out this Saturday the 21st of April and the following Saturday the 28th for our annual open house and plant sale. We have a ton of great garden ready starts and we'll have the wood oven fired up cranking out some great pizza. Jp and the OK rythym Boys will be playing at noon. Come on out and see what your farmers are up to.

Farmer John

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rabbit Rabbit

Happy April! Sheesh is it wet. We have not been able to do as much as we would like to be but we are making progress. This spring appears to be even more wet/cold than last however I think we are doing better job dealing with it than we did last year. We've maxed out our greenhouses with both crops in the ground and newly sown flats. We've been able to get a few things in the ground outside such as leeks, onions, lettuce and Asian salad greens greens. we did get a few potatoes in however not in a traditional manner. Since it's been so wet we took to planting spuds above ground and are covering them in hay mulch. We'll see how well it works.

I had a nice chat with a fellow farmer the other day. So great to bounce ideas back and forth. She's doing no-till which is something I've been thinking about. The above mentioned potato plot is a start. We have one field in particular that is very wet that could be a good candidate for further exploration of this idea.

My computer acting up, gotta go.

Farmer John

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It Could Happen

What a nice sunny day we had yesterday. Earlier in the week it stayed fairly dry and was quite windy. Things actually dried out quite a bit. If we could link a few days like this together we'd be able to get into the field and prep some ground. Fortunately we have a couple of dry areas that we have been able to plant into. We're also thankful for our greenhouse space. It's kept us in salad greens during this difficult time of year we commonly refer to as the dirth. Over-wintered crops are done and new crops are struggling with the cold wet ground. It is officially spring though and things will begin to change fast. We'll still be spending most of our time in the greenhouse houses but hopefully by this weekend we'll have our dry field completely planted out. We have a few beds of leeks in there now and we'll be adding peas, favas, greens and onions, maybe a bed of radishes and beets if we have room. It's going to be a slow start again, pretty much what we've become accustomed to. We're actually using row cover (agribon) again after many years of not. I hate it but this time of year it can really make a big difference. It's practically impossible to keep on in the spring winds though.

I'll keep it short today. More to come as we progress.

Farmer John

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wet Leap Day

Damn it is wet out there and getting wetter. It's actually snowing at the moment. As a farmer we're always hoping for a dry spell in February so we can get in and do a little field work to get our cover crop turned under and start prepping beds for our earliest crops such as greens, peas, favas and early potatoes. We did get in for one day early this month. We have a few beds prepped but's too wet to think about planting. Most of our ground tends to stay wet well into the spring. If we miss that early window it normally delays production a bit. The forecast is for rain through the week. We'll wait it out. We have more we can sow in the greenhouses and in fact we direct sowed two beds of greens yesterday.

It'll all come together in the end. It's mostly mother nature just toying with our emotions and you know what they say about March, in like a lion, out like a lamb. There's plenty to do in the mean time. After the last few years, we've learned to just deal with the flukey spring weather. I'm just happy we have precipitation! So many places are experiencing drought right now. It's scary.

It's all coming together. Looking good for the new year. Ready to grow!

farmer John

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Return To Normal

The weather has been just a bit fickle, in coordination with the forecsast anyway. We went from pretty dry to pretty wet in the field. A little different than what the weather cafe forecast was calling for. We did get a few beds worked up and ready to plant in the sunnier / drier days of this week, so no worries. I'm actually glad to see it cool down and precipiate a bit. That's what its supposed to be doing right now.

Still harvesting beautiful salad and braising greens from the fields and a few beets too and lots of turnips. The radichhio is beautiful right now and the kale and chard are starting to re-grow and look great. Garlic is up and the daffodils are rapidly growing. Looking good. peas, fava's and the earliest potatoes going in the ground soon. Lore says presidents day, thats a little early for us, but not far after that.

Lots happening in the greenhouse's right now too. Tables filling up with trays of starts, some beds direct sown. This season is starting to takes shape!

farmer John

Monday, February 6, 2012

60 Degrees

Thats right, the forecasted high temp in the region today is 60 degrees. It's the first week of february. Damn, thats pretty nice, you have to admit; We'll take it. Of course we know it could be snowing again next week but who cares. We're beginning to go ahead with sowing flats in the greenhouse just slightly earlier than normal. It's an exciting time of year filled with hope of the on-comming season. For us, it's like the season never ended. We are still harvesting from beds we planted last year. The outdoor salad greens we sowed in September have continued to pump out beautiful salad greens all winter long. Theyr'e the nicest winter greens we've ever grown. The braising greens are also continuing and are just delicious. We just give them a quick two minute hit in an oiled skillet after they've been rinsed and chopped. Throw in a little sambal and a couple cloves of garlic and you're good to go. That's good eats right there.

I'm hoping to get in the field today to do a little tractor work. Forming up some beds in our dry fallow plot for both direct sowing and transplanting. We'll be clearing out some old beds to make room for the new sowing of fava beans and with any luck we'll be plowing up another acre of new ground. Still completing a few seed and supply orders and continuing to plan out the year. So there's your answer to the oft asked question "so what do you do in the winter when your not farming?" Dude.... we're always farming.

Most of you know I had ankle surgery back in early December. Making good progress, down to one crutch and should begin walking on my own in about a week or so. That wasn't so bad now was it? In reality it was a pretty quick ten weeks. Still, Lots to do for one guy on a crutch.

See you out there,

Farmer John

Monday, January 23, 2012

Away We Go

Here we go peeps. The 2012 growing season is under Way. Seeds and supplies are coming in everyday and we are pretty much moving forward with some kind of proccess being made each day. We're still harvest a bit here and there and keeping the store open once or twice a week.

Still hobbling on the crutches but hopefully coming off of them very soon. I actually find out this week from the Doctor how its looking on the inside. Feels pretty good though. I'm seriously hoping for good news here. I'm getting pretty antsy. I'm seven weeks out from fusion surgery.

I've had quite a bit of time to devote to the farm plan, things are looking pretty organized. It's all coming together. We have a few things coming up in the greenhouses but its mostly a blank slate right now. We'll be firing it up here pretty quick. We've been puttering here and there a bit. Jay made up some potting soil today, we'll be seeding in flats here by next week.

We seem to have erradicated our rabbit issue but not before they completely wiped out one whole greenhouse full of lettuce. Just as a side note, the rabbit braised in mustard and creme freche over wilted Asian greens is to die for.

We've had a few CSA renewals come in and are counting on more. Would like to see it hit a new level this year. We need it. Seems like most everyone I talk to is just treading water. We're all ready to swim.

Consolidating fileds this year. Dropping one site entirely but expanding another. We're basically down to three. I'm looking forward to that for sure. Hopefully next year we'll be down to two.

Alright, thats a peek at whats happening. More to come later,

Farmer John

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why We Farm

People often ask me how I got into farming. Well.... When I was growing up we alway had a big garden. Some of my first food memories came from that experience. I can remember especially what real tomatoes tasted like and other great things too like sqash, beans, strawberries, scallions, radishes and much more. One time, when we were visiting Oklahoma, where my parents are from, we had a meal at my aunt Dovies. It was wonderful, fresh black eyed peas, okra, yellow crookneck squash, big fat slices of tomatoes with salt and boiled potatoes. this was all right out of the garden and I even remember helping pick all of that. I was maybe nine or ten. Of course I didn't know then just how influencial that trip would be on me but it might be the first time I recall liking vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I'm no vegetarian by any means. We raise hogs here occasianlly and there is nothing better. It's not uncommon around here to have beast on a stick in one form or another. (one of my other passions is cooking with live fire) Lately, the rabbits have been mighty tasty.

The jist here is we like to eat and we like to eat well. There's just nothing like being able to have the best of the best available to cook with and having lots of it. One thing you'll never see at our home is a lack of good food and hospitality. We really like sharing what we do with our friends, family and neighbors and farming dovetails with that pretty well. So many of my fondest memories through my life revolve around food. My mom in particular was a big influence on the way I cook today. Mostly southern influenced comfort food. The other big influence is from my wife / partner Katie. She's a slightly more refined cook than I am and more inclined to use a recipe, in fact, her forte is being able to spot out a great recipe. She's very good at coming up with standards that we use in our everyday cooking. Here's a few of our seasonal favorites.

Green garlic pesto.. We make this from the whole adolescant garlic. Just chop it up and give it a whiz in the cuisinart with a nice olive oil and a little salt. Jar it up in small containers and pop it in the freezer. We keep one in the fridge at all times and use it daily.

Sambal.. Katie use's her friend Ming Tsai's recipe. It's basically red jalapeno's with lots of garlic and reduced in rice wine vinegar. Food wouldn't be the same around here without it. Seriously awesome.

Tomato paste... Homemade, it resembles nothing of store bought. Lightly cook a huge pot of toms, run the whole thing through a food mill to remove seed and skin. Reuce on the stove for a couple hours then pour onto sheet pans and bake for about three hours at 350. Stir in a little olive oil. Jar and freeze. we again use this one daily, it's unreal.

There's so much more but we'll leave it there for today.

Keep well friends, we're enjoying a nice snow day here. maybe we'll make chili!

Farmer John

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

End Of An Era

I've written about my grandpa here before but I've just been thinking about him alot lately. Mostly because I'm laid up and enjoy watching history programs. His name was John Gideon Anderson. he was born in 1872 and died in 1956. I didn't come along until 1963 so unfortunately I never had the chance to meet the man. He had a section of land in Roger Mills county close to Meridian in western Oklahoma. I'm not for sure what year he arrived there but apparently he came up from Texas, must have been the early 1900's. He was a cowboy in his earlier day but took up farming and was the local blacksmith in his area. I know from stories that the Anderson farm was a place where people congregated. Farmers would bring their plowshares to grandpa for sharpening and I'm sure he fixed all kinds of other stuff too. He was a pretty jovial guy and was pretty good on the fiddle. I reckon he liked to take a little moonshine here and there and take a chaw or smoke a pipe. Grandma Mitty was a happy person who always took in a stranger and I think was pretty widly known as being a real good cook. She often cooked for the farm hands during the harvest. I know she'd go out and round up and butcher her own chickens and grandpa I heard could eat about a dozen biscuits in one sitting so I bet she could make e'm tasty. My mom was born there in 1917. She's still alive and doing pretty well for someone in their mid 90's. She was the last of six kids. I am the last of five. I was born 91 years after o'l John Gideon. That's a long time. Wish like hell I could have spent some time with him. It's all history now. We still have the farm in the family, not much going on there these days other than gas and oil drilling. Used to be a right lively place. Times are changing but I still have the history. My sister Paulette is real good about keeping the past alive. I appreciate the fact she has all the knowledge and is passing it on. It may all seem like such a long time ago but then again, not really that long at all.

I'll post some more stories later, thanks sis.

Farmer John