Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 5/6/2014 5:39am by Michael Scheidel.


Hey Good Folks!

Our summer intern Kevin started yesterday (let's hope he shows up today!!!) so please welcome him when you see him.  He is a student at University of Pittsburgh and has an interest in Sustainable Agriculture.

CSA

If you are local or from the Reading area and are considering joining our farm through our CSA program, now is the time!  We offer half and full shares, a fruit share, and YOU get to choose your produce each week!  See the website for pick up locations and more details and let us know if you have any other questions.

High Tunnel

I am just about finished building the frame of our new high tunnel where we'll grow heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and squash in the summer and loads of greens and root vegetables in the winter.  For the baseboards I ordered local hemlock from a mill around the bend and use hemlock for it's durability against rot and pests without having to use toxic pressure treated lumber.  This will really give us the ability to extend our season on both sides (spring and fall/winter)!

Our pigs are getting used to their new home.  Until I picked them up, they had never been outside or stepped on grass so it was really funny to see them transition to the farm.  Now thy are running around, happy as pigs in .... grass.  Also, our first batch of chicks are in the brooder and will hopefully go out on grass in a week or two. 

Thank you again to everyone who came out on Saturday for our Heirloom Tomato Plant/Yard Sale/Farm Walk.  Stay tuned for pre-season greens sales and other farm news! 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 4/28/2014 6:44am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

The farm has officially SPRUNG!  Garlic is getting tall, first seeds and transplants are in the ground, new tractor and I are plowing and prepping the fields and our livestock is arriving and growing more each week.  I also began building our new high tunnel which will be filled with Heirloom Tomatoes in the summer, and greens and root vegetables for our Fall/Winter CSA! 

HEIRLOOM TOMATO PLANT/YARD SALE

HEIRLOOM TOMATOES:  Emily and I communicate in small bursts and it looks like our yard sale and our annual plant sale unexpectedly landed on the same day, Saturday, May 3rd from 8 to 12.  We will be selling our organically grown heirloom tomato plants for: 6 packs of the same variety will be $5.00 and the individual plants in 3" pots will be $2.25.  Some of the tomato varieties include: black cherry, riesentraube cherry, Japanese black trifele, Roman candle, Rutgers, brandywine, black Krim, Cherokee purple, plack prince, Paul Robeson, Striped Roman......and many more (I went a little overboard again this season and am growing over 35 varieties of tomatoes).

GREENS: We will also have the first of our baby head lettuce, spinach, tender pea shoots and Swiss chard for sale (no pre-ordering), as well as our own day range eggs and locally produced raw cheese. 

YARD SALE:  Make sure not to miss this!  My mom, my daughter, and I have purged our homes and will be selling something for everyone!  Lots of kid clothes, women's clothing, men's clothing, household items, homemade primitives, décor, some furniture, books, kid things, and much more!  We'll be baking too, so come and get homemade bread and goodies!  Saturday, May 3rd 8-12!!!!!!

We hope to see you on Saturday! 

 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 4/11/2014 8:11am by Michael Scheidel.


Hey good folks!
The farm is really waking up to some new life this season!

Cows: We brought two bull calves home yesterday who will be joined soon by a heifer calf (family milker).  They will be providing us with some valuable resources most importantly: MANURE.  I have been slowly working on increasing the fertility and productivity of our soils by adding compost and manure and these manure machines will really help us close the loop on our farm.  One of our farm goals as a "sustainable" farm is to create and keep nutrients on our farm most especially by taking care of the invisible life in our soils!

Chickens: The season's first batch of broiler chicks arrive in a couple of weeks!  We raise these birds on locally milled organic feed and they will be contributing to the soil with their manure as well.  We move them every day on fresh grass where they eat bugs, the grass, and leave their droppings.  If you haven't tried one of our pastured chickens (we've been raising chickens for 5 years or so) consider one or more this season.  There is no comparison between these birds and store bought chicken!  We are also buying a new laying flock of hens this June so watch for our delicious free range eggs at our markets and here at the farm!

Pigs:  This will be our third year raising pigs but the first year our kids will be showing a couple at the Schuylkill Co. fair for their 4-H projects.  We will be selling halves and quarters by mid-summer so stay tuned. 

Apples: I planted our first 25 apple trees last week and chose a variety highly resistant to some common regional diseases for apples.  These are a long term project as it will take the trees years to produce but we are very excited about so stay tuned!

Fruit Share: We are FINALLY offering our first Fruit Share in addition to our vegetable and flower/herb shares.  For those CSA members who choose the fruit share this means we will buy fruit from other reputable, local conventional tree fruit farms and offer our own organically grown fruit including raspberries, grapes, melon and watermelon, strawberries (if they survived winter!) and blueberries.  Stay tuned for final details on this option in the next week or two!

Welcome to new Little Peace Farm mailing list folks and to new local and Reading Area CSA members.  We still have lots of space in our CSA so please spread the word or join our farm today!!!

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 4/5/2014 8:12am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

Eggs

Since all this balmy weather came our way our hens have been laying a lot more soooo.....we've got lots of eggs for sale.  This is an honor system.  Come to the farm any day except Sunday during daylight hours and follow the stone path to the block building between the farmhouse and the garage/market.  There are 3 steps down to the walk-in cooler where you will find the eggs on a shelf.  There is a tin outside the cooler where you can pay $4/dozen.  Our hens are fed organic grains and feed from a local mill and are outside with shelter their whole lives.  Thank you and enjoy!

CSA

We are behind on our CSA sign ups this season and in my many conversations with consultants and other farmers, we're not the only ones!  Some are blaming the crazy winter or the economy.  So if you are considering joining or know someone who is please respond or spread the word.  We are committed to growing honest, chemical free food for our community but need your support to continue!  Thank you!   

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/23/2014 8:44pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

The season is really ramping up and we wanted to share some of the "new growth" on the farm and more farm news.

SPROUTING

We have 3 greenhouse structures on the farm; two with no heat (called passive solar) where we grow in the ground and one with propane that we use to grow our starts.  We buy organic and UNTREATED seed (lots of seed is treated with toxic fungicides!) including lots of heirloom varieties.  We start them in the nursery using McEnroe Organic Potting Soil and transplant them later in the field. 

This winter we grew greens in our new growing tables in the nursery and we are now transitioning them from growing salad greens to growing our transplants.  We grow our own onion and leek plants and are experimenting growing them in the tables as well.  We've also started: bibb lettuce, kale, Napa cabbage, peas, spinach, Swiss chard, and fennel.  Our flowers and herbs are germinating as well including zinnia, viola, nasturtium, strawflower, ageratum, cosmos, lemon and Italian basil and parsley.  We'll soon be direct seeding our hoophouse and preparing our large high tunnel for heirloom tomatoes.

Next week I'll begin seeding tomatoes (over 25 varieties), hot and sweet peppers including several heirlooms, eggplant, more herbs and flowers. 

TATERS

We received our shipment of organic seed potatoes today including: French yellow and pink fingerlings, Yukon gold, purple majesty, German butterball, red gold and more.  Representing different colors inside and out, I selected these varieties based on when they mature and eating/cooking qualities.  Each year we test new varieties and these have been the best so far!  

CSA

We recently sent out over 1000 mailings to some communities in the area and are meeting more folks in the Reading area interested in joining our CSA.  Check out our website for details and please get in touch if you are interested in joining our farm and have any questions.

 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 2/28/2014 8:51am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

In an effort to continue to reject the frozen tundra blues, we are again offering McEnroe Premium Organic Potting Soil to start your seeds!  The bags are 22 quarts and weigh about 15 lbs. or so.  Now is the time to start thinking about starting your seeds for spring planting and this is the potting mix we've used for the past 7 years.  We are very pleased with the quality.  The cost is $10/bag.  If any folks coming tomorrow to pick up veggies want any, e-mail and I'll be sure to bring some up from the nursery.  Anyone else, just let us know and we'll arrange pick up.  Thanks and be sure that we ARE really close to a break in the weather!

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 2/26/2014 3:01pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good folks!

Hey Good Folks!
The Thorpes are coming north with their final shipment of certified organic Florida citrus early next week (if you don't know what I'm talking about see the previous couple of posts on our website)!  Fruit descriptions, pricing and online ordering instructions are below.  WE ARE AGAIN OFFERING HALF CASES AS THERE WERE A LOT OF FOLKS WHO EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN QUANTITIES SMALLER THAN WHOLE CASES!


*Red Grapefruits-very sweet and beautiful rose colored interior; small, medium and large mixed in each case, very few seeds; cases weigh approximately 30 lbs. and include around 38-42 fruits per case; full cases $47.50; half cases $25.
 
*Valencia Oranges-deeper orange color than the Hamlins with more zing as well, excellent for slicing into wedges or juicing especially to mix with red grapefruit; some seeds; full  cases weigh about 40-45 lbs. and total between 80-100 oranges per case; full cases $55.00; half cases $30.   



Pick up date is subject to change but will likely be next Tuesday, March 4th, from 5-6 p.m. (weather pending!!!).  Please also remember that if you order, you are committing to purchasing and picking up the fruit!  This is our last opportunity to get fresh, organic citrus for an excellent price.  The online ordering window opens today and closes at noon on Friday, Feb. 28th. 

ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS

*on our website, click on "Citrus Orders" under the CSA/Ordering tab.

*there is no need to log in as this is open for any subscirber to our website! 

*once you login, you will see the varieties of citrus we have available including a photo and description.  Make your selections and proceed to checkout by clicking on VIEW CART.

*Click SAVE AND CHECKOUT.  You must choose Little Peace Farm for pick up!

*Then click CHOOSE AND CONTINUE.  You will see your complete order including total.  GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE AND CLICK COMPLETE CHECKOUT. 

*You will receive a confirmation e-mail within moments of completing your orderIf you do not receive a confirmation e-mail, you did not order correctly!

 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

 

Posted 2/21/2014 7:45am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

We are excited to have Kevin Bristol join our farm this season as an intern.  Kevin is currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying history and linguistics.  He was recommended by a former teacher of mine who mentored and taught him throughout high school and into college (thank you Cyril!).  Kevin visited our farm in early January and has confirmed a new interest in agriculture and would like to experience farming first hand. 

Kevin needs a place to call home for the summer and I thought I'd start with all of you! Aside from anyone in crisis, our home is simply too full to add another adult human!  He calls Allentown home but needs to live nearby the farm in order to make it worthwhile.  His rental needs would include a private bedroom and a bathroom.  He has his own vehicle, is a non-smoker, said he is very private and would be here from the first week in May until the third week in August.  He might just sleep a lot because of all of the new work we'd expose him to.  If anyone has the interest and ability to offer to rent him a room, please let us know as soon as possible and we can proceed from there.  Kevin will be in the area again during Spring Break (mid-March) for a visit.  Thank you in advance for considering helping out.   

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 2/17/2014 7:32am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

I've been hearing a lot of griping about this "miserable" weather we're having and I've resigned myself to not join in.  It's only going to get me down and it's not going to melt a single flake!  Not joining in is almost a meditative exercise at this point since the snow is impacting just about every fascet of our lives right now.  So aside from appreciating the beauty of it all (was anyone outside last night? Wow!) we're looking at the humorous side as well.

The first snow of the year I proudly shoveled 3 foot wide paths everywhere and since have gotten lazier and lazier.  There is now one path about the width of a squirrel out to our market room and workshop. I think I am slowly adopting the "ah the sun will eventually melt all this anyway so why shovel" attitude.  The parking spot by the farmhouse is juuuuust wide enough to fit our smaller car in with about a 10 point turn.  The kids have built 3 complete igloos just in case it gets too cold in the house (they probably hold heat better too!).

So put a smile on, bundle up for now and be sure that warmer days are to come.  Here's some of our plans to help you think about spring: 

Our seed order is done and includes over 20 varieties of squash, melon, and cucumber; 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes; 10+varieties of peppers in addition to new carrots, beets, onions, lettuces and greens, flowers, beans, peas, corn, broccoli, etc...I could keep going!

Potting mix is here and our nursery is beginning to fill up with flats of our earliest starts!

The first trees for our new Apple Orchard are on order and we're planning the perfect location for it!

Beds in the high tunnel are being prepped for the earliest spring greens  before being replaced by tomatoes!

We're planning our spring and summer events on the farm including our Homesteader's Roundtable, Farm-to-Table and chef dinners, pot luck dinners and family nights, farm workshops, plant exchanges (we're looking for rhubarb!) and more.

So hang in there and if anyone wants to spend a 22 degree day in a 75 degree greenhouse, give a call.

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 2/8/2014 9:16pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

I just returned from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) conference in State College and like each year I go I am overwhelmed.  Not in a bad way but in the following ways:

*by how much more I need to learn about this incredible system I work with (the soil) and how much I've already learned!

*by how truly dysfunctional our food system really is!

*by how much evidence there is that our food is making us sick and our poisoned soils are making our food sick!

*by how blessed we are to live a farm lifestyle and especially to be supported by folks like all of you!

I attended workshops on biodynamics, apple growing (we're planting the first trees of our new orchard this spring), farm resiliency, economics of farming and lots more.  The keynote speaker was Dr. Daphne Miller and the plenary speech was given by Dr. Miguel Altieri

I'm convicted to nurture the healthiest soils I can on our farm and grow the highest quality food possible with the best seed available for the folks who surround us with prayer, support and encouragement.  So I'm buzzing with energy from the conference that will launch me into the growing season with the hope of a great year.  Thank you all for supporting us and other ecological farms.  Keep it up, we've got a loooooong row to hoe! 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm