Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

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Posted 8/22/2013 9:44pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!

We are again offering a colorful mix of our best heirloom paste tomatoes.  Varieties include Amish paste, Roman candle (yellow), striped Roman (red striped), orange banana (orange, one of my favorites), pink icicle, black icicle, and San Marzano.  These are all excellent varieties for making the most glowing beautiful sauces, soups and salsas for canning or freezing.  The price is $2.25/lb. ($1.75/lb. for current CSA members).   A case is 25 lbs. which would produce about 8-10 quarts of sauce or tomatoes.  All cases will include each variety of tomato.  Please e-mail with your order (NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, TOMORROW, 3:00 P.M.)for pick up at the Pottsville Farmer's Market this weekend or to make other pick up arrangements. 


We are making the final touches for our first annual farmer's table event here at the farm for Saturday night.  Thank you to all who bought tickets and are coming.  Be prepared for a 6 course meal produced entirely from our farm that will really tickle your taste buds and excite you about local foods.  We are also holding a silent auction at the dinner.  All proceeds from the auction will do directly to the Pottsville Area/St. Patrick's Catholic Church Soup Kitchen. Thank you to all the following donors: Ruby's Kitchen, Healthy Habits Natural Market, K. Ost Jewelry, Harding's Farm Market, What's In The Oven Pies, and Hope Hill Lavender Farm.  

The Scheidels
Little Peace Farm        
Posted 8/14/2013 9:34pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.

Every year we offer bulk vegetables for canning/freezing and right now is the perfect time to catch summer vegetables before they're gone! 

Paste Tomatoes

We are currently picking a colorful mix of our best heirloom paste tomatoes.  Varieties include Amish paste, Roman candle (yellow), striped Roman (red striped), orange banana (orange, one of my favorites), pink icicle, black icicle, and San Marzano.  These are all excellent varieties for making the most glowing beautiful sauces, soups and salsas for canning or freezing.  The price is $2.25/lb. ($1.75/lb. for current CSA members).   A case is 25 lbs. which would produce about 8-10 quarts of sauce or tomatoes.  All cases will include each variety of tomato.  Please e-mail with your order (NO LATER THAN FRIDAY 10:00 A.M.)for pick up at the Pottsville Farmer's Market this weekend or to make other pick up arrangements.  

We also have lots of basil for your tomatoes, just ask about availability!  

We hope all are enjoying this WIERD cold weather...feels like September!  Gratefully.

The Scheidels
Little Peace Farm        

Posted 8/9/2013 5:58am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey Good Folks!

The Pottsville Cruise is this weekend and the city is shutting down the streets at about 11.  So that means any CSA members/customers coming to the market, PLEASE COME BY 10:30  as we might have to vacate the lot a little early this week.

Dinner at Our Place
We only have a few tickets left for our Farmer's Table dinner here at the farm on Sat. Aug. 24th from 5-9ish.  The dinner, prepared by Chef Conrad from Ruby's Kitchen in Pottsville, will include an appetizer reception including an complimentary coctail, a farm walk, a 6 course dinner, a dessert, complimentary sun tea/lemonade, and a silent auction to benefit the St. Patrick's/Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen.  The dinner will be made strictly from our own chicken, pork, veggies and herbs.  The event is rain or shine.  We will have tickets ($60/pp) at the market tomorrow so if you are interested, stop by.

We have a few of our organically pastured chickens available for pick up next Thursday, August 15th.  Price is $3.95/lb. for delicious, high quality chicken.  Just e-mail us the number you'd like and we'll get you on the list. 

As always, we are grateful for all of your support! 
Gratefully Growing
The Scheidels
Posted 8/7/2013 7:39pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!
Our third run of pastured, organically fed chicken is now available for pre-order.  For those who have never ordered before, just respond to this e-mail the number of chickens you would like and we'll do the rest.  Those who have ordered in the past, you know the routine..... 
Once everyone orders, we will e-mail the whole group to confirm details including pick up time and procedure.  We will process on Thursday, August 15th and pick up will be the same day from 4-6.  The cost is $3.95/lb and the birds weigh anywhere from 3.5 to 6.5 lbs.  Please bring a cooler or box to carry your chickens, especially if you order more than one.  These birds are truly delicious and excellent eaten fresh (same day as pick-up) or frozen (we've roasted birds that were frozen all winter and they were fine!).  Thank you to all who have continued to support our farm by purchasing our REAL chicken.  Gratefully.

The Scheidels

Posted 8/5/2013 5:36am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks,

What an emotional roller coaster ride growing tomatoes can be, especially organically.  We had the late frost in May and lost 20% of our planting.  Then the week or two of extreme heat which combined with the late frost pushed back ripening two or three weeks.  Now all this wet and cool weather, which spells slow ripening and lots of disease!  The abundance of rain has caused most of our ripening tomatoes to split right on the vine, juuuuuuust as they're turning color.  So some varieties like the red cherrys and yellow pears and already split/diseased out.  They gave heavily for a couple of weeks but couldn't handle all of the extremes.  Sungolds and purple cherrys are hanging in there.  If you notice fewer cherry tomatoes offered, this is why.  So if you grow your own tomatoes, be vigilant about disease especially late blight which has been confirmed in surrounding counties!  Let us know if you want any advice of what to look for or how to manage an infection.

Farmhouse Chef Demonstration
Chef Conrad from Ruby's Kitchen in Pottsville will be offering a free demonstration on preparing a fresh tomato sauce in our kitchen tomorrow (Tuesday, Aug. 6th) from 4:30-5:00.  Anyone is welcome and those picking up their CSA shares might find it easy to stay for an extra half-hour to learn from a very talented chef.  We'll be offering these short classes occasionally for the rest of the season. 

I could continue ignoring my field work and keep on typing but we've got a BIG week ahead of us.  Enjoy!  Gratefully.
The Scheidels
Little Peace Farm       
Posted 7/29/2013 2:18pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!
I wanted to touch bases on a couple of really cool events coming up.

Our first farm to table event will be happening here at the farm beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 24th.  The menu will be prepared by Chef Joseph Conrad from Ruby's Kitchen in Pottsville and will feature food exclusively from our farm.  This is a ticketed event which can be purchased here at the farm on Tuesdays 4-6 or at the Pottsville Farmer's Market from 8-12 on Saturdays.  If you haven't experienced either a true Farm-to-Table event or Chef Conrad's creations, this is a perfect opportunity.  The meal will feature an hours d' ourve/cocktail hour, a farm tour, and a 6-course meal including dessert and beverages.  We will also hold a silent auction during the event to support a local charitable organization (TBA).  The cost is $60/ticket which can be purchased here at the farm on Tuesdays from 4-6, Saturdays at the Pottsville Farmer's Market, or during the week at Ruby's Kitchen on South 2nd Street in Pottsville.  This is a rain/shine event and we are only selling a limited number of tickets, so please reserve tickets promptly.  We are really excited to host the areas first sustainably grown Farm-to-Table event! 

Market Time Change (Tuesdays)
We have been holding our CSA pick up on Tuesdays from 4-7 every week but find that just about everyone comes between 4 and 5:30.  So to save us precious time for the extra hour of setting up, we are shortening our hours; the new hours for Tuesday CSA pick up/market will be from 4-6 beginning this week.   

This week is time for the annual Schuylkill Co. Fair at the fairgrounds in Summit Station.  This is a classic event so if you haven't ever attended this could be your year.  Another incentive to go besides seeing Elvis is that on Tuesday at 3:00 in the show ring, three of our children (Grace, Justice, and Leah) will be showing three sheep.  It is really cool to see the kids who have worked so hard at training and grooming their animals show them off.  We'll be there so hope to see some of you there as well.  We will still be holding the farm market; we've got some great folks covering for us so we can see our kids show! 

We really hope you are all enjoying the bounty of the farm and look forward to the rest of the season!  Peace.

Michael and Emily and Ari, Grace, Justice, Leah, Jude, Lucy, Hope, Norah and Gabriel
Little Peace Farm
Posted 7/9/2013 10:08pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

Today, Emily confirmed once again why she's my hero.  Gabriel William was born at 3:00 p.m. and she and he are doing wonderfully well.  God is good!  We came home at about 9:30 tonight to the news of flipped golf carts, a broken wrist, hawks eating some of our chicks and much more excitement (no joke!).  But all of that seems to melt away when we look at his little face and see the whole family.  We had some truly amazing coverage at the farm today to help run the CSA pick up and market and watch the kids.  We have no idea how to thank you all other than to continue living our farm dream with all of you.  We really mean that!  Thank all of you for supporting our family and farm.  Peace.



Posted 7/8/2013 5:19am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

We are taking orders for our next batch of pastured chicken.  We will be processing them on Thursday, July 18 and pick up will be here at the farm that afternoon from 4-6.  The cost is $3.95/lb. and they will weigh anywhere from 4-7 lbs.  If you haven't tried one, maybe this is the time.  They have been raised on pasture since they left the brooder (that's where we put our chicks until they are mature enough to go outside) and have enjoyed the bugs, sunshine, wind and rain since.  Order right away as we usually sell out pretty fast.  Gratefully! 

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

p.s.  All of this depends on when the baby comes, who was due yesterday so we'll keep everyone posted.

Posted 7/5/2013 8:24pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!

We're 5 weeks into our market and CSA season and with all the heat and recent rain, the farm (and weeds) is finally popping.  The late cool nights and cold early spring really pushed things back by 2-3 weeks but we're finally rounding a corner.  Expect to see cherry tomatoes in the next couple of weeks, more cucumbers and summer squash and fresh green/Italian beans.  

We receive e-mails from the producer of the film Fresh and the most recent one included the following, which was really a great synopsis of the the organic label.  To many, like us, growing organically is simply the way to go but the organic label doesn't always mean you're getting what you deserve; HONEST FOOD.  We're grateful to know all of our customers and take great pride in growing honest food.  The close contact we have with you really builds the trust that a sticker just can't match.  Thanks and read on for the lowdown from the folks at Fresh:

What Organic Means:
  • USDA Certification: The organic label means that the ingredients came from producers who were certified by the USDA as upholding organic standards.
  • Limited Pesticides: Organic produce is grown without synthetic and persistent pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Eating organic produce is a good way to reduce your exposure to these chemicals.
  • GMO Free: Organic foods do not include genetically-modified ingredients.
  • No Irradiation: Organic produce has not been exposed to irradiation, an ionizing radiation treatment used to kill foodborne pathogens and reduce spoilage.
What Organic Doesn't Mean:
  • Small Scale Producer: Unfortunately, food conglomerates have realized that premium prices equals larger profits, and they have bought many formerly independent organic operations. Many organic brands are in fact subsidiaries of larger mainstream companies, such as Kashi and Kellogg’s, or Muir Glen and General Mills.
  • Locally Sourced: Much of the organic produce at your supermarket probably comes from CA, while the small scale farms in your community may be local, but not certified organic.
  • Fair Labor Practices: An organic farm can be staffed by exploited workers who suffer poor pay and lack benefits. The Fair Trade label certifies that the food was produced by workers who were fairly compensated, but these requirements are not part of the organic standards.
  • No Additives: If the product is not labeled “100% organic,” up to 5% can be composed of the 100+ non-organic additives allowed by the National List. Many of the additives are included because no organic substitute is available or for economic reasons, and while not all of them are harmful, the list does include items like cellulose (indigestible wood pulp) and carrageenan (linked to intestinal inflammation and colon cancer).
The Bottom Line:
  • Know Your Farmer: Just because your local farmer hasn’t had the time or funding to get organic certification doesn’t mean they aren’t running a sustainable operation. It may be better to buy from someone you know and trust over an unknown, large scale organic farm elsewhere.
  • Organic Still Means Something: While the label may not encompass all that we would hope, the organic standards are still a good start to differentiating the types of farms and producers we want to support. Remember that the label “natural” is unregulated and doesn’t mean anything, while “organic” does require adherence to regulations.
  • Dirty Dozen: Maybe you don’t have the budget or the availability to buy only organic products. In that case, carry the Dirty Dozen card in your wallet or store it on your phone. This lists the top fruits and vegetables that carry the highest levels of pesticide residues. Strive to purchase organic versions of these foods where possible.

The Scheidels
Little Peace Farm  

Posted 6/24/2013 4:32pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hi good folks! 

Since Mike is the farmer and busy in the fields, and I'm the home chef and busy in the house, I thought I'd take a minute to update our CSA members and customers on the upcoming arrival of baby #9!  We still have 2 weeks until the due date of July 7th, but better to let you all know our plan before then.  It's likely that the delivery will impact one of our markets or CSA drop-off in Reading, and if we have to cancel one of those, we will send an email with those details.  If your market or drop-off must be cancelled for that week, we will continue your CSA pick-up for one extra week in the fall.  All details will come in an email if that happens.  We had to do that in 2011 when Norah was born in September, and everybody seemed thrilled to get an extra share of that delicious fall harvest.  So, we'll stick with the same idea for this summer 2013 baby!   Again, please watch for emails announcing this most exciting time for us, and we will be sure to let you all know exactly what to expect from us and when!  We always appreciate your continued prayers and support as we joyfully anticipate this new gift of life.