Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

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Posted 8/29/2012 9:31pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey folks.

Well, you know we just purchased the additional acreage which comes with a ton of potential and....a couple acres of wine grapes.  There are two varieties; whites (Cayuga) and reds (Cambourcin).  The Cayugas are ready and we're picking next Thursday, September 6th.  We have a buyer for some of the whites and he is coming to help pick and is bringing his grape de-stemmer/crusher machine. THESE GRAPES ARE EXCELLENT FOR WINE MAKING OR FOR MAKING/FREEZING GRAPE JUICE/JELLIES!!! We are selling by pre-order and your order will be ready for pick up from 4-6 on picking day.  See below for details......mmmmmmmmmmmm local grapes!!!!!!!!!!!


After grapes are harvested they go through a de-stemmer which removes the stems and pops the grapes open.  They then go through a press which really creates the juice for the wine or juice.  A winemaker estimated that 15 lbs. of white grapes makes about 1 gallon of wine and 12 lbs. of reds makes a gallon (reds are fermented with their skins for color).  A bottle of wine is 750ml and a gallon is approxiately equal in volume to 5 bottles of wine.   


We are selling the Cayugas (whites) at $1/lb. in tact and $1.15/lb. for crushed.  You can order up to 100 lbs.   You will need to bring containers with lids if you are ordering crushed grapes or just boxes/bags if you are buying grapes in tact.  Please pre-order by responding to this e-mail about the quantity and state (in tact or crushed) you would like.  Thanks and call if you are confused.  Believe us, our heads are spinning too!  Peace.

Little Peace Farm

Posted 8/29/2012 2:25pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Thanks to all who ordered!  We are sold out for this batch of our pastured chickens.  Stay tuned for more LPF news!


Posted 8/28/2012 7:09am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

We started growing vegetables to sell from our garden, when we lived in a half/double in Orwigsburg in 2006 and ever since it's been a sprint!  Today we settled on the "rest of the farm" which is the additional 15 acres behind us.  The property includes 2-3 acres of wine grapes (Cayuga and Chamborcin), two ponds and some ground and pasture for us to grow on.  Working farms never stop changing but this is the final step in a long journey towards self sufficiency and sustainability; WE ARE PUMPED!  With this additional acreage we plan on adding more vegetables, fruit trees (I say apples, Em says peaches...), pastured chickens and livestock, blueberries, asparagus, and a whole lot more. 

We want to thank folks for getting us this far, but how do we properly do this except by continuing what we were brought here to do; raise our family by growing HONEST food for ourselves and our community.  Our farm has been producing food for the community for over 150 years and we're doing nothing new.  I always say that as farmers, "We're all doing the same thing, differently." 

Thanks for supporting this little sustainable farm and we look forward to continue growing for you.  Now we're going to walk the new fields and continue dreaming!


Michael, Emily, Ari, Grace, Justice, Leah, Jude, Lucy, Hope, and Norah

Little Peace Farm

Posted 8/3/2012 9:18pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey folks!


We wanted to invite any of our CSA members or anyone who comes out on Tuesday to pick up veggies to join me on a walk of the farm.  I'll start the walk at 5:00 and we'll gather at the market room.  This is a great chance to get a grasp on the scale of what/how we're growing as a small, intensive, chemical-free veggie operation!  Wear appropriate footwear and dress for weather, this is a rain or shine or sleet or ...event. 


Next time you see Ari or Grace, maybe you could congratulate them on winning some ribbons at the Schuylkill Co. Fair this week.  The both did great showing a pygmy goat named "Caddie" and a pure-bred Corriedale sheep named "Livvy".  One of Ari's sheep is ready to drop a lamb or two any day now.  Our flock is growing!


We are taking orders for our 3rd batch of delicious HONEST chicken.  We move our birds on fresh grass each day and supplement their diet with transitional organic feed from a mill in Oley, PA.  We will process this batch on August 23 so pick up is from 3-6 that same day.  We also will have two larger batches following this one so if you don't get on the pre-order list this time, stay tuned!

Hope you are all enjoying the summer and our food! 


Michael, Emily, and kids

Little Peace Farm

Posted 7/31/2012 8:01am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey folks.

Welp, I've hit it.  As promised, I've hit that annual mid-season wall and I am a grump!  Every season, right about now, after several weeks of drought, fatal plant disease, bolted lettuce, corn-fed raccoons, unexpected bills, killed chickens, injury, less than stellar sales, rising fuel prices, tractor/equipment repairs, uncontrolable fatigue, Casea dog gone, I get really down about what we're doing here at the farm.  What ARE we doing here? 

When I answer that, it sounds all good and simple; WE ARE RAISING OUR FAMILY ON A FARM AND SHARING OUR LIVES AND HOW WE LIVE WITH OUR COMMUNITY, PERIOD!  Sharing the fruit of our vocation with our family, friends and community.  No matter how you say it, it sounds perfect but chasing that perfection is exhausting!  We've been in a sprint since February and are feeling it.

Having said all that, most of our friends will say, "Well what GOOD has happened on the farm so far this year?"  This e-mail would go unread for the length if I listed it all here but I'll name a few:

*we're still here!

*my wife and children!

*we've added lots of animals to our care!

*we're all relatively physically healthy!

*you're all supporting us!

*we're expanding our farm (more to come!)

*we're applying growing skills we've learned over the winter and seeing results!

*great winter growing in our new high tunnel!

These are all miracles and we know how much we have to be grateful for and we are profoundly grateful to God for our protection and care.  We know the end result of our labors are healthier, happier community.  We also know that WE LOVE BEING FARMERS.  This is our calling and we're totally dedicated to it.  That gives me peace, knowing that I'm fulfilling the vocation I was made for. 

So I'll stop whining and look for those little miracles that surround us every day.  Aah, I feel better now....




Posted 7/17/2012 5:51am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks,

The intense heat makes everyting act really wierd.  First, we all get a little bleary-eyed and stumbly but manage to keep up with all of the work.  The chickens get pretty stressed out and the ruminants (sheep and goats) find any shade they can and try to stay still.  The plants start to show signs of heat stress as well.  Flowering and growth stalls and any injury from bug bites on the leaves turns crusty.  Weeds like pigweed and lambs quarter look great (sarcastic) but even other weeds go limp in the hot conditions.  We're supposedly going to hit the mid 90's for the next two days again so I hope you can all stay cool. 

Lettuce Lull

Because of the prolonged and intense heat, conditions were not fit to plant lettuce.  We were finally able to plant about 800 heads yesterday which should be ready in about 4 weeks.  We are in the middle of picking our 4th planting of head lettuce so there will be a couple of weeks starting next week or so when we will not have any.  Simply too hot!

Peppers, Eggplant and Okra

We should have our first eggplant within a week of which we have 4 or 5 varieties.  Look for Asian purple fruits called Ping Tung and heirloom eggplant called Rosa Bianca.  The okra is ready and I'll have it on the table in the next few days.  We'll provide recipes to help with cooking ideas.  Peppers are looking good and you should see the first in about 2 weeks or so.


We're digging the second variety of potato after the red fingerlings you've seen for the past couple of weeks.  What you'll see starting today are Yukon Golds.  As the season progresses we'll have varieties like Bintje, Purple Viking, Sangre, and Banana fingerlings.  Our intention is to have potatoes throughout the winter as well but this all depends on yield!  The heat has significantly lowered what we expected but I planted a large amount of seed!


We're just about done with our spring onions and are getting ready to start harvesting our sweet onions called Ailsa Craig.  Then on to our red and gold cippolinis, Tropea onions, and our storage variety called Copra


The maters you've seen for the past couple of weeks have come from our high tunnel, which has enabled us to offer tomatoes 3 weeks earlier than normal.  Our varieties in the field with names like Rutgers, Black Prince, Brandywine, and Striped Roman are sizing up and slowly beginning to ripen.  We will likely tear out the high tunnel tomatoes by the end of August to make room for winter vegetables!!!

Pastured Chickens

Our 4th batch of broiler chickens is in the mail and we'll pick them up at the post office tomorrow morning.  We sold out our first two runs and are soon going to post pre-orders for the batch we just put out on pasture.  We will offer 3 more batches but keep an eye out for the e-mail because we sell out very fast. 

We could complain about how tired we are and the unrelenting heat and dry conditions and how markets could be better but the reality is we are staying afloat.  Thank you all for your continued support of our farm.  Our goal is make a profitable living fulfilling our vocation of producing the best, organically grown, nutrient dense food as possible you are all helping make that possible!  Peace.

Michael and Emily and kids

Little Peace Farm

Posted 7/12/2012 8:25pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.

Today, we lost a beloved member of the family.  Most of you who come to the farm have been greeted by the classic, scrruffy, and barky dog named Casea.  Casea was 17 (human years!) years old which means I had her for a few years before I even met Emily!  She had a great life and now rests under a shady walnut tree in our meadow.

I found Casea while on a long weekend surf trip to Cape Hatteras.  I swerved to miss her with my car and pulled over to see what it was that I almost hit.  What I found was a curious and very scared looking pup on her belly in the sand.  Love at first sight.  She literally crawled towards me when I rounded the car in a submissive posture.  I checked her out and found that she was totally unhurt but still needed safety.  When I inquired at the rustic book store across the highway (RT 12) about whose dog it was, a local park ranger said she was very likely owned by the folks who lived across the way.  I walked her over to the probable owners house and found the classic run-down shack, car up on blocks and BIG ROTWEILER ready to bound through the screened-in porch at me.  Mom came to the door and I asked her if she wanted Casea any more.  She said not really and later that night, after her children were asleep, I came and picked up my new pooch.    

I brought her home to my apartment in Kutztown where I was living with a friend, finishing up a degree in Anthropology.  NO PETS read the fine print in our rental agreement but I seemed to think that didn't apply to me and my new dog.  Casea became an icon on campus as I tied her to shady trees outside while I attended class.  Usually, there was a small crowd around her loving her up when I was finished with class.  Friends volunteered to take her for walks when I was working and Casea kind of became a COMMUNITY dog.  There have even been a few songs written about her (Heather {Hart} Rees, you know the one).   

My mom cared for Casea while I studied and lived in Central America and became even more attached to my extended family (sorry for the dead chickens Terry!).  She traveled with me just about everywhere I went, even on another surf trip to Florida with Gavin where Casea met her first and last beach lover, a frumpy old Brittany Spaniel name General Lee!

Well, since then, Casea was absorbed into family and has been the omni-present guardian and friend for me, Em and the kids.  So many people have said, "Oh, what a strange looking thing!" but they were usually the ones who really didn't know her.  Strange looking maybe, but a lot like us.  Not cookie cutter good looking but loved life, playful, content, couldn't be tied down, and ate chickens (heheheh).  

Anyway, I wanted to share with you because she was THAT important to us.  I don't know what tomorrow morning will be like when I have nobody following me to the field at 5:30.


Michael, Emily and the Kids.

Posted 6/25/2012 6:31am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!


Welp the one down is Emily.  She fell yesterday morning and injured an already-hurt knee.  So after an early morning trip to the ER, Emily's leg is in an immobilizer and she's hobbling around on crutches.  This does not fit Emily's routine!  So no bread at the farm pick ups on Tuesdays for a little while and lots more of us picking up her load!


Last Sunday (Father's Day) we were on our way out the door to a family function when the kids scampered in the house to tell us that there were two baby goats in the stall with Heady (mom goat)!  They weren't mistaken, as Heady gave birth to two healthy kids, one male and one female.  The girls have had to do some supplemental bottle feeding but otherwise, all is good with the new additions.  The Scheidel farm keeps on growing! 


The Scheidels


Posted 6/17/2012 10:42pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey folks.  We wanted to invite you to a local restaurant to have a truly local dining experience.  Here are the details:

Where: Brickhouse Grill 705 W. Market St. Orwigsburg; for reservations call 570-366-5220

When: Tuesday, June 26th 4 pm to 10 pm

Reservations only and they're filling up!!!

This will be the second farm-to-table event the Brickhouse has done and hopefully many more will follow!  They will be featuring locally raised pastured chicken from Herring's Green Grass Farm, our veggies, and eggs for creme brule from Potter's Farm.  We hope lots of you can make it!  Peace.

Little Peace Farm

Posted 6/16/2012 8:22pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey folks.  Bad news for all those who love juicy, delicious tomatoes and hearty potatoes; LATE BLIGHT is in town!  Late blight is an extremely vigorous and destructive spore that basically melts beautiful plants and fruit into a gross, mushy mess.  If you grow either of these in your gardens, two weeks ago was the time to spray copper products to protect your plants.  See this link for a USDA report.  I don't know any conventional sprays other than Captan that might be effective.  I sprayed copper hydroxide (organic certified; Champ WP) on all of our potatoes and field tomatoes and started on the high tunnel tomatoes.  There are a lot of products out there that claim to be effective against late blight but eventually, the spore will kill everything if we have the right conditions (damp, cool).  So pray for hot and dry weather, spray your plants with a copper or other ecological products every 7-10 days and scout your plants as often as possible for any signs of infection.  Everyone in the Northeast, including us, lost tomatoes due to LB in 2009 so be vigilant!  Now, sleep well....