Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 8/3/2011 6:19pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey folks.

BOO

For the past three years we've lost major crops due to disease or drought.  Two years ago late blight took all of our tomatoes.  Last year we lost over 2000 heads of lettuce and 3/4 of our garlic to hot and dry drought conditions.  This year.........potatoes.  We should be in the middle of harvesting about 3000 lbs. of these luscious tubers but we actually only dug about 300 lbs.; the same amount of seed we planted in May!  Our plan was to have these in quantity through winter but we've learned, NEVER MAKE PROMISES IN FARMING.  The loss is going to impact our income as we get a great price for a great product.  To our market customers and our CSA members, you are truly feeling the agreement of a shared risk of supporting LOCAL FARMS.  When there is abundance, we all enjoy and when there is lack, we all feel it (food is NOT an infinite commodity!).  We all live in the same region and share the weather so you all know how hot and dry it's been.  That being said, if you are offered or see potatoes on the table, take them.  They will be the only ones WE see for the year. 

WAHOO!

All gloom and doom aside, if our sweet potatoes do as well as they look like they will, we will have a BUMPER CROP of them.  So stay tuned for sweet potato news!  Thank you all for your support

MMMM....
Tomatoes are IN so if you are interested in buying cases of mixed heirloom tomatoes let us know.  We also have bulk basil available.  Call or e-mail for pricing. 

Thank you all for your support!

Love,
The Scheidels
Little Peace Farm
 
Posted 7/29/2011 6:15am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.
We've seen most of you on a weekly basis but we haven't communicated through our website in a while.  We wanted to update and inform you about some farm news and what's going on in the fields.

BABY
Emily is due to have our baby Sept. 7th and although I've tried, I can't seem to command when the baby comes.  That being said there is a likelihood that we will miss a market or a delivery (hehehe) or a CSA pick up.  In the case of a restaurant delivery we will simply have to skip the week or make arrangements for someone else to deliver.  In the case of missing a CSA pick up we will make that missed week up by adding an item for your each week for the remainder of the season.

LETTUCE
Because of the intense dry and heat of the past several weeks we couldn't plant our usual sucession of head lettuces.  This means there will be a few weeks without heads.  We would have been planting in dust and the plants would have all bolted.  We weren't willing to take that chance.  This Tuesday we planted 900 heads for harvest beginning probably by mid-late August.  We will, however, have salad mix ready in a week or two. 

CSA POT LUCK DINNER
Thanks to all of our CSA members who made it to our STICKY AND HOT pot luck dinner.  It was great to meet some new faces and catch up with familiar folks.  We are planning another for early October so stay tuned.

WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE FIELDS...
Our heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and slicing tomatoes ARE IN!  We picked over 400 lbs. yesterday and they look and taste amazing.  We have been making a lot of colorful fresh salsas and bruchettas as well as eating a lot of tomatoes on sandwiches.  Eggplant are just about ready and we might have them at the Pottsville market tomorrow!  Celery is taking it's good-ole-time but should be ready by mid-August.  Potatoes are just about ready to dig so expect to see a variety of them in the coming weeks.  Our second planting of cucumbers just passed it's peak and I'm seeding our next planting today so we should have them until the frost.  We planted fall broccoli and cauliflower as well as napa, red, and green cabbages which we'll have in the fall.  Spinach and kohlrabi get planted as soon as the ground dries out a little bit and we'll have a whole new round of greens for the fall.  In addition we'll have a good variety of winter squash and pumpkins for the fall.  I planted a huge bed of beets that could be ready as soon as mid August.  This will be the last week for carrots for about a month as our fall planting is establishing in the largest bed of carrots I've ever planted.   

NEW HIGH TUNNEL
I received grant funding to build a high tunnel or greenhouse on the farm.  We have a 60' tunnel that has fed us and others throughout the winter but this one will really enable us to grow a larger quantity of greens and roots throughout the winter as well as giving us a jump start on tomatoes and summer vegetables.  Keep an eye out for the request for help building this one, Lord knows I'll need it.

Thank you to all who are supporting us in our efforts.  Please continue to spread the word about our markets and our CSA.  Enjoy the bounty!

Love the Scheidels
Little Peace Farm
Posted 6/10/2011 8:05pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  Welp, we made it through our first week after a very difficult spring season and I must say, it felt more natural this season than any other so far.  We managed to get our first round of CSA boxes delivered to an out-of-town pick up.  We are testing some new software to manage the on-line ordering for this new pick-up and so far we like it. 

With the generous help of a local woodcrafter we built a new facade/roof for our garage, which has been converted into our CSA pick-up for the farm.  Since the number of shares picking up here at the farm doubled from last year, we knew we needed more space and this option seems like it is going to work out.

We will have our second Pottsville Farmer's Market tomorrow morning and we attended our first Plaza Grower's Market in Allentown this Wednesday.  It was great to see some old and new faces.  One proud moment I had this year was a former student of mine approached me at the Allentown market, dressed professionally and wearing a corporate tag, and handed me a Member Agreement and joined the CSA.  Full circle indeed!

Our new flock of 18-week-old laying hens are getting used to their new digs here at the farm.  Judging from their very strange behavior (wouldn't go out into the pasture for about a week) they were raised in a less than ideal setting but are now in the prime location to start laying.  Problem is, they still aren't laying!!!

We are currently trying to keep up with the weeds and continue planting.  Next week we will be planting sweet potatoes, second sweet corn, eggplant, sunflowers, second cucumbers, etc...  Our cut flower and herb garden is finally starting to bloom and the raspberry plants we ordered this year are really starting to take off.

The food that we grow will change throughout the season so don't get too used to these delicious sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, and radishes.  They will soon be replaced with green beans, bunching onions, and red beets!  We hope that you are all well nourished by our food and enjoy the tastes and variety!  Peace.

Michael, Emily, and kids
Little Peace Farm
Posted 5/19/2011 8:46pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  We wanted to again welcome you to a plant sale here at the farm this Saturday, June 21, from 10-12.  We will have the following 6 packs available:

-larkspur
-snapdragons
-strawflower
-tomatoes (heirloom varieties available)
-sage (Italian large leaf)
-basil
-parsley
-stock flowers
-tangerine gem marigold (citrusy fragrance with edible flowers)
-calendula (edible flowers)

We will also have:

-4" pots nasturtium flowers (edible flowers!)
-mixed variety of locally produced raw cheeses
-possibly salad greens????

So no need to pre-order.  Hope all are well and enjoying the lovely Pennsylvania spring we've been having #$@%%&**(^%##%!!!!!!!!!!

Peace
The Scheidels
Posted 5/16/2011 9:13pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks. 
BAD
Well, we're stuck in another really, really wet weather pattern.  It reminds me of the beginning of the 2009 growing season which was historically cool and wet, prompting the tomato/potato killer LATE BLIGHT!!!!!!  I'm not superstitious but I don't think I should even be uttering those words.  We lost all of our tomatoes that year as did everyone in the northeast who didn't spray.  We were fortunate, however, to have them until early September!  The wet weather really restricts our planting schedule and field work as we can't plant or work in mud! 
GOOD
Thank God we had the hot and dry weather last week though.  We got a LOT done in the field and got somewhat caught up although we have less planted than normal for this time of year.   
PROJECTS
We are building a facade on our garage and converting it into our farm CSA pick up and market location.  This means building a roof over the front and renovating the interior to make it a pleasing and clean place to pick up veggies.  We are looking to purchase a market vehicle to make the Lehigh Valley runs on Wednesdays as our current box truck is too big and too slow to handle the highway (anyone with any leads on a solid, CHEAP, and reliable cargo van, let us know!).  Ari has been working diligently on the barn, readying it for some 4 and 2 legged critters.  We are also designing and ordering our fencing for a new pasture for the 4-leggers and our new flock of 50 laying hens which arrive in a week or two.
CSA PICK UP DATES
I wanted to make sure all of our CSA members know when the first pick-up dates are for the CSA so here they are depending on where you are picking up:
*Pottsville Members-Pottsville Farmer's Market, Saturday, June 4th 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
*Farm Pick-up Members- Little Peace Farm, Tuesday, June 7th 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
*Glenmoore Members- DiCesare residence, Tuesday, June 7th time TBD
*Lehigh Valley Members-Plaza Grower's Market, Wednesday, June 8th 11:30 until 1:30

Let us know if you have any questions.
VOLUNTEERS
We are offering folks the opportunity to come to the farm and volunteer their time doing any number of a variety of farm chores.  It will include a lot of weeding as we use no round-up or other weed killers and this rain (sorry to keep bringing it up) is really giving the weeds a head start on our cultivation.  The work will also include harvesting, washing veggies, packing, planting, etc...  We will be soliciting help all summer so if you are willing and able, please contact us to schedule days and times you can come to the farm.
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO...
I also wanted to give you a heads up on what to expect the first couple weeks of market and CSA.  June is usually packed with fresh field greens including spinach, lettuces, kales, chard, mesculin mixes, and arugula.  Radishes will abound early in the season as they don't tolerate summer heat so enjoy them early!  Sugar snap peas, which seldom make it out of the field, and giant snow peas are great for salads and stir frys.  Spring onions and garlic greens are a great beginning for a season full of different "onion-y" options.  Herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro will be available early and throughout the season.  The crops will change with the season and you will be truly eating seasonally! 

We hope all are well and as excited to get this season started as we are.  Stay tuned...

Michael and Emily and Kids
Little Peace Farm


 
Posted 5/7/2011 7:16am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  Well, we've had an extremely busy and productive week.  The kids and a cousin of theirs, and I planted over 10,000 onions on Tuesday.  We got sprouted fava beans and a planting of green beans in the ground as well as some parsley and flowers.  Wednesday and Thursday were washouts as the ground was still too wet to get any field work done.  However last week and the week before we managed to get some radish, beets, lettuce mix, carrots and late peas in.  Yesterday we laid two brands of starch based biodegradable plastic.  The Lehigh Valley Extension Office is doing a trial on our farm of the two types of film to observe how they stand up in the field.  More on that experiment to come.....  Today we will hopefully get a few varieties of cabbages in as well as some direct seeded greens (June will be lots of greens!!!!). 

We will have a sale again here next week.  Please place your orders no later than Monday 8:00 a.m.  PICK UP IS BETWEEN 4 AND 6 ON TUESDAY.  We are going to have less greens available in the weeks to come as we are switching the hoophouse over to summer crops (tomatoes,cukes,squash,basil) and taking out all the spinach and greens.  This might be the last week for greens until the field greens come in.  Here is what we have available including 6-packs of plants:

-mesculin mix
-raw cheeses
-our eggs

6-packs:

-tomato plants (cherries, hybrids, heirlooms and specialties)
-sage
-zinnia
-stock
-snapdragons
-larkspur
-Italian basil

Please place your orders for the mesculin in advance and browse our plants and other offerings.  Hope all are well! 
  
Little Peace Farm
Posted 5/1/2011 8:45pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  Sorry you haven't heard from me about a sale this week.  We had a death in the family and the funeral is tomorrow.  So we will postpone our greens sale until this Thursday, May 5th.  Here is what we have available including some 6-packs of plants!:
-spinach 3.50/8 oz. bag
-mesculin 3.75/8 oz. bag
-flower bouquets 4.00/ each (include larkspur and alium; tulips are done!)

6-packs ($2.75) are first come/first served so browse when you come to pick up on Thursday!: 
  *red and yellow cherry tomatoes
  *large leaf Italian basil
  *larkspur flower
  *common sage
  *strawflower
  *stock
  *zinnia
  *snapdragons

We will also have an assortment of raw cheeses from Hilltop Meadow Farm as well as our own eggs. 

Please place your order NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY 8:00 A.M.  Hope all are well.  Peace!

m
Posted 4/29/2011 7:28am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Weather-wise, this spring season has been difficult to say the least.  We have had a very tough time getting into the fields because of the extremely wet conditions.  Everyone from hay farmers to crop and vegetable farmers haven't been able to plant.  A fellow farmer in Kutztown told me yesterday that he had between 2 and 3 inches of rain where we onlyhad half an inch.  On the way to Lancaster yesterday, Emily told me that entire fields of vegetables under row cover were completely submerged in water.  On Easter Sunday we went to my family's home in Chester County and we saw not a single plowed field between here and there. 

Fortunately we are not as dependent on heavy equipment to get things done as we are pretty low-tech.  But you still can't prepare beds or plant in mud!  I was able to get the following in the ground: red beets, radish, salad mix, peas, cilantro, head lettuces, pac choi, kale, shallots, bunching garlic, and spinach.  We've already seen critter damage as I planted the same bed three times and fed the deer and bunnies some nice organic seedlings!  I've tansplanted the first tomatoes in the hophouse and am ready to plant some more next week.  We have cabbages ready to plant as well a ton of onion and leek varieties.

We're just about done prepping the strawberries of which we lost a lot this winter.  They should be ready to harvest by the end of May.  I just ordered another 2500 plants for planting within the next couple of weeks.  I also received two varieties of raspberry and one variety of thornless blackberry plants.  We are considering offering pick-your-own next year so stay tuned!  We're buying a new flock of laying hens to replace our current birds at the end of May so we'll have eggs all season long! 

So the season is in full swing but has been stalled at the same time by weather.  We will be continuing our greens sales here at the farm until the CSA and market season begins the first week in June.  So stay tuned.  Hope all are well.  Do good things...Peace.

The Scheidels

Posted 4/15/2011 7:36pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  The following is a concise summary of why the organic industry should say NO to GMO (Monsanto and others "franken-food").  I thought some of you and hopefully most of you would appreciate.  Enjoy

Ten Good Reasons Why GMO's Are Not Compatible With Organic Agriculture

By Jim Riddle


Despite fundamental differences in what they represent, there are occasional calls to allow the use of genetic engineering  (which produces genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs) within the USDA National Organic Program. GMO varieties are currently most widespread in corn, soybean, canola and cotton crops, in dairy production, and in minor ingredients, such as dairy cultures, used in food processing, but new products are being introduced and commercialized. 

Here are 10 essential points that I believe show why GMOs are incompatible with organic production:

1. Basic science. Humans have a complex digestive system, populated with flora, fauna, and enzymes that have evolved over millennia to recognize and break down foods found in nature to make nutrients available to feed the human body. GMO crops and foods are comprised of novel genetic constructs which have never before been part of the human diet and may not be recognized by the intestinal system as digestible food, leading to the possible relationship between genetic engineering and a dramatic increase in food allergies, obesity, diabetes, and other food-related diseases, which have all dramatically increased correlated to the introduction of GMO crops and foods.

2. Ecological impact. Organic agriculture is based on the fundamental principle of building and maintaining healthy soil, aquatic, and terrestrial ecosystems. Since the introduction of GMOs, there has been a dramatic decline in the populations of Monarch butterflies, black swallowtails, lacewings, and caddisflies, and there may be a relationship between genetic engineering and colony collapse in honeybees. GMO crops, including toxic Bt corn residues, have been shown to persist in soils and negatively impact soil ecosystems. Genetically modified rBST (recombinant bovine somatrotropin, injected to enhance a cow’s milk output) has documented negative impacts on the health and well being of dairy cattle, which is a direct contradiction to organic livestock requirements.

3. Control vs harmony.  Organic agriculture is based on the establishment of a harmonious relationship with the agricultural ecosystem by farming in harmony with nature. Genetic engineering is based on the exact opposite -- an attempt to control nature at its most intimate level - the genetic code, creating organisms that have never previously existed in nature.

4. Unpredictable consequences.
  Organic ag is based on a precautionary approach - know the ecological and human health consequences, as best possible, before allowing the use of a practice or input in organic production. Since introduction, genetic modification of agricultural crops has been shown to have numerous unpredicted consequences, at the macro level, and at the genetic level. Altered genetic sequences have now been shown to be unstable, producing unpredicted and unknown outcomes.

5. Transparency. Organic is based on full disclosure, traceability, information sharing, seed saving and public engagement. Commercial genetic engineering is based on secrecy, absence of labeling, and proprietary genetic patents for corporate profits. The "substantial equivalence" regulatory framework has allowed the GMO industry to move forward without the benefit of rigorous, transparent scientific inquiry. The absence of labels has allowed genetically modified products into the U.S. food supply without the public's knowledge or engagement., and without the ability to track public health benefits. 

6. Accountability.  Organic farmers must comply with NOP requirements and establish buffer zones to protect organic crops from contamination and from contact with prohibited substances, including genetically engineered seeds and pollen. Genetically engineered crops do not respect property lines and cause harm to organic and non-GMO producers through “genetic trespass,” with no required containment or accountability.

7. Unnecessary. It is well established that healthy soils produce healthy crops, healthy animals, and healthy people. Research and development should focus on agricultural methods, including organic, which recycle nutrients to build soil health, producing abundant yields of nutrient dense foods, while protecting environmental resources. To date, recombinant genetic modification has contributed to the development of herbicide-resistant weeds and an increase in the application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, with associated increases in soil erosion and water contamination, while producing foods with lower nutritional content. Technologies, such as genetic engineering, which foster moncropping are not compatible with organic systems, where soil-building crop rotations are required.

8. Genetic diversity. Organic farmers are required to maintain or improve the biological and genetic diversity of their operations. Genetic modification has the exact opposite effect by narrowing the gene pool and is focused on mono-cropping GMO varieties.

9. Not profitable. According to the 2008 Organic Production Survey conducted by the USDA National Ag Statistics Service, organic farmers netted more than $20,000 per farm over expenses, compared to conventional farmers. Use of GMO varieties has lowered the net profit per acre for conventional producers, forcing them to farm more land in order to stay in business. 

10. No consumer demand. Consumers are not calling for organic foods to be genetically engineered. In fact, over 275,000 people said “no GMOs in organic,” in response to the first proposed organic rule in 1997. “Organic” is the only federally regulated food label, which prohibits the use of genetic engineering. By genetically engineering organic foods, consumer choice would be eliminated, in the absence of mandatory labeling of all GMO foods.

Jim Riddle is an organic farmer who was an organic inspector for 20 years. He was founding chair of the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA), served on the National Organic Standards Board from 2001-2006 (chair in 2005-06). He currently works as Organic Outreach Coordinator for the University of Minnesota and has written authoritatively on organic issues many times on this website. The views expressed are those of the author.
Posted 4/7/2011 8:42pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  Thank you to all who ordered last week.  It was a good way to meet some new folks and see some "old" friends.  We will be having a sale again next week.  Pick up will be Tuesday April 12th from 4-6 p.m. here at the farm.  See our website for directions if needed.   ORDERS MUST BE EMAILED TO US NO LATER THAN MONDAY MORNING AT 8 A.M.  See the list below:

-spinach(half pound) $3.50
-mesculin(half pound) $3.75
-parsnip-$2/lb.
-bunched swiss chard-$2.25/bunch

We will also have assorted sustainably produced raw milk cheeses, hoophouse grown tulip bouquets, and our eggs available for purchase.  These items are not pre-order; they are first come, first served.   We are truly blessed to be doing what we are doing and we hope you are blessed by our labors too!  Peace.

Little Peace Farm