Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 3/21/2011 6:46am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Well, at 7:21 yesterday evening, spring officially fell upon us and it looks like the perfect weather for the change.  We haven't experienced any deep freezing nights for a couple of weeks now, robins have been all over the place and a couple of days ago we caught our first snake near the pond.  With the help of some great workers we also managed to completely dismantle the corn crib that had littered one of our fields.  Now it is open for a pasture!  The greenhouse is up and running and I'm experimenting with a heated compost manure bunker in it to augment propane heat.  Each year I add a couple of implements necessary to run the farm and it looks like I'm close to the goal of having the tools I need this season.  We are planning farm events for our members and are working on the out buildings to get them ready for CSA pick up and general operation.

The recent showings of the film FRESH were a success this weekend with one showing in Auburn and one in Pottsville.  We are considering another showing in the area so stay tuned!  This film really energized me as a producer to forge ahead with plans for our growth to feed people SAFE AND FRESH FOOD!!!  I believe it also encouraged folks in attendance to begin asking the questions "Where does my food come from, how is it produced and do I agree with the way it is produced?"  As consumers, we have choices about what we put in our bodies and those choices can impact policy and the market place.  

We have shares available but are way ahead of where we've been any other year so continue to spread the word about our CSA and thank you for supporting the growers of YOUR food!  We hope all are well.  Peace.

Michael, Emily and kids

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/10/2011 5:36pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  I'm soaked.  Even under the cover of our new greenhouse I got soaked today doing some seeding, mostly from walking to and from the barn and house.  This rain has saturated the already saturated ground and made a mess of the construction site for our new greenhouse.  To see a video of the project check click here.  Special thanks to Rich M. for his help wiring up.  All of our onion and leeks have germinated well and are already being cut back to encourage more growth.  Also germinated are spinach, swiss chard, several varieties of cut flowers, and the next batch of microgreens for the restaurants.  Today I seeded the following: arugula, pac choi, mixed kale, collard greens, four varieties of lettuce, more flowers, and tomatoes that will be grown in our unheated hoophouse.  About every week now for the next 4 or 5 months we'll be seeding new flats.  Even amidst all of this rain we're excited to see some new growth.  Anyway, enjoy the video and we hope all are well.  Keep spreading the word as we still have shares available for our CSA.  Peace.

ms

lpf

Posted 3/8/2011 6:44am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  I wanted to invite you to come see the film Fresh with us on Friday, March 18th or Saturday, March 19th.  The details for each event are listed below.  This is a film about our broken food system but it is not necessarily gloom and doom.  The alternatives highlighted in the film are uplifting and encouraging.  Even as our government continues to place more restrictions on small family farms in the name of food safety, the local food movement continues to grow.  We really hope you can come out to enjoy the film and share your (food, pot-luck!) time and thoughts on the film.  Please contact Wayne Herring Jr. if you are interested in attending the first event and me if you are interested in coming to the event in Pottsville.  Peace.
ms
lpf

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.  Visit www.freshthemovie.com for more information about the film.


FIRST SHOWING

When:  March 18, doors open at 5:30, dinner at 6:00, movie at 7:00

Where: St. Paul’s UCC, Summer Hill (about 2 miles east of Rte 183 on Summer Hill Road near Lake Wynonah and Summit Station)

Who to contact:  Email wayneh@warrantys.com for more information

Afterwards we are going to be joined by Leah Zerbe, Online Editor for Rodale.com and Michael Scheidel, owner of Little Peace Farm for discussion and Q&A.  Cost to attend will be $3 per person or $5 per couple or family.  Any extra proceeds over and above $100 will be donated to St. Paul’s UCC.  Movie is appropriate for most kids, but is not necessarily a “kids movie” as it is a 70 minute documentary. For tickets or for more information or email wayneh@warrantys.com .

SECOND SHOWING

When:  March 19, doors open at 6:00 for pot-luck dinner, film begins at 7:00, panel discussion following

Where: St. John the Baptist Church Pottsville, Longinus Hall

Cost:  $3 per person or $5 per family

Why:  Because what we eat matters!

RSVP To: Michael Scheidel by phone (570)739-1808 or e-mail littlepeacecsa@yahoo.com

Join us for the pot luck (bring a dish) or just for the film.  Young children will be entertained by St. John’s Youth Group.  Ticket price goes toward the cost of the license to show the film.  Any money above the cost of the film will be donated to St. John’s Youth Group. 

Posted 3/3/2011 5:16pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey folks.  I wanted to share this photo with you.  Chef Jon Fegley from the Pottsville Club made this Salmon Cake dish withour micro greens.

 

Chef Jon Fegley from the Pottsville Club latest creation with our own Micro Greens

Posted 3/2/2011 6:32pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks.  I am seeking help with a farm project that is long overdue.  If you have been here you have seen the corn crib that collapsed last winter (two weeks before we settled on buying!).  I am dismantling it and need some help.  One of our members has offered to bring his skid loader over but we need a few more hands.  We will be removing the shingles from the roof and then the loader can get to work.  I already tore off the tin roof and recycled it and I am going to repurpose some of the lumber and the rest will be burned on site.  Please let me know if anyone can help.  The work will involve heavy lifting, lots of sharp nails, and possibly some blisters but it will also include a home made lunch with the Scheidel family (be warned, it is not always a pretty sight!!!).  Thanks in advance and let me know as soon as possible so we can plan.  Thanks for being the "C" in Community Supported Agriculture!  Peace.
ms
lpf
Posted 2/21/2011 7:06pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Well, last week we all enjoyed a warm snap that reminded us that there IS a different season and it is not too far off.  I have been wringing my hands for not being able to build my new greenhouse.  The ground needed to be leveled and the snow was too deep to drive my 6' ground stakes into the earth.  Because of the super-muddy conditions I was unable to get any equipment in to do the excavating so what does Mike do???  He excavates with a pic-ax and a shovel.  Not fun but once the snow was gone I got it done and I did it while wearing a tee shirt!  It felt great to be outside not bundled up.  The hoophouse was well into the 80's with spinach taking off and the kale and chard making a come back after lots of frozen nights.

I was sweating pretty hard this Saturday as well as we had sustained some wind damage to the hoophouse (by the way, when I refer to a hoophouse or high tunnel it means a greenhouse that is unheated other than passive solar heating where I grow plants directly in the ground; greenhouse or nursery is heated with fuel and is where I grow my seedlings for transplanting out into the field).  I watched out the window while a heavy gust waltzed our children's large trampoline across the field and slammed up against the new greenhouse frame I built days before.  When I checked the hoophouse for the millionth time I found that the entire south side tore from it's framing and was blowing out of control.  We managed to temporarily fasten the side down but did some damage in the process.  That wind was amazing and frustrated me while I watched things begin to fall apart, practically helpless.  Luckily that was the only damage we suffered so I think we did alright.

I am hoping to have the new greenhouse on line by the end of this week.  I already have flats of leeks and onions started under grow lights until I can get them out to the greenhouse and am seeding more flats each week.  DO NOT DESPAIR, A NEW SEASON IS UPON US!!!!!

We are dismantling the corn crib and are looking for some volunteers to help.  It will require some difficult work like removing the existing shingle roof, recycling all the remaining scrap metal (I already removed the tin roof and recycled it locally), and burning the timbers and wood that we don't want to salvage.  I'll throw a request for help out there once we get a little closer to warmer weather. 

So we hope all are well and are looking forward to the season.  We have so many plans in the works it makes our heads spin but it is truly ALL GOOD.  Thank you for your support! Stay tuned.

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 2/13/2011 4:38pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Most of you know our oldest daughter, Ariana.  Dependable, competent, organized, shy but friendly???  For the second year in a row she has surprised us with competing in the Schuylkill Jr. Idol contest.  The surprise is that it is unlike her to stand in front of any group of people to perform.  Well her beautiful voice could be contained no longer and sang out last Tuesday night.  She sang the traditional bluegrass/gospel hymn "I'll Fly Away" Alyson Krauss style.  Her performance was awesome and she placed to compete in the quarter finals this Tuesday night (2/15) at the Frackville Mall.  She competes with 12 other contestants from the original 36.  I'll be playing quitar for her two songs.  If you'd like to see her perform, come on up to the Frackville Mall and enter at the K-mart entrance this Tuesday.  It will be held at Center Court, and the singing starts at 6 but we don't know in what order the contestants sing, as it is randomly assigned.  Hope to see some of you in Frackville to enjoy the music!!

The Scheidels

Posted 1/21/2011 6:55pm by Michael Scheidel.

Now don't get your dander-up.  I get excited about little things.  I came home late evening from an errand and began to cook a rag-tag meal for myself and stumbled upon a cache of ball jars full of what appeared to be olive oil with a few garlic cloves sunk to the bottom.  I thought it would give my potato/acorn squash/shallot stir fry a nice garlic tone. When I gave it a whiff,  BOOOOOM, BASIL!  I forgot and Emily reminded me that we took the last of our basil from the hoophouse in the end of October and warmed it in olive oil on the stove and strained it out.  What's left????  A mid-winter (9 degrees tonight??) taste and smell that should be only smelt and tasted in July.  Lesson for all of us: #1 know what you have in the pantry or don't and stumble across some surprises; #2 preserve everything you can and if you don't know how, let's learn.  Gotta run, dinner's almost done!  Peace.

ms

lpf

Posted 1/21/2011 10:06am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Sick of snow yet?  I'm actually enjoying it but am ready for some sunny clear days to melt some snow.  I'm itching to get to some projects that require snow to melt and at least a bit of ground thaw. 

This week I attended two farm related events, the first of which was a CSA master's class sponsored by PASA in Lancaster County.  There were about 25 growers at the meeting representing CSA farms of all sizes, shapes, and years in farming.  One thing that was very apparent from the meeting is that we all share, no matter what size or how long we've been in business, the same or similar challenges which include but are not limited to the following; growing the size of a CSA, finding shareholders/members, marketing your product, finding land or start-up capital to enter farming, pricing for your product.....  The list of challenges seems almost endless but after this meeting I wasn't bogged down by the challenges but inspired and encouraged about what we are doing.  The meeting was very educational and a great way to meet other growers. 

The other event was titled Upper Bern Township Celebration of Local Agriculture and took place last night.  I was one of three presenters who spoke on CSA, sustainable agriculture, and potential markets for local foods.  Being only over the mountain and about 15 minutes away, we consider them part of our community and our neighbors.  The conversation was fascinating regarding how much fresh market produce our counties (Schuylkill and Berks) provide for our communities.

In a very real way, we are sharing our challenges with our customers and CSA members each season.  That might mean that you listen to me rant about a broken implement, the weather, or pests/disease.  It might mean that a disease killed all of our tomatoes and neither you nor I get to eat one in September!  It might mean the hail storm peppered our heads of lettuce and we have Swiss-cheese-looking greens!  This is truly a part of the concept of CSA that I think has slowly faded, sharing the risks of the growing season with the farmer.  CSA has changed so much since it first hit our shores in the early 1980's and sharing the risk with a farmer is only part of that original model. 

As each season comes Emily and I become more and more aware of how deeply Community is a part of how we farm and we like it this way!  We want to provide a healthy product directly to OUR community and keep it as local as possible and so far I think we're doing a pretty good job at that.  We are already planning for more on-farm opportunities this season for our members and hope to be a place where community can gather.  We'll keep you posted on these and other long term projects. 

In other news, I'm just about to make my seed orders for the coming seasons and always consider this the beginning of my growing season.  Check out some of these varieties that I am growing this year:

tangerine pimiento pepper

kentucky wonder

rosa bianca eggplant

These are a few examples of what we're planning on growing so expect a great variety this season including many heirloom and specialty vegetables.  Spread the word about our CSA as we have shares available still.  And as always thank you for your support and participationon local, sustainable farming.  Peace.

michael

lpf

Posted 1/7/2011 3:01pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!  Welp, I am finally able to reconnect...As most of you know we are banished to the land of dial-up interenet so doing any work on-line has been excrutiatingly frustrating.  We recently found a solution and have high speed and will hopefully be able to connect better.  Check out our updated website and enjoy the recent winter photos!  I can't make any promises between April and November, but during the slower months we should have the time to update and communicate.

We are working on many projects now after PLENTY of down time during the Christmas holiday.  A friend brought over his chain saw and we cut, chopped and burned some of the winter blues away. 

I purchased a new heated greenhouse where I will start all of my transplants for the field and will grow micro-greens.  I have to build it completely from the ground up and am excited to get started.  I was extremely cramped in the converted greenhouse I built last winter so this will be a welcome addition to our farm.  

I just got word today that my grant application was accepted for the construction of a new unheated hoophouse.  This one will be about 100' long and 21' wide and will enable us to offer winter roots and greens to more of you!  Our current hoophouse is great but we have the capacity and market to grow more.  This will also enable us to get a jump-start on some early tomatoes, peppers, and basil too.  I have to wait on final approval but I hope to have this built before the season really takes off.  

With the generous time and equipment of a CSA member, we are dismantling and removing the fallen corn crib near the barn...you've seen it...the pile of wood and metal that has been junking up the place since last January!  This will take some effort but that is a project I'm looking forward to completing!

I am currently getting my seed order together and am excited to grow some new and old (heirloom) varieties.  We are looking to once again expand our selection of cut flowers and I am experimenting with hoophouse grown tulips and larkspur for early cut flowers.  I'll keep you posted.  We will be offering leeks and shallots this year in addition to scallions, bunching onions, storage onions and garlic.  We are growing a wider selection of beans this year which leads me to the following question:  SHOULD I GROW FAVA BEANS AGAIN THIS SEASON?    They are delicious but I can't say they produce prolifically and are ugly as sin.  Post your comments on the website.   

We are also considering another market this season.  Our markets thus far have been lack-luster and in order to succeed, we need to increase our sales.  There are a few out-of-town opportunities opeing up so we'll keep you posted.

So we hope you are well and warm.  Stay tuned for more from us and enjoy our updated website.  Peace, Love and Happiness!!!!!

Little Peace Farm

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