Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 11/14/2010 7:33pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey folks!
Below is what we have available this week for farm pick-up on Tuesday evening from 4-6.  Please get your orders in as soon as possible (tomorrow evening at the latest) so we can have enough time for harvest.

Also, deposits ($50) or full payments for 2011 shares are due this week for returning CSA members!  Then we begin to solicit the general public to fill the remaining shares.  Please let us know even if you are NOT interested in purchasing a share for next season so we don't have to bug you(hehehehehe).  Thank you all who have gotten back to us.  We are excited to have a rest but also are planning for next season with some new varieties, colors and flavors.

-arugula-$3.50/bag
-broccoli-$2.00/"head"
-broccoli raab/rapini-$2.00/bunch
-spinach-$3.50/bag
-parsnip-$1.25/ea.
-red lettuce salad -$3.50/bag
-mesculin mix (tatsoi, arugula, mustard, cress,....)-$3.50/bag
-turnips with greens-$2.00/bunch
-radish-$1.75/bunch
-acorn squash-$2.50
-napa cabbage-$3.00/humongous head!
-savoy cabbage-$2.00/head
-red beets-$2.00/bunch
-fennel-$1.50/bunch
-parsley (flat lear for curly)-$1.50/bunch

My apologies for those receiving this e-mail multiple times!  Hope all are warm and well.  Peace.
ms
lpf
Posted 11/8/2010 6:14am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!
Below is what we have available for pick-up this week.  Pick-up is Tuesday between 4 and 6 and your orders are due by this evening (tomorrow morning at the latest!).  We are able to provide for a few more weeks and the hoophouse should give us greens for the winter.

Also, a reminder that your 2011 CSA deposits or payments AND MEMBER AGREEMENTS are due by November 15th.  If you only make a partial payment or a $50 deposit, the balance is due January 15th.  The half share (6 items/week, 20 weeks) costs $328 and the full share (10 items/week, 20 weeks) costs $578.  Our charge has not increased, we've just added an additional two weeks to the CSA season.  As always, if you have difficulty making the payments PLEASE LET US KNOW and we'll make arrangements.  Remember that we also offer work-shares (call or visit website for details).   

Arugula $3.50/bag
pink beauty radish $1.50/bunch
spinach $3.50/bag
Napa $3/head (these are huge)
red cabbage $2/head
savoy cabbage $2/head (we're making kraut with these)
turnips with greens $2/bunch
red beets $2/bunch
red kale $2/bunch
acorn squash $2.50/each
broccoli $2/bunch
fennel $1.75/ bunch

Thank you for your orders and we hope all are warm and well.  Peace.
ms
lpf
Posted 10/29/2010 12:08pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!
We wanted to remind our CSA members and friends that we will be at the Pottsville Farmer's Market again this Saturday from 8-12.  We finished our season at the Plaza Grower's Market in Allentown this week but will continue restaurant deliveries in the Lehigh Valley for a few weeks to come.  Below is a list of most of the items we will have in P-ville this weekend:
-red beets
-pink beauty radish
-purple top turnips w/greens
-broccoli (we have a lot !)
-cauliflower (limited)
-arugula
-green and red salad mix
-baby bibb lettuce
-kale
-mizuna greens
-purple, savoy, and napa cabbages
-acorn squash
-potato
-sweet peppers
-hot peppers
-chard
etc.....

We will continue to take orders for Tuesday farm pick up as long as we have produce! 

We hope all are enjoying the fall weather and staying warm (we are not turning on our heat until at least Nov. 1st!!!).  Thank you all for your continued support of our family and sustainably grown food!  Peace.
ms
lpf
Posted 10/26/2010 8:31am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!
Believe it or not, even as we are still harvesting, we are preparing for next year's CSA.  Lots of you have been asking when you can send checks for a share in next season's produce, flowers and herbs. 

CHANGES
After learning that we can provide produce well into the fall, we have decided to extend our CSA from 18 weeks to a 20 week season.  This means that you will receive your shares for an additional two weeks in October.
PAYMENT
As we do each year, we ask for a $50 deposit OR the full balance of the share you select, by November 15th. 
Half Share: 6 items per week for 20 weeks; $328
Full Share: 10 items per week for 20 weeks; $578
Flower and Herb Share: 1 bouquet fresh cut flowers, two bunches fresh herbs per week for 20 weeks; $78
Good Steward Shares: members can either purchase an additional share or contribute ANY amount to the Good Steward Bank to purchase shares for anonymous families in the community to participate in the CSA.

The cost of our shares only increased in proportion to last year's prices and the addition of two weeks!  The balances are due by January 15th 2011.  REMEMBER THAT IF YOU HAVE ANY TROUBLE MAKING THE BALANCE IN ONE SHOT EITHER BY NOVEMBER OR JANUARY, LET US KNOW.  We are always willing to make arrangements to make payment easier.  Please make checks payable to Little Peace Farm and mail along with a completed 2011 Member Agreement found on our website under the CSA tab.  Our mailing address is on the bottom of each page on the website.  

Details about our shares can be found on the website under the "CSA" tab. 

Again, we thank all of those who have been so supportive and faithful.  We hope to grow for you for many years to come.  Peace.

Little Peace Farm
Posted 10/12/2010 7:24pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!  Sorry about the repeat if you already got this... but since we canceled our Saturday market in Pottsville and realize some of you couldn't make it to pick up today at the farm, we are offering another pick up this Friday, Oct. 15th from 4-6.  Please select your items from the list below and e-mail us your order no later than Thursday evening.  In addition to the items below we will be offering our pastured chicken, eggs, flowers, canned goods, ornamental gourds and pumpkins.  We will be returning to the Pottsville market the following Saturday.  Hope all are well. 
 
-spring mix 3.25
-green kale 2.00
-arugula 3.25
-broccoli raab 2.00
-broccoli bunches 2.00
-quarts white potato 3.00
-Napa cabbage 3.00 (warning!  some of these are huge!)
-green savoy cabbage 2.00
-purple cabbage 2.00
-red beets 2.00/bunch
-radish (mixed color) 1.50/bunch
-Italian, lime, and thai basil 1.50/bunch
-cilantro 1.50/bunch
-fennel 1.75/bulb
-mixed colored pepper quarts 3.00 or .50cents/pepper
-jalapeno pints 2.75
-cayenne pints 2.75
-mixed hot pepper pints 2.75
Posted 10/3/2010 7:39pm by Michael Scheidel.
Hey all,
Now that our CSA season is over, we will be taking orders for pick up here at the farm on Tuesday evenings 4-6 (note the time change, used to be 4-7!).  Please order from the following items this weekand apologies to those who have already gotten this message:

-our very own pastured chickens (processing them tomorrow; $2.50/lb fresh or frozen)
-radish $1.50 (long French breakfast or mixed color Easter egg)
-Napa cabbage $3
-red cabbage $2
-green savoy cabbage $2
-white potato $3/quart
-garlic half pints $3.25
-spring mix $3.25/8 oz. bag
-arugula $3.25/8/oz. bag
-green kale $2
-red beets $2
-broccoli raab $2
-mixed color peppers .50 cents each
-bunched broccoli $2
-butternut squash $3
-acorn squash $2.50
-pie pumpkin 2/3/$4 depending on size
-flower bouquets $2.50
-tomato quarts (ONLY IF WE HAVE THEM) $4

HERBS $1
-basil, lemon basil, cilantro, flat leaf or curly parsley, spearmint, mint, nasturtium flowers (edible), calendula flowers (edible)

Additional items to expect in the coming weeks include: fennel, turnips, cauliflower, parsnip, head lettuce, kohlrabi, red kale ...

We will also have some other products available for you to browse while you are here.  Please let us know your order by Monday night so we can pick it all fresh and have it ready for you by Tuesday evening.  Hope all are well! 
ms
lpf
Posted 10/3/2010 7:39pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

Welp, our 18 week CSA season and fall is finally beginning to show itself.  Even though the leaves have been dropping for several weeks now, it was a false start due to the drought-like conditions (Schuylkill Co. was declared a natural disaster area in early Sept. by the USDA).  Even though cool weather has arrived, we are still loaded with produce for the fall and early winter. Our hoophouse is going to help with season extension.  We currently have kohlrabi, spinach, salad greens, spicy mix, radish, and arugula among other things in our hoophouse and our plan is to construct another one this fall to be able to offer salad greens etc...for as long as possible and as early in the season as possible. 

Our first annual Pot-luck dinner was a great time to relax and enjoy eachother's company.  Next year we're going to do some yodeling!!!! 

So as the fieldwork and crop maintenance slows down, offseason projects pile up.  We are processing 50 of our pastured broiler chickens tomorrow morning (call or e-mail for details on purchase) and we are increasing our egg laying flock to 50.  We are discontinuing our egg shares for the CSA next year but will offer our eggs for sale as we have them available.  The corn crib that fell over a couple of weeks before we settled on purchasing the farm has to be dismantled and scrapped .  The strawberries need to be renovated before too long and garlic has to be planted before the ground freezes.  The barn needs to be re-wired and lots of carpentry has to be done on both the house and the barn.  

Most importantly, I am going to spend lots of time with Em and the kids especially helping Em with the schooling.  I am very excited to take a more active role in not just teaching but educating my kids and Em needs a classroom assistant!

We will be continuing with our markets as long as we have produce available and are offering on-line ordering for farm pick up on Tuesdays.  Our hope is to offer food for several more weeks.  This has inspired us to consider a 20 week CSA next year instead of 18!  So stay tuned.

Thank all of you who have supported us in so many ways. We are blessed to have shared with so many good people.  One downside of the fall and winter is now I have more time to post blogs and bug all of you!  Peace.

ms

lpf