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Little Peace Farm Blog

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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.



Posted 8/24/2010 5:39am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!  I wanted to thank everyone who made it possible for Em and I to get away to the Coast for our 10th anniversary; ARI, Barb and Jerry, Dan and Jess, Katie and Chris, Adam and Bec,  Josh, Sammy, Sandy, Jen, Michael, Manny...I hope I didn't forget anyone. 

Em and I did the Allentown market and at the end, donated all of what was left to the A-town ecumenical food bank.  We ate across the street from the market at the Brew Works (great beer and food) and left for the coast.  When we got to our B&B in Cape May that evening, the owner met us and said, "Wow do you guys look tired.  Go to bed and we'll square up in the morning!"  That's how pathetic we must have looked.  Anyway, the weather was great, the food was fantastic and our B&B was perfect for us.  We rested wherever and whenever we wanted (no kids!!!!) and were confident the farm was in good hands.  I brought a tote of mixed heriloom tomatoes and met a chef who was willing to trade us a gourmet dinner for the tomatoes.  The restaurant is called Sean's and is facing the beach in Cape May.  Highly recommended as he uses lots of local products and promotes organic dishes often.  

Now we're back in the swing.  We have 6 weeks left for the CSA and will likely do the markets as long as possible.  I got a comment this weekend from a customer that they wish there were more greens.  This has been a very tough summer for growing greens and for germination. We've lost over 1000 heads of lettuce and two huge beds of carrots never germinated.  So we will have no carrots other than the heirlooms I have now.  We were hoping on having lots for the restaurants, markets, CSA but the seeds simply didn't germinate due to the hot and dry conditions.  Kale is right around the corner and spring mix is back this week.  We'll also have late spinach.  Pumpkins, acorn squash, butternuts, ornamental gourds all look good as do our savoy and red cabbages.

I am also seeding/planting the hoophouse for the fall and winter.  We are hoping to extend our season to include lots of greens.  We'll keep you posted.   

So needless to say we are in full swing still.  September is usually an extremely abundant time for the farm.  Look for the changes on the market tables.  Thank all of you for supporting us in so many ways.  We look forward to a great late season of produce.  Peace.




Posted 7/11/2010 8:27pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  It's rare that I post two blogs in one summer but I wanted to take the time tonight.


I think I hit a point in each growing season of despair and exhaustion; and last week was a rough week and the tipping point.  We survived the heat but markets didn't go too well and sales were down.  At this point in the season if markets don't do well, I start to think about living through the fall!  Then I stumbled upon a problem with our well known garlic (more on that below...).  So during the Saturday market this weekend, after I assured myself again that this whole effort was not working I received the usual divinely sent encouragement that helps keep us going.  Several of our members and customers took the time to look me in the eyes and tell me that they are grateful for what we are growing and will support us unconditionally.  It really hit me this weekend that we are truly living the C(ommunity)S(upported)A(griculture) model of farming.  I bust my rump to provide for my community and family and in return the community supports us with participation through good times and bad.  It sounds so simple but I really feel so humbled to be part of this extremely important equation. So without getting mushy, THANK ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT.  Without it we'd all be less healthy.  I'd be stuck in a cubicle somewhere and you all would be eating chips and hot dogs all day (hehehehehe). 


The previous comments were not written as a segue!  The garlic we have been so excited about was harvested during the hottest days on record and some of it was roasted either in the ground or while lying in the sun waiting to go to the barn for curing.  I've never seen anything like this.  Sun roasted garlic sounds good but it compromises the storage quality of the bulb.  So the whole family (yes, even Hope) went through what I estimate as about 200 lbs. of garlic and graded out the bulbs with soft cloves for processing.  We will look at all of these bulbs and separate out the soft cloves.  So expect to find a soft clove in an occasional bulb and also expect to see half pints of cloves, not bulbs, during your pick-ups.   

I hope all are enjoying our bounty and are doing well.  Keep an eye on the website as we are going to add some new photos soon!  Peace.


Posted 7/5/2010 8:56pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  I wrote more blogs when I was chubbier and the weather was about 70 degrees cooler.  During the growing season I rarely have time but tonight...


We are on the cusp of the change from spring vegetables to summer.  Peas, spring mix, fava beans, garlic scapes, tatsoi, and some lettuce varieties have gone the way of the dodo for the season and have made room for summer crisp lettuces, beans (yellow wax and green) tomatoes of many varieties, eggplant, peppers, etc...  I have to say I will miss the scapes that we love to eat.  Emily freezes some but there is nothing like fresh ones! 


I spent most of the day today trying to decide if I was delerious or suffering from heat exposure.  The plants may be feeling the same way.  Everything was droopy by mid-day today.  I am irrigating from a pond which is making a big difference however.  I know of one grower who uses NO irrigation whatsoever and I can't imagine they are doing so well lately.  I just gave another grower some extra drip irrigation tape that I had and I am hoping it will save most of his crop.  They want almost 100 degrees for the next two days so stay cool.  My hope is that we get some precipitation soon.  We are bone dry.  The ponds are noticeably lower, the stream between them has stopped flowing, and a neighboring farmer just sucked one of his ponds dry today! 


Spank the Braves on these three HOT homestand games!


We pulled garlic last week and it looks good.  We took it to the barn today to finish curing so we could possibly have some available this week.  We'll have all the fixins for bruschetta before you know it! 

Thank you to all volunteers and supporters of our efforts.  We are humbled every day by the gift we get to share with all of you; safe, fresh food!

Michael and Emily and kids

Little Peace Farm

Posted 5/12/2010 8:44pm by Michael Scheidel.


Well good folks, after the wind we just got pounded with for the past few days I am glad for some calm.  All of our garlic is leaning south/south-east.  A neighbor with the finest of farm equipment layed plastic down for my rows of tomatoes, over half of which I had to hand shovel after the wind ripped them up!  The wind blew the roof off of our egg-mobile which I found and repaired moments before leaving for a big t-ball game.  But thankfully nothing disastrous happened, just some character building.


Our strawberries look great but the trick is to keep them looking that way for as long during the season as possible!  After that windy front moved through we had two nights of freezing or below freezing temps.  Luckily the first night was breezy enought to keep the frost off.  The second night, with the help of Jerry, we got most of the plants covered.  I believe we saved lots of blossoms that would have otherwise been zapped by the frost.  I am not worried about anything else in the field because everything else I have out can tolerate a frost.  When it looks like we're in the clear I will plant all of my first tomatoes, melon, squash, peppers, and such.

In the field...

Here's some of what we have in the ground so far; 7 or 8 varieties of head lettuce, two lettuce and one mesculin mix, spinach, two varieties of peas, fava beans, sweet corn, garlic and strawberries, spring onions, carrots and beets, scallions, shallots, kale chard....I'm boring most of you aren't I.  Well let's just say I'm very busy planting as we've tripled our growing space from last year.


We are just a couple of weeks away from our Pottsville and Allentown markets to begin.  The Pottsville market will again feature 4 growers and I'm not sure still about Allentown.  Our CSA pick up begins the first week in June as well so get ready for some greens!  We are also offering our early produce here at the farm on Saturdays until the markets begin.  Give us a call for details. 

Farewell for now.



Posted 5/4/2010 8:38pm by Michael Scheidel.

Early greens sale:
Thanks to all who came out this past weekend to buy early spring greens and more.  We will be having a market at our farm each weekend, and possibly once during the week, during the month of May so stay tuned.  We will be e-mailing our listserv tonight about this week's details.

We currently have a broken down push mower, a broken down ride mower, a broken down egg-mobile, a broken down tractor (actually just a punctured tire as I pulled it into the barn today), a broken down  Subaru (down to just the family van!) and a mis-behaving walk-in cooler.  "Mama said there'd be days like this ..." So I ended this frustrating day by beginning to prune my neighbor's peach trees of which he has given me reign over the first row, about 8 or 10 trees. 

Our broiler hens are about a week old and are already losing their fuzzy-little-balls-of-love appeal.  We have managed to keep predators away from from them so far.  I am currently building a moveable pen to pasture them in and am working on my pasturing plan for them. 

Laying hens:
We have a few renegade hens who insist on flying the coop each day and eating all of my freshly laid, expensive grass seed intended to cover up the trenches I dug for waterlines to the outbuildings.  They are looking more and more scrumtious each and every day.

In the field...:
Weeds are already a challenge as we are working with ground that has been in weeds for almost 30 years.  Strawberries look good so far.  We might just have our first taste in about 2 weeks.  The rain has kept me out of the fields with machinery but I managed to get my first bed of head lettuces in the ground last week.  Garlic is looking great and my first plantin of sweet corn is about 5 or 6 inches high. 

Round Up:
I've never even used the stuff and if I did, I'd proabaly love it except for one thing...weeds are beginning to create resistance to it (read this New York Times article about it {}.  Also soon to hit the shelves are round up ready vegetables.  So far, genetic modification in corn and soy have created a round up resistant seed.  Most of the corn and soy used in animal feed.  This summer the first round up resistant VEGETABLES are due to hit the shelves.  I believe the first round up resistant veggie will be cucumbers!

Flowers and herbs:
Our cut flower selection is ready to plant and include a couple of celocias, zinnia, rudbeckia, lizianthus, snaps, sunflower, larkspur, and salvia to name a few.  Herbs will include several types of basil, marjoram, russian tarragon, oregano, parsley, common mint and spearmint, cilantro, thyme, and winter savory. 

Anyhow, I hope all are well and ready for the season to kick in.  I just want everything to fix itself, the wind to stop blowing, the flea beetles and slugs to go away, and peace on earth. 
the Dreamer

Posted 4/27/2010 8:42pm by Michael Scheidel.


Well good folks, those two weeks of warm weather have really jump started me and maybe our strawberries too early!  We spent a good part of the day preparing for a freeze, not a frost, tonight.  I'm not sure what the results will be on the berries which are in different stages of development depending on variety.  Our oldest bed of berries popped blossoms about 3 weeks ago and a later variety is just starting to set.  So I've done all I can to save them, the rest is up to mother nature.  Just another reason to lose sleep!  If they do ok and come in before the markets begin, I'll send our CSA members and mailing list members and e-mail and sell from the farm.


Aside from installing a new kitchen floor, new plumbing in the basement, running new water lines to the wash/pack house, garage, and barn, we have been busy working on a few other things.  My brother-in-law Michael is in the process of completing a fence that surrounds the farmhouse.  This will give Emily and I a little bit of peace about the kids and the road.  Because we are on a straight-a-way, some people tend to fly so we asked the township to install "watch children" signs which they did.  Thanks to my uncle Mike (too many Mikes in the world) I have some new windows in the wash house and my brother Adam did some much needed electrical work as well.  I am borrowing an old ground driven manure spreader for the season to spread compost and have begun to spread the top fields.  That is where all of my tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes are going.  I installed my irrigation pump and system for the farm and so far it is working without a hitch!  The wash house got a thorough cleaning and has been up and running for a couple of weeks now.  I also had to have some work done on my tractor (hydraulic pump for those interested...).  So I'll soon have all the bills paid to get the season under way! 


Just a reminder that we are no longer participating in the Schuylkill Haven market and will be at the Pottsville market on Saturdays from 8-12 and at the Plaza Grower's Market in Allentown on Wednesdays from 11:30-1:30.  We will be delivering to the Brew Works on Wednesdays as well so stop in there for a beer and you will likely see some of our produce on their menu. 

What we've got in the ground...

Three varieties of beets including golden, three varieties of carrots, three varieties of spring onions, two varieties of candy onions, shallots, scallions, garlic, strawberries, sweet corn, green beans (not sure if they'll make the freeze tonight?), red kale, spinach, chard, pac choi, fava beans, giant snow peas, sugar snap peas, salad mixes, radish, and a bunch of greens in the hoophouse.  I am ready to transplant the first of the field lettuces as soon as the ground dries out a little bit.  Cabbages are on deck to go in the ground.  I'm sure I forgot some things and we have  lot to get in the ground yet. 

So food is growing and so are the weeds.  I hope all are well and looking forward to the season.  I know we are.






Posted 3/15/2010 10:48am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey folks.  Welp, we've all endured thigh-high snow and ankle deep rain, wind strong enough to worry about but the growing season is upon us.  As I type this we have several varieties of lettuces and Asian greens growing in flats to transplant out to the hoophouse.  We should have heads, salad mixes, greens and radish etc... ready by mid/late April.  I am seeding some peas this week so hopefully what the bunnies don't get we'll all be eating soon.  Potatoes and shallots have been ordered as have all of our seed for the season and beyond.

With the help of a brother-in-law, we've completed some farmhouse projects including new floors, new plumbing, and running electricity to the greenhouse.  We've also received truckloads of compost to amend our soil, especially for the ground we haven't plowed before.   

Our wandering hens are truly free ranging as they are in between being moved back to their pasture/eggmobile and the barn where they have been since the second snow storm.  They are slowing traffic in front of the house which is an unintended benefit as we live on somewhat of a straight-away and people drive way too fast. 

We are still exploring new opportunities for selling our produce and still have plenty of space in our CSA for new members (keep spreading the word!). 

Anyway, we hope all are well.  Back to the mud for me!  Peace.
Posted 2/22/2010 7:35pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey all.  I am not sure everyone got to see the videos about recent farm projects and Hope, our new addition, so if not, here they are (just click on underlined above) or just check out the blog on our website. Use your volume as there is music too!  Thanks and enjoy!
Posted 2/22/2010 7:23pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey all.  I am asking for some patience as I am tweaking my website a little bit.  I would like you to be informed when I post a blog entry or send our a message.  So if you get a few short or strange messages from Little Peace Farm, don't be alarmed! Stay tuned!