Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 4/21/2015 7:52am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good folks!

I don't know about you but we got a whoopin' last night!  The first storm at 9:00 rolled right around us.  It passed, I thought we were in the clear so I dozed off.  Then about 11 the second front came through with big winds, pea and rice sized hail and heavy rain.  Looks like all is ok this morning though.  With so much liability out in the open, I get pretty nervous when the forecast calls for strong thunderstorms and tornado watches!

First Spring Planting

Speaking of liabilities out in the open here is what we've got out in the field either direct seeded or transplanted in the past two weeks: carrots, beets, spinach, scallions, arugula, tatsoi, mizuna, bibb lettuce, loose leaf lettuce, sugar snap peas, giant snow peas, fava beans, radish, turnip, broccoli, cabbage, Napa cabbage, cauliflower, bunching onions, cilantro, and a few more things I'm sure I forgot about!  Kales, chard, collards and a third planting of head lettuces are on deck for the next planting.

Nursery

I spent just about the whole day yesterday in the nursery bumping up the first half of our heirloom tomatoes and cut flowers.  Bumping up means pricking out the small seedlings and planting them in larger flats or 6-packs to sell or to plant in the field (stay tuned for our annual heirloom tomato plant sale!).  Today will include the second half of the tomatoes plus herbs, eggplant, peppers, celery, and more.

We have plenty of CSA shares available for all of our pick up locations including here at the farm, Pottsville, Orwigsburg, Pine Grove, Sinking Spring, Hershey (stay tuned!) and Elizabethtown.  E-mail or browse our website if you have any questions!

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 4/10/2015 6:29pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks,

Despite the recent stretch of wet weather we have been very busy on the farm preparing for the new season. 

FRUIT TREES

This week we planted our second delivery of apple trees.  We are slowly converting one of the two vineyards on the farm into an orchard.  Wine grapes are virtually impossible to grow organically; just can't control black rot without synthetic fungicides which I have no interest in using on my farm.  So my logic is to tear out the vines and replace them on the existing trellising with the dwarf apples.  In a couple more years we'll have the block filled up and will be harvesting our first crop of organically grown apples!  We've got 25 peach trees and 5 sweet cherries to plant as well. 

CSA

We have shares available at all of our pick up locations for our CSA which include:  here at the farm, Healthy Habit's Natural Market in Orwigsburg, Potter's Farm in Pine Grove, the Pottsville Farmer's Market, Colonial Fitness in Sinking Spring, Folklore Coffee Co. in Elizabethtown and a new location in Hershey (TBA!).  IF you've been considering joining, make the jump.  We work hard to make sure you'll be happy with our farm!  Tell your friends, spread the word, we have plenty of shares available.  See the website for details under the CSA tab.

TUNNELS

Our high tunnels/greenhouses are filling up with a quick planting of some spring veggies (radish, spicy mesculin mix, scallions, carrots, bibb lettuce, spinach and more.  They will soon make room for our high tunnel heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil as the weather warms up and the days get longer. 

Stay tuned for our annual Heirloom Tomato Plant sale at the end of April and other farm news.

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/26/2015 7:48am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

As the weather begins to warm up the farm begins to really wake up.  I heard my first red wing black bird a few days ago, a welcome song coming out of such a long cold winter.

Spring Greens Sale

We'll be having a greens sale this Saturday from 10-12 here at the farm.  Items will include spinach, kale, pea shoots, arugula, and broccoli florets.  Our new flock of hens are starting to lay so we will have pullet eggs for sale as well (pullet means young hen whose eggs are small when they first start to lay). 

CSA

We have shares available for the 2015 season for our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and several places you can pick up your shares.  Local folks can pick up here at the farm (Tuesdays), at the Pottsville Farmer's Market (Saturdays) or at Healthy Habits Natural Market (Thursdays).  We also have a drop off at Colonial Fitness in Sinking Spring for Reading area folks and a new drop off in Elizabethtown at Folklore Coffee and Co.  Give a call or send us an e-mail if you are interested in joining our chemical free farm! 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/11/2015 12:26pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks,

Wow.  We just received the next shipment of citrus and once again made slobs of ourselves in the kitchen, kids dancing in circles around us slurping wedges of some of the finest organic fruit we've tasted.  Thank you Thorpes for growing and sharing!  For those who pre-ordered, pick up is here at the farm from 4-6 tomorrow.  We have plenty of extra citrus and will be picking some early greens as well. 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/10/2015 5:47am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

Citrus

The citrus was picked on Friday and Saturday and is on it's way!  Unless noted otherwise, pick up will be Thursday evening 4-6.  We will have early greens for sale as well!  If you ordered, please make it a priority to pick up.  We did order extra fruit as well so if you didn't order, you can still come out.

More

Since the weather broke a couple of days ago it seems like all of the sudden I'm behind with spring projects!  I am converting a greenhouse to radiant heat so we can produce more consistently in the spring and winter while doing all of my spring seeding in the nursery.  We're caring and preparing for our livestock which includes a new laying flock, several hogs, broiler chickens, sheep, cows, and goats.  We're expecting our ewe to lamb in the next couple of weeks too!   

CSA

We have plenty of shares available for the season with weekly pick up at the following locations: Healthy Habits (Orwigsburg), Colonial Fitness (Sinking Spring), Folklore Coffee & Co. (Elizabethtown), the Pottsville Farmer's Market, and here at the farm.  Get in touch if you have any questions about our farm.  

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/5/2015 1:51pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!

In all of her wisdom, today my wife Emily has called our first snow day of the year for the kids.  Because we home-school and farm for a living, we can rarely justify a day off due to weather.  Currently, just moments from the joyous announcement and subsequent cheers, the house is buzzing with sounds of legos, laughter, and busy play. 

BACK TO CLASS

I attended an all-day farming workshop yesterday that included the following topics: Farm to Restaurant Sales, Growing Winter Greens, Storage Crops, High Tunnel Modifications and Tomato Varieties, Spotted Lantern Fly, Food Safety, and Pesticides and Pollinators.  They were all interesting but one really struck me as most important. 

About 20 years ago I got my first farm job while going to college and learned of the importance of bees as pollinators for our food and the entire food web.  It's complicated but their role in food production cannot be overstated.  So their recent decline and collapse should concern us all, at least those of us who care where our food is coming from and how it is grown.  Ryan Reynolds, research technician at Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research, gave a fascinating presentation yesterday on the prevalence of synthetic agricultural chemicals in the honey bee population and POSSIBLE connections between these chemicals and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  A crude synopsis of his presentation is this: over 100 synthetic chemicals were found in the bees studied; these included herbicides, fungicides and pesticides; these chemicals impact the gut bacteria of the bee; inert ingredients labeled on these fungicides (which are often listed simply as "other ingredients") which carry the primary chemical have an impact on the bees; chemicals that have been banned since the 1970's are still found in the bees.  The cocktail of chemicals that bees are exposed to is amazing!  I'm sure that a toxicology profile on me would also turn up quite a few things that I didn't invite in!  So the only thing that will change for our farm operation in considering the bees is our ongoing effort to intentionally plant more forage for pollinators and continue farming without the toxins that are so common in our food system. 

FEAR

For those brave few who are still reading let me encourage you a bit as you have encouraged me in the past.  Some folks believe that the entire ecological/organic farm movement is "nothing but fear tactics" to draw food dollars away from the industrial/conventional food system.  Let me assure you that "we" are not fear tactics but a natural response to a food system that has moved so far from sane policy and practices.  Be assured also that we are part of a vibrant community who are energized to continue to produce safe, honest, and common sense food that CAN feed the our local foodshed community. 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 3/2/2015 5:31am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

LAYING HENS:

We are replacing our laying hens with new pullets this week. That means we need to clear out our current flock to make room for the new one so our hens need a home. They have full beaks (great for foraging when there is grass!), are red feathered, brown egg layers, and have been fed organic feed since we've owned them. We bought them last May/June at 16 weeks old so they are just about a year old. We have a total of 50 or so. Let us know if anyone is interested.

CITRUS:

If you are interested in ordering fresh, organic, Florida citrus you must get your order in by Tomorrow at 8 p.m.  See our previous post on what is available, price, and ordering details.  Thank you to all who ordered already!  Come on sunshine!

 

 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 2/24/2015 7:33am by Michael Scheidel.
Hey good folks!

I just spoke with Gayle (farmer down in Florida) and they are sending the next load of organic citrus up this way soon.  They survived the recent freezing temperatures by irrigating the groves which protects the fruit and trees from frost burn.  Below are the details and ordering instructions.  They will likely be ready for pick up on Tuesday, March 10th.  Those who ordered from our last cancelled shipment, we've still got your orders and are including them with this shipment!   

*Red Grapefruits-certified organic, very sweet and beautiful rose colored interior; small, medium and large mixed in each case, very few seeds; cases weigh approximately 30 lbs. and include around 38-42 fruits per case; $50.00/case and $25.00 for a half case.
 

*Valencia Oranges-deeper orange color than the Hamlins with more zing as well, excellent for peeling, slicing into wedges or juicing especially to mix with red grapefruit; some seeds; full  cases weigh about 40-45 lbs. and total between 80-100 oranges per case; full cases $55.00; half cases $30

Pick up will be here at the farm.  Please remember that if you order, you are committing to purchasing and picking up the fruit!  This is an excellent opportunity to get fresh, organic citrus for an excellent price. 

ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS

*on our website, click on "Citrus Orders" under the CSA/Ordering tab.

*there is no need to log in as this is open for any subscirber to our website! 

*you will see the varieties of citrus we have available including a photo and description.  Make your selections and proceed to checkout by clicking on VIEW CART.

*Click SAVE AND CHECKOUT.  You must choose Little Peace Farm for pick up!

*Then click CHOOSE AND CONTINUE.  You will see your complete order including total.  GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE AND CLICK COMPLETE CHECKOUT. 

*You will receive a confirmation e-mail within moments of completing your orderIf you do not receive a confirmation e-mail, you did not order correctly!

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm



 

Posted 2/17/2015 6:58pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

BUGS

Em and I were recently at a friend's house who was hosting a party.  During a conversation, Emily noticed a lady bug zip past her face and onto her delicious bite of puff pastry.  While some whinced, I scooped the hapless bug up and placed it on a perch above a door.  Then the conversation went to how infested some folks homes were with them; GOLD I thought!  I told just about everyone in the room that I would gladly take any lady bugs they had.  I must have sounded like a lunatic; however, I know their effectiveness in eating aphids which proliferate in greenhouses, especially in the winter.  So we came home with a bag full of bugs that the hostess had graciously donated to the farm and I released them into my nursery to start working.  Today I spent most of the day in our 80 degree nursery and seeded the last of my onions and leeks and the FIRST of our early spring head lettuce and kale.  Those lady bugs were feasting!   

REAL HEALTH 

On Saturday I was able to attend a Real Health Conference in Ronks, just outside Lancaster.  It was organized by an Amish business owner who hosted the event in his warehouse, among thousands of bags of agricultural products piled ceiling high, and hundreds of plain-clothed Amish.  There were at least 20 different talks, ranging from animal health, human health, and other agricultural issues.  I had a very hard time deciding which talk to attend! 

One of the most interesting talks I heard was about evaluating your livestock health by "reading their fur". Apparently a cow's fur will indicate many different levels of health.  I learned about swirls, escutcheons, knees, fertility, mad cows, breeding, and so much more.  Who knew that there are 12 hairs that will stand up on the back of a heifer to indicate fertility?  I didn't!  I walked away wishing I could sneak into someone's cow pasture and examine their herd!  I had to be happy to come home and take a good look at Lolipop and Ruby.  So far, so good.  It will be fun to apply what I learned when it comes time to buy more bull calves for meat, and heifers for our family's milk. 

Another talk I enjoyed was all about how minerals affect us.  We all know that minerals are important, and we try to get many from our food sources, but there is so much more to it!!! It is so complex, I thought my brain might explode.  There are 47 minerals in the cerebral spinal fluid which replenishes itself every 8 hours, kind of like amniotic fluid.  Truly, the life fluid in our bodies.  Most of us lack boron, the 2nd most abundant mineral in the fluid, and one with much value.  The majority of the population is lacking boron, magnesium, and lithium-which accounts for those affected by low sex drive, sudden anger, and cases of "brain fog".  It seems we all need to pay more attention to minerals and their applications.  I, myself, heard enough to convince me to get my hair analyzed to see what I am lacking and how much.  Maybe the results will explain my range of health quirks, let alone my mood quirks!  It is something my whole family will benefit from!

I learned so much more in such a short time that I can't possibly do it justice.  I just wanted to share a bit of what I learned and how it inspired me to, again, pay more attention to my health, and the health of the animals around us that provide, in some way, to that health.  When this conference comes around again next year, we will announce it to you so that you can have the opportunity to learn and be encouraged in our goal of good, sound healthy living.

Thanks for listening,

Emily

 

Gratefully Growing!

The Scheidels

Little Peace Farm

Posted 2/10/2015 10:14am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey Good Folks!

We are excited to announce two new drop off locations for our CSA for 2015!  Locally, Healthy Habits Natural Market in Orwigsburg, who have been great supporters of ours from the beginning, has offered to host us this season.  In Elizabethtown, Ryan and Dawn, owners of Folklore Coffee and Co. have offered to host a CSA drop as well.  This means that if you are in close vicinity of the farm you have another convenient location to pick up your shares and shop for other good foods.  And if you live in the Elizabethtown/Hershey area, you can pick up your CSA share AND get a great cup of coffee and a bite to eat! 

If you are interested in joining our CSA and enjoy chemical free, honestly grown food, get in touch today or browse the website for details.

Gratefully Growing!

Little Peace Farm