Weekly news from the farm

Greetings Everyone! We hope you are doing well!  Many have heard neither hide nor hair from us in quite some time.  The reason is we’ve been busy with hosting a few farm stays while getting crop production underway.  We’ve been fortunate to have visited with some of our Asheville customers while attending the North Asheville Tailgate Market. It is fun for us to reconnect with them since we haven’t attended as many markets as in years past.  We must say, the support from our customers has been amazing!!! In between attending markets, preparing fields and planting crops, we keep thinking that someone would mail us a winning lottery ticket so we’ve been frequently checking our mailbox with the anticipation of some cash infusion for the farm!  You might ask us, how would we live our life if we did find a winning lottery ticket in our mailbox?  We’d keep farming!!!  However, we’d hire some help if we had the capability to pay a living wage. With hired help, we’d be able to prioritize building the cabin! That way we wouldn’t be running ourselves ragged with all the work on the farm and we’d even have time to prioritize writing eNewsletters more frequently. Here is a link to our online store so you can place your order!!! Your Farmers and Cleaning Staff, Carl and Julie
How the 2019 CSA will work!

THIS week (6/12), we’d like to offer both Farmer’s Choice Veggie and Meat Shares to folks living in Spring Creek.  As the summer crops begin maturing and we begin harvesting  more of an abundance, we’d like to transition to the typical custom order share where you choose your weekly groceries with a delivery to Asheville.  We’d like your feedback about how much and how frequently you’d be ordering!!!  Unfortunately, a ground hog ate nearly all our cabbage and a lot of our lettuce, so we are trying to plant additional crops to compensate for that loss. Once additional crops begin maturing, that’s when we will begin delivering to Asheville.

PLEASE PROVIDE US FEEDBACK about the following:

  • We’d like to require a minimum order of  $20 each week.  Is this too much produce/meat for you?  If it is, what amount is good for your family?
  • We’d like to harvest on Tuesday and have pick-up on Wednesday, Does this pick-up day work with your schedule?  If not, what is the best day for you?  We found that last year, Thursday and Fridays were too hectic with accommodations so we’d like to free those days up.
  • Would you consider buying from our CSA on a regular weekly schedule?  We’re not going to require pre-payments like in previous year, but would like a commitment of those who are willing to purchase weekly.
  • Our neighbor suggested we put a limit on the time we spend farming each week.  We’re going to implement this Time Management Strategy this year with the hope that we’ll be able to juggle long term projects along with farming. That means that periodically, throughout the season, our offerings may not be as diversified as in years past.  For example, we may not find the time to weed or transplant crops, and the groundhog may eat more than their share.

How the CSA Will Work:

  • All memberships are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. Please email us to reserve your share.
  • We will be delivering from now into Fall. Occasionally, we may take a week off for projects.
  • We’d like a commitment for a minimum order amount of $20. Since we are not accepting pre-payments, we expect each shareholder to place their weekly order through the online store, regardless if one is just ordering the Farmer’s Choice. There may be weeks where we aren’t offering a Farmer’s Choice, especially if we don’t have the diversification available that week.
  • For Asheville, we are still working out a delivery location.  Annie’s Bakery may still be an option, but their security is a bit tighter than in previous years, and we’re not sure Wednesday will work for them. 
  • Sunday of each week we will send out a eNewsletter that describes produce available that week and the contents of the Farmer’s Choice share. Once you receive the eNewsletter, you will log into the online store and place your order. You may purchase additional produce as the inventory levels will be updated weekly.
  • Such produce that you can expect include lettuce, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, sweet peppers, sweet corn, green beans, basil, bulb fennel and Irish potatoes. We’re growing a lot less diversity but are trying to focus on staples that we eat each week such as lettuce, potatoes, onions, corn, summer squash and cucumbers.
This Weeks Farmer’s Choice Veggie Share
Above is the first pint of cherry tomatoes harvested this year!!!  While each of us may not be eating an entire pint of cherry tomatoes this week, there is definitely enough for your salad!!! This week’s Farmer’s Choice Share includes: (share contents are subject to change based on our actual harvest.) We’re offering both a Farmer’s Choice Veggie and Farmers’ Choice Veggie & Meat Share.  Items common in both shares are listed first, followed by items specific to the veggie share the finally the veggie/meat share. The Farmer’s Choice Veggie & Meat share normally has smaller portions of vegetables. )
  • Lettuce:  Salad Mix! We don’t offer this in our CSA Shares too often, mostly because it is a lot of labor to  process, but we absolutely love the convenience if dumping a bag of lettuce into a salad bowl!!! All this lettuce needs is some salad dressing and croutons and we call it a meal.
  • Tomatoes: Cherry Tomatoes. We can’t imagine salad mix without a few cherry tomatoes to toss into the greens so you’ll find a mix of red and yellow pear tomatoes.
  • Scallions:  These are so simple just to chop for y our salad.  If your’re grilling out, be sure to consider grilling these because they are amazing.
  • Cucumbers:   The variety being harvested has  thin skins and extremely sweet.  A market customer claimed he was going to blanch these cucumbers for a thai salad but I insisted that he didn’t need to do that extra step with these cucumbers!!!  Maybe one would do that with summer cucumbers, but not this variety.
  • Basil: We’re sharing the harvest with basil!.  Smaller bunches because we don’t have many plants quite yet.
The following are included only in the veggie share:
  • Kale: Green Curley. Super sweet for a summer kale harvest!!!.  Many of you may recall that us growing Red Russian Kale, but over the years with our weather changing, we’ve discovered that we needed to try different varieties of kale.  This kale was a star performer in winter and summer. While not as sweet as in winter, it is amazing how it is holding the flavor during the summer heat.. 
  • Zucchini :   Great sliced and grilled or roasted.  This  is our early greenhouse crop that has been producing since early May. The production is tapering off, but we’re still enjoying these until our field crop begins maturing.
  • French Filet Beans :      This  is the last harvest from our early crop so the beans are a little tough and required extra cooking.  THey are Great sliced and grilled or roasted.  
The following are included only in the meat share
What’s Happening on the Farm
We’ve been seeding, preparing fields, transpanting and have been harvesting vegetables for market!

Here is everything that has been planted (and also eaten by groundhogs)

  • Onions: Yellow Bulb, Red Bulb, Cipollini, Tropea, Leeks

  • Irish Potatoes: Red Gold, Satina, Mountain Rose, Purple Majesty, Magic Molly, French Fingerling, Austrian Crescents, German Butterballs.

  • Lettuce: Salad Mix, Butterhead, Green Leaf, Red/Green Oak Leaf. Some lettuce has been wiped out by groundhogs

  • Greens; Bok Choi, Kale, Red Cabbage, Napa Cabbage, Green Cabbage, Broccoli, Kohlrabi.  Almost all of our cabbage has been wiped out by groundhogs.   

  • Peppers: Bell Peppers, Anaheim, Poblano, Jalapeno, Serrano, Shishito, 

  • Tomatoes: Pruden’s Purple (brandywine), Cherry Tomatoes (disease resistant), Grape Tomatoes, Paste Tomatoes, Slicing Tomatoes

  • Herbs: Basil, Parsley Garlic

  • Flowers: Marigolds, Annual Lavender, Zinnias, Milkweed, Dahlias, Verbena, Milkweed, Black-Eyed Susans, Celosia, 

  • Summer Squash: Cucumbers, Zucchini, Yellow Patty Pan, Zephyr, and Crookneck

  • Sweet Corn

  • Winter Squash: Acorn, Delicata Spaghetti, Butternut, Buttercup, Kabocha

The Pavilion Roof is on!!!

In January, we had a few consecutive days with the weather forecast for sun and not much wind before the farming season got underway, so we took that opportunity to staple down tar paper and install the metal roof.  We just barely finished that job before a winter storm rolled in, bringing with it high winds and a dusting of snow, so we’re extremely thankful that the tar paper didn’t blow off and end up across the mountain at the Dalton’s.  While we may not get projects done in a timely manner, at least we eventually get them done.  We’re hopeful that once we have the pizza oven moved underneath the pavilion, we’ll schedule a celebration so y’all can see the pavilion and eat some pizza underneath this beautiful structure that you helped us raise.

Before installing the sheathing, we needed to determine how long our overhang would be, and thought that we’d like a two foot overhang.  So as you can see in the photograph above, we cut a test board but visually the overhang seemed proportionally too long, so we decided upon 18 inches.  After that, Julie cut the boards and passed them up to Carl who was at the peak with the nail gun.
Above is Carl with the nail gun.  Years ago when we built the equipment barn, Pete Dixon of Hot Springs brought his nail gun and helped us install the flooring for the Swallow’s Next Barn Loft, after that job we invested in our own nail gun which has been a big time saving tool since we do all of our own building projects.   Thank goodness Pete helped us with that project, because we learned a lot from him since it was the first flooring project we’d ever done.  
Above nearly all the sheathing has been installed.  The next phase was is to install tar paper and tin, so we had to wait for consecutive non windy days for that task. Lucky us, we were able to get the tar paper and tin on in just a few days.
While working on the roofing project, we have even deeper respect for timber frame construction, and why so many old structures still stand so elegantly today much like the oldest known timber frame structure on the North American continent.  The oldest known structure is the Fairbanks House dating back to 1637,  with clapboard siding and many of its original features intact. After our community raised the pavilion and with the structure left with no nails and only a portion of the pegs installed, when we decided to peg the remaining joinery it was still  plumb and had not moved a bit.  While spending a lot of time at the pavilion working on roofing, we must say that the humble king post is beautiful joinery. While we have dreams of one day cutting a hammer beam, for now we’ll just be in love with the king post.