Tempted as we were to plant the tender vegetables last week, for once the weather channel's long range forceast was right and we're happy we didn't. Saturday and Sunday were full frost days here at the farm.
The late season frost last week does make for some mega planting days this week.
And today was one of those marathon planting days.
It started with the tomatoes. In went the Abe Lincolns, the Red Pears, the Green Zebras, and my personal favorite, the Mr. Stripey Tomatoes. More varieties are slated for tomorrow, along with the peppers. When we're all said and done, we'll have more than 400 tomato and pepper plants in the ground this year.
Many of the more tender herbs went in today, too.
Lots of French tarragon for the Bearnaise sauce lovers in our CSA.
And then the rosemary. There are many misguided people out there that love this herb.
I loathe rosemary -- the smell, the taste . . . everything about it.
But I think I'm alone in that. Most normal people sing its praises, lathering it on chicken, coating their potatoes with this vile herb and stuffing it into homemade breads. No self respecting lamb dish would be complete without garlic and rosemary.
But I still hate it. Yet plant it I did. The days I have to cut it for CSA pick up are going to be hard for me, but I plan to work through this issue.
I also planted Italian parsley. You'll be happy to know that I don't have any issues whatsoever with parsley. In fact, if you rub it on your hands, you can get rid of that nasty rosemary smell!
Last year, a family of rabbits made quick work of our parsley, but we've fixed the hole in the fence and we should be o.k.
Sounds like a chapter straight out of the Peter Rabbit stories.
Another batch of spinach was transplanted.
We plant it in trays about every two weeks and then transplant it into the gardens for a continual harvest.
The frost didn't damage the garlic. It is beginning to send up scapes, which should be ready for the first week of CSA pick up.
The potatoes were also fine. It looks like we're going to have a great crop this year.
It was also a day to check on the new bee hives.
All 12 look like they are doing well, with lots of activity.
Tomorrow, we should finish up with the mega planting days and be back on a normal planting schedule.
It was a very long, cold Winter and this is what we've looked forward to. There will not be one word of complaint now that Summer has (unofficially) arrived.
It is a beautiful season.
And the seed packages keep rolling in.
There is something quite nice about sitting in front of a wood fire, watching the snow come down, reading seed packages and dreaming about Spring planting.
Soon enough, the heat of Summer, the bugs, the long work hours and the sunburns will be a reality, and this Mid-Winter romantic idea of Spring and Summer will be a memory.
But today, on this 19 degree snowy morning, those sunny, warm weather seasons sound awfully good.
I can't wait to eat one of the Black Krim Tomatoes. We grew them last year and they were a big hit.
Don't think you're going to get that classic "round and pretty" tomato with a Black Krim. You're going to get a dark, sometimes scared, tomato that will look a little odd if you only expect your tomatoes to be red balls. The Fedco Seeds people describe them as, " strikingly iridescent purple on the outside, usually with dark green-black shoulders and noticeable catfacing. Interiors are part black, too, with an unusual juicy yet meaty taste and texture, described as having …a smoky flavor like a good single malt scotch.”
These tomatoes knock it out of the ballpark when it comes to flavor and are my favorite tomato out of all the varieties we grow.
I'm also excited about the Cardinale Batavian lettuce. This is a small head lettuce with "shiny red leaves on the outside, green in the center, crisp and juicy with some heft."
Fresh lettuce and juicy dark purple tomatoes. Bring it on Summer. I am ready for you.
Welcome February. You look lovely this morning, covered in your white blanket of snow.
But you can't fool us. We know that while its still Winter, we had better start thinking Spring.
We spent January poring over seed catalogs, deciding which varieties of vegetables to plant for the CSA this year.
All that time spent with the catalogs is starting to pay off as slowly, one by one, the seed orders are starting to arrive.
The Seed Savers Exchange order was the first to arrive. You'd think it was Christmas morning and Santa brought me everything I ever wanted -- that's how excited I was to open the box. (Go ahead and call me a nerd; you won't be the first to do so!)
We're going to give the Watermelon Radish a try this year. The catalog says it has a stunning dark pink and white interior. I say if it says stunning, it's a no-brainer. You've got to try it.
We can't wait to plant the Detroit Dark Red Beet again this year. It's an heirloom variety that I love roasted.
Also back from last year is the Royalty Purple Pod Bean. We grew it last year for its unusal purple color, but its back this year because it tasted so darn good. A mix of this purple bean with a green bean in a salad is a thing of beauty. Who knew eating healthy could look so pretty.
We'll keep you updated as the seeds continue to arrive. We're itching to get into the garden, but I think we have to wait at least a month or so.
Interested in growing your own seeds but are unsure how to go about it? Take a class with us. We'll get you started on the path to a summer of fresh veggies.
My Quest to Stay Out of the Big Box Stores - Day 9: Produce CSAs
If you thought the gifts of homemade laundry soap or local beer were odd, wait until you read today's idea!
Today, I am suggesting you give the gift of vegetables. Ahh, you say. She's finally gone completely off her rocker. But, really, I haven't.
We're not talking about giving a single tomato, or a head of lettuce. Nobody is expecting you to wrap up an onion and put it under the tree.
No, we're talking about giving the gift of 17-weeks of farm-fresh, organically grown produce.
That'll Do Farm is offering full and half shares in it's 17-week CSA program.
Don't know what to get the folks? Vegetables are the answer.
Want your kids to eat healthier? Vegetables are the answer.
Trying to get the husband to try different foods? Vegetables are the answer.
I'm beginning to think that vegetables are the answer to many of life's great mysteries. They certainly can be the answer to the age-old what to get for Christmas question.
It's easy to gift veggies. You sign up, put your money down and wait for late May/early June to arrive. Then you or the gift recipient drives out each week to pick up your basket full of goodness. I dare you not to eat some of the vegetables on the drive home. I double dog dare you.
We've done the heavy lifting (and the shoveling, and the planting and the dreaded weeding). You get all the credit.
Sounds like a winning plan to me.
If you're not in the Northern Ohio area but love the idea of a CSA, check out Local Harvest for a CSA program in your neck of the woods.
So think outside the (big) box this year. Think of vegetables as the perfect Christmas gift.
Our most excellent farm intern took a variety of pictures over the past few days that pretty much sum up the tale of the farm as of late.
First and foremost, let me show you my favorite picture: Hay.
It is not my favorite for its composition or color. No, it is my favorite because it means we will actually have hay this Winter.
Last year, we bought hay for about $5 a bale. This year, because of the excessive heat and lack of rainfall, hay, if you can find it at all, is at a premium. Prices are anywhere from $7 to $10 a bale. There is such a hay shortage that Ohio has even started a hay hotline.
We were starting to go into full panic mode about scoring some hay, but luckily, we found two sources of pretty good hay and purchased all they had. The alpacas, sheep, goats and Sir Joey the Llama will be able to dine in style this Winter.
Next up on the picture hit parade is a great shot of our half share CSA baskets this week.
Corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans, zucchini -- the baskets held a variety of tasty and healthy things. I love all the colors. I want to fix this image in my mind to hang onto in Mid-February when everything we eat seems to be one color.
Some of our yarn is starting to come back from the mill. This is a bit of our new 100% alpaca yarn in black and two shades of fawn. The raspberry yarn is a bit of wool that I dyed with natural dyes; first cochineal and then overdyed with logwood.
New for us this year are alpaca felted boot inserts. Made with fiber from our alpacas leg and chest area, these insoles will save your life come Winter. I kid you not. If you spend anytime outdoors, you will want of pair of these babies for your boots. Warm and soft, you will love them and wonder how you could have lived your life without them. They will soon be up for sale on our website.
And last but certainly not least, for all you knitters that wish yarn grew on trees, we can safely tell you it does. The That'll Do Farm Magic Yarn Tree.
Despite the heat and really, really dry weather, August is proving to be a beautiful month at the farm.
The bees are out and about collecting pollen. This young lady is working the corn. Now technically, corn is wind pollinated and doesn't rely on bees for pollination, but that doesn't mean bees won't use the pollen. Bees are not hung up on technicalities.
The scarecrow is very good at keeping the birds out of the corn, but luckily he doesn't frighten the bees.
The onions this year are delicious. Strong and pungent.
The basil is ready to go and waiting for more heirloom tomatoes to ripen.
Our tomatoes are coming on slowly this year. I go out to the field each morning and threaten them to ripen up. There are CSA members waiting. There are canning jars waiting. But tomatoes are on their own time schedule and will ripen when they will ripen. My guess is they will all decide to ripen on the same day in the next week or two.
The eggplant is small, but delicious.
And the sunflowers are beginning to put on a show.
August and September are certainly harvest months. We're doing our best to enjoy each and every day because we know now that August is here, fall and it's buddy winter are not far behind.
Blueberry season has come early to Northern Ohio, and that's a-ok with us.
We don't grow blueberries at the farm (yet!), but there is a near-by farm that does. So every year, at least three or four times a season, we head out early in the morning to do a bit of berry picking. Perhaps a smidge more than a "bit" of berry picking. Maybe more like a hundred pounds or so of picking each Summer.
Some of the berries end up in our CSA baskets, but most end up in our freezer for enjoying in Winter morning smoothies. And nothing can bring you back to the warmth of Summer quicker than a blueberry muffin on a cold January day.
This particular berry farm is an exceptionally beautiful farm. It's down a quiet road, with weathered old out buildings that add so much character to the land.
Now I'm sorry folks, but I'm not telling you where it is. Most local finds, I'm happy to share with you. But this farm's location, along with my grandmother's spaghetti sauce recipe, are not up for sharing. Those are two pieces of information (with perhaps some events that happened in college) that are going to the grave with me.
A good blueberry farm is a treasure.
The picking was slow-going today. The berries have been small -- perhaps our recent lack of rain? -- but tasty.
Halfway through picking our buckets, the sky opened up and it began to pour. The first real rain we've had in weeks. We've needed it desperately, so we were not about to curse the heavens for our unfortunate timing. Luckily, we had raincoats in the car and spare baseball hats, so we kept on picking.
We were really unattractive pickers, more in the drowned rat category than the human category. But when fresh-from-the-bush blueberries are your prize, you pick through anything.
Ohio's short strawberry season is already over. You don't want to miss blueberry season. Go out TODAY and get yourself some Ohio-grown blueberries.
After last year's wet, wet Spring, I never thought I would say this, but boy-oh-boy, did we need rain.
And yesterday, it came. In the perfect amount. At the perfect speed. The rain gods, who never have really like me, smiled upon us yesterday. Who knew a simple day of rain could make a person giddy. But it did and we are off to a great week.
This past Wednesday and Thursday were our first CSA pick-up days of the season.
One of my favorite things to put in the baskets are garlic scapes. I like to put them in the baskets because they are unusual. Many of our shareholders have never used them before. To me, that is what a CSA is all about -- trying new things. Things you might never have seen or even knew you liked.
Scapes are the flowering stalks of the garlic plants. They are usually cut off the plant so more of the plant's energy can go to the bulb, which is normally the part you eat. You don't usually see scapes in grocery stores -- and that's a downright shame.
Scapes have a slightly less intense garlic flavor than the bulb. Most people treat them like a green onion. I have a restaurant friend that turns them into garlic scape pesto -- and let me just say yum!
There are so many delicious and perfectly edible parts of plants that we, as a culture, typically throw away because of lack of knowledge. You can bet that in parts of the world where food is scarce that a garlic scape would never go uneaten!
The same holds true for radish greens.
This week, our CSA baskets held a nice bundle of French Breakfast radishes, greens attached. Sure, you could cut off the tops and just eat the radishes. But we like to cook our radish greens in a little olive oil and then toss them in with the radishes, which we've roasted. A bit of salt and pepper and you've got yourself an outstanding side dish.
Poach an egg and put it over the cooked radishes (with our without the greens), and you've got yourself an entire meal. An easy, low in calorie high in flavor and nutrition meal. It really doesn't get any easier than that.
Strawberries are in season and are sweet and juicy. The lettuce is still tender and oh-so flavorful.
Remember those dark, cold days of Winter, when you longed for a fresh vegetable that wasn't shipped to Ohio from Florida or California. A vegetable that tasted like a farm-fresh, real-life vegetable. Well its time folks.
If you don't belong to a CSA, go to a farmer's market. Buy something fresh and in season. Look for lettuce, radishes, Swiss chard, strawberries, spinach, kale, garlic scapes, green onions and new potatoes.
Let the healthy eating begin!
As we near the end of March, we are thinking vegetables here at the farm. A whole summer's worth of vegetables. Our CSA sign-ups are in full swing and today our members will receive their first newsletter outling what they can expect in the coming season.
We have been receiving so many calls and e-mails from people new to the produce CSA model that I thought I would share with you the first member newsletter of the season. Those of you that are on the fence about joining, maybe this will clear up some of your questions. Maybe it will raise more questions!
But either way, don't hesitate to contact us if you need more information.
That'll Do Farm's 2012 Produce CSA Newsletter
Welcome members! We're happy you've chosen That'll Do Farm as your vegetable farm.
The 2012 season is off to a great start. We've been thrilled with the recent 70 and 80 degree days before our current, more Spring-like temperatures returned. This warm weather, and especially the wind, have helped dry up our fields. Those of you who were with us last year know how badly rain affected our growing season. From a farmer's point of view, last year was as bad as bad could get -- with the exception of locusts and hundred year floods, of course.
But this year is already much better. Some lettuce is in, along with the beets and radishes. The onions are set to go in this weekend. The garlic looks like it made it through our unusual Winter. At this time last year, we could take a small boat out to the fields, but actually working in them was out of the question.
This all means we will be shooting to start our 17-week season the fourth week of May. We will keep you updated on the exact week as the season progresses. Note that pick-up days have changed from last year. This year, you have the option of either picking up at the farm on Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. or on Thursday at our Bay Village home from 5 to 7 p.m. We changed from the Friday/Saturday pick-up of last year because of member's busy weekend schedules. Who wants to pick up veggies on Friday before heading out of town for the weekend or stop the Saturday chores to go get vegetables. This should be more convenient.
"What are you growing this year?"is the number one question we hear. The answer is: a variety of leaf lettuces and arugula, garlic, potatoes, onions, beets, radishes, turnips, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers (not as many hot as last year!), tomatillos, a variety of summer squash and winter squash, eggplant, Swiss chard, kale, culinary herbs, spinach and parsnips. Don't worry, you'll receive recipes each week to help you figure out what to do with a vegetable that might be new to you. Also, from time-to-time, expect eggs, honey, blueberries, beans, and perhaps pumpkin or two.
New this year, we're going to try growing Batavian lettuce. This is a head-type lettuce that is much more heat tolerant. We'd love to be able to have lettuce in your boxes each and every week. We're hoping this variety delivers for us.
Save the Date! CSA members, mark Saturday, September 29th on your calendar. This is the date of our members-only potluck picnic. 6 p.m. At the farm. Bring the family and a dish to share. Tour your farm. See where and how your veggies were grown. Visit with the animals. Say hi to the bees. Toast a s'more or two around the campfire. Watch the stars come out. I'm sure a good time will be had by all as we wind down the season and head into fall.
We have many other exciting things to tell you about as our season unfolds.
We will be accepting a limited number of members until May 1st, or until we're full -- which ever comes first. Still have questions? Give me a call at 440-829-3644 or e-mail me at produceCSA@aol.com I'd be happy to welcome you into our wonderful world of weekely, farm-fresh vegetables.
What is it about beautiful, warm days that makes people think about eating vegetables? I'm sure there is a detailed study out there someplace that gives all the reasons behind it, but I know it to be a fact based on the number of calls we are getting this week about our CSA. It's fresh vegetable time folks!
If you're thinking of adding more vegetables to your life this year, you have up until May 1 to purchase your share. But I urge you not to wait -- shares are starting to go quickly.
At the risk of sounding ultra corny, we want you to really connect with your food and with YOUR farm. We know everyone can't or doesn't want to live on a farm and grow their own food. But that doesn't mean you have to be removed from the whole process of what you are actually eating.
We encourage our CSA members to come out to the farm. See what we're growing. Ask questions about the season. Talk about the weather -- believe me, we talk about it everyday. Visit the beehives. Say hello to the chickens. This is your place on the earth, the place from which your food comes. I think that's a pretty strong connection.
If you've heard about CSAs but don't know exactly what they are all about, check out our FAQ page. If you have more questions after that, give us a call at 440-829-3644 or 440-829-3642.
We're happy to be your vegetable enablers.
The USDA and I finally agree on something -- the importance of their program, "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food."
It's the government's nod toward the growing trend of people wanting to connect with their food, and with the people that grow it.
It's a philosophy with which we wholeheartedly agree.
We think you should know the faces that grew the salad you're eating. Or the eggs you've had for breakfast. You should know the farm where your food was raised. Aside from raising it yourself, how else can you be sure of its quality?
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food -- it is a simple concept. We invite you to come out to the farm as we get ready to grow another season's worth of produce. We invite you to check out our chickens and see how they are raised. You'll see for yourself why our farm fresh eggs taste better than anything even the fanciest grocery store has to offer. You'll see our six bee hives for yourself and learn what the bees are eating to produce their excellent wildflower honey.
We'll explain to you our growing methods and why we've chosen not to use artificial pesticides and chemicals on our crops. We'll wax poetic over the wonders of manure and compost. That's right. Waxing. Poetic.
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food says so much more to me than certified organic, or free range, or non-GMO. If you know your farmer, he or she can talk with you about all these terms and explain to you his or her growing practices. Think about it. WalMart is selling certified organic eggs, but that doesn't tell you a thing about the farm they came from, how the chickens were raised and how long ago they were laid. But if you're buying eggs from your local farmer, you can pretty much see these things for yourself.
If you've decided to take this "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" thing a little more seriously by joining a produce CSA, please do your research. There is a growing trend where farm-to-home delivery services are marketing themselves as CSAs.
There is an interesting article about this trend on Small Farm Central's blog. (Small Farm Central is the wonderful company behind our website.)
Obviously, if you're going to join a produce CSA, we'd like for it to be ours. But if you choose another's, please make sure you know your farmer. Only then will you know your food.
I know there are all sorts of programs out there that will layout our gardens and fields in a manner of minutes.
I know if I asked my son or daughter, or a local first grader, they could have those programs loaded on the computer in seconds.
But I'm going old school here.
The simple reason is I NEED to plot out the beds by hand. I NEED to flip through the calendar repeatedly, counting the weeks until the last frost and the first frost in the fall. It all helps to cement the dates in my head.
Plus I like colored pencils. They remind me of grade school.
Fields and beds are layed out to scale and then colored in.
Dates to move transplants and start second sowings are also added. As are dates to side dress certain beds with compost.
Then it's time to move on to the Dyers/Herb/Cutting garden. This is the smallest of all the gardens, yet one of the most fun to plan.
Blooming flowers, tasty herbs and a vegetable thrown in for fun -- what's not to love.
After that's all done, it's time to look at last year's successes and failures. These two tomatoes were in the "failure" column.
The White Wonder tomato was much anticipated. Martha Stewart and the Beekman Boys raved about it. So we gave it a try. It's really a yellow-ish tomato, not white. Don't let the name fool you.
I'm a fan of yellow tomatoes, especially the yellow pear and the yellow Brandywine varieties. But I thought White Wonder was bland. It's off the list for 2012.
The Sweet Pea Currants were taken off the grow list for 2012 not because of taste but because they are not easy to pick. This small, prolific tomato would be great in a container in the home garden, but when you have to pick buckets of tomatoes in the morning for CSA pick-up that afternoon, these pint-sized tomatoes are way too labor intensive. We'll stick to cherry and grape sized tomatoes and skip the currents.
These varieties of peppers, lettuces and tomatoes all made the cut and we will be growing them again for 2012.
If you're starting a garden this year, no matter how big or small, I would highly recommend keeping detailed notes from year-to-year. You may think you'll remember the name of that really hot pepper you loved, but by the time Spring rolls around, you'll have forgotten.
Write it down. Make notes throughout the growing season. Decide what you really like and what you don't.
There are so many good choices out there. And, if growing vegetables isn't your thing, there is still time to sign up for the CSA, where we grow them for you.
Valentine's Day is right around the corner.
Sure, you can give chocolates or diamonds and emeralds. You can even name a star after someone. But really, that's all been done. It's become cliche.
My guess is you've never given the gift of vegetables for Valentine's Day. You heard me. Vegetables.
Carrots. Lettuce. Tomatoes. Potatoes. The things your true love really wants for Valentine's Day -- fresh produce.
All right, all right, I'm somewhat joking. But if you stop to think about it, the gift of a share in That'll Do Farm's CSA is a great Valentine's gift.
It says, "I want you to eat healthier so we can hang out together for a million years." And, "You deserve the freshest produce money can buy." And also, "I know you're concerned about added chemicals in your diet, so I wanted to give you something organically grown."
Yup, one gift of a CSA share says all that and more. It also says you want your Valentine to think of you everytime he or she picks up his or her share -- that's 17 weeks of thinking. It says you want to hang out in the kitchen together, trying new heart-healthy recipes. It says you listened when your Valentine said this is the year you're both going to eat healthier.
That's a lot of talking from one small CSA share.
I know it's late January and you think Summer is a long way away.
But it gets here quicker than you think. Soon, your pasty winter white legs will be in shorts again, it will be 75 beautiful degrees, the sky will be clear blue, and this grey, rainy Winter will be a distant memory.
Don't get closed out of a summer of organically grown, fresh from the farm vegetables. Sign up soon for either our full or half share CSA program.
You'll enjoy a season full of tomatoes.
Just look at that color. And the flavor. Tell me, wouldn't you kill for a vine ripened August tomato right about now? I sure would. Don't tell the authorities.
Summer is also a season full of fresh herbs,
and wonderful eggplant,
and colorful Swiss Chard.
If you're hesitant to sign up because you've never eaten some of these vegetables before or you are uncertain how to cook them, never fear!
We're working on a little cookbook of recipes that will be included in each and every CSA.
Swiss Chard and Pasta Sauce. Corn Salad with fresh Basil and Ohio Tomatoes. Roasted Green Beans with Dill Vinaigrette. Man-oh-man, Summer where are you -- I'm hungry for fresh veggies!
Like purple potatoes. You'll be the hit of the family reunion if you show up with purple potato salad.
Not a fan of the purple potato? Don't worry, we're also growing other colors too, like red.
The garlic was planted in late Fall. The onions seeds were started a few days ago. Lots of seeds are in the on-deck circle, awaiting the arrival of Spring, which is just 54 days away.
54 short little days.
So start thinking vegetables. Make this the year you eat more of them. If you're uncertain about the ins-and-outs of a CSA, give us a call (440-829-3644 or 330-829-3642). We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.
It's that time folks. 2011 is winding down. It's new year's resolution time.
This is when we all make those resolutions we hope to keep for at least a week, maybe two if we really try. But this year, why not make a resolution that you can actually keep.
This year, promise yourself that you will add more vegetables to your life.
And no, I don't mean adding more veggies by asking for extra lettuce on your burger at McDonalds. That doesn't really count and you know it -- but good try.
I mean real, fresh-from-the-farm vegetables that were grown right here in rich, hearty soil. Vegetables grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
We can help you with keeping your healthy eating resolution. That'll Do Farm is still accepting members in our vegetable CSA for 2012.
It's an easy, painless way to take that first step to healthier eating.
You sign up now, put your money down, and starting in June, for 17 weeks, you know you are getting vegetables that were picked just for you. Picked the very day you pick them up. You can't beat that for freshness, ease, or taste.
And, to make it even easier for you, your CSA includes simple, weekely recipes to help you get the most out of your veggies.
We also recommend a few cookbooks for cooking up your bounty:
If you can't find something you like in this cookbook, I will worry about you. Seriously. I will stay up at night worrying about you. I will be so worried about you I will have to eat chocolate to relieve the stress. But I'll make sure it's dark chocolate because that's good for you.
Ohioans should also check out this book,
which, in addition to giving you some great, seasonal recipes, will also introduce you to many of Ohio's small, innovative farmers.
Why not make 2012 the year you make one small change for you health. I guarantee you this is easier than going to the gym!
And much tastier.
How's your christmas shopping coming along? Are you a "had it done for months" kind of person or a "what, Christmas is this week -- boy am I in trouble" kind of person?
Normally, I'm pretty good about having everything ready, but this year I am definitely in the later category. This year, for some odd reason, I decided to make all my Christmas gifts.
But maybe I should have decided something that important earlier in the year -- like in May or even July. Thanksgiving week was not a good time to come to a "let's have a home-made holiday" conclusion.
So if you're in the same boat as me and still need a few gifts for the important people in your life, with no hope of having them made in time, let me offer you a few down-on-the-fiber-farm suggestions:
Gifts $20 and Under
$5 each. Hand-made here at the farm, needle felted Santa ornaments. Santa's beard is made from cria tips. Crias are baby alpacas and cria tips are from the young alpacas first shearing. Soft and fluffy, they make expressive Santa beards.
$16.50 for six. Bottle Cap Magnets. These recycled bottle cap magnets are perfect for the knitter in your life. We also have them for alpaca or llama lovers, Wanna-be farmers and farmer's market goers and also dog lovers.
$4.50, $8, or $12. That'll Do Farm's own raw honey. Fall harvested, raw, wildflower honey that tastes as fresh as can be. Even non-honey lovers will love this sweet treat. If you've never had fresh, raw honey, with none of the taste pasturized and filtered out, you owe yourself a taste.
$20. Art Batts. Beautiful, mixed luxury fiber for the hand spinnr. All the colors of the farm are hand carded together so you can spin up a dream yarn. There are several colorways from which to choose.
Gifts $50 and Under
$50 Roving CSA. Another gift for your favorite spinner. Plus, this is a gift that keeps on giving. You'll receive a certificate for giving now until the roving is ready in the summer. Included in the price is registration for one free class at the farm, occasional coupons for discounts at the farm store and an invitation to a shareholders only fall picnic and mini fiber festival. The roving is 100% alpaca and comes in two complimentary colors, chosen by us.
$21 - $25. Farm Yarn. Unique, soft as a baby's behind yarn from our own alpacas, in a variety of natural colors. No knitter would ever be unhappy with a skein or two of this yarn. Think of the fun he or she will have deciding what to make with this Ohio-born-and-raised yarn.
$27. Alpaca Socks. Super warm and cushy. If you know someone who spends a lot of time outdoors hunting, farming, skiing or just plain walking, treat them to a pair of these socks. So warm your toes will think they are in Florida. They are also perfect for indoor-lovers who never do anything more rugged than sit on the sofa watching the snow fall.
Gifts $450 and Under
$260 - $425. Produce CSA. This year, give the gift of good health. This is the ultimate "I don't know what to get them" gift for parents or for your own family. Plus, they will think of you for a full 17 weeks this summer as they pick up their produce. Both our full and half shares are still available.
$180 - $200. Fiber CSA. Similiar to our produce CSA, but for the fiber lover of a different kind. A limited number of naturally dyed shares are available, and just one or two spots are left in our signature yarn CSA. This is a knockout, one-of-a-kind gift that will have them talking about your for years!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish knitting a sleeve. Do you think its necessary that a Winter sweater have two sleeves?
I know, I know, it's December. Who in their right mind is thinking about next year's vegetable CSA??
The answer is: we are!!
We're excited because we've added an extra feature we think some of you might really like -- home delivery. But I think I'm putting the cart before the horse here. First, let's talk a little about the That'll Do Farm CSA.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Purchasing a share allows you to pre-purchase a portion of the farm's vegetable harvest, spread out over 17 weeks. Shareholders share the same risks as the farmer, such as weather, pests, soil etc. and reap the rewards, which include fresh local food and a connection to their food.
We sell full shares (enough for a family of four) and half shares (enough for two people), which typically start in late May or early June. (We are kindly forgetting this past year's starting date. It is not possible to have as much rain and cold weather as we had this past Spring. Do you hear me weather gods, it just isn't possible!!)
For 2012, we've decided to add home delivery of your share for an additional $75 -- which comes out to less than $5 per week. This is strictly optional. You can certainly purchase a share and come to the farm or our Bay Village pick-up location to get your produce. We love visiting with you and hearing how you plan to use your veggies.
But, if that doesn't work for you, we'd be happy to deliver. Our delivery area includes Bay Village, Westlake, Rocky River, Avon Lake, Avon and Lakewood. If you live outside of those cities but are interested in delivery, send us an e-mail at email@example.com and we can talk about it.
It's funny really, in this age of technology and fast paced lives, that we are using some of the same conveniences our parents and grandparents used. When I was a little kid, I remember the milk man delivering milk to our door -- and I remember him frequently asking if my grandfather had baked us a pie. My grandfather was a known pie baker and if Grandpa Flick had brought us a pie, then by golly this milk man wanted a piece!
We're not saying you need to have a piece of pie waiting for us if you choose the delivery option, but I'm sure we wouldn't turn it down.
It may be November on the calendar, but we are certainly thinking Spring here at That'll Do Farm.
It's not that we are wishing Winter away. Winter is a great time for us to get caught up on all the little things that get pushed aside during the rest of the year. You know, little things, like life.
Currently, we are knee-deep in planning our second year of the farm's vegetable Community Supported Agriculture, otherwise known as a CSA.
A CSA allows you to pre-purchase a portion (referred to as a "share") of the farm's vegetable harvest for the upcoming season. The share is spread out over 17 weeks, starting in Mid-June. Each week, you can either come to the farm or a Bay Village location to pick up your basket.
Think of it -- organically grown, heirloom produce at the peak of freshness, hand-picked for you either the day before or the morning of your pick-up day. Unless you are out in the fields gnawing on a tomato while it is still on the vine, you just can't get any fresher or more local.
Plus, CSA members are leaning to eat a wider variety of vegetables than your average bear. Never cooked beet greens before? We've got a recipe for that. Received a plethora of yellow squash and you're wondering what the heck to do with it? Don't worry, we've got a recipe for that, too. Think of the cocktail party conversations you can have with you new-found knowledge of vegetables! You will be fluent in Swiss Chard.
We sometimes include in the weekly baskets eggs from our fabulous free ranging chickens or honey from our free ranging bees. Once you've had a taste of either, you'll be hooked for life.
And for all you fiber lovers (the wool/fleece type of fiber, not the dietary fiber type of fiber) out there, check back on Saturday for what we belive is Ohio's first alpaca fiber CSA!
Don't panic! There is still time to sign up for That'll Do Farm's Produce CSA.
Here's a list of what we're growing for the 2011 season:
Red, Yellow & Green Peppers
Heirloom Tomatoes Pie Pumpkins Spinach
On the herb front, we'll have:
If you currently don't cook with a lot of herbs, don't worry. We will include lots of recipes so you are not out there in culinary alone-ness. By the end of the summer, you will be a cooking with herbs genius.
And, just to add a little bit of excitement to your life, your CSA share may occasionally include eggs from our beautiful chickens, honey if the bees are having a good year, goat cheese from a local cheese maker and blueberries, blackberries or strawberries.
We're gearing up for a great season. Shares should start producing by mid-June (a bit earlier if the sunshine and warm weather gods smile upon us) and will run for 15 weeks.
It's seed starting time at That'll Do Farm. We are ignoring the snow and the standing water and going ahead with high hopes for real Spring.
You remember real Spring. It's when the sun shines, the ground warms and you can get your hands back into the soil to start growing things.
It's also when it snows, melts, snows, rains, sleets, melts and then snows again. At least that's what it's like in Northern Ohio. But real Spring will get here, and we are prepared.
As soon as it dries out a bit and the ground warms, we'll put in a couple hundred pounds of organic seed potatoes. We're growing four varieties of organic potatoes this year and if they taste half as good as last year's, then you are in for a treat. I am a known butter lover, but last year, I swear you could eat these potatoes without a single drop of butter. They were creamy and delicious and I can't wait for them to be ready this year!
Aside from the obvious taste difference, some people ask us why we bother with the extra expense of organic seed. Because at That'll Do Farm, we believe that you can not grow a quality crop if you don't start with quality seed. It is, to borrow a computer phrase, a case of "garbage in, garbage out."
In conventional farming, plants are hit with a variety of chemical fertilizers to protect them from pests and diseases. They are bred to withstand these checmicals. But often times, something has to be bred out to produce a plant that will withstand chemicals, and frequently what is bred out is taste.
We start with organic, heritage seed becaise we want to know our food has not been genetically modified or bred to look beautiful but be virtually tasteless.
Also, seed crops take longer to mature than food crops. The seeds are cured or dried before harvesting and packaged for the consumer. All of this takes time -- time when a greater number of bugs and diseases can enter the picture and destroy the crop.
Non-organic seeds have the same time issues, except they can be sprayed with pesticides and fungicides at any point of their growing or drying period. These chemicals can be retained in the seed itself and are still there when the seed become a plant -- a plant which will provide you with the nutrition you need. I'd rather not sell produce that serves up chemicals with it's nutrition.
Organic farming really isn't anything new. In fact, it's been around for centuries. Chemical or conventional farming is the new kid on the block, really only coming into existence in the early part of the last century with the invention of synthetic chemicals.
So we're going back to a time when a tomato actually tasted like a tomato and just had tomato-y goodness inside and not an additional serving of chemicals. We're going back to a type of farming my grandparents would have recognized.
If you're interested in purchasing a share in our organically grown produce CSA, be sure to sign up by May 1st. We'll also be selling from our farm stand beginning in late May. Stop on out. You may have noticed we are slightly passionate about the food we grow.
Is this the year you're going to eat healthier? Do you want to add more veggies to your diet? You have come to the right place. That'll Do Farm can help you on your road to a healthier lifestyle with our Produce CSA. (We are also here to support you if you want to add more chocolate to your life. Sometimes I think the farm runs on chocolate -- and maybe coffee. Next to vegetables, these are the two most important food groups!)
We are currently accepting members for the CSA.
What, you ask, is a CSA? Funny you should ask because I was just getting ready to tell you!
A CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It's a way for you to pre-purchase a share of the farm's vegetable harvest, spread out over 17 weeks, starting in early June.
One of the benefits of joining a CSA is that you'll be eating more fruits and vegetables and you'll be eating more seasonally, when produce is at its peak of freshness. You might even take the plunge and try some new veggies you've never tried before. Don't panic -- We'll supply the recipes and you'll get all the credit for a fabulous dish.
But we think the main benefit of a CSA is that you'll know the actual farmer growing your food. Ask us questions. Give us some feedback. We're interested in growing the best for you because we eat it too!
You've all probably pretty much figured out that 2011 has arrived. How it got here so quickly, I'll never know. But it is here nonetheless and we shall embrace it. (Maybe "embrace" is too strong a word. How about we go with "learn to live with it." That suits our style a little better.)
Lots of interesting and exciting things are planned for That'll Do Farm this year. Perhaps the most exciting is the upcoming introduction of our fiber CSA and our produce CSA.
What, by gosh by golly, you ask is a fiber CSA or a produce CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it's a way of bringing non-farmers closer to their produce and fiber. You, the customer, will have the opportunity to buy weekly "shares" of our vegetables or yearly "shares" of our fiber. We will begin offering "shares" next week, once we get all the nitty-gritty pricing details finalized.
In addition to their share of the vegetable or fiber "crop," our CSA shareholders will receive an invitation to members only picnics, weekly e-mail updates, special discounts on classes and a whole host of other benefits.
Plus, shareholders get the experience of knowing where there produce or fiber came from and how it was grown. They will have a real life connection with the farmers responsible for growing their food and their fiber.
We hope you'll think about joining either or both of That'll Do Farm's CSAs.
And, if that's not enough to set your ears a-wigglin', we'd like to invite you to take a look at another project in which we are involved:
The Ohio Natural Fiber Network is a group of Ohio fiber producers working to bring you the best animals and highest quality natural, local fibers. We hope to make this site your go-to spot for fiber information and events throughout the state. Please bookmark it and check back often as the site grows.
So Welcome 2011. We're glad you're here and we are going to enjoy each and every one of your days. Although sub-zero days and stinkin' hot 90 degree plus days will be a challenge, we are going to learn to live with them!