Archive for March, 2010

2010 Shares Available Now!

Sorry, I couldn’t wait. I know I said shares would be available on Sunday… so I  jumped the gun by a day.

Click here, Who is ZF 2010 Share Season, to download the PDF with all the info.

We are a micro farm, so to speak,, shares are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis. In the event you send in your info and do not get a spot, we contact you to discuss if you’d like to be put on the waiting list.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog. It’s easy and you automatically receive the latest news, tips, info and recipes from the farm. It doesn’t matter if you are a paying share holder or not, we love to share info, and everyone is invited. (See subscribe button, top right.)

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Eat Local, Support Your Farmers

Brandywine tomatoes

Beautiful Brandywines

Lately, the big buzz is about eating local. So what does that mean exactly and why should you?

LocalHarvest.org says it best:

Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.

We can only afford to do this now because of the artificially low energy prices that we currently enjoy, and by externalizing the environmental costs of such a wasteful food system. We do this also to the detriment of small farmers by subsidizing large scale, agribusiness-oriented agriculture with government handouts and artificially cheap energy.

Cheap oil will not last forever though. World oil production has already peaked, according to some estimates, and while demand for energy continues to grow, supply will soon start dwindling, sending the price of energy through the roof. We’ll be forced then to reevaluate our food systems and place more emphasis on energy efficient agricultural methods, like smaller-scale organic agriculture, and on local production wherever possible.

Cheap energy and agricultural subsidies facilitate a type of agriculture that is destroying and polluting our soils and water, weakening our communities, and concentrating wealth and power into a few hands. It is also threatening the security of our food systems, as demonstrated by the continued e-Coli, GMO-contamination, and other health scares that are often seen nowadays on the news.

These large-scale, agribusiness-oriented food systems are bound to fail on the long term, sunk by their own unsustainability. But why wait until we’re forced by circumstance to abandon our destructive patterns of consumption? We can start now by buying locally grown food whenever possible. By doing so you’ll be helping preserve the environment, and you’ll be strengthening your community by investing your food dollar close to home. Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen. Cut them out of the picture and buy your food directly from your local farmer.

WOW! I emphasized that last sentence. I knew, and you probably did too, the general idea, but I never knew the money figure.

We have tried, in the past, to sell to markets. Typically they will only give us half the cost of what they sell the veggies for and because we are not certified organic, even though we grow like we are, we only get prices for non-organic veggies. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to become a CSA and sell directly to the customer.

Working the farm as a CSA is a lot more work than packing everything up and selling it to a store or restaurant, that’s for sure. But if we did that we’d miss out on so much; we love our shareholders and we meet the most interesting people; we see how appreciative our shareholders are and how much they love the veggies; we get to share gardening and recipes, tips and they share with us and it’s just more fun.

Bottom line: Michael Pollan says we have 3 chances a day to vote with our fork, and by doing so we support our local farmers, make new friends, try new veggies and eat better, more nutritious food. Vote today!

Garden Tips

We just created a new page, Garden Tips, on this site. We are asked tons of questions and wanted to share some of the things we do to make gardening easier. Check out the new page to learn, or be reminded of some easy ideas we have found that work well in the garden.

First tip is about garden knee pads. You know those little ones they sell for about $20 that might fit your knees if you squeeze them together (your knees) and don’t move much. We have a solution. Check it out on the Garden Tips page. More to come, we’ve got lots of ideas.

Plus, if you have any tips, please share. We’ll post your ideas too.

Shares Available March 28!

On your mark, get set…. GO!!! Well, almost.

Shares will be available starting Sunday, March 28. We will send an email with our 2010 Q&A’s to everyone on our Yahoo email list. We will also post the 2010 Q&A’s here, on the blog, on that date as well.

We sell our shares first come, first serve, which means, the first order forms that arrive with payment get shares until we are sold out. We are keeping it small again this year, so the shares are very limited.

We had mentioned working for a share and we are still playing around with the idea. We need to discuss this further and talk to those interested.

Who could resist this beautiful salad with it's rainbow of colors?

Egg Facts

This info comes from our new egg lady, Mary:

Dozen eggs

Egg shells are porous because the chick needs to be able to “breath” as it develops. A hen (or hens) will lay eggs for several days/weeks until she has enough to sit on & hatch. To prevent the first egg/chicks from rotting while she fills her nest with enough eggs to set, the hen covers each egg as it is laid with a thin gelatinous film called the “bloom”. The bloom covers the pours in the shell. Washing removes the bloom. Without it, the egg is more susceptible to bacteria & evaporation. it helps  preserve the egg until the hen is ready to set the nest. Remove the bloom and eggs start to rot, so they need to be refrigerated. This is why most eggs in Europe are not refrigerated in the supermarkets, because they are not washed. Commercial eggs (even the organic ones) are washed in a disinfecting solution, usually bleach or teflex.

Eggs that I plan to sell are refrigerated as soon as I bring them in the house. When I pack them, I dry “brush” the ones that need it with a clean paper towel. Most don’t even get that treatment; which is why you may occasionally find tiny feathers attached. Personally, I have an “old fashioned wire egg basket” that I purchased at the dollar store. My eggs sit on my kitchen table because I like to have room temp eggs for baking. Eggs that have muddy hen prints end up in my wire basket for personal use. Eggs that have poop on them, I usually feed to the barn cats or my Farm Collie.

If you choose to wash the eggs yourself, I would suggest you not do that until right before you plan to use them. Then you should wash them in running water that is WARMER than the eggs. That way the water is less likely to be drawn into the porous shell.