What’s New on the Countryside Initiative Farms this Spring

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Basket of Life Farm
In case you haven’t heard, Basket of Life has a new website this year. Click here to learn more about their farm and CSA program. You will also find great farm photos and recipes there too.
http://www.basketoflifefarm.com/
To keep up with the daily happenings at their farm, be sure to LIKE their Facebook page too.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Basket-of-Life-Farm/279073224620

Brunty Farm
Brunty Farm will be at the Countryside Farmers Market of course, but if you miss your chance to shop on Saturday, don’t forget thier Farm Store is open daily until 8 PM and Sundays until 6.
Like them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BruntyFarms
Or visit their webpage: http://www.bruntyfarms.com/Brunty_Farms/Home.html

Canal Corners
Rumor has it they have asparagus available! Give them a call 216-624-3916 or visit their Facebool page https://www.facebook.com/CanalCorners?ref=ts&fref=ts  And, returning again this year, the Lantern Theatre Group!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lantern-Theatre-at-Canal-Corners-Farm-Market/184476561651621?ref=ts&fref=ts

Goatfeathers Point Farm wishes everyone a Happy Spring!
The goats are out a bit each day on pasture and the goat kids will be coming by the end of May! The Bourbon Red and Blue Slate heritage turkeys have moved to their intermediate brooder in the barn. They are gaining in size and will be on pasture soon. Our latest experiment for predation control, a pair of Guinea fowl are patrolling the chicken yard. They are loud and make a lot of wild jungle noise! Feeder calves will be at the Riverview Barn with the bucks. Stop by the farm for eggs (porch fridge honor system) or call 330-657-2726 to pick up a beef bundle.

Greenfield Berry Farm
Check out this really wonderful New York Times  write up about Jonathon Sawyer that includes a great piece on Greenfield Berry Farm! http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/dining/replanting-the-rust-belt.html?pagewanted=all
Visit Greenfield at the Countryside Farmers’ Market or call to plan your PYO visit to the farm or get CSA information! 330-657-2924. LIKE them on Facebook too https://www.facebook.com/pages/Greenfield-Berry-Farm/165503750751?fref=ts

Halko’s Spring Hill Farm
Alan will be returning to the Countryside Farmers’ Market this year with his impeccably perfect produce! He is also adding to his CSA so swing by his booth at the market or give him a call for more information. 330-523-0590

Neitenbach Farm
Do you love herbs? Do you want to learn more about the relationship between our bodies and the foods we eat? Pamela and AJ  Neitenbach  offer a truly unique approach to farming and CSA programs. Visit them at the Farmers’ Markets and check out their Face book page.
https://www.facebook.com/theneitenbachfarm

Sarah’s Vineyard
The annual Summer Solctice Festival is just around the corner! Check out the region’s best wine festival!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarahs-Vineyard-Annual-Summer-Solstice-Festival/166978190072149?fref=ts
Thinking a glass of wine and gorgeous view would go good right about now? How about a homemade wood fired pizza? Check them out: 330-929-8057
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarahs-Vineyard-Winery/254214525337?fref=ts

The Spicy Lamb Farm
There is always something to do at the Spicy Lamb! Check out their events here: http://www.thespicylamb.com/ and LIKE them on Facebook for daily farm happenings, regional news on sheep grazing and agriculture, as well as fun musings and photos! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Spicy-Lamb-Farm/173366318367

The Trapp Family Farm
Out of the gate running, the Trapp farm is really coming along! Stop by their farm for fresh eggs and pick up some information about their Food Guild memberships! 1019 W. Streetsboro Rd. (Rt 303) in Peninsula. The Trapp farm also had a mention in the NY Time’s  Jonathon Sawyer  article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/dining/replanting-the-rust-belt.html?pagewanted=all

It’s never too early to plan the garden

By Tracy Emrick, Countryside Initiative Coordinator

These single digit days are a great time to get busy planning your 2013 garden. Often times when Spring arrives, folks get the itch and then out we tromp into the remnants of last-years garden space armed with our hoes and seed packs. But it is always a good idea to give it some thought first. When I plan my kitchen garden, this is how I usually begin each January:

The 2013 Garden Plan
Last year’s list of success & failure

~This is an important step!
~List what you were very happy with (example: amazing romaine lettuce and gorgeous winter squash)
~List what challenges you faced (example: weeds took over in July and cucs were ravaged by disease)
~Take notes and look up solutions to your challenges (example: Mulching for weed suppression and organic fungicides for cucs…) There are many online resources to solve garden problems.
Variety Selection
~Seed catalogs are not only inspirational and fun to flip through, they usually come packed full of great tips and growing information to help you succeed (My favorites are Johnny’s and Seed Savers).
~Choose plant varieties that like your site location (zone, soil and sun). If you’ve never tried heirloom varieties, you should! You will be amazed at the taste diversity out there!
~A good rule: don’t grow what you won’t eat! If nobody eats arugula don’t grow arugula. If you had to pay people to take cherry tomatoes & zucchini off your hands, cut the # of plants in half or more.
Sketch
~No Picasso skill required, just draw a rough-scaled model of your garden space (graph paper helps).
~Determine direction on your sketch, north, south, east and west. Sun exposure is very important.
~Be sure to consider the width and height the plants will be at harvest so you have ample room between rows and taller plantings don’t block the sun from shorter ones.
~Draw out where your trellised plants will go; along a fence or will you construct a trellis.
Schedule and Maintenance
~Get out the calendar and plan for all your garden chores.
~When will you clean up and prep your beds for planting? (Tip: If you have backyard chickens, toss them in the garden in late winter-early spring to help clean things up. Doing it in the Fall is even better)
~You can plant all at once when summer arrives, but to get the most from your garden space try seasonal plantings. Look at your zones planting dates, early, cold and frost hearty spring veggies go in first. Then your summer veggies, then you can plant another crop of late veggies for fall.
~Consider things like mulching and spraying now so that when planting season begins you have all the materials you need ready to go.
~Schedule weeding time (mulching will help, but weeds are tenacious)!!!
~Block out time every day to at least stroll through your garden. A quick visual inspection will allow you to catch trouble before it gets out of control, not to mention the discovery of the first bean stalk bursting from the ground or that first squash blossom will give you that sense of accomplishment that makes it all worthwhile.

Well, I’m inspired! I’m going to pour another cup of coffee, grab my Johnny’s catalog and graph paper and get to work! Enjoy the rest of winter and happy garden planning!

Save the Date: January 15th, 2013

by Erin Molnar, Program and Market Assistant

What marvelous event is happening on aforementioned date, you ask. Why, the first of Countryside’s monthly Food Swaps. Food Swap, you say? Yes. Food Swap. Allow me to elaborate.

cheesemustard

Homemade Mascarpone: Recipe and Photo courtesy of Not Without Salt
Bourbon Brown Sugar Mustard: Recipe and Photo courtesy of Kaela Porter of Local Kitchen, via Food in Jars

A food swap is gathering of DIY-ers. They bring homemade or homegrown items to trade with other participants. Swappers arrive and display their goods (with samples, if possible) along with a swap-sheet. The following hour is used for browsing and socializing, and for bidding silent auction style for trades. These bids are not contractual, just suggestions. So, if you have brought some dreamy and delicious Homemade Mascarpone that I can’t help but drool over, and I have brought some sweet and zesty Bourbon Brown Sugar Mustard, I would write on your sheet that I would like to trade a jar of my mustard for a container of your cheese. After the browsing hour, everyone checks out their sheets and the negotiations and trading begins! If you sampled my mustard and like it, we go through with our trade. If mustard isn’t your thing, then you can pass, no hard feelings. At the end of the night, you walk away with loads of goodies or quality basics to stock your fridge and pantry. Maybe you will also walk away with new friends or contacts, recipes that you can’t wait to try, or tips and tricks to improve your kitchen projects.

The mascarpone and the mustard are two of the items I am thinking about making and bringing. There are tons more. We’ve started trying to keep track of all of the delicious options on our new Pinterest boards. Here are some of my favorite books to find inspiration. These are mostly books about preserving, but don’t feel limited to that – any cookbook will have recipes for things that would be excellent contributions to the swap.

books

Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan, Food in Jars
Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff
The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila, Eating from the Ground Up
Put ’em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant and Kate Leahy

If you are feeling especially creative, package up your goodies in a special way. Go ahead and create a brand for yourself! (There’s a pinboard for that too.)

What do you think? Sound like fun?

As mentioned, the first swap will be January 15th, 2013. 6 pm. At Uncorked Wine Bar, 22 N High St., in Akron.

Subsequent swaps will be the third Tuesday of the month and the location will vary.

For more information and to register, visit the Countryside Conservancy website. (I apologize, the Food Swap webpage is not complete yet. I will update this blog post when it’s ready. It’s up!!)

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated. Follow us on Pinterest to get inspired.

Comment below and let us know if you’re excited. Maybe you already know what you will bring, or have suggestions for things to bring? Tell us!

And feel free to contact me at emolnar@cvcountryside.org with any questions, comments or suggestions.

This week from the Countryside

Here’s some news from a few of the Countryside Initiative Farms:

Basket of Life Farm
We are doing a give-a way on a giant pumpkin on Facebook. Like the photo and you will be entered in a drawing for it on Friday, you would need to pick it up on our farm this weekend if you win, we will help you load. Also this weekend we will be having a “Pumpkin Blowout!” All pumpkins (except for three GIANT ones) will be $2-$5. So stop by the farm after market and get a few more pumpkins. (4965 Quick Rd, Peninsula.) When you are at the farm ask about our Fall CSA, we still have a couple spots, this share comes in three sizes and is a great deal heather@basketoflifefarm.com

Brunty Farms
Turkeys are getting big!  We are still taking orders for our pasture raised holiday turkeys (Thanksgiving and Christmas).  We have anywhere from 8-25 lbs available and they are $4.00/lb. All of our poultry is processed right here at the farm, just before the holiday, ensuring the most fresh and most delicious turkey for your dinner! Order here: http://www.bruntyfarms.com/Brunty_Farms/Order_Form-Turkey.html

In addition to holiday turkeys we will also have our hickory smoked, no nitrate added hams available.  We have halved (5-7 lbs) and whole (10-14 lbs) hams.  Order here: http://www.bruntyfarms.com/Brunty_Farms/Order_Form-Pork.html

Our retail area on the farm is open from 7a-8p Monday through Saturday and 11a-6p on Sunday.  We stock our pasture raised eggs, chicken and turkey, along with our pastured pork and lamb.  Stop out to the farm and say hello!

Stay tuned for updated 2013 CSA information coming next week!

Canal Corners Farm & Market 

Don’t miss your chance to join in the Fall Festivities!

Visit the farm for The Lantern Tours, Pumpkins and our November 3rd Square Dance! For more info call 216-624-3916 or visit The Lantern Theatre

 

 Goatfeathers Point Farm


It is fall! And, the bucks are ready! We offer the traditional black and white, brown and tri-color breed stock. Two to four years old with lineage documented for registration to the Myotonic Goat Registry. Call 330-657-2726 to visit the farm or to order frozen goat meat or pork. Also, call to reserve a holiday heritage Bourbon Red or Broad Breasted Bronze turkey. Akron Peninsula Road is open to Goatfeathers Point Farm and eggs are available. Have a great week!

Greenfield Berry Farm
Call us at 330-657-2924 for information about Pick-Your-Own Berry Season and about our 2013 CSA memberships.

 

 

 

 

The Trapp Family Farm
The farmstand is open on a non-rainy, honor-system basis.  Emily or I will still be running the stand on Thursday evenings (4pm until dark) if you prefer to stop and chat with us and others.  If another time works better, call our landline (330.657.2844) and wait for the message to see if we’re open or just stop over.

How Will My Garden Grow?

by Julie Gabelman, Administrative Coordinator

The first house my husband and I purchased together was an older home in Firestone Park that had a double lot.  Our oldest son was just a baby at the time, but we were happy with the extra yard space for him and, eventually, his little brother, to play in.  The previous owner, an elderly widower, had a good-sized garden at the back of the empty lot, but it had obviously been neglected for a couple of years.  The following spring, we decided to have a vegetable garden ourselves, so we prepped the area, did our planting, and enjoyed a great harvest later that summer and fall.  The garden was large enough that we were able to grow a variety of veggies, including sweet corn, eggplant, green beans, peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. There wasn’t really enough to can or freeze any extra produce, just enough to eat as we went along or share with family.

Maintaining the garden took a lot of our time, but completely worth the effort.  Eventually, though, with two little ones and both of us working full time, it was harder to devote the time needed for the weeding, etc.  The garden was downsized a couple of times until it was only a quarter of its original size, but still we enjoyed having tomatoes, peppers and zucchini.  Several years later, when we moved to our current home, my only regret was that we would not have a vegetable garden anymore.  Our yard is very shady; the only areas that received enough sunlight to grow anything other than hostas, already had other perennial flowers.  I told my husband we had to find a spot to plant a few tomatoes, at least.  I couldn’t imagine a summer without fresh salsa and BLT’s made with freshly picked tomatoes.  Our deck is very sunny, so we tried growing tomatoes in containers, with mixed results.  After a couple of seasons of that, we decided that the tomatoes would do better if they were in the ground, so I relocated a few perennials from the flower bed that got the most sun, and planted some tomatoes and a few herbs, including dill.  We had great tomatoes that year and the dill apparently loves that spot because it has returned every year since.

Fast forward to last summer.  I started working at the Countryside Conservancy and began frequenting the farmers’ market a lot more.  Seeing all the beautiful fruit and vegetables made me wish for my vegetable garden back in Firestone Park.  I had my usual small patch of three tomato plants, basil, cilantro, dill and oregano sharing space with ornamental grass, a rose bush, and gladiolas.  In the fall, I decided it was time to expand the vegetable garden, so I relocated most of the rest of the perennials.  I battled one stubborn patch of ornamental grass for over an hour – that stuff had roots like iron.  In its place, I planted five types of garlic purchased at the farmers’ market (thanks to Larry Luschek of Infinite Garden Farms for explaining the flavor differences between the varieties).  With the mild winter we had, the garlic began sprouting by late January.  On St. Patrick’s Day, the weather was so warm that I gave in to temptation and planted some peas and some lettuce, just to see how it would do.  The peas are up, but the lettuce is barely sprouting, so I’ll replant more soon.  I have some tomato and zucchini seeds to start indoors, although I’ve never had much luck with starting seeds.  I’m getting excited at the prospect of having an actual vegetable garden again, albeit a small one.

I have a layout in my head for our little veggie patch, but I’m not sure it will really work.  With such a small area to work with, I need to optimize the space.  (Oh, and have I mentioned this isn’t even a level spot?  Part of it is on a slope.  Another challenge.)  I’m attending the Starting Your Own Veggie Garden workshop that we’re offering on April 24 at Basket of Life Farm.  I’m not a novice gardener, but there is a lot that I don’t know.  I’m looking forward to learning from Heather Walters’ years of experience.  Hopefully our garden will  do so well that I’ll get to try my hand at canning or freezing later this year.  (There will be a workshop for that too!) If you’re thinking about starting a garden this year, or if you’re like me and want to expand your veggie garden knowledge, you might consider registering for this workshop too.  Maybe we can talk tomatoes.  Or garlic…

Gearing up for a New Garden

by Beth Knorr, Farmers’ Market and Local Food Programs Manager

It’s been years since I’ve had to plan a garden. I have relied on my husband to bring home fresh produce from the farm for the past many, many years. Now that he is taking a hiatus, we’re putting on our thinking caps about how to make sure we have access to the same high-quality food to which we’ve become accustomed.

Luckily, I don’t have to sweat it too much- working at a farmers’ market does have its benefits, you know. But getting our kids into contact with food as it’s growing provides a bit of motivation for us to do at least some gardening at home.

Our yard is tricky- as I’m sure many of you can relate. We live in Cuyahoga Falls and are surrounded by mature trees. We have only a small patch of sun, and are going back and forth about raised beds vs. digging up a small section.  Given our situation, how do we make the most of the space we have? We probably only have a 3×10 section in which we could realistically grow anything. And while I have grandiose visions of a beautiful lush garden filled with everything I love to eat (fresh shell beans! eggplants! dried beans! blueberries! melons, oh beautiful juicy melons!!) I know that won’t fit into our schedule right now, and it most certainly doesn’t fit into our space.

Now, I love a fresh tomato, but they take up an enormous amount of real estate, and one plant doesn’t really produce enough. So while cherry tomatoes are all kinds of crazy, I know the kids love to snack on them- so we’ll likely put in a single plant (or maybe two) to satisfy our tomato love.

Eating a salad of some sort is a priority (well, at least I’m trying to make it one) so growing some cut-and-come-again salad mix makes sense for us. Salad mixes are somewhat expensive to buy, and they don’t always hold up well in the fridge, so being able to cut what we need will be a benefit. These have a relatively high turn-over rate, too. Two months tops and they’re out (after that they start tasting a bit funky), so the succession planting potential is high. Radishes and cilantro will likely follow the salad mix. Again, items with a quick turnover to help maximize the productivity of our space. Radishes are great snacks and cilantro goes well with nearly everything.

We love to cook with greens, so I think Swiss Chard or a kale with a small habit (such as cavolo nero or as my son loves to say- “Dino kale!”) will likely find its way into the plot. These are fantastic since you only have to plant them once and get a regular return on that small investment. 3-4 plants should do.

A longer-term investment (but not too long) will be carrots. Nothing beats a freshly dug carrot! Mokum is the variety we like- sweet and crisp, and their roots are not as long as our other favorite (Sugarsnax) so they should be fine in our heavy soil.

We love cooking with chiles and one of our favorite dishes is chiles rellenos, so we’ll be making space for 2-3 poblano pepper plants. These are a long-term investment, but we’ll likely be able to get a crop of cilantro or lettuce in around them before they get too big and create a shady canopy.  And the rewards are high for this one- peppers are typically prolific, so we should be able to stuff and freeze many delicious treats.

Finally, we’ll put in a plant or two of basil and a few bulbs of garlic. And perhaps some shallots. (Ugh- who can stop when they get on a roll?!)

What do you plan to grow and in how much garden space? How do you plan for your garden? We’d love to hear all about it. And if you’re a newbie, check out the info on our upcoming gardening workshop where you can get some tips from a real pro!

Happy growing!

Slow Start for Farmers’ Markets Give Way to Summer Bounty – Beth Knorr

The 2011 Countryside Farmers’ Markets, while off to a somewhat rocky start, are in full swing now. The farmers throughout Ohio had one of the roughest springs in memorable history.  Rain and cool weather that continued through May prohibited growers from getting into their fields to plant. Many are still playing catch-up, and most consider themselves about a month behind. Several farmers noted that even those items they did manage to plant between rain drops were slow to grow. All this created a noticeable decline in the amount of fresh produce for the first month and a half of the summer market season. Finally now as the summer crops are beginning to roll in are we seeing fuller tables at both of our farmers’ markets.

Noticeable exceptions to the empty-table syndrome were those vendors with high tunnels on their farms. The high tunnels alleviated weather-related risk for several of our growers, enabling them to have bountiful market stands even through the severe weather of the spring. To show more growers the benefits of these low-cost structures, Countryside Conservancy is partnering with Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) to provide a workshop this fall that will share techniques with specialty crop growers interested in adding or better utilizing high tunnels on their farm, as well as provide information on advanced techniques
for the established grower.

We are happy to be at Howe Meadow again this season, and also to be in a new, urban setting for our weeknight market at Highland Square. Our Saturday market is every Saturday through October 29th from 9-12, and our Highland Square market is held on Wednesday evenings from 4-7pm through September 28th.

The farmers’ markets have had several new happenings in 2011, including our Waste Not program, which Sage discusses a bit more below, as well as our first ever Pie Contest and Apron Fashion Show. The pie contest was a huge hit, and we can’t wait until next summer to see what market customers will cook up for us to try. Other fun special events scheduled at the market include our Annual Tomato Tasting and Salsa Smackdown featuring the chefs from The Greenhouse Tavern; we’ll also be hosting a Taiko concert at the market on September 24; and finally, our annual Halloween Celebration (complete with caramel apples for kiddos wearing costumes) will take place on our last out-door market day on October 29th.

We hope you’ll come see what’s growing, and enjoy the happenings at Countryside Farmers’ Markets!