In a February Frame of Mind

What do you do in the month of February?  In this neck of the national woods, it’s generally a cold and gray  month. And with the holiday season gone and Spring not quite on the horizon, the month always seems to last a lot longer than its 28 or 29 days.

Here on the farm, there are still chores to do, but fewer chores than there would be in any other season. That means more time inside, working on plans, taxes and other things we’ve put off as long as possible.

Lemon CurdI’m often working on recipe development, marketing plans, and other cooking projects during February.  This week I made a batch of lemon curd – that brilliant, sunshine-in-a-jar that’s full of our fresh eggs, sugar and sweet Meyer lemon juice.  (Recipe by Northwest Edible Life at http://www.nwedible.com/meyer­lemon­curd­a­love­affair/).  It freezes well and tastes yummy on our toasted whole-grain breads.  In case you are missing our breads this winter, you can special-order them any time by calling us at the farm.

Snack bars

Another project that we’re working on this month: grain-free energy bars. Made with various nuts, seeds, our own local honey, nut butters, and assorted dried fruits, the bars are packed with protein and low in carbs.

And finally, we are developing a line of artisan breads for our market made with ancient einkorn organic wheat flour.  Einkorn has less gluten than conventional wheat, requiring different baking techniques. It takes a bit of practice after years and years of baking with high gluten flours!  Watch for our new energy bars and einkorn products this spring when the market opens.

Think positive! February is the month to take care of all those loose end projects so that you’re free to be outside to welcome Spring back to this area.  Get going!

 

 

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Working Through Winter

For a farm and farmers, winter is time to lie dormant and refresh ourselves after the long production season. But to be sure, there isn’t all that much down time on a farm that will spring back to life after a couple of months in the deep freeze. The time passes quickly. We travel a little, hunker down with the early darkness to read, plan, and prepare for spring, and we spend time with friends.

We also reap some of the goodness of the past summer. In the little hoop house that we installed in the kitchen garden last fall, there is still spinach, tat soi, claytonia, arugula and lettuce that grows slowly but faithfully even during the coldest days. On sunny days, the temperature climbs quite quickly inside the hoop, where the plants are protected from the cold, drying wind.  With the mild temperatures we’ve had this fall and winter, we’ve been able to continually harvest fresh salad greens for our family’s dinners.

Likewise, root vegetables are protected under a layer of snow and straw. Last week when the temperatures were in the 20’s and 30’s, we dug white potatoes and horseradish and even a few carrots.  The vegetables convert some of their starches to sugars as a kind of antifreeze, and so are very sweet when harvested in winter. Plus, it’s such a treat to gather really fresh foods during the dead of winter!  A morale booster for sure!

Last summer we decided to try growing fig trees, knowing that they require extra protection in northern climes during the winter months.  We planted four trees in a south-facing, protected area; two each of brown turkey and Chicago hardy varieties. We actually harvested about a dozen or so fresh fruits from one of the trees last summer.  Now they stand covered with burlap and tarps, stuffed with straw for insulation, looking like dark snowmen waiting patiently for the spring thaw.  We are waiting as well, hoping that they will survive the cold Indiana winter and reward our care with some of our favorite fruits next summer.

That’s what’s happening this week; stay tuned for more news about our upcoming 2016 season here on Old Loon Farm!

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Happy Holidays from Old Loon Farm

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Happy Holidays! And the very best to everyone in 2016!

 

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New hoop house that Chuck built in the OLF kitchen garden!

For our 2015 CSA subscribers, our kitchen garden is still supporting lettuce and other greens. Come harvest what you need!

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5th Week Fall – Season Finale for 2015

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Thank you, Ladies!

Hello, Farm Friends!

It’s another beautiful fall day here on the farm and we’re not only harvesting for this year, but building for next year!  Charlie is busy building a small hoop house  in our  kitchen garden. Hopefully this will give us a big jump on some of our early crops next spring, especially those yummy spring salad greens.

This is our final week for the 2015 CSA season and we’d like to thank you all for your support of Old Loon Farm. We certainly hope you have enjoyed the products we’ve provided and have learned a bit more about some new foods and farming. We have enjoyed sharing our farm with you all!  We appreciate any comments you have about the season, service, selection, etc.  Just drop us a line. We love making it all work better!

This week’s basket is a garden clean-up on vegetables.  You will have new romaine and leaf lettuce, as well as new crop radishes.  Additionally there is still plenty of kale, sweet potatoes and white potatoes, and small amounts of end-of-the-garden soup veggies.  We will be making horseradish, and still have fall herbs available. And you’ll get half a dozen of our best, farm fresh eggs.

As a reminder, the Saturday Farmer’s Market has ended for the year, so those who collect baskets on Saturday  will need to make other arrangements if you haven’t done so already.

Thanks again to all of you!  Enjoy your holidays and the winter, and we hope to see you sometime next year!  Keep watching our posts here on oldloonfarm.com, and stay abreast with our farm news.  Old Loon Farm is also on Facebook.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Jane and Charlie

Posted in CSA Newsletters

4th Week – Fall season 2015 Staff of Life

Hello, Farm Friends,

DSCN2790[1] The growing season is winding down on Old Loon Farm, and we are beginning to think about warm and nourishing meals that ward off the chill of the evenings.  This week our menu includes fresh, home made bread and jam, assorted end-of-the-garden vegetables, and half a dozen fresh eggs. We have more white and sweet potatoes – if you prefer not to have those in your baskets, just let us know.  Also, please let us know in advance if you would like herbs, or fresh root or processed horseradish.

Have a wonderful week!  The next few days, at least, look promising.

Posted in CSA Newsletters

3rd Week – Fall Season – More Potatoes!

Happy Monday, Farm Friends,

rooster planterIt’s hard to believe it’s nearly the end of September.  The weather has been exceptional, the moon has been generous in her light this week, stretching out the days into working (or relaxing) evenings. We will certainly miss all of this in winter, so we hope you are enjoying it all now!

The past couple of weeks we’ve been planting crops for winter garden.  It’s true, both greens and root crops can survive surprisingly cold temperatures.  A blanket of straw will keep them from freezing; days above 40 degrees will spur them to growth. So, often we push away the snow and straw and dig a few carrots for supper in the middle of the “January thaw.”  We also use covered boxes to keep salad greens going in the fall, sometimes through December.  Somehow it all tastes even better then!  Try it in your own garden patch; we’ll be glad to advise or help in any way we can.

This week’s basket will include a bag of fall salad mix, radishes, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, half a dozen eggs, and tomatoes, green and/or red, as long as they’re available.  We have raw root or processed horseradish but you need to order ahead so we can dig it fresh for you.  In the herb garden we have basil, sage, chives, new cilantro, parsley, fennel, nasturtium flowers and mint. Please also let us know ahead of time if you want any herbs in your basket.

Subscribers should have received an email from us with information on storing and preserving potatoes.  They’re plentiful now, and there are ways to keep them for enjoying later in the fall and winter.

See you all this week!

Jane & Charlie

Posted in CSA Newsletters