Archive for the 'Community Supported Agriculture' Category
Tags: crop rotation, drip irrigation, harvest, kale, radishes, record-keeping
Preparing the rows for planting – after we form the beds with the tractor, we add fertilizer and level off the tops. If our soil was a couple of inches deeper, the bedder attachment would have done this for us – it almost does it in some of the deeper soil areas (6″-8″ mounded). Pretty good for our “shallow, Krome gravelly soils”, as the USGS labels them.
Here I’m documenting what’s being planted in the rows. This is good farming practice, and is required recordkeeping for organic certification. Why? These kinds of records allow the farmer to keep track of what’s planted where, so s/he can maintain a rotation plan for the crops, helping to keep crop-specific pests and diseases minimized, and prevent excessive soil nutrient depletion.
The baby Lacinato Kale plants are coming right along, with their drip irrigation delivering water right to the root zone of the plant, where it is needed.
These D’Avignon French Breakfast radishes are popping out of the ground, ready to be harvested. Yummy!
Just a few weeks later, here’s those kale plants last week, nearly ready for first harvest as bunches. Look for some at the market on Sunday, and soon in the CSA shares.
Tags: certified organic, chicken tractors, chickens, Cornucopia Institute, CSA, eggs, organic eggs, Rachel's eggs
The Cornucopia Institute recently updated their Organic Egg Scorecard. Our certified organic Rachel’s Eggs have been ranked 4th among over 120 farms across the nation, with 2160 of a possible 2200 points and a “5-egg” rating (2001-2200): “Exemplary”—Beyond Organic!
Here’s the link to their latest report; http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/
click here to see OUR scorecard, with 100 points in 19 of 22 categories!
Our assortment of heritage breed hens rotate around our farm’s avocado grove in their chicken tractors, a bottomless pen designed to keep them safe from predators. They’re moved at least twice a week to fresh pasture, where they scratch around for goodies. They’re supplemented with certified organic, soy-free, non-GMO feed. During the wintertime, our eggs are snapped up as add-on egg shares by our CSA members, with a waiting list. Between mid-April and October, when the CSA isn’t operating, anyone can purchase our eggs though our ‘summer offers’ program.
Our other local organic egg producer, PNS Farms, who we mentored a few years back, has a 5 rating as well, with 2120 points out of 2200. Our CSA members also enjoy their eggs.
Tags: beans, chickens, CSA, Farm Day, farmers market, freezes, hayride, honey, local, rainbow carrots, Redland-raised, soil, tractor
After a dormancy approaching 2 years (really? really!! time flies!), I realized it’s time to crank up this blog again – just in time for the new season. We didn’t REALLY fall off the face of the earth. We’ve continued to send out emails, and have been active on Facebook, with some Tweeting thrown in from time to time, but I know that a number of our fans don’t “do” Facebook, not everyone is on our email list, and many don’t appreciate being bombarded with constant emails. So, I’m brushing off the rust, oiling the gears…ready to blog it!
Lots of things have happened in the intervening months. It’s the cycle of life on a farm – preparing, planting crops, weeding, harvesting, selling, delivering, removing, recharging, then starting all over again. And in between each one, there’s weeding, dealing with unexpected stuff – sometimes good, sometimes not – more weeding, and in the summer, mowing and mowing and mowing – oh, and weeding! Then somewhere in the mix, throw in a crop of baby chicks to replenish the flock, after decimation by coyote and feral dogs… yep, life on the farm is NEVER boring.
We saw new markets start, and others die out. The Homestead Market at Losner Park and the Overtown Market on 10th Street did not return in 2011-2012, and were sorely missed. But the slightly less hectic pace let us concentrate on the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market, where we had a great season. We’ll be back in Pinecrest in December.
Last year we started using Farmigo’s CSA software system. We’ve fully automated our CSA enrollment process and are now able to offer more flexibility with share options and payment plans. In the summertime, when the CSA isn’t running and we don’t sell at the farmers market, we’ve always had a prepaid system (open to anyone) to order seasonal summer items – mainly tropical fruit. We implemented Farmigo’s webstore functions for this, and expanded our summer pickup locations to include the Upper Eastside Market, where our more northerly customers could pick up their orders without having to schlep down to Joanna’s Marketplace in the Dadeland area or to the farm in Redland. That’s worked out really well!
Our CSA options expanded last year, with the discovery of locally-grown Sem-Chi certified organic rice right in the Clewiston area barely 100 miles from the farm, and the debut of local salt farmers Midge & Tom with their Florida Keys Sea Salt. As more local organic (or pesticide-free) producers come online, we continue to develop additional stability and more variety in the shares. We’re always looking for new crops, too. We have an amazing opportunity in South Florida to explore tropical food crops not available in the rest of mainland USA, and we’re all about that! Of course, Mother Nature always has the last word.
…see you around!
Cornucopia Institute posts Miami Herald article- Bee Heaven owner: Organic farming is good for the foodie — and the landPublished 24 July 10 Animals, Critters & Beasties , Community Supported Agriculture , FARM , Food , Interns, Apprentices & WWOOFers Leave a Comment
Tags: avocados, chicken tractors, chickens, cover crops, CSA, eggs, farmers market, muntingia, organic eggs, tropical fruit, wwoofers
Tags: Agri-Council Tour, freeze, tomatoes
Last week we hit the big time – the annual Agricultural Tour of South Dade came to visit us. Every year, the tour highlights an aspect of local agriculture. This year’s emphasis was on alternative agricultural activities, and the effects of the freezes in January.
Three busloads of local dignitaries, politicians, snowbirds, media personnel, and local residents took turns visiting a fish farm, a bromeliad nursery, an organic farm (us!) and Farm Share, charitable food distribution organization that receives donations from local farmers and distributes them to needy families and organizations that feed the hungry.
It’s great to see that we are now recognized as legitimate agricultural producers. It wasn’t that long ago that local organic growers worked pretty much underground, without any support infrastructure – in part due to lack information. Land grant universities,such as the University of Florida, now have organic and sustainable agriculture research and training programs. The explosion in consumer demand for organic products has encouraged growers to convert to organic production.
Tags: Asian Mix, brassicas, Crops, CSA, farmers market, greens
Our Asian Mix a.k.a. Braising Mix is a truly nice product, especially this time of year when we get consistent cool nights and bright sunny days with the occasional cold front. I love this time of year as much as our greens do. Everything is lined up just right for the healthy development of Brassicas (the family of plants that include most of the greens we grow, including Mustard, Kale, Pei Tsai, Tat Soi and many others) right now. The days are getting longer so there is more sunlight for photosynthesis. At night, when I take a walk with my head lamp on I can see the leaves covered with dew standing perky and fully hydrated. They have developed a strong root system by now so they are never without water or nutrients. The quality of these plants really comes through in our Asian Mix. We’ve harvested it twice for the CSA and we bring it to the Pinecrest Farmer’s Market every Sunday.This is Pei Tsai growing out in the field. This is a delicious and not so well know Asian green that we love and grow every year. It’s a fast growing plant that resembles something between a cabbage and lettuce, so it is great both raw and lightly braised. It has a light, sweet flavor with hints of cabbage and the texture is crisp but soft.
This is Lacinato Kale, a.k.a. Dinosaur Kale, which most people are familiar with. These plants are seeded in the beginning of the season and produce abundantly until the very end. They get sweeter the cooler it is. The kale in our Asian Mix adds heartiness and turns it into something that is very braisable.
This an example of what goes into the mix. From left to right, Yukina Savoy, Lacinato Kale, Osaka Purple Mustard, Pei Tsai, Red Russian Kale and Tres Fin Frisee. It’s a perfect balance of textures and flavors!
This is the finished product, 1/2 pound per bag. We sell these at the farmer’s market for $4.50/each. One bag is enough to make a beautiful salad for up to 5 people or a few salads for a couple. When cooked, greens shrink down substantially in volume, but the nutrition in a dish accompanied by them is very high so you wont need much.
The pictures below where sent to me by Emily, one of this season’s interns. They are so beautiful I had to add them to this post.