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Weather is a Real Factor on the Farm  

In our micro climate, almost all vegetables on our farm do better when planted in May. Of course, there are always a few outliers, like peas or spinach, but for the most part the soil is warmer, the seed beds can be worked without soil compaction and the germination rates are just better for everything especially weeds!

Planting has more to do with soil type and your micro climate. For us we are a hair colder and our soil is “heavier” which means we need some warmth to get a good seedbed before planting. We certainly had a wonderful May, an okay June, and a decent start to July for planting weather. This week you are getting some wonderfully tasty beets from our May planting.

This is also the time I get my first water bills. OUCH! To review weather patterns, all I have to do is look over the previous years’ water bills! And May was hot this year. I am eagerly (not really) anticipating the July/August water bill!

Beets are a great crop to grow as a farmer and home gardener. I sow (plant) about twice as much as I need which allows me to harvest over a longer time frame. This strategy works well for beets because they can be harvested as babies or full size. As a rule, I usually plant about 25% more than needed on all crops, to accommodate for early achievers and laggards. One could say that I farm based on a bell curve!

As I shared last week, we are still planting and still weeding and still harvesting from the crops we planted in May, but June plantings are starting to make an appearance. I saw my first red tomatoes and cukes are setting fruit. We picked our first green peppers last week also!

Next week we are going to be harvesting our first crop of Frisee ever (hopefully). I am trying to time the harvest and since I have never grown it, I am paying ultra-close attention to how it responds to the heat. So far it looks great. If I am successful, I am planning on featuring it with a roasted mushroom salad. YUM!

Eating more fruits and vegetables is an important part of the solution to America’s obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease crisis. Real food, grown as locally as possible and eaten as fresh as possible is a game changer for anyone’s health!

I love what I do. Yes, it is hard work, but providing your family with organically grown foods that make a difference in your health—that motivates me.

Thank you,


Your Farmer and Community Health Activist



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Fresh This Week Tips, July 12, 2011


STORE: Proper storage can extend their useful life, preserve their nutritional value and help retain their flavor. Store green bell peppers for short-term use by refrigerating them in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. With proper refrigeration, a healthy bell pepper should last from three to five days in the refrigerator.

USE: Whether you eat them raw, roasted, or cooked, green peppers add a flavorful punch to any dish. Enjoy crunchy strips of raw bell peppers in your next vegetable platter, add soft pieces of roasted pepper to salads or sandwiches, or add them to stir-fries, soups and stews. Cooking green peppers in any form will be sure to bring out their sweetness.

PREP: When it comes to preparing bell peppers, first wash and dry them. Then, remove the stem by cutting around it in a circle. This gets rid of most of the seeds. When you look inside, you’ll see the white “ribs”; slice down the ribs, so that you have three or four pieces of pepper.


STORE: It can be kept in the fridge for up to one week. When you’re ready to use it, wash the squash, then slice both ends off.

USE: Whether creating a delicious salad, grilling vegetables, or sautéing them for an extra touch, summer squash is a beautiful, simple, and easy addition to any summer dish.

PREP: To prepare squash, start by washing it off and drying it. Then, when you’re ready to use it, slice both ends off and cut it into the size pieces you need for whatever dish you are preparing.


STORE: Place beets unwashed in a cool place, like the refrigerator crisper, in a plastic bag where they will keep for two to four weeks. To increase storage life, remove the greens, but be sure to leave at least an inch of the stem. Use gloves to prevent staining if that’s a concern.

USE: Beets make a great addition to sweeter summertime dishes. Whether you make them in a glaze, roast them for a refreshing salad, slow cook with a delicious roast, or sauté them with greens, beets add a beautiful color and flavor to almost any meal.

PREP: Wash the beets whole, and trim to one inch from the stem to minimize bleeding before placing on a baking sheet. After cooking, trim off about 1/4 inch of the beet roots. Then rub off the skins, which should slip off easily after cooking.