News and Blog
Anticipating strawberry season in early April. If the weather holds well we should begin pick your own about the 10th. It appears that it will be a strong start. The plants look good and blossoms abound. Fortunately, the ratio of blooms and vegetation appears to be good.
Strawberry season is no little thing here at the farm. We strive to offer as much variety in strawberries as we can. To begin with we have four different varieties. Camarosa and Chandler are the two main varieties. We offer pick your own or pre-picked. Several package sizes are available ( pints, quarts, 4 qt, 8qt flats). We even sell cull berries. Since we grade our berries after we pick them we are able to have berries that are good but not up to top standards. These are sold at a discount price. We offer stem berries ( these are often the best berries any where, premium fruit). We also have a high quality chocolate for dipping fruit. We sell strawberry pies, strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, strawberry milkshakes!, organic strawberries, strawberry jams, jellies, preserves and not to forget strawberry slushies!
Over the years people have repeatedly told us that our strawberries were the best. No brag, just fact! But as always you get to be the judge. We are very grateful that so many have made that their judgment. Often good fruit is affected by the soil. Our soils seem to agree with strawberries. The climate, the soil and good nutrition seem to come together well here. Every year is unique but many years of growing strawberries tells me that the real credit for good fruit belongs to God. Strawberries were not something people invented. Breeding has helped in many ways but the real goodness of a strawberry started without human help. Much of a season rests beyond our control. It seems to me to only be appropriate to acknowledge Providence’s hand.
Are you an asparagus lover? As a child I definitely did not like asparagus. The only asparagus we knew came in a can. It was not until we started growing asparagus that I had fresh asparagus to eat. Wow, what a difference! Now for the next 6-8 weeks is the season for our asparagus. We have some organic asparagus. We sometimes have white asparagus. Please let us know ahead if you want white asparagus.
Storing asparagus is easy just keep it cool ( refrigerator), a little water on the cut ends is ok but don’t let the spears lay in water.
I like asparagus very simple, lightly steamed. Asparagus is something you don’t want to over cook! Perhaps you may have favorite way to eat it yourself? One of the benefits of farmer’s markets is the inter-change of ideas and traditions among customers. If you would like you can share a recipe with others, leave it in the comment section.
Often I am reminded of the difference between living in the real world and the typical lifestyles of our times. It usually expresses itself by the prevalent notion that we can control our own lives. We have incredible power to control so much to suit our wants. We sometimes express surprise, frustration, or complain defiantly when we encounter situations that we can’t control. It has been a healthy reminder to know that we are not meant to control everything. Life on the farm certainly bears that out. Sometimes it really leaves you feeling the pains of failure or serious disappointment. But all in all it brings a sharp focus of how special life actually is. Looking back on growing up here it is clear that this is a place where you witness the miracle of new birth and the pain of death. You see the wonder of health and strength in the crops and the livestock. You take pleasure in the company of such vigor, health and well being. But at the same time you are made aware of your own limitations. Being able to see the life cycles lived out before your eyes and often cradled in your hands is like learning from a timeless Master. Reality comes steeped in truth. Things have a way of pointing one away from the epicenter of self and beyond toward the grander picture of what matters most. It is as if the soil speaks and gives testimony to it’s richness through sacrifices and the design of grander schemes all the while encouraging us to lose ourselves for that which will always matter most.
If you are interested in booking a Spring field trip please let us know. Use the email or call 910-287-6794 or 843-399-6902 and ask for Annie or just tell them what you want. If you know of other teachers or groups who may be interested we greatly apprecaite your sharing the web site with them as well. Thank you.
"The weather outside has been frightening but the produce inside has been inviting". I know Christmas has been over for awhile but the winter has continued with strength. Yet people have been saying that the produce we have is better in quality and price than what they are seeing in other places. You may want to check it out. We anticipate things to begin to get better each week of March. So now is a good time to get connected with what is happening here on the farm.
Now is the time for camellias as well. See the garden center for some very quality plants.
Since this is the time for more indoor activities don’t forget the pies and baked goods at the bakery.
We still have apple cider which is great for taste and a health boost.
If you are wanting to participate in a CSA ( community supported agriculture) please let us know. We are interested in making this available. One of our goals is to develop satisfying relationships with the people we serve. We believe CSA's are a good way to do this.
How to get the most from visiting a barnyard. A barnyard is different from a petting zoo. First, a petting zoo is a set up for seeing and petting animals. It is not set where the animals usually live except to be penned for exhibit. In a barnyard you don’t pet the animals but you see them in their normal environment. Secondly, pens and pastures are larger and usually the animals can have some natural interaction. It is this natural interaction that makes a barnyard a powerful place. Why powerful? One powerful aspect is in the manner in which you can observe behaviors. This is real honest behavior, no props, no coaching and no social inputs. Animals don’t use flawed human thinking yet they exhibit some real integrity in their relationships. Consider creatures such as the wild geese, swans or emus, these fowl actually mate for life! Being able to have watched pairs of geese nest and raise their brood has been amazing. There are stories to be told about what has been seen here on this farm. Often the humor takes form from other animals or younger animals that find out just how seriously motherhood is in the barnyard. Incredible scenes of young ( teenage) fowl or animals learning to become adults and the adjustments they discover along the way can bring a healthy laughter while serving to remind us or our very selves. Another powerful aspect is the lessons that can be reinforced upon us as we observe the commitment to motherhood, the duty of the males to protect or the uncanny brains of a hinny. A barnyard is for going slow, observe and take in as much as you can. Try to not intrude into it but rather like the animals browse your way around. Sit and listen, try to imagine what these creatures would say to you if they could.
We hope you had a good and meaningful Christmas and New Year. We have been busy trying to make repairs, grow winter crops, planning the spring /summer crops and planting the early spring crops. If you have some items that you would like for us to consider growing let us know. The big news is we will re-open January 14.We will have winter vegetables, hopefully stawberries, baked goods and items from the garden center.
If you are looking for ways to make the holidays special you might would like to know about what the farm has to offer.
The produce market has some items such as real local honey ( if you want to know for certain the honey is from the farm call 910-287-6403 and ask Sarah about her honey). Mr. Smith's honey is definitely local but not all of it would be from our farm. there are lots of items such as jams, preserves, relish, dressings, sauces, pickles and lots more. There is apple cider , still some grape juice and fresh strawberries right from our fields. As of last week we are still picking beans! there are some good greens and other cool season crops from the farm. Organically, we have turnips, radish, diakon, kale and soon baby lettuce.
The Bakery has much to offer. This is the time to place your orders in early. If you have not made the pies and baked goods a part of your holiday you are missing out. If you have a particular interest in something let us know we are interested in your input.
The Garden Center has many gift ideas for people who love to garden. The water garden supplies can make great gifts. The smaller items such as garden labels, signs and novel ornaments can make in expensive gifts suitable for young family members to give as well.
If you are into food that is nutritionally good for you, then you would likely want to know about our juice and cider. Our grape juice is made from our grapes mostly two varieties that are especially good for juicing due to their particular traits. One makes our red grape juice and the other our white grape juice. For many people these have become a tradition for the holidays.
Our apple cider is made here on the farm as well. The apples are from the mountains. We no longer try to grow apples here due to the heavy losses from the series of storms in the late 90's. We try to use the right mix of apples to create a rich taste and our cider is not pasturized. It is some of the best cider around.