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Posted 6/20/2017 10:01am by Stefanie Jaeger.

If you missed the newsletter, here is an update from Wild Hollow Farm!

Happy Summer Solstice from Wild Hollow Farm! We are your newest farm member of the Lake Superior CSA, providing fresh cut flowers. We are a family farm located 10 miles south of Ashland, just up the road from our neighbors at River Road Farm. In addition to providing the Lake Superior CSA with spring and summer flower shares, we also supply our local grocery store and food co-op with fresh seasonal bouquets and do many weddings and events throughout the summer.   Flowers have been a part of our farm since we began farming in 2004, but it wasn’t until we started growing them for sale that I came to appreciate the power of flowers and the important role they play in bringing them into our homes. Flowers bring healing, nostalgia, comfort, and peace into our everyday lives as they grace our kitchen tables, guest rooms, and coffee tables with their raw beauty. I used to be so hesitant about picking even a few stems to bring in, thinking they were more beautiful in their natural setting than in a vase on my table. Now, after making hundreds of bouquets and arrangements, I can’t imagine life without a steady stream of flowers in our home from the first tulip in March to the last lisianthus coming out of the hoop house in November.   Whether you are a member of our flower share community, or are picking flowers from your yard or garden, here are a few tips to help you extend the vase life and enjoyment of your flowers:

·      Harvest flowers at the right time and stage of maturity. The ideal time to cut flowers is during the coolest part of the day when they are well hydrated, either in the morning or late evening. Each flower has its ideal stage of development to cut in order to maximize vase life. In general, harvesting flowers while they are still in bud but not fully bloomed allows you to enjoy the process of them fully opening. There are, however, some flowers that will not continue to open if they are picked too soon – like zinnias, for example. You can do research on specific flower varieties, or I encourage you to experiment with stage of harvest in your own garden!

·      Allow flowers to rest in cool, clean water before arranging. Allowing flowers to rehydrate for a few hours will make them much easier and happier to work with. As you cut the flowers and place them in water, strip the lower half of the leaves off the stem. This will minimize wilting by focusing hydration to the top portion of the stem.

·      Use clean vases. Dirty containers encourage bacterial growth in the water, which will make flowers unable to take up water and therefore decrease vase life significantly.

·      Place flowers out of heat and light. After arranging your flowers or bringing your flower share home, place your flowers in a place out of direct sunlight and heat.

·      Re-cut stems and change the water every few days. This will encourage continued hydration.

·      Enjoy! Bringing flowers into your home is another way to enjoy and appreciate the seasonal flow of nature, just as many of you do by participating in the CSA’s vegetable shares. Flowers feed your soul!!

Posted 6/12/2017 2:22pm by Stefanie Jaeger.
I am in the middle of converting some pasture to tilled land that has not been opened up in a long, long time. It is a bit of an archeological discovery process with most of the junk being of late 20th century man such as soda cans and metal fence posts. But one artifact was a leather belly strap from a horse harness, how long the half-life of one of these might be that has been buried in the soil is unknown to me. The similarity to a human belly strap and a horse belly strap is also difficult to distinguish so maybe I am romanticizing this discovery. I chose to think it might be a horse artifact circa 1900, along with the pile of stone on the back of the farm and a few rusting horse drawn implements. My farm sits on one side of the "barrens" a jack-pine forest on the Bayfield peninsula with a  thin under story on sandy soil. The area was cut over and then farmed by unlucky immigrants who suffered on soil that was too dry to grow much. Still the county built farmers a railroad to get their produce to Duluth and a "farm to market" road still runs through these barrens, though no farms are still on the land. The railroad was an improvement to the stagecoach which could only run in winter on account of the deep sand that tops the barrens and mired the travelers. My soil turned up with some clay and silt and sits atop a deeper clay layer, so I feel more fortunate than those earlier settlers.

John Adams
Yoman Farm 
 

Photos: Horses escaping the rain in the shed. Horses in the blooming apple orchard. The spud planting machine. 

 

Posted 6/5/2017 2:31pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

If I had to sum up this spring planting season in a single word, it would be RAIN! Since Mother’s Day, we have gotten an incredible 10 inches of rain here at Great Oak Farm, which put a major damper on field work. That’s a whopping 270,000 gallons of water on each acre of our farm! Suffice to say it was a little muddy for a while, but the good news is that there is plenty of moisture in the ground now. Our pond is full to the brim, and the nice weather at the end of last week was just what the farmer ordered! Our farm hand Elie (who is back for her second season this summer) and I managed to get about 2.5 acres of transplants out on Thursday and Friday – everything from broccoli (the third planting already!) and cabbage to melons and field cukes. We also got about a half mile each of green beans (the second planting) and sweet corn seeded, and this warm humid weather is just perfect for germinating seeds and getting new transplants off to a great start. The first planting of field carrots is up, the peas are looking splendid, and the sheep are knee deep in lush grass in the pasture. While we got a little later start on the season than usual, what began looking like a challenging spring season has turned out to be manageable. So far this year, all the veggies in your boxes (except the rhubarb) have been grown in hoop houses – simple greenhouses heated by the sun. Those protected, warmer environments are a key part of making sure early season crops are ready for all of you, especially in rainy cold springs like this one. Even with no heat, when closed up on a cloudy day or at night, the air temp inside the hoop houses is at least 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. The hoop houses here at our farm that were growing spinach all winter are now chocked full of chard, collards, cukes, beets, carrots, scallions, and tomatoes. We’ve put up several hoop houses at the farm and have plans to add another one next year as well, giving us a little more control over our growing seasons when Mother Nature throws us some cold wet conditions. Over the last few years, we’ve also been investing in tools to get our field work done faster, and boy did it pay off this year. Having implements like tractor mounted seeders and our mechanical transplanter really have made a huge difference in being able to take advantage of small windows of opportunity to get a lot done in a short amount of time. It’s just Elie and I working here at the farm, so when conditions are right we need to be as efficient as possible. I’ve said it before: timing is everything! Speaking of timing, with all this recent moisture and warmth, it’s nearly time to start cultivating before the weeds get a good foothold.   Once we get the winter squash transplants out this week, the next big challenge will be cultivating out all those weeds, and I am looking forward to it. Our little cultivating tractors were built in 1947 and 1948 – they have seen a lot of weeds in their time! It makes me smile knowing that they are still reliably doing what they were made to do so many years ago. Have a great week everyone, and thank you for eating locally and seasonally with us! We’re mighty proud to be your farmers.   Yours in community – Chris Duke, Great Oak Farm

Posted 5/29/2017 4:42pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Mini Farmer Hans (with Dad, Farmer Todd) approves of the new water wheel transporter over at River Road Farm :)

Posted 5/22/2017 12:12pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

I'm sure my photography skills will improve over the season but we packed the first meat boxes of the season! We've got our regular meat shares and the mini meat shares! Chickens from Heritage Farm, Brats from Maple Hill Farm, Whitefish and Trout from Bodin Fisheries, Hamburger and Steak from Hidden-Vue Farm, Griggs Cattle Co and Moonlight Meadows! See you all Wednesday!

 

Week 1 Veggie + and Mini Veggie + Boxes

Veggie + Boxes

Mini + Veggie

Posted 5/15/2017 2:26pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Curious what veggies are available in May? Here's a peek at what we had last year at this time. Can't wait for May 24th! 

 

Posted 5/9/2017 8:00am by Stefanie Jaeger.

Spinach will be arriving in your CSA on the 24th so it's never too soon to stockpile some storage tips and a recipe! 

I doubt you'll need to store the fresh spinach too long simply because it's so delicious you'll want to eat it all at once :) But just in case you can't get to it right away, here are a few tips to keep it fresh!

  • Keep spinach in the original bag or plastic container
  • Store bunch spinach in a plastic bag
  • Store as cold as possible without freezing

More tips here

Here is some cooking inspiration. Anything that says "slow cooker" is always a winner for me! 

Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna

 

 

 

Posted 5/8/2017 12:21pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Nora and Autumn are taking turns on the transplanter, planting strawberries. Next year, the kids will be running the strawberry patch for their summer jobs! :) 

 

 

Posted 2/16/2017 10:04am by Stefanie Jaeger.

Are your New Year’s resolutions already in the rearview mirror? If so, you’re not alone, but you still have time to make good on those resolutions.

The Lake Superior CSA is pleased to join other farms from around the country for the third annual CSA Day on February 24, when you can join other like-minded people around the country who are committed to:  

  • eating healthful foods and preparing them for their families;
  • supporting their local farmer;
  • being kind to our planet;
  • learning something new;
  • being adventurous in the kitchen

 

CSA (community-supported agriculture) is a subscription to a season’s worth of sustainable, locally grown produce that is distributed to members throughout the harvesting season. It is a form of investment that allows small farmers to continue growing on a scale that may not be sustainable without the CSA model. CSA members enjoy the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables for their family, while supporting their local farmer. According to Small Farm Central’s CSA Farming Annual Report, the most popular time to join a CSA each year is at the end of February.

To promote this important time for farmers, CSA Day was coined, and each year it falls on the last Friday in February. It’s an entire day dedicated to the celebration of community-supported agriculture, and CSA farmers enjoy an influx of sign-ups from members, which gives them revenue when they need it most for the growing season. Getting food from a CSA is different from going to a farmers market or using a grocery delivery service. As a CSA member, you make a seasonal commitment to a small farmer in your area, and the produce is either delivered to your door or you pick it up at a local distribution center. CSA members take pleasure in knowing where and how their food is grown, and typically have an open line of communication with their farmer. “Community-supported agriculture is all about relationships and feeding families,” said Simon Huntley, CEO of Small Farm Central, a company that provides marketing support for small farms and started CSA Day. “CSA farmers typically teach members what’s in season throughout the year, and help them appreciate and cook food to which they may not otherwise be exposed.”  

How to Get Involved with CSA Day If you would like to celebrate CSA Day and support The Lake Superior CSA, sign up for a share on February 24, and use the hashtag #CSAday to join the online conversation. You can also sign up here to stay up to date on news and updates about CSA Day.   “Sign-up is easy,” says Stefanie, the CSA Manager for the Lake Superior CSA. “To learn more and to join us for the 2017 season, you can reach us at www.bayfieldfoods.org, email us at csamanager@bayfieldfoodproducers.org or call us at 715-209-0362. “We offer a wide variety of different options for any type of budget and we have monthly payment plans available”.

About Small Farm Central and CSA Day In 2006, Simon Huntley combined his passion for helping small farmers and his experience in technology to found Small Farm Central. The organization serves the technology needs of small business farmers, including websites, ecommerce, CSA member management and marketing tools. Small Farm Central coined CSA Day in February 2015 to celebrate local agriculture among CSA members and farmers. Small Farm Central has worked with more than 1,000 farms across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, please visit www.smallfarmcentral.com and www.csaday.info.

Posted 12/1/2016 5:54pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Hello and welcome to our new website!