News and Blog
A foggy drive in this morning, but it looks like it is going to turn into a beautiful day. Maybe we will have a few days with no rain. Farmers are always thankful for rain. There is nothing more miserable than a drought where you sit back and hopelessly watch all your plants wither away. So, when we complain about too much rain it is in soft, subdued tones almost whispered with fear.
This year we have a lot of stuff planted on paper mulch. It is approved for organic production and we get it from a company in Colorado. We like it because it breaks down easily at the end of the season and rain can penetrate it so there is no need for irrigation. The only negative is the cost. It is expensive.
We also grow on black plastic mulch. It is also approved for organic use and is much cheaper than paper. However, you must irrigate using drip tape under the plastic. We have an implement we pull behind a tractor that shapes a six inch raised bed, lays down the drip tape and lays the black plastic. We grow most of our tomatoes and peppers on plastic. The black plastic also heats up the soil which many plants like.
I am surprised that we still have lettuce. Usually it has bolted (that's when it shoots up a long stem for flowers and starts putting all the plants energy and resources into reproduction) by this time but we keep getting some great lettuce heads. Do come early if you can. It seems to go quickly.
Please stop by and see us today. We want to stay in touch with the community we serve and we want you to feel you have a connection with the people who grow your food.
I hope that you have some wonderful plans for the Fourth of July holiday this year. Seems that potato salad would be a good item for this holiday. If you haven't tried our Red Norlund potatoes you don't know what you have been missing. I love the creamy texture and soft skins on these new potatoes. You don't even need to peel them. They have been grown in organic soil and were never sprayed with anything. Tasty.
What is holiday cookout without a fresh salad. We have several varieties of head lettuce this week that have a fresh flavor that defies description. I feel that I can taste the nutrient density that comes with the vitamins and minerals provided by our organic soil that has been enriched with compost.
One of the main goals of organic farming is to feed the soil so that the soil can feed the plant. Our soil is amended every two years with compost. So far this year we have used almost 40,000 lbs of compost. We can't make this much compost on the farm so we have to buy certified organic compost and have it delivered by dump trucks. We spread the compost by hand and then add some composted chicken manure before mixing it into the soil. Very labor intensive. But the final product makes it all worthwhile.
It is a lot of work to grow organically and maintain all the records needed for our certification. We have made a commitment to this way of farming. And, so have you. Thank you for supporting local, organic farming.
Hope to see you at the market later this morning.
Hope you were able to weather the storms yesterday without any damage. We got a lot of rain but no wind damage. It will probably take a few days for the ground to dry out before we can get back to planting and cultivating. Although we are thankful for the rain, so are the weeds. And when the ground is wet we can't cultivate. The weeds know this and spring into action as quickly as possible!
This will probably be the last week for the June apples. If you haven't tried them I suggest you get some and make the tastiest pie you have ever had.
We have a few new varieties of lettuce including the popular Buttercrunch. The lettuce we have now is head lettuce. It will be a while before we have anymore cut lettuce.
The weather is beautiful today. It is the perfect morning to come explore the market.
Hope to see you soon,
I enjoy cooking. I didn't say I was good, but I really do enjoy playing around with flavors and trying to create something new. The good news is that sometimes it is really good. The bad news -- I usually can't replicate it because I never write down the ingredients or the amount.
This week I experimented with cooking some of the June Apples we now have available. I carefully cut,cored and sliced them up and put them in a skillet with bacon grease (yes, bacon grease -- you could use another kind of oil) and cooked them for a few minutes and then covered them and let them stew for another few minutes. Then I added about 1/4 cup of brown sugar and stirred everything up.
It tasted great but came out looking more like applesauce than fried apples. I think I may have used too much bacon grease (yes, bacon grease - and I didn't think there was such a thing as too much!) and I may have let them cook too long. Also my slices may have been too thin.
It passed the taste test but fell short of the eye test. I think that may be why more people don't try these wonderful tart little apples. They are not perfect. They have blemishes. These apples are the only ones I know that are grown organically in our area. Most apples are grown using conventional farming techniques and are heavily sprayed. They look nice. You will have be the judge on their other qualities.
So, our organic apples may be a little rough on the outside but are wonderful on the inside. Kind of like a lot of people I know. Don't judge whats on the inside by what you see on the outside. Maybe we should call these "apples for the people like the people." I would use this for our new marketing campaign but I'm afraid Amazon might want to buy us out.
There are a lot of wonderful tasting things in our booth today. We even have things that look good on the outside and taste good on the inside.
Come see us today. We know that you all are all beautiful on the inside.
It is a beautiful morning here at the market. Pleasant temperature and humidity. Come on out and enjoy this morning and pick up some fresh, organic vegetables.
Today we have some June apples (I believe they are the only local, organic apples available) which make great pies. They have just the right balance of tartness to give wonderful flavor to baked goods.
We also have our first harvest of Red Norlund potatoes. Ruby red skin with a creamy white interior make them a perfect match for many dishes that utilize potatoes. You will also find Sugar Snap peas on the produce table this week.
In addition to harvesting, we spent some time yesterday laying landscape fabric in the high tunnel. We will be planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers in there on Monday. We are hoping that the landscape fabric will smother out all the weeds and allow the plants to grow vigorously without having to compete with the weeds.
Organic farming is challenging but it also very fulfilling to be able to to come up with creative solutions that result in better productivity.
Come see us today. We are happy to share our story and our food with you.
Larry and Beth
It was a nice cool and crisp morning as we unloaded and set up everything today for the market. However,l I don't think it will take long for it to warm up. Hot humid days are rough on produce so I suggest you come as early as possible.
I thought last week would be the last for asparagus but it turns out that we have more for you this week. A nice surprise for all of us.
When you come this morning to pick up your CSA or shop the market you may have the opportunity to meet Samantha Timko. She is going to help out this morning for a couple of hours. Sam is one of our workers this year and is doing an incredible job on the farm helping us implement some of our new strategies. Her background and training are in the culinary arts but she just got back to Louisville last month after spending six months working on an organic farm in south Texas.
We have a couple of other excellent helpers this summer and I will be introducing them to you as we progress throughout the season. Finding good labor is always a challenge and we feel very fortunate to have Sam, Ashley and Jeremy as a part of our farming family this year.
The dry weather last week enabled us to get some more ground prepared and we should be getting more plants in the ground next week. We have a lot of tomato plants sitting out ready for planting so hopefully we can accomplish it next week.
We are going to try a different method in the high tunnel this year to help with weed management. On Friday, Ashley and Jeremy worked on laying out the rows and applying compost. Once the irrigation system is set up I am going to cover the entire area with landscape fabric. I will then burn holes through the fabric to make a place to plant. I am excited about this and it is one of the many new adventures we are taking this year in an effort to improve our efficiency and quality.
So, come see us today at the market. In addition to the organic produce we will also have organic herbs for you to plant (either in individual pots or in the beautiful herb boxes we make from repurposed wood from the farm) as well as compost boxes and birdhouses (also made from wood from the farm).
Thanks for your support of our local, organic farm.
Larry and Beth Brandenburg
Harmony Fields Farm
We will be at the St. Matthew's Farmer's Market tomorrow from 8:00-12:00 with the freshest local, organic produce available. Today we cut the heirloom lettuce Black Seeded Simpson. It is incredibly delicious and works in salads as well as lettuce for sandwiches and burgers. It has taste and nutrition. Don't miss out on it.
We will also have Gourmet Mix which includes several varieties of different colors. This is a great salad mix. Don't miss out on it.
This spring has been very odd. Summer like temperatures in April and a frost this past Monday, May 8, when we got down to 34 degrees. Fortunately none of our stuff was effected. We know better than be fooled by the weather.
However, our asparagus was fooled. It stared producing in late March!! So, we will have asparagus available tomorrow. This is the only local, organic asparagus in our area.
We are also going to have some apple mint. Now, you may think that mint season is over (mint juleps) but our apple mint has many uses. For more information go to onlyfoods.net and read about this wonderful plant.
We will also have our herb boxes, compost bins, and bird houses made from repurposed wood from the farm. Most of these items have been made by my 85 yr old father-in-law who is an amazing craftsman. Maybe you need a Mother's Day gift? And, Beth will have some flower bouquets available also,
If you are interested in joining our 2017 local, organic CSA, please let us know. You can talk to us at the market or email us or call us.
Also, in a few weeks we will be taking some of our grass-fed cattle off for processing. Individual cuts will be available at the market but if you are interested in 1/4, 1/2 or a whole cow, please let us know. Buying in bulk is the most affordable way to provide wonderful grass-fed, grass-finished beef for your family,
We hope to see you tomorrow, Even if you don't need anything, please stop by to visit.
Larry and Beth Brandenburg
We are excited to be up and running for our 2017 CSA. Our prices will be the same as last year, $375 for a half share and this year we will give you a break on a full share for $725.
We are looking forward to a great year. Some of the labor challenges we had last year have been solved and we are increasing production.
If you know others who might be interested, we will be open to adding more people this year.
We have begun implementing a new bio-intensive method which we believe will help us improve quality and quantity of our produce. We are especially excited about some new weed control methods using silage tarps to smoother weeds and flame weeding in conjunction with stale bed techniques. The bio-intensive method involves closer plant spacing to create more plant canopy to shade out weeds. This requires more soil nutrients and we have pouring on the compost and composted chicken manure. Recently had 40,000 lbs. of certified organic compost delivered via a three axle dump truck!
One other thing we are excited about this year is that Larry is going to part-time status with his "in-town" job which means he can be full time on the farm. This will open up many more opportunities for him to manage and guide our farm.
Also, as I mentioned before, we are happy to have a couple of former employees join us again this year. You will be hearing more about them soon.
If you would like to continue this year, please go ahead and send us a check make out to Harmony Fields Farm and mail to us at:
Harmony Fields Farm
5686 Finchville Rd.
Shelbyville, KY 40065
Also, we will be sending some beef off for processing in the next few weeks. If you are interested in grass-fed, grass-finished beef, please let us know. We can price out whole, half and quarters if you are interested. Or, we will have individual cuts available at the market
Thanks for your support!
Larry and Beth Brandenburg
We will be at the St. Matthew's Farmers Market tomorrow from 8:00-noon.
Come early if you want to get the most wonderful fresh, organic asparagus you have ever tasted. It always goes quickly.
We will also have Kale and Lettuce as well as many vegetable and herb transplants. Maybe this year you would like to have your own culinary herb garden. We have something to meet this need. Come talk to Beth about our Herb Boxes.
Thank you for supporting local organic agriculture. Without you we would not be here.
See ya tomorrow.
Larry and Beth
I apologize for the late hour. I have just now come in. Have been on the tractor since early this afternoon. Farmers must take advantage of any window of opportunity provided by Mother Nature. It has been wet for a long time now but finally we have had some warm temperatures and wind and no rain. This has allowed the ground to dry out and given me the chance to work some ground in anticipation of planting later this spring. I'm not yet done but should be finished in a couple of hours. Thank goodness for lights on the John Deere!
We are beginning to make plans for our 2016 Organic CSA. If you are interested, please let us know immediately.
We will be at the winter farmer's market tomorrow in the gym at Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church, 311 Browns Lane from 10:00-1:00.
Recently Beth came upon he following quote from Wendell Berry (from "The Pleasures of Eating"):
"If you have a yard or even just a porch box or a pot in a sunny window, grow something to eat in it. Make a little compost of your kitchen scraps and use it for fertilizer."
For the past few months we have been putting together herb and lettuce boxes for you to grow your own food in your home. We also have been making compost boxes to sit on your kitchen counter. Beth was excited when she saw this quote since it supports the efforts we have been making to enable you to be more sustainable in your own home.
Please come see us tomorrow at the winter market and check out our herb and lettuce boxes and compost bins. Also, let us know if you are interested in our 2016 CSA.
Thank you for supporting local, organic food in your community.
Larry and Beth Brandenburg