Tuesday, November 19, 2019

November 21st

GIVING THANKS

Thanksgiving!  My favorite holiday!  Time to reflect on gratefulness and the wonders we are gifted with.  Looking through farm photos over the past few years, I find myself smiling.  The stress and complications of the growing seasons melt away and I am left with a vibrancy that can only come from nature and a supportive community.  Thank you for helping to make Little Ridge Farm a place of abundant gratitude!!


May your table and heart be filled with boundless bounty.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


This Month's Bounty: lettuce, green cabbage, chinese cabbage, onion, garlic, winter squash, potato, sweet potato, carrot, beet, turnip, parsnip, celeriac, leek ....




Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Oct 22nd and 25th

THANK YOU!

The end of another season, hard to believe! Hope you enjoyed every bite.  
All in all it was a great year, with 
an incredible crew of employees, workshares and volunteers.  
A HUGE thank you to them, without them, there is absolutely no way I could pull this off!  There is a tremendous amount of labor and love that goes into growing food for Little Ridge Farm's customers.  
We THANK YOU for the love you give back in supporting us!


now it is time for pie! ...and root bakes ... and roasts ... and fall greens
and planning for 2020!  I am lucky to have a huge amount of technical support in the local farming community and this winter there are two incredible conferences I will attend.  I am looking forward to reconnecting with friends and colleagues to exchange ideas and learn new concepts.  Climate change is a big topic these days; dealing with erratic weather patterns and new pests/diseases that have arrived with the warmer temps.  This year, I will be attending some talks on streamlining irrigation, which I hope gives me some ideas to improve our system here.  Plus, as you can imagine, there is always really good food!


We are just about done harvesting, washing ans storing crops for winter.  We have been blessed with beautiful fall weather, a bit wet but not too cold, and incredibly stunning skies.  Be sure not to miss out on this Winter's goodies or 2020 fresh eats!!!  We can't be here without YOU.

Thank you for a successful 2019 ... hope to see you soon!!

HOLIDAY/WINTER shares ... almost full

2020 Summer Sign ups...get on the wait list now!!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, tat soi, chinese cabbage, green cabbage, winter squash, onions, leeks, radish, hakurei turnip, fennel, carrots, beets, potatoes, cauliflower, cilantro, parsley....

Carrot yogurt Soup -- a Shareholder's Favorite




Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Oct. 15th and 18th

Fall Skies

 I feel blessed with so many glorious days and beautiful evenings.  The sky colors and clouds have been inspiring.  Even the turkeys like the colorful sunsets!


I will say it would have been nice if some of this fall rain came midsummer, but then again the late fall crops are looking plump and vigorous.  I am especially pleased with the cauliflower and spinach.  The celery hearts are crunchy and super sweet as well, a true treat for fresh eating and cooking.  

Miles of greens left in the field!


We still have a few 
HOLIDAY and WINTER 
share spots open 
be sure to sign up now and not miss out.

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, arugula, spinach, tat soi, pac choi, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, peppers, rainbow carrots, radish, celery, cilantro, acorn/delicata squash, pie pumpkin

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

October 8th and 11th

Hemp Harvest

The beautiful weekend was a full two days of harvesting Hemp!!  Thankfully we had an incredible crew of folks helping, including my brother, mom, dad and husband.  It was way more work than we anticipated and definitely have some improvements to be made but it was still exciting to see what a beautiful crop Little Ridge Farm produced.


Even Simon helped :)
The first step was to cut stems from the plants and then we removed all the flowers from the stem.  The flowers are what hold the Cannabidiol (CBD).  


The flowers are now on racks drying.  This step should take about 7 days.  Then the flowers are moved to an extractor, where the CBD will be extracted from the flower.  The oil will then be made into tinctures and other body care products.  All of this is being done locally and by hand -- a pure grass roots product!!

I must say I have fallen in love with the flowers themselves.  They each have their own unique smell and color with different little hairs and stamens.  I have been kind of obsessed with taking photos of them they are so uniquely radiant.

The rest of the farm is doing well too!  The cool season crops have enjoyed the cool drink of water and are looking lush and green.  We, the crew, are squeezing in as much work as we can into a day, harvesting mostly and rearranging crates full of produce trying to make room for storage.  It's a wonderfully stressful time for me....happy to see the bountiful harvest, but tough to find the time and space to be sure to get it all done!!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, tat soi, kale, peppers, tomatoes, leeks, potatoes, celery, radish, beets, carrot, cilantro

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October 1st and 4th

Color me Bright

Rainbow carrots are back!  Perfect to brighten up this cloudy day.  They were fun to harvest! Try eating them raw, roasted and sauteed, the flavor changes with each cooking method.  


Well here we are, October.  typically my favorite month, but I feel like it came a little fast this year.  We have come full circle and are now harvesting cool weather crops again; spinach, radish, tat soi....  It's hard to believe a month from now, the fields will be pretty much empty of produce except for crops that over winter; parsnips, garlic and strawberries. 

 Hope you are enjoying the bounty of fall!  it is pretty darn amazing.


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, arugula, spinach, radish, rainbow carrots, broccoli/cauliflower, tomato, pepper (sweet and hot), eggplant, onion, garlic, dill, cilantro

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sept 24th and 27th

Officially Fall!! 

The leaves in our field turned color over night.  The winter squash and pumpkins are all harvested and curing.  Frost has bit the field basil and tomato plants.  The hoop house is empty of tomatoes and is awaiting spinach seeds. Can't believe it is time for another change of the seasons, but here we are.  


Fall brings so much bounty.  So much I am thankful for and try to not be anxious thinking about where we will find the time to harvest it all and then were will we find the space to store it all.  I take the the 2nds and process them for freezing and canning....my freezer is already full!


With the change of season we have a change in crops.  Moving back to the cooler weather crops like radish and arugula and onto new crops likes leeks and winter squash.  Lucky for me my seasonal palette changes too and I no longer crave a cucumber but am relishing in the peppers and the last of the melons.

Hope this seasonal transition finds you thankful for so many things.


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, arugula, leeks, onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, poblano peppers, eggplant, fennel bulb, celery, corn, beans, dill, cilantro

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sept 17th and 20th

Late Summer Colors

Many signs are pointing toward fall. Even though the winter squash vines are tired, the bright fruit hidden within is a treat.  We escaped the onslaught of squash bugs this years, so many are perfectly beautiful.  These beauties will last us into February/March!


My favorite harvest -- peppers!  They take so long to color red ripe but it is oh so worth the wait!  Juicy crunchy and super sweet, I can eat several a day.  They are a prize I feel.  Something so expensive in the store and something I never buy.  It is one of my most favorite seasonal vegetables.



Hoping for a wee bit more of rain if you are up for another rain dance.  Lots of plants still need a bit more love to grow to their full potential.  This time of year we cover the soil with "cover crop" (pictured above).  Different cover crops have different attributes like adding nutrients or organic matter but they all protect the soil (preventing soil erosion).  The bigger the better!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, beans, onions, melons, corn, hakurei, peppers, broccoli, edemame, dill, cilantro, basil, fennel 


Monday, September 9, 2019

Sept 9th and 13th

A Touch of Fall

The turkeys are starting to ruffle their feathers in the cooler weather.  They are enjoying their fresh grass and tomatoes that do not make the standard cut.  Quite chatty these days, talk a walk to visit and have a little turkey talk!  

SIGN UP NOW FOR YOUR 2019 TURKEY!


Pumpkins are bright and gorgeous this year.  We have harvested them and a few of the winter squash varieties.  I am hesitant to put them in the share because that means summer is officially over!  Another week, let's savor the flavors of summer first.


Although many summer crops are getting tired, the fall broccoli and cauliflower are really kicking in.  These bright leaves make me happy.  Every year there are challenges and sometimes I get discouraged.  I try and focus on the things that turned out awesome and look for ways to improve the not so great.  Much of it is weather related, which is obviously out of my control.  But some things can be mitigated and that is where I look for change.  I appreciate you taking the time to eat seasonally and supporting your local farmer.  Sincerely. Thank you.


This Week's Bounty: chard, corn, melon, edemame, leek, celery, beans, carrot, beet, tomaot, potato, eggplant, hot pepper, basil, dill, cilantro


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sept 3rd and 6th

Summer Grillin'

Summer flavors are here and grilling brings out the best!  Roasted tomato sauce, eggplant spread, tomatillo salsa, spiralized zucchini .... There needs to be more meals in the day!!!


La Regina Rossa
This onion is fondly known as The Red Queen in Italy.  It is a famous sweet onion from Calabria, Italy and is named Tropea after a glamorous beach town the southern region.  "The incredible sweetness of the onion makes it a real all-rounder in local dishes – it is eaten in sandwiches, pasta dishes, burgers and salads and generously sliced over pizza. You’ll often see it served as antipasto – the onions take nicely to grilling, roasting and particularly salt-baking, but are sometimes eaten raw with a touch of oil. Frittata is another delicious local delicacy, where the onions are gently sweated then baked in an omelette. Tropea onions also make outstanding marmalade – the locals combine the onions with sweet peppers and cook them down for hours, making a delicious paste to spread on crostini or to eat with cold cuts and cheese." My first time growing them this year, I hope you enjoy!!


This is NOT my first time growing cauliflower, although I am still no expert.  This large plant takes nearly 3 months to grow and it prefers perfectly 75 degree days and an equal amount of moisture on each of those days -- ha!  That weather consistency seems non-existent on this farm, but we still are blessed with a few beautiful heads.  I will divvy them out among all of the shareholders this year and we will savor every bite : )


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, chard, tropea onions, edemame, melon, tomato, corn, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, dill, basil, fennel, beans

The Farmer's Table: 
Sausage, Egg & Tomato Pie -- variation of this recipe was no crust or bacon, but put sour cream on top -- delish!

Charred Eggplant & Tahini Spread -- or some recipe like this 

Spiralized Zucchini -- afraid of those big zukes?  Spiralize them!!  We lightly saute or stram them and then toss all sorts of stuff on top.  So good!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

August 27th and 30th

THANK YOU!

Sunday was incredible!! A beautiful day, fun music, amazing food and over 150 people!!  Thank you to all who came out to support Little Ridge Farm and to all who helped make this event a huge success!  It was fun to see old friends and meet new folks from the community and all over the state! I am honored you made our farm a part of your Sunday.

A bright shout out to Ashley Lentz of Healing Harbors who helped me think through this event and made the Posters, my tent crew: Martha, Joe, Dave, Lu, my superior Parking Crew: my Dad, my Godfather and Zach, my greeting and cleaning crew: Heidi, Angelina, Jean, Marcella and Lisa and my Clean up Crew: Gabe, Craig and Julia and my mom who fed us chicken late night!  And a thank you to all the vendors who came and celebrated with me: Side by Each Brewing, Healing Harbors, Winter Hill Farm, Gracie's Garden and Flux restaurant.  


Face Painting was a big hit!! 
There were bunnies and snakes and butterflies and flowers and lots and lots of sparkles!


And thank you to Terri Mason who created this amazing face in the hole board -- lots of fun : )

This farm has brought so much joy to myself and friends and family.  The love is felt here and I cannot thank you enough for your unending encouragement and support.  Here's to 10 Years and counting, I hope you will continue along for the ride!!!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, kale, onion, zucchini, summer squash, cucumber, melon, pepper, beet, carrot, eggplant, tomato

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

August 20th and 23rd

10 Year Anniversary!


20 years ago I met a fellow in Pennsylvania who was looking for a farm hand.  I did a two week working interview with him and I think by day two I was in love with farming.  The farm was similar to the one I run now, CSA model but just a bit larger in size.  I worked there for 3 years, my learning curve was huge and from there I sought out farming opportunities; traveling through France, Argentina, Italy and ending up in Maine.  We came to Maine with no exact plan except knowing that one day I wanted to run my own farm.  We happened onto this piece of land and bit by bit built my dream.  YOU and the surrounding community have been a HUGE part in making it happen.  Neighbors, friends and family loaned me money, donated huge amounts of time and granted me unending support.  We are so excited to be celebrating 10 successful years and look forward to many more!!


Please join in our celebration and thanksgiving to you

This Sunday August 25th from 1-4pm

Check out our facebook page for a history of photos 
and more information


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, beans, summer squash, zucchini, sweet onion, cucumber, carrot, chard, hakurei, beet, kohl rabi, tomato, basil, dill hot pepper, melon (full shares)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August 13th and 16th

Summer Sweetness

So many crops are right on the edge of ripening; corn, melons, peppers... Every day I keep checking!  Soon we will be in summer's full tilt. Unfortunately the rain showers have all passed north of us and we are still frantically doing rain dances (ie irrigating).  I am thankful for what is ripe and delicious right now though, hopefully you too are enjoying summer's sweetness.  

This is me weeding and thinning winter turnips while Puffa works hard at relaxing.  Every few minutes I would need to move ahead to the next section of field and he would just get up, saunter forward and snuggle back up.  Not too bad for a office mate : )

PYO Cherry Tomatoes and Tomatillos open!  Enjoy these tasty treats!!  Picking them is like working in a candy store, with the candy just dripping from the walls!

We have been working hard at trying to keep up with the last of the weeds, harvest and irrigation.  And starting to prepare for fall seeding and planting (already?!) Prioritizing has been difficult as there is so much to do!  Hope you are enjoying the bounty!!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, chard, cabbage, hakurei, new potatoes, beans, zucchini, summer squash, cucumber, tomato, eggplant, pepper, onion, basil, cilantro, parsley

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

August 6th and 9th

Ok, NOW we need some RAIN

The crops are really producing well, every week there is something new to harvest!  The majority of our day is spent harvesting; beans, cucumbers, summer squash...and soon melons!!  usually by now we have the weeds under control, but this year we seem to be overwhelmed still in a few areas.  if there is anyone who would like to get heir hands dirty for a few hours, let me know, it would be greatly appreciated.  Weeding can be very therapeutic and satisfying :) 

I can't believe I am saying it after the crazy wet spring we had, but we really need some rain.  'Tis the season that the clouds seem to skirt right around us.  If you do a rain dance, please be sure to be specific about where the raindrops fall : )

 

This year we are excited to be growing a new crop; hemp!
100% of this crop will be for a local company called Healing Harbors located in Durham, Maine.
A woman owned company with a superior product, we are proud to be working with them, be sure to check them out!

Hemp was classically grown for its fibers for clothing and rope.  It has also been found to have medicinal properties in its oil (CBD).  Hemp is NOT marijuana.  It has no properties that would make you "high" but it has medicinal value like any other herb or plant might (elderberries, echinacea, chamomile etc). Many people use it to help in muscle soreness, arthritis or insomnia.  It has also been known to help reduce seizures in animals and humans.  Here is some additional info:

When did I decide to grow Hemp? 
Last fall I was approached by one of my shareholders who runs a woman owned company called Healing Harbors located in Durham.  She wanted to see if I was interested in growing hemp for CBD oil for their product line.  They were excited for the potential to have a local, organic woman farmer.
For the last 3 years, I have been searching for opportunities to increase farm income & viability so that I may better compensate both my employees and myself for all of our hard work and in light of the unfortunate fact that my CSA numbers have been declining.  I have secured more wholesale vegetable avenues and researched other ideas around just veggies, but growing hemp seemed like a positive opportunity to continue to grow crops with greater profitability and for a good cause/good company.   

After careful consideration and several meetings with Stacey and Ashley of Healing Harbors, this winter I decided to give it a try.

Will I produce the oil?
The dried hemp flowers will be brought to a local extracting facility where the CBD oil will be extracted and given to Healing Harbors.

Organic seeds? Use of fertilizer?
The seeds were purchased from a hemp grower in Richmond, ME.  Hemp needs 50% less nitrogen than corn and less fertilizer than many crops I grow.  It will be fed a lower concentrate of my certified use fertilizer and crab shell flour that I use on all of my other crops.

In addition, I would like to add here that the growth of hemp is legal as well as the use/sale of CBD oil (LD630).  I have paid for and obtained a license from the state of Maine (see attachment).  There are rules I have to adhere to, for example any seed I use has to have a certificate proving that it tested below the allowable THC levels.  In the fall, a state inspector will come to the farm, collect samples and send them to a lab to again test to make sure any THC levels are below the allowable level.  In addition, Healing Harbors will take samples and do lab testing looking for any mold, bacteria or pesticide residue to make sure the crop I grow is of the highest quality for their product.

Do you have buyer? 
Yes.  Healing Harbors and I have signed a contract and all of the flowers I grow will be sold to them for extraction.

Will it be rotated with other crops, tilled in and or given to the livestock? 
This crop is certified organic by MOFGA, so it will be treated with the same rules and restrictions as all of my other crops.  I am growing .5 acre, so it will take up one entire field.  The location of this field will rotate around the farm in accordance with my current crop planning/rotations.

Hemp grows into a small tree-like woody shrub.  It will be too woody for me to til in, so I will clip the plants, burn them and possibly use the by product as bio char.

No hemp product will be fed to the livestock. 

What other benefits do you see by this crop (botanically/soil enhancing, etc..)with the other produce?
Hemp plants have a very deep root system which will help break up my clay soils.  It is naturally insect free so there will be no need for use of pesticides.  And as I mentioned earlier, it’s nutrient needs are less than many other crops, so even fertilizer (although organic) will be minimal.  It also has the potential to clean soils of heavy metals and other toxins.  Luckily I do not have toxins or heavy metals, but it is still considered to be a good soil purifier and a great plant to have in crop rotation for its deep roots and large canopy which shades out weeds.


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, red onions, scallions, zukes, summer squash, hakurei turnip, cukes, green beans! fennel bulb, eggplant, broccoli, basil cilantro...

If you still have a cabbage hanging out in your fridge, use it up as another is on its way!
Check out this recipe from a shareholder:

Monday, July 29, 2019

July 30th and Aug 2nd

HOT HOT HOT

Picking raspberries has been most delightful.  They are bright and cheerful and taste so delicious.  We usually pick for the the last hour or so of work, or I do so on my "time off" as a "relaxant".


The Pick Your Own garden is looking magnificent as usual.  I am so thankful for this place we call home and are happy to share it with you.


Zach bought a fat tire bike last summer and its main purpose has been an Irrigation Mobile.  The little cart he tows behind full of irrigation equipment.  It's been great!  Using the truck was a little overkill and now that we are down to just one, we found ourselves fighting over it.  So the bike has been a great solution and he loves zipping around the farm on it to turn on/off irrigation and say hi to the pigs.  I am thankful he finds irrigation work so entertaining as for me it is a lot of extra time I would rather spend doing something else....like picking raspberries : )


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, arugula, red onion, scallion, fennel, kohl rabi, beets, baby carrots, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, scapes, basil, dill, cilantro...

The Farmer's Table: 
*summer cooked turkey (with the A/C on!) the last of last years spuds, fresh salad
*zucchini casserole with sour cream, yogurt and dill


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

July 23rd and 26th

Ruby Red 

Raspberries!  What a treat to pick these rubies.  They survived a tough winter and I am thankful for the abundance.  Pick your own opens this week -- one of the many benefits of being a shareholder at Little Ridge Farm!  If you are not a shareholder already, check out our website for all we have to offer; www.LittleRidgeFarm.com


The summer's color has been magnificent.  Although we started with too much rain, it seems to have settled into nearly the perfect amount.  Irrigating takes a lot of time, not nearly as efficient as nature, so I am happy to get the weekly rain events.  The crops (and weeds) are looking good.  We are busy keeping up with both.  I am blown away that it is nearly August.  The plus side is that the diversity of crops available changes every week and I am excited to see the fruits of our labor come into the barn!


THANK YOU to all who participated in last week's annual fund raiser for our area food bank, LACO.  Your donation helps hundreds of local residents find better food security.  This money is used to "purchase" food from The Good Shepherd food bank at pennies on the dollar so it is an incredible value.  


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, chard, zuchinni, summer squash, chinese or green cabbage, hakurei turnip, red onions, garlic scapes, dill, cilantro, basil

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

July 16th and 19th

Bright Sun, Warm Days

Zucchinis and Summer Squash have arrived!!  Half of these plants were planted directly into a puddle back in early June, but they are making a come back with this drier warmer weather!  As a farmer, I am very excited to have this new product available, but any of you who have grown zucchini knows that without a daily check, these guys can quickly become baseball bats : )  So now starts my daily haul of hefty produce.  Cucumbers will be on their way soon!!


The little turkeys are growing bigger by the day.  They have discovered their legs and wings and are now running around like they are on an airstrip and perching on top of anything they can find.  But mostly they sleep, all snuggled in the warm sun.


Shiitakes are better than ever, be sure to give them a try!!


Scallion, celeriac, garlic scape and carrot....our seasonal version of the Italians' foundation to any good red sauce (onion, celery, garlic and carrot).  Of course we used some frozen 2018 tomatoes....get some from the chest freezer and try it yourself : )

*Reminder that the PYO garden has basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley!


Donate to our Local Food bank this week buy purchasing an 
ice cream cone or a Get Sticky Fruit Bar!!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, scallions, zuchinni/summer squash, kale, beets with greens, hakurei with greens, kohl rabi, garlic scapes, dill, basil

The Farmer's Table (A snippet of what we eat with our and other local product)
*Sauteed hakurei turnip and greens, parsley and LRF hot sausage on pasta (or not)
*Chard Lasagna (use instead of noodles), sauteed broccoli and mushrooms
* LRF Tenderloin salad with homemade Italian Dressing
*Broccoli, Shiitake, Sausage Frittata


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

July 9th and 12th

Summer's Bounty

Today has been a busy harvest day!  Lots to chose from, but I think I have settled on some perfect ingredients for a summer meal. Garlic Scapes are a new addition to your plate this week.  They are the flowering stalk of garlic.  Some argue that by nipping it off, more energy goes into producing a bigger bulb.  Either way it does not hurt the plant and the scapes taste great!  They are juicier than garlic with a lighter flavor.  They can be sauteed, pureed, fried, pickled, used in a flower arrangement...so many unique uses!!


While we do not have enough strawberries to open for PYO, we have been harvesting enough to put in the freezer for Winter Shares, and jam as well as have a few quarts for sale at pick up.  They look gorgeous and taste delightful.  I enlisted free labor (Mom and Dad) to help top them for freezing : )
Berry picking is one of my favorite farm tasks. It's a hard pill to swallow knowing that I will not make my money back for labor and materials we put into growing them last year. Although I am very sad we cannot open the patch for PYO, I am thankful we are getting what we can and I am hopeful the plants will regrow and be happier for next year!  


PYO Flower Garden opens this week!  The kaleidoscope of colors is brilliant.  Be sure not to cut too low as some of the plants are still growing.  Let these intricate beauties brighten your day!!



Get Sticky

Eat a Treat for LACO (our local food bank)
It's our annual food bank fundraiser next week, July 16th and 19th
And while we will still have Big Dipper ice cream, we are also going to have some locally made ice pops containing locally sourced fruit!!


This Week's Bounty: lettuce, radicchio, beets with greens, hakurei with greens, broccoli, green cabbage, scallions, garlic scapes and parsley