May 182011
 

Greetings!

Most of the hoop house produce is needs to be harvested now and this coming Saturday, May 21st will be the last pick up for the majority of the hoop house produce. Being fresh harvested for each order our lettuce routinely keeps for two weeks, usually three weeks and a few customers have mentioned their lettuce has stored in the refrigerator for a month!

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Available are:

· Swiss Chard $3.00 per lb.

· Lettuce (leaf, romaine and buttercrunch varieties) $3.50 per lb.

· White spring turnips $1.50 per lb.

· Spinach $4.00 per lb.

· Kale $3.50 per lb.

· Mint (While this is not the best variety for mint tea it makes wonderful mint muffins!) 4 oz. for $1.25 or 8 oz. for $2.00

· Oregano $3.00 per oz.

· Garlic scapes (curly-cue garlic tops) $1.00 for ten

Check out our families’ favorite mint recipe, Mint Muffins, at the end of this update!

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Mom’s young hens continue to produce an abundance of eggs. We’d be grateful if you’d tell your neighbors and friends we now have a bountiful supply. Small sized eggs are the most abundant but we have a few dozen medium size also. These chickens have been raised on only organic gain all their life, with lush pasture in season now and are producing some of the best tasting eggs you could wish for! Egg prices are as follows

Pullet (very small) $1.50

Small $2.00

Medium $2.75

Please place your preorder for produce by 11 p.m. Thursday for Saturday morning pick up between 9 and 11 a.m. If this pick up time does not work into your schedule let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule.

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Strawberries are starting to ripen! I anticipate the main berry patch will begin ripening by the end of this week depending on what the weather does and especially one variety looks like it’s loaded!

The Lord answered our prayers and sent some cool weather along with a good, soaking rain. It was drying out quickly with our partial week of 90 degree heat and wind and I was afraid the strawberries would not have time to swell before ripening. However, now they’re looking pretty good although we’re ready for another rain!

I’m afraid that our peak strawberry harvest is going to be very short this season as half our berry patch is a variety of strawberries which have less foliage than other varieties and blooms high in the plants. These plants were at the tail end of their bloom when our May frosts hit and despite our best efforts some of them were frost-bit and won’t be producing berries. Due to the loss of some blooms we’re unsure how many or how long we’ll be harvesting, but the quantities may be limited. Two and a half more 100’ rows of strawberries are started for next year’s harvest though!

We will have some of the patch open for u-pick at $2.50 per quart (please bring your own containers) and harvested berries will be $4.00 per quart “patch run” (not sorted.) Availability will greatly depend on our weather so please call or e-mail if you would like to reserve some berries for either u-pick or harvested strawberries. Once fully ripe, strawberries don’t store on the plant long so we will be harvesting as they ripen.

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Granddad and G-Jean’s house addition consumed quite a bit of our families’ time and energy, but it’s coming right along! The last farm update left off at day nine of the project, Tuesday, when the sheet rock was up and mudded twice. The carpenters could only work two other days that week. The following work day we flung some more mud on the sheet rock, ok, so we were a little more careful than that, and finally got the nail holes and joints pretty smooth. After sanding everything down the primer and paint were on the ceiling and walls the same day!

During subsequent days the wood trim was stained, varnished twice and installed, two interior doors were stained, varnished and installed, storm doors mounted, sewing room shelves built as well as two sets of pantry shelves. The carpet layer came in last week and we now have a floor covering installed. It is looking a lot like a home!

Currently the carpenters have finished all they can do until the kitchen cabinet maker finishes and installs the cabinets. Three weeks to the exact day the carpenters had all the major work completed. I have since gone back to sand down and re-varnish all the trim and wood work because G-Jean preferred a smoother surface so it would be easier to clean.

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Dad and I took time to build some electric fence around the ryegrass patch so we could graze the cows and quit feeding them hay. We have been thankful to have pretty consistent rains, but for a little while the rains were spaced closely enough together, and it rained so much each time, we weren’t able to continue grazing the cows being afraid they’d start stomping the grass into the mud! However, it’s also been dry since the last update because the wind dried the ground quickly so we were very thankful to once again see a good rain for the grass and crops today. Our horses have been enjoying the fresh grass too and all the livestock are looking so much better after getting some fresh grass in their tummies!

After contemplating for about a year I decided to rip out the blackberry patch in Granddad and G-Jean’s yard. Those plants had not produced many berries the past few years, the Bermuda grass has been creeping in, trying to take over and when all the blackberries winter-killed this year (thankfully they’re budding out from the base again) it was the last straw and I ripped most of the plants out of that berry patch. We have several rows of blackberries started in the south garden which should produce next year.

Out of the first six days of May we had four mornings with frost! I’ve been very thankful the Lord has protected the crops despite the challenging weather. May 2nd our morning temperatures plummeted to a low of 36 and we had a fair bit of scattered frost. The weather man had been saying it was supposed to be cloudy and warmer that night, but all the clouds had cleared off. By 6:15 or so I was thankful to see cloud cover move back in and the temperatures rose a couple degrees which melted the frost. That next night the temperatures were supposed to drop again and have clear skies so with Granddad and a little of Dad’s help we covered the strawberries as well as a few other crops in afternoon.

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Upon waking the following morning, May 3rd, I noticed it was quite chilly again. The lowest we saw was 33 and there were scattered patches of frost. It was very cold harvesting produce first thing that morning, but once the sun shone it warmed up quickly! Afraid the warm sunshine would quickly smother the crops we started uncovering all the plants. It was a blessing for Curtis Miller to come out and help most of the day packing orders, mulching, uncovering plants, weeding some strawberries and planting a few things.

May 4th was supposed to be cool, but not in the frost range. Once again the sky cleared off though and temperatures dropped to 38 and scattered frost prevailed once again. Rinsing all the plants off lightly just before the sun peaked over to them I was thankful to see they all came out ok. The 5th our frosty weather gave us a break, but once again the 6th it stepped up to the plate again and dropped down to 38. Rinsing the plants off once again I hope that’s the last time until fall frosts start popping up!

Our family has had a tremendous amount of fun having international students come out on most Sunday afternoons for the past few months. Soccer has been a big hit…

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…but it doesn’t take long for some of us to need a break (me included!) We even played soccer during a light rain shower one time because it was so much fun!

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An Easter egg hunt was a lot of fun too as several of the international students never had done anything like that before. For those who had it was fun hearing of the cultural differences!

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We also celebrated G-Jean’s birthday the same day as the Easter egg hunt which also happened to be the day we had several countries represented by students. The really special thing was G-Jean getting to hear happy birthday sung to her one by one in English, Portuguese and Korean! We learned that in both Gambia and Japan “happy birthday” is sung in English.

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Jena’s decorative talents went into making two beautiful cakes.

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Granddad has also helped me clean out some encroaching weeds and grass from around the fruit trees and then a week or so later we went back an mulched them. You can see how hard the wind is blowing the trees in this picture! There seems to be a lot of turbulent winds this year with fronts and storm systems moving through.

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I have decided to take a summer “vacation” of going back down to Mississippi to work with Kenny and Renée Russell. If everything works out I could take Bell and Blaze down with me so we could work together all summer! I’m not sure if all the details will work out to take Bell and Blaze, but it sounds like a lot of fun! I am looking for a good, used stock or horse trailer suitable for transporting two good-sized draft horses. If you know of any such trailer in our area, I would appreciate knowing about it.

Recently Dad and I were able to try out a project we’ve been working on for a few years now! My International Harvester #9 sickle mower has been setting on hold for quite some time, but Dad and I drug it up to the garage and started tinkering with it here and there as we could and got it ready for a test run! It had been a few weeks since I’d hooked up Bell and Blaze, but they did well and the mower cut pretty good too. While cutting we discovered the sickle bar’s tilt lever was moved all the way and the bar was still tilted up too much so we need to make some adjustments there, but then I hope it will be ready to mow grass!

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‘Till next time,

 

Farmer Josh and the Mitchell crew

www.mitchellfamilyfarm.us

(620) 330-1966

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Bloom report:

Rose

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A couple beautiful varieties of columbine

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Dianthus

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Bearded Iris

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Peonies

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Clematis

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Star of Bethlehem (a prolific wild flower in Mom’s front flower bed!)

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Comfrey which the honey and bubble bees are just loving!

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Dutch Iris

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Mint Muffins

From the Favorite Recipes with Herbs cookbook

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 eggs, beaten

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup milk

Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs. Mix well.

Mix together baking powder, salt, wheat flour, unbleached flour and mint leaves. Stir

into creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Pour into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with a little sugar.

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

 

  One Response to “Farm, Home & Berries!”

  1. We visited last Saturday. My son was hoping to get spinach, but when we came back, you’d ran out of it already! So we bought mustard greens, instead. We will definitely be back! My youngest son was all smiles and really enjoyed the visit to farmers market. 🙂 Joy