CSA Members, Valentine's Day Veggie Deliveries

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CSA Members, Valentine's Day Veggie Deliveries

Hi all,

This is the last week for returning CSA members from last season to renew with a $25 discount. After the 15th the share price will be $700 for all.

As the days get noticeably longer, people must start dreaming of fresh vegetables, because we have gotten a handful of new members in the past few days. We are expanding the number of shares we are offering this season, so still have space and appreciate if you can spread the word. 

We are also still harvesting vegetables for our weekend deliveries, even though the selection has thinned somewhat. We still have fresh carrots, spinach and kale from the fields and beets, turnips, and carrots from storage.

Special this week! All vegetables will be heart shaped for Valentine's Day!* So be sure to order and be an FPF Valentine this year!*
*Ok, not really....

Kennett Square
The next Kennett market will be on Friday, February 20th.

Bel Air
You can place an order for Bel Air delivery this Saturday, February 14th, to Baron's K9 Country Store at 525 Pritt Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014. We'll be dropping off orders from 10am to 10:45am.  See the Online Order Form to order and try to order as early in the week as you can. Chicken and eggs are available for Bel Air deliveries.

Havre de Grace & On-Farm
You can place an order for Havre de Grace for delivery on this Saturday, February 14th, at 11:30am or for pick up at the farm from 10am to 1pm on Saturday. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. 

2015 CSA 
We are now accepting new members for the 2015 CSA season. Find all of the details on how to sign up on our CSA page of our website. If you have any questions or would like to come out to the farm for a tour prior to signing up, please contact us. Also, if you would like to share a share, let us know and we will help match you with another member.

See you soon!

-Tom & Sarah
 Flying Plow Farm

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Weekend orders, Ferme Melilot, and Frankferd Farms

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Weekend orders, Ferme Melilot, and Frankferd Farms

Hi all, 

Frankferd Farms
Several times a year we put an order together from Frankferd Farms out of PA, some of you may remember us talking about this in the summer. Well, we're getting ready for another order this week.

Frankferd Farms is a purveyor of all sorts of bulk natural foods. We especially love the variety of flours and grains, many of which they grow themselves. 

When? 
Order deadline is this Friday for delivery next week (exact day TBD). Orders can be picked up at the farm. This time of year we have extra space in the cooler so we can hold your order for a few days if need be. They do this delivery run every 4 weeks. 

How? 
Place an order directly with Frankferd from their website, however, if your order is less than $30 you can send to Flying Plow and we will tack on to ours. You can either pay them directly, or reimburse FPF when you pickup your order. When you order, indicate that you are part of the Flying Plow buying club on the Mason-Dixon run (MAD). Please send us an email if you are ordering, so we know how many people we can expect and we can keep you up to date on the delivery times. 

Wild for Salmon Buying Club
To follow up on last week's announcement about the wild salmon buying club....we have had a lot of interest, so we will be working with them to schedule a delivery. It will likely be around Feb 19 or 20. We will be in touch with all of those who have joined the club to keep you updated on exact day/times. 

With both Frankferd Farms and Wild for Salmon, there is no obligation or fee to join in either option. We are just trying to gather together interest to make it easier to get great food!

Ferme Melilot (or Sweet Clover Farm)
Before traveling to Montreal a couple weekends back I emailed several local farms to see if I could stop in for a visit. There was one in particular that interested me the most, this was Ferme Melilot in southern Quebec near the US/Canadian border.

Jonathan and Jolianne, the farmers at Ferme Melilot, have had a similar path to farming as Sarah and me. When I met them we also discovered many other similarities. They have been farming as Ferme Melilot for 4 seasons, they use draft horses, their CSA and markets are the same size as ours, and they also recently had a baby. I think we found our Canadian doppelgangers!

I arrived at their farm at 7:15 in the morning to help out with chores. It was 32 degrees, which felt remarkably warm after playing hockey in 0 degree weather the day before. Once chores were done we poked around their barns and I asked all the usual farm visit questions like where'd get that, what'd you do with this. And then I was treated to a great farm breakfast and we all compared notes about planting, tilling, harvesting and marketing.

One question I had to ask, and had been on my mind since my trip to Montreal last winter, had to do with the way the farms were laid out in Quebec. Traveling along the highways I had noticed that most of the fields were long and narrow rectangles with ditches in between the fields. I brought this up to Jonathan and he told me that this was the French way of laying out farms when the area was originally settled. The ditches are for drainage as most of the fields were tiled, and the long and narrow farm layout allowed more farms to have access to a river.

I was glad I got myself out of bed and made the drive from the city to their farm. It always great to meet farmers doing similar work as yourself, but meeting Quebecois farmers had an added attraction. I hope one day they travel through our area so I can repay the experience.

Kennett Square
The next Kennett market will be on Friday, February 6th.

Bel Air
You can place an order for Bel Air delivery this Saturday, January 31st, to Baron's K9 Country Store at 525 Pritt Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014. We'll be dropping off orders from 10am to 10:45am.  See the Online Order Form to order and try to order as early in the week as you can. Chicken and eggs are available for Bel Air deliveries.

Havre de Grace & On-Farm
You can place an order for Havre de Grace for delivery on this Saturday, January 31st, at 11:30am or for pick up at the farm from 10am to 1pm on Saturday. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. 

2015 CSA 
We are now accepting new members for the 2015 CSA season. Find all of the details on how to sign up on our CSA page of our website. If you have any questions or would like to come out to the farm for a tour prior to signing up, please contact us. Also, if you would like to share a share, let us know.

See you soon!

-Tom & Sarah
 Flying Plow Farm

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North Country Farms, Salmon Buying Club, and Weekend Orders

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North Country Farms, Salmon Buying Club, and Weekend Orders

Hi all, 
Welcome to the late edition of our weekly farm note. I got in yesterday from a great trip to Montreal, and while I won't bore you with the hockey details, I will tell you little about Essex Farm in Essex, NY this week and Ferme Melilot in Dunham, Quebec next week.

We have started a buying club with wildforsalmon.com. Wild for Salmon is a Pennsylvania business owned and operated by the fisherman, which means you'll be buying Alaskan sockeye salmon direct from the fisherman who caught it. More info about the fisherman can be found here, http://wildforsalmon.com/our-story/our-story/page.aspx?id=1096. If you are interested in purchasing salmon and joining our buying club go to http://wildforsalmon.com/buying-clubs/join-a-buying-club/buying-clubs~join.aspx, find our club called Flying Plow in the drop down menu and then click join this club.

We ended up stopping at Essex Farm on the way to Montreal and again on the way home, the second visit being necessary in order to pick up a huge cache of fresh dairy products from Essex. The farmer, Mark, sent us home with several gallons of milk, yogurt, sour cream, butter, and buttermilk all made on farm from their Jersey dairy herd.

Essex Farm sits on the edge of Essex, NY which itself sits on Lake Champlain. Some of the fields at Essex are made up of soils that were one time the bottom of a much larger lake than Lake Champlain. These old lake bottoms are made of very rich soils, but most of them do not drain well. 

In order to make these fields more accessible in the early spring and late fall, Mark is working to get most of them tiled. Having a field or a farm tiled means that drain pipes are put in several feel below the topsoil. These pipes are placed 10 to 20 feet apart and run into a larger main drain line which then runs into a small creek, or some cases a drainage ditch.

This rich soil is great for growing vegetables and field crops, so this drainage will make it easier to get into the fields in the spring and in the fall. The other fields at Essex (which is something like 500 acres!) are clay soils with many rocks.

The most notable aspect of Essex Farm is the scope of their CSA. An Essex Farm CSA share is considerably different than many CSA's in the country. Their CSA runs year-round, allows you to take any amounts you would like, and is full-diet. Full-diet means your CSA share at Essex consists of the usual array of seasonal vegetables, but also includes pork, sausage, beef, chicken, lamb, milk, butter, lard, sour cream, yogurt, eggs, and flours & grains. All of these are grown at Essex Farm and are free-choice, meaning there is no limit in the amount you can take. This is the heart and soul of the CSA model of farming

Essex is also a hybrid powered farm and uses tractors and horses, as well as a very large crew of farmers and managers. The scope of what they do is truly amazing and makes my head hurt!

More on Ferme Melilot next week.

Kennett Square
The next Kennett market will be on Friday, February 6th.

Bel Air
You can place an order for Bel Air delivery this Saturday, January 24th, to Baron's K9 Country Store at 525 Pritt Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014. We'll be dropping off orders from 10am to 10:45am.  See the Online Order Form to order and try to order as early in the week as you can. Chicken and eggs are available for Bel Air deliveries.

It looks like snow is forecast for Saturday morning, however we're still planning to deliver to both Bel Air and Havre de Grace. If the weather does look to be very bad we will change our deliver times to either Friday afternoon/evening or Sunday.

Havre de Grace & On-Farm
You can place an order for Havre de Grace for delivery on this Saturday, January 24th, at 11:30am or for pick up at the farm from 10am to 1pm on Saturday. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. 

It looks like snow is forecast for Saturday morning, however we're still planning to deliver to both Bel Air and Havre de Grace. If the weather does look to be very bad we will change our deliver times to either Friday afternoon/evening or Sunday.

2015 CSA 
We are now accepting new members for the 2015 CSA season. Find all of the details on how to sign up on our CSA page of our website. If you have any questions or would like to come out to the farm for a tour prior to signing up, please contact us. Also, if you would like to share a share, let us know.

See you soon!

-Tom & Sarah
 Flying Plow Farm

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Share a Share, Ice Hockey, and Weekend Deliveries

Hi all, 
If anyone considering our CSA would like to share a share, let us know, we have been compiling a list of interested people and we can help to match you with someone.

We are often asked what farmers do during the winter.  I am a huge hockey fan, so I spend many evenings watching the NY Rangers  (they have won 13 out of their last 14!). I try to join a league and play a bit in the winter, too. This weekend I'm going to  Montreal to play ice hockey with a few Quebecois and some old friends.

This is also the season to catch up with other farmers. We rarely get to see friend's farms during the growing season. Along the way to Canada I hope to stop at two horse-powered farms in the north country. Friends of ours run Essex Farm in Essex, NY. Essex Farm is a truly inspiring farm that sits on Lake Champlain. They offer a full-diet CSA that includes veggies, chicken, beef, milk, yogurt, grains, and more.

The other farm I hope to visit is in the countryside of Montreal called Ferme Melilot. They are a combo-powered farm much like ours with a veggie CSA, chickens and pastured pork.

Kennett Square
Brittany will be at Kennett Square this Friday from 2 to 4pm. We'll be bring eggs, chicken, kale, spinach, carrots, other roots, radishes, and hakurai turnips.
The next Kennett market will be on Friday, February 6th.

Bel Air
You can place an order for Bel Air delivery this Saturday, January 17th, to Baron's K9 Country Store at 525 Pritt Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014. We'll be dropping off orders from 10am to 10:45am.  See the Online Order Form to order and try to order as early in the week as you can. Chicken and eggs are available for Bel Air deliveries.

Havre de Grace & On-Farm
You can place an order for Havre de Grace for delivery on this Saturday, January 17th, at 11:30am or for pick up at the farm from 10am to 1pm on Saturday. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. 

2015 CSA 
We are now accepting new members for the 2015 CSA season. Find all of the details on how to sign up on our CSA page of our website. If you have any questions or would like to come out to the farm for a tour prior to signing up, please contact us. Also, if you would like to share a share, let us know.

See you soon!

-Tom & Sarah
 Flying Plow Farm

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Plow Monday, Farm Sales, and Deliveries This Weekend

Hi all, 

Several years ago we came across a small blurb in the Lancaster Farming newspaper about an old English holiday called Plough Monday. On the first Monday after the Epiphany, which is January 6th (and marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas), farmers and plough boys of England would drag their plows through the villages. They would take a collection of money from the village residents and have the plow blessed in the village church. Oftentimes the farmers would dress in disguise and plow up the doorsteps of residents who did not contribute any money.

Plow Monday also marks the traditional day of returning to work after the holidays and marks the beginning of the new plowing/farming season. Since we liked the idea of taking a long intentional break from work and marking resumption of work with a specific day, we have taken this traditional holiday and made it our own.

While we never really stop working on the farm, we do try to slow down quite a bit during the days between Christmas and Plow Monday. In the past we held a meeting with other farmers on Plow Sunday to compare finances and financial direction of our farms. This year we're thinking of putting our plow on a wagon and driving it up and down the farm lane with Toad and Lady.

During the winter and spring we like to go to a lot of farm sales, or farm auctions. January is usually the start of farm sale season, which usually ends in the spring with the yearly "mud sales" at many of the fire houses in Lancaster County.

I usually end up going to many Amish farm sales in search of horse tack and horse equipment. This year I'm on the look out for bridles and collars for Toad and Lady, and for a three-horse and four-horse hitch.

Kennet Square
The next Kennett market will be on Friday, January 16th.

Bel Air
You can place an order for Bel Air delivery this Saturday, January 10th, to Baron's K9 Country Store at 525 Pritt Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014. We'll be dropping off orders from 10am to 10:45am. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. Chicken and eggs are available for Bel Air deliveries.

Havre de Grace & On-Farm
You can place an order for Havre de Grace for delivery on this Saturday, January 10th, at 11:30am or for pick up at the farm from 10am to 1pm on Saturday. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. 

2015 CSA 
We are now accepting new members for the 2015 CSA season. Find all of the details on how to sign up on our CSA page of our website. If you have any questions or would like to come out to the farm for a tour prior to signing up, please contact us.

See you soon!

-Tom & Sarah
 Flying Plow Farm

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Happy New Year & Winter Harvest deliveries this weekend

Hi all, 

As many of you know, last year at this time we were moving our farm from Joppa to Rising Sun. Sarah and I were excited about the year to come, but also terribly anxious. In addition to the usual farming uncertainties we had added a few by moving to a new farm.

How would the soil be? How would we irrigate? Where will we put the greenhouse? What will the horses eat? What will the cows eat? What will we pasture our chickens on? Will our CSA members make the move with us? Will our market customers still shop with us? Should we add a fourth market just in case? How will we box and deliver shares?

Of course, we had plans laid out, and contingencies drawn, but until we were in the full swing of the season we continued to be unsure of how things would play out. By the end of May we were at our wits end with anxiety. Most of the spring and early summer crops were planted but we were still yet to see how they would yield.

Well, we had the best yields in our five years as Flying Plow.

Our CSA members received beets and carrots almost every week of the share, something that had been a goal of ours from year one. We were able to bring baby lettuce mix to market through the summer, something that has a lot to do with the cool weather this past season, but good fertility and crop planning also played a role. And, with careful planning we were able to graze all of our meat chickens on our cover crops, something that was new for us this year since our farm does not yet have permanent pastures.

However, great yields mean nothing without a market, and that is why we are so very thankful to our loyal CSA members and market customers who stayed with us and continued to support us through our move to Rising Sun. Without you, our farm would not be possible and that's why we hope you think of Flying Plow as your farm as well.

An added challenge and a great blessing was the birth of our daughter Eloise in September. Our crew stepped up and shouldered the added work this past season and we are especially grateful for Brittany's efforts.

Many of you may have come across Brittany at markets or at CSA drop sites this season. She began her time with us as an apprentice in 2011 and would come work a few weeks each summer while she was in college. She graduated last January and has been a full time assistant farmer with us for a year and will continue for next season as well.

Brittany is a Bel Air native will plans to set up her own farm in the future, hopefully in the area. If you see Brittany this winter at our markets or on deliveries, be sure to thank her for all of her hard work.

Thank you for your support in 2014 and we hope to see you all in 2015. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year from the FPF Crew!

Kennet Square
Coming up this Friday, January 2nd, is the Kennett Square Winter Market with hours from 2pm to 4pm. We'll be in our usual spot with plenty of fresh spinach, kale, carrots, radishes, and our usual assortment of winter storage crops. We will have plenty of our pasture-raised, organically fed eggs for sale, and of course our organically fed pasture-raised chicken as well. The next Kennett market will be on January 16th.

Bel Air
You can place an order for Bel Air for delivery this Saturday, January 3rd, to Baron's K9 Country Store at 525 Pritt Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014. We'll be dropping off orders from 10am to 10:45am. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. Chicken and eggs are now available for Bel Air deliveries.

Havre de Grace & On-Farm
You can place an order for Havre de Grace for delivery on this Saturday, January 3rd, at 11:30am or for pick up at the farm from 10am to 1pm on Saturday. See the Online Order Form and try to order as early in the week as you can. 

2015 CSA 
We are now accepting new members for the 2015 CSA season. Find all of the details on how to sign up on our CSA page of our website. If you have any questions or would like to come out to the farm for a tour prior to signing up, please contact us.

See you soon!

-Tom & Sarah

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Horse cultivation & fresh chicken available

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Horse cultivation & fresh chicken available

We took the opportunity yesterday to get into the field with our hoes and our horse drawn cultivator. Since we don't use plastic mulch it is important for us to stay ahead of the weed pressure in our vegetables. Our cover crops play a large role in this by reducing weed pressure before any vegetables are planted. And, once we do plant vegetables we are vigilant about cultivating or hoeing before any germinated weed seeds can break the soil surface. (This is called the white thread stage and it is the point at which the weeds are the easiest to kill.)

Another reason to hoe and cultivate is to conserve moisture. We try to minimize the amount of irrigation we use to conserve fuel and water. By hoeing we are creating a light mulch of soil that will help keep moisture further down in the ground. This works best in the spring and fall when the weather isn't too hot.

The best cultivating tool is the hand held scuffle hoe and we use this on our just germinated vegetables like carrots, beets, and lettuce mix. Ideally we would scuffle hoe everything, but we just don't have the time. So, on our larger transplanted veggies like kale and head lettuce we use either the tractor cultivator or the horse drawn cultivator. Yesterday Toad and Lady did a good job of cultivating without killing too many plants!

In the photos you'll notice the white coverings over some beds. We call this row cover and we use it to keep insect pests off the crops. This time of year we mainly use it on our Brassicas like kale, kohlrabi, asian greens, and boc choi to keep the flea beetles away. Flea beetles are tiny little beetles that jump like fleas. They like brassicas and will put hundreds of tiny little holes in all of the leaves. 

The row covers also add a few degrees of warmth which helps the plants grow a little quicker too.

 

Pasture-raised chicken

Fresh chicken is available early this week. If you are interested you can place an order from our website on the Online Order Form page.

That's all for now,

Tom

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Everyday is Earth Day ...

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Everyday is Earth Day ...

This season's first batch of broilers went out on a cover crop of oats and peas last week. Our broilers and our laying hens are eating certified organic feed from Organic Unlimited this season. They'll supplement their grains by foraging on our cover crops of oats & peas; sorghum sudan & cowpeas; buckwheat; and rye & vetch.

Something that always makes Sarah and me laugh is the packaging of eggs from the grocery store. Those companies love to advertise their free-range eggs from hens fed an all vegetarian diet. Well, I'm glad to say our hens are NOT fed a vegetarian diet. Our hens are able to forage for worms, crickets, grasshoppers and any other insects they can find! Truth be told, chickens are omnivores and should be fed that way. What do you think?

Our first few fields are filling up with plants. The sugar snap peas and snow peas are up! Our first planting of lettuce mix is up too, along with our greens mix and turnips. I'm always amazed when the first seeds of the year germinate and I'm reminded of this passage from Rudolf Steiner's Agriculture lectures:

In the seed we have an image of the whole universe. Each single time a seed is formed, the earthly organizing process is led to its end, to the point of chaos. And each time, within the seed-chaos, a new organism is built up out of the whole universe. The parent organism simply has the tendency, through its affinity for a particular cosmic setting, to bring the seed into relationship with the forces from the proper directions, so that what emerges from a dandelion is a dandelion and not a barberry. But the image reflected in the individual plant is always the image of some cosmic constellation and is built up out of the cosmos.

Strawberries are also in the ground and growing well. We dug many plants from Joppa and also planted several hundred feet of new plants. We're also growing potatoes again this year. We took last year off because we had gotten very frustrated with low yields. This year we planted Adirondack Blue, Red Gold, and Ohio Early potatoes. The plan is to have these in the shares during July and August.

This week we'll be planting our onions. Our transplants look great, better than previous years, and we have been hardening them off for an extra long time so they'll have less stress after we transplant them. We harden off most of our transplants by moving them outside the greenhouse so they are exposed to the elements. The cooler temperatures, harsher sunlight, and stronger winds get the plants ready for the "real world" of the field.

Toad and Lady spent some time on the riding cultivator last week. Well, I spent time on the cultivator, and they pulled me across the field. We made a few passes over the lettuce, kohlrabi and yukina savoy. And we brought Princess out of the barn to help cultivate the peas with the one-horse cultivator. Our International 584 tractor has been logging the hours too! I've been using it to plow some larger sections of the field and to pull our heavier disk.

Well, that's all the news from here.

Tom

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Seeds are in the ground!

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Seeds are in the ground!

Last weekend, in anticipation of the snow, we were able to get our first round of direct plantings in the ground. These should be germinating this week after the rain we had, and now sun and warm weather forecast.

Brittany and I planted peas, lettuce mix, greens mix, turnips, beets, and carrots using the earthway push seeder. I also broadcast our first 1/2 acre of cover crop using oats and field peas. The plan is to graze our first batch of broiler chickens on this 1/2 acre. Speaking of which, the chicks have arrived ...

While we're on the topic of arrivals let's welcome Stephen, one of our two full season apprentices. I'm sure you'll run into him at CSA pickups and during markets, be sure to say hello. Also, seems like something called spring is on the way too ...

We have decided to keep Rocky and Rosie after all. While trying to sell them I realized that I have grown pretty attached to them and couldn't let them go! So, after trying to be so pragmatic we now have 5 work horses on the farm, which has led to attempts to work them together. This past week we hitched Lady (the belgian) with Princess and Rocky (the haflingers) for our first three horse hitch. While Lady and Princess do not seem to like each other at all, they did alright pulling me around on the stone boat.

Winter Harvest

We're taking orders for delivery this week. We have plenty of eggs, chicken, ground pork, parsnips and celeriac. One of the crew will also be at the Kennett Square Market on Friday from 2pm to 4pm. Place your orders for this weekend using our Winter Harvest Order Form.

Our CSA

The 2014 CSA is filling up but we still have shares available. Information can be found on the Join Our CSA page. If you have questions concerning the CSA shares please give us a call or send us an email.

For those of you who have already joined be on the look out for a few emails from us concerning CSA start dates, our upcoming ice cream social and orientation, and information about our egg shares and chicken shares.

Wishing everyone a great week! And for the hockey fans out there, as the playoff race heats up I'd just like to say, Let's Go Rangers!

-Tom

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Digging and plowing with horses

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Digging and plowing with horses

March as certainly come in like a lion, and I know we're all hoping it goes out like a lamb, but it doesn't seems likely for this week. In between the spats of winter and spring weather we've found some time to start plowing with our new team of Lady and Toad.

Even for big horses and cutting a shallow furrow, plowing was hard work for them. They are drastically out of shape, Toad's "blubber" jiggles when he walks (not that I should talk), so we took it easy and had long rests after every two to three passes.

The plow ran much nicer with the Belgians than with the Haflingers. Seems to be a combination of the Belgians' taller stature and the pull being a little bit easier for them. Lady is a pro and walks nice and calm to preserve her energy while Toad likes to jig a little which gets him tired out and sweaty; we'll work on this to see if we can get him to calm down.

The tractor plow will probably make an appearance this week if the ground dries out enough. We'd like to do all our work with the horses but so far it hasn't been practical, however we have been able to add more and more horse work each season.

Much progress has been made in our greenhouse as well. Onions are started along with lettuce, scallions, kohlrabi, chard, yukina savoy, and parsley. Oh yea, and Winterbor Kale! Take that seed shortage! Good thing we had leftover kale seed from last fall.

2014 CSA

We're adding CSA members weekly, but we still have openings for the 2014 season. If you are considering joining just be aware we have sold out in the past, so joining sooner may be better than later. Info on our CSA can be found on the Join Our CSA page.

Winter Harvest

We'll be taking orders for this week but our selection has dwindled. Available are our eggs, chicken, ground pork, parsnips, and celeriac. See the order form on the Winter Harvest page.

Have a good week!

Tom

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