A window into the production path of your food.
Field prep and crew appreciation! This is what is in my heart today. We are on the way to being briefly caught up with our planting plans if all goes well between today and Thursday. I have been using the two-bottom plow, and for as hard as it was when I first got started using it, it feel like I have really grown into it! And where we got some crops seeded and irrigated just last week, they are up! The watermelon radishes, daikon, and carrots have graced us with the promise of their presence. Fall crops here we come!
Saturday Ann Arbor Customers! Find Lizz at market! She has all the good stuff and all the good cheer. Additionally, she has amazing farming expertise, both in general and specific to Lake Divide Farm. If you have any questions about how we farm, she is a great one to ask! We have been set up in the center aisle on the corner but we are going to try out a new spot. We hope to set up back on the sidewalk, where we were last season from June through August. We have new tents, they have grey canopies, and orange legs. We are counting on you!
Tomato Sale! That's right, we are rolling in them now! If you get over 5 pounds, the price is $2.50/pound (three bursting quarts for $13-$14). If you go over 10 pounds, the price is $2.00/pound (about six quarts!).
We also have seconds for sale, any amount for $2.00. If you get more than 10 pounds, the price drops to $1.50/pound. You could score a whole tray of delicious heirloom tomatoes for just $20! It is finally time to make that sauce and salsa! Grab some onions, garlic, bell peppers, and something spicy, chop and toss 'em! I love salsa.
Our markets this week:
Wednesday: Ann Arbor
Saturday: Eastern Market, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Chelsea
Speaking of salsa, try this salsa recipe!
Super Simple Salsa for the Soul!INGREDIENTS
- 2 or 5 tomatoes (depending on size). Get some juicy ones and some firm ones.
- 1-3 cloves garlic (depending on tastebuds)
- 1 green bell pepper
- Some diced onion (one or two)
- Lime or lemon juice- just a splash!
- Optional- cumin, chilli powder, cilantro, 1 hot pepper of your choice (jalepeno, hot wax, or poblanos all work)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Food for thought:
It is amazing what working on a team feels like. Jim was singing the praises of the crew a few weeks back and now it is my turn. We may be the ones with the blueprints, but it takes a lot of people to build a community and it takes a lot of hands to guide this ship. In the beginning of this venture, and in my previous years running or first farm, Whistling Wolf, I had my hand in everything. I was involved in every harvest. I engaged in every task. Because of this, it is amazing to me how distanced I am from some of the farm tasks now. I haven't harvested any cherry tomatoes this year, nor did I train the new crew members how to do it! Lizz trained them and they continue to execute the harvest. In fact, Lizz has done almost all of the harvest training this year, and that is a lot of training! This year, more than doing all the individual tasks, I coordinate them, which is how I got the to be called the flow-master (coolest job title ever). While I know what is going on, and am constantly running one way or another with information or assistance, I am not doing all the things. The team is. We are many hands doing many things together. It wouldn't be possible to produce as much food as we are had the farm not evolved this ability and had this skilled, passionate, and hardworking crew not showed up. Here is is a glimpse into what a high season week looks like:
Mondays are Jim and my days to work on our own. This means tractor work, planning, irrigation, and sometimes office work. The part-time team shows up, lovingly dubbed the warriors (variously- weeder warriors, tomato warriors, woohoo warriors, but always fierce), consisting of Sean, Cody, and Alic. Either Jim or I review their list with them and then, sometimes with a little setup, they execute it, often without the need for more input. Just yesterday they weeded the rest of the salad mix that you will enjoy this week, harvested a round of cucumbers and squash, moved irrigation, weeded some peppers and eggplant, harvested all the ripe tomatoes, and spread nutrients to various locations on the field. We talked a few times on the walkie-talkie, but for the most part, they were free agent-farmers.
Tuesday morning as many of the other weekday mornings, Lizz gets to the farm ahead of the rest of the crew and we talk about all the crops that we will harvest in the upcoming week. She gives us her observations about the crops in the field and Jim and I share ours. For instance, she shared that the spring planting of swiss chard should be moved off the harvest list this week, while I announced that celery root (celeriac!) is back on the menu. We talk about the over arching goals for the week and what needs to happen to achieve them. When the full-time crew arrives at 7 am (Janet, Malcolm, and Mattie), we all get together and talk about the week and about our markets. It is great to be on the same page, share successes, and troubleshoot problems together. For the rest of the day, the crew frequently works independently on harvest, while Jim and I struggle with pushing other boulders up the hill- repairing broken things, making sure we have all the parts we need for all the activities of the week, fielding questions, and offering assistance.
Wednesday, Jim goes to market and I stay on the farm with the full time crew, plus the woo-hoo-ers minus Alic, plus Doug! This is our main day to get "farming" done. The other days are cram packed with harvest, leaving almost no room for weeding, planting, seeding, trellising, installing irrigation, and all the other activities that go into making the farm run. Usually Lizz and one or two people work on harvesting a crop that comes in big numbers (cabbage comes to mind), the woo-hooers work on weeding and then head to harvesting cucumbers and squash, and then tomatoes, while me and a couple folks work on prepping or planting or caring for whatever field we are working in. Tomorrow, we will be working in the field we call the "Sliver" (because of its long narrow shape), setting up irrigation, direct seeding fall crops (including those much missed fall greens-arugula and tatsoi to name two!) and planting lettuce and radicchio. Hmmm, even on the non-harvest day, it sure seems that a lot of harvest happens!
Thursday, Jim is back and usually a few things have broken that need some attention. Last week it was the three point hitch, along with a back pack sprayer. He works on those things and I assist as needed. Lizz plus Mattie and Malcolm work on harvesting for the weekend markets. Alic and Doug are in too, and they either also work on harvest, or they work on crop care- weeding, planting, irrigating. Janet is off in Northville, selling vegetables.
Friday, it is all hands on deck for harvest and packing for the Saturday markets. We harvest, we wash, we pack: Me, Jim, Lizz, Janet, Malcolm, Mattie, Alic, Cody, and Sean all! All together, all a team. Pushing that boulder up the hill! As the day goes on people head out. Mattie, who has to be back at the farm by 3:30 am Saturday morning, leaves at 4. Lizz, who has to be back by 4:45, sometimes leaves at 5, but when the farm needs, she often stays later to make sure all the harvest is complete. Malcolm heads to the Stockbridge market at 3 and doesn't get back until 8 pm. That leaves us with the backbone team of Janet, Cody, Alic, and Sean. Usually we wrap up the day with one person dividing the bounty to send it to the various locations, and the rest of the team collecting the remainder of the harvest from the field. This time of year that means tomatoes. The evening frequently ends with Jim and I in the shipping container sorting the last of the stacks, and Malcolm opening the door as he gets back from market to drop of any produce he may have left and check in about market. Sometimes Fridays end on time. Sometimes- especially in the season of bagged greens, the nights end late. Last Friday was a late one for us. The first big tomato week had us working until 9 0'clock!
And then Saturday happens, somehow. Yep, somehow it happens every week. Helen (me!) plus Kathryn, Lizz plus Sean, Mattie plus Shana, and Cody all head off to markets. Janet and Malcolm man the battle stations on the farm! We leave them with what I call "a good list" that try my darndest to make as clear as possible. Whether I make the list at the end of the long, long Friday, or the beginning of the long, long Saturday, it is always a little wonky. But somehow, these two seem to always decipher what I meant! And if not, thank goodness for modern communications (so if you see me on my flip phone at market, this is why!)
Then Sunday. No one on the farm except me, Jim, and the dogs. We take the day off, mostly. I usually partake in the ritual of communing with nature for at least a few hours. Jim takes care of the greenhouse. We do some planning as to what needs to happen for the week. I usually move irrigation. Sometimes when there is very pressing work, usually due to mother nature, we get out there and hustle. But mostly, other than those unavoidable basics, we take the day off.
And then again. Yep. We do the whole thing again. Tuesdays, we have just dipped our toe into the weekly cycle. Here we go folks!
Come see us at market. Tell any of the crew how great they are- sticking it out through heat, ragweed, soggy times, and dry. We are so glad that they are working with us!
Helen writing for the Lake Dividers: Jim, Lizz, Janet, Malcolm, Mattie, Cody, Sean, Alic, Doug, Kathryn, and Shana!
Good for the Earth, Good for the Farmers, Good for the People. The Trifecta of sustainability. Good for the earth: Taking care of the natural world is a important, after all, it takes care of us; Good for the farmer: We believe farmers should have livable hours and livable wages; Good for the people: We believe in food equality and bringing our produce to market at an affordable price and keeping it accessible is important to us.
- Looking to join our CSA or renew your membership? Find more details here. The basics? Open an account with us, get a bonus, and use your account to purchase produce with us at any of our markets. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask.
- We are accepting workshares both on the farm and at market. Please email for details.
Microgreens are back!- Arugula and a spicy mix!
All manner of deliciousness:
Cabbage: Abundant and wonderful. Red, green, round, point, smooth, ruffled- we've got it all!
Eggplant- starting to come in!
Ground Cherries! Nature's candies wrapped in a husk. You tell us what they taste like!
Onions- Cippolinis coming in. This saucer shaped wonders are out of this world roasted.
Peppers- friers and bells!
Hot peppers: Hungarian hot wax, Jalepenos, and Poblanos
Shishito Peppers: Delicious Japanese friers. Great on the grill, great blistered in a pan, great roasted. Eat the whole thing but the stem!
Zucchini: Green and Yellow
Cherry Tomatoes are in full effect!
Tomatoes!!!!! Heirlooms, romas, and slicers galore!
Napa cabbage will be back before you know it
This weeks Markets
Wednesday: Ann Arbor
In the same location as the Saturday market, the Ann Arbor Wednesday Market is a little more laid back. If you don't want to fight the crowds. come out on Wednesday and take the chance to talk with all your farmers, chefs, and artisans.The Ann Arbor Market is located in the Kerrytown District at 315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI Find us there May thru December, 7 am to 3 pm.
The Northville Market is located at the corner of 7 Mile and Sheldon Roads. It runs May thru October, 8 am - 3 pm
The Stockbridge Open Air Market is located on the square in downtown Stockbridge. It runs from May thru October from 4 pm - 7 pm
Saturday: Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Detroit's Eastern Market, The White Lotus Farm Cart and Royal Oak Market
The Ann Arbor Market is located in the Kerrytown District at 315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI. The market runs from May thru December, 7 am to 3 pm and January thru April from 8 am - 3 pm.
The Chelsea Farmers' Market is located in the Palmer Commons at 304 S. Main St.. It runs May thru October (then moves inside thru December!) from 8 am - 1 pm.
The Eastern Market in Detroit is located about a mile northeast of downtown. It covers about 43 acres, bounded by I-75 on the West and Gratiot Avenue on the South. It runs year round from 6am – 4pm
The Royal Oak Market is an indoor market located at 316 E Eleven Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067. It runs year round from 7am - 1pm.
While you will no longer find us at the White Lotus Farm Cart, you can still find our produce. Head out to the garden for doughnuts, pizza, and delicious vegetables!