A window into the production path of your food.
Off we go! We are getting so much done. Onions in the ground, Check. Lots of ground prepped? Check. Just yesterday we put in a driveway short of an acre! Go team go! I think we passed the last stop before fall. Now we are all strapped in for the ride. For all of us. All of us: farmers, plants, animals. The signs of spring are kicking us into high gear and, although tired, I LOVE IT!
This weekend I helped my beekeeper friend from The Sand Hill. She has lots of bee yards in the area, even one on our farm! It was wonderful to work for someone, learning, and not having to make any decisions. I really learned so, so much too. If you read on, I will tell you about it.
Find us at the following markets from now on:
Ann Arbor Saturday
White Lotus Farm Cart
And back at Stockbridge this Friday and Chelsea this Saturday
Here are all of our markets and their expected start dates:
Ann Arbor (Wednesday): May 15th
Northville (Thursday): May 23rd
Royal Oak (Saturday): May 18th
Because we have different produce going to different markets, here are two brief recipes.
Green garlic. It is garlic pulled before it forms a head. Fresh, tender, and delicious. Use the whole plant. Make a pesto.
Microgreens with boiled potatoes: I do a lot of meal prep. It is the only way that I manage to feed myself through the week. Often, in the beginning of the week I will boil a bunch of potatoes and then tuck them in the fridge. A real quick meal can be made: heated potatoes, a couple sprinkles of microgreens, a scoop of sour cream, a drizzle of oil, and a little salt. That is all you need and you can be sated. And you can spend the whole meal making the perfect bite.
Food for thought:
But seriously guys, we are getting so much done. We really did get just a sliver less than an acre planted yesterday, between the onions, shallots, and whole lot of direct seeded items. I don't think that we have ever planted all the onions in one day. What a crew to stick it out because that is some really tiring work. Most of the day is spent remembering not to arch your back while placing plant after plant in the ground. One day we will have a riding transplanter that can accommodate the job. Until then, sturdy, determined people. (I actually don't think we will ever not need sturdy, determined people but...)
It was a real joy for me planting the onions be cause we were working into raised beds, made under the gun over the "weekend".
Going into Sunday morning I thought for sure the ground would be too wet to get any responsible tractor work done. But lo and behold, when I took the soil up into my hand, its crumbling disposition told me it was time to get a move on. Rain loomed on Monday, so Jim and I work all day Sunday to get the ground ready. We fitted the bed former, tested it out, adjusted it, decided what "good enough" looked like, and went for it.
Why raised beds? They offer better drainage for our plants, allow the soil to warm to a greater extent, and provide an accommodating root zone for our plants. One additional thing that I really love is that the topography of the beds reduces water run-off on our sloped fields. After all our hustle, we did get a real rain on Monday night. Previous rains, you could see where the water had run across our land, moving our precious soil. After this rain, there was none of that. On top of that, you could see where the beds caught water between them, allowing it to seep in to the earth be used later.
I want to note that we still don't have a diverse crop selection. It is looking like our greens are on the verge. Please be patient. We are working our hardest to bring the vegetable heat! They will be here soon.
And now, can I tell you about the bees? They are so cool! It is hard to narrow everything I learned this weekend down to the few coolest, but here is my best.
***Fun bee things I learned:
Fun fact one: You can picture the rectangular hives that beekeepers use, right? Stacks of boxes. Inside those hives are rectangular frames filled with comb. The bees fill the comb with food or brood (the collective term for immature bees- eggs, larva, and pupae). The brood is in the center. Pollen, the high protein food is eaten by the nurse bees and turned into Royal Jelly which is feed to all the larva and the queen, surrounds the brood. Honey, the food that the other bees eat, surrounds this. It is has a spherical layout. Inside that rectangle, the hive is still a sphere. I don't know why that was so amazing to me but it was. Maybe I thought that they would have conformed to the rectangle.
Fun fact two: During the daytime, the many of the bees are out on the town, foraging for pollen and nectar. Because of this, when you open the hive during the day, there are a lot less bees present than when you open the hive in the early morning or in the evening.
Fun fact three: You can be overwhelmed by bees. Especially bees in the morning or night. There are so many of them! And when it is cooler in the morning and evening, they don't fly. So if you open a hive in the morning, all the bees are there, and they don't fly around as much. Woah bees! (Sidenote: this may also have something to do with how they use the sun to navigate so don't fly at night or when it is dark, but I don't know)
Fun fact four and final: This time of year is know as swarm season (or maybe we just passed it), often corresponding to nectar flow, spring blooms, and other phenological indicators. If a hive survives the winter and is large in the spring, the bees may very well head out to find a new home. So in the spring, beekeepers all across the land are getting antsy, waiting for the perfect time to make their splits. Too early could be bad for the bees (?) too late, the bees may be lost to swarming. Making a split is kind of like dividing a clump of chives, except more complicated, more buzzing, and more stinging. If the hive is healthy and large, a beekeeper can split the frames from the main hive into smaller units that have proportionately balanced amounts of brood, food, and a little room fro growth. (These can also be called nucs, short for nucleus colonies). These splits can be taken to a new location, a least two miles from the mother hive, and turned into a new hive. If the beekeeper waits, the bees will make their own queen by feeding one lucky larvae copious amounts of royal jelly, usually within 3 days. If the beekeeper is quick about it, a she can carefully introduce a queen of their choice to the hive.
***It should be noted, I don't know that much about bees. All that is written here is from me asking excessive questions. This information could be a little off but is likely right, enough.
Okay, well. Now you know what we are doing on the farm, and just about everything I know about bees, except for a few random things like "You can pick a queen up without hurting her!" and "All the cells in the comb are at a slight angle so the honey doesn't drip out. This also means they can hold water!" and "The bees will clean that up."
We are looking forward to seeing you all this week!
Helen writing for the Lake Dividers
Good for the Earth, Good for the Farmers, Good for the People. (Notice our new catch phrase? We call it the trifecta of sustainability. It sounds a little cheesy but we mean it from the heart. 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 hiring! We have 1 part-time position open for the 2019 season. You can find details about the jobs on our website here. If you or anyone you know may be interested, please send us an email or pass along the information.
- We are accepting workshares both on the farm and at market. Please email for details.
This week we are buying in some produce from local farms to make up for some gaps. These items are noted with an asterisk (*). We will not be able to bring these items to the Ann Arbor Farmers' market because of their producer only rule (which we love). You will be able to find them at The White Lotus Farm Cart and Eastern Market.
Fresh From the Field!
Head lettuce and kale
Basil for your windowsill
Microgreens: Solo-Arugula and a Mustard Mix (only to be found at Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Stockbridge, and Eastern)
Pea Shoots (only to be found at Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Stockbridge, and Eastern)
All manner of deliciousness:
*Daikon Radish- purple and white!
*Green Garlic (not certified organic but responsibly done by our friends at Titus Farms)
*Potatoes- yukon gold and Kerr's Pink
Bunched Radish- super cute and the first taste of our field crops coming in (only at Ann Arbor, Stockbridge, and Chelsea)
Parsley (limited and only in Ann Arbor, Stockbridge and Chelsea)
This weeks Markets
The Stockbridge Open Air Market is located on the square in downtown Stockbridge. It runs from May thru October from 4 pm to 7 pm
Saturday: Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Detroit's Eastern Market, and The White Lotus Farm Cart
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 to 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 to 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 White Lotus Farm Cart is located at 7217 West Liberty Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. It is open Saturdays from 9:30am-1:30pm, May thru December. There is a collection of vendors there selling produce, bread, cheese, artisanal produces, along with brick oven pizza and the opportunity to roam the gardens.