Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

The Poop from the Coop

As many of you may well know,  this past Spring we added chickens to the Farm.  We purchased our chicks from Tractor Supply and Co-Op, and set about raising them.  With ample advise, we set up our brooder in April.  Our babies were so cute and we spent a good portion of those first cold days of Spring just checking on them and “ooing and ahing” at just how cute they were.

In a short time, we had converted our existing Dutch barn into a coup and built an attached run for our now juvenile pullets.  Those first few weeks (25 to be exact) were filled with excitement and anticipation.  When would we get our first eggs and had we done everything right.  Then it happened!  Our first egg…..TWINS no less.  We were proud parents, so to speak.

Those early eggs were spectacular!  So delicious and so different from “store bought” versions.  As we ate them we felt such a connection to nature, the chickens and to the work that had gone into this project.

With our chests full of pride and our bellies full of eggs, we set about the maintenance phase of chicken farming.  I can honestly say we LOVE it.  Our chickens constantly amuse and amaze us.  It is true what everyone says about chickens.  They do have their own personalities.  Some are docile and welcome a petting or being picked up.  While others squawk and carry on every time I enter the coop.

We now average about 15 eggs per day, and daily egg collection has become another routine chore here at the Farm.  We are looking forward to the day that our 2 Americauna hens start laying.  They lay blue and green pastel eggs.  If anyone is interested in getting some chickens, we have started offering consultation and set up in the middle Tennessee area.  Be sure to check out our website gigisorganic.com and follow us on FaceBook.  Plan it well…Plant it well…Planet well!

At the Movies

Growing up I really enjoyed horror flicks.  As a young child I would watch Twilight Zone, Creature Feature, and Dark Shadows.  As the genre progressed, so did my taste.  I graduated to movies like the Shinning and Friday the 13th.  As I have gotten older it has taken quite a lot more to scare me.

Until last night, that is.  Browsing through Netflicks, I noticed a documentary that piqued my interested.  The name of this horror flick was Farmageddon.  It is a story of how the USDA is treating small farmers, like us.  Many farmers are not allowed to sale their wares as they wish and the regulations are making it so expensive that many are simply giving up.  The USDA is employing SWAT team tactics over the sale of raw milk and other foods.  Searches, seizures and intimidation are their M.O.!  Most of this at the tax payer and consumer’s expense. All of this is done to protect the industrial farmer and to limit, if not eliminate, the small farmer.

As with most similar issues, the power is in your purse or wallet.  Find a local farmer that grows vegetables, or produces meat and shop there.   As a community we can make a difference.  We, here at Sinking Creek Farm, stand firm on our belief that local is better.  Everyday we continue to heal the earth and make our produce the finest available.  

So if your in the mood for a REALLY scary movie, do not rent Freddy Kruger’s latest, just check out Farmageddon.  You’ll want to watch it with the lights on.

Be sure to check us out on Facebook and on our website;  www.gigisorganic.com.

Sign up for our newsletter.  We are currently taking orders for our Customized CSA.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity.  Who’s YOUR Farmer?

So You Want to Start an Organic Farm?

As we approach our one year anniversary here at Gigi’s Organic Gardens, I had to pause and reflect on the ups and downs of the past season.  As most of you know GiGi and I have been gardening organically for years.  The key word there is “gardening”.  There is a distinct difference between “gardening” and “farming”.  Before we grew our own vegetables and canned some, froze some: a leisurely pursuit no doubt!  But now it’s become a lifestyle, a business and our passion.

Organic Farming has been a journey that has taught us many lessons.  It has taught us patience.  It has reinforced our strong work ethic, and it has most of all it has taught us that nature does not adhere to our plan. No matter how well thought out or precise, nature does what it does.  Don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes our plan and Nature’s do mesh, but not always.

Take the extreme drought we have been experiencing for instance.  We knew it could happen, but did not expect it.  And what about those temperatures?  100+ degrees is not good for most varieties of vegetables.  We feel so lucky to have a reliable well to irrigate our produce.  It has saved us!

Most plants do not like hot dry conditions, but insects seem to love them.  Those little guys have kept us on our toes all year.  I have seen some insects this season, that I have never seen before.  Some of the old reliable pests have had a great year.  There numbers are up and they are relentless.  We keep pushing on with our organic controls and have at least reached a truce with most.  The dry conditions have added a new pest…..animals.  we have always had the occasional deer, rabbit or ground hog, but the lack of food sources have made our farm a magnet to those critters.  We don’t mind sharing, but come on guys, eat a weed or two and lay off our tomatoes!!  Something new at the farm this season is BEAVERS!  They keep damming up the creek flooding the lower fields.  It’s like a game.  every other day or so I breach the dam to let the water flow and they build it back.  I can picture them laughing at my efforts as I remove the sticks. rocks, and logs and our beloved farm hound “Samson” brings them right back to me.

With all the frustrations and set backs, there have been many, many more positive experiences.  Some veggies have responded to the weather with unexpected results.  Our eggplant has gone crazy! Squash has been amazing and our sunflowers are spectacular!   Such is the life of a farmer.  As we reflect and laugh at how dirty and/or tired we are, Gigi and I feel good in our souls about what we are doing. Being so connected with the rhythms of nature and learning to let go and let it unfold has been quite the *”growth” experience for both of us. *(Pun intended)

Be sure to check out our new and improved website http://www.gigisorganic.com!  We are currently taking orders for Fall beds.  Space is limited! So reserve yours today.

Beware of Imposters!!!

As an Organic Farmer, many things are challenging.  Finding ways to combat the insects and keeping our plants healthy require many hours of labor.  Of course, even most novice organic gardeners know about the accepted natural products for fertilization, pest  and disease control.  Most, however, do not consider the planning and attention to detail that being truly organic requires.  All of our techniques are used for one purpose.  That is to bring the freshest and cleanest vegetables and fruits to our customers. 

As we network with other farmers and consumers, we have found a disturbing trend.  Actually it makes me madder than squash vine borers and cucumber beetles combined. It is the organic impostor.  Some farmers are passing themselves off as organic and either they do not know what that means or they are trying to pull one over on the public.  One local farmer was asked if he was ‘Organic”.  He replied, “Yea, I’m organic, but if i get bugs, I will spray some Sevin.  Another labeled himself as ‘Organic” because he only sprayed chemicals up to the time the fruit was set.  Are you kidding me??  As a farmer that strains at every detail these guys are frustrating, to say the least.

Look for ‘Certified Organic” or “Certified Naturally Grown”.  The only way you can be sure is with these two programs.  Don’t be confused or tricked by a farmer claiming “Naturally Grown”.  This means only that the plants are grown in nature.  No inspections. No oversight.

At GiGi’s Organic Gardens and Sinking Creek Farm we are proud to say that we are CERTIFIED NATURALLY GROWN!!  We just completed our annual inspection here at the farm and passed with the highest marks attainable.  The inspection form was 9 pages long and took 2.5 hours to complete.  Having the inspector give us an A+ rating as well as saying that our farm was “one of the most beautiful he’d seen” makes us proud.  We truly care about the quality of our produce and our customers can be sure that we are ORGANIC…..PERIOD!  You can check out our farm profile at http://www.naturallygrown.org.  We are listed as Sinking Creek Farm.

Don’t be fooled!  Get to know your farmer.  Take a look around his or her farm.  Contact us for your own private farm tour or follow us on Facebook and come to our next Open House.  Remember, Plan it Well, Plant it Well, Planet Well!   Go to http://www.gigisorganic.com or contact us at solfoodg@gmail.com for more information.

Farm Report

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Good Morning! 

As the growing season progresses, I thought that I might let everyone know exactly whats been going on “down on the farm”. Our latest excitement is over our bees.  Honey has been harvested and will be available by the end of the week.  We have tasted it and it is AMAZING!  It was so delicious that it made us almost involuntarily bake a batch of biscuits on Sunday.

The cool season vegetables are being harvested.  Broccoli, Cabbage, Greens, Peas, Lettuce and Garlic have produced nicely.  As the summer heat sets in, these plants will slow and eventually stop producing.  They will then in August be replaced by their Fall counterparts.

Summer means SQUASH here at Sinking Creek Farm.  We are growing several varieties and all are doing great.  Tomatoes are kicking as well as beans, peas and onions, just to name a few.  Our corn is almost waist high and looks great!  We are so excited, as we start to see the results from all our hard work.  Planting is tough, but when you harvest those wonderful veggies, it’s all worth it! 

As the Summer continues we will start to harvest our potatoes, parsnips and continue to harvest carrots and other root vegetables.  Oh, and don’t forget Sunflowers.  In just a few short weeks the Farm will explode with color, as the hundreds of Sunflowers come into bloom.  Check out our website for pics and info.  http://www.gigisorganic.com  If you have any questions or want to sign-up and start receiving your vegetables, just shoot us an email at solfoodg@gmail.com

Who’s Your Farmer?

Organic Rules!

Organic Farming  has many challenges.  Some times I am tempted to just go ahead and spray some Round-Up or Sevin.  Tempted only!.  Not that I ever would, but occasionally the amount of work involved and the limited number of hours in any given day makes that path seem easier.  Then I come back to my senses and see the value of pesticide and chemical free farming.  So what if I am out at night with a flashlight plucking slugs off cabbage.  Never mind that GiGi and I are “squashing” squash bugs and looking for their eggs, constantly.  Organic is the path that we have chosen.  With all the “hands-on” work we continue to stand firm in our belief that organic farming is worth it.  When we deliver produce, we are confident that we know exactly what has gone into it’s production, from seed to fruit!

As we move forward with our adventure in Organic farming, we are motivated by the positive feedback that we get from our customers.  They, like us, believe that preventative nutritional health care is key, and that starts with clean food.  Sure you can get organic produce at your local supermarket, but only by shopping with a local farmer  (Gigis Organic Gardens) can you be assured that your produce is fresh and that the varieties of vegetables are grown for taste and nutrient content.  Most supermarket vegetable varieties are grown for their ability to be shipped across the country, and may have sat on a truck for days.  Not exactly fresh.    At Gigi’s Organic Garden Club, your vegetables are picked in the morning and most times delivered the same day.  Our varieties are grown for their taste.  Delicious and nutritious.

Gigi’s Organic Gardens will be taking Fall bed orders for the next few weeks.  So check out our website, http://www.gigisorganic.com and see what all the “Buzz” is about.

Spring?……..What Spring?

As organic gardeners we plant our seeds in winter.  We place them under florescent grow lights and wait the first sign of Spring.  When the ground is barely thawed, we pant those first few cool season veggies.  The broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages are put out trying to take advantage of the cooler weather and get those harvests as soon as possible.

This year things are a bit different!  Where is Spring?  Those cool days that warm up just enough to lose your jacket and then cool off again as the sun goes down.  Maybe I missed that.  We have been very busy.  Now we find ourselves planting broccoli AND tomatoes at the same time.  In past years our worry this time of year was to keep the young seedlings in our hoop house warm.  This season we are vigilantly monitoring and keeping the temperature down.  While this takes some extra work, we are excited at the potential outcome.

We are planting those cool season veggies under shade cloth to keep them cool and happy. At the same time we are AMAZED at the size of our tomato plants.  We already have blooms and will have some of the earliest tomatoes I can remember. 

Oh sure this unique season’s temps will cause some problems, but, as with all farmers, we will adapt and look for the silver lining!!  Or in this case a beautiful pink and red lining.  Be sure to choose your tomato variety soon.

Plan it Well!  Plant it Well! Planet Well!

Organic or Nothing!

The sun was shinning bright and the bees were buzzing yesterday at Gigi’s Organic Gardens. Our ‘Open House” here at the farm was a huge success. It was fun sharing our farm and gardening techniques with some new and old friends. Gigi served up some delicious items from the garden and all was good. Good until later that evening.

Later that night, at a suggestion from one of our Garden Club members, I sat down and watched “Food Inc”. I was sickened by what I saw. Food Inc is a film that uncovers the truth surrounding our food supply. I thought I had some idea, but was “floored” by the exposed reality.

I have never been one of those who blamed the government or “big business” for anything, but after watching this documentary, I have a different view of things. I won’t go into all the details here, but subsidies, GMO’s and the power of large companies over the small farmers is an outrage. Every time you purchase a food item, you are, in essence, casting a vote for either the status quo or a vote for change. Americans and people all over the world deserve a clean, healthy, affordable food supply.

Organic Farmers in America are fighting an uphill battle. Our view has to change. We must DEMAND to have our food supply move back to a more natural state. There was no need to change things. Only greed and the desire for convenience has prompted the food industry to find ways to deliver an inferior and unsafe product to American tables. We, as consumers, must learn to value clean foods. One eye-opening moment in Food Inc was an interview with a “renegade” Organic farmer. While selling his free range, antibiotic free, organic eggs at a local Farmer’s Market, a potential customer balked at the $4.00 per dozen cost. (While holding a $1.00 can of cola, no less)

Organic Farming is tough. It takes more time and labor to do things naturally. It would be more convenient and much easier to buy bags and bags of chemical fertilizers and spray chemical pesticides indiscriminately on our crops, but we are standing up and saying “NO”. At Gigi’s Organic Gardens, it’s ORGANIC or NOTHING. We refuse to put anything less than delicious, clean food on our members and customer’s plates.

Cast your vote for TODAY! Sign up and support local farming. Your body and your planet will thank you!!!!

Food Inc. is a” must-see”!

To contact us at Gigi’s Organic Gardens go to http://www.gigisorganic.com for information on how to sign up and start receiving your veggies.