Easter is here and mother nature has dressed up our world is her delightful crocus, tulips and daffodil attire. I love spring. The world awakens fresh and new from winter slumber to stretch her limbs and shake the grass, trees and flowers awake. The hoop house is alive with crops allowed to go to seed, including five different varieties of kale. I am hoping to breed at least one that grows well and reliably here at Rising Vitality Farm. Evergreen Hardy Scallions have overwintered in their hoop beds and are setting seed to be grown in the summer and fall months. Leeks and spinach are there as well but they have not gone to seed just yet. Open beds have been prepped and will be seeded with carrots, seasonal mesclun mix and our specialty sassy salad mix. Peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers are growing strong in their cells and will be transplanted soon to their nursery and hoop beds. they will be ready for market in early June. Look for us at the Howell Farmers Market mid-May. The CSA sign up period has been bumped up to May 1 to June 15 and for the first time signers we will prorate your share. Half shares are also available this year. More details will be posted soon and I am hoping to get a sign up form online as soon as I can stop the horrible problem I am having with hackers and spammers. I will be adding plugins and widgets to resolve these issues but I am close to exasperation with these maggots and trolls. I hired a website designer to construct and maintain this site but atlas she was not as diligent as I had hoped and then she and my money left for California. So I will keep this post brief but suffice it to say my early mornings and late nights will be spent learning to do it myself and my days will be spent growing our food. Don’t give up on me members it is coming I hope I don’t lose you.
Well despite this morning’s snow we are still holding the membership meeting on May 21, 2016 from 3pm to 7pm. There will be a get acquainted farm tour so wear appropriate shoes or boots and a hat if it is sunny. We don’t slather ourselves with chemicals so if you use sunscreen and insect repellant please apply it before you get to the farm. Rich will be grilling Italian Sausage (from the farm hogs) and chicken (from the farm) I will make soup and a salad with homemade bread, butter and jelly (from the farm). Bring a dish to pass if you wish and we will have a simple meal and then discuss half shares, working shares and volunteering on the farm. See you there! I am expecting the members plus one if you will be bringing additional guests please let me know via email or snail mail by Thursday May 19th so I can plan for it! All are welcome but I want to have enough food for everyone. There is a large construction project going on the farm if you are interested in helping we are erecting a wash pack station. Rich and Greg are building a 26×36 foot deck to put a 20×30 foot carport on it. Ten foot of the carport will be enclosed for use as a team room, tool and bin storage. The deck should be finished before the meeting and we will be erecting the carport on memorial weekend May 28th and 29th. If we can get enough volunteers we can get the whole frame erected, roof and sides the first day. Sunday we will put on the finishing touches and move in the three position sink, hand wash sink, prep tables, picnic tables, hang lights, erect shelving, etc. This will be a multiuse agricultural structure which will serve the membership well for many years. Lets get together and get it done.
This week’s weather has been a roller coaster ride, Wednesday I got caught in the hoop during a torrential downpour and watched a river flow through it, no damage done thanks to the foresight of edging the perennial herb bed but we will have to sandbag outside the hoop and try to divert the water in the future. This morning we awoke to snow on the ground and the weatherman is suggesting that more is on its way. Incredible! The weather has had a devastating effect on our turkey flock. The fully feathered turkey poults were moved from the barn to the turkey Taj Mahal on Friday morning and they settled in nicely. Friday night an owl grabbed a free range rooster right in front of the turkey yard (feather evidence indicates). This terrified the young turkeys off their protected roosting bars and into the freezing rain where 28 of them died huddled together. We have reordered from the hatchery but we will only have a small offering of fresh turkeys this year and they will be smaller and mostly hybrid broad breasted whites. The royal palms were unaffected because they are still under heat lamps in the barn. So be sure to order your turkey early this year as we will sell out quickly. I had 100′ bed of radish, turnips, beets and carrots flooded and we may still have gotten some crops but after this snow its not looking too good. I will have to flame weed Monday, rake it out and reseed it Tuesday. So there will be a delay in receiving these crops. But this is what it means to share the risk of farming. The good news is the hoop is totally planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, salad mix, green beans, carrots, ginger, spinach, and now 96 strawberry plants! I had the foresight to delay planting many of our other field crops and the for the first time in my life decided to seed beans in cells and transplant my first succession this year. This will help assure the success of these crops for the members. This is what it means to share in the rewards of farming. I prioritize serving the membership, this is what it means to be a community shared agriculture project. Before the markets, before the wholesale accounts, before the farmers, the members get their share. I like it that way, welcome to Rising Vitality Farm. Well I have to go its snowing again and the sun is out. This is crazy weather.
The CSA informational meetings are scheduled as follows: Tuesday March 29, 2016 7-8pm Wednesday April 13 7-8pm
Brighton Public Library
100 Library Drive
Brighton, MI 48116
Tuesday April 19, 2016 7-8pm
Oceola Community Center
1661 Latson Rd.
Howell MI 48843
I will make a short slide presentation with a question and answer period afterwards. The farm plan and projected share out list will be available to revue. We will serve bottled water and a veggie plate. Please come early as the presentation will begin at 7:15pm. If you live within a two mile radius of the farm you will be receiving a postcard invitation to the meetings at the public library but you are welcome to attend the Oceola Community Center meeting if the time is more convenient for your schedule. The first ten people who bring the postcard to the library will receive a free dozen pastured organic farm fresh eggs. I know we all have busy lives so the meetings will be short, sweet and to the point. We welcome your questions and comments and hope to see you at the meetings.
Rising Vitality Farm, God’s good food for God’s good people. Here at Rising Vitality Farm we are on a mission. A mission to offer the freshest, best tasting, nutrient dense produce to our customers. We are in a unique situation in which to do this because it is our foundation year and our soil has been untouched by a plow, mower or chemicals. So we are starting with a blank slate, a white board of soil, upon which to write a lifelong prescription of better health and increased vitality. This year we broke ground on three acres of unused pasture and put up a 30×96 foot hoophouse. We had the soil tested and sent to different labs. Based on those results and working with an agronomist we mixed a batch of minerals and determined the proper dosage necessary to balance the minerals in our field and hoop. Each year we will retest the soil and adjust the mineral inputs accordingly. These minerals are not fertilizer, they are not chemically created, they are produced by our creator for our health and vitality. But if the minerals are not in the soil they cannot be in the plant and they cannot be in you. At the end of the growing season a selected green leaf vegetable will be sent out for a leaf analysis test to measure our progress. This year the target crop will be spinach. Mineralization of the soil takes time and effort but it creates nutrient dense food. That is our mission.
An interesting side effect of mineralization of the soil is enhanced taste and flavors in the produce. That in conjunction with our heirloom variety preferences will result in offering to our customers the best tasting and healthiest food. The best way to get people to eat their greens is to make them taste good. So come along with us, visit us often, see for yourself how it all works out. Then you can answer the question ” What’s your vitality?” with the answer “Rising”.
God’s good food for God’s good people: more then a tagline its a mission statement.
Good luck out there good people.
Hello and welcome back to Rising Vitality Farm or as I have nicknamed the place “Newbie Farm”. No surprise goat babies this month just on time, planned bunnies. Marshmallow had only two little ones, unusual in that most rabbits have litters of 4-7 bunnies. They are well fed, fat little bunnies and are on sale as pets for $10. Call the farm or email me if you are interested. I will post pictures on Facebook. We had a decent harvest this month of sugar snap peas, cucumbers, kale, chard, beets, carrots, lettuce heads, spinach, sorrel and dandelion. Sample our harvest at J House Juice in Grosse Pointe Farms by ordering a delicous, healthy bottle of juice and toasting to your healthy future. June saw the last of the spinach harvest for awhile as it bolts in the heat this time of year. If I find some spare time I will attempt to grow a more heat tolerant variety under shade cloth and misted to see if spinach can grow in Michigan’s summer sun. We processed two rotations of 50 meat birds each this month. The first rotation sold out but we have a few whole broilers left from Monday’s harvest so if you want a fresh, organic milk-fed broiler chicken for your BBQ or smoker the price is $4.25/lb. contact us and we will ship you a few birds or better pick your chickens up at the farm or at the markets. We are at the Fowlerville Farmers’ Market on Fridays and Green Oak Farmers’ Market on Sundays. The pigs are growing as fast as the weeds around this place, they will be processed in November so reserve now. These are heritage breed pigs with marbled meat not the “new white meat” pork found at every corner store. They are expensive because the piglets are five times the cost, they grow slower so they eat more and we take them to a humane slaughter facility and that costs more. They are $6/lb hanging weight if you pick up at the farm and $7/lb if we deliver anywhere within Livingston, Washtenaw or Oakland County. If you live in Macomb or Wayne county contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for payment and delivery. Another good idea: share the harvest with a friend or family member and reduce your cost by half. The hanging weight of a pig will be about two hundred pounds. We need help out here if you know of anyone looking to work on an diversified organic farm, contact us. Good luck out there good people.
May was an exciting month at Rising Vitality Farm, or as I have nicknamed it “Newbie Farm”. Boy oh boy are we rank amateurs! I have been gardening all my life since my grandfather taught me to stake and water tomatoes at age 11, my gardens have been growing in size and abundance as the years passed but nothing like what I am attempting now. We cleared 3 acres this spring and put up a hoophouse last fall. Over 400 feet of brassicas have been planted, 100 feet of spinach, 100 feet of lettuce heads, 50 feet of cucumbers, beets, carrots, peas and 200 feet of potatoes. The hoop is full of spinach, kale, chard, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, radishes, Lettuce Salad Mix and sorrel. The perennial herbs are ready for transplanting into the hoop as soon as we can create their permanent beds. We have one wholesale account and have been delivering spinach, kle, chard and dandelion to them weekly since April. So if you want to try our fresh organic vegetables stop by JHouse Juice on Fischer in Grosse Pointe Farms. We started at two farmers’ markets this year; Fowlerville on Fridays and Green Oaks Township on Sunday. Stop in and mention this blog and you will receive a free sample of fresh produce or maybe a duck egg?
The pigs this year are being rotated through a recently cleared quarter acre and secured with pig panels and electric fencing. They are Manglista crosses from Bakers Green Acres and they are growing fast and will be ready by October. They will sell as fast as they grow so reserve yours early by calling the farm. There will be four rotations of broiler chickens this year and the first processing date will be Tuesday June 2 and available for pick up fresh on Wednesday and Thursday. I will be putting them in the freezers 36 hours after processing. so if you want the most delicious healthiest chicken available call the farm at (517) 518-6115. We will be delivering to Stone Coop Farm CSA members within 12 hours of processing. Our delivery van is equipped with a refrigerator and freezer so you can be assured that everything is kept at the safest temperature. All our birds are fed organic feed, will be processed organically and are raised outdoors where they can scratch, peck for bugs and generally lead a wholesome chicken life. if you care about how Sunday dinner is raised, processed and treated then you will want to buy our chicken. We do it right.
Now for the rank amateur part. About a month ago Zack suggested that Mocha our beautiful brown and cream Nigerian Dwarf goat looked a little fat and suggested she might be pregos. I put her on the stand and listened for heartbeats with the stethoscope. Finding none and seeing no utter development I assumed she was bloated and put some baking soda out. Well I was wrong, Wednesday Rick went out to feed the goats and found two new babies cuddled up to Mocha. A buck and a doe, we named the boy Expresso and the girl Cappuccino. On the same day Marshmallow the not pregnant rabbit gave birth to a couple of bunnies. I haven’t seen them yet they are born hairless and blind and the momma buries them under her fur. I will have to wait to see them. I really have to get better at this farming with livestock thing.
The best part of the month happened just yesterday! Friday at market a beautiful decorated food truck pulled into the Fowlerville market and I met Tom the owner of “Comfort Cuisine”. I invited him for a farm tour and he came for a surprise visit the very next day. This man is a superb chef and the rice ball he served was the best thing I have eaten in a long time. If you have a grad party or family reunion coming up this summer give Tom a call, have him pull up to your curb and feed your crowd. Your guests will be served gourmet food and you can relax and enjoy your party.
The winner of the name this rooster contest is Cheryl and the winning entry is “Rocky” which matches our soil. If I was growing rocks I would be a millionaire! We are looking forward to meeting her on Wednesday to reward her prizes and take pictures. We will post them on Facebook so stay tuned! The next contest will be announced on Sunday June 7, 2015 but here is a hint>think grapes! Stay tuned, visit us often and like us on Facebook. Good luck out there good people.
The simple farming life I have been striving for has been put on hold for the last two weeks as we build a more secure enclosure for this year’s feeder pigs. A few weeks ago our simple idealic life was shattered when Greg suggested we get pigs. Now this seemed a reasonable request at the time as we have been raising feeder pigs on the odd numbered years for ten years and this is 2015, an odd year. Rich, The Amazo Husband Man, was resistant to the idea pointing out the obvious issue that breaking new ground for fresh fields, putting up protective electric fence around them, constructing a wash/pack area servicing new wholesale accounts and two new markets was going to be hard enough work for our first year. No need to add pigs to the mix. Greg’s argument that our freezers runneth empty of pork held sway with the farm manager and so the pigs were ordered, the pig yard designed and the parts purchased. Everything was in place on the day the pigs arrived, a beautiful warm sunny spring day with no hint of what was to come. One little piggy went into the enclosure, two little piggys no problem, the third little piggy took off like he was shot out of a cannon. He ran right through the dual stranded, solar charged, battery operated, environmentally sustainable, electric fence without even slowing down. (Note to self: review that mission statement.) Pig number two followed him while pig one stayed behind eating the grain treat that had been lovingly placed in the feeder. It took nearly the whole afternoon to chorale the first two escapees and while we were all engaged in the hunt, the first pig took off when the feed ran out. How could three little pigs cause such big problems. These piglets were not cheap $50 feeder pigs, no we went whole hog (pun intended) with the heritage breed pigs at $250 a pop. (Note to self: review that mission statement.) After chasing the first two pigs through the bramble bushes and pinning them up against the swamp we were able to return them to the pens they arrived in bloody and bruised. We were bloody and bruised, the pigs were fine. Its not easy catching a pig! the third pig took 5 days to catch. For five days that castrated male hog hung around the farm managing to evade every trap set for him until Zack found him in the outer goat paddock and quickly closed the gate. He was returned to his brothers while we continued to reinforce the pig pen. Which cost another $760 for a larger AC charger, steel in lieu of aluminum wire and hog panels for security. The renegade pig has been named Guinea and he is currently residing in the new electrified enclosure. My grandson Connor named the big black one Batman and the other one is named after our POTUS. He has dark skin and light hair, the obvious leader of the group and he is a castrated male, hence the name Obama. No offense meant to anyone. I like our president. I like his wife more, she’s a gardener!
The last of the kids were born the night before Easter about 10 pm. By the time we got them cleaned up, made sure she had nursed and mucked out the pen it was after midnight. They were both bucks out of GsaGsa Binks and Allspice. The first born and very dark colored one is Aniken and the light colored one was named Hans Solo. Every morning while mom is on the milk stand I pick up these boys and kiss and pet them. They wrap their long goat necks around mine and hug me back. they are both sweet and playful Hans is the one always getting into trouble. He got his right front runner stuck in the fence, panicked and sprung his leg. It swelled up and he limped for a few days. We moved him back into the barn while we fixed the fence. There he found a short piece of chain hanging from the stall board, started licking it, swallowed it and got the open hook stuck in the side of his mouth. thankfully I happened to be in the barn and was able to hold him up so he wasn’t just hanging there. Rich cut the chain and was able to remove the cut link from his mouth. Do you know anyone who wants a buck? He will be weaned and ready to go in two weeks. He is a purebred Nubian, very smart, very sweet, very cute and should throw does.
The first cutting of Corvair Spinach was delivered to JHouse Juice in April. We began shipping 20+ pounds of spinach every week and will have Kale, Chard and Dandelion by June. The broccoli has been planted in the freshly plowed fields and some kale. Transplants are growing in the greenhouse, hoop and atrium. I will be seeding another rotation of cukes, squash, basil, flowers and melons this week. Carrots, beets, radishes, turnips and greens will be direct seeded in the fields this week. So much to do, I can never die.
And now the news you have all been waiting for the winner of the Name This Rooster Contest is …….(drumroll please)……….. Cheryl Clifton. Cheryl suggested the rooster be named “Rocky”. Fits the farm and the bird! Good Job, Cheryl and thank you for your submission. Enjoy May until we meet again in June for all the happenings on Rising Vitality Farm. Good Luck out there good people.
Spring has sprung here at Rising Vitality Farm and all the signs are here. The does are kidding, the seedlings are filling the greenhouse and we are clearing fields in preparation for planting. Each day we arise with the first rays of the sun brew the coffee and fill the kids bottles with mother’s milk and take them out to the barn to start our day. We will never get rich doing this but there are other measures of success. The regular schedule is good for the sprit, the fresh organic produce raises our health and vitality and the farm work strengthens our bodies. If a penny saved is a penny earned then we are rich because we hardly eat out (cha-ching) don’t need a fitness center (cha-ching) and never have time to watch cable (CHA-CHING). Life is good people, praise and sing to the Lord.
Whether you are a farmer or a consumer, a CSA is all about the community. Community Supported Agriculture is a way for consumers to buy locally grown seasonal produce directly from the farmer. Each member of a CSA pays the farmer for their produce upfront in the beginning of the season when the direct expenses of farm inputs, seeds, compost, feed, etc. are the highest and income the lowest. In return the consumer receives a weekly share of the farm’s production at a reduced price. Both the farmer and the consumer agree to share in the risks and rewards of the farming enterprise.
Rising Vitality Farm will begin offering CSA shares this fall for the 2016 season and we are looking forward to meeting our neighbors and working for them to produce fresh certified organic produce, eggs, chicken and turkey for their table. Details will be posted in the future so stay tuned, but know this I will prioritize my CSA reserving my very best for the members, because this is the direction my heart is sending me. I want a closer connection to you, the ones who want to eat the very best quality produce available. Here’s to your health!
Finally, its here, our website! I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk “The new phone book is here, the new phone book is here! I’m somebody now!” I will be so happy when you are finally reading this, it means I got one more big thing crossed off my list. But the next season plan is well underway and I can take a few minutes to try and get this site up and running prior to the start of the new season.
February is almost here and seeding will begin soon. The days are already getting longer and we are getting up earlier each day. Tomorrow we finish setting up the germination chamber. Spinach, kale, chard and melon seed have already arrived in anticipation of servicing our new wholesale account with JHouse juice. Trays, tools and equipment lay at the ready lonely for use. Come on spring! The spinach in the hoop house survived the cold snap and tastes better then ever and I am becoming eager to get my hands in the dirt again. Enjoy these last few nippy days spring will be here before you know it.