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Posted 2/24/2015 12:51pm by Kerry Gawalt.



Hartland, Vermont -February 23, 2015: Cedar Mountain Farm is pleased to join other farms from around the country for National CSA Sign-Up Day on February 28. The day encourages food consumers to buy a share of their local farm’s harvest for the 2015 season, a buying model known as Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. CSA has become an important model to support local agriculture since it was introduced to the United States in the 1980s and since grown to over 6,000 farms across the country. To join a CSA, members buy a share of the harvest in the Winter and Spring and then get a box of local produce each week throughout the growing season. “CSAs are the most authentic connection between a farmer and eater available. CSA members get the freshest, high quality, seasonal local produce, but they also get a direct connection to their farmer. This model is economically important to farmers, especially small and beginning farmers, because they can grow with confidence knowing that they have a market for their produce ahead of time.”, says Simon Huntley from Small Farm Central, a technology company that works with CSA farms across the country, and the creator of National CSA Sign-up Day. February 28th was chosen as National CSA Sign-up Day because this day is the most popular day to sign up for CSA shares according to the 2014 CSA Farming Report. Buying a CSA share in late winter is important because farmers are making the capital investments for this year’s harvest now and the CSA model means they do not need to finance these costs with costly credit. “Sign-up is easy,” says Kerry, Stephen and Jada “To learn more and to join us for the 2015 season, you can reach us at, at our farm stand and payment can be done by check or credit card online. To learn more about National CSA Sign-Up Day and the CSA model, visit For information about National CSA Sign Up day visit:

or contact the organizer: Small Farm Central Simon Huntley 412-567-3864

Posted 2/16/2015 1:25pm by Kerry Gawalt.


Dear CSA members,

We are busy planning the garden and getting ready to order seeds. Signing up soon will allow us to plant the right variety and amount of each vegetable to keep the CSA shares full this season.

Kerry for the farm crew.

Posted 2/13/2015 4:13pm by Kerry Gawalt.

This week we had a farmer from the UK visit. Ed is one of a small number of young farmers blazing new trails in British agriculture. Only the 10th CSA on the island, and perhaps the only horse-powered CSA in the country, Ed's farm Chagfood, in the United Kingdom town of Chagford, which utilizes the power of three horses and a slew of people to grow 7acres of vegetables and cover crops. Ed's mission (among many) is to revive the cultural history of small diversified farms in Britain and Europe, not only in leading by example but by being an advocate for small farmers at a political level. He helped found the group Land Workers Alliance, a group that lobbies the British government and the EU to move towards a system more beneficial to “peasant farmers” and less to industrial farms. Ed remarked that this organization that been “shockingly successful”.            

Ed is touring horse-powered farms in the US. His trip is sponsored by an American group called the Greenhorns, an organization of and for young farmers seeking to revive an ailing agricultural system. Grassroots efforts like these seem to be enormously effective. It's very easy to feel powerless when faced with a giant conglomeration of lobbyists, lawmakers, and other money-and-power-wielding individuals.            

At the end of his presentation last night, Ed shared two things. One was a picture of his son on one of their hogs. His point, he said, was to emphasize this mission that we, the small farmers and the supporters of small farmers have in common: leaving the state of the planet and of our food systems in a better state than we found them. A small but growing number of farmers like us and like Ed are working hard to simultaneously feed our communities and support our own families in the present, and build a healthy planet for future generations. The second was a traditional folk song from his home in Devon. He sang to us in dialect, words that told a story of people who live from and for the land, changes in agriculture and the refusal to do away with traditions. It was warm, funny, but also serious. Farming for a community and a future generation is a serious thing, and it is in no way easy to do what needs to be done. Despite that, I feel so inspired by the success of a young farmer from abroad, innovating in his field and pushing for something greater.   Thanks everyone who responded to the surveys. We're analyzing data and making this year even better!

**Events** Pizza Night! It's happening! Friday, 630 on the hill. Come hungry.

Cobb Hill will be sponsoring a day-long spinning and knitting workshop on Saturday and Sunday February 28-29th. Jada's mom is teaching along with a friend of Cobb Hill.            

**Recipes** Coleslaw

1 medium-large cabbage (or two smaller cabbages one of each color!) shredded

3 medium carrots grated (or more)

1 small onion shredded thin

1 cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

herbs of choice – fresh parsley or celery seeds are classic

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons dijon mustard  

Mix vegetables together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and pour over slaw. Chill for at least 30 minutes. This basic recipe is infinitely adaptable. Try adding different veggies – red cabbage and a small amount of beets for Valentine's day!!   What's cooking? Send us your recipes:, or OR bring a print copy by the farm!

Posted 2/13/2015 3:37pm by Kerry Gawalt.

The Windsor Farm Bureau and the Hartland Cattle 4-H Club presents:

A History of Farming by Stephen Taylor, Former secretary of Agriculture for NH

Saturday February 21st at 1PM Hartland Public Library

Join us to hear this historic talk. Refreshments will be served.

Posted 2/9/2015 4:46pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Cedar Mountain Farm will host a potluck dinner at the common house at Cobb Hill co-housing in Hartland, VT at 6pm on Tues Feb.10th.
We will have the pleasure of a visit from Ed Hamer--a horse powered market gardener from Great Britain.
Ed runs Chagfood farms which is a CSA market garden in Chagford, England. Ed and company farm with Dartmoor x Gypsy Cobb ponies---the Dartmoor is a hardy draft pony indigenous to the region. After the potluck Ed has offered to share with us about his farm, his work with horses and using the Kassine and Homesteader tool carriers, and the horse-powered agriculture scene in the UK. Please join us!

Please RSVP,


Posted 2/9/2015 11:26am by Kerry Gawalt.


Dear CSA members and farm friends,
We are excited to offer a few new types of shares this year. Thank you to everyone who filled out our surveys. We got lots of great input. The new shares include the "Free-range share" which allows the member to load their 1/2 bushel basket with whatever combination of produce available. We have a stand alone beef share which will have a choice of 3lb burger, or 1.5lbs steak, a roast or stew/kebob meat every week.  We are will be partnering with Edgewater Farm to have a strawberry share. More details on the share next month. The CSA relies on members signing up early to plan the harvest and pay for seeds, greenhouse materials, labor and other garden preparations. Please sign-up early if you can. If you answered to survey that you wanted to host a CSA drop-off please send me a message so I can talk more about it.

Check out our website for all the share choices.  We will have a paper form available soon.

Thank you,

Kerry- for the farm crew

Posted 2/3/2015 2:17pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Newsletter for February 3, 2015

Delivering Farm Fertility at Cedar Mountain Farm

          We have a 60 bushel John Deere manure spreader for the Fjords to pull and estimate between 1000-2000 lbs. of compost per load. This wonderful machine can from long time farm friend Longin Ambros. Beginning in the fall and finishing up in the spring, we spread 10 loads on each ¼ acre section that will be in cash crops (3 acres) and 5 loads on each ¼ acre section that will be in a cover crop/bare fallow/cover crop sequence for the following season (1 acre).  This makes for a lot of spreading in a 4 acre market garden (it is the equivalent of spreading about 7 acres with a single pass of the spreader and takes about 120 delivery trips) but it is good fall and spring work for the horses. We use a bucket loader to fill the spreader from our stacked windrows of compost. Below is a record of our hours spent on the horse-drawn spreader for 2012: 35 hours total work time to take out 141 spreader loads—24 on hay field—the balance on the market garden for a total of approximately 141,000 lbs. or (a conservative estimate of) 70 tons of compost delivered to our soils by Fjord Horse power in 2012. As you can see from these numbers, the manure spreader and the horses to pull it has become the primary delivery system of fertility for our market garden. In our current practice, hay fields that are farther away from farm headquarters receive annual compost applications with a tractor driven PTO manure spreader at a rate of about 5 tons per acre. As on any farm the systems we develop are based on the scale at which we choose to operate (or that farm economics compel us to choose). Twenty lactating cows translates into 45-50 head on the farm plus four horses---all of which generate a lot of manure! The size of the herd obviously had a huge impact on our manure storage and handling, we eventually had to invest in facilities to manage all that manure in an environmentally sensitive way. We built a cover-all structure to house the herd and a smaller one to store manure in over the winter plus a ¼ acre stacking pad for making windrows of compost. We determined that at our scale it made more sense to have a neighbor come in with a front-loader and dump truck to clean out the composting pack in the cover-all barn. He also hauls compost for us to a rented 20 acre hay field that is about a 1 ½ miles away from the farm. We off-set these manure management and trucking costs by selling some finished compost to organic growers and homesteaders in the area. Although our farm is not feed self-sufficient, we are at least glad to have reached fertility self-sufficiency in regards to feeding our soils.                

Now for a focus on tomatoes           .                                      

I'm going to tell you about the life of a tomato at this farm and how the economics of a single fruit shake down. If you're not already drooling (one way or another) here we go:             We start seeding tomatoes in March, and while we start many things in the heated greenhouse, tomatoes and peppers are the only ones that get their own specially heated table. Instead of using “plug trays” which are reusable plastic flats with individual cell pockets for soil, tomatoes are started in pack of soil that is heated from below by an electric heating mat fitted to the bench. Once the tomato seedlings outgrow their original home, they are individually transplanted into larger pots. When the tomatoes are finally ready to transplant out into the high tunnels or field, we first have to make the beds for them. To do this, the team is run through with a row-marking implement. We, like many farms use what's called plastic mulch, a thin plastic film that helps to warm the soil and prevent weeds from competing with the vegetables. Before we lay the mulch by hand and shovel, we lay down a soaker hose so that we can irrigate the tomatoes when necessary, we then fill the aisles with mulch hay. One the beds are made, we can start putting the plants in the ground. We do this work by hand, individually (and carefully!) handling every tomato seedling. Next, we wait for the plants to get big enough to trellis – which keeps the sprawling tomato vines off the ground, lessening the risk of disease and making it easier to harvest the fruits of our labor. Wooden and metal stakes are driven in between the plants (you guessed it.... by hand!) and garden twine is woven in and around all the plants, we will trellis the tomatoes several more times as the plants grow. We prune the vines at this point and several more times throughout the season. Pruning down to two or three main vines increases the productivity as well as air flow between the plants which can lessen the risk of disease. If we are unlucky, and it is a very wet season, it is likely that we will have to battle some form of blight, which is an airborne fungus that can decimate an entire crop for good. We use an organically certified copper spray that is very effective in battling fungal growth (it's worth noting that copper is used in a variety of anti-fungal applications. Hoof rot in animals is treated with a copper-based ointment). We may spray the crop a few times in a season if it necessary. Finally when the fruits begin to ripen, we can harvest! We pick tomatoes into crates in a single layer so that they don't get bruised. Tomatoes stored in our cool room where they await transport to the farmstand or market. Now that we have the life cycle of a tomato, let's try to break down the “rent” that single tomato has to pay to support itself on the farm.  So for costs we have the seeds, the greenhouse, which incurs regular costs of replacing the plastic covering, and other general maintenance. Then there is the fuel to run the heater, the electric to inflate the double-walls of the greenhouse and run the heating mat. The cost in terms of space that the larger pots take up in the propagation house, the reusable plastic pots we use for that, and the extra potting mix (ours is made up of our compost, plus peat moss and perlite to lighten the mix and improve drainage and a mineral supplement to give the seedlings a boost). Then there's cost of the team's work in the field, the plastic mulch and irrigation, the stakes, the twine, the harvest bins, and finally the time it takes us farmers to do all this! At an average a yield of 1800lbs of tomatoes in a little under ¼ acre ballpark, these tomatoes have to generate at least one dollar per lb to pay their own way. No such thing as a free lunch!

      Pizza Night! Friday! It's happening! Farmhand trailer at 6:30. Come hungry.

  **Recipes** Stock            

Making your own stock can be as easy as you want it to be, and is well worth the effort. For vegetable stock, reserve any and all of your veggie trimmings (perhaps not rotten bits) and store them in a container on the counter. I just throw them right into my stock pot. Once you feel like you have enough to work with, cover the whole mess with water, add some herbs if you like, and simmer that sucker til the cows come home! I like to let the liquid reduce by at least a quarter or until I have a nice, richly colored broth. This usually takes at least overnight on medium-low heat. Bone stocks are just as simple. Toss your chicken carcass, beef bones, or what have you in your pot, and cover with water. I recently learned that adding a glug (metric) of white vinegar and letting it stand unheated for half an hour before simmering helps the bones to release minerals, I didn't look up science to back it up but it can't hurt and I've yet to notice any vinegar taste. Cook until well reduced. A neighbor at market said she cooks her beef bones for a week at a time!  

What's cooking? Send us your recipes:, or OR bring a print copy by the farm!  

Posted 2/3/2015 1:54pm by Kerry Gawalt.

We will host a potluck dinner at the common house at Cobb Hill 6pm on Tues Feb.10th.

We will have the pleasure of a visit from Ed Hamer--a horse powered market gardener from Great Britain. Ed runs Chagfood farms which is a CSA market garden in Chagford, England. Ed and company farm with Dartmoor ponies---the hardy draft ponies indigenous to the region. After the potluck Ed has offered to share with us about his farm, his work with horses, and the agriculture scene in the UK. Please join us!

Posted 2/3/2015 10:36am by Kerry Gawalt.

Dear CSA members and farm friends,

Thank you to everyone who filled out our 2014 survey. We have reviewed all the ideas and feedback. We would like to gather a little more data on how the shares can loo for the upcoming year. Please take a few minutes to fill out the following survey. We will compile the data by next week.

Thank you for your time,

Kerry,for the farm crew

Posted 1/13/2015 4:10pm by Kerry Gawalt.

Hi all. This past week, being a farmer was not awesome. One of our best heifers, Charlotte (number 111) died. It's always sad when an animal dies, but it is especially so when it is a young animal who had a bright future in the herd. Charlotte had just turned one year old and was pregnant with her first calf. She was a first-place winner at the Cornish fair and her 4H kids absolutely adored her. Charlotte died because she ingested a small piece of metal that had been inside of her body for quite some time. When a cow swallows metal it is called hardware disease. What typically happens is that the metal object will go into the reticulum, the second, honeycomb-like stomach that serves as a sort of filter for partially digested food. Once there the object can do serious damage to the reticulum and cause death. Most cows are given magnets to ingest at one year of age, which settles in the reticulum, hopefully to catch any metal that goes by. Farms that feed total mixed rations (TMR) have a big magnet on the mixer too. Charlotte's case was a bit different, the piece of metal wire never made it to her reticulum. It had perforated her esophagus, This caused a massive abscess, adhesions to surrounding organs and a hole leaking fluid and feed into the tissue outside of the esophagus. Even with a surgical referral to Cornell, the location and extent of the injury was beyond repair. It's really amazing that she was able to enjoy a healthy, normal life for as long as she did, and behave so vibrantly until the very end. We did everything we could to figure out what was bothering Charlotte. Two vets came to work on her for 8 days, performing two surgeries and using everything modern animal medicine has to offer, but it wasn't until our farm vet performed an autopsy that the true cause of Charlotte's ailment was made clear. She has never encountered a case like this in all her years as vet and a dairy farmer. When tragedies like this happen on the farm, it's always very hard on the farmers. We are charged with the lives of all of our animals and we are supposed to keep them safe and comfortable. Even with do diligence it is impossible to protect them entirely. We will all miss Charlotte. As the circle turns on, we must look forward to the new life coming in to the barn and with solemn respect for the life that is passed, work towards making a better future for our farm ecosystem. We welcomed a new heifer on Friday night. Angelina-P, gave birth to Cedar Mtn Farm Axis Agnes-P. More on how cows are named another week.

If you have yet to fill it out, here is the 2014 CSA Survey, Thanks for your participation.

FIESTA NIGHT! Same deal as Pizza Night only with with more salsa. Fridays at 6:15PM


“Neeps and Tatties”

Don't get too excited, this dish of turnips and potatoes is a Scottish classic.

2 lbs turnip (1 big one) peeled and cut into 2” cubes

2 lbs potatoes peeled and cut into 2” cubes

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tablespoons butter

In a large pot of water, boil the potatoes for ten minutes, then add the turnip and boil for another 15 minutes or until everything is nice an soft. Drain this well and mash it up good. Add the butter, salt and pepper and eat it up with haggis if you're adventurous!

What's cooking? Send us your recipes:, or OR bring a print copy by the farm!