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Posted 3/3/2015 4:41pm by Kerry Gawalt.

We have created a new look for our mail-in CSA form. Click on the link below if you want to mail in your CSA membership.

 

http://sfc.smallfarmcentral.com/dynamic_content/uploadfiles/3438/CSA2015.pdf

 

Thanks,

Kerry



Posted 3/3/2015 12:11pm by Kerry Gawalt.

March 3,2015

            There's nothing like a cold and the cold to make you dread every detail of the day ahead. On the farm there's no such thing as “sick leave” so when you're feeling down (as we've all taken turns doing these past few weeks) you just have to buck up and get it done. While summer is definitely busier, when there are animals involved, winter still means work. Here's a basic run-down of what a day in life is like here these days, complete with potential hazards: Day starts at 4AM and there are emails to respond to, and a quick coffee to chug before getting to the barn to start milking. Just getting out of the house takes a few minutes to put on two sweaters, long underwear and the insulated pants plus crampons on the boots for the ice. First thing at the barn is to check the maternity pens. When there is a calf, it is dried- off, a coat put on and fed a bottle of colostrum. Then feeding the dam and giving her buckets of electrolyte water. There are many cows to milk and if it's a busy morning, like when Cobb Hill Cheese and Dairy Farmers of America are both taking milk, there's no room for dawdling! Additionally once a month the milk tester comes. On the day that all three things happen, the morning starts at 3:30 AM. The horses get an early feeding when it is below 10 degrees. Next the grain is put out in the parlor and to let the first group of cows come in. The sanitizing cycle runs in the milk house while the 40 animals in the barn get grain. This is also a good time to do heat check on the cows and heifers that are ready to breed. Milking continues while the middle barn chores go on. Barn chores include mucking maternity and heifers pens and making sure all the middle-barn residents have fresh, warm water, plenty of hay and their morning grain ration. Everyone in the pack barn also needs fresh water, so that means dragging out the hose, breaking through the ice with an ax in the tanks, pumping out any dirty water, and topping everyone off. On truly frigid days this can be a real race, even a extra-thick hose like we have can freeze up solid if you're not careful. We take care to remove any cow pies from the pack to keep the girls clean and make sure they all have enough hay. Fresh pine bedding is added every other day and once a week we remove any wasted feed from the troughs. The alley in the pack barn is scraped every day. The horses need their pen mucked too, they get grain and hay. Their water is changed every third day. When milking is finished, the parlor is cleaned and we do a check through the middle barn to make sure everyone has what they need. Bringing in more hay, or bedding too. Once the morning routine is through we can move on to any jobs that need done. Usually this will include some kind of snow or ice management. Even a small bit of snow can freeze in a door jamb and make the door unusable if not taken care of. Paths need to be kept clear to ensure safe and easy movement around the barnyard. Inside jobs can include vaccinating, breeding, dehorning, cleaning, sweeping out cobwebs, and making updates to the barn and farm stand. There are days, though, when the cold and wind is so punishing that we turn to desk work. At mid-day we give the smallest calves a bottle of milk to make sure they have enough calories to keep warm. The feed alley is scraped while the cows are ruminating on the pack. A million pounds of compost starts here. An hour will move a lot out to our stacking pad. We double check everyone's water and feed hay and then stop for lunch. We take a few hours in the middle of the day to rest( or work through lunch at the desk) and then it's back to the barn at 3 to start evening milking and chores. If all goes well, everyone is home by 6. There is a final barn check at 11 PM (sometimes more if there is an expecting cow mother) to make sure everyone's okay.

**Events** Pizza Night! It's happening! Friday, at 630 at Jada's house. RSVP and we will let you know what to bring to this community feast. Come hungry.

**Recipes** Slow Cooker Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese Soup

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 yellow onion, chopped

• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)

• 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced, plus additional jalapeño slices for serving

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1/4 cup flour

• 1 cup milk

• 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

• 3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped

• 1 3/4 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving

• Green onions, for serving

• 1. Melt the butter in a large, deep stockpot or Dutch over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapenos and sauté until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper and cook the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the vegetables, then cook 1 additional minute until lightly golden. Slowly stir in the milk and cook until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 2. Transfer the mixture to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir in the chicken stock, then add the chopped potato. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 hours on low. 3. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree in batches until smooth (alternatively, you can use an immersion blender directly in the slow cooker). Stir in the cheese a half-cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before stirring in the next half cup. Serve garnished with jalapeño slices, green onions, and additional cheddar cheese.

 

What's cooking? Send us your recipes: jhaas7@gmail.com, or fjordworks@yahoo.com. OR bring a print copy by the farm!



Posted 2/25/2015 10:48am by Kerry Gawalt.

              Sitting in the kitchen staring at a bowl of beets slowly wither away. I'll cook them this week, possibly in a pasta sauce. Eating local food in the winter means making compromises, dew-kissed greens and shiny, tomatoes are not always feasible if we choose to commit to local agriculture. Storage crops will sometimes loose their perk as they respirate in storage or are improperly stored. This translates into softer out-sides and formation of blemishes. These items are usually fine and delicious to eat but they appeal less to our conceptions of perfect produce. This often leads to wasted food – items that get thrown away when they still hold significant value as food. Food waste is a big problem worldwide – enough food is produced globally to support the (albeit skyrocketing) population, but much of this sustenance does not make it to consumers' bowls. The reasons for this vary in different parts of the world. In developing nations, lack of equipment, infrastructure, or transport is often the reason for un-eaten food crops. In developed nations, customer behavior is the leading cause. The demand for physically perfect and identical items drives sellers of foodstuffs to go through inventory at an astonishing rate. Foods are discarded, often in the trash (though in some cities, composting ordinances are being established). I'm not advocating that everyone eat the moldy carrot that fell in the crack in the refrigerator door, but I do think that it's important to be aware of food waste and the simple ways we can be better and more economical consumers of food. The most important step is to be aware of our consumption habits and to be as efficient as possible with the foods we bring into our kitchen and eat. For one, it's good to have a sense of how you actually eat. It's okay to not like broccoli, and it's okay to not buy broccoli because you do not like to eat it. Buying broccoli at the store every week when you know you are going to throw it out is crazy, so be true to yourself and your preferences! Next, use what you have. It's tempting to cook up the newest recipe from the newspaper, but if you've got beets staring at you (ahem), maybe better to cook those up first, stash 'em in the fridge and get to your hot new dish a little later. Then, know what options there are to make use of unused or surplus foods. There are lots of religious organizations that accept donations of food and food shelves that do the same.         

            Check out the UU church in Hartland or VT FoodBank for more information on this. Here are some more tips for rescuing food items on the brink: -bananas turning brown can go right in the freezer to await your next banana bread exploit. -Slightly squishy roots can get boiled up and pureed into soups and sauces, no one will ever know! -Stale bread can be used as bread crumbs, croutons, French toast, etc. -cabbage that is wilted or browning on the outer leaves is often bright and lively the next layer down, peel that sucker! We'll talk more about proper storage another time! Stay warm and enjoy the sunshine, all! Thanks everyone who responded to the surveys. We're still compiling your data and will show you the results soon!

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**

King Arthur Carrot Cake Cake

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil 2 cups

(14 ounces) sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

3 cups (11 1/2 ounces) finely grated carrots

1 1/2 cups (5 3/4 ounces) chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter one

8-ounce package cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla OR 1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups (10 to 14 ounces) glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar

milk or cream to adjust consistency of frosting, if necessary

 

Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9" round layer pans, or one 9" x 13" pan. Beat together the oil, sugar, salt, eggs, and spices. Mix the flour with the baking soda, and stir in. Add the carrots and nuts, and mix until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan(s). Bake the cake(s) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Allow the cake(s) to cool completely before frosting. (If you're using round layer pans, remove the layers from the pans after about 15 minutes, and place them on a rack to cool. Frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla. Beat in the sugar. Add a teaspoon of milk or cream if the frosting is too stiff to spread; add additional sugar if it's too thin. Frost the sheet cake right in the pan. For the layers, frost the top of one layer, top with the second layer, and frost the top and sides of the cake. Yield: 1 cake, 16 to 24 servings

 

What's cooking? Send us your recipes: jhaas7@gmail.com, or fjordworks@yahoo.com. OR bring a print copy by the farm!



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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cedar Mountain Farm CELEBRATES NATIONAL CSA SIGN-UP DAY FEBRUARY 28

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 cedarmountainfarm.org, 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 www.csasignupday.com. For information about National CSA Sign Up day visit: http://csasignupday.com

or contact the organizer: Small Farm Central Simon Huntley simon@smallfarmcentral.com http://www.smallfarmcentral.com 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, http://www.chagfood.org.uk 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: jhaas7@gmail.com, or fjordworks@yahoo.com. 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,

Kerry



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: jhaas7@gmail.com, or fjordworks@yahoo.com. OR bring a print copy by the farm!