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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week 25 September 24-28


Jalapenos, Shishitos, and Habaneros
Greens Galore! Broccoli Raabe, Kale, Collards, Choi Sum, Tokyo Bekana, Pac Choi, Purple Choi, and Okinawa Spinach. We are still harvesting Peppers and Eggplant, Winter radishes, Hakurei and Purple Top Turnips, Arugula, Okra, Tomatoes and just got the first of the newest plantings of Squash and Zucchini. 
Greens Galore!

Winter Radishes: Watermelon, Green Luobo, Manhontong and more

Production and Distribution

Fall CSA Week 6

Tokyo Bekana
Okra or Squash
Winter Radishes
Sweet Potatoes
Kale or Collards

If you ever need to remove the kernels from a lot of ears of popcorn, just tape some of those ears together and use the rough ends to help scrape the kernels off. 

Corn tool made of corn cobs


We borrowed this Manure Spreader to apply horse manure to a few fields. All was going well until the second when a bump in the road caused the axle to bend. They really should put a weight restriction on this thing. Farming involves a lot of machinery and tests your level of handy-ness constantly. We took the axle off and are trying to straighten it out because the manufacturer of this fine piece of equipment has gone out of business (surprise!).
Manure Spreader up on Blocks

Bent Axle 


Finally! We had enough time and man power this week to get some more things in the ground. We transplanted onions, chicory, fennel, cucumbers. and lettuce in the hoop houses.  Lots of Brassicas got transplanted in Jeff Cook Field (Broccoli, Collards, Kale, Cabbage, Joi Choi, Kohlrabi and Brussel Sprouts) and we direct seeded the Burge Heirloom Elephant Garlic there too. 
Onion transplants

Volunteer lettuce growing in the onion trays

A full Crew! Volunteer Darcy, New Apprentice Claire
and part timer Ivan knock out some transplants

Transplants and a barrel o fish guts

More transplants

Field full of Brassicas

Farm Life

This week was a relief after weeks of working too long and too hard. We hired a new apprentice who arrived Monday and got to work on Tuesday. Her name is Claire and she is my roommate now at Fred's House. We also have a volunteer coming a few times a week named Darcy and an exchange worker from Spain who is helping out most morning. The extra hands make things move a lot faster and we finally feel like we are getting our footing. 

Another reason why I want to be a real farmer:

Not hard to believe

And here is a creepy looking spider eating a grasshopper for you:

Farm Visit: Tewksbury Good Groceries

Thursday we visited a neighboring farm run by Tate Tewksbury. He moved here years ago from Pennsylvania with his parents to raise and sell sheep. He now grows a few acres of vegetables using organic methods but choses not be certified. He runs the farm mostly on his own with his father pitching in on his pet projects. Example; his father grows Red Dent Corn which is a variety that is harvested dry. You know it's ready because the kernels dent in. He uses the corn to feed the pigs and also grinds his own cornmeal and grits with it. Instead of a tractor he uses a team of English draft horses to pull plows and other implements. 
Rosemary Roots and breaks up the soil and
also provides piglets each year. She is a permanent fixture. 

Dent Corn

Corn Stalks in the fog
The animals all live across the street at Tate's parents' farm/homestead, Tinker Farm. There are the brother and sister team of draft horses, another beautiful and friendly black horse, sheep, cows, chickens, turkeys and an awesome farm dog. Tinker Farm is about as idyllic as you can get. They grow their own vegetables in about a 1/4 acre garden, preserve, raise their own eggs and meat and try to stay away from reliance on machinery. Once we got there I really didn't want to leave. 

This guy should have 4 horns but the upper right is broken off
Corn storage

Horse drawn implements

Personal Garden Green House

The Family Garden

Puddy Time

Supervising transplants

Harvesting Tomatoes

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 24 September 17-23

Long Week. Long Days. Lots of fun.  We had a few special events this week including our Organic Certification Inspection, a visit from some local farmers, a visit to a local farm and a Farm to Table Dinner which was Ah-mazing.

Farm to Table Dinner

This incredible meal happened at the very end of a very long week but it was so spectacular it is going to take first place in the blog. The concept of a farm to table dinner is to showcase locally produced foods. The fact that we hosted it at our farm also helps the guests to see and feel the connection between the farm, the farmer, the land and the food. This dinner was open to Burge Club Members, CSA Members and Farm Supporters (for a price). As many of the ingredients as could be sourced locally were and each producer was credited in the menu. Most of the vegetables came from us and some came from our neighbor Nicholas at Crystal Organic Farm.  My job for the night was to fill in where needed. I helped prep plates in the kitchen, load trays, serve and clear tables, pour wine and generally do whatever Chef Andrew and his crew asked of me. It was exhilarating to see Chef, Merry and Penny in their element and to be a part of the hustle as we worked to get each course out on time, at the right temperature and looking great. 


Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese’s Green Hill, Thomasville Tomme, Cyprus & Heat, Chandon Etoile Brut NV Sonoma, California
AND- Burge Pickled Okra that I helped make!

Spoon Bread with Tagyerit Bacon 

First Course

Pickled Savannah Shrimp
Elephant Garlic, Turnips, Radishes, Carrots
Paired With: Chateau St Michelle- Dr. Loosen “Eroica” Riesling 2006 Columbia Valley, Washington

Second Course

Burge Cassoulet
Pine Street Toulouse Sausage
Traditional French Sausage with white pepper, nutmeg, and ginger. Green Lentils, Tagyerit Bacon, Choi, Roasted Tomatoes, Turnips and Baby Kale.
Paired With: Tablas Creek 2008 Cotes de Tablas Paso Robles, California

Third Course

Watermelon Radish Carpaccio
Olive Oil and Basil Ice Cream
Paired With: Chateau des Baumelles 2011 Bandol Rose Provence, France

Winter Radishes sliced paper thin

Fourth Course

Smoked and Charred Verner Farms Strip Steak
Burge Organic Vanilla Sweet Potatoes
Tempura Okra (Burge) and Spaghetti Squash (Crystal Organic Farm)
Paired With: Family Vinyards Rockpile Cabernet Sauvingnon 2003 Sonoma, California

Fifth Course

Chocolate Souffle
Raspberry Beet Sauce, Candied Beets & Roasted Burge Black Peanuts
Paired With: Linderman’s Framboise Lambic, Belgium

Also Featuring

Burge Pepper Jelly
Whipped Johnston Dairy Butter

Chef Andrew and FOH John

The Crew

Farm to Table Magic

Farm Visits

We had three visits this week, all on Thursday. Two of them were visits to our farm and one was a visit to Crystal Organic Farm just down the road. 

The first visit was from the Organic Certification Inspector from QCS (Quality Certification Services). Our inspector came early in the day and stayed through lunch. The inspection process involves an audit of record keeping. The inspector choses a sold crop and asked you to trace it back to it's origin showing records of harvest, any inputs (fertilizers, insecticides <organic, of course>), planting, soil amendments, and where the plant or seed came from. They can do this for several crops. The next step is a tour of all of the certified fields where they can continue to ask questions on your organic processes and request backup documentation. I was able to tag along on the field tour which was pretty interesting. 

Visit number two was after lunch when our farmer friends from Serenbe Farms came out to see our operation. We had visited them only the week before but it took a 5 minute discussion to realize it had really only been one week. It felt like at least two for all of us. I suppose that means we work too hard.  We took Paige, Justin, Maya and Christina all around Burge showing them all the fields and even learning a thing or two. Like, the bug that's been eating our hakureis is a yellow margin leaf beetle, and that you should use Neemix for Aphids on your Rutabagas. 

Visit number three was the Serenbe Farmers' trip to our neighbor Nicholas at Crystal Organic Farm which they graciously let us tag along on. Nicholas has 25 acres in production and 22 Hoop Houses. He has been farming on his family's land for 17 years and his mother before him. He really has a lot of things figured out. The Hoop Houses were weed free and full of gorgeous vegetables.  His flowers were healthy and varied and I'm sure he does well with bouquets at market. All of the irrigation is automated and can be controlled from a computer. This is a place I would love to spend more time. While it was certainly enlightening to spend an hour touring his fields it would take ages to glean what he has learned in 17 years of hard work and figuring it all out. 

Crystal Organic Farm Hoop Houses

Touring with Nicholas

30% Shade Cloth for lettuce


In the harvest bins this week were Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter Radishes, Pac Choi, Purple Choi, Tokyo Bekana, Okinawa Spinach, Carrots, Peppers, Eggplant, Arugula, Okra and Broccoli Raabe. 
Green Sausage Tomato

First Harvest List for Farm to Table Dinner

Box of Greens

Fall Tomatoes coming in

Tokyo Bekana and Okinawa Spinach

Choi and Turnips

Production and Distribution

Fall CSA Week 5

Carrots or Hakurei Turnips
Winter Radishes
Broccoli Raabe
Pac Choi

I had to find a way to fit a bunch of peanuts into a CSA Box and still leave room for everything else.  I cut off any branches that didn't have peanuts and twist tied the rest together as tight as possible. It worked!


Market this week was the fabulous duo of Elizabeth and Erica. We skipped the pepper roaster and did get a few complaints. The best part of the day was all of the feedback we got on the Okinawa Spinach. It's something that no one else at our market has and it has become wildly popular with our customers. So much so that it sold out in under an hour and we had a dozen request for it after that. We will have to bring more next week.

Winter Radishes, Watermelon and Green Luobo


This is what happens when you start work early, work hard all day, and after the sun goes down you realize that no one ever watered the greenhouse. Here I am watering by the light of the van headlights.

Green House at night

Predatory Parasites on a caterpillar :)

This is a sad story. We discovered this week that one of our beehives has been vacated by the bees and over run with Wax Worm. I was assured by the bee guy at market that wax worms don't move in until the bees have left and we did not see any dead bees. So, the best guess is that the hive was weak and they swarmed. Hopefully they have made a new home nearby.


No planting this week. We have lots of fall succession planting to do. We need to start more seeds in the green house and in the field and we have transplants big enough to go out. All we need now is a little more time and help. 

Garlic Ready to Plant

Farm Life

This week was tough. Of the three apprentices we lost one a few months ago and the other one left last Saturday. That makes me last man standing. With all the extracurricular and with Cory occupied with certification and the dinner on Saturday that left the bulk of the work this week to Daniel and I. And work we did. We came in early and left late every day and were exhausted by Thursday morning. But still there was market harvest, market and the big dinner on Saturday. By Sunday we had more than earned our day off. I for one slept in and spent the rest of the day with friends and family trying not to do anything that involved kneeling, squatting or getting dirty. 

We have a burning bush at Burge! This bush is in the middle of one of our pastures and is incredibly gorgeous. This picture does not do it justice. It doesn't even look real, it looks as though someone came along and painted it onto the landscape.

Puddy Time