Thursday, April 18, 2013

Strawberry Hill Farm, Forever

Hi everyone, Happy Thursday!

By the time you read this I will have been to hear Deepak Chopra give a lecture.  I will report back on what I thought  of it on Friday, but I anticipate it will be a soothing talk!  I am a Deepak fan and am enjoying meditating because of him.

I am still thinking about food!  I think I am always thinking about food!

Some of you are fortunate to have farmers markets that you can shop at year round and some of them are open daily.  While we are lucky to have one, our farmers market is only open on Saturday mornings.  In the summer it is often impossible to get to, whether because we are away or have company or whatever. 

There is a local store here that only sells locally grown produce and products, but it can be hit and miss as to what is available when and if you miss it, well it could be a few more days until the next produce is back.

This year, I am alleviating the middleman and going directly to the farm.  A wonderful farm upriver from us, Strawberry Hill Farm, will deliver weekly fruit and vegetable boxes from early June to November.  I am so excited by this!  You take whatever is coming out of the ground that week and exchanges are possible if you want.  They are now letting people sign up for seasonal subscriptions to their farm boxes, which also helps them know that they have a steady stream of income.
















It is run by a small family, with help from local employees.  Don't they look like the kind of people you would want to buy vegetables from?














I am really passionate about supporting local small farms.  They are the ones that are doing the heavy lifting in the fight against mcfarming.  We are fortunate to live in a small place without these huge farming conglomerates and I want to support them so that they can not only stay in business, but thrive!

I do grow some vegetables in the summer and plan to expand the amount this year.  I have tons of herbs and I could live on my sorrel and my basil all summer long.  Don't mention my insidious mint, although they are good in the mojitos...

This farm box will ensure that we have a ready supply of good healthy food.

I am already starting to plan my garden.  I am going to train cucumbers and zucchini up my fence this summer - have any of you ever done that?  All advice is appreciated.  I am not a huge zucchini fan, but I am a huge zucchini flower fan and so will need lots!  And since I will have time this summer, I want to really make my garden even better than it already is!

I am aiming for this:


Potager Style Small Summer Garden
Source: gardenworldimages.com
I can only plan my garden now, because I will only be able to start cleaning it up in the next week as it looked like this on the weekend...



I also have a lot of dividing of plants to do.  I need more hostas, so I will divide some I already have.  I also need to read up on when to cut back my grape vines.  I am pretty sure it is soon, but I am not positive. 

I am also going to talk Barry into making me another couple of palsets for veggies like this:


pallet garden-tracy porter poetic wanderlust
Source: here
 Oh and i want to plant Dahlias - do any of you plants dahlias?  Any advice on that!

I am also filling up my hummingbird feeders tomorrow.  Typically, they arrive Mothers Day weekend, but last year, I had a straggler in early October, so I want to make sure I am ready for them!

How about you - are you starting to plan for your gardens?  Any special delights this year?  Also - if you want to take a look and read more about Strawberry Hill farm, by all means do so here.  It makes me very happy to see small farms thrive and I understand from my friend who got produce from them last year that they almost have enough "subscriptions" for this summer.  A weeks worth of vegetables for a family of four is $157 per month.  You can't beat that!

Happy Garden dreaming and have a safe day out there!  And remember: some of us weeders are willing to come visit you in July if there is wine and a nice meal....







40 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Oops. Chopra is wonderful. I've attended several of his retreats and read most of his books.

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    1. This ended up being quite cheap as it was only a two hour lecture. It was really fascinating. Will post a little bit tomorrow!

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  3. I've pretty much lost interest in gardening I just see it as an almighty chore, and will leave it all to the gardener if he ever comes back - he has a mind of his own.

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    1. Well I do love my garden - it is so soothing and good for my soul, but knw it isn't for all and it is a lot of work!

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  4. I would love to be able to buy from a local farm, but there are no veggies farmer where we live... In fact my local small shop (which is rather a cooperative) needs to buy it fruits and veggies in foreign countries to be able to supply the demand... I buy only organic fruits and veggies and started juicing in January... I am now struggling a bit to combine the juicing AND healthy meals the evenings but I am working on this... There is a terrific recipe from Jamie Oliver that is pasta/zucchini carbonara and it is so delicious. I have found that marinating them in olive oil and lemon give them a much better taste (according to my palate of course!)
    I failed my garden last year because of lack of planning and not giving it enough time, I really want to change this, this year!

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    1. Oh steph - that is too bad! We are sure fortunate. Good luck with your garden!

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  5. ALL IN A ROW WMM, I can't believe how inexpensive your farm box is. Our next door neighbours and we have both found different ones that will do condo deliveries (more hassle than house). But that price is wonderful for whole month x 4 people. No garden and only a couple of trees on balcony this summer (not growing tomatoes due to construction). You know that lament. But happy to hire myself out as a weeder. Tons of practice age 5-18 and then blueberry raking and u-pick help whenever visiting some relations.

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    1. We may have to hop pond to get our friend's garden in order! Plus I am pretty sure she needs a hot tub, she is soon to be 50... Wait - I need a hot tub!

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  6. Alas I do not have space for a garden so I will live vicariously through yours. I do have some herbs in small pots, would that count? I agree it is very important to support local farmers and make it worthwhile for them. I often wonder how much benefit farmers receive if we buy from conglomerates like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

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    1. Yes - I think herbs definitely count! I wonder about that too!

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  7. You have a great looking space for your garden. I do love to garden but by July, when everything is coming in, it is ubbelievably hot. Squash/Cucumber is very easy to "train", just use twine. And if it doesn't behave, just pick it up and throw it on the fence - you better learn to eat squash cuz you'll have a ton. Key is to cook it until just tender, not mushy. I like it better served room temp or cold...in some type of salad or pasta.

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    1. I love it raw too! Okay - I will try twine and then bully it if it doesn't follow my lead!

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  8. Community Supported Agriculture is so big around here and I love it. Your Strawberry Hill looks like the most charming family farm ever.
    I've been buying from a local farm for over 12 years, they deliver weekly and while it is their own produce in the summer they bring in organics from around the world all year long, every week we get a box of veg, fruit, eggs, milk and cream delivered. It's been a great service and they are a wonderful family!
    I am planning to really get some beautiful plants in the garden this summer. I have MrBP to do the heavy work so I have no excuse! You will be inspiring me Wendy!

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    1. We are pruning grape vines this afternoon - am looking forward to getting outside! I have to get Barry to figure out how many eggs we need!

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  9. I love hearing about CSA users. Farming is one of my main passions and I support 2 big farming nonprofits here. I belong to a winter one, but grow everything here for the summer. So, WMM, I'll swing by for a consult; I assume organic as well? Oh, I'd love to get dairy delivered again. The girls are laying eggs again and soon it will be 6 weeks of asparagus. Your farm sounds amazing!

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    1. Oh - gotta meet your girls! I want Barry to build me a cold frame for my potager a la Eliot Coleman - have you ever gone to his farm there?

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    2. Yes, it is a sight to behold. He had a crew of restaurant workers in residence( from Brooklyn,helping out in the greenhouses and beds. Highly productive farm. Castine and Blue Hill are not far away, both lovely towns. Barry can build you some supports for vertical crops too.

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    3. I have a terrible celebrity crush on Barbara and Eliot! Oh I would love to go see it in person!

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  10. Dahlias-- easiest thing ever. You can start the roots directly outside next month; just dig a hole and put them in with the stem part on top. Water occasionally with fish fertilizer. They are atomic, cheery, and essential.

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    1. Oh good! I am going to go buy some this weekend!

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  11. No cooking or gardening here- but I will experience vicariously through your blog! My yard is only used for basketball and baseball. Your garden setup looks lovely.

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    1. Oh I love a yard used for sports, especially baseball! I love baseball!

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  12. Not a big gardener here, but I do plant kitchen herbs. Our yard is also more set up for sports, swimming, basketball, baseball and football tossing, outdoor cooking and eating. Will have a treehouse built when upcoming grandchildren are a bit older. I love them.

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    1. I love a treehouse, too! Ours needs to be rebuilt - I see it is falling down as it is so long since the kids used it! We have a place for badminton or tossing a ball in our side yard and I agree - you need room for both!

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  13. I am not much of a gardener and am way to impatient for that.
    Herbs are the only thing that i planted except flowers.

    Some of the local farms just put up a cart in town and sell their fruit or veggies,so i can walk there and get what i need. They also deliver to the supermarket.
    We even have a ostrich farm here,haha.

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    1. i think we an ostrich farm near as well! I have to go! I love herbs as well and have a ton and always plant more! Where we were in France last summer had a wonderful little market every Tuesday morning and the farmers were bringing their goodies in!

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  14. I have an overgrown rose garden at the moment, with a lot of pruning to get done. I'd like to plant some herbs and a few veggies but need to find time with my husband for the planning. I think Spring is finally here so I'm going to make this a priority thanks to your inspiration.

    Can't wait to hear about the lecture.

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    1. Hey Julie, I want an overgrown rose garden, so will be glad to take note there!

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  15. Wow, that photo of the one garden is so pretty! I planted lily of the valley and peony bulbs last night. Got them at Aldi for practically nothing, and lily of the valleys smell so good! I am just learning how to garden, and slowly transforming the front of our house which used to just have those heinous cedar bushes.

    We own and live in a duplex, and our tenant is a Japanese entomologist with works for Cornell on integrated pest management and such, and is thus extremely knowledgeable about plants and whatnot... he is planting a huge garden in our backyard this year! All the rewards, with hardly any of the work. I am very excited.

    Hostas are great, I need to pilfer some from friends and family!

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    1. Oh you are so lucky! What a great gift to have a gardener onsite! I love peonies and lily of the valley. I am hoping the latter spread more this year; I don't have enough to really pick and so I just go out and enjoy it, but in my old house, I had tons!

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  16. Wow - what an idyllic looking place. I still have yet to read Deepak, but you've inspired me to buy his books!

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    1. Well I am sure Deepak would be a big fan of how brave you were in the canyon! I am still marvelling over that!

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    2. Oh well now I will have to read him. Is it all about conquering your fears?

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  17. You have honorable intentions but the fight against mcfarming, as you call it, is misguided. How can we feed a starving world by one small local farm at at time? We can't. It sounds more like the fight to bring back scurvy, rickets, etc.

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    1. HI Anon,

      you are likely right and I probably don't know enough to debate the topic. I do like diversity in all industry - small shops that make their own things, as well as larger chains and family farms do have a good place in my world. I do want animals and food grown carefully and I am sure there are some larger farms that do this, though I know of some who do not. As for bringing back scurvy or rickets - oh no.

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  18. Sadly, we don't have much room to garden (you can only do so much with a condo balcony), but luckily there is a huge farmers market across the street every Tuesday and Friday.

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the Chopra lecture!

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    1. Oh every Tuesday and Friday - that would be divine!

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  19. Hubs and I are doing an overhaul of our backyard this summer (yes, we are ambitious!) - I'm not a big gardener but I do want to try and plant a few veggies & herbs. My Mom has a huge garden so we usually get stuff from my parents in the summer, plus I frequent the farmers market quite regularly (it is twice a week here starting in May) and there's an organic food market here. Also when we go out to the cottage, there's a farm we usually stop at to buy fresh veggies and strawberries. I wish we had Whole Foods or Marianos but we don't. Have to make do! :)

    I completely support buying produce, meat, etc from local farmers.

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    1. We work at it every year and some years are better than others! I have never heard of Mariano's - assume it is a chain?

      Oh my gosh - fresh strawberries! Local berries are the best!

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Kindness is a virtue...