It’s Time To Talk Peppers!!!

For those of you who purchased transplants or even vegetables from us last year, you might have been told the story of how a sweet little mouse or mice decided to enjoy a variety of my pepper seedlings. I calculated that the bugger or buggers took out over 75% of my pepper transplants. Pretty unbelievable when you consider the number of plants we still managed to have and the number of peppers that still came to market with us.

This year fueled with the anxiety that we might have mouse issues again, I went bonkers on peppers.

I’ll start with what is out. We decided that we no longer wanted to grow several varieties of peppers. Purple Beauty, Carmen, Golden Treasure, King of the North, and Chocolate are a few which we decided to forego due to reasons such as disease, length till maturity, and production. And thus, in return, we brought in some new varieties.

From the top of my head these are the list you can expect to find at our next market.

Sweet Pepper:

Healthy, Macroni Red, Ausilio Thin Skin, Sweet Pimento, Feher Ozon Paprika, Alma Paprika, HMS Orange Picnic Pepper, HMS Red Picnic Pepper, HMs Yellow Picnic Pepper, Havasu, Goddess ( a banana pepper),  Bull nose, Gilboa Sweet Pepper, Golden California Wonder, and California Wonder

 

Hot Peppers (some sworn to put hair on your chest whether you want it or not):

Ancho Gigantea, Jalapeno, Matchbox, Helios, Habenero, Hungarian Hot Wax, Hinkelhatz hot pepper, Jaluv an Altitude, Numex Joe E. Parker Anaheim, Cubanelle, and Krimzon Lee.

 

Which variety are we most excited about?

I cant even begin to say. Alma Paprika because they are these cute looking little cherry peppers. Jaluv an attitude, a jalapeno pepper that has been crossed with another pepper. Looking forward to trying out a Jalapeno popper recipe with these and compare them with the real Jalapenos. Okay and all those fun ones the Anaheim, the Cubanelle, Goddess and Ancho. All specialty peppers that are associated with different cultures cuisines. My mouth is watering thinking of all the dishes we can make with them

Does this list contain all the peppers we are offering or even growing?

Absolutely not.. I have a few peppers I have in limited quantity which are my favorites and I am only offering from the greenhouse. I am also sure I forgot a few as I am trying to make this list from memory.

Do we have any Ghost peppers?

No not yet. I tried this year but the company I order from was out.

Are they Organic?

Yes. Yes. And Yes.  Certified Organic.

 

If you want an exciting pepper garden come see us this  weekend, either at the Cazenovia Farmers Market on Sat 9-2 or at the greenhouse Sat hours are 3-6 and Sunday 10-6

STRAWBERRIES and …

I allotted myself an hour to write a blog and  get it posted with pictures and all. The Farm Manager and Tractor Man are having a day off the farm fishing. In the past few days, it finally feels as if we might be almost to the point of catching up and posting blogs is one item on my catch up list.

I am also on a high because I have just finished planting, what we hope will soon become an addition to our u-pick crops, four hundred strawberry plants. Somehow with Tractor man’s help, they have the look of being really professionally done. Not a common occurrence on the farm if you ask me.  Even though they still await some mulch and drip tape, the raised beds remind me of the big AG strawberry patches I would see  when I would visit Oxnard, CA to pick up strawberries for my virgin strawberry daiquiris on my way to my favorite Mexican Restaurant.  Thus an overwhelming since of accomplishment.DSC_0455

There is also a very huge since of accomplishment when planting something your daughter is excited about. Yesterday she was overjoyed to put in a few more blackberry bushes in the field with her dad. She came into the house announcing that blackberries were her favorite fruit. When she saw me planting strawberries that same evening, she naturally wanted to help. It makes a mom glow and feel like I must have done something right.

As always, I am hopeful we will have a good fruit season not just for my kid but for the community at large . Raspberries have been producing for several years. We are still waiting on blueberries and rhubarb.  Hopefully, they both make an entrance on to the scene.

Another of one of those major catch up items, other than this blog, has been mulching garlic. Sadly, after being exhausted from planting over a 1000 pounds of garlic, we thought it would be easier to hire someone to come out with straw and a  straw thrower (I think it has another official name) to cover our fields last fall. The guy hired managed to bring straw and bale spear which has cluttered my fields all winter but he never managed to get out to cover my beds. Uggh!!! Frustrating.

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By the time, we figured out he was a no show, there was no time to cover the fields.  My hope is that there will be no detrimental consequences to not having my fields covered during the winter. It is a big debate between tractor man and myself. As I feel leaving the garlic exposed to the elements is not in the best interest of the garlic. Tractor Man just tells me it will be fine.

So why are we covering now? Weed Protection. Our hope is always to block out as many weeds as possible and make sure the garlic is not in competition with any other plants. Garlic is a very important crop around here with over 10 varieties and  1000’s of heads in the ground.

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The only other thing to talk about is the new mulch layer we are in wait for. It is one of those things we didn’t get ordered until too late and should be arriving any day. In fact, I just heard it is due here tomorrow. Our hope is that it will prevent the mulch from blowing away and killing plants in the process. For some reason, when we lay it by hand, it takes too long and never stays put in the wind. Lots of mulch kites that we swear our neighbors will get mad at us for one day. Thus we have been holding off transplanting anything outside. Our onions are ready to hit the fields along with lots of other plants. If the weather allows, maybe this weekend.

If you are wondering at the end of this did I finish it in my allotted hour. The answer unfortunately is no. For some reason, internet did not want to upload my pictures timely so it was a struggle. I did get it done before the troupes arrived back home along with lots of other work. Enjoy this beautiful day.

 

2017 Seeding, other going ons and Summer Market Updates

Instead of another descriptive blog about seed starting, I thought we do a more visual one to show you current pictures from the germination room.

 

There is lots of stuff going on at the farm. Even though it is cold now, we have been lucky enough to have some warm days.  We are in and out of the maple sugar shack and cleaning the greenhouse to prepare for all the new plants that are about to be transplanted and moved out to their new home.  During those warmer days, the chickens have been going bonkers .

Summer Markets

Cazenovia Farmers Market here we come. So soon soon. Its finally a joint time of 10-2  on Saturdays. We are super excited it is right aroud the corner.

We are hoping our loyal customers are not too saddened by the news that we will no longer be at the Fayettville summer Market. We were not accepted into the market this year and thus we have decided to use it to our favor  to boost our CSA and the expansion of the U-PICK flowers.

Lastly, we are playing around to see if we might go elsewhere. Check on the right side of our page a little later to see if there are any updates. at the where to find us

About OUR 2017 CSAs

If you have talked to us about our farm’s CSA options, you will find out we went in with our heels dragging. When we first started farming, it seemed to be too much commitment and too much risk. Yes, in the beginning, we were the unsure participant getting hauled to the altar. Then something miraculous happened (ok, well maybe not totally miraculous but a lot of self-education, hard work and tireless toil happened). We started one, well, several different CSA enterprises on our farm, and they all worked out quite nicely. Wow!!!!

We still get asked the question. What is a CSA? I think it gets to be confusing because there are a lot of farms with different descriptions for their CSAs. In general, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a model by which the consumer receives weekly or biweekly goods (shares) that are paid for upfront, for a desired amount of time, which helps support local growers with capital during the most important time of the year (seed starting and planting season). Most common is a vegetable CSA and in that case it would be a weekly box of assorted fresh picked seasonal vegetables . However, at Dizzy Lizzie’s, we offer more than one CSA option. We have vegetable (small and large) shares, a cut flower share, a pre-order plant (garden seedlings) share, and fresh egg share.

The number of CSA shares we sign on remains small. We do this for several reasons. First, we love getting to know our members. It is our goal that every member feel like they are part of the Dizzy Lizzie Farm team. We do not require or request any CSA member work on the farm, however, we are always obliging if someone volunteers some elbow grease or wants to learn about a particular part of the organic farming process. We have in the past, when certain crops are prolific, allowed members to u-pick as part of their CSA. It is not a definite – but highly likely each season that we’ll have an abundance of some popular variety that folks love to pick on their own. The farm does offer u-pick raspberries (and maybe the blueberries will finally be productive enough this year) and flowers (not included in the cost of our CSA shares). The other reason we remain small is for the farm manager (our young daughter). As she grows, so may we.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty of each of our lovely options, I wanted to focus on why I really was so hesitant. A drought had hit several years before we started our CSA, leaving many CSAs unprepared and unable to provide customers their pre-paid items. I never wanted to be in that mess. So me being who I am, I put my problem solving ability to the test. My solution was unlike a lot of farmers, I will not use the money until each member has received their box. Thus, if for any forsaken reason there are any catastrophic problems your money can and will be returned.
The VEGETABLE SHARE is a 16-week season of fresh NOFA-NY Certified Organic vegetables fruit and herbs. Members receive their vegetables once a week from late-June through early-October. We chose 16 weeks to allow flexibility to work with peoples’ schedules and travel plans. We also allow customers to buy in a week earlier or a week later, if they want a 18 week option.

Our large size will suit a family of 4, or 1-2 veggie enthusiasts with each box containing anywhere between 8-15 different veggies. Our small size option will be half the size of our large shares. Small shares will feed a family of 2 or make 1 very hungry veggie eater.
What veggies will you receive? Every year is different. Last year both our shares saw large quantities of peppers and summer squash. Year before we had an abundance of tomatoes and large members received for over a month a quart of large tomatoes and a pint of cherries each week. Each season is different for us. The only things we do guarantee are once the potatoes are in you will receive at least a pound each week in the small and two pounds in the large and as for garlic once its ready expect a head each week.
Small Shares cost $350.00 and Large Shares cost $510.00.
A little extra note: we work closely with Fruit of the Fungi and thus have been able to offer a mushroom add on option.
The FLOWER POWER CSA is my favorite option and one that is my labor of love. We are now only offering a 15 week bouquet style flower CSA Everything is grown on the farm and we estimate about 95% of all the flowers we grow our certified organic. Unlike the vegetable CSA, it is not 15 weeks straight. WE start with tulips and daffodils and then we move onto peonies from their it is anyone’s guess. It is a wonderful present for a loved one who loves flowers. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and don’t forget Anniversary Present’s. It costs $265 including all taxes.
PRE ORDER CERTIFIED ORGANIC PLANTS: This is the perfect opportunity for those that like to do their own garden. WE do not have our list out yet. Our goal is to have it up and ready by next week.
The CERTIFIED ORGANIC EGG CSA is a 13 consecutive week CSA option for $66.00 over .15 cents off per dozen. The CSA guarantees you one dozen farm raised certified organic egg each week.
The POTATO CSA may be in its last year. This is for people who don’t want our full CSA but love our specialty potatoes. You will receive a pound of fingerling potatoes for 26 weeks from July to December. $65.00
The GARLIC MEDLEY CLUB is one of our club options. This is the perfect gift for garlic lovers for yourself or others. What is it exactly? Each month for 6 months, a ½ pound of a different variety of garlic can either show up at your door (additional cost) or be picked up at any of the markets we attend. $46.00
I have worked hard to find options that I feel truly meet the needs of our customers. We hope that you will think about joining us in one form or another for the 2017 CSA season.
Always feel free to contact us with any questions or check out our website for more information.

CSA BEGINS

We are very excited by all our CSAs. We have a lot of new and old members all with an enthusiasm for trying something new.
This is our first week of our Vegetable CSA. Our Flower CSA patrons have already received their first two bouquets: tulips mixed with daffodils and a peony, allium, iris mix bouquet.

LAMBS QUARTERS
Why am I dedicating any amount of energy and time to writing about a weed?

Well our CSA members please forgive us but we love it on the farm. We don’t do spinach meaning we don’t grow spinach. For years it has bested us and thus we found a solution when a farmer friend visited us and said “ hey, you know you can eat this. It tastes just like spinach.” Aha I said, an incentive to weed while not really weeding and more importantly I never have to worry about spinach. Okay so that is not entirely true. I HATE TO BE BESTED. Thus in a few years when Ian is not looking I will put it back in our growing spectrum. But for now we eat lambs quarters

Hmm you say what the heck do I do with it. Remember its leaves taste like spinach so just substitute all your spinach recipes with lambs quarters. The leaves and young shoots may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, either steamed in its entirety, or cooked, but should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid . In other words, eat what we are giving you but don’t go around hunting for more this week.

In addition, this is the fascinating part, each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, Calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. Quinoa, a closely related species, is grown specifically for its seeds. Sorry not offering the seeds. Feel free to help us in our garden if you want to. I am sure we have missed a few that have gone to seed.

More Interesting tidbits:
The Zuni people cook the young plants’ greens.

Archaeologists analyzing carbonized plant remains found in storage pits and ovens at Iron Age, Viking Age, and Roman sites in Europe have found its seeds mixed with conventional grains and even inside the stomachs of Dainsh Bog Bodies. Woah now that is intense.
In India, the plant
is popularly called bathua and found abundantly in the winter season. The leaves and young shoots of this plant are used in dishes such as soups, curries, and paratha-stuffed breads, especially popular in Punjab. The seeds or grains are used in phambra or laafi, gruel-type dishes in Himachal Pradesh, and in mildly alcoholic fermented beverages such as soora and ghanti.
If you haven’t figured out vegetable CSAers, we will be sharing a bag of tender young lambs quarters I have saved in my garden just for you. Please let us know how you like it. And for those of you who are not blessed to be in our CSA we are always glad to share!!!

Vegetable Shares this Week both small and large will include some configuration of the list below:

Lambs Quarters
Sage/Oregano/Lovage/Chives
Collards
Garlic Scapes
Leeks
Lettuce
Swiss Chard
Kale (Vates/Lacinato)

Other NEWS:: ( I get it enough about CSAs)
GARLIC SCAPE PESTO (Original and more) plus HARDCORE

In a few short weeks, I will be heading into Nelson Farms to use their kitchen to begin producing what will be our newest line of products. How did this all start out? Well last year when garlic scape season started, I had no buyer for my abundance of scapes. Oh yes, we found one out of Binghamton who wanted to pay us less than the gas to get the scapes down to him.  I looked at the negotiator at the time, who in this case was my husband and said point blank, “not a snowball’s chance in Hades”. I was told by the buyer I was throwing away money (ironic because that is usually my line). I was disgusted. We went ahead instead and cut our scapes leaving maybe ¾ quarters of them decomposing on the ground in the fields. I vowed I would never do that again.

I had to have a plan for the upcoming year to make sure the same thing did not happen again. Thus, into the kitchen I went.  I have always had a secret desire to be a chef and I started playing around with garlic scape concoctions. I landed on PESTOS!!! It turned out wonderful if my extended family and  some other testers were worthy judges……  Keep your eyes an and tastebuds peeled, and by all means please come try our free samples when it is ready!

LASTLY RECIPES!!!

This is a reminder that we will be housing all our, our customers, our friends, etc. recipes online. Do not ever expect to find any recipes in our newsletter pages. Reasoning: We are trying to make your lives easier. I hate having  to dig to find that perfect article. Having said that, it is still a work in progress. This week we will be adding new garlic scape and collard recipes.

Seed Starting

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Come every February, you will most likely at some point during the day find me starting plants. This happens to be one of my favorite times of year as I feel spring is coming. I envision my tulips and daffodils popping any day. Yes, you don’t have to remind me it really is a good three months away; however, the spirit is flittering about and I love it.  Thus, I cannot help but hit the greenhouse with a fury planting, planting, planting. My husband always warns me to slow down as to not let my initial gusto tire me for the rest for the season. I naturally laugh at him as having my hands back in the dirt makes me relax and smile. The wonder of waiting for the first plants to germinate in the greenhouse is now upon us. This glorious feeling has not altered in the four years since we started the farm.

Seed starting is an important activity on any vegetable or flower farm. It obviously can occur indoors or out in your fields. In February, in upstate New York, I am not planting in my fields yet. At any rate, once we start up for the season we don’t stop seeding indoors until near close of season.

I am by no means a master. I do still make my mistakes and I am always experimenting. However, I have also come to have what I think of as a process. Right now, my top priority is always start date or how long before a crop will be ready. Do I have to worry about first frost or last frost? Is this something that needs to overwinter (should I be starting it in the fall)? Pumpkins and winter squash are a perfect example. They take roughly 100 days till the crop is ready to be harvested. What should my completion date be? Mid- late September sounds good. So, I will work backwards and know to get them going in mid May/early June. Voila! I have my start date.

Next item on my list is identifying which seeds need special seed treatments. This mostly applies with flowers and herbs. The only vegetable I can think of off hand is artichokes. This happens to be one of my worst mistakes. I will get antsy, plant seed, then sit at the computer only to discover after the fact that my seed needs some sort of cold treatment. In my defense, we grow a lot of things and I try my best to remember what needs stratification or what not but I am still taking in all the information. My method of cold treatment is simply dampening vermiculite or sand, placing the seed in the mixture and placing it in the fridge. Currently, I have a whole 6 qt container in the basement fridge full of seeds that are going through the process.DSC_0286 If you checked today you would find six varieties of lavender, rosemary, Echinacea, eucalyptus, Bells of Ireland and more. I make sure to mark all with start date and end date. I keep a list I go through each day to make sure I haven’t missed something that needs to get into soil.

Now that I am ready to plant I concentrate on how to start my seed. Do I open cast – fill a container with soil and try your best to disperse seed or do I use plastic and if so what size cell, or soil block – create little squashed squares of dirt using a handheld machine. Soil blocks are fascinating in that your plant will stop growing roots once they are exposed to air along the edge of the soil block. When this occurs you transplant it to a bigger soil block. I find there are pros and cons to all. Leeks have done best for me open cast while my tomatoes I choose to start in plastic six packs. I like to start flowers in soil blocks. I’m still testing this out on a variety of plants.

This year, I fired up the growing room in mid-February. It was not my desired start date as I was actually shooting for January (for some varieties of flowers especially that take an extended amount of time to get to bloom). I will take it though and I am not complaining. If you haven’t figured out, our grow room is full of life already with snapdragons, oregano, statice, lavender, thyme, blue false indigo, leeks, onions, kale, Asian greens already happily awaiting life. So as I finish this up, I will run out to the grow room and try to finish up on those onions. They are at the top of my agenda, all seven varieties. Its dark out so you anticipate the cars, listen to the music, and wait for them to slow down and gawk in the window wondering what nefarious plants are popping up in that grow room. Don’t know why they haven’t figured out as I do its time to start your plants.

If you would like to learn more about seed starting, we are offering two classes during the April spring break. It is the perfect opportunity if you are not going out of town to get dirty with your kids. We will start plants for you to take home and plant into your own garden. Check our events page for more information : Classes/Events Page

 

Happy Nearly Spring from Dizzy Lizzie’s Farm!!!

 

 

 

Website Rennovation

Thank you so much for enduring while we have been updating our website. Its still a work in progress; however, overall we think it looks much nicer and we hope you do to.  It will be wonderful to continue and be able to fine tune it as time goes on.