One Week Until Creekside Natural Farm Day!

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We will be hosting a Farm Day on Sunday, August 3rd from 9 until 3.

The Farm Day we hosted in May was so popular that we decided to host another one! If you missed the first one (or even if you didn’t and just want to come out again), come out on August 3rd. We’ve had many requests for farm tours and can’t always accommodate them during the busy summer season. So, if you would like to come out and see the animals, gardens, greenhouse, high tunnels or just have some questions and want to visit – This is your chance!

We will also have our friend from M2AFARM here to answer alpaca questions and demonstrate her spinning wheel.

Farm Safety and Liability

We don’t charge for your visit and we are happy to share our farm and animals. Please remember we are a working farm, and there are risks involved in any visit. By participating in a farm visit you accept those risks and agree to hold harmless the farm for any injuries that may occur during your visit. Small children are welcome, and we expect you to have complete control of them during your visit. However your pets must remain at home. We reserve the right to ask you to leave if the safety of our guests or animals is at risk.
 

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Farm Day combine demonstration

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Weather permitting – Bill will do a field demonstration with our 1963 International combine. We have about an acre of oats left in the field and he plans to harvest it at around 12:00 if the sun is shining.
These oats will be used to feed our hens who live about 700 ft. away from the field and the straw will be used for bedding for the hens and alpacas. Can’t get much more local/sustainable than that!

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Beautiful “New” Summer Squash

We started picking 2 heirloom squash.
Zucchetta Rampicante is an Italian zucchini squash with a fantastic flavor and texture. It is also a favorite of squash bugs which are almost non-existent this year because of the hideous winter!
Lemon Squash is an heirloom yellow squash that we are growing for the first time this year.

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We also have Heirloom Tomatoes – both full size and cherry, Fresh garlic, Zucchini (small, medium and large), Slicing and pickling cucumbers, eggplant, beets, green beans, red and green cabbage, bell peppers, poblano peppers, purple jalapeño peppers, various herbs, zinnias, snapdragons and sunflowers and eggs.

We will be selling Pickle Kits at our Farm Day this Sunday. They will include the cucumbers, spices and recipe for either Dill or Bread and Butter refrigerator pickles.

We will also have stone ground cornmeal and frozen chicken available.

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Bread and butter Refrigerator Pickles

This is my Great Aunt OzaMae’s Recipe. She called them Ice Box Pickles

Makes 1 gallon
7-8 lbs sliced cucumbers
2 sliced onions
4 cups apple cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
1/2 cup pickling salt
1 1/3 tablespoons each of celery seed, turmeric and mustard seed
2-4 cloves garlic is optional

Put sliced cucumbers and onions in gallon jar
Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil to dissolve sugar
Add salt and cool completly
Add spices and garlic if using
Pour liquid and spices over cucumbers and onions to cover
Cover jar and let sit on counter for 3 days
Stir 1 or 2 times each day
After 3 days, either keep in gallon jar or transfer pickles and liquid to smaller jars and refrigerate for up to 3 months

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Dill Refrigerator Pickle Recipes

Dill Pickles
Makes 2 quarts
18 – 24 pickle cucumbers
3 1/2 cups filtered water
1 1/2 cup whiter vinegar
1 tbl. Kosher or pickling salt
2-4 cloves of garlic
2 dill seed heads or 2 tsp. dill seed
*optionally add up to 1 tsp. each of peppercorn or mustard seed

Boil water, vinegar and salt to dissolve salt and cool completely
Scrub cucumbers, cut ends off and slice lengthwise
Lay jar on side and add cucumbers, garlic and dill
Pour cooled liquid into jar to cover cucumbers
Cover with lid and set on counter at room temp. for 3-4 days then refrigerate for up to 3 months
Turn the jar upside down once or twice a day to mix ingredients for the first 3-4 days
They are ready to eat now, but will become more flavorful the longer they sit.

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Time to make some pickles!

We have cucumbers by the half-bushel for $25.00. We have both the pickle cucumbers for dills and the regular size cucumbers for bread and butter pickles.
Either e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com or call 815-467-5259

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Moving Day

Today was moving day for the chicks. They moved from their heated brooder to their version of the great outdoors. They have a moveable shelter that we “herd” them into at night to prevent our resident owl from getting chicken dinner. It looks like they were ready!

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Minooka Market Starts Today

We will be at the Minooka Market today from 9 till 1 with, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, eggplant, bell peppers, poblano peppers, fresh garlic and various herbs.

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Ready this week

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We picked lots of cherry tomatoes (Sungold, Black Cherry and Red Cherry) this morning. We’re also starting to pick full size tomatoes! In addition, we have fresh garlic, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, pickle cucumbers, green beans, red and green cabbage, bell peppers, poblano peppers, purple jalapeño peppers and various herbs. We also have some beautiful flowers, and eggs from our pasture raised (Animal Welfare Approved) hens.

Everything we sell is raised by us using organic methods, no GMO’s.

We also have frozen chicken and stone ground heirloom cornmeal available on request.
pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com
815-467-5259

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Vegetable Lasagna

veggi lasagna

Vegetable lasagna

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces, weight Lasagna Noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 2 medium eggplant, Peeled and Chopped
  • 4 whole Squash (yellow Or Zucchini), Diced
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 30 ounces, weight Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 – 2 pounds Thinly Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
  • Extra Parmesan Cheese, For Sprinkling

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for a minute. Add diced red peppers and saute for another minute or so. Add squash and eggplant and cook for a few minutes. Pour in wine, add salt, pepper  and stir. Pour in tomatoes. Use hands to squeeze/crush them. Stir to combine and let simmer for 20 minutes or so. Stir in chopped parsley. In a separate bowl, combine  ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. To assemble, spread a little of the vegetable/tomato sauce in a lasagna pan. Layer four cooked noodles in the pan, slightly overlapping them if necessary. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on the noodles. Top the ricotta mixture with mozzarella slices. Spoon a little less than 1/3 of the veggie/sauce mixture over the mozzarella. Repeat the layering two more times, ending with a large helping of vegetable sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees, covered in foil, for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

*You can substitute other veggies that you happen to have on hand. I used roasted tomato and garlic sauce I made last summer. You could also use fresh tomatoes. I like lots of cheese, so I used 2 lbs.! I prefer sliced rather than grated cheese because there are additives in grated cheese. I also used bow-tie pasta because I didn’t have lasagna noodles.

 

 

 

 

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Flowers

Went out to cut some sunflowers for the stand and got side-tracked by bumble bees and butterflies on our prairie plants.

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Mason Jar Sauerkraut

How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts
What You Need
Ingredients
1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)

Equipment
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Mixing bowl
2-quart widemouth canning jar (or two quart mason jars)
Canning funnel (optional)
Smaller jelly jar that fits inside the larger mason jar
Clean stones, marbles, or other weights for weighing the jelly jar
Cloth for covering the jar
Rubber band or twine for securing the cloth

Instructions
Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all soap residue. You’ll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first, it may not seem like enough salt, but gradually, the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you’d like to flavor your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, mix them in now.
Pack the cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the canning jar. If you have a canning funnel, this will make the job easier. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.→ Optional: Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid.
Weigh the cabbage down: Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down, and eventually, submerged beneath its liquid.
Cover the jar: Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevent dust or insects from getting in the jar.
Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it’s fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.Because this is a small batch of sauerkraut, it will ferment more quickly than larger batches. Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. You can also allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There’s no hard and fast rule for when the sauerkraut is “done” — go by how it tastes.While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged; don’t eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
Store sauerkraut for several months: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated. As long as it still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be. If you like, you can transfer the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.
Recipe Notes
Sauerkraut with Other Cabbages: Red cabbage, napa cabbage, and other cabbages all make great sauerkraut. Make individual batches or mix them up for a multi-colored sauerkraut!
Canning Sauerkraut: You can process sauerkraut for longer storage outside of refrigeration, but the canning process will kill the good bacterias produced by the fermentation process. See this tutorial from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for canning instructions.
Larger or Smaller Batches: To make larger or smaller batches of sauerkraut, keep same ratio of cabbage to salt and adjust the size of the container. Smaller batches will ferment more quickly and larger batches will take longer.
Hot and Cold Temperatures: Do everything you can to store sauerkraut at a cool room temperature. At high temperatures, the sauerkraut can sometimes become unappetizingly mushy or go bad. Low temperatures (above freezing) are fine, but fermentation will proceed more slowly.

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The cooler is full!

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This morning we picked the last of the cabbage. It’s in the cooler for $2.00 per head
We also have started picking cherry tomatoes – $3.00 per pint. There a few pints left today and we will pick more in the morning.

We also have Zucchini and Eggplant - $1.00 each or $3.00 per bag of small

Purple jalapeno peppers – $1.00 per bag

Golden beets and cyndrical beets – $3.00 per bunch

Bell peppers – $1.00 each

Cucumbers – $1.50 each

Pickle cucumbers – $1.50 per bag

Green beans – $4.00 per bag

Eggs – $5.00 per dz.

The following items are available by request. Either call 815-467-5259

e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com

Our heirloom Cylindra beets are also available by the half-bushel for $20.00.

We have a limited amount of stone ground heirloom corn meal for $5.00 per 2 lb. bag

We have frozen organic and pasture raised chicken for $4.00 per lb

 

 

 

 

 

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Beets by the Half-bushel

Our heirloom Cylindra beets are one of the few veggies that are enjoying all the rain so we are offering them by the half-bushel for $20.00. That’s about half the price of buying them by the bunch! These beets are great for canning because you get more uniform slices than with round beets. Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds says “This tender and sweet variety is known as Butter Slicer because of its wonderful texture”.

Contact us by email at pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com

or phone 815-467-5259

To place an order and we will have them all ready for you

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3 French Hens

We’re not letting a little rain keep us from the market today! We have beautiful Golden Beets, Cyndrical Beets,, Fresh Hard neck Garlic, Sunflowers, fresh herbs and rosemary plants.

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Farm Fresh Eggs

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Bill’s winter 2013 project has allowed us to double our hen population this year and they are busy girls! Since the new girls started laying, we have not run out of eggs. Perhaps because they’re living in chicken Nirvana. Our hens are certified by Animal Welfare Approved and also by Humane Raised and Handeled. They have free access to pasture and their feed is certified organic. They’re available in the cooler for $5.00 per dz.

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July from Creekside Natural Farm

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Eggplant this week

We started picking beautiful heirloom eggplant today. They’re in the cooler for $1.00 each or $4.00 per bag for baby eggplant.
We also have medium zucchini – $1.00 each
Cylindra Beets – $3.00 per bunch
Green beans – $4.00 per bag
Cour Di Bue green cabbage $2.00 per head
Garlic Scapes – $2.00 per bunch
Fresh herbs – $1.00 per snack size bag
Eggs from our pasture raised and organically fed hens – $5.00 per dz.

We also have frozen chicken and stone ground heirloom cornmeal available on request.

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Creekside Natural Farm Pictures

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The red hollyhocks started on their own as one plant 3 years ago and purple clematis was planted by Bill’s mom years ago. They make a beautiful combination.

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We moved all the plants in the nightshade family (potatoes, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes)  to a new location this year in an effort to avoid disease. They seem pretty happy in their new home.

 

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Yellow beets and red beets

Yellow beets at the bottom of the picture and red beets at the top. This shows why we need to charge more for yellow beets.

 

 

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Beets are looking lovely, garlic is almost ready, cabbage is done, squash is just starting to vine and volunteer dill is “hiding” the squash from the bugs (we hope).

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Zinnias and snapdragons (above) and prairie grass and flowers in our back field (below).

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Garlic Scape Pesto

GARLIC SCAPE AND ALMOND PESTO

Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)

1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like) You can also use walnuts or the more traditional (and also more expensive) Pine Nuts.

About 1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Cut off the flower head at the top end of the scape any snap off the fibrous end at its natural breaking point. Discard tops and bottoms and cut remaining scape into 1″ chunks. Put the chopped scapes in the bowl of a food processor and process till finely chopped. You can also mince them with a knife. Add 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil. Process to blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juciest.

Use on pasta, as a dip for bread or mixed with butter as a spread for garlic bread.

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Garlic Scapes are ready!

Garlic scapes are the stem and flower bud of a hard neck garlic plant. They have a very short season as each plant only grows one. They have a mild garlic flavor and are not hot like the garlic bulb. Our favorite way to use them is minced and mixed with butter for garlic bread (best garlic bread ever!), pasta, rice or vegetables or even scrambled eggs.  They also make a great pesto. The recipe I use is listed under “Recipes from Pam”.
They are in the cooler for $2.00 per bunch (about 1/2 lb.)

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Posted in 2014 Harvest, 3. 2013 Harvest, Main Menu, What's Available This Week? | Comments

New today

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This morning we picked full size Kale. It’s in the cooler for $3.00 per bunch

Cauliflower in the cooler – $3.00 per head

Small Zucchini – $5.00 per bag

In the herb container we have Basil, Rosemary, Chives, Sage, Dill and Cilantro – $1.00 per bag

Sugar-snap peas – $2.00 per snack size bag

Green beans – $4.00 per bag

Cour di Bue heirloom cabbage – $2.00 per jumbo head

Beets – $3.00 per bunch

Eggs – $5.00 per dz. (Pasture raised, organic feed and Animal Welfare Approved)

Frozen chicken (pasture raised and organic feed) and stone ground cornmeal (organic heirloom & non GOM) are both available on request. Either e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com or call 815-467-5259 in advance.

 

 

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New today – Cauliflower

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This morning we have cauliflower in the cooler – $4.00 per Jumbo head

We re-filled the herb container with Basil, Rosemary, Chives, Sage, Dill and Cilantro – $1.00 per bag

Kale and leaf lettuce – $3.00 per bag

Sugar-snap peas – $2.00 per snack size bag

Green beans – $4.00 per bag

Cour di Bue heirloom cabbage – $2.00 per jumbo head

Beets – $3.00 per bunch

Eggs – $5.00 per dz. (Pasture raised, organic feed and Animal Welfare Approved)

Frozen chicken (pasture raised and organic feed) and stone ground cornmeal (organic heirloom & non GOM) are both available on request. Either e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com or call 815-467-5259 in advance.

 

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Fresh Beets

The beets are loving this weather! We picked some this morning and they’re in the cooler for $3.00 per bunch. We also have a few pints of strawberries and that will probably be the last for this season.

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Picked Fresh this morning

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By the end of the day yesterday, the stand was pretty empty. Just eggs and a few bags of lettuce left! This morning we picked kale, spinach, cabbage, sugar snap peas and leaf lettuce.
The Kale, spinach and lettuce are $3.00 per bag
Sugar snap peas are $2.00 per snack size bag
Red and green (Cour Di Bue) cabbage is $2.00 per head

Eggs are $5.00 per dz.

Frozen chickens, heirloom stone ground cornmeal available on request. Either e-mail or call ahead.
Pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com
(815) 467-5259

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Strawberries

20140617-101155.jpgpicked fresh strawberries this morning. They’re in the stand for $3.00 per pint

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Alpaca Fiber for Sale! eCommerce Shop is Running!

Our eCommerce site is finally up and running so that you can view and purchase beautiful Suri Alpaca fiber for your own projects.

We’ve posted clean undyed fiber from Jet, Rocky and Parabella so far, available in both Fingering and Sport weights to meet the needs of your projects.

Take a look!

http://www.creeksidenaturalfarm.com/blog/shop/

Rock Star Sport 200

Posted in 2014 Harvest | Comments

3 French Hens Market

We’re all set up for the market in Morris and it looks like a beautiful day. We are selling baby kale, leaf lettuce, red cabbage, Cour Di Bue cabbage, herb plants, alpaca bird nest ball kits and Suri alpaca yarn. Everything we sell is raised by us at our farm in Minooka using organic practices.

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New this week

We are finally picking beets! $3.00 per bunch

Strawberries are $3,00 per pint

Baby kale and leaf lettuce is $3.00 per bag

Broccoli is $3.00 per bag

Green Beans are $4.00 per bag

Fresh herbs are $1.00 per bag

We also have our heirloom stone ground corn meal  ($5.00 for a 2 lb. bag) and frozen chicken ($4.00 per lb.) available on request.

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New this week

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We started picking broccoli this morning and have it in the stand for $3.00 per bag.
We also have a limited amount of green beans for $4.00 per bag and strawberries for $3.00 per pint.
Leaf lettuce & spinach for $3.00 per bag
Various herbs – $1.00 per bag
If you still need veggie plants, we have tomatoes and eggplant for $2.00. They are various heirloom varieties for Bakers Creek.

Eggs are $5.00 per dz.

We have stone ground heirloom corn meal available on request for $5.00 for a 2 lb bag.

Posted in 2014 Harvest, Main Menu, What's Available This Week? | Comments