Cylindra beets are ready

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The rain and warm weather has really helped our veggies! We are starting to pick cylindra beets, zucchini and beans. We also picked fresh lettuce and kale and will be picking kohlrabi tomorrow morning.

We still have plenty of eggs but are only using 2 shelves in the cooler because we need the room for the veggies. I guess that’s a good problem to have!

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Alpaca Drama

Yesterday we took 2 of our girls to Heritage Farms in Indiana in the back of a mini-van and brought Thomas Magnum back. The girls were quiet for most of the 3 hour ride but didn’t enjoy the stop in construction traffic. Parabella is loudly protesting – LOL. Tim and Beth took Thomas to a couple of shows for us and he actually won a ribbon at the Futurity Show (right behind his 2 brothers who are also Magnum crias). His mama has another date with Magnum and Freedom with their Jeramiah. Looking forward to 2 crias next summer. And Thomas is enjoying being back home with his Uncle Rocky and the rest of his alpaca friends.

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Lots of veggies!

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Our cooler in the stand is full with lots of veggies. We have beautiful and tasty radishes, beets, green beans, kale, garlic scapes, lettuce, swiss chard,  broccoli and cut herbs.

We also have wheat berries, plenty of eggs and herb plants.

There are recipes for the garlic scapes and wheat berries in the recipe section.

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3 French Hens Market

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We’re all set up at the 3 French Hens Market and the sun is shining!

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Garlic Scapes

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At the end of a long hot day of picking, washing, packing and planting – made a lovely discovery in the garlic bed. The scapes are ready!

We will have them at the 3 French Hens Market tomorrow. In addition to kale, lettuce, radishes, beets, swiss chard, fresh herbs and yarn from our Suri alpacas.

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Meat Chickens

 

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Our chickens enjoying the fresh grass and sunshine!

We will be taking our broiler chickens (fast growing and great for the grill or other quick cooking methods) for processing on Monday (6-13) and they will be available on the following day. Because the way we choose to raise them is very labor intensive (we move them every day, coral them under the shelter at night to protect them from our resident owl, soak their feed for better digestion, drive 3 hours round trip to buy their certified organic feed,ect…), we have decided to only raise 1 batch for sale this year. 

They will average between 4-5 pounds and are $4.00 per pound for a whole chicken. They will be processed in Arthur Il where we feel they do a superior job and also offer the option of a cut-up chicken for an additional $1.oo per bird.

If you have pre-ordered, I will contact you about pick-up.

If you have not pre-ordered and would like more than 3, please contact us either by phone 815-715-3590 or email pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com

I will plan to be available all day on Tuesday for pick-up, but it works best if I know what time your coming – I will have your chickens ready and you won’t have to wait for me to come up from the garden.

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Getting some nice veggies! Update

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This morning we picked and washed some beautiful Chahoggia beets. They’re in the stand along with bok choy and lettuce for $3.00 per bunch/bag. The baby kale is $4.00 per bag. We also have freshly picked herbs – $1.00 per snack size bag, Turkey Red wheat berries – $3.00, plenty of eggs from our AWA hens – $5.00 per dz and some heirloom tomato and herb plants $2.00 each.

If you would like a frozen stewing hen, please call 815-467-5259 or send a message in advance. We do not keep them in our self service stand.

This morning I will be picking more salad mix and kale since we sold out of everything except the bok choy yesterday! If you’re wondering what to do with bok choy – it’s traditionally used in stir fry and it’s also great added raw to a salad. The stem is nice and crunchy (similar to celery). The list of nutrition benefits of bok choy is too long to list, but here is a small sample: As in other Brassica family vegetables, bok choy too contains certain anti-oxidant plant chemicals such asthiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Together with dietary fiber and vitamins, these compounds help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood. It’s also high in vitamins C, A, K, B complex, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium! Think I’ll have some for lunch!

 

Posted in 2016 harvest, 3. 2013 Harvest, Main Menu, What's Available This Week? | Comments

Lettuce

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Lettuce is in the stand this morning  ($3.00 per bag) along with bok choy, arugula, spinach ($4.00), asparagus ($5.00), Turkey Red wheat berries ($3.00), heirloom tomato and herb plants ($2.00) and plenty of eggs from our organically fed – pasture raised – Animal Welfare Approved happy hens. ($5.00).

We also have frozen stewing hens available for $4.00 per pound. They make great broth, soup, chicken and dumplings and the meat can be used in other recipes after its been cooked. Please contact us ahead of coming out since they are not available in the self service stand.

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Bok Choy

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This morning we picked bok choy and have it in the stand for $3.00 per bag.
We also have spinach, kale, herbs, Turkey Red wheat berries,  plenty of eggs and plants (heirloom tomato and herb).

A customer who bought the wheat berries said he sprouted them and used the wheat grass in his green juice. I thought that was a great idea and plan to try it after all the planting is finished.

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Babies!

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I found a baby oak while I was weeding the garlic. So glad I didn’t use the tiller.
Baby Australorp chicks
100 baby tomato plants in the ground.

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Tomato Planting Time

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Tomato planting time is almost here (after the possible frost tonight).  We have a variety of heirloom tomato and herb plants available for sale in the stand. Some of the tomato varieties are Purple Cherokee, Mortgage Lifter, Sungold Cherry, Black Cherry, Martian Giant, German Pink. We have too many to list so if you’re looking for a particular variety, you can contact us. We will be adding basil plants to the stand tomorrow. They are the most sensitive to cold and we don’t like to risk their happiness!. We have Genovese, Lemon, Opal and Purple Ruffles.

Our plants are grown in Purple Cow organic soil and never sprayed so are safe for your pollinators. All plants are $2.00

Also in the stand this week:

Eggs from our AWA  (pasture raised & organic fed) hens – $5.00 per dz

Turkey Red wheat berries – $3.00

Asparagus – $5.00

And just starting to pick spinach and arugula

Available with prior arrangement, we have frozen stewing hens for $4.00 per pound

 

 

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ROASTED ASPARAGUS WHEAT BERRY SALAD WITH ARUGULA PESTO

INGREDIENTS:

Wheat Berries:

  • 1 cup hard red wheat berries, rinsed
  • 3 and 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Asparagus:

  • 1 bunch of fresh (thick) asparagus, tough ends trimmed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Arugula  Pesto:

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 and 1/2 ounces fresh basil (set aside 1-2 leaves for garnishing)
  • 1/4 cup raw or toasted walnuts, plus more for garnishing
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnishes:
  • fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • roughly chopped raw or toasted walnuts
  • freshly grated lemon zest
  • shaved aged Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius) with a rack in the center position.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the rinsed wheat berries, cold water, and kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 50 minutes to 60 minutes, or until the wheat berries are tender and cooked through – the exact cooking time will vary by brand and age, similar to dried lentils. Drain the wheat berries in a fine-meshed sieve and spread into a thin layer onto a clean sheet pan (alternatively, you can place them in a large mixing bowl – the goal is to cool them down quickly). Drizzle and toss with a small amount of olive oil. Cool completely at room temperature, or place them in refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to speed this process up.
  3. As the wheat berries are cooking, place the trimmed asparagus spears on a second sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper, toss, and distribute into an even layer on the sheet pan, setting them apart slightly. Roast at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 12 to 16 minutes, or until lightly caramelized and tender. Remove and allow to cool on a rack while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  4. Prepare the arugula pesto. In a large processor, pulse the garlic cloves until finely minced. Add the arugula and basil leaves and pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the raw walnuts and slowly pour in the olive oil, processing until mostly smooth. Transfer to container, stir in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Once the wheat berries have cooled, place in a large mixing or serving bowl and generously toss with the arugula pistachio pesto (*you will most likely have some leftover pesto). Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper. Cut the asparagus spears on a bias into 1-inch pieces, add to the wheat berries, and toss gently.
  6. Serve at room temperature or cold. Garnish the salad with chiffonade basil, coarsely chopped walnuts, freshly grated lemon zest, and shaved Manchego cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano, if using) as desired.
  7. Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  8. If you don’t have time for the pesto, use a good olive oil and extra garlic and cheese
  9. PS the original recipe called for pistachios but I prefer walnuts (or pine nuts on a special occasion – they’re pretty pricey), so you can substitute whatever you prefer.
 
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Wheat Berries

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We have Turkey Red wheat berries in the stand. You can grind them into flour, sprout/dry and grind them, cook them for an addition to a salad or veggie dish.  Turkey Red is an old wheat variety brought to this country from Ukrain. It has not been altered like modern wheat and we grow it without insecticide, fungicide or chemical fertilizer. Because it’s a hard red winter wheat, it makes great bread!
We’re selling it in a 26 oz container for $3.00.
We also have plenty of eggs, heirloom tomato plants and herb plants in the stand.

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Asparagus , baby Bok choy and Organic Heirloom Tomato plants

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We are starting to pick asparagus and have a few bags in the stand. $5.00 for a 1 pound bag

Jill thinned her bok choy and has some bagged for $2.00 each

Our heirloom tomato plants are ready and the weather should be warm enough by next weekend to plant them. We also have several types of herb plants that are ready for planting -dill, parsley, cilantro and thyme can all be planted now. Basil needs consistently warm temps. If you plan to put it in a container, you can plant it now and bring it in if it will be below 50 degrees. The rest of the herbs are in the stand. The basil is still in the greenhouse so if you’re looking for it now, send me a note or call ahead 815 467 5259 to make sure we’re home.
All plants are $2.00 each

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Shearing Day at Creekside natural Farm

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The girls worrying about Luna

We had a successful shearing day thanks to our great shearers (Bruce and Amy) and all of our helpers – Judy, Mary, Jill, Pat and Renee. And thanks to Renee, we also have beautiful pictures!

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Luna getting her first hair cut

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Apollo

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Rocky

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Luna “after” now she needs some sunscreen!

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The regular chores must go on – thanks Judy and Jill

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Parabella waits her turn with Jill

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Local honey Sources

We have had several inquiries about honey recently and wanted to share our sources. We do not sell honey. Our nearest local source is Contrary Mary’s. She’s about a mile from here and we love that her bees are most likely visiting our farm. She has a limited supply (but lots of beautiful plants).

Our second source is Belfry Bees out of Oswego. Ed Bell made a presentation at our Farm Day last year and is a great source of honey. His website shows the different locations where you can buy it. You can also have it delivered by Amy from Amy’s Organics in Plainfield (that’s how we get it).

www.contrarymarysplants.com

www.belfrybees.com

http://amys-organics.myshopify.com/

PS Much of the honey sold in the grocery stores is mixed with high fructose corn syrup that comes from GMO corn. It is also pasteurized – which kills all the live enzymes (the good stuff). Raw local honey is neither and also has the benefit of improving hay fever type allergies because the bees are making their honey from local pollen.

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Farm visitors

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Today we had a group of students from Joliet Job Corps  visit the farm. They are part of the culinary arts training program and enjoyed seeing how food is raised on a small farm. Most have never visited a farm and loved meeting the baby chicks, laying hens, Uncle Smoky and especially loved the alpacas. We were impressed with their knowledge of pollinators and GMO’s.

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Organic Heirloom Tomato Plants

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Our tomato plants are happily growing in the greenhouse and will soon be ready for sale.

We grow our plants in Purple Cow organic soil and use Dr. Earth organic fertilizer along with compost tea made from purple Cow compost and we never use any insecticides so you know our plants will not harm your pollinators! The majority of our seeds come from Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds with the remainder coming from Adaptive Seeds and Mariann’s Seeds.

We will have them for sale in the stand at our farm as well as at the 3 French Hens Market. We have a wide variety available – including some of our old favorites – Mortage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, Black Cherry, Sun Gold, Royal Hillbilly , Anna Aasa and some new varieties – Black Beauty, German Pink, Strawberry Leopard, Cherokee Tiger, Mule Team, Blue Ridge Mountain, Pink Bumble Bee, Golden Currant, Martian Giant, Blue Cream Berries and Piglet Willie’s French Black.

We know everyone is looking forward to putting their plants in the ground, but it’s still too cold! Tomato plants are stunted by temperatures below 50 degrees. So, (depending on the weather) we are planning to put them out for sale on Mother’s Day weekend – May 7th.

They will be priced at $2.00 each

 

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Our trip to Polyface Farm

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Joel ringing the bell to start the “Lunatic Farmer Tour”

We took a short vacation a couple of weeks ago and were able to time it with the first Lunatic Farmer Tour of the season at Polyface Farm in Swoop Virginia. And, the tour was led by the “Lunatic Farmer” himself – Joel Salatin!

These pictures show how he raises his meat chickens, laying hens, pigs and beef cattle. Joel was open to any questions that anyone had for him and the farm is open to visitors every day except Sunday.

The day before we went to Polyface, we took a drive through the Shenandoah National Forest. At several of the scenic overlook spots we could see long buildings down in the valley. When we got down the the valley, we know what they were before we could even see them. Such a shame that the beautiful Shenandoah Valley is being ruined be large confinement chicken buildings. And that these people don’t choose to raise their animals like Joel does. There was absolutely no offensive smell on his farm – not even from the pigs! When asked what his neighbors think of the way he raises animals, Joel’s response was that they think he’s a bio-terrorist because he doesn’t use any drugs or antibiotics.

My favorite quote from the day “There’s nothing quite as useless as doing with great efficiency something that shouldn’t be done in the first place”

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Happy Earth Day!

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Happy Earth Day! We have had a very busy week. We moved our hens into a new pasture and they are busy eating greens, enjoying the sunshine and laying LOTS of beautiful eggs. They are in our stand for $5.00 per dozen.

We planted 18 additional acres of pollinator habitat.
The spinach that Jill is growing is starting to come up.
We moved our cabbage family plants to the cold frame.
And, we got our new/old tractor!

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Pollinator Habitat

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It was an exciting day at Creekside Natural Farm.  We started planting our pollinator habitat! The seed mix has several varieties of prarie grass and about 30 different flowers. We are planting 18 acres to add to the 10 we already have. It will be bordered on 2 sides by our creeks where we have been planting trees and shrubs to benefit birds and pollinators.

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New projects

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This morning we left Beckley West Virginia and drove home with our camper through the mountains. That wasn’t enough excitement for one day so Bill decided to work up the 20 acres where he will be planting our pollinator habitat seed tomorrow.

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Cold frame is ready

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Bill made me a cold frame using some old windows from our house and also some from my grandpa’s house that was built by my great grandpa. All ready for my cabbage family seedlings !

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Chicken and Eggs

We have stewing hens available for $4.00 per pound.

 Stew on it. Heritage birds, particularly older birds, make excellent stewing chickens. Put a whole or cut-up chicken in a pot, add enough water to cover, and simmer on low heat for about one hour per pound. Try this in a slow cooker, too, on low. Do not allow the water to boil. As it cooks, the meat will fall off the bone, ready to be used in soups, casseroles and other recipes. Strain the resulting stock for all manner of use, as well. After you’ve removed the meat, you can add celery, carrots, onion and garlic and continue to simmer the bone to make a rich bone broth.

Either call 815-467-5259 or email pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com to set up a pick-up time.

We also have plenty of eggs in the stand – $5.00 per dz for regular size & $4.00 per dz for mediums.

Our hens are Animal Welfare Approved as well as Humane Handled approved. They have free pasture access and are fed with organic grain as well as wheat and oats that we grow using organic practices.

No GMO’s, no pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides – ever!

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Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

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Happy Easter and Happy Spring to all of our friends and customers. We love raising healthy food and appreciate all of you who love eating it!

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Hard working girls!

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Our girls are working hard and producing plenty of eggs – Yay!!!

 

 

The stand is open and we have eggs in the cooler! Our prices are the same as last year -$5.00 per dozen of mixed sizes and for a limited time we have medium-sized eggs for $4.00 per dozen. They are on a separate shelf and are clearly marked.

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We also have frozen stewing hens for $4.00 per pound,  Floriani Red Flint cornmeal (2 lb. Bag for $5.00) and Turkey Red whole wheat flour (3 lb bag for $6.00). Both are freshly stone ground on our farm. The meat and ground items are available by prior arrangement. Either email pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com or call 815-467-5259.

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Spring is on the way

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Garlic is coming up nicely

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Rosemary is blooming in the greenhouse.

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And thanks to Renee who made all the soil blocks for me today – cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi are planted in their soil blocks.

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The babies are growing up

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Luna Lu and Thomas wearing halters for the first time. One little spit from Thomas, but pretty smoothly after that. I think they bring comport to each other and Thomas is more confident because he can see that Luna is not afraid of the people. The Stress Away oil, soothing music on my phone and small catch pen helped also.

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New Old tractor

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Our neighbor is restoring his dad’s 1948 Alis Chalmers G tractor and it will soon be coming to live at Creekside Natural Farm! Can’t wait to use it for planting and cultivating sweet corn and other veggies.

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

2016 Season

1-58Today we had a meeting with Jill who has been our main help here for the past 2 years. We are all excited and looking forward to the 2016 season! She will be planting some of our ground with her own crops in an effort to get some experience from the beginning to end. We are thrilled to see someone much younger than us (and with a better back) express an interest in growing healthy food!

 

 

 

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