Monday, August 27, 2007

Hampshire County Fair Round Up

We got involved in setting up a display at the fairgrounds for the Hampshire Beekeepers and so while we were doing that we decided to enter many of our farm products. The Beekeepers display took the blue ribbon in competition with the other farms and business displays. The observation bee hive we set up was a huge hit at the fair. We ourselves won 10 blue ribbons for our farm products, and Ruth won another 3 blue ribbons in the CEOS (Community Education and Outreach) displays. The CEOS competitions involve baked goods, preserves, lots of other jarred products and lots of other things in the "homemaker" category. The horticulture competitions focus on crops, fruits and other agricultural products. So we won a total of 13 blue ribbons for Church View Farm, a very pleasant surprise in that we hadn't even considering entering anything until just a few days before the fair. Admittedly, Hampshire County is a very small fair, but it seems to be rapidly growing. There were many more displays than there were last year. People were still streaming through the Horticulture building when we went to pick up our displays late on Saturday. So while it involved numerous trips to the fairgrounds, I think it turned out to be well worth the effort and a real nice experience.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Farmer's Market - August 25th

Wow summer is rapidly drawing to a close. We'll have lots of berries at the market on Saturday. Still its best to come early for them. After the recent rains they have really come on strong. Especially the golden raspberries. We'll have plenty of these. Up to this point we've just had a few and we sometimes packaged a mix of golden and red. We'll have the gold raspberries packaged separately on Saturday. Also, we'll have plenty of sweet peppers. The yellows and reds are particularly sweet. Plenty of hot peppers too. Weather has been kind of strange for August. Cool and damp this past week. With the daylight shortening significantly you can tell that summer is rapidly dwindling. Its unusual to have as much mowing and grass cutting to do in late August. Still its better that hot and dry. We'll also have many of our new jarred products made by Gourmet Central. One last thing, please get your chicken preorders pinned down and notify us so we can have them available for you. The next batch gets processed on Sep 4th. Hope to see you Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Raspberry Benefits

Our red raspberries were running a bit late this year due to the lack of rainfall in June and July. But with adequate rain in the last few weeks, they are now doing very well. Raspberries can't really be shipped very well and the ones that are imported or shipped have to be treated with fungicides to prevent mold. This info below was gleaned from the web site Besides compiling PYO farms, they provide lots of reference info, canning tips, etc. Thought I would pass on the info they provided about raspberries. We should have plenty at the market this weekend. However, if we pick them too quickly after a rain, they will mold quickly so they must be consumed or used right away, within a day or two. Its just not worth the potential health risks of getting involved with fungicide use just to get a few days of extra shelf life.

Raspberry Facts and Tips

  • Raspberries come in many colors besides red: there are also black, purple and gold raspberries.
  • Raspberries are a very healthy food; they are high Vitamin C and naturally have no fat, cholesterol or sodium. They are also a good source of iron and folate (which is used especially in treatment of low red blood cells or anemia). Raspberries contain a natural substance called ellagic acid, which is an anti-carcinogenic (cancer-preventing) compound. Raspberries have been shown to lower high blood cholesterol levels and slow release of carbohydrates into the blood stream of diabetics.
  • Raspberries are high in fiber. Half to one pound of raspberry fruit per day can provide twenty to thirty grams of fiber which is adequate for an adult daily nutrition requirement.
  • Select plump, firm, fully black berries. Unripe berries will not ripen once picked.
  • Raspberries 1 pint = 2 cups = 500 ml and about 3/4 lb (about 1/3 kg) and is good for about 2 to 4 servings.
  • 1 cup of raspberries is about 123 grams,
  • The USDA says 1 cup is about 64 calories!
  • Raspberries are a type of bramble, like blackberries and are also known as "Cane berries"
  • Raspberries are different from blackberries in that the fruit has a hollow core that remains on the plant when you pick the raspberry.
  • Raspberries are so expensive in the grocery store because, since they are so soft, they bruise easily, spoil quickly and do not ship well. It's much better to pick your own!
  • 2 pints (4 cups) of raspberries are needed for a 9" pie
  • 1 - 1¼ cups = 10 oz. package frozen berries
  • 1 cup of raspberries is only 61 calories and high in dietary fiber
  • Raspberries are high in potassium, vitamin A and calcium
  • Raspberries contain about 50% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
  • U-pick Raspberry farms typically sell berries by the pound or pint. A pint equals 3/4 pounds of fresh berries.
  • Do the math and be careful not to over-purchase as Raspberries quickly mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • You can easily freeze berries that you can not use right away - just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a ziplock bag, removing as much air as possible. Those vacuum food sealers REALLY do a good job of this! The berries will keep for many months frozen without air.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Farmers Market - Saturday August 18th

Wow, this week has been a total blur. Just a quick update here to get you prepped for tomorrow's market day. Cherokee Purple tomatoes are back this week. We'll have at least one full crate.
I know a few folks were very disappointed last week, dismayed even, maybe even depressed, when we ran out early. Recent rain has helped immensely. We have a lot of very nice red sweet peppers. Sweet as candy, the smaller size concentrates the flavor. We'll have habanero, jalapeno, thai, and carribbean red hot peppers in half pint and pint containers. I now understand that hot pepper loving people are called chiliheads. Who knew? We also have new smaller honey jars this week for those not needing the larger jars, ex quarts. The newest item will be the Bloody Mary mix that Gourmet Central made for us this week. Its very spicy and very thick. It can also be used as a cocktail sauce for shrimp or something similar. It could also be a soup base. Lots of possibilities. We did a taste test of a another product not made with fresh tomatoes and there was no comparison. We did our county sponsored Food Service training course this week so we are now officially authorized to serve samples. Hope to see you at the market. One last thing, we have a Ton of Roma tomatoes. Ton with a capital T. We'll never get them all picked. We probably won't be bringing these to the market unless we have an advance order for them. They just don't seem to sell and don't present well when sitting side by side with the big slicing tomatoes. Good for fresh spaghetti sauce or on pizza.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gourmet Cental Delivery

Yesterday we delivered some of our produce to Gourmet Central in Romney, WV for processing. This included sweet peppers, green and red tomatoes, as well as several types of hot peppers. We managed to pick a whole pallet of produce on Wednesday. Our backs are still tired. Ruth is holding a box of the hot peppers in the photo. This will be turned into bloody mary mix, hot sauce, and a green tomato relish (chow chow). This processing is being done by Gourmet Central as part of a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. The goal of this program is to connect growers to the capabilities of a commercial kitchen such as Gourmet Central and ultimately to customers through the web site which goes live in the next few days after its presented and demonstrated to Governor Manchin at the WV state fair this week. We'll be picking up some products by the end of the week and we'll have them at the Romney Farmer's Market on Saturday. This really helps growers extend the season by having the jarred products available year round.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Farmers Market - Saturday August 11th

Wow the summer has really been racing by. We'll have lots of very nice red sweet peppers at the market this Saturday as well as numerous kinds of hot peppers. We have lots of different kinds: Jalapeno, Thai, Caribbean, Cayenne, red chili, etc. , quite a variety. We'll have these packed in pints. Sadly, the blueberries are all gone for the year. I know many of you really enjoyed them too. But they've now been replaced by an abundance of blackberries. So dig out that blackberry cobbler recipe or get one on line or at We'll have red raspberries too. That along with the usual tomatoes, green peppers, squash, honey, eggs, etc. We're getting some storms tonight (Thursday eve) but only about 1/3" of much needed rain so far. Hopefully it will continue overnight. Hope to see you Saturday morning in Romney!

WV Fresh Logo

We attended a meeting at Fairmont State University yesterday where the new WV Fresh Logo was unveiled. The WV Collaborative web site will be going live next week after it is presented at the WV State Fair. Farms that have been involved with the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program like us were participants in the meeting at Fairmont yesterday. Its a nice logo and its getting some good publicity nationwide. The web site will help connect stores, restaurants, and the public with local producers. We'll be listed there as a producer when it goes live next week. On our way home we visited the WVU Organic Research Farm in Morgantown where they were having an open house and field day. Quite an informative day yesterday.

Excellent WV Photo

As you know by now, any good photos we have are a result of Ruth's skill and eye for detail. Here's another WV landscape that I think just about captures it all. Taken near our house. You've got the the fields, woods, pond, mountains in the distance, an apple tree, big open sky, nice clouds. All the best of WV. But note the drought stress in the sunflower leaves and grass. Sure there is human interference, the road, the rowboat, the distant building rooftop, but it does not overtake the natural setting. Like a park. Which may actually be the point. Living in WV is like living in a pastoral park. Great photos like this capture the foreground detail, a middle subject, and the far distance.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Color Guide to Staying Healthy and Eating Right

I found this article at the Lifehacker blog. Its a good description of nutrition and food colors. Click the link above or Here for the article.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hot Peppers

Some folks have been asking for weeks now and finally the hot peppers are ready. Mostly jalapeno. We'll have them at the Romney Farmer's Market tomorrow. We have them packed in pints this year. Some Thai hot peppers will also be available shortly. We'll also have plenty of sweet peppers again. Some were allowed to turn red. Very sweet. Still lots and lots of tomatoes. A slight bit of misfortune with the heirloom tomatoes. From the big storm last Saturday evening we got about 2 " of rain. This was just too much for the thin skinned heirlooms as many of them cracked and split with the rapid moisture uptake. So the heirlooms may get picked out in the next week or so. We have lots of nice large blackberries in pints and red raspberry pints also. No matter how many we bring they sell out in the first hour. Been meaning to mention eggs also. We have them in a cooler and often forget to display them. We'll have 10 dozen or so for tomorrow. Lastly, tomorrow will be the last day for Richard Cutter's blueberries which we have been selling for him. Looks like we are into a long stretch of 90 degree muggy days. Great for homemade ice cream and with fresh fruit. Hope to see you at the market on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Aroma's Coffeehouse

Catching up on blog posts today that I've neglected for a while so on this very hot afternoon its desk clearing time. If you are in Moorefield, WV looking for a nice place to eat or have a good cup of coffee, do yourself a favor and stop at Aroma's Coffee House. See Its on the main street running through town. Its quiet and comfortable with nice tables, sofas and free WiFi. Basically its like your den at home. Proprietor JD and his wife treat every customer like a part of their family. They also roast their own coffee on site. They became our customers this year and they have a keen interest in serving local and seasonal produce at Aroma's. A few of their lunches are shown on their web site. Check it out. JD takes a special pride in checking that each and every customer is very satisfied with their visit. Each and every town in this country needs a place like this.

WV Gazette Article and On Line Guide

WV Gazette staff writer Tara Tuckwiller has been writing about WV local foods and had a good article in the paper on July 22nd. The WV Gazette is the Charleston, WV daily newspaper.
Click here for the article. The WV Gazette also now has an on line local foods guide. Some information about Hampshire County should be included in the on line Guide in the next few days. You can access the WV Gazette on line guide here.

First Apples

This morning we picked our first marketable quantities of apples from the farm. These apples have never been sprayed with anything and they are surprisingly free of marks and insect damage. We'll have some containers at the Romney Farmers Market next Saturday. They are small buy very very sweet. We've harvested only small quantities of apples before this. Raising apple trees turned into a continual battle with deer, rabbits, groundhogs, etc not to mention simply hoping for favorable weather conditions. We did lose several large branches laden with apples in a severe storm last Saturday evening. After losing peaches and cherries locally to the spring freeze, some nice fresh sweet apples are very welcome in mid summer.

NY Times Editorial - Factory Farm Map

July 31, 2007


A Factory Farm Near You

Once upon a time, only a decade or so, it wasn’t hard to know where
factory hog farms were because they were nearly all in North Carolina.
But since those days, the practice of crowding together huge
concentrations of animals — hogs, poultry, dairy cows, beef cattle — in
the interests of supposed efficiency has spread around the country.

Wherever it appears, factory farming has two notable effects. It
threatens the environment, because of huge concentrations of animal
manure and lax regulation. And it threatens local political control.
Residents who want a say over whether and where factory farms, whose
stench can be overwhelming, can be built find their voices drowned out
by the industry’s cash and lobbying clout.

These farms are spreading so rapidly that it’s been hard to get an
accurate, up-to-date picture of where they all are. A research and
advocacy group called Food and Water Watch has released an interactive
map — — that
allows users to track the proliferation of factory farms by state and
county, number of farms, type of operation and even number of animals.
The only thing that would make this map more useful — and we hope it
will be an ongoing project — is the ability to track changes over time,
showing how rapid and pervasive the growth of factory farming has been.

It’s important to read this map not as a static record of farm sites or
a mere inventory of animals. It is really a map of overwhelming change
and conflict. It raises two of the fundamental questions facing American
agriculture. Do we pursue the logic of industrialism to its limits in a
biological landscape? And how badly will doing so harm the landscape,
the people who live in it and the democracy with which they govern