Friday, October 10, 2008

Final Market Day

Well we've made it into October and this Saturday is our final market day.  Last May, when the market opened,  now seems so long ago.  We have fresh habanero peppers, some new honey, as well as lamb.  We also have the late season products we've had the past few weeks, eggs, chicken, jarred products, and a few other gift items.  Weather is supposed to be good so it should be a great day for our final market day of 2008.   

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Appalachian Festival - Saturday Sep 20th

Hi everyone,
Just a reminder that we will not be at the Romney Farmers Market this coming Saturday.  We will be at the Appalachian Festival in Frostburg MD.  Its held right in the center of the Frostburg University campus.   The link to the event is here
There is live music all day long and lots of interesting displays and demonstrations.  We are still picking blackberries and red raspberries at the farm.  We also have sweet red peppers and hot peppers.  Just a few more weeks to go in the market season.  Evening lows about 50 degrees this week. See you soon.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hampshire Heritage Days - Final Details

We were in Romney today and things were shaping up for Heritage Days. Just a reminder that we will be in our normal Romney Farmers Market location on Main Street tomorrow. The hours will be extended tomorrow until 3 PM. The rain plan is now to move inside the Bank of Romney Community Center Building. We were just told that today. The prior rain plan to move to Romney Elementary School has now been changed. At 4 PM, the Hampshire Farm Tour will begin. We'll be back at the farm to meet and greet visitors to the farm. See for details. Search Google Maps for Church View Farm to find us. We'll also have directions note cards at the farmers market for you. See you there.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Aug 30th, Local Foods Guide, Heritage days

Lots to cover here. For the market tomorrow we'll have a lot of blackberries and raspberries. Some light rain yesterday really helped. Tomatoes are done. The cool nights and recent dry weather did them in. We'll still have lots of sweet peppers and some hot peppers. Also we'll have all the new jarred products I've mentioned in prior posts. I've written an Ebook called the Hampshire County WV Local Foods Guide which you can find Here. The link is Its a work in progress but it will get refined as time goes on and I get more info from all of the producers. Lastly, Hampshire Heritage Days is next Saturday Sep 6th. The Romney Farmers Market will be in its normal location with extended hours until 3 PM. Then we'll return to the farm for the Hampshire Farm Tour. So we'll see you somewhere!

Two More New Products

Yesterday we picked up two more new products that Gourmet Central has made for us. They are Apple Honey Walnut Chutney and Jalapeno Honey Mustard Dressing. We'll have them along this weekend.

What's a CSA Box?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Its generally a weekly subscription to a farm's products. We do a Non Subscription CSA which means that we offer the boxes when we have surplus at peak season. The photo is a typical CSA box. Many have asked what it is and what it looks like. Its a half bushel box of what is in season. Cost is $25 and provides a savings over buying the items individually.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Chicken - 4 Meals has a good article out today about all the things you can do with a good chicken entitled - "One Bird, 4 meals- Buy a good bird and reap the rewards". You can read the article Here or at this link -
This article is a good resource for those that are buying our pasture raised broilers.

Hampshire Farm Tour

There will be a Hampshire Farm Tour held in conjunction with Heritage Days on Saturday September 6th. You can find details at More details will be added over the next week or so. The Hampshire Visitors Bureau and Hampshire Review will be publicizing the Farm Tour. Our plans are to have our farm stand set up at the farm and people can come and visit the farm, see the farm animals, etc. Just like farmers markets, what is know as agritourism is growing as people want to see where things are produced. It should be a lot of fun.

Mountain Music at the Market

The Short Mountain String Band played at the market last Saturday and it was enjoyed by all. This is known as Appalachian String Band music and they play a lot of traditional songs. The harmony of two fiddles is really something. But its not just a music group, these are our colleagues and friends. Steve and Christy work for the Dept of Agriculture. Paul is the horticulture teacher at Hampshire High School. Pete is a craftsman in Capon Bridge and his daughter Dakota is in high school. We've seen Dakota play locally since she was about 8 or so. In the near future, they will play at Canal Place in Cumberland, MD as well as at the Appalachian Festival in Frostburg, MD. We're very glad they were able to come to the Romney Farmers Market. The weather was perfect and it really made for a nice day.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Products

We have 3 new products that Gourmet Central has just processed for us. Honey Apple Barbeque Sauce, Raspberry Salsa, and Seedless Blackberry Jam. Was not sure that they'd be done this week. But I was able to pick them up on Friday and we'll have them at the farmers market.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Market Update - For August 23, 2008

The market season is still in full swing but you can tell that Fall is approaching. A few leaves are even changing color as its been very dry lately. Very cool and pleasant for August with the night time temps in the lower 50's. A daily temperature swing of 30-35 degrees has been the norm. These cool temps essentially tell the tomatoes to finish up for the year. The slant of the sunlight is changing also. We'll have lots of everything including red raspberries. We also have a new batch of chickens that were processed this past week. Those with advance orders should let us know if you want us to bring them to the market for you. The Short Mountain String Band will be playing at the farmers market. Dakota Hobbie, a phenomenal local fiddler, is in the group. She has been playing publicly for about 10 years, since she was about 6 years old. Local peaches and summer apples are in and can be easily found locally. A fresh peach pie with ice cream is a must for mid August. People call from 4-5 hours distant looking for fresh fruit from Hampshire County. Our new sidewalk sign for the market was a big hit last Sat. This is County Fair week in Hampshire County as it is in lots of towns across the country. The Review has a good video summary Here. They call it their weekend update. Its a bit of small town Americana and shows you some of the fair activities that people are enjoying this week. We had a display in the horticulture building at the fair along with an observation bee hive. We also helped out preparing for the Ruritan dinner in the dining hall. Saturday night is the big night for the 4-H livestock sales. Kids that have been raising and caring for their animals all year have to walk them though the show ring. Then their families and local businesses bid on the animals which becomes the child's pay so to speak for raising and training the animal. Its a traditional 4-H activity. (4-H means head, heart, health, hands, and provides great practical life skills training for kids) Hope to see you at the farmers market or maybe somewhere else this weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2008

USDA Canning Guide

We've been selling lots of tomatoes for canning, and folks have recently asked numerous questions about canning. Thought I'd post the link to the USDA Canning Guide which is
Just like most topics, there is a ton of available info on the web, most of it good info. But the USDA Guide has been a key reference guide for a long time. With peaches, apples, and just about all fresh produce available, now is definitely the time to preserve the harvest.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Update 08-08-08

Hi everyone, No blog post last week, and here it is Friday already this week. Last night it was in the mid 50's so autumn is not far off. I attended the "Value Added Fair at Fairmont State University this past Tuesday. Fairmont is right in the middle of what WV calls the I-79 Technology Corridor. This meeting was all about farms connecting with resources to make products from their farm. I actually gave a short talk about what we do on our farm. What was most interesting was that the culinary staff at Pierpont Community College, which is located at Fairmont, prepared the lunch which was served in their new cafeteria with local products and products from the farms of the attendees. We provided pasture chicken, heirloom tomatoes, green peppers, and blackberries. The chicken was the main course and they also made a blackberry topped cheesecake. So besides the main course we had products on the salad bar and the desert bar. College sure has changed. The student center is like a self contained resort. There are gyms, media rooms, swimming pool, cafeterias, lounges. It was exciting to see the entire group enjoying these products. Pierpont hopes to start a student run bistro in town similar to the Culinaire Cafe in Cumberland, MD. As far as the Romney market, the banner has gotten a lot of exposure this week and was even featured in the newspaper. there are more banners and signs in the works. We expect a big market tomorrow and we'll have the usual peak season products such as tomatoes, peppers, berries and honey. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tons of Blackberries

I've mentioned our blackberries in prior posts. But folks that just speak to us at the farmers market have been curious about them. So I snapped a few photos of our blackberry plants. The early rain this year has been remarkable for them and now in the drier hotter weather they are ripening quickly. We have one variety, Illini, that is well adapted to this area but it is thorny. They have been ripening for a week or so. Our main variety is Chester which is shown in the photo, a few berries are ripening now, but as you can see the real avalanche is yet to come. All the red berries will ripen over the next week or two. Chester has a reputation for being more tart or not as sweet as other varieties, but the secret is that it needs to stay on the plant a day or two after it darkens, and looks ripe, to enhance the flavor and sweetness. If you come out for PYO, or to visit the farm, this is what you'll see. If you're at the market, this is where they come from. Lastly, they are not sprayed with anything toxic. We'll lose a few berries to Japanese beetles but that's OK. Fortunately for me blackberry jam is my favorite.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Peak Season and Market

We'll have a great selection at tomorrow's farmers market. Its truly peak season, its all we can do to pick just a portion of what's ready in the field. I mentioned PYO blackberries before as its peak season. We'll also do PYO tomatoes and peppers at this time, $15/half bushel or $25/bushel. We have some Roma tomatoes which are available PYO if you are into making your own sauces, $20/half bushel. Cherokee Purple and Brandywine heirloom tomatoes are available. Heirlooms are 2 for $1 at the market, other varieties are 3 for $1. In fact we'll be doing mix and match 3 of anything for $1. Let us know if you'd like a CSA vegetable box, $20 per half bushel box for a nice variety. The prior boxes we did were well received. Even though they are vegetable boxes, we've been able to add berries and some fruit to the boxes also. One of the most enjoyable varieties has been the Sun Gold tomatoes. This is an very sweet heirloom salad tomato, just $3/pint As always, you wish you'd planted more of what grows well and sells well. We'll be doing Sun Gold every year from now on. Contrast this with Early Goliath tomato which was neither early or large. No more of those for our farm. We'll have 30-40 pints of Sun Gold available tomorrow. To answer a few other inquiries, salad mix is done until Fall and chicken is indeed still available. See you soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blackberries - The Time is Now

Hello everyone. Blackberry peak season is right now and for the next 2 weeks. I know we've had dozens of calls about them. Sorry but there's just not time for us to sit and return the calls. That's what this blog is for. To push out this info to your email address when you are a blog subscriber. Or to make this info available, if you choose to instead go and read the blog on your own. Also, please forward this blog post to anyone else with a possible interest. Long story short is that Ruth and I could pick blackberries all day every day for the next 2 weeks and probably still not get them all picked. We were away for a few days, plus we had almost 2 inches of rain total so they are just going crazy. Some varieties such as Illini are at peak now, and others, such as Chester, will be peaking next week. So if you want advance orders of blackberry pints to be brought to the market, just let us know. We pack them in clear plastic pints priced at $4/pint. If you want to come and do a PYO, you'll save 50%. Bring your own containers although we do have gallon pails you can use for picking. For ex, a gallon bought as packed pints would cost $32, PYO the cost is half, $16 per gallon, however you pack them. If you order a CSA vegetable box this week, you'll get a pint also. So if you're still dreaming of blackberry pie, jam, or cobbler, this next 2 weeks is your window of opportunity for this summer's harvest.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gonna Be Hot - Ripe Tomatoes and Blackberries

Hi everyone,
Looks like high summer has settled in the past few days. Its supposed to be 97 today! And picking in the sun I can assure you is much hotter. But the good news is that ripe red tomatoes are finally here. The farmers market will be swarmed. Great photo in the Hampshire Review this week of the nice crowd at the market. Please come early for the best selection. They are at least two weeks behind last year, but they are indeed finally here. The new Sun Gold salad tomatoes are even better than we expected. They go very fast. Its been interesting and fun.
I think every person that sampled a Sun Gold at the market immediately bought a pint. Fun to see the smiles, comments and head shakes they bring. Even one fist pumping in the air if you can imagine that. We've been picking blackberries daily. So from now and for the next few weeks it will be high season for the blackberries. So if blackberry cobbler, pie, jam or blackberry anything is on your wish list, now is definitely the time. Red raspberries will follow the blackberries. Plan accordingly. Sweet peppers are nice size now. We'll have at least a full crate of those. For those making chutney and salsa and the like, we have green heirlooms which work well for that. Last weekend was a new phenomenon for the Romney market. There were actually people waiting in the parking lot when we pulled in at 8:30 AM. The market doesn't even open until 9 AM. Pretty amazing. Its encouraging and motivational to meet these folks that "get it". For ex, we sell our summer squash for 3 for $1, any size. They are $1.29 per pound at the grocery store. So there is the value, you get fresher and at least 1/2 price at the farmers market versus older, dried out and more expensive at the grocery store. By cutting out the shipping, handling fuel, delays, storage, etc. we can pass on the savings to everyone at the farmers market. I field lots of emails and inquiries all week from folks. Please feel free to introduce yourselves to us so we can put names with faces. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Simple Dollar Blog Post

Very informative blog post from The Simple Dollar. See You can subscribe to their RSS feed or with your email address.

The Simple Dollar

Ten Ways to Find Bargains on Fresh Food

Posted: 16 Jul 2008 03:00 PM CDT

tomato pictureI’m always on the hunt for fresh food, grown locally and preferably grown organically and with sustainable practices. Not only are such items healthier, they’re also almost always much more flavorful, too. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a salad made up of greens that were cut less than an hour before.

The only problem with this approach to eating is that it’s often perceived as very expensive. If you browse through the food options at your local mega grocery, you’ll usually find that healthy options, like organic fruits and vegetables, free range chickens and eggs, grass-fed beef, organic milk, and so on are usually substantially more expensive than the regular versions of the products. For a family on a budget, that’s a hard one to justify - is someone trying really hard to get by going to spend an extra two dollars a pound for organic carrots versus regular carrots? How about an extra two dollars a gallon for organic milk? It’s not something that fits well into the average budget.

The secret, though, is that fresh and healthy food is often just as cheap as the regular stuff - if you bother to do a little bit of looking around. Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts of methods for getting fresher and more healthy food on our table without exploding our food budget. Here are ten tactics that work.

1. Know what’s actually available to you.
One of the first challenges to overcome is knowing what’s available to you in your area. It’s easy to find a supermarket, but supermarkets are rarely where you’ll find the good deals on fresh, local produce. Here are a couple of tools to use.

The 100 Mile Diet Map identifies original sources for fruit, vegetable, dairy, and meat in your area that originate from within 100 miles of your zip code. In other words, it’s a great way to find truly fresh locally grown stuff. finds all sorts of retail sources for locally grown foods all around you.

2. Be adventurous in your food choices.
While it’s easy to stick with the foods you know, doing that quite often results in paying more because you’re avoiding options that are both cheap and quite interesting. Instead of just getting the usual thing, take a look at some of the more unusual foods available to you, ones that are outside your normal diet. One great way to kickstart this is by finding out what items are actually in season at the moment and basing some of your fresh food shopping on that.

If you have an opportunity to try a new fruit or vegetable or other fresh food at a very inexpensive price, don’t skip it because you’re unfamiliar with it. Instead, pick some up, go home, flip open a cookbook, and try something new - you’ll almost always be glad you did, plus you will have saved some money. I used to avoid okra, for example, but once I tried it in a dish with red beans, rice, and andouille sausage, I was a convert.

3. Shop for produce regularly at farmers markets.
Jefferson County Farmers Market by acnatta on Flickr!Your first place to shop for fresh produce shouldn’t be the produce section at your local grocery store - instead, you should start at the farmers market. The items on sale here are fresh - often just pulled from the ground in the last twenty four hours and thus still quite nutrient rich. Even better, the prices are usually a bit lower than what you’ll find for the preserved and chilled stuff you’ll find in the produce section at your local grocery store.

The challenging part of a farmers market, though, is that you’ll never be quite sure what you’ll come home with. The selection is completely dependent on what’s in season, and thus you’ll not find preserved and shipped out of season items there. Thus, it’s much more difficult to make a shopping list for a farmer’s market. Instead, when you’re in need of produce, find out when your local farmers market is open and hit that before stopping at the grocery store. Then, use what you buy there as the backbone for your meal planning.

Here are some useful tactics for tackling a farmers market for the first time.

4. Use farmer’s markets for information, too.
While you can score a lot of tasty, fresh produce at reasonable prices from farmers markets, perhaps the best value at a farmers market is free - the information. Ask lots of questions, from how you might prepare a particular item to recipe suggestions to tips on where you might find a specific item locally.

Almost everyone I’ve interacted with at a farmers market is glad to help with all of these questions. Why? First of all, they love this stuff. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be at a farmers market. Second, they know that providing you with good information will likely make you a happy customer and keep you coming back.

So ask. Ask lots of questions. Learn more about the food you’re eating and where to get more of it.

5. Join a CSA.
A CSA (short for community supported agriculture) is a system in which people in a community become shareholders in a farm, and that share earns dividends in the form of produce. Where I live, I’ve been on a waiting list for the local CSA for almost a year, and I can’t wait to sign up.

I stopped by to check out how their system works. Basically, you buy a “share” early in the year that costs around $300. This “share” earns you a giant box of produce every week throughout the late spring, summer, and early fall - twenty weeks in all (making the cost effectively $15 a box). The content of the box is basically an equal share of whatever happens to be in season at the moment - early on, it’s heavy on the lettuce, asparagus, and other greens; by mid-summer, there’s lots of tomatoes and corn; later on, you might see squashes and the like. For the volume of food you get, it’s a tremendous deal, especially considering it’s fresh and local.

You can use the tools in tip #1 to find your own local CSA. You might also find that some of the people at farmers markets also run CSAs, so they may be able to give you a lead, too.

6. Start your own garden.
A garden is a tremendous hobby to undertake. It requires a significant time investment and some initial cost as well (basic equipment and seeds). However, few things beat the ability to walk out in your yard and pull a handful of tomatoes straight from the vine to use with that night’s dinner. Not only is it impossible to eat anything fresher, the cost involved is quite low.

It’s even lower when you add in the concept of gardening as a hobby when compared to other hobbies. An hour spent in the garden, if you enjoy it, is an hour well spent, never mind the fact that it provides some financial and nutritional benefit over the long haul.

7. Share a garden with someone else.
If you don’t have adequate space for your own garden, consider an arrangement where someone else has space for a garden and you share resources and effort. For example, you might place a garden in a friend’s yard, then spend some time each Saturday or Sunday afternoon over there getting it in shape with your friend, then splitting the fresh produce.

Not only does this provide you fresh food, it also transforms gardening into a social activity that you can share with a friend. Even a medium sized garden can provide a good amount of fresh produce for two families, and with a partner you can spread out the costs of the materials and the effort, too. A win-win all around, and it gets tasty fresh produce on your table.

8. Establish a bartering relationship with someone who gardens extensively.
Another option, particularly if you have marketable skills, is to swap those skills with a friend that is an avid gardener or produces some other sort of fresh food. For example, if your friend needs help with some electrical work, offer to give him an afternoon’s worth of help in exchange for a few pounds of tomatoes in August.

Again, this turns fresh produce into a win-win. Not only is it free for you now, you’ve also got an afternoon at a friend’s house, helping him or her out. Good conversation, an afternoon well spent, and some fresh food later on? You can’t beat it.

9. Use your grocery flyer to identify healthy sales, then plan around them.
If you don’t have many options available to you for getting such fresh produce, you can still rely on your local grocery store for options. Know what items are actually in season at the moment and use that knowledge in tandem with the local grocery store flyers. When you see in-season items on sale, jump on board - such sales are usually based on highly local purchases, plus they’re cheap.

Since you have the advantage of knowing the fresh produce you’ll have, use it as the backbone for your meal and shopping planning. Find recipes that use these fresh items, then construct a shopping list out of what you need for these recipes.

10. Join your local Slow Food convivum.
A final tip: be social in your dedication to fresh, local food. Find others that share your interests, so you can share your ideas about where to find inexpensive, fresh, local foods. The most effective way to do this is to get involved with Slow Food.

Slow Food is an organization dedicated to “slow food” - the opposite of fast food. They organize into local chapters (called conviva), where people meet and share ideas about eating locally and often share information online, too. These groups are treasure troves of information on inexpensive, local, fresh produce and well worth looking into if you’re interested in the topic.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Update - For July 12 Farmers Market

Hello everyone, last week was sort of a blur, and we had the July 4th holiday, so I didn't get to a blog post. It just got past me. That didn't seem to matter as we had a very busy market on July 5th. Lots of visitors to Romney, as well as travelers passing through town. I'm posting early this week as I'll be away for a few days. I'll be attending a beekeeping meeting at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. I've never been there but the MU web site shows its a very nice campus. I really liked the film "We Are Marshall" and they are even showing it on campus for all the folks that are traveling to the meeting. For this Saturday, we should have our first ripe tomatoes. Our normal "Early Girl" tomatoes were not early, the weather was just too cool I guess. We'll have some Sun Gold tomatoes also. These are gold salad tomatoes. No one who has these would go back to a red cherry tomato. We may have blueberries from our friend Richard Cutter, from Frostburg, MD. They were a big hit last year. Our raspberries and blackberries are still a few days away ; although we're picking just small quantities now. Sweet peppers and summer squash will be available also. Long story short is things are really starting to peak. The month of July is peak market season. This is a good time to order a CSA box if you're interested in a mixed 20-25 pound box of produce. We'll have eggs and we can bring your advance chicken orders to market also. We harvested more honey so we'll have plenty. Many folks have found us via Also check out which helps you with what to do with all your farmers market purchases. So we're looking forward to another very busy market day on Saturday. Hope to see you there.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I found some good info at about farmers markets. See Below. Deborah Madison's monthly column is well worth subscribing to. I'm in the process of updating some info at their site about the Romney Market.

Other content on Culinate related to farmers markets includes:
  • A monthly column by Deborah Madison, the award-winning chef and author of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers Markets
  • Recipes from our kitchens, our contributors, and featured cookbooks � using ingredients readily available at most farmers markets
  • Articles on shopping at farmers markets on a budget, by Matthew Card; what questions to ask farmers at the market, by Culinate Managing Editor Caroline Cummins; and an interview with CSA (community-supported agriculture) pioneer Elizabeth Henderson

From the WV First Lady - Nice Article

From: []
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2008 11:38 AM
Subject: From the First Lady's Desk: July is West Virginia green month

July 3, 2008

From the First Lady’s Desk:
A monthly message by First Lady Gayle C. Manchin

Contact: Lara Ramsburg , 304-558-2000

West Virginia has definitely gone green. There is not a nook or cranny anywhere in this state that is not lush and green from trees, foliage, ferns and other beautiful plants that call West Virginia home. Joe and I came across the scenic highway from Marlinton to Richwood recently, and the vista of vibrant green against the blue sky was absolutely breathtaking.
With all the green around us at every turn, it is a great time to think of ways individually, as a community and as a state that we can be better stewards of our beautiful landscape and environment. One of the biggest win-wins for everyone is buying fresh, locally grown produce in our own neighborhoods. The vegetables and fruits grown in West Virginia taste better and are better for us than those shipped in from other states and countries. I was amazed at the variety of vegetables and fruits grown regularly and organically across our state. In addition, many chefs and restaurants are promoting buying West Virginia products, and they have found poultry, beef, fresh fish like mountain trout and artic char, eggs and dairy products that can accommodate all their needs and recipes.

Within our own homes and yards, we can do many little things everyday that begin to add up when you calculate over weeks and months from one house to an entire community. Adding insulation and sealing cracks around doors and windows can reduce both heating and cooling bills, and is also a great start in practicing energy conservation.

In that same vein, just remembering to turn off lights, televisions and unused electrical appliances are among little efforts that pay off. The newest energy-efficient light bulbs cost more initially, but will pay for themselves in savings in a big way over their lifetime. Also, using solar or LED (light-emitting diode) lighting around your lawn is a big energy saver. The LED lights are very bright and use very little power and will last five to 10 times as long as standard outdoor lights!

It is also interesting to note that it is not only professional chefs, but everyday “mom-and-pop chefs” that are taking a little corner of the yard for an herb garden and a few favorite items like tomatoes and peppers. Again, a few steps to the garden, a fresh salad and a little pruning on the side are other win-wins for a healthier lifestyle and greener environment.

It is worth noting that when doing seasonal planting, plants, flowers and grasses that are native to our region are the most attuned to our soil, climate and water particularities. Therefore, they will thrive with less care than tropical and other imported varieties and, let’s face it, they are gorgeous! While water is not necessarily scarce in West Virginia, a barrel sitting in an area of the yard to collect rain water is another way to conserve and cut down on our water bills and is handy for watering our new gardens.

Enjoy the green of West Virginia, whether it is in your own backyard or in one of our beautiful state parks or national forests. If we each do our part in a small way, it will make a big difference in the conservation of our land and energy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

First Summer Squash

Hi everyone. We'll have our first yellow and green summer squash at the Romney Farmers Market tomorrow. And as usual we'll have a ton of them again this year. Any size, from baby to large, we have it. Just let us know your requirements. New honey also, and some bush cherries. Tomatoes are coming along so it won't be long, there is an unbelievable amount of tomato blossom this year. One exciting development this week is that we picked several handfuls of blueberries this week. We should have our first marketable blueberry yield next year. Picked a few raspberries too, so perhaps at next week's market we'll have some. Its gotten dry so we could use some rain showers. Lots of eggs, and other items also. See you at the market.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Harvesting Food And Knowledge -

Real good article in today's Washington Post about successful community gardens.
You can go to it Here

Friday, June 20, 2008

Update - June 21, 2008 Market

We had out first honey harvest of 2008. The honey as exceptional, very light in color, almost clear. Every bit as nice as tupelo honey. We provided small honey bears to the Farm Credit organization which they used for a Capital Hill presentation on Wednesday. We were told they were a big hit at the meeting. We had chicken processed this week. If you had an existing order, we can bring them to the farmers market for you if you are going there. Otherwise, we'll make other arrangements. We have green tomatoes on the vines and all of the tomatoes are in blossom so they will be at the market in short order. Lots of articles on the web about the current tomato scare. Looks like they are mostly from Mexico. The water is contaminated there, so its no real surprise. All of these stories verify what we have been saying for a decade. You must know the source of everything you consume, and how it was produced. These stories will come up in the media over and over again. Hope to see you at the farmers market. I've recently been reading some books by Jon Katz. See his web site at His border collie Rose looks just like our Zoey.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Romney Farmers Market - June 14th

Hello everyone, I was remiss in not getting a blog post out last week. Sorry. We had a great market day last week as the weather was good. Tomorrow looking good as well. Very very busy times on the farm. We have strawberries in, and perhaps a few sweet cherries. Tomatoes and squash are in blossom. Blackberry blossom this year is the best ever. Our bees are doing a great job also. Salad greens and swiss chard are plentiful. Spinach is done for the spring, just too hot now, perhaps more in the fall. We'll have our other normal products for this time of the season, ex eggs, honey, etc. A batch of chickens will be processed on Tuesday. If you have an advanced order in place, we'll make plans for pickup or drop off, anytime after mid week. Hope to see you at the market. Just point to the Hampshire review has been providing good ongoing coverage also.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Romney Farmers Market Opening

Hello everyone,
The farmers market opens this weekend in Romney. This Spring has been cool and wet so the start is a bit slow. However, everything is planted so we're just waiting for warm days. We'll have plenty of things at the farmers market including eggs, chicken, greens, jarred products, etc. We have more new jarred products that were processed by Gourmet Central including hot pepper jelly in a sugar free format and raspberry jam. If you are ordering in advance, we'll have your order for you at the market. We'll be using our trailer this year so cargo space will never be an issue. There was a nice feature article in last week's Hampshire Review about the market. As a reminder the new web site is Also www.buylocalwv has good info. Our county agent Dr Jerry Leather is working with the Review to publish an announcement each week in the newspaper. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I See Miles and Miles of ........ Mulch Film

Well our spring planting is finally progressing, just about on schedule. From the photo, you see that our new mulch film layer has been put in service. This is a photo degradable mulch film for weed control. The film will degrade and decompose from sunlight as the season progresses so there is no issue with disposal. Using this method of weed control, we don't have to use any herbicides around the plants. We also do not use any fungicides to extend shelf life. We just don't want these toxic chemicals in your (and our) food. This is the first year we've used our plastic layer that we purchased last winter and it works very well. So we should get higher yields since the plants won't have to compete with the weeds for moisture. Its been a cool wet spring so far which delayed things a bit but hopefully we'll catch up in the next few days.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Maple Season

New England gets most of the media coverage for maple syrup and that is indeed a marketing triumph on their part. Needless to say, WV, MD and PA are also loaded with maple trees. To me this really is what really begins the actual farming season. The link to the article is a good summary. There are plenty of maple festivals around our area but that is mostly a sales outlet for the finished product or for churches and other fund raisers to serve pancake breakfasts and the like. What I prefer, and would recommend that you go see, is the actual production, from the tree to the maple shack and then to the bottle. There is something about the process that is quite peaceful and appealing. Mostly the fact that the process can not be rushed so I guess it primarily teaches patience. It might also be the tradition of it, or the quiet nature of the work, or maybe its just the sweet smelling steam. The season typically starts with snow still on the ground and when its still quite cloudy and dark. It takes a special dedication to be out in the woods in this cold damp climate. But for those that do it, it is part of their nature and they simple go about doing what needs to be done. Planting anything is still a month or two away. So go visit a maple camp, and see this process first hand for yourself if you can. Its a very special tradition.

Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 Katahdin Lambs

The lambs are keeping us entertained! They are so comical - lambs hop and spin around when they play. Five new babies so far... three Ewes still haven't lambed yet but should any day now.

To date we have three Ram lambs and two Ewe lambs. These little ones would be real good for a new starter flock for someone interested in a small farm sheep operation. The Katahdin breed is easy to maintain as they do not require sheering or tail docking, are parasite resistant, are very maternal/easy lambing, and have a very calm disposition.

The meat of a Katahdin sheep is mild in taste and lower in cholesterol than some other lamb meat due to fewer glands that produce lanolin. Being a hair sheep breed, the Katahdin grows only a small amount of wool fiber, mostly for warmth in the winter time. This results in a milder less oily meat product.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

First Lambs

Our ewe named Molly was the first one to have her lambs. She had triplet lambs, two ewe lambs and one ram lamb. Ruth is holding the ram lamb in this picture. Pretty exciting that the first ewe to lamb had triplets. Temperature is in the low 20's and windy but we have a heat lamp installed in the lambing pen. All the lambs seem vigorous.

New Products, New Outlet

Gourmet Central has made up some new products for us. They are Blackberry Syrup, Strawberry Syrup, Apple Cinnamon Syrup and Hot Pepper Jelly. We stocked inventory in a new outlet this week, Dillon's Country Treasures. They are located in a remodeled house on Route 50 just East of Romney. They have a lot of craft and home decor items also. In the old kitchen area of the house they have prepared a display of food items for sale. A lot of travelers through town stop there. They will be having a Spring Open House so a lot of folks will get to see our products on display. If you're passing through town, have a look!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Aroma's Coffeehouse Display

This is the very nice display that Aroma's Coffeehouse in Moorefield, WV ( set up for our jarred products. As you go in the front door, these shelves are on the left.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ice and Wind

Last weekend, I think we had everything that mother nature could possibly throw at us packed into one single day; rain, sleet, snow, freezing rain and high winds. Before it all really started we had some high winds and coming back from Romney, Ruth captured this photo of the tree on the power line in Three Churches. Our power was out for 4-5 hours while the tree branch was removed. Amazing that it didn't pull the line completely down in which case our power probably would have been out for several days. The photo was used in this week's Hampshire Review.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Romney Farmers Market Web Site

For 2008, the Romney Farmers Market itself will have a new web site. Ruth and I are doing the web site on a volunteer basis and the first version is now live. Check it out at to see our results so far. This will give other local web sites such as the Hampshire Visitors Bureau and a link that they can use to support the market. The biggest challenge will be to compile the overall list of local farms and growers. The Farm Service Agency and the WVU Extension office will be helping collect that data and we'll continue to refine and add to the web site over time. It will give consumers a good resource to find Hampshire County's local farms and growers. This will help local farms connect with consumers that are interested in the growing local foods movement.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

WV Places Video

I found a You Tube video today that has a lot of nice WV scenery in it. I found it on a web site called American Towns. In the video, they start out in Hampshire County and then travel SW into WV. Since we have a lot of global blog readers now, I thought it would give folks a sense of our local WV scenery with some really nice photos.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Couple of Local Finds

Hello everyone, If you are traveling locally and want a nice lunch stop, I have two places to tell you about. The first is called Trout Provisions in Wardensville, WV ( We took them some samples of our jarred products recently. There are a lot of facets to Trout Provisions. Its is a combination coffee shop-bakery-general store-art gallery. It is located in what was historically a dry goods store on main street in Wardensville. There you will meet pastry chef extraordinaire Monica Cassell. She makes a lot of what is called a crostata. I had to look it up on Wikipedia. This is a pastry with different fillings. Monica is able to be very creative with these. For example one is ginger-sweet potato-apple filled. Ruth had a cheese-potato-bacon crostata as a breakfast pastry. Then we moved on to the homemade croissants such as spinach-feta cheese and I eventually succumbed to a dark chocolate one. If they are interested, we'll get Monica some fresh and local materials to work her pastry magic with in 2008. Her eyebrows raised at the possibility of getting our fresh local red raspberries this season. The art is comparable to what you find at the Mountain Made store in Thomas, WV ( You are free to browse and enjoy the entire place. When we were there, a nice combination of locals and travelers came in. One of the owners, Carolyn, greeted most of the locals by name. Very friendly. They have been sourcing fruits and vegetables from PA as they got up and running. Hopefully as they learn the area, they will see that much of what they want and need is available locally in WV.
If you are in Davis, WV be sure to stop at Hellbender Burritos. Its right in the middle of town. A Hellbender is a large salamander that is native to Appalachia. Its about 2 feet long and also called the Allegheny Alligator. There are big plans to build a waterfront park in Davis, see for details. Traveling to Davis, you'll see dozens of windmills now. Davis is over 3000' feet in elevation and close to the ski resort at Canaan Valley as well as Blackwater Falls. Much of Davis is still rustic but that is changing. Proprietor, Rob has built a nice cozy place; you'll likely be sitting by the wood stove while you eat your lunch. Rob is the type of person that values high quality and fresh ingredients. What I admire in both places is the vision and work required to take an existing building and create an inviting space to warmly welcome visitors. In speaking with them, I sense that would much rather serve fresh and local ingredients as opposed to relying on the standard food service deliveries. For example, any place that would serve a tasteless food service tomato when fresh and local ones are available in season just doesn't get it. These are places that the locals know, and a bit under the radar. When we are traveling this is exactly what we look for. They are unique and special, truly a cut above the standard fare travelers would find at a chain restaurant. At a chain, say Olive Garden, its just mass production of a standard product using the cheapest possible ingredients. At a small town place, the person that prepared your lunch will personally ask you how you liked it and truly want to know if they have met your expectations. When we sell at the farmers market or at the farm, we feel the same way, and try to ask to make sure that we are meeting expectations.