Growing Now! (October)

It’s officially October today and for us that means lots of planting! Yes, we always plant throughout the year, but since this year has been filled with lots of heat and little rain we staggered some items for later.

Speaking of later, have you seen the projected forecast for next week? 80’s! Who would have ever thought we would be happy about 80 degree weather? Well after the high 90’s, 80 should feel like a cold front coming in from the West. There may even be rain!

Last month we mentioned that our sweet potato harvest would be ready towards the end of September, and it is! We just have to harvest it. So please stay tuned for sweet potatoes…soon!

We are still in the phase of saving some of Summer while waiting on Fall to ACTUALLY begin. This means we still have tomatoes and peppers on the farm. Plus cucumbers, beans, and okra too. Most of these were succession planted so that our Kith & Kin CSA members could enjoy produce from both seasons. The picture shown was from our family garden.

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Radishes are on the Fall menu. You can see them below in our CSA basket from Week 2. Of course Kith & Kin produce comes from two farms, so we can’t take all the credit. Thank you Bain Home Gardens for being our Sister Farm. You can find their produce and more over on our shop page.

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We have plans for garlic to go into the ground this month. We are growing from our very own organic stock and we couldn’t be happier about it! Every year we’re so thankful for what we learn and to be able to save and plant from our own stock is truly invaluable.

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Of course we couldn’t bring in Fall without staple items like collards, mustards, and kale. Those are on the menu too! By now, you should all know that there is ALWAYS more, but we have to have you back next month right? Until then….

Growing Now! (September)

Growing up in the North, September was always a month that I looked forward to. Summer was ending, you could see and feel the seasons change, school was starting, and the new year wasn’t far away.

I still love September for some of those same reasons, but over the years it became extremely special because this was the time of year that my Mother-in-Law would come to finish out the year with us. She passed away in July of 2015…..right before we moved to this area and we all miss her dearly. She and I shared a love of Fall and so this month is bittersweet.

I think it’s important that you all know your farmer, so from time to time I try to share just a piece of our family. I love learning about people, so if you have a favorite season or a special memory to share, please do!

Alright now for the real reason you all are here…..what do we have growing now? This month the question should really be, what don’t we have growing?

Usually around this time of the year, we’re clearing plants to make room for new ones. This year however, we are letting it “grow!” So we have a mixture of Summer and Fall all around the farm.

Let’s start with sweet potatoes. I told you guys last month that we’re expanding beyond our family to all of you and so we expect our first round of sweet potatoes to be ready for harvesting at the very end of the month. They started to blossom not too long ago and their leaves have grown outside the box so we’re hoping for a nice bounty underneath.

I also told you guys last month that we’re bringing back our Asian garden, only bigger. I’m excited to tell you now that everything is growing well, but mum is the word until harvesting time! The photos below are a small hint…..

The greens come back with cooler temps and we have just a few that are surviving despite the heat. I’m working hard everyday to keep them alive and keep the bugs off of them, but with organic gardening sometimes you just have to share with the bugs too.

We grew okra last year for the first time after Brandon decided he liked it. We didn’t get to share any then and I’m not sure that we will this year, but our Sister Farm has theirs up and ready for all of you to try now. You can find it here.

The last of the pears were picked the other day. I’ve been in the kitchen canning up fresh pear preserves and my personal favorite, Lemon Ginger Pear. They are all available here.

With the pears, jam and jelly season comes to an end. Well…….as I type this I think about the peppers we have growing, so there may be more pepper jelly, but after that I will finish up canning tomatoes and beans and then canning season also ends.

All our Fall root veggies are in the ground and our brassicas were started again (long story) earlier this week. Salad greens are on their way and spinach will be planted soon.

Life is always super busy, but we try to make sure that we take time out for this segment every month. Thanks for being here and we hope to see you all back again next month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plants to make room for new ones

 

Growing Now! (August)

Hey guys! Welcome to August! Well almost….Here on the farm there is a lot happening! We are gearing up for the new Fall Season of our Kith & Kin CSA. It officially begins on the first day of Fall. So you can imagine the amount of food we have growing right now. We have had to find interesting ways to protect some crops from all this rain and to shade others from the intense sun, but thankfully our prayers are working and our research is paying off.

In chicken news, our birds aren’t very happy with the heat or the rain so some of these spoiled hens have pulled back on their laying. Not to worry though, we still have eggs!

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If you’ve ordered meatbirds, we’ve contacted you to let you know when your birds will be ready. I sometimes feel like the heat is going to take ME out, so we have to be especially careful with our animals. We are definitely looking forward to cooler weather coming in the next few months. I’m sure the birds are too!

In July we picked figs for the first time, thanks to a special someone! We really enjoyed learning all about how to pick them, the taste tasting, and being sent home with our own bundle! This gave us the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen ourselves. If you haven’t heard by now, our fig preserves are up and ready for delivery. We also made cherry jam and it is a hit! Add either one or both of them to your order and pay upon delivery!

Jams and jellies are constantly being made throughout the Spring and Summer seasons and pears are what’s next on the menu. Be sure to be on the lookout for some old and new flavors as they become available.

Fall plantings were started a while back and they are growing well. We always try to get a jump on the next season in order to have what we need and this year is no different. We start just about everything under grow lights or inside our mini greenhouse.

What did we plant? Well there is always too much to list, but the purpose of this monthly segment is to keep you informed on what’s available now and hopefully give you something to look forward too. We strive to be your fresh, local, and organic stop here in the Wiregrass, so let us know what you’re shopping for.

Tomatoes are our bountiful harvest this year. We have several varieties growing, but the cherry tomatoes are our farm winner. You can find them here

We are in a love/hate relationship with peppers this year. Why? Well because they have given us the most trouble. Sounds funny, but the more you fight to keep a plant alive, the more you appreciate it!

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Brassicas are growing for Fall, along with our organic potatoes. Speaking of potatoes, we are also growing organic sweet potatoes! We’ve grown them for our family in the past, but as we expand the farm, we expand our offerings. So we are excited to bring them to all of you soon!

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We’re bringing back our Asian garden again for Fall so be prepared for Asian Greens and our Asian Stir Fry Blend. These were extremely popular last year and will be here before you know it. We are also adding in more items to our Asian garden. It is all so exciting and we will share more as they grow. The pictures below are just some of what we offered last year.

All in all, so far this year has had many challenges, but prayer has been such an important part in helping us to overcome and not wallow in whatever those challenges were. Prayer helps us to learn and grow….literally!

Along with the challenges there have many great blessings and we’re so thankful for every single victory, big or small. So we will keep praying, researching, farming, and growing. We hope you will be with us for it all! We thank you for being here! See you next month.

Growing Now!(July)

Half the year is gone! Yes that’s right! 6 months have came and went! What did you guys grow in the first half of 2019?!? What successes and failures did you have? What was one thing you failed at before, but finally got it right?

Well you guys know what we’ve grown right? If you’ve followed this segment, you know that every month we post some of what we’ve grown on the farm and this year it’s been more than ever with our Kith & Kin CSA. One huge success for us was the CSA, but another is we’ve been able to grow our very own sweet potato slips. Hopefully, we can update everyone later in the year with an abundant sweet potato harvest….prayers for that!

So what about this month? What are we growing? Well with Summer just starting we are growing plenty of Summer veggies. Just about everyday we are harvesting tomatoes and beans. Here is a small harvest from a few of our tomato plants, some long beans, and one early squash I picked before the stink bugs could get to it.

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We are gearing up for our Fall Season for Kith & Kin so, SO much is bring planted right now! Below you will find just some of what we have growing, but there is always more. If you have questions or requests, contact us! We also grow to order! See you next month.

Fall Kith & Kin Season

If anyone were to tell or even better ask the younger me if I would ever want to be a farmer, I would have laughed and laughed. I mean really I was born and raised in NY! I knew there were farms, I just had never been to one. Upstate NY is cold 9 months out of the year. The closest I got to animals outside of dogs and cats was our local zoo.

Like most people my family mostly purchased our food from the grocery store. I say mostly because my Dad used to hunt every year and so would have venison in the freezer, which I didn’t care for at the time.

Fast forward to our slow trek into the south and I realized the importance of food and the effect it has on our bodies. Now when I say food, I mean good wholesome food. Not the artificial sugar, genetically modified corn based snacks, or microwaveable dinners. I’m referring to fresh vegetables, fruits, culinary herbs, and just the best all around produce that you can get in our area.

My realization of food helped me to change my eating and that of my family as well. I have to admit a farmer I never thought I would be, but I am so proud at what we’ve been able accomplish and how.

Kith & Kin was brought about through prayer, careful planning, and persistence! The BIG secret is that we did it!!! We grew food and we fed families every single week! We are so thankful and proud of that!

We worked despite having other jobs, homeschool, spiritual routines, and being wives and mothers. We worked through  hardships, a drought, crop failures, major freak outs, and little baby ones too! Life still happened around the Spring CSA season, but we made it AND we are doing it again! Call us crazy or just call us two women on a mission to help families, our communities, and provide an alternative for the Wiregrass area.

Kith & Kin Fall Season is up and running. It begins on the first day of Fall and we want YOU to become a member! Join today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Where’s the Meat?”

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted about our meatbirds. It’s actually been a while since we’ve taken new orders, but now that we’re into Farmers Market Season I’m going to take this opportunity to catch you guys up on what’s been happening on the farm and let you know that we are back in action with our birds.

For the past few months we’ve been busy catching up on back chicken orders. During this time, Brandon (husband) fractured his foot, we were under hawk attacks, and so MUCH more.

Im glad to say that it’s all over, but with farming you just never know what’s going to happen.  In addition to our chickens, we also had some turkeys that went to harvest. Of course we kept some for ourselves and Brandon did an excellent job of making sure we had our very own pasture raised organic ground turkey for the freezer. If you want to reserve your turkey, now is the time!

As you guys know we’ve also been growing fresh organic produce for our Kith & Kin CSA members. With the CSA Spring season coming to an end this month, we’ve switched our focus and have been working hard to bulk up our flocks for the Summer. This is our busiest time for new customers, so we try to stay “chicken ready.”

It was our goal to be on schedule before the hot Summer months came in, but the “Summer” came in Spring this year. Which also threw us off. Couple that with zero rain and our stress levels went through the roof. We joked about how early we were getting up each day, but it was mandatory to keep the gardens and the animals alive.

There are quite a few projects going on here with the chickens and so we find ourselves out late into the night as well. The mosquitoes at night are relentless, but we fight back with our bug repellent. I’m truly thankful for knowledgeable friends and research. Now our family won’t go outside to work on the farm without spraying ourselves down with this alcohol and chemical free option.

So if you’re looking to purchase chicken from us, you can do so in a variety of ways:

  1. Use our contact page. Here you can detail how many birds you would like to reserve. We will then let you know when the birds are scheduled to be harvested. After which you will be invoiced.
  2. Order from the shop page. You will only see what we have on hand, but this is great for those who need a chicken now.
  3. Come see us at one of the markets we attend. We plan to have chicken for each event and you will get to choose from what we have available. State Farmers Market rules state the birds must be frozen, but they are always harvested fresh to order. If you don’t already, be sure to follow our Facebook page for our whereabouts.

The birds are priced direct at $6.00/lb. When purchased online, there is a weight range, hence the price difference.

You may order one or as many as you like, but if you’re looking to purchase bulk orders of chicken please let us know and we will provide you wholesale prices for orders of 10 or more birds.

If have questions on how our birds are raised or what they eat you can find the answers here.

As always we’re open for additional questions so feel free to reach out to us. Talk with you soon!

 

 

 

Education- Did YOU Grow This?

 

Who says you can’t have basil in March? Not us!

We took this short video clip a few months back as we planted our organic basil in its permanent space for the year. If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen this clip when we originally posted it, but we added it here because it goes perfectly with this topic.

Each year as the seasons change, we begin to plan and plant for the next one. This is important to note because we only grow what’s in season. You won’t find us with items like watermelons in April or peaches in March because they’re not in season.

Why is this an important topic? Well for one we want you to be an educated consumer. We see so many people going to Farmers Markets or road side stands without asking any questions. If we’re buying locally the number one question we always ask is:

Did YOU grow this?

Why?!? Well we are making a choice with our dollars to support LOCAL and want those dollars to count for our community.

I recently posted on Facebook that by buying local, you strengthen your farmers and your community. Let’s illustrate this:

  • You go and purchase food items from your local farmer.
  • Your farmer uses that money to buy seeds, feed, equipment, soil, etc., thereby putting money back into the community.
  • The farmer uses those items to grow more food for you and others in the community to purchase.
  • You are happy to have a trusted local food source.
  • Your farmer is happy making a living doing what she loves.
  • The process repeats itself.

This motto only works if the person you’re buying from has produce that was actually locally grown. We follow various charts for our zone. From these we’ve learned how to plant for the seasons as they come in.

This year in preparation for Kith & Kin CSA we purchased a small indoor setup that allowed us to get a jump on the season. This was necessary for the success of our CSA. So we’ve started early, but we’re still planting what’s in season.

The bottom line is this. If it matters to you how something was grown or if the person you’ve purchased from actually grew it, then please ask questions. After all, if you make a trip to a farm or a farmers market instead of the grocery store think about why you’re doing it….

We do it because we want to keep money in our community! We want to support those small farmers who take pride and care with their plants and animals. We want to eat fresh organic and chemical free vegetables. We want to eat eggs and meat from animals who lived outside and ate grass and bugs the way God intended them too. We want to support those who support us. We want to shop from people we trust who are hardworking and honest. Who take the time to grow the food and can tell you what challenges they faced in doing it and how they overcame those challenges. We want to sit around and “garden talk” or “farm talk.” These things are important to us! We hope they are to you as well. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you see us, ask us questions. We are always ready to share!

 

Growing Now! (June)

Hey guys! Thank you for being here again this month for our “Growing Now” segment. We have acquired quite a bit of new followers and want to take the time to say welcome and thank you for joining us in our quest to bring truly clean and organic food to The Wiregrass area. Something that’s a little different about this post is that it’s late. We usually have this segment ready for the last day of each month, but May has been a hard month for farmers to say the least! So please forgive us on our tardiness!

As we go into June we are hopeful and excited about rain! Last year around this time, our gardens were flooding and there was way too much rain. This year we’re all literally praying and hoping rain comes. Nevertheless if it doesn’t, we will keep working hard and getting up early to take care of our land, plants, and animals. This is the part of farming that gets serious and although we’re small, we feel the effects just like the big farmers do. At last check, rain has been forecasted for later in the week, so hopefully it will.

In the month of June, we are heavy into the garden change over. We are pulling the last of our Spring crops and rearing into Summer. Everything is a bit late this year, but we have the most beautiful tomatoes growing! Some that have began to color and others that we’re trying hard to patiently wait for.

We saw our very first pepper on the vine over the weekend. It’s so super cute and even though the plant is small, we look forward to harvesting peppers soon.

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Our always non-GMO and organic corn was given a compost feed yesterday. It has been fighting to stay alive and was looking pretty sorry. We are going to baby it to ensure that it can perk up and get the nutrients it needs. According to the records, we should have corn this week! There are a few ears developing, but very slowly. We are pushing through and hoping the compost along with the expected rainfall will do wonders for it.

Our herb garden is expanding and I’m happy to say that all herbs are doing well. Here is a new one for us this year!

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Cucumbers and squash varieties are flowering! Oh and pumpkins are thriving.

This is the last month of our Spring CSA. It has been a great season and it’s bittersweet to see it end. Thank you to all our members and those to come!

As we go out to meet all of you during Farmers Market Season we are so excited. Our customers keep us going and we love meeting everyone and hearing your feedback.

In chicken news, we’ve got them growing and like we do every summer we’ve bulked up our birds to be ready for all our customers! Our originals and new ones to come! Be sure to check our “Announcements” to see where we will be. You can also follow our Facebook page. See you next month!

A New Term….

Wondering what it is? Well I will tell you. It’s “seasonal.” Yes you’ve heard that term before, but maybe not how it applies to eggs. Now before you dismiss it and think I’m crazy let me share with you a few things.

Most chickens have a dormant stage that happens in the Fall or Winter where they lay very little to no eggs. When they come out of that dormancy, it is usually Spring or close to it. All of a sudden eggs are booming! You have eggs coming out of your ears, or so it seems. Then when the weather heats up in the Summer you still have eggs, but not nearly as many as you do in the Spring. Fast forward to Fall and eggs are dwindling or maybe they’ve stopped altogether going into Winter. Do you see the pattern? Right after their dormant stage, when the weather is warming and the days are getting longer, the chickens begin to lays eggs in abundance. Coincidence? Not at all. Hence the term…..seasonal!

Sidenote: We know there are some people who use artificial lighting to try and keep their birds laying, but we do not. We don’t feel that this is in their best interest. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we take the stance of if God created the birds to need a rest period than we are going to let them have one.

It has taken me 3 years to actually figure out this idea of eggs being seasonal, but they truly are! Just as we grow certain vegetables in certain seasons, eggs are most plentiful in Spring. Now of course eggs are available year round at your grocery store, but these are not anywhere near a fresh farm egg. Most of these birds are chicken house birds. No light, no bugs, no grass.

Please don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get eggs “off season” or outside of Spring because you definitely can. You just may not be able to get as many.

On our farm, we have tried to set a pattern each year of hatching new chicks in the late Spring or early Summer months. Since most chickens start laying around 6 months of age, the plan is that once the others began to slow down, we will have new ones that are just starting.

To illustrate this, in the month of May we hatched 8 chicks. These will be ready to lay sometime in November. Now whether or not they will they actually do so…..Who knows! Chickens need lots of daylight to hatch an egg and if they’re not getting it, you’re not usually getting eggs. November and December are low daylight months so it may be possible that they’re ready to lay, but the conditions they need to actually produce an egg won’t be there.

So this year when your favorite farmer or egg supplier runs out of eggs, remember eggs are seasonal and they will be back in Spring! If they do happen to have eggs, it is most likely a lower quantity.  So as mentioned above, your regular 3 dozen may turn into just 1.

Just think your farmers still have the labor and expense of feeding and taking care of the birds and they may not be getting eggs either.

If you are one of those people who are fortunate to purchase farm fresh eggs in the later months, be thankful that you don’t have to go to the grocery store and buy store bought eggs that have probably been sitting on the shelf for two months already before you spend your hard earned money on them.

An important fact is that just as people are stressed by crazy weather patterns and major changes, chickens are too!  Really our chickens have had a “rough” year between moving day with their new coops, the hawk attacks, all the rain last year, and now the extreme heat! No wonder why the hens are giving me the side eye when I go to collect eggs…I should be happy there are eggs at all!!! Lol!

Don’t worry. You guys know how spoiled these girls are. We are working hard to keep them hydrated and healthy. Their health and well being is our main concern, so we will do what we can to help them to live well and keep producing the eggs we’ve all become accustomed to.

 

 

Dog Days of…..Spring?

That term usually applies to Summer right? Well not this year! This week on the farm it’s been SUPER HOT! I know, I know it’s not just on the farm, but at your house too. It’s always something, isn’t it? Last year it was rain and this year it’s a heatwave. So what do we do? Well let’s talk about it as I share with you some tips that work for us. 

Just about every morning I have a conversation with Shena of Bain Home Gardens. This is usually right after the crack of dawn as we are both working diligently to beat the heat. Yes! I said the crack of dawn……we have found that this is the coolest part of the day. Take for example Sunday, I went out around 6 pm to finish up farm chores. Right before this I checked the weather and wouldn’t you know it was still in the high 90’s? 97 to be exact!!! So I sprayed myself to fight the mosquitoes and headed out. I had started that morning, but didn’t get it all done so I had to wait until the second coolest part of the day to finish out the work. 

Side note: Sometimes the weather can be deceiving. As the sun goes down it may seem like it’s not that hot, but this is where you can get yourself into trouble if you’re not careful. Heat exhaustion is real and it can creep up on you without warning. So be observant and take precautions. 

Back to  Sunday……About 45 mins after I went out I was pouring sweat. Even still the meatbirds needed to be moved and watered. (Hens have an automatic waterer) Plus my evening garden inspection was absolutely necessary since we’re heavy into bug season.

A few things that we do to beat the heat is number one you guessed it, go out early. The plants have previously had a long day of full sun and an equally long night battling with bugs, so getting a nice cool drink in the morning helps them to soak up water in the soil throughout the day. I like to get down right at the soil level and make sure everything gets a good soaking at the roots. Thankfully we have some drip irrigation, but it’s not everywhere. 

The importance of staying hydrated cannot be stressed enough! Drink water before you go out and then take water with you to ensure you have enough to keep you well while outdoors. This is our second tip. 

Our third one is take sun breaks. Have your chair ready in the shade and sit for at least 5 mins to give your body a break. While you’re there enjoy it! Don’t stress about what has to be done next. Sit, sip, and relax. Be thankful for what you’ve completed thus far.

Just because it’s hot doesn’t mean the work stops. So as farmers and gardeners it’s up to us to find what works. Of course the list could continue, but these are just a few. If you have a suggestion or would like to share something that works for you, let us know. Until then, we hope these tips work for you. 

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