April 22, 2018
Happy Red Earth Day!
By Charis Lindrooth
What a glorious day to spend outside! The Farmer is hopping off the tractor today to spend a little quality time with family. Actually, he is hopping on the little Kubota tractor, outfitted with our neighbor's auger, and together we will plant the remainder for the 90 trees that arrived earlier this month. Tree planting is a traditional Earth Day activity, but planting anything will satisfy the bill and brighten the spirits. After such a long chilly spring, aren't we all craving some sun and fresh air? I'm craving fresh greens too, which are coming along ever so slowly due to the gloomy weather recently. This sun and warmth should ignite the magic that fills me with wonder and happiness every year.
If you have not renewed your summer share with us, what better day to do it than Earth Day! Your membership in our farm helps us continue to steward the land and consciously try to minimize the footprint our farm makes in it's food production.
April 8, 2018
NOT Like a Lamb at All!
a Note from the Farmer's Wife
Did I say something about spring and lambs last week? Well, I was wrong. Spring is pent up, shut down, suppressed and altogether stalled by a persistent chill in the air that refuses to let go. Our daffodils are pushing up and forming buds on short stunted stems.
Still the tractors push on, back and forth, hour after hour. One tractor disks the long straight beds, another follows spreading compost and a third tills the clods of earth, leaving a smooth, flat canvas, ready for planting. Our nursery is exploding with seedlings waiting to be transplanted. It looks like the weather will be gentler later this week, and that is when we will set them in.
On his day off today, the Farmer is planting trees. We recently received a shipment of 90 trees, shrubs and bushes and he is happily designing the bare landscape around our home. He’s been at it for about 6 hours already, and I think he’s got about 20 done - not easy work on a shale-dense hillside. The Farmer’s Wife is particularly excited about the hydrangeas - 10 of them! Hopefully they will take hold and grow quickly producing loads of cut flowers. Mmmm! I can’t wait!
Speaking of waiting, the Farmer has just made the call to delay the Spring Share by one week. We will deliver 6 items/week, instead of 5, so you will still get the full share value. Bread shares will get one extra specialty loaf on the final week and egg shares will get and extra dozen the first week. Pickup and delivery details will be sent before the end of April.
New Spring Share start date: Wednesday May 2.
Our Spring Share is only half full, so please jump in to enjoy the sweetest and most tender early vegetables of the season: baby salad, pea shoots, radishes, scallions, arugula, salad turnips and more.
Isn’t it time to eat fresh from the garden again? Yes!!
March 31, 2018
Like a Lamb
By Charis Lindrooth
If I ever saw a March come in like and lion and leave like a lamb it was this one. What an exhausting relief it was for the Farmer and son to traverse the fields all day yesterday, lifting drip tape, spreading compost and tilling fields. I watched them from the house, like orange beetles slowly crawling across a patchwork quilt. A sure sign of spring! The spring peepers, tiny frogs in the wet hollows, started their chirp this week, another herald of warmer days. And the curled brown tendrils of grass have suddenly taken on a tinge of green. I’m ready for the landscape to adopt it’s green-gold hue and wake up my heart again! I am also ready to eat some local vegetables again - for me, as local as they come! Hurrah, the Spring Share starts in 26 days!!
March 17, 2018
"Spring!" says the Robin to the Witch Hazel
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Winter is holding on with icy fingers that sneak down my shirt collar. I shake it off determined to focus on signs that reassure me that spring will indeed arrive soon.
The cheerful racket of birds in the early morning grabs my attention first. The sound fills me with joy and relief, the way the first rays of morning sun dispel anxious worries during a sleepless night. I figure these birds have some private intelligence informing them that now is the time to make ready for warm and abundant days ahead, and this encourages me.
The sun has changed too. If I can find a sheltered spot out of the chilly wind, the renewed strength of the solar rays force me to take off a layer or even two, which I immediately regret as soon as I step out of the shelter. The nursery is fairly bursting with warmth when the sun is out and thousands of baby plants insist that the season’s change must be near. Do you remember last year? I think March and April switched places, so after an early start in March, cold winds and frosty nights damaged fruit trees and tender seedlings alike. I am hoping that paying the Chilly Piper now will pay off with a balmy, perfect April. No matter what, I am heartened to think that soon I can stop purchasing my vegetables at the grocery store and go back to “shopping” in my own back yard.
And finally the blooming Witch Hazel heralds the end of winter with it’s blazes of yellow prayer-flag blossoms. The sight makes me so happy I could kiss them. So take heart my vegetable loving friends! Soon you will have the freshest and tastiest greens back on your plate, reviving your palate and strengthening your health.
March 7, 2018
Action Steps that Support Local Farms
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Do you value local food and want to support your local farm? Here are some simple action steps you can take to make a difference.
1. Join a CSA
- we are hoping you choose ours! www.redearthfarm.org
The CSA model offers an essential security to small farms since your early commitment allows the farmer to plant knowing his product will be consumed.
2. Recruit ONE new member for our CSA. Put your thinking cap on. Eating more vegetables is a simple and effective way to support one's health. Do you know someone who has never tried a CSA? Tell them about your experience! Break down the expense - show them that CSA can be more cost effective than shopping at the standard grocery store.
3. Post flyers
, or postcards at local businesses where potential CSA customers visit. Only 1% of the population uses a CSA, which means quite a few people have never experienced the wonder of a just-picked box of produce delivered to them. Email us if you would like us to send you postcards or flyers, or both.
4. Leave a rave review
on Google or Yelp - your honest reviews help potential customers choose our farm. To leave the Google review open Google Maps
, search Red Earth Farm, Kempton PA and click the stars and leave a comment.
5. Email us your testimonial. Let us use your words of praise to help others know that we are the real deal.
6. Send us a "Selfie Video" of you raving about your favorite aspect of the CSA - use your smart phone and make a short clip: if you do we will send an extra goodie in your first CSA box of the summer season!
7. Like our Facebook page
, follow us on Instagram,
share our posts or even better: make your own veggie loving post, or even a live video on Facebook, opening your first CSA box. It really helps!
We know we say it all the time: YOU are our best advertising! Your efforts to spread the word really make a difference. Take a step today. Thank you for your ongoing support.
February 18, 2018
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Once again the view over the farm makes me think of Narnia during the Snow Queen's reign.
Last night I took Mara's new sled and zipped down the steepest hill to the nursery. The snow fell so thick I had to close my eyes and surrender to the thrill of gravity and a slick slope. At the bottom, the nursery gleamed like a beacon through the storm, lit by the grow lights that give our light-dependent seeds a jump start. I couldn't help but wonder if an overhead reconnaissance survey might be drawn to the lit greenhouse, raising questions about what exactly we grow here. I suppose ten thousand onions might be a boring answer to the follow-up investigation, but to us the new green shoots emerging from their planting trays thrill us. Thyme, mint, rosemary, lavender, pansies and other slow growing herbs and flowers have also made their appearance.
When fantasy trips to distant tropical islands remain out of reach, spending time in the nursery on a sunny February day puts a dent in the winter blues. The air is warm, humid and reviving to our parched skin and nasal passages. Potting soil under the finger nails is a happy thing and the time we spend in there as a family, all four of us working with a peaceful rhythm will likely be something the Farmer and I miss when we are empty-nesters.
The forecast tells us that this snow will be short-lived on the ground, with temperatures nearing, or exceeding 70 this week. That means the nursery will brighten up like a green onion lawn before the first of March. The anticipation of spring, and the hint of it in the February air, fragrant with the scent of thawing earth never fails to quicken the heart of the Farmer and get him moving out and about, itching to warm up the tractor and plough. Soon we will have information about our Spring Share available so that you can take advantage of the most delicate early greens and sweet roots of the entire season.
Spring is my favorite; always has been and always will be.
January 14, 2018
Getting Kids Outside
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Every now and then the Farmer and I wax philosophic. Sometimes we talk about the future of the farm, or we discuss politics, our parents, the neurosis of our dog and of course the weather. But more often than not we talk about our kids. This morning as the rays of the sun began to reach through the trees, crossing the meadow to land on our pillows we cuddled, avoiding the inevitable bone-chilling shock of getting out of bed.
Even though the temperature this morning was ten degrees, the cloudless sky still begs for us to spend time outdoors. That’s when we started to talk about our kids. And how hard it is to get them outside, even though we live on 90 acres. Well, that’s not entirely true, our 7 year old leaps outside any chance she gets, but she doesn’t have a smartphone or access to any device whatsoever including a TV, except at bedtime.
The teen boy is another story. In fact, ever since he started reading, his outdoor leisure time dwindled dramatically. Adding a smartphone to his life a year ago seemed to make the indoors more appealing, even though he has no social media apps, no web browsing and no gaming on his phone. Spotify, texting and email still possesses his attention at the expense of the cultivation of creativity that comes when a youthful imagination has only nature as it’s medium, or maybe paper, pencil and paint.
In the middle of this conversation, when my own smartphone delivered an article on the subject of smartphones and kids to my inbox, I couldn’t but help acknowledge the irony of the phone in my hand, at an early hour, delivering a message agreeing with our discussion that smartphones are owning our attention spans, for better and for worse.
Almost 75% of teens, age 13-18 have access to smartphones, according to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center.
Average time spent staring at their screens? 9 hours per day, not counting school hours or homework. Yikes! Can you imagine how proficient these kids would be at a musical instrument if they spent half that time practicing each day?
The average number of times they unlock their phones is 95/day. How much time is spent per year in the simple act of unlocking our phones?
Tech companies are investing big bucks in the effort to lure kids (and adults of course) into spending more time in front of screens glued to their favorite apps. Stock prices rise as our kids get more and more invested, and possibly addicted to their screens.
Of course their are many benefits to the mobile phone, that may or may not outweigh the drawbacks. More time and data is needed to accurately assess the value vs damage of the smartphone on the education of our children.
No matter what, phones are here to stay. It is up to parents to help their children find balance, and to be brave about saying no. Perhaps the simplest answer is to take our children outside, as a family, to go into the woods, or work in a garden, go skiing, throw ball, raise pigs or hike a mountain. Nature strengthens the will, relieves the spirit and feeds the soul. Engaging with our kids in the outdoors, with all phones left in the house might push a giant reset button for the entire family and provide a much-needed break from the attention grabbing ghouls of the internet. I'm grateful that our farm provides such easy access to nature.
Connect to nature and join a CSA
grown by a local farm.
January 6, 2018
Eat More Vegetables!
By Charis Lindrooth
Photo by chiara conti on Unsplash
With the holiday feasting and gastro-extravagance behind us our minds turn to New Year’s resolutions. Diminishing the midline tops many lists, with ideas of elliptical workouts and newfangled diets.
Perhaps, one simple adage could be remembered for those seeking trimmer, healthier bodies. “Eat your vegetables!” We repeat it all the time to our kids, but do we follow up ourselves? I’m guessing there is room for improvement for most of us and implementing a few of the following strategies may help make this goal a reality in 2018.
- Eat less meat. Maybe introduce one vegetarian supper a week. For meat-lovers, this can be challenging - especially if you are trying to satisfy a teenage boy. The goal here is to increase vegetable consumption, not bread, noodle and cheese consumption. Look for vegetables that have a hearty, meaty flavor such as eggplant, mushrooms, winter squash. A side of mashed local potatoes can please almost any teenage palate. Try a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, for example.
- Prep your veggies in advance. When you bring your CSA box (or grocery bags if it's winter and your local farm is frozen solid) take a moment right away to slice and dice and neatly package them so they are ready in an instant for any dish in the upcoming week. It's true that you lose some nourishment and vitality with advanced produce prep, but if you tend to get over busy and stressed during the week, cooking might feel a lot more appealing if some of the hard work is already done.
- Make food at home. Now that you have a stash of vegetables waiting patiently in your refrigerator, stop procrastinating. Fix them into something great! Soups, stews, crockpot, frittatas or quiches, homemade pizza, chili....brainstorm a list with your kids and get them invested in the menu.
- Cook with your kids. If you can stand to let your kids help you in the kitchen (I admit this one is really hard for me) they will take ownership of the meal and eat their veggies proudly. Okay, that's my theory. Let me know if it works!
- Join a CSA! You knew this was coming of course! Your CSA box arrives every week. Set a goal to finish your box before the next one arrives. One of our members lost 25 lbs the first year he joined our CSA - just by eating more vegetables.
What tips do you employ to consume more vegetables? Any ideas for kid-friendly recipes?