Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week 5's Harvest Fashion Shoot

This week's edible collection bursts forth with
freshly dug new potatoes, sweet onions, parsley sprigs, Swiss chard, all-star lettuce mix, spinach,various head lettuces, and kale, and snow & snap peas, and the last strawberries of the season!

Wendy Schmiedicke

recommends boiling new potatoes gently "in their jackets" and tossing them with oooodles and oooodles of melted butter, salt and pepper, and fresh chopped parsley.

Going outside to hang the washing out to dry?

Stuff some of these snap peas into your apron pockets for a pleasant snack in the sunshine...

Drive the goats crazy sporting sprigs of aromatic flat and curly leafed parsley...

Say "Ah!" as you savor a forkful of this week's salad mix and spinach, & chard.

French Potato Salad

1.) Boil 2 lbs. of the most darling new potatoes you can find for 15 minutes.

2.) Place warm potatoes in a bowl.

3.) Whisk together:

*6 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar

*1 small sweet onion
*2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

*1 Tbsp whole-grained (or dijon) mustard

*1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon, mint, dill, or thyme (optional)

4.) Add in a slow and steady stream: 6 Tbsp olive oil.

5.) pour over new potatoes and serve warm or at room temp.

Pro-rated shares still available! We are extending our season! Sign up before next Wednesday for a 16 week share for $400.00.

*special thanks to Bothilde for modeling this week's harvest!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peas on Earth!

This week's harvest was all about the peas. Two fat baggies filled with snow and snap peas to sprinkle in salads, toss into stir-fries, and...let's be honest, snack on all the way home- filling the car with contented crunches, making the guy parked next to you at the stoplight pea-green with envy!

Bursting out of your box this week: sweet onions, spinach, deer tongue lettuce, romaine, beet greens, peas, radishes, quart of strawberries, and some of you have broccoli this week.

In our ongoing effort to turn W. County Line Rd and MacClain into your Paris market experience we are now offering bouquets of flowers from Petal Patch Farms. $7 each, first come first serve. You can pre-order your bouquet each week by Monday evening with an email to us. There is absolutely no reason why you should not enjoy a stroll amidst the hens, listening to Lupe and Zita's bleating with a basket on your arm filled with this week's share, and a bouquet of fresh flowers to weave a little seasonal beauty into your life each week! If we can't make it to France this year, darlings, then France will come to us!

We are offering these stunning bouquets in response to the dozens of men who have beat down our door asking for flowers to surprise their spouses and sweethearts with each week.

Put a fresh linen cloth on the dinner table, plunk these beauties into an old pitcher or glass mason jar, turn on

some salsa music and let the cooking begin!

Weekly recipe here online this week:

Strawberry Shortbread Tarts with Macarpone Cream
Makes 8 tarts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease tartlet pans, or make one large tart in a greased 9 inch pie pan.

Whisk together 1,1/4 c all-purpose flour, 1/3 c sugar, 1/4 tsp salt

Add: 8 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces.

Mash together, then add one large egg yolk. Pat dough into prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes after pricking with a fork.

Beat together 1 C mascarpone, 1/3 C very cold heavy cream, and 1/4 sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until the mixture will hold stiff peaks. Spoon into shortbread shells.

Put 4 1/2 Cups of strawberries, hulled and quartered into a bowl.

In a saucepan combine 2 Tbsp raspberry jam and 2 tbsp of a dark berry liqueur. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and simmer till reduced to about 3 Tbsp (about 2 min.). Pour mixture into berries and stir gently to coat. Mound the berries on the mascarpone cream. Enjoy with someone you love.

Shares Still available!

email us at
for details about our shares, pro-rated and otherwise, as well as our chevre shares, Free-Range eggs, flowers, and pastured pork, lamb, and broilers!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As Featured in the Grand Rapids Press!

Many Thanks to Linda Odette, special sections editor of the Grand Rapids Press and to Terri Finch Hamilton, journalist, for their patience and willingness to tell our story! Also thanks to Katy Baatdorf, their wonderful photographer!

Read all about it:

Monday, June 20, 2011

So there I was. In the middle of our veggie field...about to plunge my hands into a 55 gallon barrel of manure tea. The occasion can be very much like a near death experience...your life flashes before your recall all the many and minute steps that led up to this moment, you remember your toddlerhood and your mother's voice comes back to you, "no no sweetie! Don't touch poopie!" and you wonder how you got to this point, about to fish bits of straw out of this concoction you've made for fertilizer...a combination of composted sheep and chicken manure, fish fertilizer, and water...and the sun's beating down on you, the waiting veggies wave in the breeze, and a fat bumble bee stops to sit on the lip of the barrel, the only audience to your deliberations and amused pause. Bent over the vat of brown liquid, you inhale the scent of agricultural success, and you find yourself unusually philosophical. "After all," you muse, "Everybody in this life has to deal day in and day out with some kind of crap. Some take it. Some give it out. I happen to do both...and considering the other kinds that are out there...I think I prefer the kind that ends with bountiful harvests and a full stomach".

So I plunge into the poo juice. Up to the elbows...going from grimace to grin in about 5 seconds.

You can't argue with the results. In veggie farming you really do get what you put in. Some farmers build the soil slowly season after season in a kind of patient marriage with the dirt. It takes a long time to build up humus*, get a nice tilth, and increase fertility...vegetables are voracious eaters! So in the meantime, applications of manure teas (how dainty the term!) give the hungry plants the growth they need....and the farmer applying them feels akin to God. Giving the increase.

Quite a wild ride, this farming thing. The close you get to dirt and the nearer you get to poo, the more you find yourself scraping the bottom floor of heaven.

The other day, bent over beds of cabbage run amuck with clover and queen anne's lace I found it difficult to complain in my usual cream puff way...even though I had put myself to the task of in effect weeding a quarter of an acre. And the only reason was that doubled over so low near the wild herbs and fragrant clover I was distracted by the loveliness of the scent of things as I tore them out of the earth...It was as if the earth, -difficult wench that she can be-was perfuming herself to flirt me out of my self absorption...

Organic farmers often under-sow many crops with clover, seeding it after the tomatoes or what not have gotten a nice start and the clover can grow up underneath to blot out the possibility of weeds and form a green nitrogen fixing manure for when the tomatoes finish...As I tossed the handfuls of uprooted clover into the paths I found myself thinking "sorry darlings! Come in a little later next time and I'll let you stay the season!"

What an amazing power and responsibility the farmer takes on. He decides what vegetation stays and what goes. He organizes sucessions of crops, and chooses different varieties. He is a veritable Pharaoh making grand judgements on his landscape every day. Who can say what shift he is making for the local environment when he uproots a mulberry bush here, plants a pine tree there, sows oats, weeds clover, plants peas. It would be too simplistic to say that he is a marauder, coming upon the natives and displacing them to the detriment of the surrounding nature for the sake of his man-made narrowly conceived utopia. So too it would be naive to believe that his actions are of no consequence to the local wildlife, insects, and micro-organisms in the soil...every day is a battle to maintain the balance that is responsible cultivation...destruction that serves growth, decay that produces fecundity...acts of power that pave the way for the gentleness of soil growth and vegetable fruiting.

Pasturing sheep on 11 acres, rotating them with strands of electric netting, I am reminded of this amazing balance that occurs as man makes his mark on a place, literally, creating a patchwork of grazed squares across the acreage in different stages of re-growth, all the while keeping an eye to the grass and to the animal, a respect of the lay of the land and for the needs of the sheep. Here he is, wielding electricity to follow traditional methods of grazing...and all to make the land he utilizes more itself than it would be if it were left un-managed. It is a curious thing; cultivation.

It is a constant dance of doings and non doings...pronounced actions and pregnant pauses. It is music.

thank you, dear reader!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Don't miss out on this year's STRAWBERRIES!

Call (616) 754-6829 to order pre-picked quarts.

U-pick for $1.10/lb.

They won't last long, folks! Buy a flat, chop of the tops, and pop them into the freezer for smoothies and milkshakes in the heat of July!

Come on out, and Tom & Candy will set you up!

6393 W. County Line Rd.

Greenville, MI 48838

(follow the signs just past our CSA veggies at Eden Farm)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Naked Veggies

In Eden, before the fall, it is said, that Adam and Eve went about in the garden with absolutely nothing on. In an effort to return to Agriculture "before the fall of small farms" we make sure our vegetables

are similiarly unclad here at Eden Farm.

These babies are not clothed in pesticides or chemical fertilizers. We grow using sustainable methods of traditional agriculture, using crop rotations, cover crops, and natural fertlizers.

Our veggies are bare of the petroleum it takes to truck even the finest of organic veggies from California or Mexico...

This is a transparent process. Open to the public.
For your, and your, and your, eyes only!


Our 10 lovely piggies have arrived.

they are helping us manage our veggie acreage.
The kids throw weeds and green oats to them...and it amazing to watch them chow down on these salads, and leave their grain behind...

Soon we will be pasturing them on harvested beds to fertilize them for next season, and get a little pig-powered plowing done!

Watching Pigs is Farm Yoga.

They stretch our for morning, mid-morning, noonday, afternoon, evening snoozes...and just to stand there and watch them so happily snuggled against eachother in deep and simple contentment is to shed pounds and pounds of anxiety and stress...I like to sneak up on them while they're napping and surprise them with snacks...

You know how your Grandma always said "I sure do love to see you eat!"? And she'd fix huge meals for you even though you just had lunch and "were just passing through" ? That's what I think of when I watch these little pigs chow down. They go at it with such gusto that it puts spirit in ya just to watch the food dissapear! You feel like positively bustling off to the kitchen to whip up more tintillating scraps so that you can have the motherly satisfaction of watching these pigs put it away.

Besides the rabbit, hogs are the most efficient converters of foodstuffs to meat. They're intelligent too. You can always talk to a pig. Pigs listen...and sometimes, when called upon, they add their two cents. Magnificent animal. Wonderous, splendid, delicious animal!

If you are interested in pastured pork email us for our meat share order form.

90% of pork in Michigan is raised in confinement, where antibiotics are frequently needed to keep the sicknesses associated with lack of space, sunshine, and pasture, at bay. Support our efforts to raise Hogs the way nature intended! Buy a 1/2 or whole hog from us this season!

This Week's Harvest!

Greenleaf and Redleaf lettuces
Sweet onions
2 bunches of Swiss Chard
Fat Bag of Spinach
Quart of Tom's World-Famous Strawberries!
As ever, our weekly illustrated newsletter with news and recipe!

One of our favorite things to do with all the asian greens, chard, and onions is to saute' them in olive oil or butter on medium heat with garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes. Add cooked, cold rice (from last night's dinner) and some soy sauce, and you have a delicious lunch! We favor Basmati Rice, for its dependable performance, flavor, scent, and light, fluffy, non-sticky grain.

For Sunday breakfast, or tea-time, make a loaf of lemon poppy seed bread and serve thick slices with sugared strawberries! Heaven!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Real Farms

Ever notice how people are often down on happiness?

A small farm, under 40 acres, one that is sized to offer lots of puttering satisfaction in it's inhabitants, plenty of squeals of delight in the visiting children and grandchildren...that's called "a hobby farm"...the term REAL FARM is reserved for the white houses sitting on vast mown lawns surrounded by acres and acres and acres of some monocrop, and complete with large pole barns with big shiny tractors and other machinery in them.

Seems like "being happy" is something fools who can't make a living at farming do on small acreages...while "serious farmers" are the miserable meloncholics who grow subsidied grain on vast acreages alone, "cause this farm ain't big enough for the two of us..."
We respect the guy with the Big Truck and the shiny new pole barn. But the scrappy kid down the way with the animals and what not, well, I'm sure he's having fun.

I've developed my own criteria for a "real farm".

First and foremost, a real farm produces its own fertility.

Sounds simple. And it is. But its far too uncommon.

A real farm generates fertility, it doesn't buy it in. This means animals. When you are managing animals, you are managing grasses, you are managing manure. A closed circuit of renewable energy right there on the farm.

Second, a real farm is big enough to challenge the farmer each and every day of his life, to catupult him out of bed in the morning with a snap,crackle, and punch, muscles taught with the willing readiness to tackle a new enterprise, try out a new idea, conquer some vegetative foe...But it must also be small enough to keep him sane...not drive him out of his mind, or his home, empty him of heart or his bank account of money. In short: it must be human scaled, not machine scaled.

Third: It must be the kind of fertile seedbed for new enterprises, for the ideas and farm-based businesses of the next generation. It must pave the way for a place for the farmer's sons and must be a source of growth and inspiration for the youth...a nursery of dreams...not something they grow up to remember as a rack they were stretched on, when they are living in their city penthouses laughing sardonically at their days growing up "work work working on that dreary drudge of a farm..." If I had a nickle for every time someone has said to me "yeah, I grew up on a dairy farm...nope, don't miss it one bit."...

Fourth:It's got to be sustaining for the surrounding community, as well as for the farming family. Where to go for safe meat. Fresh produce. It must be a place for people in the city to come, renew themselves, support, get their hands dirty, invest in. No more the isolated country folks on their dusty backroads acreage posted all over with NO TRESPASSING signs. A real farm is a place of transparency, and regeneration. In its attempts to revitalize grasslands, build soil fertility, manage animals in a respectful and responsible manner, protect watersheds, prevent soil erosion, it must also allow itself to become a nucleus for true culture. A place where work and play coincide, and friendships and trust are built through every-day life and farm feasts.

The world is full of farms. Every business, be it Coca Cola, Walmart, or that Dairy Farm down the road farms people. Some businesses farm people for their money. A real farm farms people for their character.

So here's to those poor fools scrapping it out on their grubby little farms.

Here's to the real farmers.

God make me one.