Fall Pace

We have successfully transitioned to fall and a somewhat slower pace. We took some time this past weekend to move in firewood, with lots of help from our orange tabby cat, Dibble.

It doesn’t feel like it will be cool enough for awhile to need a fire, but we will be thankful for it soon enough.

Enough leaves have fallen that the farm kids were able to rake up an impressive pile over the weekend, even though they were still in shorts and tank tops!

Super thankful to have gotten two inches of rain last night, so that dry, dry ground will look a bit better in a week or so.

Right now, we are focusing on livestock care and preparations for the winter. Which means we have a number of American Guinea Hogs that will be heading to locker this week.

American Guinea Hogs are a small, heritage breed which are slow-growing and easy to care for. Meat from AGH is easily the best pork we have ever had. Considered a marbled meat, it is flavorful, juicy and delicious. You won’t believe how incredible the pork chops are! The hogs we are offering this fall are an American Guinea Hog cross.

Cost for a whole hog is processing fee (roughly $180-220, paid directly to the processor) plus $2.00 a pound for the meat. These smaller hogs will likely yield 50-75 pounds of meat.

We are taking a load of hogs to Stroot Locker in Muvane this Friday, October 15. We only have two left that are unreserved. If you would like to reserve a hog, please call or text 620-222-5821 before Friday. Reservations require a $30 deposit.

We also have a number of young American Guinea Hogs for sale for folks interested in raising your own – either as meat or as a garbage disposal/farm companion. The small hogs we have available now are 4-6 months old. These little guys are friendly, social animals, considered to be highly intelligent and curious. Since they are a small breed, they are easy to keep on just a few acres. We are asking $30 each for these little guys and gals.

We also just had TEN new babies born from our American Guinea Hog boar and a potbellied cross mama. These guys are less than a week old and will be ready to go in about two months. They are SO cute!

We do also have a small handful of goats we are looking to rehome this fall – around six young males born this spring, a few year-old males, and a handful of females. Contact me if you are interested.

We are gearing up for holiday gift basket sales. I have been making ALL the flavors and jams, jellies and salsas so that we are well-stocked for Christmas! The order form will be up in early November, so watch for that coming soon.

We hope you all are enjoying the cooler fall weather coming in this week! Have a happy October, everyone!

Late Summer Produce Farming

Recently, I talked about our new value-added kitchen. While this is incredibly exciting for our farm, it means that a lot of our time and energy has been focused on this project for the past 12 months, and not as much on …. well, actual farming.

Our late-season produce has really suffered as a result. Part of our lack of supply is due to very hot and dry temperatures, but a significant amount is due to our inability to be more than one place at a time (irritating! I know!). Juggling full-time jobs with family obligations and a rapidly growing business often means parts of our farm get neglected.

So, for those of you looking for late-season veggies, please know we miss them as much as you do! And thanks for understanding.

We are slowly but surely figuring out systems as we get our kitchen up and running. This recent picture is of my work table …. covered in finished product …. as I’m getting ready to make a batch of jam. Why? Because we are already out of storage space for our finished product.

Don’t worry, we got it sorted out … kind of. 🙂

While our late season produce has suffered, we are better stocked on all of our currently offered value-added products than we ever are this time of year. Here is a batch of spiced tomato jam, just in time for fall, packed with cinnamon, cloves, and all-spice.

We have had a little bit of time for recipe development this summer. Gage worked on perfecting a roasted tomato sauce back in July. IT IS DELICIOUS. I can’t WAIT for you all to try it! We sampled and re-sample four different batches. Hard work, I know! Our plan is to have this for sale next year. Also coming soon is our sweet hot sauce.

In other news, I wanted to share a little bit about a fruit we grow, as it is something we get asked about multiple times each week. Pictured here is aronia, also known as chokeberry. Looks kind of like a blueberry, doesn’t it? We have been growing them on our farm for a number of years. Aronia grows on a deciduous bush and is nature’s most concentrated antioxidant berry. Many people eat or drink aronia products regularly because of its high concentration of antioxidants (and other components) and the health benefits associated with them.

However, if eaten raw, aronia berries have an almost astringent flavor to them. Combined with sugar in jam, that astringent flavor mellows to an earthy undertone. Aronia jam tastes like a combination of blueberry and elderberry.

Aronia was our most prolific fruit this year, so we have plenty of aronia jam and jelly in stock.

While our market season is winding down, we DO hope to continue to connect with our customers after September. If you are out of a value-added product, or just wonder if we have something available, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time!

Coming soon, we will have our Christmas packages available for purchase. Since we are no longer keeping bees, we will be including Harvey’s Honey (another local beekeeper) in our baskets. We will begin accepting Christmas basket orders in early November. We plan to have a small Christmas shopping event on our farm in late November or early December – stay tuned for details!

As always, THANK YOU for your support. Farming is a messy, unpredictable business, but we love it and we love our customers for sticking by us. We hope to see you soon!

FINAL Walnut Valley Farmers Market – Saturday, September 25, 7:30 – 11:00 am – We will have our usual value-added products, the last of the houseplants, maybe a few sad tomatoes, AND delicious chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and hot apple cider for sale! See you Saturday!

Exciting News

We have some really exciting news to finally share! We were blessed beyond measure to receive a grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce to build a value-added processing facility!

Here is our new building shortly after it was finished this winter, sitting snug right up next to our barn house.

And here’s our new building just last Friday, in full-swing as it is most of the time right now! It’s a family affair!

Half of the building is a kitchen, dedicated to expanding our value-added products. It’s a process to get all of the certifications and approvals in place, but we plan to have new products to sell by next summer! Our list of products for approval include:

Pasta Sauce

Sweet Hot Sauce

Dill Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles

Pickled Okra

What other value-added products should we consider? We would love to hear from our customers on this!

The other half of the building is dedicated to produce storage and sorting – a definite upgrade from our living room!

We have not even had a chance to catch our breath since finding out we received this grant until now. But this building is a game-changer for us and our farm – a huge leap that we likely wouldn’t have taken on our own. We can’t WAIT to see what comes next and how our farm will expand with this new addition!

Tomato season on its way!

Hello Farm Friends! The good news about the recent heat and sunshine is that the plants are LOVING it!

That’s right! The first tomato of the year, picked just this morning. Willa already called dibs for a BLT. The girl has good taste!

The tomato plants in our high tunnels look wonderful and are loaded with green tomatoes. We should have enough ripening to bring to farmers markets by late June.

The Zucchini and yellow squash plants also look beautiful. We are getting an abundance of squash, so look for that at market on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. Also cucumbers are making an appearance!

Our produce availability changes rapidly this time of year. Be sure to follow us on facebook or Instagram for the most up-to-date information on what we have available.

Farmers Market Season starts this week

Farmers Market season starts THIS SATURDAY! Here is where you can find us this season:

Walnut Valley Farmers Market – Saturday mornings from 7:30-11:00 am, entrance to Island Park, May 29 – September 25

Ark City Farm and Art Market – Tuesdays from 4:00-6:30 pm, Wilson Park, June 1 – September 28.

This summer, we will be continuing to offer products for sale on-farm during the peak of the season. We will be announcing those sale days and times once our produce production increases.

Due to the cool weather this spring, our vegetable crops are getting a slow start. We will have a handful of cool-season crops at the first market including spinach, lettuce and radishes.

We have some beautiful herb transplants that we will have at farmers market this week including basil, cilantro, parsley, sage and rosemary. We also have an abundance of houseplants for sale.

We will always have our local-fruit jams and jellies as well as salsa for sale. We will have honey for sale at the first few markets along with beeswax lip balm and hand balm.

We are also happy to report that we have chickens again, so we will have a slow supply of eggs during the farmers market season.

We look forward to seeing many of you soon during at our local farmers markets!