Archive for the 'RMF News' Category

Final CSA details, New Store Items, Thanks Sarah and Natalie

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Final CSA details:

It’s officially time to get the 2011 season going!! Next week we will be delivering shares.

Monday–Middlebury

Tuesday–South Burlington, Shelburne, Burlington (Union Street)

Wednesday–Bristol, Lincoln

Thursday–Starksboro (on farm),  Cambridge, MA

Saturday–Burlington (farmer’s market)

-New this year: as per the terms and agreements, it is the consumers responsibility to bring bags to the pick-ups. All boxes are property of Rockville Market Farm and need to be broken down and left at the pick-up location.

-Any and all changes to your account or orders from the on-line store need to be placed 48 hours before your pick-up, and your account needs to have sufficient funds available to cover that week’s delivery.

-Each week we will post to the front page of our web site a “best guess” for that week’s share contents.

New on-line store items:

Early on we promoted Dragonfly Sugarworks in one of our newsletters. Our friend Paul Limberty manages this high altitude sugarbush with a focus on quality. These outstanding syrups have garnered some high profile accolades including Gourmet magazine and a whole chapter in local author, Rowan Jacobson’s, book American Terrior. The store is supplied with three sizes of Grade A dark amber (half gallon, one liter and half liter). We highly recommend these syrups, which are in limited supply.

Back by popular demand, our Che style hats. This years model is black with yellow text (Rockville Market Farm, Starksboro, Vermont).

RMF Che Hats

Eric's Eggs/Poultry in Motion Tee Shirt

Our farm tee shirt this year, features “Eric’s Eggs/Poultry in Motion”. The art work is simply stunning.

You can check all the store items (including additional fresh vegetables)by clicking here.

Thanks Sarah and Natalie:

Hard working folks have been farming here for at least two hundred and fifty years. We’re pretty sure we’re the first generation with a cultivated “look”. Several years ago we decided it was time to grow up a little as a business and we started talking with our friend Sarah Ryan about a logo. Sarah is beyond special, we look around our farm and our house and her art is everywhere. Needless to say what started out as a desire to have logo, quickly grew into tee shirts, eggs labels, chalk board art at the market, etc. Sarah’s main gig is hand painting guitars for Creston Electric. Check out the site by clicking here.

Every artist needs a muse, and we count our blessings that CSA member and farm photographer Natalie Stultz is inspired by agriculture. She has traveled the world snapping stunning images, but recently has been spending more time here at the farm. Her images are being added on a regular basis to our web site. Check out her site by clicking here (you might not recognize her all clean but that’s Keenann on the front page).

Last spring share, Weather report, Eric’s Eggs t-shirts coming soon

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Last spring share:

This year for the first time we offered  a “spring locavore share”. Forty members signed up for bread, eggs, Does Leap goat cheese and fresh veggies from the farm. Like all things new there’s a learning curve, but overall we are happy with the way it panned out. The hope had been to overwinter spinach and supplement with root crops for the first three or so pick-ups. These shares would be followed by radish, arugula, mesclun, bok choy, etc. produced in our greenhouses and the last shares would include produce from the field. We have a long track record of producing crops in these time frames. It just didn’t work out that way this year. We’re still weeks away from harvesting from the fields, so it was a slow, sluggish spring growing season. We are always looking for feedback; the good, the bad and the ugly. Constructive criticism can be a very good thing. We do not send out questionnaires because we’re not fans of receiving them. If you have something you want to share with us please do not hesitate.

Keenann watering in the greenhouse

CSA member Natalie Stultz shot this picture of Keenann watering the greenhouse

Weather update:

We have sustained some major weather events here on the farm. The third snowiest winter on record was followed by the wettest spring on record, and  the sun refuses to shine. We are very optimistic about the 2011 growing season, and we’re working from sun up to sun down in effort to ensure that the CSA boxes are full. However, we’ve decided to postpone the first pick-up from the week of June 6th to the week of June 13th. If we cannot make up the value of the share in the nineteen weeks, we will add a twentieth pick-up at the end of the season. We appreciate your patience, and ensure you we are doing everything imaginable to deliver as promised.

Eric’s Eggs t-shirts:

We get lots of positive feedback on our Eric’s Eggs labels, designed by our friend and super talented artist, Sarah Ryan. We are thrilled to offer Eric’s Eggs t-shirts for sale this year. They are at the print shop right now and we will add them to the on-line store in a couple of weeks. The men’s shirts will be available in brown, and the women’s in brown and blue. The art work is stunning, supply is limited so order early (e-mail us if you are interested).

some of the 1500 girls currently roaming the farm

Peach guarding the barn

Don't panic, Walter's in control!

Our new livestock guard dog Emmett, with his mom Tallini. See the fire in his eyes??

Farm update in pictures, Farmarazzi, Member Websites, Arugula Pesto

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Greenhouse construction 101; never build in the spring, oops!

The girls roosting in their new digs!

1000 laying hens, total production to date 1 egg; priceless

Our newest, toughest livestock guard dog yet. Emmett resting up for a life of guarding livestock

Farmarazzi:

We’ve had a lot of fun branching out to the Boston area. In addition to drumming up lots of business and eating some amazing meals, we’ve also met some really interesting people. CSA member Rachel Greenberger is the Boston Sustainable Agriculture Examiner for the Examiner.com. Last week she contacted us and encouraged us to partake in the Farmarazzi campaign, which is being spearheaded by Slow Food USA. Three states, Florida, Minnesota and Iowa are voting on a bill that would make it illegal to take pictures or videos on farms. The campaign is intended to highlight the beauty of sustainable ag farms with nothing to hide. We were transfixed by the 400+ images uploaded so far to the Slow Food Facebook page. Check it out. As a side note the Florida bill was just voted on and did not pass.
Member Websites:

We are interested in building a page on our web site which will be called “Member Websites”. If you are interested in adding you’re web site to this page, please send the link.
Arugula Pesto:

We’ve got lots and lots of greens for everyone this week.  The arugula is so beautiful and delicious that we are sending out a whole pound for members this week.  If you are an arugula lover like I am, then you know what to do. Just eat it right out of the bag!  If you’re a newbie or just not sure how much you like it, you should definitely try arugula pesto.  Dinner doesn’t get much easier or much faster.  First put some water on to boil for your pasta.  Any kind will do, but I like something big like fettuccine or bowties.  Get our your food processor and put in the following:
4 cups of arugula
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
Pulse several times. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Toss with your pasta and enjoy!

Brief farm update, one story, lots of pictures and a list

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Eric didn't really want to buy a new dump truck but Keenann insisted

Farm update:

There’re only so many ways to say it’s been a challenge. We feel like the weather has been relentlessly working against us. We planted red and green bac choi in our greenhouse along with scallions. We are getting ready for our first outdoor seeding and we’ll be transplanting kale, swiss chard, broccoli, beets, onions, etc. in earnest starting this week. The two new Rimol greenhouses still need to be built, but the site work is finally done. Our second skiddable chicken tractor is ready for it’s final touches. Last week we received 1000 laying hens that are happily acclimating to their new home. The piglets are doing well, and we’ll have our first round of meat birds processed next week.

A story:

Sixteen years ago, when I started farming, I bought three Earthway seeders at a Gardner Supply Warehouse sale. They cost me $45 each, and I bolted them together to make a “gang seeder”. A lot has happened in the past 16 years. We now own a fully diversified farm, complete with tractors, all sorts of equipment, greenhouses, etc. But at the end of the day when something needs to get seeded we pull out the Earthway seeders. Assuming the gang cost me

Our friends at Does Leap had "kids"

$150 total, and we’ve done some minor repairs over the years, we’re still talking about $15 per year. Call it the end of an era, or maybe a mistake, but this week we received our new Sutton seeder. Total cost?? $6000. We purchased it with our neighbors at Full Moon Farm, so our half ended up being $3000, but still!! Funny thing is Dave at Full Moon was reluctant to part with his Earthway seeders after twelve years. Hopefully, if all goes well we’ll be telling the story fifteen years from now of how we bought our Sutton seeder for “only” $3000

Top Ten Live Albums:

Chicken tractor number #1 is finished and in production

If you’ve ever been to the farm, you might have noticed that we almost always have music playing. Whether in the packing shed or the fields, we live by the words our friend Louie Pulver who told us years ago “Always have tunes.”  Live music seems to be preferable for a work atmosphere, so this week’s list’s:

RMF Top 10 live albums (in no particular order)

– Wilco “Kicking Televsion”

– Leonard Cohen “Live in London”

– Jay Farrar “Stone, Steel and Bright Lights”

– Bob Marly “Live Forever”

– Nirvana “MTV Unplugged”

– Matisyahu “Live at Stubbs”

– Zac Brown “Pass the Jar”

– Grateful Dead “Dick’s Pick’s Vol. 29”

– Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunder’s “Well Matched”

– The Decemberist “Live at Soho”

Keenann hard at work in the greenhouse

Our neighbor Farmer Joe helped out with prepping the fields

The production greenhouse is in full swing

Summer Sign-up, Molly-our new LGD, What’s going on

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Summer Sign-up time:

We are very excited for this year. Our CSA has grown rapidly and is keeping us energized after sixteen years of farm ownership. If you are interested in a summer share, the time is now. Our new software

Farmer Will inspects CSA boxes

program “Farmigo” makes signing up for the 2011 season very easy. As an added bonus you can create an account with the farm and fund it for as little as $100. In addition to summer shares we will maintain an on-line store this year. So you will have the ability to add items to your shares as you see fit. It’s going to be a great season and we hope you’ll join us!

Molly the Maremma:

Molly hard at work

Our line of pastured eggs “Eric’s Eggs” is the fastest growing component of our business. Raising birds outdoors presents certain challenges that don’t exist in a barn. We skid housing around the farm and protect the birds from coyotes and other predators using electric fencing. We haul water and feed and collect eggs by hand, the old fashion way. Owls and hawk were the one challenge we didn’t have a good answer for. Aerial predation is a big problem. Maremma sheepdogs have incredible protection instincts and are bred to guard livestock.  Known in the business as “LGD’s” (livestock guard dogs), they are happiest working. A couple of weeks ago we adopted Molly from a farm in Mass. She had been working sheep her entire life, but she took to chickens with zero problems. Soon she will be joined by a puppy.

What’s going on:

A lot!! We are repairing our big production greenhouse which took a big hit during the December 1st storm. We are also building two new greenhouses and two large skidable houses for laying hens. We are seeding crops for summer production, and delivering our Spring shares. Very soon we expect to be doing tractor work out in the field. No doubt about it the 2011 season is in full swing.

Piglets!! A sure sign of spring.

Updates, Destination Port Clyde, Employee Spotlight, Producer Spotlight, Marketing Partner, List, Recipe Blog

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Updates:

A friend recently posted on her Facebook page “I’m glad it’s dark outside so that I can’t see how miserable it is” another posted “Thanks mother nature I love you to”. It’s been a tough winter for sure. We have a lot of projects we need to get to, and we’re fighting an upstream battle. The December 1 st wind storm blew the plastic off of our main production greenhouse. We’ve been unable to repair it due to excessive snow and sub zero temps. We also are anxious to get to work on our two new state of the art Rimol greenhouses. Currently these 34×96′ greenhouses are scattered in parts throughout the farm, our excavator’s machinery sits idle waiting for the thaw. We have two large mobile poultry houses waiting to be assembled. These scissor truss structures were constructed in our squash storage barn, and will house some lucky birds this summer. We often refer to farming as “the battle”. It’s a good thing we love a challenge.

Destination Port Clyde:

Crew at Port Clyde hard at work peeling your shrimp

We are very intrigued by the Community Supported Fishery concept and are excited to incorporate seafood in to our on-line store. We had planned a trip to Port Clyde in January (the heart of the Maine shrimp season), but mother nature had different ideas. So last week we loaded in to the farm’s Tundra and headed to Maine to procure a hundred pounds of shrimp. First stop, Duckfat. Bon Appetite named Portland, Me the best small “Foodie City” in America. Duckfat is very, very good. We dined on Duckfat poutine, meatloaf panini’s and washed it all down with homemade Grapefruit/Ginger Soda. On to Rockland  for the night and another excellent meal at Cafe Miranda. Early to rise, head down the peninsula and out to Port Clyde Fresh Catch. The shrimp season closed the day before, but the crew was hard at work peeling the last catch. Nice people, doing great work.

Employee Spotlight: Sam Ehrenfeld

This year our flock of laying hens will increase from 500 to 3000. We will farrow piglets for the first time, and expect to slaughter 40 feeder pigs. We will also raise 2500 meat birds and install perimeter fencing as step one of a future beef program. Since we are a vegetable farm first, this undertaking is beyond our capacity. Enter Sam. Sam has worked for the last two years at one of the most innovative CSA’s in the country, The Essex Farm. You can read all about this full diet CSA farm in the new book The Dirty Life. He will be managing our livestock and we hope to incorporate his considerable skills as a butcher in to our future business plans. We’re very lucky to have him.

Producer Spotlight: Dragonfly Sugarworks

Paul and Theo in the Dragonfly sugarbush

Membership has it’s advantages. Our friend Paul Limberty’s maple syrup is one of the most sought after maples in all of the land, and we’ll be carrying it! The Vermont food author Rowan Jacobson profiled this special maple operation in his outstanding book American Terroir, at the end of the chapter he included details of a tasting he performed. One of the judges, a thirteen year old girl, described one of the entries as “pure shit”. Paul’s was the only syrup to score a perfect 10. Dragonfly Sugarworks keeps a taste log and when a sap run produces something special they sell “Private Reserve”. Like we said earlier, membership has it’s privileges. Keeping checking the store.

Marketing Partner: BlueBird Tavern Kiosk

The chicken salad sandwich rocks!! Must be the ingredients. We always enjoy ours with a cup of French Press coffee. We have long list of clients waiting for us to expand our egg business. Soon the egg salad sandwiches at the kiosk will feature “Eric’s Eggs”. Oh yeah the candied bacon almonds aren’t half bad either, although we can’t take credit for the bacon. Web site at Blue Bird Tavern.

List:

We were going to list our favorite food blogs. Then we discovered this:

The Food blog blog


Farm Updates, Producer spotlight, Employee spotlight, Marketing partner, List

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Farm Updates:

Spring CSA: we’ve scheduled 33 CSA pick-ups throughout the 2011 season. Last week was our first pick-up of the year as well as our first ever in Cambridge, Mass. The first eight pick-ups of the year are “Locavore shares”, meaning that we source bread and cheese from our friends and augment the share with our own eggs and veggies. There are seven more pick-ups available and plenty of room for more members.  Our check-out wizard will automatically pro-rate your share if  you decide to join.

Last week we visited our friends at Does’ Leap Farm. We’re huge fans, to say the least. Check out their web site by clicking here. We’ve added as an option to the summer share, Does’ Leap Cheese. This is twenty weeks of cheese (5 varities) for $140. The cheese will be delivered along with your summer share.

Our on-line store is up and going. We had a slight hiccup our first week of using it. The program is suppose to shut down the store 48 hrs. before each delivery in order to allow us time to process orders. Unfortunately, it shut down on Saturday and never re-opened because we did not program the hours specific to each delivery day. Easy problem to fix which we have done. If you are not yet a member you can preview our store by clicking here.

We’re going solar!! We will be taking advantage of All Earth Renewables innovative lease to own program coupled with  incentives from the state. This will allow us to install two All Sun Trackers, and cover 2/3 of the farm’s electric needs using solar power, pretty cool.

We’ve been farming for sixteen seasons now. A lot can go wrong in farming, and we’ve suffered some wicked set backs in those years. Having our farm’s Facebook page disappear without a trace doesn’t even register in the top 100. We’re left with no choice but to start over from scratch. We’ve set-up a new farm page (Rockville Market Farm) as well as a page dedicated to eggs called “Poultry in Motion” . You can lend your moral support and “like” them.

Employee spotlight: Ralph Cota

Excellent neighbor Ralph Cota

We bought our farm from the Vermont Land Trust, but it was part of the Cota Farm. The little road we live on is called Cemetery Road, and we’re the only non-Cota household on the road. Ralph has been with us every step of this adventure. You simply couldn’t ask for a better neighbor. Retired dairy farmers can’t sit still for long, and Ralph’s always willing to help out. As an added bonus he has selective amnesia when it comes to keeping track of his hours.

Producer spotlight: It’s Arthur’s Fault

We’re really excited to bring a wide range of products to our members via our on-line store. Vermont is blessed with some special talents when it comes to food. It’s Arthur’s Fault offers a full range of condiments to spice up your meal. Our favorites are  the Peanut Sate Sauce and Ginger Carmel Sauce (we put it on apples). Every Saturday Arthur and his daughter set up across the park from us at the Burlington Farmer’s Market. Arthur’s a big guy, hard to miss in a crowd. We instantly liked him, and look forward to a long partnership.

pigs keeping cozy in Port-a-hut

Marketing partner: American Flatbread/Burlington

A lot of restaurants say they support local agriculture. A handful are taking the concept to another level. American Flatbread in Burlington is a dream account for our farm. They buy our pork belly, to make house cured pancetta. They pay a very good price to use our sausage on their pizza, and even front us some money to cover the processing fee. Lastly, they use our chicken to make Buffalo Chicken Pizza, as a special. Good people, great pizza and unbelievable beer, we’re in love!

10 Great Pork Books:

-Pork and Sons

-Pig Perfect

-Primal Cuts

-Meat (River Cottage)

-Momofuko Cookbook

-Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery

-The Whole Beast (Ferguson)

-Living with Pigs

-Beyond Nose to Tail

-Complete Book of Pork

Farm Updates, Spring CSA/What’s in the Store, Eric’s Corner

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Work these days falls into three catagories:

Redundant: Animal chores in sub zero weather is simply not that much fun. Eggs need to be collected constantly throughout the morning so they don’t freeze. Animals need to be watered, which is a challenge and snow needs to be removed from the greenhouses. Snow and snow removal are a constant factor on the farm. Much like weeds in the summer.

Frustrating: We are very excited about the confluence of technology and food. Even though it seems a little counterintuitive we feel that the internet has the power to vastly influence the local food situation. So we made a decision to go “all in”. As part of this new effort we decided to embrace social media marketing. Eric’s daughter Louissa took over the reigns as Facebook guru and things were going very well. For some reason we’ve lost the ability to log-on to our Facebook page in order to administrate it. We’ve tried many, many different tactics and have worked with some very capable internet people, but so far we’ve had no luck and the page remains inaccessible. If anybody has ever heard of this and/or has any ideas we’re all ears.

Fun: We’ve got some big projects in the works. These will probably be moved in to the frustrating and redundant categories soon but for now we’re pumped. First, Silas Clark and Ralph (our neighbor) have been helping us build large movable poultry housing. These skidable houses will be 20′ x 40′  and will contain roosting and nesting options for the birds. Second, we’ll be building two 34′ x 96′ top vented Rimol greenhouses, which we’ll use for tomatoes and over wintering 2500 laying hens. Third, our spring CSA is forcing us to expand our crop repertoire. This week we’ll be sowing our first micro-greens. The over-wintered spinach appears to be doing fine and our accidental experiment “over wintered beets” seems like a potential success.

Spring CSA: We’re close to starting the 2011 CSA season. The first Spring CSA pick-up is scheduled for 2/22 at Healthy Living, 2/24 here at the farm as well as Harvest Coop in Cambridge, Mass. There’s still time to sign-up for the first pick-up and if you miss that we have the ability to pro-rate share as well. All shares with the exception of the first box will contain greens.If you’ve joined the spring CSA we will be sending you details shortly regarding the first pick-up.

Best guess for week  1:

3 seed bread from Bread and Butter Farm

1 tub of chevre cheese from Does Leap Farm

1 quart of saurkraut from Arethusa Farm

1 dozen eggs from Poultry in Motion (Eric’s Eggs)

Carrots

Onions

Potatoes

Watermelon radish

What’s in the store?

We are very excited to offer an on-line store for our members. This has been a fun project and we are excited to bring you a wide variety of products from our friends and neighbors. If  you are not going to join the Spring CSA you can still set up an account (called “store access”) and fund it with as little as $100. When you make purchases they will be delivered to the normal CSA drop site and the amount of the purchase will be deducted from your account. Bay of Maine Shrimp, Thick cut pork chops from the farm, Dragonfly Sugarworks Maple Syrup, a full line of “It’s Arthur’s Fault” condiments and the bomb “Master Sauce” from Folk Foods. Hungry yet?? We need your order 48 hrs. before the drop.

Eric’s Corner:

For a kid who grew up in the burbs it’s funny to think that I’ve been farming my entire adult life. The really fun thing about farming is that there’s alway a new challenge. The mountain can never be climbed. We like to think big on the farm, the future is unwritten. Here’s some of the vision.

-Poultry in Motion is a business that we feel needs to happen. This will be a spin off from our farm and will concentrate on pasture based poultry systems. We are very curious about the systems being designed in England. Movable poultry housing with solar powered egg collecting and feeding. Second effort, keeping food scraps out of the waste stream and feeding them to chickens will reduce feed cost, the excess will be composted for additional value. Processing spent hens and turning them in to value added dog food would be the ultimate. The traditional poultry industry is needs a shake up, it is fundamentally flawed.

-Fermentation- lacto fermented vegetables such as kimchi seems like a perfect storage crop.Dry sausage produced on farm would be pretty cool as well.

-We have been peeling butternut squash for seven seasons now and raising pigs for four. The seed we generate from our butternut peeling can be used to finish pigs, much in the same way that Spain uses acorns to finish their pigs. The fatty acids are effected by the oil of the seed crop which departs a distinct flavoring. It’s a great cycle. We are trying to perfect the system and develop a product, such as dry sausage, that will do justice to the pig.

One Step Closer to Our Goal of 20 Sites for 2011

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

This week we added Shelburne to our expanding list of neighborhood drops. We have set a goal of 20 sites to be delivered on Weds., Thurs., Friday with a Saturday pick-up at the Burlington Farmer’s Market. If  anybody has a potential neighborhood drop location we’d love to hear about it.

Winter chaos / Erics Eggs blows up

Monday, December 6th, 2010

People often ask us what we do during the winter. Were always busy but this winter is unlike any in the past. Many of you are familiar with our new line of eggs named “Eric’s Eggs”. Last spring we bought 500 birds and started a small egg business. By every account this has been hugely successful. Our friend Sara Ryan did some incredible artwork for the label. Starksboro resident Ann Kowalski added a tag line “Poultry in Motion” and as luck would have it a salmonella outbreak exposed the egg industry for what it is; a nightmare. It’s really interesting to us to be operating in an industry where it’s simply not that hard to be much better than 99% of what is on the shelves. The consumer has spoken and it’s time for a major scale up. One of the challenges with pastured poultry in Vermont is over wintering. We are building 2 34’x96’ greenhouses to house 1250 birds each. During the summer months we will use these houses to grow greenhouse tomatoes. Building greenhouses in the winter can be a challenge.  Add to that our wholesale butternut and existing egg business and we’re busy. Pile on top of that a new web site and ambitious CSA plans and for good measure add four kids to the mix and well you get the idea. It’s super fun being busy! In this economy, to be growing at a rapid clip is a blessing. The future is bright for alternative agriculture. We hope to use this blog to document the farm as it moves forward, check back often.

All content property of Rockville Market Farm

[link_text]