Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mud Creek Farm CSA Info Meeting this Sunday!

This Sunday, December 6th, 12pm - 1:30pm
@ the Artisan Church, 1235 S. Clinton Ave, Rochester, 14620

Mud Creek Farm CSA Informational Meeting

Come enjoy a potluck lunch, then hear Farmer Erin explain the benefits, costs, and rewards of personal involvement in locally grown organic produce.

This is a basic introduction to the CSA: new members & interested folks are encouraged to come, as well as returning members (although you are all experts in CSA involvement by now!) There will be a slide show with photos from 2009, and an introduction on organic food by Kristina Keefe-Perry, Food Justice Coordinator for NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association).

Tell your friends! This is a great way to get to know more about how Mud Creek Farm CSA works, ask questions, meet the farmer, etc.

See you there.

December... still going!

Still some green left on the farm... we've been taking advantage of the nice days. Rolling up drip tape to reuse it next year...

Honestly I thought I'd be done by now, farm all wrapped up for the winter, me taking naps & dreaming of florida... But I'm still out there working! We are ALMOST done with everything-- just took the last crops from the field, really late stuff that took its time maturing & is finally ready. We are bringing them to the Brighton market (which is indoors, thank goodness!). Cabbage heads which were really wimpy back in October are almost perfect now-- Luke & I made over 200 lbs of sauerkraut & kim chi yesterday. We will ferment these over the winter & sell them at spring markets. We are selling some of our earlier fall ferments already.

We got a nice blurb in the D&C on Tuesday for our hot sauce line-- "Local Collaboration", it read. Indeed, when farmers & bakers get together, good things happen.

Next week: crop planning for next year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photos from the last few weeks of harvest...

Gathering the last leaves of swiss chard...
Farmer workshop about winter root vegetables, at Bejo Seeds in Geneva:
Mowing the field across the street, front loader held high out of the way of the 9 foot tall weeds:
Final broccoli harvest... going to market:
Oats & peas are our winter cover crop for the spring fields... these will be killed by a hard frost & provide a mulch to prevent soil erosion. Then we will till under & plant our spring greens here!
Driving Princess Rose III to Jack's barn, 3 miles down the road. He will do repairs on it this winter.
Luke and a whole bunch of muddy parsnips!
A broom that someone made out of our broom corn:
Lisa picking "dino" kale:
Angie & I picking kale on a glorious fall day.
A glowing distribution scene:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Post-Season Thoughts & Happenings

CSA distribution ended 2 and 1/2 weeks ago.

And while I probably should be lying on the couch watching movies & drinking tea, I'm actually still working almost every day! There's clean-up: both the shed & greenhouse need to be de-plasticked (for the snow load & we need to replace the old plastic anyway), so everything has to come out & be put in storage. I have to put all the equipment away, and store the tractors in my neighbor's barn. Then there's all the irrigation & row cover left in the field that needs to be rolled up... I built this pretty fun roller-thing that easily winds up the material onto spools for storing & using next year. If we left the drip tape in the field the mice & voles would chew it to pieces.

I mowed across the street, since landowner Bob was concerned about the small trees growing up in it. It hasn't been worked up in a while, there's blackberry brambles & twig dogwoods & cottonwoods. We probably won't need to farm there next year, as I have plenty of land on the other side, next to our fields from this year. The land is nice, though, with a 3-acre chunk next to McMahon Road, and a pie-shaped several-acre piece in the back, bordering the railroad tracks & the glaring white fence of the housing development. I'm sure the developers would love to get their hands on this parcel... you could make a lot of money building houses on that field. Right now there are thousands of rabbits, mice, voles, hawks, snakes, toads, groundhogs, and deer living rent-free on the lot. If only they could come up with the cash.

I wonder sometimes about how many acres one person requires to eat from. For vegetables on Mud Creek Farm, I calculate that each person needs about 700 square feet, or a 25'x25' box for their "season allotment" of all the veggies they can eat. If we include planting for the other half of the year (winter storage crops: roots, squash, hardy greens, etc.) lets double that to 1400 square feet, or 38'x38'. And no one can eat only vegetables: we need to include grain, meat, dairy, oil, fruit, etc. The land required is a lot less for vegetarians. I'm not sure what those calculations would work out to be, but I'm sure there's been studies. In any case, when new housing developments go up, I look at all those houses & think about where those people are going to get their food. If we cover all the fertile fields around us with roads, driveways, mansions, apartment buildings, parking lots, shopping centers, & drive-through fast food outlets, we'll have to continue to go further out into the country to get our nourishment.

It's true that there is a lot of land in upstate New York. But fuel prices will make it more expensive to transport that food into cities. And a lot of the land in New York state is forested, providing habitat for many critters-- including the endandered Eastern Cougar, and others ( that I believe have every right to inhabit, & eat from, this land too. So let's keep agriculture close to home, and leave the land too far away to the bears & the bobcats.

A good way to do this is to make sure that your diet includes as many local products as you can manage. Besides vegetables from Mud Creek Farm, you could buy flour & bread made from wheat grown in Palmyra. You could buy bacon & eggs from Branchport, honey from Bloomfield, fruit from Barker, black beans from Ithaca, chicken from Livonia, cheese from Aurora, sausage from Avon. And you can't buy these things in the grocery store.

All these vendors will be at the new winter farmer's market in Brighton:

Tuesdays, 4-7 pm

1900 Westfall Road, Rochester 14618

Atonement Lutheran Church

I'll be there selling what's left of the vegetable harvest & helping Luke out at the Small World Bakery stand. Come sample our 13 varieties of hot sauce! Buy some granola, brownies, or date bars.
See you there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Surveys are now up on the website ( for 2009 CSA members. Tell us what you liked and didn't like about the CSA this year-- knowing your favorite vegetables will help us grow more of them next year! Thanks,
Farmer Erin

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home stretch!

Well, there's one more week of distribution. It's cold & rainy, and I'm tired. But what a great feast we're having! The hearty root vegetables have made their debut, with the celeriac, parsnips, rutabagas... the steady carrots... the potatoes are back again... yum. I'm going home to roast some up myself. If you haven't figured it out yet, you can throw just about any vegetable in the oven with olive oil & salt and it will taste delicious.

But just in case you aren't too familiar with the delicate flavors of the celery root (celeriac)... here's an easy recipe for you. Celery root will store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for about 3 months. Try it with apples, onions, & spices, blended in a soup. Or in chunks in a stew. Or grated raw in a salad. Or...

Celery root gratin

2 celery roots
4 large potatoes
1 C cream
1tsp dijon mustard
1/2 C grated swiss style cheese

Peel and slice both the potatoes and celery root into 1/2 inch slices.
Layer in a baking dish seasoning with salt and pepper after each layer
Mix cream and dijon mustard and pour over layered roots.
Sprinkle with the cheese.
Cover and bake at 350F until tender about 30-45 min
Uncover and brown the cheese.


2 lbs shrimp (rock shrimp if you can find it)
2-4 medium size celery root, grated (after grating place in lemon water to prevent browning)
1 bunch green onions
1 1/2 - 2 C fresh citrus (orange)
1/2 C chopped cilantro
fresh lemon juice
salt, pepper
olive oil, (not much- a Tbs. or so)

You can use the celery root raw or blanch for a few minutes. Drain well.

Garlic planted!

The garlic went in! We had amazing weather for it, sunny & warm. Folks showed up just before 2pm, and we got everything set up for distribution. Then, magically, the bicycles arrived. A crew of about 8 biked out from Rochester, as a practice round for their big trip planned in 2011, when they will bike across the country, stopping at CSA farms along the way & making a documentary. Pretty cool, eh?

Well anyway, they were really pros at planting garlic. Especially Liz Henderson (who literally wrote the book about CSA farming). How great to have her help and experience. We got just about 4 whole rows planted, which works out to be about 4,000 bulbs of garlic planned to come out of the ground next July.

I marked the beds with the row marker... then we pushed in the cloves of garlic... then I drove the tractor down the row & covered up the cloves with a little more soil. This is my first experience with growing garlic, so we'll see how it goes.

After planting all that garlic (in less than an hour with so much help!), we took a cider & donuts break. Then we had the real potluck, and folks showed up with more food. What a celebration! Next time we'll get a string band...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blessings of Fall

Well, as much as I have been secretly wishing for an indian summer, it looks like winter may be pushing its way in (Rochester is used to bossy winters, I guess). But the harvest is still quite bountiful. This week we gave out broom corn as an autumnal decoration bonus!
Swiss chard is pretty decorative itself.Many of the crops on the menu these days are long-term storage pantry items, not needing refrigeration. Onions, potatoes, squash... and most of the other food hardly needs the fridge when the temperature drops into the 50s anyway. Mmm... root crops are just what our bodies need to warm us up as the evenings get darker & chillier.
A young CSA member enjoys some of his last time on the tractor...
Shares were heavy this week, inculding 2 heads of broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beets, swiss chard, squash, potatoes, onions, beans, celeriac, pumpkins, peppers, & eggplants.
Make some beet soup! Add apples to it!
Some hardworking work-traders bringing in the last ? of the green bean harvest:
Most of the farm gets covered up with blankets these days due to frost. We just started to break into the fall cabbages-- fennel & rutabagas to come!
Still lots of food in the ground...
Some happy broom corn customers:
Only 3 more weeks of distribution!
I could eat pumpkin pie for 3 meals a day. If only pumpkins grew in pie form...
Luke & I have been busy making hot sauce to sell at the farmers market. We have 7 different kinds! These will be for sale to CSA members soon (once we order those cute little bottles)... stay tuned. They will definitely keep you warm over the winter, and can be liberally applied to almost anything for a spicy "Mud Creek Farm" infusion of flavor!
Extra produce is still being sold to Natural Oasis restaurant twice a week, where the up-and-coming chef, Nick, creates AMAZING delicious concoctions with it! Make sure you have dinner there before he has to start buying from someone else for the winter-- everything on the menu is $4 (including delicious desserts) and everything is vegan (aka: good for you!)

What angry dairy farmers do... (the best farmer photo ever!)