2014 CSA Sign-up

Yep, it’s that time of year when we start getting busy here on the farm. All in preparation for our upcoming growing season. Spring cleaning… building projects… planning… ordering… pruning… starting… yep, we are keeping busy! Not to mention the newborn with her two older siblings keeping us occupied every possible second they can.

Well, it’s also time for YOU to start thinking about the upcoming farm season! That’s why we want you to know that we are beginning sign-ups for our 2014 CSA memberships. We will be offering Market-style shares this year along with our traditional Standard CSA shares. You can find out more about specific CSA types and

Sign up for yours today by visiting our

WEBSITE.

We look forward to serving you this coming season!

Dreaming about spring…

Dreaming of Spring

Dreaming of Spring

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Newest Member of the Farm Crew

Greetings to our Farm Family out there! It has been a while!

While winter reared it’s subzero head here in South Dakota our family headed west to the more moderate climate of the Pacific Northwest. Deidre and the kids left in early December while Matt stayed behind to work on tying up fall farm projects. Matt joined the family the week of Christmas and we had a splendid holiday with our family and friends. With the whole family present we settled in to await the birth of our newest family member. For Deidre this couldn’t be soon enough, as she was getting uncomfortable in the last stages of pregnancy.

We had strategically planned the timing of our pregnancy so that the birth would fall in the ‘off season’ of farming (lucky you!). We knew that labor, delivery and having a newborn would put a damper on our long summer days in the soil. What we hadn’t planned on was our lack of insurance coupled with the lack of options here in South Dakota. Our goal in heading out to Washington was to have a healthy baby while keeping our medical expenses to a minimum. We feel that our trip was a success!

We were able to find a midwife while still in South Dakota who was willing to work with us at the end of our pregnancy. She and her assistants ended up being more of a blessing than we ever could have imagined. We had a successful childbirth at home with both of our children present. It was an amazing experience for the kids (and the whole family) to take part in and they share a close bond with their little sister already. So, here she is:
Hannah Grace
Born January 19, 2014, 7 lbs. 0 oz.

Hannah Grace

Hannah Grace

Yep, we think she’s pretty perfect and we could bombard you with tons of pictures, but we won’t…yet. Cheers!

All 3 Kids

All 3 Kids

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Farm to Table in Hermosa

DSC08013This past Sunday, September 15th, we helped to wind up this summer’s growing season with a farm-to-table dinner. Affectionately named ‘Feast on the Farm’,  I think many of

Waiting for guests to arrive

Waiting for guests to arrive

our guests still got more food than they had bargained for! This was our first farm dinner event, so our crew here at the farm had no idea what to expect. We planned as best we could, but the day of the dinner proved to be a challenge as we awoke to rain in the morning. We were hopeful that the weather would improve, but Matt, Anjin and Angela still spent a majority of the day moving one of our greenhouse structures to the dining site just in case.

Chopping fresh herbs

Chopping fresh herbs

As Deidre and Angela worked fervently preparing each of the evening’s courses the guests arrived in the afternoon sunshine. Our wash station had been transformed into a makeshift kitchen just hours earlier with the addition of a stainless steel island and propane stove. The kitchen was rustic to say the least, but it was enough to get the job done.

Matt shares his wisdom about melons, tractors and soil

Matt shares his wisdom about melons, tractors and soil

Matt took a little bit of time to walk around some of the farm with our dinner guests. He was able to share much of what we have been working on during the past season(s) and years. It is always a special treat for a farmer to be able to share something he is so passionate about. It is an even greater feeling to have people who share the same passion and excitement about healthy, fresh, local, delicious food!

DSC08023After the short tour of the farm the guests made their way back to the dining area and were seated. Willard Werth, one of the founding members of the Black Hills Health and Education Center (BHHEC) shared a little bit about the history of the institution here and what our ultimate mission is. If you are not familiar with our parent institution, BHHEC, you can find out more at their website here. The one disappointment of the evening was that the musicians were unable to play their violins since the moisture was too high and the temperatures too cold. The cool temperatures keep the violins from staying in tune and are not good on the instruments. Fred and Cheryl provided us with some lovely dining music. Although not live, it was just perfect for the occasion.

Winter food = table decor

Winter food = table decor

The evening got very cool as the sun set. It has been our coldest evening yet this summer. Matt had taken the time earlier in the week to construct a fire pit. The fire added just the right amount of warmth for those who wanted to stay and visit for a while after dinner. Overall, we are so pleased with how the evening turned out and the wonderful company we were able to keep during the meal. We learned a lot in the process and look forward to the next farm-to-table event we have the pleasure of hosting.

Many of the guests asked if Deidre would be willing to share the recipes that she prepared for the dinner. If you are interested, please see the menu below and click on the menu item for the corresponding recipe. The only recipes that are not listed are the bread recipes. Hopefully we can add these in time.

Grapey Bees

Grapey Bees

In other news on the farm, our summer CSA program is winding down with only two weeks remaining. It seems like the season has flown by. We are excited that our melons are finally ripening adding a sweet treat to the last couple of boxes. This week was especially nice since we were able to include some fancy table grapes as well. We didn’t have an abundant grape harvest, but it is the first year they have produced fruit and we had all but given up on having fresh grapes. We allowed them to remain on the vine until they were at their peak of sweet ripeness. We found that this was a challenge since the bees like them just as much as we do. We probably lost about half of our small crop to these buzzy little guys.

Angela spent about 6 months here at Battle Creek Gardens

Angela spent about 6 months here at Battle Creek Gardens

Angela, one of our summer interns left on Monday. It was a sad parting since she has been with us for many, many months. She is so full of life and energy and we will miss her enthusiasm for all things healthy, foody and full of love! We wish her the best as she heads for Texas and then a trip up the West Coast. Hopefully  she can make her way back out to the farm in November for a visit. THANK YOU Angela for your hard work and dedication!

Sign-up for Your Fall Winter CSA Share

Last but not least, we want you all to know that we are offering a fall/winter CSA share again this year. It will begin on October 7th, just as our summer CSA is ending. This program will run for an 8 week period and will cost $200. If you are a current Market-style member and you have a balance remaining, you will be able to continue spending that balance throughout the fall/winter CSA and at the Rapid City farmer’s market on Tuesdays. Please let us know if you are interested in signing up for a fall/winter CSA share!

Grapey Hadassah

Grapey Hadassah

Logo

Feast on the Farm Menu

basil pesto and heirloom tomato on fresh pumpernickel

mixed salad greens with shaved fennel, roasted golden beets and toasted walnut garlic dressing

cipollini onion soup with whole grain baguette and sunflower sour cream

lemony angel hair pasta with arugula

herbed polenta smothered in eggplant ratatouille

roasted delicata squash with apples and sage

 strawberry grape cobbler with vanilla bean coconut whipped cream

strawberry-basil lemonade

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Our First Farm Dinner!

We are happy to announce that we will be having our first farm dinner next month. Please see the flyer below and go to our website: http://www.battlecreekgardens.com to reserve your seat today!
Farm Dinner 9.15.13

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where Does The Time Go??

Cosmonaut Volkov Heirloom Tomatoes...Delicious!

Cosmonaut Volkov Heirloom Tomatoes…Delicious!

I just took a look at my calendar and it says July 21st! I find myself asking “how is it almost the end of July already?” With all of the Busy-ness on the farm during the summer it is easy to just let the days slip on by seemingly unnoticed. As we prepare for our 5th CSA delivery tomorrow I have to take a minute to take it all in, to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings, our harvest and the blessing of having the opportunity to do what I truly love. Don’t let these summer days get away from you like they have me!

Matt Showing Off a Hailstone

Matt Showing Off a Hailstone

We have been working hard on the farm. Battling constantly with keeping things watered and controlling the ever persistent weed pressure. There are never enough hours in the day. Most days the farm crew is out in the field by 5:30 or 6 and we finish most days around 8. We like to take a nice long lunch break in the heat of the day if it is really hot out, but for the most part it is work, work, work. We appreciate such dedicated interns and volunteers!

We had some hail a couple of weeks ago that was the largest hail I have ever seen! The power of water is almost inconceivable in such a capacity. The hail damaged many of our field crops such as cucumbers, zucchini and leafy greens. Overall we felt blessed that it didn’t wipe them out completely!

Sungold Tomatoes Ready For Sale

Sungold Tomatoes Ready For Sale

Last week was our first week attending the Black Hills Farmer’s Market in Rapid city on Tuesday. It was such fun! We plan to be there on Tuesdays for now, hopefully going on Thursdays when we are able. Come and see us! The market is open from 9-3.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just an Update

Greenhouse cucumbers

Greenhouse cucumbers

Hello all, sorry about the long delay in getting into touch with you.  This spring has been very busy and challenging for us.   Being our first season here on our own there are many things that we are learning.  We started the year with big hopes of having really early crops that we could get out.  As you all know the weather has been cooler than usual.  The rain has been a big blessing and greened everything up but the cooler weather and the cloud cover has not helped speed the growing process.  Other than the weather we are very excited about all the progress that has been happening on the farm.

Starthouse Bursting with Starts

Starthouse Bursting with Starts

With our new start house we have been able to start a lot more plants this year than in previous years.  Just today we transplanted around 2000 tomato plants of varying varieties into the field.  We also planted 2000 feet of melons with more to plant.  I could go on and on about what we are planting but needles to say we are putting a lot of food into the ground each day.  A couple of weeks ago we expanded our strawberry patch from 5 beds to around 17.  Last week we also grew our raspberry rows from 400 feet to around 1600 feet.  We have also put in a new irrigation system in the past couple of weeks that is saving us a ton of time already.  We have been working hard to put into place many changes that will help save time and increase efficiency throughout the season. Our ultimate goal is to be able to focus more on getting food out of the ground and to you- the customer.

Setting up Irrigation Lines

Setting up Irrigation Lines

Thank you all for supporting us and cheering us on.  Growing food is not the easiest endeavor to tackle and just when you think you have it figured out you realize you’re not even close.  One thing that makes our profession so enjoyable is having all of you guys out there begging for our food.  It brings daily encouragement.

As for the CSA we are hoping to start it soon.  Things are beginning to grow better now but it is always hard to tell exactly when we will start.  We had been hoping to be rolling by now, but all we can do is work with what we have.  Please stay tuned for any info that we send out.  We will try and give you as much notice as possible.  Once again thank you.

Blessings!  The Farm Crew

Transplanting Tomatoes

Transplanting Tomatoes

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Spring Has Sprung!

March Greenhouse

The Greenhouse in March- Working on those early tomatoes!

Well, it is official- spring is here. Although you could hardly tell by the weather we have been having! With lows around 5 degrees last week we were really putting our new greenhouse heating system to the test. So far, we are blessed to say that it has worked marvelously! Our main greenhouse is packed about as full as we can get it. It is home to MANY tomato plants, as well as kale, basil, cucumbers, zucchini and freshly seeded carrots, radishes and salad mix! We are hoping to start the season off early and with style. We are praying that the Lord blesses our efforts!

Our Start house has had the plastic on it for a couple of weeks now. With this main structure finished it was endured some pretty heavy winds, which is very reassuring. We still need to get the flooring and benches installed, but other demanding projects have pulled us away for the time being.

If you have not signed up for our 2013 CSA share, we would like to ask that you consider doing so. By joining our CSA program you are helping first-hand to support the work we love to do. We strive to provide quality weekly boxes that contain the freshest produce you can find in our area! Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program is very important to us. We have made some changes this year, so if you want to learn more about it, please check it out on our website: www.battlecreekgardens.com.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us via email at: farm@bhhec.org.

We are moving forward with incredible anticipation as we prepare for the warmer weather. We look forward to seeing you all soon. Until then- Blessings!

Greenhouse Rugrats

Rugrats in the Greenhouse- Helping the Best They Can!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2013 Community Supported Agriculture Program

As we prepare to meet the 2013 growing season head on, our thoughts and efforts have been focused upon our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for this year. We are pleased to announce that we are

Now accepting applications for our 2013 CSA Program

This year we are offering our traditional 15 week CSA program, just as we have in the past. This will consist of a produce delivery once a week for the 15 week period to be picked up by members at an arranged location. The box will contain a variety of produce that is fresh on the farm for that week, with an emphasis on variety and value. It is much like owning stock or a ‘share’ in the harvest for the season. We will be offering two separate 15 week programs this year, back-to-back. The second session will run into the winter months.

In addition to this traditional model we are adding something new this year. We would like to offer a Market-style CSA program. Market-style CSA’s differ in their level of flexibility and choice offered to the member. In this type of program, the purchaser has an account balance which they purchase at the beginning of the season. They can then get on our website and ‘spend’ their balance to build their box each week, giving them the opportunity to customize it’s contents. Additionally, in a Market-style CSA, the member can ‘spend’ their balance at our farmer’s market stand in Rapid City. We are only offering a limited number of Market-style CSA shares this year as it is a test run for us. They are strictly first-come-first-serve, so if you are interested, please sign up today.

For more information about our CSA program please see our CSA information page, or to sign-up please click HERE.

As always, we would like to remind our CSA members that purchasing a CSA share is much like owning stock in our farm for a season. You get to share in the bounty of the harvest. We make every effort towards success in our farming practice, however, we have no control over crop failures for whatever reason. By purchasing a CSA share, you are assuming this risk with us.

Tomato HadassahThank you for your support! We look forward to sharing the upcoming season with you!

 

 

Hadassah with a freshly transplanted tomato plant. We are so excited and hoping for early tomatoes this year!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring Fever!

We can’t believe that it is already March.  This is an exciting time. We can see and feel changes in the weather patterns, we can hear the songs of new birds as they make their journey back North and the feeling of spring is in the air! Daylight savings time is only one week away and then things will really feel like summer is on the horizon. Time sure flies, especially when things are busy.

The past few months have been exciting for us. We completed our first winter CSA program on February 14 this year. We had a wonderful experience serving our winter CSA members and have received lots of critical feedback. Thank you to those who supported our first effort at such an endeavor. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Beds in GreenhouseAnother project that has been ongoing this winter has been the transformation of our greenhouse from a raised-bed system to a more traditional, in-ground layout. This will enable us to maximize out growing capacity in this greenhouse for the seasons to come. This was quite the project, since the ground had been compacted and covered with gravel and even some underground tanks had to be removed. As you can see, we have the beds all ready for planting now.

In addition to this greenhouse project we have another in the works. Starthouse ConstructionSince we removed all of the work benches from the previous greenhouse, we needed to build a space to start all of our seedlings. This is where our ‘starthouse’ project comes in. We have been constructing a (large), south-facing solar greenhouse specifically for seed starting. It is adjacent to our existing maintenance building.  The structure sits atop a hole that is four feet into the ground. This enables us to monopolize on the constant temperature of the ground below the surface. Another Starthouse Constructionfeature this greenhouse will have is a 15 to 20-inch cavity between it’s layers of plastic overhead. This cavity can then be filled with soap bubbles at night for warmth and during the hottest of days for shade. These bubbles provide insulation that is equivalent to an R-value of 1 for every inch. With these features, we can keep our greenhouse at safe temperatures for the seedlings without using excessive energy to do so.

We have many other plans and projects for the weeks and months to come. We will do our best to keep you updated as we go.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Gearing Up For the Coming Season

We have been planning for this time for months! The new season is only a few short weeks away and already there is much preparation underway! We finally have a heater for the greenhouses, a 1,000,000 BTU pellet stove that was generously donated by Eden Valley Institute.  This is very exciting since it means that we can plant in the greenhouse much earlier this season. In addition to the heater for the greenhouse, we will be constructing a new start house in the next couple of weeks. It will be a South-facing solar heated greenhouse. The floor will be lower than the ground and we will be trying to harness heat from below the ground to help to keep the start house warm on cold days. It will be nice to have a space dedicated solely to plant starts rather than sharing greenhouse space with other, growing crops.

Our winter CSA has only two weeks of deliveries left after today. It sure has flown by! This week’s CSA box contained collard greens and included a recipe for making wraps with them. If you would like to watch a video of how this is done, you can do so below.  It’s not the best videography in the world, but you can see how to make the food…and that;s the important part!

We also have been blessed  with two farm volunteers who will be here for through the 2013 growing season. Their names are Akeem and Anjin. They both have a passion for learning about country living and farming  with best practices. Hopefully we can get some bios up soon!

Stay tuned for updates on the new start house! Until then, stay warm and eat well!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment