Little Peace Farm

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Little Peace Farm Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 2/22/2010 7:21pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Well, if you have known us for a while or have known us for a short while you are certainly aware that we have wanted to be farm owners for some time.  Before I even met Emily I knew this is what I wanted and she says the same.  Last Tuesday, we settled on the purchase of our farm.  It was a loooooong and sometimes frustrating process but exactly what we need to increase our business and live out our dream of farm and family.  I am pleased to change the item on our website that is titled The Plan because the plan has certainly come to fruition!

 

I wanted to thank all of those who have supported us in any way (prayer, advice, farm work, patronage…) and to let you know how truly grateful and humbled we are to be “your” farmers.  We are hopeful that interest in local, sustainable agriculture will be strong enough to support our family and feed yours. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to stare at the rafters in my barn.  Peace.

Michael and Emily and family.   

 

Posted 2/6/2010 1:34pm by Michael Scheidel.

Hey all.  I hope you enjoyed the last two blog entries (the videos).  I wanted to catch you up on what's going on at the farm.  Hope is an amazing addition to our lives and we have been blessed to bring such a wonder into the world.

SEED

I've ordered and recieved most of my seed for the 2010 season.  I am very excited to grow some new varieties like Forellenschluss Romaine lettuce, white satin carrots, and orange banana tomato.  I am continuing varieties that have performed well for me for several years as well.  Much of my seed is certified organic and I only buy seed from companies who have made the Safe Seed Pledge or who pledge not to sell any genetically modified seed. 

NEW CSA MEMBERS

We need your help!  We still have plenty of shares available for our CSA so spread the word!  Small scale farms like ours thrive when supported by the community and reciprocate by providing food security!  You can refer friends and family to our website or have them call us for details.  Our goal is to serve a membership of 75 shares that is as local as possible.   

NEW EQUIPMENT

I recently purchased a 55" tiller to pull behind the tractor.  These tillers do an excellent job at preparing seed beds.  Using this implement should cut my time behind a machine significantly!  I also recently purchased a brand new irrigation system.  We will be irrigating from our pond using a gas powered pump and drip tape.  Now we just need the ice on the pond to thaw so I can "git at it"!

Settlement

We are due to settle on the farm on February 16th.  Most of you who know us know it has been a long road.  But we are finally approaching another milestone.  We'll keep you posted. 

Greens

I recently purchased new plastic to cover our 60' long hoop house.  I plan on covering it within the next couple of weeks and seeding it soon thereafter.  This means that by late March we could have a boatload of salad greens!  I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Thank you all for your support of local agriculture and for your concern for the quality of food you consume and share.  Stay tuned for more news about Little Peace Farm.  Truly.

Michael

Posted 2/6/2010 1:31pm by Michael Scheidel.

Click here to see another video of some projects that have been keeping us busy!

Posted 2/6/2010 11:24am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks!  Amidst all the snow we've gotten, we're finding ways to stay warm.  Click on her name to see a short montage with music of the newest addition, Hope, to Little Peace Farm.  Stay tuned!

 

 

Posted 12/3/2009 9:41am by Michael Scheidel.

Hey good folks.  Those who are in the area were sure to have enjoyed the 40 mph. gusts of wind and rain last night.  I spent a good deal of time in bed thinking about what was potentially being destroyed outside.  The egg-mobile was first in my head.  That's what I made to house our pastured egg layers.  Well, the hens were fine this morning, the egg-mobile upright and a beautiful sunrise it was!

We are in the process of acquiring a loan for purchase of the farm which has been a very difficult process in this tight lending market!  We're stressed but trustful that all will go well.  We'll keep you posted! 

We are currently accepting new members for the 2010 season.  Take a look at the details below and let us know if you are interested.  We are expanding for next season in volume and offerings.  Note that we are offering a limited number of egg shares so first come, first served!

Anyway, I hope all are well.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon and keep in touch!

2010 MEMBERSHIP
We are currently requesting $50 deposits or full payments for half and full vegetable shares and additional shares for the 2010 season.  We are expanding our membership for next year so spread the word!  Here are the details:

Half Share=$295; 6 items per week; 18 weeks
Full Share=$520; 10 items per week; 18 weeks
*we will not be offering free flowers and herbs for the 2010 growing season (read below)!

GOOD STEWARD SHARES
We are again offering our members the opportunity to sponsor an anonymous family in the area.  Last season, 10% of our members were recipients of Good Steward Shares.  If you are interested in sponsoring a family, let us know.  You can either purchase a half share or donate any amount to our Good Steward Share Bank.  When we reach the cost of a half share, we will add another family.  If we fall short, Little Peace Farm will pick up the difference.  We will identify the families and share with them our farm information.
 
ADDITIONAL SHARES
We learned that a valuable addition to our farm this year was the cut flowers and expansion of the herbs we grow.  We are offering for 2010 a flower and herb share.  This entitles a member one bunch of cut flowers and two bunches of herbs per week.  Our herbs include: basil(multiple varieties), parsley, fennel, chives, rosemary, chervil, savory, thyme, oregano, tarragon, cilantro,  mint, among others.  The cost is  $70 for the 18 week season in addition to the half or full vegetable share.

We are also offering a small number of egg shares this year.  Our hens are pastured and fed a layer ration and lay some beautiful eggs.  The cost for a dozen eggs per week is $35 for the 18 week season.   

NEW PICK UP SITE
We have decided to drop the Schuylkill Haven Farmer's Market for next year.  We were losing a significant amount of money and time there, although we enjoyed the market.  So we are offering two pick up sites for next year; the Pottsville Farmer's Market on Saturdays and at Little Peace Farm.  We have not decided on a day for farm pick up but it will likely be towards the beginning/middle of the week.   We'll keep you posted. 

WHICH CAME FIRST... 
Well for us, it was the chicken.  This summer we pastured 30 birds which are now in our freezer.  It went well although our simple system could use some changes.  We're considering growing pastured meat birds for customers but want to make sure we've got a grasp on the process so stay tuned.  

Oh, the final addition is our baby who is due in early January!  We'll keep you posted.

Posted 7/9/2009 11:51am by Michael Scheidel.

One more piece of great news, garlic is in!  We'll have it at markets starting today!

Enjoy.

Posted 7/9/2009 11:26am by Michael Scheidel.

The warm and dry weather has kept me from my communication duties but I wanted to take the time before market today to update you on farm news.

Late Blight!

Late blight is the same fungus that caused the great Irish Potato Famine and it has reared it's ugly head here in PA due to the historic wet and cool weather this spring.  It has never been detected so early in this part of the country and the source is apparently from Wal-Mart/Home Depot stores selling infected plants that they got shipped in from the south!  The tomatoes home gardeners planted have spread the pathogen spores all over the northeast region. 

An alert from Penn State went out to growers over a week ago and since then me and lots of other growers have been losing sleep trying to decide how to proceed.  The problem mostly exists for those of us who stay away from chemical sprays.  The most effective sprays are used in conventional growing and there are very few OMRI (certified for organic production) listed products that are effective in stopping blight.  Late blight is a virtual death sentence for tomatoes and potatoes. 

After LOTS of reflection I have decided to use a combination of some OMRI listed copper products with a conventional fungicide.  Since I don't have a licence to spray anything very strong, I will spray whatever the average Joe can buy at Agway and will limit my applications as much as possible.  The loss of all of my tomatoes and potatoes would mean a virtual collapse of our business and we have worked too hard to stop here.  I thought you all should know.

 

NEW ALLENTOWN MARKET

We've joined a new market (the Plaza Grower's Market) at the base of the PP & L building in Allentown on Wednesdays from 11:30-1:30.  It is a very new market and has thus far yielded weak results but I think the potential is there and I really enjoy meeting new people in the same business.  The Allentown Brew Works is purchasing our produce weekly to put on their weekly sepcials menu.  There is live music every week and organic coffee, awesome hot food, AWESOME LITTLE PEACE VEGGIES, and honey.  Stop out if anyone is in town on Wednesdays.

 

Anyway, I hope all are well.  Pray that we survive blight and check us out at our markets and on the website.

PS...we promise some current photos soon! 


Posted 6/18/2009 7:14am by Michael Scheidel.

RAIN

Normally I wouldn't have the time or energy to type a coherent entry but the weather has given me the opportunity to do so.  Lancaster Farming, a weekly newspaper that we subsribe to, reported that as of June 13th Lancaster received 2.12 inches of rain; normal is 1.46.  However, looking at year to date data, they were at 14.65 inches, more than one inch below this time last year.  Normal year to date is 18.44.  Now, I'm no meteorologist but I make a living that is weather dependent.  This is no normal year so far.  The rain and clouds have been unrelenting, slowing down the whole growing process.  Last Saturday, we saw pockets of nickel sized hale in the region.  A farmer friend in Kutztown said he had a foot of water flowing through his tomato field!  I saw a bit of soil washed away from my fields as well.  Frustrating to say the least but at least I have other growers to commiserate with!

NEW MARKET

Aside from our two local markets, we were invited to join the Plaza Growers Market at the foot of the PP&L building in Allentown on Wednesdays during lunch.  I have  a crew here at the farm picking and washing while I'm away but it's never the same as when the control monger (me) is here to oversee and help get the work done.  Gas is expensive and it is a 100 mile round trip.  So far, turnout has been disappointing, however I am optomistic that the market has real potential to grow so we are going to try to stick this one out and help promote the market.

HARVEST

Currently, we are harvesting over 15 different varieties of veggies: kale (2), head lettuce (4), peas (2), garlic scapes, lettuce mixes (2), parsley, radishes (2), chard (3), pac choi, and tatsoi.  In the weeks to come look for the following items to hit the table: summer cabbages, collards, beets and carrots, fava beans, green beans, and several herbs.

July will bring garlic, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, beets, carrots, herbs, cut flowers, wax and bush beans, and all kinds of summer salad lettuce and mixes. 

STRAWBERRIES

We tested some strawberries this year and liked the results we got.  Yields could have been better but we are confident enough that we've ordered a few thousand plants to get in the ground in mid-late July.  Our hope is that we'll have lots available next June!

THANK YOU

A big "thank you" goes out to all those who help here in the fields.  Some are family and others are friends but all are part of this endeavor to grow the freshest, healthiest food around.  Thanks to all of our loyal CSA members and customers who keep us going.  It is encouraging to know we are supported by those who not only are concerned about their food origins but simply want good food. 

Happy eating!

m

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 6/7/2009 9:06pm by Michael Scheidel.

Well good folks, we survived the first week of our season.  Despite the rain, clouds, flea beetles, broken vehicles, all went very well.  Most of our local CSA members visited the farm for their first pick up instead of picking up at the markets.  This was a great opportunity for us to see everyone and to show everyone what we do.  I believe it really takes a first hand experience to build confidence and community.  The markets in Schuylkill Haven and Pottsville went well and I even mustered-up the guts to drive my new 1984, 24 FOOT LONG, Herr's potato chip truck to both markets.  Folks, I'll be straight, I'm terrified driving this thing.  I'll get used to it but man is it big and loud!  The sugar snap peas are perfect right now and the giant snow peas are right behind.  The garlic scapes are our family's favorite right now.  This morning Emily sautéd baby rainbow chard and scapes and mixed it with scrambled eggs.  MMMMMM, garlic.  The spicy greens add a nice bite to salad and the lettuce mix is on the table daily, usually topped with Easter-egg radishes.  I hope you have all been enjoying as much as we have.  Next week we hope to have a few varieties of head lettuce, kale, tatsoi and pac choi among others. 

This week we are trying out a new market in Allentown in addition to our two others.  They started last year with limited success but have since dedicated a market manager with some motivation to make it work.  Stay tuned for more.  For now, I need to sleep... Thank you all for your interest and support.

m

Posted 5/18/2009 8:51pm by Michael Scheidel.

Well, in response to Dolores's question as to how we fared the storm on Saturday night...the greenhouse held up just fine.  No damage and no flooding.  All of the drip irrigation lines that were in the field were tangled up in a knot but not a big deal.  I won't know if the seed I put in the day of and before the storm survived until germination which may take up to a week. 

Amazingly, we lost no branches from the BIG old oaks that we have here and suffered no immediate damage.  That was a wicked one but it brought NO hail. 

Now tonight, two days after our traditional last-frost-date they are calling for pockets of frost across the area.  So Em, Ari, and I moved 65 flats of tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, squash and eggplant into our basement.  This has been a very tricky spring regarding growing conditions.  Luckily, we're small.  Other large scale crop farmers haven't been able to get into their fields at all.  So across the state, farmers are behind on planting corn and cutting hay. 

Time to rest.  I shoveled poop all day!

mike