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Posted 6/20/2008 7:49pm by Betsy Austin.

Happy Solstice everyone!!

Well, it is now mid-June and things are really heating up this week!! Last week we {hopefully??} had our last bit of frost and cold tempuratures until fall. Wednesday evening was spent covering over 600 newly transplanted plants {peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and more}. Our main thoughts while we were covering; " So glad it's not pouring down rain!!" {in years past we have had to do this in the worst possible weather; wet, cold, and windy} and "Boy are we glad we waited to plant the melons {over 100 plants}, the rest of the cucs {another 100}, the basil {over 200}, the winter squash {about 100}, and all the little odds and ends {probablly another 100}!! We were out early Thursday morning to uncover everyone; but then had to turn around and cover them back up again that evening. They are all looking well though and starting to grow rapidly!! {Wed. night our low was 28 and Thurs it was 30, so covering it all was a good thing!!}This week the cool temperatures have been a fond memory.

We continue to plant, plant, plant!! We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our big push this next week is to get the basil, corn, winter sqash and all those odds and ends in. Then it will be on to weeding and mulching and waiting for nature's bounty!!

The peas are finally ready!! We have been waiting and waiting for them to start. Well this week we have an abundance. {and thanks to Sarah, Jenny, Barbara, and Mac, we were able to get them all harvested and in to the cooler before lunch. You all don't know how much Mom, Robyn and I appreciated your hard work!!} Hopefully we will have lots of peas for the next two or three weeks, it will depend on how they tolorate all this heat!!

I posted a couple more recipes to the website; one for kale and one for sugar snaps. If any of you have any recipes you are willing to share, please send them to me in a word doc. and I will get them posted. {please be sure and add where you got the recipe}

This week we also have an abundance of garlic scapes. They are the flower stalks on the hardneck garlics. They have a mild garlic flavor and are wonderful in salads, stirfry, etc. They also will make a nice addition to herb vinegars {see the recipe on the website for Chive Blossom Vinegar}. It looks like our garlic harvest may be earlier than I thought. It is generally about 2-3 weeks after the scapes start to appear that the garlic is ready to harvest. I can't wait!!

We'd also like to thank Kathy and Gail for helping get the space ready for melons. We had a class of school children come out Tues to help plant and thanks to you ladies, we were ready for them!!

Thank you all for your continued support and understanding. This spring has played havoc with my timetable of available veggies.

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow!!

All of us at Circle A


Posted 5/30/2008 11:38pm by Betsy Austin.

Hello everyone!!

It has been a busy two weeks!! We have been in planting mode, getting more goodies into the ground!! The potatoes are all in {and starting to come up}. Thanks Bettye and Sarah for all your hard work!! Artichokes are in. {thanks Leslie}. The last planting of lettuce is in {thanks again, Sarah}. The first of the outside broccoli is in.{thanks Kathy and Sheelagh}. The second planting of summer squash and the first outdoor planting of slicing cucs are in {thanks Gail}. We planted chickpeas, edamame, more carrots, scallion, and kolrabi, and I'm working on more beets, turnips, salad greens; fennel, daikon,podding radish, and more goodies.


Mom has been working on getting some of our earlier plantings weeded. So far she has worked here way through the onions {with Leslie's help}, beets, and carrots. Robyn and I have gotten through the parsnips, scorenza, salsify,root parsley, and part of the lettuce. {In between planting!!}. Della and Linda have been working on getting the blackberries pruned and trellised, and getting the area for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillo, and other assorted nightshades ready to plant.


On our walks through the garden this week, we have notice many fun things begining to happen; the potatoes are coming up, one of the tomatoes in the high tunnel has little tomatoes, the first planting of summer squash is starting to bloom, the quince is blooming, as well as the grapes, the peas outdoors are blooming {we may have a few english peas ready to harvest next week!!}, the fava beans are blooming. Also getting into the blooming act are the columbine, mountain bluet, and crmson clover. But the best thing so far {and I'm knocking on wood as I say this}; it hasn't snowed for two weeks!!!


This weeks CSA is going to be a bit leaner than the past 8 weeks. We have harvested most of our early season veggies from the high tunnel and many of our plantings we were counting on just aren't quite ready yet. The spinach is done until the fall, green onions and green garlic are all gone. We harvested the last of the turnips and radishes from the high tunnel today. Garlic scapes should be coming on soon though and scallions are growing {but still very small}. The Walla Walla onions may be ready to harvest by the end of June. We harvested the last of the lettuce and chinese cabbage from the high tunnel today, but the next planting outdoors needs another week. {the cold slowed it way down, we planted it with the idea of starting to harvest it last week. Carrots are doing well {we have two more weeks worth left in the high tunnel and the ones outside should be ready by then. The beets are just starting to come on; they are a bit slow but we are getting a few more each week. The peas in the high tunnel are doing well and it looks like we may have more from outside next week.


This week each share will get peas and carrots, the greens and the herbs will be the same. There are fewer choices per share this week. They are lettuce, chinese cabbage, beets, turnips, radishes, the last of the rhubarb, more greens, horseradish,edible flowers, mint, lovage. Please bear with us a couple of weeks, more great veggies are on the way!!

I have added two recipes to the website. One is for chive blossom vinegar {it can also be used with other edible flowers and herbs} and the other is for a chines cabbage salad. On my walk through the garden this evening I took some new pictures. i will try to get them added to the website this weekend.


This coming week we have on the agenda; getting the pickling cucs, trellis tomatoes, the rest of the cauliflower and broccoli in,peas weeded again, and the first half of the beans planted. {we may still have one more frost so we are hedging our bets a bit}. This is an exciting time of year here on the farm; the weather has warmed up, seeds are sprouting and plants are growing rapidly; it seems like things are changing daily. Please consider coming out to the farm and helping us out!!! Those of you who have already come out:THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Your help has been greatly appreciated!! We have enjoyed working with you and getting to know you better. You are all awesome!!


I would also like to thank all of you who have spread the word!!! Our best advertizing is word of mouth. I can tell folks about the farm, the CSA, and what we do here and why, but your enthusiasm is what gets them hooked!!


On another note we do have a couple of issues to address. One is folks not picking up their veggies on Saturday morning. We know that life happens!! But we need to know before noon on Sat if you are running late. We will be happy to pack up your vegies and store them in the cooler if we know you can't make it. {please pick them up before Monday though so we can clean out the cooler unless you have made prior arrangement.} If you don't pick up your veggies or let us know by noon on Sat, they will be eaten by our interns or donated to Christ's Kitchen!!

The other issue is with our dog. We love having folks come out to visit the farm. But with the exception of Sat morning, PLEASE call before you come out!! {and if you are referring a new member please have them call as well}. We adopted Oreo {the dog} from the humane society several years ago. We are pretty sure she was badly abused before she came to us. Although she is doing much better, she still is not very trusting of strangers. Once she gets to know you {and teaches you how to play ball her way}, she is fine. This time of year she spends most of her time outdoors with us. For her comfort and your safety, PLEASE call ahead.


Once again thank you all for supporting local family farms!!

See you all soon,

All of us at Circle A,

Betsy, Della, Jeanne, Robyn,Linda {and Oreo}



Posted 5/16/2008 9:16pm by Betsy Austin.

Hello everyone,


Can you believe it is the middle of May already? The season is starting to speed up!! Now if the weather would be a little more consistent.  This week so far it was very windy on Monday, snow and rain on Tues, gloriously sunny and warm {but not too warm!!} on Wednesday, rain and more rain on Thursday, cloudy and cool early then sunny and warm on Friday. The weekend though is supposed to be sunny and almost hot.  Can’t complain too much about the moisture though; here in Colorado it is a blessing!! {and I didn’t have to go out and water all those new seedlings just coming up!!} 


We didn’t get as much done outside as we were planning this week. We did get the root parsley in before the wind picked up on Monday.  Tuesday we just vegged out and watched the snow. Wednesday we got a good start on planting potatoes {about 1/3 of the area planted and mulched}. Thursday we worked in the high tunnel taking the walls of water off the melons and replanting the ones we lost during the cold; did a bit of weeding and transplanted a few odds and ends. And today was picking day once again!! 

This weekend we will be working on getting the rest of the potatoes in. This coming week we hope to get the artichokes and broccoli in; also the cauliflower. { and if we are brave enough the first planting of cucumbers!!!} Early mornings we want to get some of the okra and peppers planted into the high tunnel before it gets too hot as well. Anyone wanting to get his or her hours in; the help will be greatly appreciated!! 


This week is the last week for the green garlic. We should have garlic scapes in June and should be able start harvesting garlic in July sometime. {it may be a bit later this year}.  Next week we will harvest the last of the green onions; there will be a bit of a gap until the scallions get bigger. {they are up and growing well but won’t be ready as quickly as we planned}. The spinach is dwindling down, we are going to try to keep it going another week or so. {it will be back in the fall}. We are getting to last few weeks of cool season veggies in the high tunnel {except for beets they are just starting!!}


We may have a few weeks where we don’t have as much to offer for the csa.  The cool weather we have been having has slowed down many of the crops we were planning on from outdoors. Please bear with us as we transition from the high tunnel {where most of your veggies have been grown} to the great outdoors {where Mother Nature has ruled supreme!!}. We will still have chard, kale, salad greens, beets, a few radishes, carrots and turnips, a few sugar snap peas, some lettuce and chinese cabbage, odds and ends of various greens, rhubarb, and many of the herbs. Our outdoor crops are about 2-3 weeks behind what they should be for this time of year. As soon as they are ready for harvest you all will be the first to get them!! 


I posted some new pictures on the website {www.circleagarden.com}. If any of you have recipes you would like to share, please send them to me as a word document {then I can just upload them onto the website}.  Please make sure to add the source of any recipes. {Any recipes you send will be shared with all the farms in the Small Farm Central network} 


If anyone is looking for farm fresh eggs please let me know. The folks over at Buckhorn Gardens have extras that need a good home!! 


 Hope you all have a great week!!  Thank you all for your support of small, local, sustainable family farms!! 


All of us at Circle A Garden,

Betsy, Della, Jeanne, Robyn,

Posted 5/9/2008 8:55pm by Betsy Austin.

Hello everyone!!

Everything here on the farm is progressing; slowly, but it is starting to look like a garden again!! The weather continues to be very changable. Since our last e-mail we have had snow {on May 1!!}, several extremly cold nights {down to 23}, lots of wind, hail {yesterday},rain {finally yesterday}, and some some absolutely glorious days of sunshine and warmer temperatures.

We have been busy getting things planted the last couple of weeks... cabbage {thanks Patricia and Dan for your help!!},more lettuce, shallots, parsley, celery and celeriac, chinese cabbage and more from transplants. Even got brave enough to get the first planting of summer squash in {well protected in walls of water}!!

The peas, favas, and lentils are finally starting to grow a bit faster {thanks Sheelagh, Kim, and Jim for helping getting them weeded!!}. Parsnips, salsify,scorenza, carrots, scallions, salad greens, and other greens are all up and doing well. We ended up replanting the radishes and turnips {that 23 degree temperature didn't agree with them}. Some of the beets have come up, but we may have to replant some of them as well. {not sure if it was the cold or the dry winds that did them in!!}.

We have the brocolli, cauliflower, root parsely and artichokes out of the green house hardening off getting them ready to plant this next week. We will also be planting the potatoes this next week {90 lbs total; 9 different varieties}. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!! {Wed, Sat, and Sun, are potato planting days; Mon, Tues, and Thur we will work on the other things.}

In the high tunnel, we are starting to transition to the warer season veggies. Many of the greens, spinach, lettuces, etc. have been harvested and the tomatoes, cucs, etc are starting to take over those spaces. This last week we started removeing the walls of water and getting the trellises set up. {we even have one little tiny cucumber about 2 inches long already!!} If you haven't seen the high tunnel lately you won't reccognize it!!

In the greenhouses we have pretty much moved all the cooler season transplants outside and the warm season transplants are growing like weeds!! Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucs, summer squash and more!!

New in the CSA this week are chinese cabbage and the first of the sugar snap peas. {not very many, just a very small sample of things to come!! we should have more next week}

I added several recipes to the website; 2 using dill week and one using beets and carrots. I didn't get more pictures up yet; the battery on my camera went dead and haven't had a chance to get into to town for new ones.

Hope everyone is getting a chance to enjoy the warmer weather!!

Thank you all again for supporting small, local, sustainable family farms!!

Happy eating!!

All of us a Circle A Garden

Betsy, Della, Jeanne, Robyn {our invaluable intern!!}

Posted 4/17/2008 7:44pm by Betsy Austin.

This has been our theme over the last couple of weeks!!  One day we are basking in warm sunshine, working in shorts and t-shirts; the next day we are shoveling snow!! {makes getting dressed in the morning a challenge!!}

The last few weeks have been busy despite the changable weather. I think we have finally been able to get all our cool season seeds planted outdoors!! Peas, lentels, favas, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips,parsnips, salad greens, scallions,arugula, cilantro, and more are all in. {peas, favas, and lentels are starting to come up!!}. Now we are working on getting the cool season transplants out; cabbages, chard, kale, kohlrabi, collards, leeks, lettuces,etc.

Our first CSA pickup was 4/5. We were able to harvest a pretty good selection of veggies from the high tunnel; kale, chard, radishes, green onions, green garlic, spinach, salad greens, lettuces, arugula, rosemary, oregano, chives,and a few greens like bok choi and mustard.

salad greens for the csa

first csa pickup of the season 4/5


first csa pickup of the season 4/5

first csa pickup of the season 4/5










 But then we went to winter again.......

csa pickup spot

apricot trying to bloom??? on 4/9
newly planted beds after the snow on 4/9


What a rude awakening we had on Thursday!! We were expecting a light little skiff of snow and ended up with about 7 inches!! At least we didn't have to worry about watering all those seeds we planted!!


Needless to say our second Csa pickup was a bit on the chilly side!! But all the snow is melted again and most of the mud has dried and we are looking forward to a warm, sunny day for our next pickup. {we'll see if the weatherman is right; he's predicting sunshine and temps in the high 70's!!}



I'd like to thank all our CSA members who have come out to give us a hand already this season. They have weeded in the high tunnel, planted leeks and onions in the cold wind, planted melons in the high tunnel, filled walls of water, filled planters Mom's secret garden, pricked up a gazillion little transplants, planted seeds,helped harvest, and more!! It has been great getting to know all of you better!!

And thanks to Jenny's after school class for coming out yesterday to help plant lettuce!! they are all looking great!! You all were awsome!!!

Posted 3/31/2008 7:18pm by Betsy Austin.

Well not quite; the weather the last week has been glorious.... lots of sunshine....the snow had all melted and most of the mud had dried up........the mountain bluebirds are on their way to the high country.....the blue heron is back and we saw our robin{he would be the one that likes strawberries!!}..the garlic is up....

garlic coming up in the feild

the rhubarb is just starting to poke it's little red noses above the soil........

then this morning we woke up to snow. It has mostly melted already and the mud is back! Welcome to springtime in the rockies!!

This past week was onion planting time....

onion starts for outdoors

Robyn and I got the beds all ready on Monday......

on Tuesday Mom, Robyn and I separated the plants......

and Wednesday we planted.......

onion planting

and planted.............

onion planting

and planted some more.........

onion planting

We planted about 4,000 plants.....6 varieties.....needless to say we are tired of onions!!

Saturday, April 5, will be our first CSA pickup of the season.....

Although the weather has been a bit cold so far this year, the plants in the high tunnel have been growing....120677038269.85.65.173.jpg

we have spinach......spinach ready to harvest

               kale....................kale ready for harvest

                                      green onions.....green onions         

 green garlic.....green garlic

                                      salad greens....salad greens ready for harvest

and more!!!!!

arugula.......      .new variety of mustard we are trying 

So Friday a picking we will go!!!!


Posted 3/17/2008 12:19am by Betsy Austin.
Especially if you were an unsuspecting fruit tree yesterday!!!  The snow had pretty much melted again {we got about 6 more inches with that last storm}, the mud had dried some… so we were able to get out at long last and prune some of our fruit trees. {as I write this entry it is snowing once again}

 The day dawned bright and cold…. Thankfully, we were not planning to start until mid morning!!  By 10:00, though it was starting to warm up and the “pruning crew” was drifting in; Della and I, Robyn and Sarah {our wonderful interns}, Breigh and Darren {from Buckhorn Gardens just down the road}, and Wayne, Peggy, and Whiskey {from White Buffalo Farm in Paonia, who graciously agreed to come down and show us the ins and outs of pruning}. We chose our weapons {pruning shears, saws, etc} and started with the big apricot tree on the road...

tree pruning


Wayne did most of the pruning, answering our many questions about pruning and general care of fruit trees as he went.....

tree pruning



 We broke for a lunch of hot soup, fresh baked bread, chickpea and cabbage salad and lots of great conversation, then went back out and pruned a few more trees before we called it quits for the day. 

 tree pruning

We still have a couple of trees to prune, but pruning day this year was a joy!! As we were talking yesterday, several of us were remembering past pruning adventures. Picture two middle aged women who are afraid of heights, climbing up ladders, clutching a saw in one hand and hanging on for dear life with the other, trying to decide just what to prune off our poor trees!! It would take us hours to do one tree!! First, we had to decide how we wanted to prune the tree. We would go out, tools in hand, {and the book on pruning}, look at the tree and discuss which branches we should take off. Then we would gather our courage ……  climb up the ladder… and agonize over every cut we made. What we learned yesterday should make pruning in the future much easier!! {now if we could just teach the trees to bend their branches down to our level so we don’t have to climb ladders!!!}  

Posted 3/1/2008 8:38pm by Betsy Austin.

Do I dare say that spring is here?? Maybe I should wait until after this next bit of weather goes on east!! This last week has been glorious; warm sunny days with just a few wisps of clouds overhead. The snow here has been rapidly melting; welcome to mud season!! Tommorow, though, the weatherman says it's supposed to snow here. We'll see if he knows what he's talking about!!

overwintered pansies

Just got a new "toy" yesterday. I broke down and bought a digital camera. I have always been intrigued by the cameras the interns have; they can take a gazillion pictures, look at them immediatly, and if they don't like how a picture turned out, they just push a little button and.....it is gone. {and they can store all those pictures on a little bitty piece of plastic looking stuff instead of all the boxes and photo album that we have!!} So last night I spent a few hours trying out all the little{and I do mean little!!} buttons, just to see what they do!! Since it was the middle of the night, I took real exciting pictures of... the bookcase....the dogs sleeping...the design in the carpet....and thankfully could just push the little button and.... they disappeared.

arugula planted 2/20

Today, after Mom and I set out more lettuce transplants in the high tunnel and watered everything well, I went out and took some more interesting shots of what's happening in the greenhouse and high tunnel. I was amazed at how much many of the plants have changed in just a couple of weeks!!

spinach we overwintered in the high tunnel

The spinach we overwintered in the high tunnel about 2 weeks ago.........

overwintered spinach on March 1

And the same spinach today...{Jenny picked it again about a week ago so it's just going nuts!!}

cabbage seedlings

Cabbage seedlings then.......

broccoli seedlings

And now!!!

I took a lot more pictures. Not all of them turned out well, but I posted the best ones from today in the picture gallery.

Looks like maybe spring has sprung???

Posted 2/23/2008 9:54pm by Betsy Austin.

What's Happening?

February started out cold and snowy. Dare we hope that spring is on its way, since the ground hog probably didn’t even want to poke his nose out??

Mom and I have been working out in the high tunnel. We were finally able to really start planting things the early part of February. {We had a touch of spring fever and just had to plant something the last week in January. We planted onion and garlic sets and the snow peas; all of which are starting to come up} Then the sun went away and it snowed some more. {We are trying very hard not to complain about all the snow, but we are ready for spring!!} We have planted more spinach, beets, carrots, the sugar snap peas, and a wide assortment of greens. {chard, kale, mustard, mizuna, orach, bok choi, arugula, pea greens} Spinach peas and greens are already starting to come up. The beets and carrots should be up this next week.

In the greenhouse, we have onions, leeks, parsley, cabbage, celery, celeriac, artichokes, chard, kale, kohlrabi, collards, and pansies up and growing well {these are for our early planting outdoors once the snow melts. We also have lettuce, chinese cabbage {not sure how it will do, we generally don’t have much luck with it outdoors} and endive transplants that we hope to get set out in the high tunnel this next week.

Della has been busy starting herbs, many of them new ones this year. She is also researching more small fruits to add to our offerings. Fruit is one of the things that we just don’t have enough of!! Our tree fruit {apricots, apples, pears, and plums are just so iffy in our location. Our weather patterns right here along the river fluctuate so much in the early spring. We get enough of a warm spell to get the trees all excited…. Then boom…. We get a hard frost just when they are all blooming!!!! We probably won’t see any fruit from any of the new stuff this year, but we can look forward to some interesting and unusual things in the years to come.

We also have tomatoes up and growing!! We will transplant them into the high tunnel in early April. We are growing the same ones as last year {purple prudens, black pineapple, amana orange, black cherry, yellow and red pear} plus are trying out some new ones. Japanese black triefle is one we have tried outdoors and is a medium size pear shaped tomato with excellent flavor. Old flame or hillbilly is also one that we have grown outdoors in the past. It is a beefsteak size and is a mixture of yellow and red in color and very flavorful. {very similar to striped german, just matures a bit earlier}. We also found a bi-color cherry {red and yellow mixed} that we haven’t tried before. In addition, we have 5 or 6 varieties of determinate tomatoes that we’ll start in March to trial in the high tunnel.

In March, we will be starting more transplants: melons and cucumbers for the high tunnel, broccoli and cauliflower for outdoors. As soon as the snow clears {and some of the mud dries up}, we will be doing repairs on one of the greenhouses, pruning trees, berries, and shrubs. And hopefully getting beets, carrots, radishes, peas, and all those early transplants planted outdoors. We are so looking forward to spring!!!

The best news of the month is the new addition to our family!!! Mom’s youngest granddaughter had a beautiful, healthy baby girl!! Her name is Sara and we are all thrilled to be “greats” We are also looking forward to another new addition. Mom’s oldest granddaughter is due sometime in the late summer!!! {do you suppose that will make us even greater??}

seedlings in the greenhouse

New Website

After several years of thinking about doing a website, we have finally made the leap!! While we can grow just about anything {and do}, I find all this computer stuff a bit intimidating. Once I get over the huge learning curve though, I think it will be a fun and useful addition. It is up and running now and I am adding more content to it as time goes on. Bear with me {and visit often} as I learn and add more stuff that is fun!!! Please visit and let me know what you think. I have an idea of what I would like to put on there from the farm perspective, but I need some input from the consumer perspective. Your viewpoint will be helpful to me as I add more good stuff!!

It has a number of neat features that I hope will be of use to everyone. It has a searchable recipe section {shared with other farms on the small farm central network}, which has a variety of recipes from lots of other farms. {and once I figure out just how it works, I can add some of our recipes as well}. It also has a blog that I hope everyone will visit and add comments to.

I would like to post the newsletter there as well. I need to know from you all if this would be helpful. Would you go to the website to read it or would you rather I send you a copy snail mail? I am hoping that it will be more interactive if many of you have internet access. I can send a copy snail mail to those who don’t have internet or that would rather have something they can sit back and relax while they read. {like I prefer to read a real newspaper. To me it is just more relaxing and I get more out of it}. Anyway, let me know what your preference is.

I would also like to use it to let you know what is available each week. I’m not sure how helpful it will be. Most of the time, I don’t know exactly what or how much will be in the CSA each week until we get through picking on Friday. If the weather is a bit cooler there is not as much or something that I anticipate will be ready isn’t. If the weather is a bit warmer there may be some things that are ready earlier than anticipated or the heat will have pushed past it’s prime. We’ll just have to see how it goes as the season progresses.

Anticipated CSA start date

We are planning to start the CSA pickup Saturday, April 5. If the weather will cooperate, we should have peas {both sugar snap and snow}, beets, carrots, turnip {the white salad ones}, radishes, green onions, green garlic, salad greens, spinach, lettuce, endive, chard, kale, bok choi, arugula, mustard, mizuna, pea greens, orach, and more….

I will let you all know in March if this date needs to be changed. At this point, I don’t anticipate a problem but we will have to see just what the weather decides to do!!

Thank you to those of you who have gotten your first payment in early. Please remember that your first payment is due February 28. {3 payment options; all, 1/2 or 1/4}


Mini…$ 700

Tiny…$ 575

We are looking forward to seeing all of you!!

Get Fresh!! Learn to Cook with Local Foods

As childhood obesity becomes an epidemic and food travels more miles to get to our tables, consumers are losing touch with where our food comes from and its importance to our bodies. In this expedition, students will reconnect with the value of food and nutrition in growing and making their own food. This class will run from March 26– May 14. It is an after school program and will be held at Centennial Middle School on Wednesdays 2:45– 4:45. Jenny Shine, one of our CSA members, will teach the class. For more information or to register your child, please contact Diane Bruske at 209-1358.

This is an exciting thing for us here at Circle A. Not only will Jenny be using fresh products from several local farms, the class will be coming here to learn first hand where and how some of the food they are preparing is grown. They are planning two visits to the farm. On April 9 they will get to see some of the produce they will be using in the class growing and will help us plant tomatoes, melons and cucumbers in the high tunnel. On May 14, they will be able to see how the things they help plant are growing and will be helping us with another fun project. {not sure what yet, we are waiting to see what the weather is doing closer to that time}

We hope that this will be the first of many farm to school type classes offered in the area!!

Potato {Solanum Tuberosum}

The potato is a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Other members of this family include tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, belladonna, and deadly nightshade. The potato originated in the Andean mountain region of South America. It is estimated that the Indians of this region cultivated them 7,000 years ago. There are over 5,000 known varieties worldwide; 3,000 are found in the Andes alone. The English word “potato comes from the Spanish word “patata” which originally came from the Nahuatl word “potatl”.

In 1536, the Spanish conquistadors conquered Peru and carried the potato to Europe. It took over three decades for it to travel to the rest of Europe. It was mostly grown as a curiosity by amateur botanists. Much of the resistance to the potato as a food crop seems to have stemmed partially as its reputation as food for the poorer classes and more importantly to its relationship to poisonous plants. In 1589, Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the potato to Ireland on the 40,000 acres of land near Cork given to him by Elizabeth I. By the mid-1800, the Irish were so dependant on this crop that its failure created widespread famine. The potato arrived in the Colonies around 1621, when the governor of Bermuda sent several large chests containing potatoes and other veggies to the governor of Virginia at Jamestown. French fries were introduced to the U.S. when Thomas Jefferson served them in the Whitehouse during his presidency {1801-1809}. In 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space.

Potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, copper, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber.

The potato has been used for a number of folk remedies. Washing the face daily with cool potato juice treated facial blemishes. Carrying a potato in your pocket was supposed to help relieve toothache. To ease sore throat a slice of potato was put in a stocking and tied around the throat. Rubbing affected areas with water that potatoes were boiled in eased aches and pains.

rose finn apple potato

Onion {Alium cepa}

Onions are members of the Alliaceae family and are related to leeks and garlic.

The word “onion” comes from the Latin word “unio” for single or one because the onion plant produces a single bulb, unlike garlic that produces many small cloves. “Onion” also describes the union {also from “unio”} of the many separate concentrically arranged layers of the onion bulb.

Native to Asia and the Middle East, onions have been cultivated for over 5,000 years.

Onions were highly regarded by the Egyptians. They believed the spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. They placed them in the tombs of their kings so they could carry these gifts bestowed with spiritual significance with them into the after life. Onions were also used as currency for the workers who built the pyramids. In ancient Greece, athletes ate large quantities of onions because it was believed that it would lighten the blood. Roman gladiators were rubbed down with onions to firm muscles. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, onions were such an important food the people used them to pay their rent or gave them as gifts.

Did you know? There are more than 1,000 varieties of onions. The onion ranks 6th among the worlds leading food crops. The United States produces over 2 million metric tons of onions annually. Each year Americans eat over 18 pounds of onions on average.

For grins and giggles, here are some loony laws that have been passed regarding onions. In Harlsburg, IL, it is illegal to take onions to the local movie theatre as a snack. Citizens in Attica, Iowa aren’t allowed to throw onions at other people under any circumstances. Onions can’t be eaten in Budd’s Creek, MD except by people over 21 who have written permission from their dentist. And in White Horse NM, no married woman is allowed to eat onions on the Sabbath unless she is “properly looked after”. How, you ask? Her mate must follow 20 paces behind carrying a loaded musket over his left shoulder.

onion braids

Please Share With Us!!

Do you like potatoes or onions? If not, what do you use instead? What is your favorite variety of potato or onion?  What type of potato do you like best? {white, blue, fingerling, russet, etc.} Do you have a favorite way to fix them? Do you have a story to share?

Me, my favorite potato is German Butterball. It is a yellow fleshed heirloom potato and if you have never had one, you just don't know what you are missing!!! It's rich buttery flavor is out of this world!! I'm trying to decide what my favorite way to fix them is... Hmm ..Mashed..I find the flavor so rich I don't even add butter!!  Baked... excellent with a bit of broccoli and cheese... pan fried with a touch of garlic and onion...Yumm!!..Oven fries..with a bit of garlic powder and herbs... I just can't decide!!.....

Anyway Happy Almost Spring!!!!



Posted 2/19/2008 2:47am by Betsy Austin.

Have some great pictures we just added!! Scott{he and his wife, Jenny are CSA members} came out today and took some shots of what's happening. Although there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground, we can see some signs of spring. This is probably one of my favorite times of the year, watching for those first fleeting signs that winter is just about over; plants peeking out of the snow, seeds starting to germinate in the greenhouse and high tunnel, buds on the trees starting to swell, the promise of things to come. Everything looks a bit barren right now, but I now have the hope that this too shall pass!!!lavender peeking out of the snow

We've been busy the last few weeks, getting the high tunnel planted and seedlings started in the greenhouse. We have spinach, peas, beets, carrots, green onions, green garlic, chard, kale, and all sorts of greens coming up!! I am so excited!!! I can just taste that first pea of the season!!

snow peas just coming up; Mom and I got spring fever back in January and just had to plant something!!!