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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and small farm life.

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food

Help Us Be Farmers Again

This blog was started to write about farm life and happenings on the farm. Honestly, I’m finding that very hard to do lately. Here is why . . . . .

When we set out to be farmers that grow produce years ago, we never saw ourselves where we are today . . . . on the road four days a week going to farmers’ markets, delivering and paying an employee to do the farming. Our purpose was to grow organic produce and get it in the hands and mouths of as many people as we could without leaving the farm. Our vision was to be a family working happily together to grow, eat and sell organic produce. We are no longer a family happily working together . . . .  we are exhausted and spend our days crowded in the car . . . . we aren’t even doing the farming anymore!

We have become traveling salespeople and delivery drivers. People now expect to be delivered to, for everything, including food. When a farmer leaves the farm most days of the week, he is no longer a farmer. When a farmer is off the farm, the farm work is not getting done. So how are we supposed to be growing food when we are having to leave the farm to deliver it and sale at farmers’ markets four days a week? We aren’t! We have to pay a H-2A employee to do the farming because it’s very hard to find people in our community that are willing to come to the farm to help do the work to grow the produce that they want to buy. So if we are on the road doing sales, markets and delivering most days of the week, are we still your farmers? We don’t think so. Our hands aren’t in the dirt doing the growing anymore. We help with harvest, but we are no longer able to tend the plants and be on the farm as our vision started. That is not what we want to be.  We want and need to be the ones on the farm doing the work. Therefore, consumer need to be willing to go to the farm to buy food or have a sales and delivery service deliver, which we have found for you (details below). We don’t want to be doing three farmer’s markets a week, we would prefer to only harvest what is needed.

Now let’s talk farmer’s markets for a moment. What is a farmers’ market? It is suppose to be a location where farmers come together to sell their food directly from the farm. It is more than just a couple of hours off the farm to sell my goods, it’s full days . . . . the markets have rules that require us to be there two hours before market starts and we have to unload a whole 16 foot trailer of produce instead being able to sell out of our trailer or vehicle.  Here is a huge issue we have with farmer’s markets, we never know how much is going to sell or how many people are going to be at market each week. So we harvest as much as we can and end up with waste! So it is a waste of our time to harvest it and now the excess produce is thrown out or fed to the animals. Farmers’ markets would be great if it was just a couple of hours to do the sales and if we didn’t have to set up a mini grocery store on the street. Honestly, farmers’ markets are exhausting, they aren’t geared toward or convenient for the farmer and we end with too much wasted produce.

We feel we have turned into a mini grocery store on wheels. That is not and never was our vision or purpose for farming. Farmers need to be on the farm growing the food. We would love to see all our customers come to the farm to buy, but we also know that is not feasible for some. So we are very happy to now offer our products through delivery services in the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley. In the Magic Valley, you can buy our products through Freshocal,  freshocal.com. You order on their website, we harvest just for you, they come to the farm to get it and deliver to you. Freshocal  In the Wood River Valley, you can order through Kraay’s Market & Garden, kraaysmarketgarden.grazecart.com . You order on their website Sunday and Mondays, we harvest, and they deliver on Wednesdays.  Kraay’s Market & Garden  This is a dream come true for exhausted farmers that are trying to find a way to be farmers again.

We may be willing to do one farmers’ market a week, but anymore than that and we are not farmers anymore. We need your help to be farmers again. Our plea to our customers is to come to the farm to buy from us directly or buy through one of the above marketing and delivery services. So try it, let us know what you think and help us figure this thing out. If you have any trouble ordering any of our products from Freshocal or Kraay’s, please let us know and we will help you.

We can’t keep going at the pace we have been of constant traveling to deliver and do markets. Something needs to change. We are setting out to figure this thing out, we want to go back to our roots . . . . our original vision and purpose . . .  to be your farmers, we want to do the growing for you and not pay someone else to do it. And where do you find farmers? On the farm! Please help us be farmers again!

For those of you that already come to the farm to buy and pick-up CSAs, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You share the same vision and purpose with us. You are allowing us to be the farmers we set out to be.

Camping

We had our first family vacation away from the farm this summer. We went camping this past week. I know some people don’t think camping is a vacation, but for broke farmers it’s a chance to get away from the farm and that is most likely the only “vacation” they will take. For the family member that has to do the packing, unpacking, and clean up it doesn’t feel like a vacation, but there are perks to camping.

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One of my favorite things about camping is the breakfast. It’s always the best tasting breakfast and a bigger breakfast than we normally eat – bacon, eggs, spuds & onions, sometimes toast, or pancakes. All cooked over the fire with coffee boiled in a pot with loose grounds, what we call sheep herder coffee.  Nothing compares to how good the food taste in the mountains cooked over a fire.

This leads to my next favorite thing about camping; I don’t do the cooking! Years ago the other half and I made a deal that he had to do all the cooking while we’re camping. That way I can consider camping a vacation – getting away from home, relaxing, having fun, and being taken care of. If I do  the cooking at home, then the other half does the cooking at camp over a campfire. Cooking over a campfire is not my specialty anyway, I’d much rather prefer to use a stove. It’s already way more work for me to go camping than it is to stay home. There is all the packing and prep to get ready . . . . . .  packing  clothes, bedding, tent, and then there’s all the food. Since we live as cheap as possible and homestead like there is no store-bought-canned food to pack. This means I have to spend a full day cooking just to get ready to go so I do the cooking to go, but don’t have to cook while are there. This involves making homemade snack foods like granola bars, caramel corn, muffins, chili, stew, salads, fried chicken, and baked potatoes. I also pack fresh fruits and veggies from the farm, bacon, steak, hamburger,and our indulgence – hot dogs.

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Sometimes I wonder if the only reason the  other half agrees to get away from the farm is because he sees it as a necessity, a working trip. We don’t just sit, read or enj20150812_102056oy hiking. We cut and load the horse trailer with firewood. Yes, another task that has to be done in the summer and fall because that’s how we heat our house in the winter, with a wood burning stove.

Once we are done loading wood and are dog tired, I make the family hike to the top of the mountain in search of every high mountain lake we can find.  I have an obsession with high mountain lakes. I would love to hike to as many high mountain lakes as possible i20150811_121816n my lifetime. High mountain lakes are such majestic, breath-taking works of art with the only way to view them is to hike into them by foot or horse. There is nothing like a strenuous hi
ke to make a vacation enjoyable, seriously. Even if you have to leave the other half and kids at the lower lake and hike up an over the mountain to the third lake by yourself. You truly feel like a champion when reach the saddle! There is also nothing like standing on top of a saddle, looking at all the peaks in view being eye level and feeling like you’re on top of the
world. And we might just be for just a short period of time.

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So, yes, we call camping a vacation. We work, we hike, we sit around the fire and read and, most importantly, we have fun. We may create more work for ourselves by making our vacation a working trip and then more work to unload the trailer of wood when we get home, but I don’t thi20150811_140325nk we would know what to do or how to behave on a real vacation

Now to get caught up on the farm work! There is lots of produce to harvest and a ton of very large overgrown zucchini to deal with.

Chive Flowers

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Who says you can’t play with your food? I say go for it. I do. I like to make mine into an art project before eating it. I discovered this year that chive flowers are edible, along with many other plants but that is for another post. You can eat them raw or use as garnish or saute them for dishes or substitute them in any recipe for the onion. This flower is so amazing. This is my new obsession. I love flowers and eating what we grow, but this is better yet. It’s beautiful, purple (my favorite color) and edible. So now I can look at the brilliant, purple balls growing and then pick them to garnish all our meals or cook in our meals, which I have done a lot of lately. It’s beautiful and good to eat. Sprinkle the chopped purple flowers on any dish and make it look like a gourmet meal, at least in my eyes!

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I love good homegrown, made-from-scratch food and consider myself artistic. Now I’m combining my interests. Food, flowers and art. This taco salad consist of our homegrown, grass-fed beef, spring mix lettuce, chives, green onion, cilantro and local hydroponically grown tomatoes. It is empowering to cook a healthy, nourishing meal made with all or almost all local, organic, fresh produce, herbs, meat or eggs. Yum!!

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Home-made pizza with whole wheat crust. The first picture is a roast beef, spinach, mushroom, chive flowers and thyme with a homemade white sauce. The second picture is sausage, spinach, thyme and chive flowers.

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Or they make a beautiful bouquet too! Such an amazing food and flower!

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Happy cooking and creating!

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