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The Anticipation is almost over-- June 5th Delivery Scheduled

The Morel Mushroom that Ate FarmWLIG! Spring is definitely here.

Farm Where Life is Good

A hearty welcome to all new members!

Spring is tip-toeing in, up here in the Great White North! We are anticipating (and you can too) our first delivery to happen on Wednesday, 5th June. (That is, barring any 12" of snow or 2’ of rain or a swarm of locusts!) As usually happens, the non-essential personnel (i.e. weeds) figured out the weather first, but the essentials (i.e. crops) are catching on nicely. Spinach is probably the prettiest!

Spinach is a beautiful thing.

We did have a Mother’s Day weekend thunderstorm that took out the 4 low tunnels guarding the early vegetables, so flea beetles (the bane of my existence!) took that as an invite to the mustard greens and boc choi. For now we are back to the “lacey” variety of those leafy greens; we’ll work on more of the “standard” varieties as we go forward. We also had a light frost after the zucchini and summer squash were transplanted…the jury is out on their survival and emergency seed order is on its way. (No photos of that—too painful!) All in all, things look quite good, albeit slow.

The high tunnel is moved to Position #2, prepped and all planted in tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers. Roger finished installing the trellising cables just this week, so we are well situated to begin pruning and training the tomatoes and cucumbers to their single-string trellises. All we need now is a bit of sunshine; we have a forecast of 60% chance of thunderstorms and overcast skies thru Friday this week. Great for morel mushrooms, tough for the sun-lovin’ vegetables.

The High Tunnel Move—sure hope it stays put!

The rain (a little rain, mind you) will be good for the cover crops Roger planted this week; oats and peas are the standard here in the spring. They will grow for about a month, just until flowering, and then be plowed under and the space planted in warm season crops. A little nitrogen and organic matter boost for those kids. We are watching the rye and vetch planted last fall; it is about 14" tall now and doing their jobs of suppressing weeds (in picture below, yellow equals weeds, green equals rye/vetch) and boosting nitrogen. Once mowed, we will steal their tops to use as mulch for the high tunnel crops, and then till them under to serve as food for the pumpkins/winter squash and sweet corn scheduled for that space. What a cycle! Keepin’ it down on the farm…

Green is beautiful.

Recipes for your Consideration

Ok, last recipes using storage hangovers from Fall! A hearty little soup for these overcast days and some fries for dippin’ on a warm weekend evening.

Lentil and Wild Rice Stew

1 onion, diced
2-3 ribs celery (optional)
3 large carrots, sliced or diced
2 cups brown or green lentils (dry)
2 cups wild rice (uncooked)
1-2 quarts stock (that you canned/will can in the Fall)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup brandy (optional)
More water as needed to cover the lot by 2" or so.

Everything in the pot or crockpot! Slow cook at a simmer for 2-4hrs. Stir occasionally and add small amounts of water as needed to keep it soup-like. The lentils and wild rice will thicken it up nicely.

Goes nicely with a slab of toast brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with dried, ground garlic.

Potato and Carrot Fries with Horseradish Dippin’ Sauce
Potatoes, scrubbed and sliced ¼" thick by 3-4" long
Carrots, scrubbed and sliced ¼ thick by 3-4" long
Olive oil
Sea salt

Place as many potatoes and carrots on cookie sheet(s) as desired (distribute to multiple sheets to maintain 1 layer).
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Massage and stir and rub them all around to coat. (Rub/masssage your hands to get the added benefit of a nice olive oil/sea salt exfoliation!)
Bake 350F for 10min; turn and stir. Bake additional 10-15min to desired done-ness.

Horseradish Dip
1 cup Veganaise (or equivalent mayo-type dressing)
2 spoonfuls prepared horseradish (really easy to make…we’ll try to debut the roots this Fall)
¼ tsp sea salt

Mix all together and serve with hot fries for dippin’.

Did You Know?

Senator Markley seeking repeal of secretive, special-interest, off-topic legislation quietly slipped into recent budget bill

We are little farmers in the scheme of things. We are interested in growing food and getting the same “fair shake” to which every American is entitled. Behavior by agricultural corporations, such as described here, doesn’t allow such a fair shake. And the food you eat will see an impact too.

Have a look at the topic and if you agree, drop a note to your federal legislators or sign one of the online petitions supporting the repeal of the Farmers Assurance Provision. If it is a worthy, necessary bit of legislation, let it see the light of day and pass on its own merits, not tucked under cover of an unrelated, threat-of-government-shutdown legislation like a budget extension.

Farm News

Spring greens and early “new” potatoes coming right along

A note from TR, a regular visitor (and volunteer farmer) at Farm WLIG: “Well, life on a farm is kind of laid back… Ha! This is a non-stop labor of love. Early to rise (John Denver had that right) seven days a week, then work until the sun goes down, which to my surprise each visit is quite late in this northern clime. Lara and Roger, your Farmers Where Life is Good, spend hours planning, tilling, weeding, planting, weeding, watering, weeding, harvesting. It’s beautiful to enjoy Mother Nature in action. From tiny seeds (imagine a seed the size of this ’ ), to bright green sprouts, growing to the luscious veggies, herbs and fruit that fill your boxes. What a reward. You can feast knowing your food is grown with much care and attention on the Farm Where Life Is Good. Enjoy the harvests!”

On the horizon is a June 5th delivery with cold-weather-loving “greens” as the theme… head lettuce, salad mix, boc choi, mustard/braising greens; some rhubarb for making refreshing drinks and tangy desserts, chives for some zingy salad dressings. Maybe some crunchy, earthy roots too for some snap to the salads.

The hanging flower baskets are shaping up nicely (not nearly as plumply flowered as those delivered up from greenhouses in the South!) And a small offering of vegetable plants/starts will show up on the market soon.

Flowers in the air

Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the anticipation of vegetables.

We hope to feed you soon!

Roger and Lara

Spring has sprung in Wisconsin...wait, nope!

Can it be May 1st?

Farm Where Life is Good

May Day

Sequence of events—-

Tuesday all day: I just have to say…California (or Arizona or Florida…) eat your heart out! This morning I walked in a T-shirt thru the snow to turn on the electric breaker for the well pump, then sloshed thru a muddy field to the high tunnel to water the seedlings inside. Only in the Midwest can you experience the diversity of a wild Spring season! 77degrees and full sun allowed for a pleasant maple bucket clean up.

Maple season cleanup in the warm sunshine (for once!)

Wednesday PM: Ok, I am back. Back from that euphoric spring-induced state we Midwesterners get into when we forget what winter did to us; I am firmly back, staring out the door at the blanket of snow and dense falling flakes. California HERE I COME!!!!!

Chives in May…they WANT to play

Thursday AM: Well, we didn’t get to California quickly enough. Staring wide-eyed into the darkness last night, we listened to the trees popping and falling all around us, saw the huge flair of our electric transformer blow from downed lines, and heard 16 nice big thumps all in a row (note: the high tunnel has 16 “ribs”). Steady…. The tunnel survived better than our nerves!

Farm in a blanket

Driveway going nowhere…

Thursday PM: Sanity was restored once some trees were chainsawed, the driveway/road access cleared, power restored (HOT WATER restored!) and a few hours were spent in the 70 degree high tunnel transplanting (with a little help from our friend) and installing low tunnels in preparation for the high tunnel move to Position #2 in a week!

Transplanting assistant—The Yellow-rumped Warbler

Spinach transplants for the Popeyes out there!

Tucking in progress…

Tunnel crops all tucked in for tunnel move next week .

Recipes for your Consideration

I had an inspiration the other day with left over rice. My mind when to “fried rice” but my palate said “nope” to the Asian variety. So I reverted to our stores of canned, frozen, root-cellared produce from last year and concocted a south-of-the-border variety. The “day-old” route allowed it to remain non-sticky!

Mexican Fried Rice

1 onion, diced
4 cups day-old cooked white/brown rice
1 pint homemade, canned salsa
1 bunch frozen rough-chopped cilantro, thawed and drained (or fresh)
1 tsp ground cumin
Optional: 1-2c protein of your choice (cubed tofu, “ripped” wheat meat)
½ lime squeeze

Sauté onion in skillet with 1Tbsp olive oil.
Add rice and stir to heat evenly.
Add salsa, cilantro and cumin (+/- protein); stir and fold to mix well and heat thru.
Squeeze lime over rice and serve.

Did You Know?

Meet the Yellow-rumped Warbler

Common and conspicuous; in many areas the only warbler likely to be seen in winter. (Did you hear that? Yes, the warbler was here and it is clearly winter today, May 2nd!!!)
Nests in relatively open coniferous forests and their edges. (No coniferouses here at FarmWLIG.)
Winters in open brushy habitats, such as dunes and field edges, especially among fruiting shrubs like bayberry and juniper. Often in small loose flocks. (This little fella, actually twins, or better yet, the plump one was probably the female full of eggs, who kept alternating as my assistant, were solitary but both really liked my boots for some reason; they were really quite pleasant companions.)
Often perches upright on relatively exposed perches, flying up to catch passing insects. (These guys/gals loved the flea beetles and earthworms…no MP, native worms not the composting red wigglers!)
A rather large, long tailed warbler, with stout dark bill. Bright yellow rump-patch distinctive and often conspicuous. (These twirps were tiny…but who are we to know what a large warbler would look like. We grow vegetables!)
Song is rather flat (well, that’s downright rude!) soft warble sidl sidl sidl sidl seedl seedl seedl seedl seel (are there any birders out there who “get” this written bird song language?) usually fading at end.
Call a low flat chep.
Flight call a clear ssit. (Well that’s quite clear, isn’t it?)
Yellow-rumped Warbler, take a bow! (From: The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America)

Farm News

The Greenhouse bursting at its seams…violas flowering…caution— blizzard outside

The high tunnel is almost 100% planted; we had to call an audible and substitute in some diversity crops when it was obvious the outdoor fields will remain unusable for another (short?) while. Carrots made it in there, along with the salad mix, lettuce heads, boc choi, mustard greens, salad turnips, radishes, spinach. Prepping for leeks this weekend inside, maybe some kale too. These will be some of the early pickin’s.

The basement is in full swing with seed-starts for melon, summer squash, more spinach (!), chard, tomatillos, a steady succession of cabbages, various flowers and herbs to keep it interesting.

Roger is tallying and tabulating and making templates for box labels, etc., so if you are dragging your feet, jump on in and get your all-season subscription while the getting’ is good. There are a small handful left, just for you! (Ok, that’s the extent of my marketing genius.)

We are trying a small number of hanging flower baskets for sale and vegetable transplants for sale too. Keep an eye out; I’ll alert you when they are ready.

Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the anticipation of vegetables.

We hope to feed you soon!

Roger and Lara

Weather, weather everywhere!

Mid April 2013…Grrrrrrr!

Farm Where Life is Good

Spring Update

Q: What’s wrong with this picture? A: Spinach isn’t happy!

It’s snowing again. (Wait 5 minutes…) It’s snowing again. I suppose there aren’t many other topics of conversation these days. Well, I suppose we could talk about the propane usage in the greenhouse this year. Or the depth one’s boot sinks into the mud out in the field.

Or the number of robins out and about! I think they are using their sheer numbers to pull Spring into the Midwest kicking and screaming. I am about to donate worms from my vermicompost bins to their feed bin (for lack of insects/worms to forage)— but I figure MP will throttle me if I do! The FarmWLIG little red wigglers are still tucked in the basement making lovely, rich vermicompost for seedling fertilizer. (It’s amazing what one can do for the next generation with coffee grounds and apple cores.)

Recipes for your Consideration

Root cellar (or fridge veggie bin) stock is starting to recognize springtime, even if we can’t. Get those sprouting carrots and parsnips out and put them to delicious use. (You all realize that I am doing some subliminal marketing here…get you hooked on root veggies in the springtime, and then sneak them into the spring offerings for 2014!)

Noodle Soup with Parsnips and Dill

1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth or homemade stock
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
4 parsnips, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 pound Seitan (White Wave brand, Wheat Meat) ripped into bite sized
1 cup farfalle/bowtie noodles (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill ( or 2Tbsp dried dill)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

In a large pot, combine the broth, onion, carrots, parsnips, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the Seitan to the pot and simmer until just done, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir the noodles into the soup. Simmer until the vegetables are tender and the noodles are done, about 5 minutes. Stir in the dill and the parsley. Serve with some nice crusty bread.
(Adapted from Food and Wine)

Did You Know?

Maple Syrup Factoids:
1) Wisconsin is one of 19 states where maple syrup is made.

2) It takes about 40 gallons of tree sap to make 1 gallon of pure maple syrup. (Thems a lot of buckets of sap!)

3) Nothing is added…water is simply boiled away…(late into the night, atop a snowy hill, in freezing temperatures…)

4) Spring time (if you can call this spring!) is maple season. Below freezing at night, above freezing during the day.

5) Maple Syrup is a completely natural product, without preservatives or additives. It is nutritionally important, containing: minerals (calcium, potassium), vitamins (B2, B5, B6, niacin, biotin, folic acid), and amino acids. 40 calories per Tbsp. The same calcium content as whole milk.

Roger and The Maple Cooker.

Farm News

Maple sap has begun to flow, even without the traditionally accepted weather requirements. Today was a wet one collecting sap in the snow and then freezing rain. Since we started mapling 5yrs ago, we have been done 1wk ago with our sap collection. This year, just beginning to get into the groove!

The seedlings are all waiting patiently in the greenhouse. If we could have just one day of sunshine, the soil in the high tunnel will probably dry out enough for us to get in and stick them in the ground. Let the growing begin…puhleeeeze!

(Don’t mind the water spot in the middle…it is pouring outside!)

Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the anticipation of vegetables.

We hope to feed you soon!

Roger and Lara

2013 Spring Update

What a difference a year makes!

Farm Where Life is Good

Spring Update

Spring has sprung! Well, at least in the basement and the greenhouse.

Today we have seen a gray morning, a moment of sunshine, a black sky blizzard, and now pristine blue sky sunshine with dazzling sparkling snow. Crazy springtime weather…but at least it is predominantly sunshine!

The greenhouse is sporting all of the growing seedlings— onions, green onions, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, boc choi, greens, celery, celeriac, lettuce, tomatoes, violas and pansies. With the nasty sub-zero temps we had recently, everyone had moved back into the house; propane heat couldn’t keep up during those low nights. But if spring stays, they will continue to live out there until the ground is free of snow!

Recipes for your Consideration

At the junction of winter into spring, I am trying to clear out the freezer, root cellar and canning shelves in anticipation of the upcoming harvests; making soup is just about the easiest route for accomplishing this task. The soup recipe below is probably my favorite. Lots of taste variety!

Remember to “put-up” some of your produce box ingredients (directions in parentheses) this coming year.

Tortilla Soup (fresh from the freezer and root cellar!)

3 onions, ¼ and sliced
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

6 cups diced tomatoes (core, dice, freezer bag, freeze) or cherry tomatoes (just pop in a bag, freeze)
3-5 large carrots, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth (or just use water and increase your salt and pepper as needed)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground paprika pepper (slice, dry, grind)

1 cup green/red or paprika peppers, diced (slice, freezer bag, freeze)
½ cup green olives, chopped
1 pkg WheatMeat (seitan), chopped/ripped or 1 pkg extra firm tofu, cubed
1 cup cilantro (loose chop, plastic tub, cover w/ water, freeze, pop out and freezer bag)
3-4 leaves dino-kale, chopped (wash, pat dry, freezer bag, freeze)

1-2 jalapenos, diced (freezer bag whole, freeze)
2 cup corn (blanch 2min, ice water cool, slice from cob, freezer bag, freeze)

To serve—
Top with crushed tortilla chips and/or Tofutti-brand Sour Supreme.

For Your Reading Pleasure

All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Ed: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space by Mel Bartholomew

This book was a starting point for me; early on in my vegetable growing life, I suffered from gardner’s block (like writer’s block). Mr. Bartholomew makes growing vegetables mentally manageable! And if you only have a small space, this growing concept is absolutely perfect and productive.

So if you want to do a little growing yourself, give this book a read.

Farm News

The new high tunnel addition to Farm Where Life is Good finally has its skin!

The snow is melting fast inside, leaving lots of mud puddles! Soon, soon, it will be filled with greens and boc choi and broccoli and salad mix. And then it will slide to position #2 and warm the soil for the tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Come fall, it slides to position #3 to protect the winter salads, carrots, and greens. We have a huge learning curve for high tunnel growing this next season, but thus far planning is going well.

A handful of 2013 full season CSA subscriptions are still available; have a look under The Market tab (here on the website).

Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the anticipation of vegetables.

We hope to feed you soon!

Roger and Lara

2013 CSA Produce Subscriptions-- hot off the presses!

Logo 4 color small

Farm Where Life is Good

How to contact us:
Our email:
Farm phone: 715 426 7582
Delivery day, on-the-road phone: 626 488 5437
Address: N7971 747th St, River Falls, WI 54022

Market News

Life is Good! We are one day back from the 2013 Midwest Organic Farming Conference and hugely motivated, inspired and educated for the coming growing season. Rog is now an irrigation and cultivating specialist; Razz is a wizard with cover crops and ecological pest management; and both of us are official graduates of the High Tunnel University. (I sure hope all of this stuff downloads from the brain as quickly and easily as it uploaded!)

We are pleased and proud to announce that the 2013 Summer CSA Produce Subscriptions are available for purchase.

If you would like a creative, diverse and fulfilling 18-20week season of fresh produce (vegetables and some fruits) and love the variety nature’s seasons provide us here in the great white north, come and join us in the bounty of good, fresh food.

To signup and purchase, either:
1) fill out Member Agreement Form and mail check to: FarmWLIG, N7971 747th St, River Falls, WI 54022.
Click here for Printable Member Agreement


2) go to The Market tab (here on the website) and select/order your CSA produce subscription (get some free miles out of your healthy produce!) Also print & mail Member Agreement form.
Click here for Printable Member Agreement

We’ll take it from there and keep you updated each week with what’s on the horizon.

Please feel free to pass this opportunity on to friends and family; we will consider opening up a new dropsite when 5 new orders request one.

Hope to feed you soon!

Roger and Lara

P.S. For those who would like to reduce their email inbox loads, you can elect to discontinue email updates and/or close your online membership by navigating to “My Account” on the webpage and scroll toward the bottom. Thanks for playing with us last year!