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Posted 8/12/2017 6:27am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

Fresh produce we will have at the market today are squash, zucchini, basil and cucumbers. Also will have some lovely flower bouquets that Beth has arranged.  The herb boxes are really popular and we had to make some more this week to meet the demand. Check them out today.

As I have been sharing with you, we are transitioning to a new production model based on bio-intensive methods.  The basic idea is to increase production and quality on a smaller plot of land.  Permanent raised beds are formed and given a healthy amount of compost and composted chicken manure.  This increases fertility and soil organic matter. There is no deep tillage after the beds are formed.  A power harrow is used to work one inch of the top of the soil.  This is to disturb the weed seeds and keep them from germinating.  Seeds and plants are spaced close together so that the will provide a solid canopy to shade out weeds.  When the crops are harvested, the plot is covered with a silage tarp for 4-6 weeks to smother out any weeds and then the tarp is removed and the process is repeated.  It has been a learning experience for us and it has also put us about month behind on our production.  However, we are within a week or two of having some our normal summer crops ready. And, the good news is we are really ramping up for fall production and are planting every week in anticipation of this.  

We are considering offering a fall CSA based on what we believe will be a very productive fall.  And, we are taking some cattle off for processing this week and should have grass fed beef available.  If you are interested in buying in large quantities (whole, half or quarter) let me know. I should have pricing figured out by Tuesday.

Come see us today at the market.  Should be a beautiful day!

Larry

Posted 8/5/2017 6:24am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

Today is going to be another beautiful day for you you to come out and explore the farmer's market.  It is August. It is Kentucky. And it is nice to have these occasional breaks from the normal stifling heat.

Next week we will find out if we have been successful in a new method of weed control.  In early July we covered a section of land with a 50'X100' silage tarp.  That's about an eighth of an acre. I had prepared the soil and shaped 10 one hundred foot raised beds.  After the weeds and grass began to emerge we took this large tarp (black on one side, white on the other) and spread it over this section with the black side up.  Then we let the sun and high temperatures (mostly in the 90's) do its thing -- baking those plants and destroying the growth.  I am very anxious to to pull the tarp off next week and see how it looks.  Hopefully we will be able to go in and plant and our plants will have enough of a head start that they will be able to grow and establish a canopy to shade out any weeds.  I am excited to see how this works and we will know soon as we have about 1200 lettuce heads ready to go in the ground!

A lot of people come by the market to buy potted herbs.  If you like to cook there is nothing quite like snipping off a fresh sprig of Rosemary or a few leaves of Basil.  If you haven't checked out the herb boxes Beth puts together, come by and take a look. It might inspire you to new culinary heights.

Larry

Posted 8/5/2017 6:24am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

Today is going to be another beautiful day for you you to come out and explore the farmer's market.  It is August. It is Kentucky. And it is nice to have these occasional breaks from the normal stifling heat.

Next week we will find out if we have been successful in a new method of weed control.  In early July we covered a section of land with a 50'X100' silage tarp.  That's about an eighth of an acre. I had prepared the soil and shaped 10 one hundred foot raised beds.  After the weeds and grass began to emerge we took this large tarp (black on one side, white on the other) and spread it over this section with the black side up.  Then we let the sun and high temperatures (mostly in the 90's) do its thing -- baking those plants and destroying the growth.  I am very anxious to to pull the tarp off next week and see how it looks.  Hopefully we will be able to go in and plant and our plants will have enough of a head start that they will be able to grow and establish a canopy to shade out any weeds.  I am excited to see how this works and we will know soon as we have about 1200 lettuce heads ready to go in the ground!

A lot of people come by the market to buy potted herbs.  If you like to cook there is nothing quite like snipping off a fresh sprig of Rosemary or a few leaves of Basil.  If you haven't checked out the herb boxes Beth puts together, come by and take a look. It might inspire you to new culinary heights.

Larry

Posted 7/22/2017 6:27am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

The heat and humidity this week has made many of us think how nice that air conditioned office job would be! This morning we helped one of our fellow farmers unload and set-up. He spent some time in the hospital this week with heat stroke.  We usually can get ahead of the heat by starting early in the morning but the past couple of days it hasn't been much of a break.  When we arrived at the market this morning it was already eighty degrees!

So, come as early as possible this morning if you want to get the freshest produce.  We will have Basil, Zucchini, Potatoes and Blackberries as well as a few flower bouquets. It's not to let to buy some potted herbs or take home one of our handcrafted herb boxes.

I hope we get some cooler temperatures and rain next week.  We have over six hundred transplants of "fall" produce we need to get in the ground but it is just too hot right now.  All the summer crops are coming along well and we should harvesting them soon if the deer will leave them alone.  We lost all of the beets to the deer.  

Stay cool.

Larry 

Posted 7/8/2017 7:00am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

A foggy drive in this morning, but it looks like it is going to turn into a beautiful day.  Maybe we will have a few days with no rain.  Farmers are always thankful for rain.  There is nothing more miserable than a drought where you sit back and hopelessly watch all your plants wither away. So, when we complain about too much rain it is in soft, subdued tones almost whispered with fear.

This year we have a lot of stuff planted on paper mulch.  It is approved for organic production and we get it from a company in Colorado.  We like it because it breaks down easily at the end of the season and rain can penetrate it so there is no need for irrigation. The only negative is the cost.  It is expensive.

We also grow on black plastic mulch.  It is also approved for organic use and is much cheaper than paper.  However, you must irrigate using drip tape under the plastic.  We have an implement we pull behind a tractor that shapes a six inch raised bed, lays down the drip tape and lays the black plastic. We grow most of our tomatoes and peppers on plastic.  The black plastic also heats up the soil which many plants like.

I am surprised that we still have lettuce.  Usually it has bolted (that's when it shoots up a long stem for flowers and starts putting all the plants energy and resources into reproduction) by this time but we keep getting some great lettuce heads.  Do come early if you can.  It seems to go quickly.

Please stop by and see us today.  We want to stay in touch with the community we serve and we want you to feel you have a connection with the people who grow your food.

Thanks,

Larry

Posted 7/1/2017 6:18am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

I hope that you have some wonderful plans for the Fourth of July holiday this year.  Seems that potato salad would be a good item for this holiday.  If you haven't tried our Red Norlund potatoes you don't know what you have been missing.  I love the creamy texture and soft skins on these new potatoes.  You don't even need to peel them.  They have been grown in organic soil and were never sprayed with anything.  Tasty.

What is holiday cookout without a fresh salad.  We have several varieties of head lettuce this week that have a fresh flavor that defies description.  I feel that I can taste the nutrient density that comes with the vitamins and minerals provided by our organic soil that has been enriched with compost.  

One of the main goals of organic farming is to feed the soil so that the soil can feed the plant.  Our soil is amended every two years with compost.  So far this year we have used almost 40,000 lbs of compost.  We can't make this much compost on the farm so we have to buy certified organic compost and have it delivered by dump trucks.  We spread the compost by hand and then add some composted chicken manure before mixing it into the soil.  Very labor intensive.  But the final product makes it all worthwhile.

It is a lot of work to grow organically and maintain all the records needed for our certification.  We have made a commitment to this way of farming.  And, so have you.  Thank you for supporting local, organic farming.

Hope to see you at the market later this morning.

Larry 

Posted 6/24/2017 6:38am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

Hope you were able to weather the storms yesterday without any damage.  We got a lot of rain but no wind damage.  It will probably take a few days for the ground to dry out before we can get back to planting and cultivating.  Although we are thankful for the rain, so are the weeds.  And when the ground is wet we can't cultivate.  The weeds know this and spring into action as quickly as possible!

This will probably be the last week for the June apples.  If you haven't tried them I suggest you get some and make the tastiest pie you have ever had.

We have a few new varieties of lettuce including the popular Buttercrunch.  The lettuce we have now is head lettuce.  It will be a while before we have anymore cut lettuce.

The weather is beautiful today.  It is the perfect morning to come explore the market.

Hope to see you soon,

Larry

Posted 6/17/2017 6:10am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

I enjoy cooking.  I didn't say I was good, but I really do enjoy playing around with flavors and trying to create something new.  The good news is that sometimes it is really good.  The bad news -- I usually can't replicate it because I never write down the ingredients or the amount.

This week I experimented with cooking some of the June Apples we now have available.  I carefully cut,cored and sliced them up and put them in a skillet with bacon grease (yes, bacon grease -- you could use another kind of oil) and cooked them for a few minutes and then covered them and let them stew for another few minutes.  Then I added about 1/4 cup of brown sugar and stirred everything up. 

It tasted great but came out looking more like applesauce than fried apples.  I think I may have used too much bacon grease (yes, bacon grease - and I didn't think there was such a thing as too much!) and I may have let them cook too long.  Also my slices may have been too thin.  

It passed the taste test but fell short of the eye test.  I think that may be why more people don't try these wonderful tart little apples.  They are not perfect.  They have blemishes.  These apples are the only ones I know that are grown organically in our area.  Most apples are grown using conventional farming techniques and are heavily sprayed.  They look nice. You will have be the judge on their other qualities.

So, our organic apples may be a little rough on the outside but are wonderful on the inside.  Kind of like a lot of people I know.  Don't judge whats on the inside by what you see on the outside.  Maybe we should call these "apples for the people like the people." I would use this for our new marketing campaign but I'm afraid Amazon might want to buy us out. 

There are a lot of wonderful tasting things in our booth today.  We even have things that look good on the outside and taste good on the inside.

Come see us today.  We know that you all are all beautiful on the inside.

Larry 

Posted 6/10/2017 6:59am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

It is a beautiful morning here at the market.  Pleasant temperature and humidity.  Come on out and enjoy this morning and pick up some fresh, organic vegetables.  

Today we have some June apples (I believe they are the only local, organic apples available) which make great pies.  They have just the right balance of tartness to give wonderful flavor to baked goods. 

We also have our first harvest of Red Norlund potatoes.  Ruby red skin with a creamy white interior make them a perfect match for many dishes that utilize potatoes.  You will also find Sugar Snap peas on the produce table this week.

In addition to harvesting, we spent some time yesterday laying landscape fabric in the high tunnel.  We will be planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers in there on Monday.  We are hoping that the landscape fabric will smother out all the weeds and allow the plants to grow vigorously without having to compete with the weeds.

Organic farming is challenging but it also very fulfilling to be able to to come up with creative solutions that result in better productivity.

Come see us today.  We are happy to share our story and our food with you.

Larry and Beth

Posted 6/3/2017 6:13am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

It was a nice cool and crisp morning as we unloaded and set up everything today for the market.  However,l I don't think it will take long for it to warm up.  Hot humid days are rough on produce so I suggest you come as early as possible.

I thought last week would be the last for asparagus but it turns out that we have more for you this week.  A nice surprise for all of us.

When you come this morning to pick up your CSA or shop the market you may have the opportunity to meet Samantha Timko. She is going to help out this morning for a couple of hours.  Sam is one of our workers this year and is doing an incredible job on the farm helping us implement some of our new strategies. Her background and training are in the culinary arts but she just got back to Louisville last month after spending six months working on an organic farm in south Texas.

We have a couple of other excellent helpers this summer and I will be introducing them to you as we progress throughout the season.  Finding good labor is always a challenge and we feel very fortunate to have Sam, Ashley and Jeremy as a part of our farming family this year.

The dry weather last week enabled us to get some more ground prepared and we should be getting more plants in the ground next week.  We have a lot of tomato plants sitting out ready for planting so hopefully we can accomplish it next week.

We are going to try a different method in the high tunnel this year to help with weed management.  On Friday, Ashley and Jeremy worked on laying out the rows and applying compost.  Once the irrigation system is set up I am going to cover the entire area with landscape fabric.  I will then burn holes through the fabric to make a place to plant.  I am excited about this and it is one of the many new adventures we are taking this year in an effort to improve our efficiency and quality.

So, come see us today at the market.  In addition to the organic produce we will also have organic herbs for you to plant (either in individual pots or in the beautiful herb boxes we make from repurposed wood from the farm) as well as compost boxes and birdhouses (also made from wood from the farm).

Thanks for your support of our local, organic farm.

Larry and Beth Brandenburg

Harmony Fields Farm

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