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Can I Get Fresh Food Year Round at SlowMoneyFarm?

December 18, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many things we can do and some that we can’t do. It’s better to straight up say what we can and can’t do than have misunderstandings. The grocery store has fresh food year round so why don’t we?

The simple answer is the grocery store isn’t growing their food year round in the local area. It’s trucked in from large distances in order to have fresh food in much of the country. Here, if we had extended season hoops, high tunnels and other expensive options, we could raise some fresh food year round but not all, and not enough volume for the number of people available.

With recent changes, we’re focused on making better use of what we do have, and that includes using some floating row covers – plastic “mini greenhouses” that are low to the ground. Early okra, lettuce greens and possibly a few other things will be started this way.

IMG_20141013_113934We will also be starting some peppers, both hot and sweet, in varieties you just can’t get at the store. If you love HOT peppers, or like peppers that are different, stay tuned, or better yet just go get one of the credibles spots. We’ll have over 50 types of peppers, from small white peppers to little tapered purple ones to large chocolate sweet peppers to scorpions and reapers. White, yellow, green, red, orange, chocolate, purple and more, and you won’t want to miss a chance to spice up your dishes. (Stay tuned tomorrow!) Still, this is something that produces in the warm months, in good weather, like most produce.

Traditionally this time of year people ate what was in the root cellar, what was dried during the summer glut or “put up” – canned or frozen – to enjoy year round. Today, the supermarket has those dried, canned and frozen things, eliminating the work of preserving for winter rations. Plants don’t do well in freezing weather, which is much of the country. We had outside plants zapped last month with a cold snap, salvaging some by bringing them inside to try to keep them going.

We can offer fresh meats year round, but chicks this time of year will be kept inside more due to temperatures that will kill them. Newly hatched birds must be kept warm – 90-95* is recommended, decreasing five degrees per week until feathered out. Even then, it’s difficult at best to get late birds raised in the same way as spring birds, but it can be done.

Shorter days with less daylight also affects breeding of animals, including rabbits. Here in a few days, the days begin to get longer again and we’re reminded spring is on the way.

We are working to improve what we can offer fresh, but like most small farms there will be a flush of food in the warmer weather of spring and summer, tapering off until fall and relying on small amounts of fresh and that which was put up for winter use. Savvy shoppers will make use of that summer glut and chop and freeze tomatoes, peppers and other things for the next best thing to fresh eating. Many herbs, such as our rosemary, are dried for use year round. We also dry and crush peppers, and with a little effort have not only pepper flakes but ground pepper – examples of this are paprika (from a certain type of pepper) or ground cayenne pepper.

So while we don’t have an abundance of year round food like the grocery store, we do grow our own and help you maximize what you get from us. Stop back by tomorrow for a brief preview of some of the pepper varieties we have on tap for 2015. Go get your VIP spot with a subscription!

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