Thursday, August 11, 2016

August 13, 2016 - Share # 8

from the New Yorker, Aug. 8  & 15


KALE! :-)  and we don't think it's for nothing!








TOMATOES - at last!


For the beans, try a cool bean and feta salad. We have also been freezing beans which is easy to do - just blanch in boiling water for a few minutes, then plunge in a bowl of cold/ice water. Drain and bag up for delicious winter soups and side dishes! It's not really soup weather now, but if we get some rain this weekend, as promised, the leeks and celery will contribute nicely to a classic Potato Leek Soup. You could sneak some kale in there too! And here's a use for zucchini you probably haven't tried: Sweet Zuc' Biscuits. Make your pooch happy while using zucchini - the cooking challenge for August! And one of our members took some of the over-sized zucchini last week and said she was going home to make Zucchini Apple Crisp! Okay, maybe folks are getting desperate to use zucchini :-), but the internet supplies numerous accolades and recipes. You can also grate zucchini and freeze it for winter quick breads. Now you wish you had more zucchini!

And for fresh summer tomatoes - no recipe necessary!


Bioluminescence is the production of light by living organisms and we witnessed that for the first time at Frog Holler this week. We had been doing some roadwork for Holler Fest and dug up an old stump that had probably been rotting for ten years. That night when intern Marc walked through the woods after dark, he came across a large glowing area. Wondering if he was about to be abducted, adventurous Marc kept walking toward the greenish glow. He lived to tell the story and the rest of us went back the next night to see the fantastical glowing earth and tree stump. Photos needed a long exposure, but intern Nhin was able to capture these interesting shots.

The first one shows the area illuminated by the camera flash. Not much glow to see.

The second photo shows the glowing microorganisms scattered through the area. (But it really doesn't do it justice!). The third photo superimposes the glowing areas over the stump and ground.

The "foxfire" has slowly faded as it has been exposed to light. We finished the road work, covered up the stump and earth, and are left with a story to tell!

Illuminated with a flash.

Glowing in the dark

On the weather front:
We have watched many rain predictions evaporate and are now looking at the results of a very hot, dry summer. Crops are hanging in there, and some seem even happy with the heat - like beans and tomatoes. We are watering constantly and will do our best to keep things growing until the fall rains come. An upside of the dry conditions is that flavor gets concentrated in some fruits and veggies. The tomatoes are really tasty this year!

While keeping the sprinklers going we are still preparing for Holler Fest, and this week you will receive your CSA passes to the Fest - one or two depending on your level of memberships. Bi-Weekly folks who get their shares next week will get their passes then. Market Share members can get their passes whenever they shop.

We hope to see you all at Holler Fest! We still have some volunteer slots open. If you want to join the team and have fun making the festival happen, click the volunteer link and let us know! And check out the Holler Fest web site for lots of photos, info and a flavor of the Fest. We have been updating it regularly with more information about activities at the fest.

And keep those rain dances going!

Have a great week everyone - thanks for bringing your boxes back!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 30, 2016 - Share #6

Mason and Marc, our intrepid weeding team!











NOTES AND COOKING TIPS FROM THE SHARE BOX: Another great harvest box! Everything will keep better with a rinse and in a plastic bag in the fridge except potatoes and garlic - store them out of the fridge. Basil storage is controversial, as it turns black if kept too cold. But it gets limp if kept too warm. We put it in a glass of water out of the fridge, and then use it up in a few days.

Bean picking - it's a head down (and bottom up!) affair
One of the ways we use basil is in pesto. Emily made a small vat of it this week, as basil is abundant right now. We will freeze it and enjoy the taste of summer when snow is on the ground! We also like this recipe for Potato Salad with Green Beans and Pesto - and it uses several items in your share! We actually ate lots of green beans this week as our first patch has been extremely generous (although greedy with the hours of picking it has demanded!). We enjoyed this classic Three Bean Salad, especially when it was hot and muggy and cool salads hit the spot. Although our first patch of beans is almost finished, a new patch is on the horizon, and we look forward to trying some of these cooking possibilities: Sesame Green Beans, or a slightly different version: Green Beans with Parsley and Sesame Tahini. And if we get ambitious, we're going to make Pink Peppercorn Green Bean Pickles! The recipe says to try these in a martini cocktail - what do you think?

Have you massaged your kale today?

PHOTO-NOTES FROM AROUND THE FARM: Talented intern and artist Daniela Risquez took these photos of scenes around the farm, as well as the photo above of Mason and Marc weeding.

Bundles of garlic hanging in the "pole barn"

View of the greenhouse, as seen through the Calendula patch!

A patchwork of patches as we work with our rolling terrain

NOTES FROM HOLLER FEST: The festival ate my newsletter! Yes, festival preparations are picking up - last week rolling 300 burritos replaced the newsletter. We froze them, then will thaw, warm, and feed hungry musicians throughout the festival weekend. And your editor is late this week as we are finalizing the first Farm/Holler Fest cookbook, full of the good-eatin' recipes that you are familiar with through this blog and at the festival Holler Kitchen. Pick up a copy at Holler Fest!

The spontaneous circle that closed out Holler Fest 2014. A spontaneous thunderstorm closed out HF 2015!
We hope you will join us at Holler Fest and bring friends and family to this tenth celebration of local food, music and community. After ten years, kids have grown up at the festival; families use it as a reunion destination; there is even a wedding at Holler Fest this year! So as members of our CSA, you can see first-hand the culmination of our years of food, art and community cultivation. Your passes will be distributed soon - one or two passes depending on your level of CSA membership. The web site and Facebook page are being updated regularly - check them out! Here are some good links:

Web site/music schedule:

Facebook community page

To get additional passes before the festival (passes also available at the Gate)

To volunteer at Holler Fest!

Thanks everyone - have a great week!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

July 16, 2016 -Share #4

The garlic harvest is in!











PURSLANE - stems with succulent green leaves. No aroma so you'll know it's not basil!


The potatoes are new and freshly dug - they will be tender and tasty any way you prepare them. This recipe for Whole Roasted Carrots claims to be the only one you'll ever need - check it out! Purslane shows up in your share usually once a season. Although considered a weed by many, this nutrition dense wild plant should at least be tried! Chop it fresh into salads or lightly steam or stir-fry. The link takes you to a helpful Mother Earth News "Power-Packed Purslane" page. Enjoy! If you're looking for new ways to use kale, try this Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts. You'll get your kale nutrients, jazzed up with the basil and garlic from your share. Toss with pasta and you're on your way to a satisfying summer meal!


Can't complain about no rain! We actually had two showers this week, with a little over an inch on Wednesday night. That will help!

The garlic harvest is completed and the potato harvest has begun. The plants should be getting more lush with this new moisture, but the weeds aren't far behind! (Okay, found something to complain about!).

The crew has worked diligently through many hot and muggy days to harvest what's ready, maintain what's growing, and plant what is to come. We did all of that this week, and after taking some time off to hear Eyes Unclouded, one of the farm bands play at Cobblestone Market last Tuesday and another musical configuration play this Saturday, we'll do it all again next week!

Holler Fest card by Daniela Risquez, colored by Mason Sharp
 Here's another version of our Holler Fest promo card designed by intern and artist, Daniela Risquez, and this one colored by intern and artist, Mason Sharp. Inviting, eh? We hope we will see you at Holler Fest! As CSA members, you receive one or two passes to Holler Fest, depending on your level of membership. Despite this 'free pass,' we hope you all will consider pitching in to help this unique farm event run smoothly and successfully. Faye, one of our CSA members, offers massage on Saturday afternoon! Other members have signed up for volunteer shifts around the festival. Lots of ways to be a member of your farm and festival! Find out more at this link to the Volunteer Sign-up Application:

But most importantly we hope you will come out and enjoy the farm. There will be kids activities, nature walks, camping, good food, and music music music! Mark your calendars: Holler Fest 2016, Aug. 26-28.

Thelma says have a great week everybody!

Have a great week everybody!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 9, 2016 - Share # 3


Not Cinder! Farm doggie Cinder keeps cool with regular dips in the "green pond" - our algae-filled irrigation pond that gives Cinder a green tint, and rich aroma, every time she emerges - but she's so happy!












NOTES FROM THE SHARE BOX: Really no surprises - everything should be identifiable by shape or smell. As mentioned last week, we are sharing the arugula with little flea beetles, but that doesn't affect the flavor, just the appearance. This is the first digging of carrots - enjoy! And our faithful veggie friends zucchini and summer squash make their return - they haven't worn out their welcome yet!

NOTES FROM THE RECIPE BOX: Have you ever roasted carrots? As with roasting any vegetable, the flavor intensifies and even caramelizes a bit. You can roast them straight up with olive oil and salt, or try Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots for rich deliciousness. All good, but with these new fresh from the ground carrots, you might just want to munch them Bugs Bunny style!

And it's a good time to remember Massaged Kale. This is a delicious and nutritious way to plow through your kale share! And this is one of the recipes in the upcoming Frog Holler Farm/Holler Fest Recipe Book - coming soon to a farm festival near you!

Mason, Mary Kate, Marc and Nhin in the garlic patch

Garlic harvest is in full swing! The garlic looks pretty good and the harvest will take several sessions. Mary Kate Mathy, a high school student from Downer's Grove, Illinois, is visiting her big brother Marc this week and has been a big help at the farm!

Mary Kate loading garlic onto the "Gator"
Mason, Marc and Nhin tying the garlic bundles
 Digging the garlic is just the first step of the process. Every fall the remaining interns plant the garlic cloves for harvest the next summer. Most interns are not back the next year to see the garlicky fruits of their labors. This year's crew is harvesting last year's planting, and then will plant in the fall for next year's crew. And so it goes.

However, Nhin Luu returns to his third year of wrangling garlic out of the ground, wrapping the bunches and hanging them from the barn's rafters!

First garlic bunches


Mason starting his presentation on Climate Change
Intern Mason Sharp is a member of Citizen's Climate Lobby , an activist group that
"...exists to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power." Through participation in the group and his own study, Mason has amassed a wealth of (rather depressing) information about where in the world we are relative to climate change. Mason shared some of that information with the farm crew this week  - explaining the science behind climate change; the political response (or lack thereof) and what we can do. As Mason pointed out, the situation is bleak, but at the same time that's no reason to give up. He suggested that one way to address the challenge of hopelessness is to join groups, spend time with and learn from like-minded people, and take small actions that can build.

To that end, there is a meeting of the local chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby this Saturday, July 9, 12:45 - 2:45pm, 1425 Cambridge Rd, Ann Arbor. All are welcome and you can contact Ginny Rogers at for more information. For further learning Mason suggests these books: Earth, by Bill McKibben; Storms of My Grandchildren, by Dr. James Hansen; and This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein.

We appreciate Mason's dedication and commitment to making our world a better place. There isn't much good news, but with informed and compassionate young people, there is hope!

Sibs Mary Kate and Marc Mathy at the Wednesday market - more young people doing good things!

Still dry! We're setting up drip irrigation for the brussels sprouts in The Slope garden

Still groundhog problems! Here's a live trap set for the varmint who ate the broccoli in the foreground

Cinder has her own version of "going green"

Yo - have a great week - and stay cool!

Frog Holler farmers Kenny King, Donya Huber and Cinder

Thursday, June 30, 2016

July 3, 2016 - Share #2

 Holler Fest is less than two months away - we hope you will join us!
Card designed and colored by Frog Holler intern Daniela Risquez

Intern Stevie Snyder-Barker with one of our super-sized lettuce heads! 



KALE - TUSCAN, AKA DINOSAUR                         KALE









We are starting to harvest a new lettuce patch so the heads won't all be "out of the box" as in last week's share! Tuscan Kale is also called Dinosaur Kale because the crinkled dark green leaves are said to look like a dinosaur's skin. We promise you they won't be as tough as a dinosaur's skin! The arugula is from a new patch that we are sharing with the flea beetles, hence the little holes. The flavor and tenderness are not affected! Flea beetles are just like their name sounds - small black little flea-sized bugs with a prodigious jump! Kohlrabi is a versatile spring root crop, with a flavor sometimes described as a cross between cauliflower and apple - good roasted or eaten raw. These are the first garlic heads from the 2016 crop, which looks pretty good. They haven't been cured so eat them up or refrigerate.


Rainbow Chard Stems - pickling!
This week we enjoyed a big pot of Grains n' Greens, which can use the beet greens in your share. Nutritionists always point to the higher vitamin and mineral content in the greens relative to the beets, so this tasty and satisfying dish will give you a nutritional as well as flavor boost. Beets keep longer than their greens so it's good to have some beet green recipes on hand!

Just like it feels good to use the greens as well as the beets, it feels really good to use the stems as well as the chard! Emily made these pickled chard stems this week and we have been enjoying them with many and any meals! They are quick and tasty, and the Rainbow Chard stems are especially pretty. If you Google "Chard Stems" you will find a surprising array of suggestions. Of course you can slice the stems finely and add to any stir-fry, but why not Chard Stem Hummus or Chard Stem Gratin or Roasted Swiss Chard Stems - lots of possibilities!

A stream of water from the well going into the irrigation pond.

Although determined not to complain, your editor must acknowledge, as you all well know, how much we need rain! Actually the USDA drought status weekly report says that parts of southeastern Michigan are "abnormally dry" and very close to drought status. If you look at the map on the link, you will see Jackson County, where Frog Holler Farm is located, smack dab in the middle of the "close to drought" area. Our irrigation pond is getting very low, especially for so early in the summer. Right now we are "watering" the irrigation pond from our well. We keep the stream going overnight, hopefully replenishing the pond so we can keep irrigating the garden. We also use the well for irrigation, but the pond serves more areas of the garden - when it has water!

And the groundhogs are thirsty too! We have seen an uptick in groundhog incursions and our four live traps are constantly busy. Since Frog Holler farmer Billy King is also a musician, sometimes his day and night jobs overlap. Here is one of the many groundhogs we have caught this year being resettled - traveling in the van still full of music gear from the night before. That's a trip the groundhog can tell his children about!

Well, some good news is that we passed our organic certification inspection this week with flying colors - no issues!

And finally, this past Monday evening we joined fellow farmers and good friends, Paul Bantle and Anne Elder, at Community Farm of Ann Arbor. Paul and Anne have been at the helm of one of the country's oldest CSA farms for 17 years. Before that Paul lived and worked at Frog Holler and before that Paul and Anne both worked at Wildflour Community Bakery. They have served the Ann Arbor community well and will be leaving next year for California and a meditation retreat where Paul teaches. But for now, we joined them for a potluck and game night, taking time from worries about groundhogs and drought to enjoy fellowship and silliness in a sweet and peaceful setting.

Community Farm of Ann Arbor farmers Paul Bantle (standing) and Anne Elder (sitting in foreground and about to snuff your editor in a game of Labyrinth!)

Have a great week everyone and thank for bringing your boxes back! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 25, 2016 - Share #1

A vegetative work of art!








Garlic Scapes




Kohlrabi is a light greenish root vegetable that sort of looks like a miniature UFO!? Garlic Scapes are the thin, slightly twirly bunch of veggies that stand in nicely until we harvest our garlic crop. Garlic Scapes are milder than clove garlic, so use liberally! Everything else should be familiar, and delicious!


At the farm this week, we used peeled raw kohlrabi slices as dippers for hummus - fresh and tasty! If you're in the mood for something warm, try this Roasted Kohlrabi variation.

We had a box of "seconds" radishes that had splits in them so we incorporated radishes into many meals. Roasted radishes made their richly mellow radish appearance several times. Poached Radishes were an elegant side dish in one meal; we didn't have the recommended French Breakfast radishes but it worked just fine. And at the same meal we had Radish Sandwiches, with slices of Old World Rye Bread from our farmer's market neighbors, Mill Pond Bakery. The dark earthy bread, rich creamy butter ( we use Calder Farms), and crisp brightly-flavored radish slices make a delicious collaboration! Get the best quality ingredients you can find, and enjoy!


A little tour around the early summer farm:
We just planted our late tomatoes in the "hoophouse". Don't look like much, do they?
Here are the early tomatoes, looking pretty good so far!

and here is where the early tomatoes spent most of their spring - under row cover wraps! Now the peppers and eggplant are ready to emerge - and be weeded!
This is a depressing photo of what our entire row of cilantro looks like - chewed up by groundhogs! :-(

Our neighbor Tom Hines, who regularly appears in these newsletters, has spent the week hauling "brown gold" for us - aged manure from a local horse farm.
What's a newsletter without a chicken photo? Here are some of our happy birds eating their salad!

Frog Holler farmer Billy King and Frog Holler intern Daniela Risquez will perform Saturday, June 25, at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom. Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, organic farmer Billy King shares an evening of his original music and tasteful covers. "Dani", our newest intern who sang professionally in Venezuela before coming to the States, will back up Billy as well as share her own unique vocal styling. A great night of organic music! 8:30 in the Tearoom.

Billy and Dani at The Ark's Open Stage

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, January 11, 2016

One last look at 2015

Greetings in the New Year! Looking back over last year, here are a few interesting items that didn't make it into the newsletter.

 In March, Frog Holler farmer Kenny King attended a live showing of the popular NPR radio show, "This American Life", thanks to friend Leah Hagamen winning tickets through the Ark. The event was in Lansing, and the winning ticket holders were treated to some food and a meet-and-greet with none other than Ira Glass, producer, host and co-creator of "This American Life".

Mr. Glass went around the room, congenially engaging in short conversations with all the attendees. When he arrived at Leah and Kenny and introductions were made, the term "CSA" came up. Response from Mr. Glass, "What's a CSA?"

Uh oh, the host of "This American Life", who has his finger on the pulse of America, has not heard of a CSA?? Looks like we have more work to do. Well he seemed happy to learn something about it and if Mr. Glass comes back to this area, we will be sure to send him a box!

Leah, Ira Glass and Kenny

In the early spring we received a request from Carhartt to have a photo shoot at the farm. The ad director of the project knew one of the King family and was looking for a good setting to feature the four sisters who have started the very cool and popular raw juice business, Drought, in Detroit. Well, actually to feature the four sisters wearing Carhartt!

We said sure and on a warm and sunny day, the ad campaign came out to the farm to feature spring rain gear! With no rain in sight, the magic of advertising took care of the required rain drops and it was a successful shoot. Look for the ads this spring!

Truth in advertising dep't.: There was no rain and we don't supply Drought with any of our greens, and the sisters probably do not harvest their own greens! But they seem like good people, very dedicated to a conscious product and supporting local growers along the way. And Carhartt compensated us for the use of our setting and threw some swag our way as well. Born in Detroit in 1889, Carhartt just established their flagship store last year back in Detroit and seem to be investing in their roots.

The tag line at the end of the feature says: And don’t forget, good food comes from good places and good people. We'll drink (raw juice of course) to that!
The Drought sisters harvesting in our kale patch.

And in the chard patch. (Actual Frog Holler Farm workers can be seen in the background!)

Lots of kale on a sunny day!

Oops where did that rain come from?

Keeping dry on a sunny rainy day! :-)

Shortly before Holler Fest last summer, our neighbor, Matt Merfert, from down the road, contacted us and offered to "solarize" our farm golf cart. Matt works at installing large solar arrays around the world, but he was back home for a short time and had an errant solar panel that he thought would fit perfectly atop the flat roof of our little g-cart. Matt took a few hours one evening to make the necessary adjustments, then flew off to Dubai. We tooted off in the golf cart and have never had to charge it since last August! Thank you Matt! Thank you Sun!!

You may have seen the cart in service at Holler Fest. The sign gives credit to the sun and Matt!
A  little better view of the panel

Our golf cart is a hard-workin' farm vehicle! Here it is loaded with Holler Fest items to stow until next year - Emily at the wheel.

And although we had a lot of our own Holler Fest stuff to put away, our festival guests were very respectful of the land. Here is all of the trash that was left from all of the campsites. But that's not surprising with the Holler Fest community!

Chicken update! Okay, if you have been a regular reader of this newsletter, you may have learned more than you care to know about the Frog Holler chickens! Well, the baby chicks that were hatched in July have grown into nine beautiful hens - oops, six beautiful hens and three handsome roosters! They have joined the flock of their big sisters and all seem to be doing fine. And they just started laying their first eggs!

Birds of different feathers...

This beauty was the last to hatch.


And finally, our barn had a baby! This "tiny house" was designed by farmer Edwin's girlfriend, Emily, and built by Tom Huber, good friend of Frog Holler and head carpenter at the Washtenaw Food Hub. The tiny house was built at the Food Hub and it rolled out to the farm in November. Emily's job includes lots of travel but she'll have a cozy nest to stay in when at the farm!
196 sq. feet!

And it looks like the tiny house had a baby! That's the pump house just completed in the fall to insulate the new well.

Okay, that just about wraps up 2015. There were ups and downs but overall it was a good year and we couldn't have made it through the farm and festival season without lots of help and support - thank you!

And as we look ahead to election year 2016, we can't know what the year will bring in terms of weather, crops, or candidates. But we can know that we'll do our best to meet unexpected challenges; we'll find good folks to share the ride with; and we'll take the adventure as it comes!

Happy New Year!