Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Newsletter - Oct. 17, 2020 - extra edition


Fall greetings from the King family! l. to r. - Kenny, Cathy, Edwin, Billy
(photo by Donya)

Here's a little update on what the King family has been doing and will be doing as we wind up this season and head to 2021.

First, news from Nomadland, the film co-produced by Emily Foley, of team Frog Holler (when she isn't going Hollywood. :-)
Nomadland had several concurrent premieres in September - Telluride(at the Rose Bowl and attended by Frog Hollerites Emily, Edwin and Freya), Venice (where it won the Golden Lion award), Toronto and New York. In Toronto it won the People's Choice Award, which is often considered "Oscar-predictive". So the big question is: Will Freya be walking the Red Carpet?

The word must already be out that Freya is a star. She went along on a service call at Dunning Toyota and ended up on their Facebook page!

Many of you enjoyed the feature on the lovely ladies of Frog Holler. Well, they go through their winter rhythms as well and a number of them are starting to molt. When chickens molt, they lose their feathers and look quite scrawny. But molting is a natural process, triggered by decreasing day length, that enables the hens to refresh their feathers before the winter. 

It looks like Butterscotch can't shake her tail feathers for a while!

Here's Phoenix, getting ready to rise from the ashes.

Her "pin feathers" are showing! (developing feathers)

She'll look like this soon!

Now Simone and Tommy want some page space! Simone (named after Simone Biles) and Tommy (named after Tom Brady, the G.O.A.T - yes we have a Patriots fan in our midst) are our two Nigerian Dwarf goats and you see them photographed inside a fence because they are ba-a-a-a-d! 

Simone and Tommy, partners in crime :-)

What did they do to merit being in the pen? Really just being goats is quite enough. Although they are terribly cute and their acrobatic antics are always entertaining, they can quickly destroy a vegetable patch, the exterior paint of a car that they try to climb, or a roof's shingles. We usually keep them in a large enclosure where they can munch to their heart's delight, but lately they have been repeatedly breaking out. Until we can secure them, they are in the chicken pen, and you can certainly assume that the ladies are not thrilled! But aren't they cute?

We went back to a Daikon Radish patch that we thought we were finished harvesting and found this monster, displayed by Kenny King:

Aren't you glad you didn't find this in your share box?

This is a terribly amateurish clip of the farm's new drone, purchased used from a neighbor who can be seen giving instructions. Please forgive the sideways section of the footage - adds to the dizzying effect of this strange technology. And it shows you what the dogs think of this new farm critter! Unmute to hear the obnoxious hum.

We aren't exactly sure how we will use the drone - maybe next year all of the CSA newsletters will be filled with drone footage! :-) We do hope the drone will give helpful footage of the farm fields, the Holler Fest layout, and most likely for more music videos. Now that farming duties have lightened a bit, Billy King has had more time to share his music online - no aerial shots yet but they're probably coming!

Here is one of Billy's latest songs, with his musical pal, Emily Slomovits, playing violin and singing backup. It's a challenge these days to create duets across the distance, but brother Kenny King worked the dials to integrate the files and this beautiful collaboration resulted. "Resist", by Billy King.

 Billy is playing banjo on the balcony of our barn and playing piano back in our stone cabin in the woods. Emily is at her parent's home in Ann Arbor. 

And here is another new collaboration just released. Billy puts these up on his Facebook page and you can go there for more music and some Facebook Live short presentations. Here's what Billy wrote on his page for this song:
Hi friends, please enjoy this recording of an "anti war" song written by my late father, Ken. While he was very outspoken with his political views he rarely expressed it in his music. I can only imagine what he would make of the current climate. Thank you Emily Slomovits and Cathy King for helping with the project. You'll notice some extra studio tracks, I recommend ear buds for the best sonic experience. Thanks for listening.  "Miss That Kind of Love", by Ken King

Again, we're back at the stone cabin; Emily in Ann Arbor. Kenny King on the dials.

We hope you have had opportunities to enjoy Autumn in our beautiful state of Michigan, despite the current "state of affairs". We wish you a safe winter, finding health in your home and peace in your pod.  We'll be hunkered down, taking care of farm critters, ordering seeds, keeping in virtual touch with friends and family, and trusting in Mother Nature to bring rest to the earth this Winter and renewal this Spring. Be well everyone!

Freya, Fall and Frog Holler 

Friday, October 9, 2020

CSA Newsletter - Oct. 10, 2020 - Week 18

Fall is here!
But your share hasn't given up summer yet! In your last box is a combo of the seasons:










Rutabaga in left lower corner, next to garlic and red onion, behind sweet potatoes, below potatoes
 - all in your share!

Most of these photos were taken at our market stall last Saturday. We hope you will come visit us at our stall (#19-20) for the remainder of the season. Online orders will also continue as long as we have produce - pickup at the stall, curbside at the market, or at the farm.

All market photos by Donya (pictured above)


We had radish sandwiches this week - so simple but uniquely satisfying. Quick too! Start with some good dense bread; we had a hearty rye loaf. Spread with good butter. Place slices of radishes on bread. Eat!

We also added radish greens to a stir-fry. When the greens are young and tender like the ones in your share, they are very edible AND nutritious!

We had a classic fall dinner with roasted potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and roasted sweet potatoes and carrots. We topped it all off with a vegan gravy, from a recipe provided by one of our members, Jude. 
Basic Vegan Gravy: 2 T butter or plant-based butter; 2 T flour - roast briefly in pan. 1 T. cornstarch; 1 and 1/2 c. veggie broth - stir into flour/butter. 2 T soy sauce; 1 T. nutritional yeast - add last. Stir over medium heat until thickened. 

CSA member Jude was getting ready to make pasties and they are a perfect fall dish. Use your garlic, onion, sweet potatoes, potatoes - some combination thereof, but most important, add the rutabaga for the classic pasty flavor. This recipe from Jamie Oliver for My Veggie Pasties, adds a British twist, calling the rutabaga a "swede". You'll find that name for rutabagas in many old gardening books.


For this last official CSA newsletter, we'll give a bit of a recap on farm crew and doin's. But First...ta dah..or should we say cock-a-doodle-doo!? The winner of the Feathered Fun Crossword Puzzle contest is Jackie Creager! Jackie is a long-time Frog Holler friend and CSA member and she will pick up her prized dozen eggs at our market stall. Thanks to all of you who had fun with the puzzle!

Thelma says Congratulations Jackie!

As we wind down the season, there are many tasks geared toward cleaning up the fields from this year and preparing for the next. At this time of year, when we are finished harvesting a field, we plant cover crops to replenish the soil, add organic matter, and provide a setting resistant to soil erosion.

Here Billy King spreads buckwheat cover crop using the hand crank spreader.

Here is the young buckwheat sprouting. No more rows!

We squeaked through a couple of frosty nights and protected the vulnerable crops through a combination of covering and running the sprinklers all night. So far so good! But remember those tiny lettuce seedlings we crossed our fingers and set a few weeks back?

Well we thought those babies needed some longterm protection so we covered the entire patch one afternoon. 

It takes a lot of digging and scooping, but hopefully we'll have salad mix in November!

All tucked in

Emily and next-door neighbor Sandy have started keeping bees this year, trading sessions with each other's hive. As you may have heard, bee populations are under challenge due to loss of habitat and invasive pests. Even if you can't have a hive in your backyard, you can plant and encourage pollinators to provide the bees with nectar and nourishment. 

Happy because they won't get stung in this gear!

And here is our honeybee hive haven:

We won't take honey this first year so the bees get strong and fat through the winter!

The flower garden is right by the bee hive so the bees have lots of yummy flowers to visit:

Fall is a time to forage for mushrooms and we recently found this humongous puff ball:

The knife shows the relative size.

Well, the puffball was a tad too mature for good eating but it did make a perfect turban!

Hail Cale, King of the Mushrooms!

Cale and Ashleh, who have made it through a second season on the Frog Holler crew, and in fine spirits to boot, will be moving soon to a place that will give them a lot more room to practice their respective arts. And as the farm season winds down, they will have more a lot more time as well as room. 

Ashleh is a silversmith, and we highlighted some of her beautiful jewelry in a previous newsletter. One example:

The stone on this pendant is a Cherry Creek Jasper
Cale carves unique wooden spoons, such as:

All from foraged wood - some from Frog Holler!

You can see more of Asleh's beautiful creations, as well as Cale's exquisite hand-carved spoons, at their Etsy shop, accessed by If you are thinking of holiday gifts, consider supporting these fine artisan farmers!

Crew member Keegen is also moving - actually he took possession of his new house this week! Many of you know that the housing market has become very competitive. It wasn't easy and Keegen had some disappointments in his search, but he persevered and and now gets to deep clean, make repairs, and do all those good homeowner chores!

Keegen will be smelling the roses in his own backyard!

Crew member Milan has been living in town for a month and is loving her tutoring job.  Here is a science experiment she put together with a stalk of celery and some food coloring.

Look at that osmosis/transpiration go!

And here is Milan in her new apt. with a really big chair!

Om sweet home

Well, time moves on, the seasons change, the leaves turn. In this tree-filled area of the state it is almost dizzying to see the latest color splash surprises:

And while the crew is moving on, they have made a connection to the farm through the soil and their toil, and through friendships forged in shared experiences, shared dedication. The fruits of their labor have landed in your share boxes and our hope is that the newsletter has given you a peek into the stories behind the box. We couldn't have done it without crew; we couldn't have done it without you! We're grateful to live on this beautiful piece of land that has allowed us to coax some crops from the soil while learning to be good stewards. We're sorry we couldn't share the land with the community this year, but look forward to a time when gathering at the farm will feel comfortable, normal, and healing! Until then, thank you to all who joined us in the adventure of CSA 2020 - be well, stay safe, and we'll be in touch!

Freya says have a great Fall everyone!


Thursday, October 1, 2020

CSA News - Oct. 3, 2020 - Week 17


The lovely ladies of Frog Holler Farm


Not eggs! But read on and you might have a chance to win some! For now, veggies:


Alien landing? Or brussels sprouts growing on the stalk?

Do you care at all for a carrot?



Last week was a good week for drying 


Kohlrabi - a "root" vegetable that forms above ground


Faithful garlic - happy to accent any dish!


They enjoyed last week's summery temps
And may very well be frosted this week!

EGGPLANT - we picked a lot because of imminent frost so added some to your share


Very likely the last of our tomatoes


Maybe one more salsa?


Not our crew - but our crew has certainly picked this many beans - and more!
Read how college students pitched in to help harvest during WWII in this fascinating historical article.


Brussels Sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and they do look like little cabbages.  
Brussels Sprouts, although originating in Ancient Rome, have long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, and thus the name. The internet abounds with recipes for roasting them; which seems to be a favorite method of preparation. Another option, favored on the farm, is roasted brussels sprouts with mustard sauce. (This is not exactly how we make them on the farm - but you get the idea.) Have fun experimenting with this unique way to enjoy the flavor and nutritional benefits of the brassica family!

We also made black bean and sweet potato burritos this week - topping them off with chopped tomatoes and cilantro. Sweet and spicy!

We found this recipe for BBQ Sweet Potato croutons - they look super tasty. Good on salads, with veggies, and betcha just for snacking. What do you think?


Well the gals wanted a little newsletter time and we are happy to comply. We have to admit they are a fine-looking bevy of biddies, with one handsome dude! Here they come!

That's Floyd front and center in this next video. He is a really good rooster, always watching out for the gals. Whenever they start to cackle he stands guard. Looked like it was only an afternoon cackle fest.

A selection of beauty biddies:



Rosy hitching a ride on the golf cart

Above: Birds of different feathers flocking together! Chickens love to hunker down in the dirt and sand. They flap their wings to spread the dirt throughout their feathers, which helps to control bugs and mites. They also seem to meet up most afternoons to preen their feathers and just hang out together. 

Our chickens have a nice long life with plenty of opportunities to pursue natural chicken behavior: dust-bathing, flocking, scratching for bugs. If possible, purchase your eggs from local farmers who provide good quality of life for their flock. You will be rewarded with fresh eggs that have bright orange yolks, hard shells and no runny whites. And with an egg flavor that incorporates the whole outdoors!

And we did collaborate with the girls to bring you another world famous CSA crossword puzzle contest! The puzzle's theme explores idioms related to chickens and the girls are quite proud of how many references and sayings there are. AND, as a special incentive to enter into the fascinating world of chicken idioms and phrases, our flock is donating one dozen of their finest organic product to the winning puzzle solver!

Delicious and pretty!

The winner will be chosen in a drawing of names of those who completed the puzzle. Just email us that you completed the puzzle and you will be entered into the drawing. The ladies don't lay enough eggs for us to sell so this is a very special offer. Get puzzling!

AND there's more! To get you in the mood while you're solving, you can listen to "The Rooster Song", recorded by your farmers, Billy and Kenny King, aka the King Brothers, when they were 12 and 8 years old.  This is from their cassette, yes cassette (but now digital on Bandcamp), For Kids By Kids.

Thelma says have a great week everyone!