The 2019 season has been underway here for about a month. The beginning weeks of the season are always quieter celebrations—full of seeded trays and seedlings making their first appearances.
This season we are excited to announce Shiloh Farm's first CSA.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Local community members can participate in fresh seasonal produce right from the farm. There is a deep connection with the rhythms of the earth and the food we are eating. Getting produce from your local farmer through a CSA follows these rhythms of eating seasonally.
Paying for your CSA at the start of the season allows our farm to buy seeds, compost, and other materials needed to run the farm. You are partnering with us to make this season possible.
We are excited for you to be a part of the nature of farming, and we stand by our commitment to you in thoughtful practices and care in our growing and harvests.
If you are interested in joining us this season, click learn more for a link to our CSA page.
Since the start of the school year, Amy has included her classroom on our journey at Shiloh Farm. Her students have been watching our crops grow and learning about where their food comes from through pictures, conversations, and growing their own plants. This fall some very special visitors made learning about a whole farm system working together even more exciting. Farmer Ross came in to do a special lesson about the farm and brought our brand new chicks with him.
We got to visit each of the first grade classrooms to share about our passion for growing food and taking care of the earth around us. We talked about the role our chickens play on the farm and how we take care of them.
The chicks were a hit!
We ended each lesson with reminding students of the importance of knowing where your food comes. We want each student, no matter how little, to know that food comes from the earth around them and we need to take good care of it. We were excited to share about the different vegetables we grow and invite the students out to the various farmers' markets to support their local growers.
We are excited to see the next generation already starting conversations about where their food comes from!
Post growing season, Ross headed down to Selmer, TN to participate in a conference held by Curtis Stone and Ray Tyler. The conference is designed to engage a model of profitable small acreage farming over the course of 5 days. Check out below to see pictures of Rose Creek Farms' production and an interview with Ross below.
Interview with Ross Peterson
1. Could you tell us a little about the farm conference and what attracted you to this course?
Ross: The workshop was led by Curtis Stone from Green City Acres, teaching his small acreage farming techniques at Rose Creek Farm in Tennessee. It brought together farmers from around the country looking to maximize efficiency, quality, and profits. The host of the conference was Ray and Ashley Tyler, the owners of Rose Creek Farm. Their operation is well-run and inspiring. What attracted me to the conference was getting the most out of a small-acreage farm or market garden.
Check out their farms here:
Green City Acres: http://www.greencityacres.com/
Rose Creek Farms: http://rosecreekfarms.net/
2. What was something that you observed from Rose Creek Farms' production that stood out to you?
Ross: Probably their salad mix production. Ray has perfected the art of growing greens in the middle of the summer in the Tennessee heat.
3. Was there something that surprised you from either conversation or observation during the conference?
Ross: How many people are interested in doing this well. Also, the ability to make this profitable and work. Seeing the examples of Ray and Curtis who are making this work and making it seem accessible to work for others as well.
4. What is one thing that you are looking to implement immediately since leaving the conference?
Ross: Getting all the supplies and things before the season starts. Working towards knocking out projects before the season is in full swing. Really locking down good vendors for the supplies we will need for the upcoming season in the off-season.
5. What is one thing you hope to set as a future goal now after observing Rose Creek farm?
Ross: Simple yet efficient set-up of a post-harvest station. A set-up that is more intuitive and would make harvesting more efficient.
6. What is one goal you have in the 2018 season now that you have wrapped up the 2017 season?
Ross: Expanding the availability of our best-selling vegetables.
7. What is one tool or specific resource (book, farmer, online course....etc) that you learned about or was reinforced for you?
Ross: The utilization of tarps and the benefits of covering ground. I would recommend checking out Curtis Stone's book, The Urban Farmer, if you're interested in a small-acreage farm set-up. That has been a useful resource for us since the start of Shiloh Farm. I've also completed Curtis's online course, but found an in-person course helpful to really observed set-up and production of a working small-acreage farm.
*If interested in looking in Curtis Stone's course or book links are below for your reference:
Shiloh Farm's first market was a success this weekend, and we are eagerly forging ahead, anticipating a busy season. It was a whirlwind of 24 hours prepping salad mix, washing radishes, and bundling kale late into Friday evening and early Saturday am before market. We were very thankful for the extra set of hands that came to help, prepping our radish bundles that quickly sold out on market morning. While the rainy weather took us by surprise, we were amazed to see and meet so many wonderful local families. We are excited to see our passion for offering organic and sustainable produce to the Antietam community come to life!
While Saturday morning was a bustle of activity meeting other vendors and customers, our desire is to share our vision and passion for what we do. So what are we passionate about? And why is organic and sustainable food so important to us? Check out our farming practices page!
We are passionate about eating locally grown food and offering nutrient dense food to the local community that was grown in a way that regenerates the land. This passion has grown over the years and the chance to get out hands in the dirt has only propelled us more fully in this journey. We have found the land to be a place where both past and present meet, where each day we end with dirt on our hands and gratitude in our hearts.
This weekend at market we will be offering a variety of greens, radishes, and shoots—a great side dish for your Memorial Day picnics! Not sure what shoots are? Shoots also go by the name microgreens which is exactly what they are—tiny greens; the shoots of salad vegetables. They go great in a salad or as a garnish on soups or sandwiches! Come check them out.
Join us every Saturday from 8-12 at the Antietam Valley Farmer’s and Artists Market! For directions click the link!
As the days are warming, our hands are busy getting beds prepped and new crops into the ground. With minimal tillage practices, our bodies have been sleeping well through the night with long days of broad forking and getting the soil ready. We are excited to see and be a part of cultivating and nurturing the soil our veggies and fruits grow in.
As our Salanova, kale, and beet crops continue to grow full, we have welcomed our radishes to the farm, adding splashes of color in the sea of green. A great companion to our salad mix, these little French Breakfast roots add the perfect kick of spice.
Farmer Ross has been working hard to get our washing and drying stations set up in anticipation of a busy growing and harvest season ahead. We have been inspired by Curtis Stone’s farm, Green City Acres, in Kelowna, BC, Canada. His book and video blogs have been a guiding force as we’ve been setting up our systems of production. Check out his farm here: http://theurbanfarmer.co/
With a little tweaking to best fit our needs, Farmer Ross has gotten our drying table up and running in time for our first weekly market.
We are excited to offer fresh organically grown veggies to our local and surrounding areas. While it is still early in the season, we will have a wide variety of vegetables that will be filling out tables through-out our growing season. Stay tuned. This week at market we will be offering a variety of salad mixes, some with a little spicy kick from our Mizuna harvest. We will also be offering three varieties of kale and our French Breakfast radishes--with strawberries coming soon!
Come check us out! We will be at the Antietam Valley Farmer’s and Artists Market from 8-12 this Saturday! http://farmersmarket.antietamvalley.org/
We are on a journey, and we welcome you to join in!
Over the past years, our minds and hearts have been aligning with action, to step out more fully in the direction of farming. It has been a journey where clarity has come, new questions have been asked, and we continue with steadfastness. We believe that unparalleled value is found with engaging the world around, and for us, that is being a part of the earth in the most literal way. Each day with our hands in the dirt, we are brought back to this place where we are rooted. Places where the cycles of life and death, endings and new beginnings, offer invitations and nourishment for our body and soul. Our garden is our teacher, we need only to be attentive and listen.
Here is a piece of our story:
I remember the first time I met Ross, he had his standard uniform of a flannel, which often matched my very own. In our early years of dating and friendship, we shared many adventures together, starting a small garden in my parent’s backyard that very first spring. We excitedly dug up a new space of 10 feet by 10 feet, waiting for our first crops to bloom and feed us for the summer. That first garden taught us many things not to do, but more importantly it taught us about our passions. These very things that had been on our mind for years past, were finally brought to life. The power of vision and dreams coming to life is a driving force. Though our yields may have mostly fed a small family of deer, we learned. This journey continued and we garden hopped, using unused spaces to try to grow and learn. While we were renting a little apartment, we knew that we couldn’t push aside learning, even if it meant driving and commuting to where we were growing.
Our story has been a continuum of learning and growing where space has been provided, and that has taken us to Glenmoore, Pa. In the late fall after a growing season, we knew we wanted to expand and be closer to where we were growing things, so we approached a couple from our church. With an initial request to over-winter our garlic on their property, that request grew, and their gracious hospitality opened up an avenue for us to have a small plot to truly transform from lawn to garden. We have now be growing here for two years. While this journey has not been easy, we have seen the stories and learning come to life in our hands and in the soil we are working.
I will be sharing the journey here, both past and present, as we engage the farm life. We hope to not just share our farming techniques and things we are trying, but our story of provision, faithfulness, and stewardship. Farming is a place of healing. We end each day with dirt on our hands and gratitude in our hearts.