Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vegetable Season in Full Swing!

Here we are...the middle of August and the vegetable season at the farm is in full swing.  In our neck of the woods we have been getting the rain needed to bring our vegetable crops back from the very dry and almost dead state that some of them were in.  Let me tell you, that is a great feeling, when just a short time ago, we were looking at a huge loss of our crops.  In fact one customer said to me today " I thought there weren't any peaches this year"...the good news is Romeo, Michigan I should say, did take a big hit on their peach crop, but they are picking some peaches  The crop is very small, and they won't have alot for canning, but those Romeo Peaches are available and WONDERFUL!

Canning Time!
Romeo Peaches

For those of you who like to make your own is the time, pickles are in full swing and before the vines stop producing, you should be making your bread & butter, dill, sweet or whatever kind of pickle you like.  It is also prime time for sweet corn, green beans, beets, hot and sweet banana peppers, and we do have some bushels of tomatoes everyday, it will still be a week or so before we are picking at full capacity. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Michigan Heat Wave

Today is another beautiful day in Michigan and we have finally gotten some much needed rain.  Many of our customers have wondered how we have any sweet corn and our other vegetables at all, based on the news reports.

Most of the state of Michigan and the Mid-west for that matter is still is a very serious drought situation.  Even our farm is not out of the woods yet.  You may notice some of the sweet corn not fully developed or missing kernals.  Some of our patches of sweet corn may have smaller ears than normal.  This is all because of the lack of rain.  We have started to harvest our crops earlier this year due to the excessive heat, and this is a nice benefit for you.  To help out with our crops, we are able to irrigate some of our fields.  This is a huge life saver for some of our vegetables. 

While we have lost a portion of our vegetables in the field due to the excessive heat and dry conditions, we also try to plan for some of this in the spring by over planting.  Some years this creates excessive vegetables, but in years like this year, we are still picking, but we don't have any excess.

So even if you think we are down and out, Michigan Farmers are some of the most resiliant people out there.  We keep our heads held high and try to work through those curve balls that mother nature sends our way...just about every year!  So get out and visit your local farmer, and farm markets.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fresh Produce...It does a body good!

I thought this article in Better Homes and Gardens was very interesting.  The great part is, we are coming into the peak of veggie season here in Macomb County.  Now is the time to eat a little healthier and maybe drop a few pounds!    :-)

Today:  Summer picks such as juicy blueberries, crisp green beans, and sweet corn are delicious multitaskers.  They're bursting with flavor and they're largely composed of water, which means they satisfy while they slenderize.  In fact, sit down to a produce-packed lunch, and you'll eat about 10 percent fewer calories than usual at dinner, says registered dietitian Leslie Bonci author of The Active Calorie Diet.

In two weeks:  As your body is nourished by the rich stores of nutrients and fiber in fruits and vegetables, you'll feel noticeably more energetic, say Andrew Well, M.D., founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Science Center.  Many plant-based nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties, Bonci adds, so you might experience fewer aches and pains, too. 

In ten years:  A 2012 study found that people who ate the most serving of fruits and vegetables - about 3 1/2 per day - had a 21 percent lower likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes than people who avoided produce.  Weight control is one reason researchers say, but specific nutrients also might play a role. 

Get Started:  People tend to over estimate the number of fruit and vegetable servings they eat in a given day, Bonci says.  Her visual rule of thumb:  At every meals, reserve half your plate for produce.  If that seems too daunting, try adding at least one fruit or vegetable to every dish.  Stack a lean burger with lettuce and tomato, enjoy scrambled eggs with salsa, and toss peas into rice pilaf. 

It sounds like we all need to make sure we have a good healthy dose of veggies in our daily diet!  Stay healthy and we'll see you at the farm market!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Summer Season Brings Back Old Friends

The farm market has been open now for a few days and how quickly we fall back into the old routine with our great customers and friends.  Many of our customers stop by to ask about the kids....They have seen them grow up...summer to summer.  Here's an update...our oldest daughter Amanda lives and works near Lansing, our son is married, with his own child on the way and our youngest daughter, who spent many hours on my back in a backpack while I worked at the market, is still helping around the farm.  Elizabeth prefers to be in the field driving tractors with her dad rather than work at the farm market.

Elizabeth helping to the tomatoes

Amanda (with the blue bucket) and her friend Nicole
they are still best buds!

Joey doing what he does best...get dirty!

We are open 7 days a week with our fresh picked sweet corn and lots of other Michigan summer produce.  As it get ripe and ready in the field, we will get it picked and get it to our market.  Take a drive out to Macomb (17330 26 Mile Rd. - 1/4 Mile East of Romeo Plank) and get a taste of Michigan Agriculture.  And fresh - buy local.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ready,'s almost veggie time!!!

I thought I better take the time to write today since I have written in a few weeks.  Typing is much easier without a cast!

Sweet Corn....looking very good!

Things have been very busy around the farm.  Joe has been spending about 14 hours or more a day getting the fields planted, cultivated, and sprayed.  It seems like we should just be able to sit back and watch everything grow....but it's not that simple.  We are still planting many kinds of veggies in the greenhouse, so that we can continue to transplant them into the fields.  We do this so we will be constantly picking fresh veggies until it freezes this fall.  As a matter of fact, we just seeded more broccali and cauliflower. 

Joe is also spending alot of time these days moving irrigation pipe.  We have not had enough we are doing our best the make it rain from the pond!   So if anyone out there know of a great rain dance....go ahead dance away!!!

Our youngest daughter Elizabeth is out of college for the summer and has been a great help around the farm.  She can drive any of the tractors and do just about any job her dad can find.  This week she will be  and cleaning and painting benches so we can start getting ready to open for the season and culivating sweet corn.   She will spend many hours driving up and down the rows of corn getting rid of weeds.  This helps out a tremendous amount, and she thinks she is awesome driving around this big equipment.

Joe took some pictures today of one of the fields of sweet corn.  It looks good, but could use some more rain.  Remember to do your rain dance!

Tomatoes are coming along very nicely....I can't wait until this one gets just a little bit riper!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Almost Stuck in the mud!

Well this week's post is going to be short and sweet.  I'm rockin' the hot pink cast this week...went to the hand doctor after my little spill last week and I guess I have a finger with 2 fractures not just  a dislocation.   So typing is taking a bit more work since I only have two usable fingers on my right hand.  : -)

I didn't let that stop me from working in the greenhouse all day.  It was be beautiful outside today.  Joe got the trickle lines set up on the tomatoes, there are actually tomatoes on those cool.  We hope to be picking our own tomatoes by the middle of June this year!!!!!

Today was supposed to be a corn planting day, but we almost got stuck trying to get the field ready,  It was plowed before this last batch of rain went through, but it needed to be field cultivated to get it ready to plant.  I guess Joe will try again  tomorrow to get it planted.

Ok...that's enought typing for tonight.  I'll be back next Sunday with planting updates.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Green Thumb!

So I thought I would be the wonderful wife and let Joe go ride his trials bike one more time with the guys before he gets to busy....Well, that didn't work out so well for me.  I had just moved some hoses around in the greenhouse to water the last bay of baskets and I was walking over to turn on the water and kabam!!! Down I went, tripped over a hose or something, and when I went to get up, found a finger going in the direction it really shouldn't!  Well an urgent care, then ER and it's back in place and will be as good as new in a week or so.  I guess I'll be right back working in those greenhouses tomorrow!  Life is full of unexpected fun times here around the farm.

It was a great day to be outside and working around the yard.  We did a little bit of that this week too.  We also hope to plant more sweet corn this week, I guess that will depend on how much rain we get.  We have the greenhouses overflowing with our vegetables that we have seeded to plant into the fields.  It is just a guessing game now.  Will there be any more frost/freezes  We take a chance every year on when is the best time to plant them.

It's time to get your hands dirty and dig in the dirt!  Plant a flower garden to spruce up your yard.  Maybe have the kids plant one so they can help take care of it and watch it grow.  Kids love to get dirty so give them a shovel and a few plants to have their own garden.  They can keep the weeds out, water it, and pick the flowers or veggies when they are ready.  They might discover they have a green thumb!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Family Farms....The Next Generation

I don't know if our non farm neighbors realize how important it is for our children to be part of the family farm.  Most family farms are passed along from generation to generation.  Even if children grow up on a farm and then strike out on their own, they have the experience and knowledge from years of working with mom and dad, or dad and grandpa, or aunts and uncles.  This is what is needed to make owning a working farm possible.  There is so much about farming that you must experience in order to learn, and with the Department of Labor trying to keep our children from doing simple things from chores, to helping load a wagon of feed for the cows, this could have made producing enough food for the next generation in this country a very difficult task.

A strong work ethic is something that comes from being responsible for chores on the farm.  Everyone in the family helps out until the job is done.  Where would the family farm be in 15 years if the children of farmers were not allowed to be around the animals, to learn how to care for them or equipment, to learn  how each piece works and what it is used for.  The years spent helping around the farm help children who want to make agriculture their career, learn about what seeds need to be planted first, how to tell if their animals aren't feeling well, when to take care of bug problems in the crops.  There are so many things that most children don't learn about but that the kids that grow up on a farm learn.... as second nature.  How to plow and disc a field and when the crops should be planted and harvested.

This issue created a huge uproar in the agriculture community.  The over reaching rules could have prevented kids from raising their 4-H projects, to helping out on Grandpa & Grandma farms.  Many in the industry used our grassroots system of contacting our legistlators to let them know these laws that the DOL were working on implementing were not good for farmers in Michigan or any other state.

For now, our children can keep going to the fair, showing their 4-H projects and enjoying life on the farm.
The President of the United States said...not on my watch!  These proposed rules/laws will be put on hold while the Obama adminstration is in place.  This is good for now, but we need to keep working on eliminating those nonsense laws from coming back.  While safety and caution should be used when we give our children tasks to perform on the farm, we also know that the farm is a tool to teach our children a strong work ethic, hard work and the care and protection of animals and the environment.  There are so few family farms feeding an ever growing population now.  We need to encourage our young people to stay on the farm and keep agriculture alive in Michigan and the United States.  Let's keep the ability of the next generation of farmers learning from their parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, friends and neighbors!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Busy Spring

Doesn't it seem like the weather will never decide if we should have it warm or cold, but soon enough things will settle in for some nice warm weather....I hope.  We have one planting of sweet corn in the field, but it won't be growing much with these cold nights.  Actually we don't want to see it poke out of the ground to least not when we are are still getting such heavy frost/freezes in the mornings.  We are working on getting the fields worked so we can get more corn in, then once it warms up we can start planting, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and all those other veggies.   For now....we can enjoy the sweet smelling and colorful flowers in the nice warm greenhouse!

This week is Project RED.  (Rural Education Day)  This is a educational program I work on with Macomb County Farm Bureau.  For this years event we are bringing 850 third graders to the fair grounds this Tuesday and teaching them a little bit about farming in Macomb County.   We have lined up presenters to talk to the children about diary cows, honey bees, fruits and veggies, goats, rabbits, poultry, beef cattle, and  miniature horses.  They get a quick blast of info at each station.  Macomb County farm bureau volunteers, together with local 4-H and FFA kids, master gardeners and Farm Bureau Insurance Agents have been providing this educational program for about 15 years now.  I like to refer to it as controlled chaos!  It's a great day and fun and learning, if your childrens school doesn't participate....they should!  The kids love it, the teachers love it, and our presenters and volunteers love to help with this program.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Getting your gardens ready

Each year we wait for the snow to melt and get our vegetable and flower gardens planted.  This year has been a little different.  80 degrees in March...again 80 degree days in April.  Some folks want to get their gardens in early.  Remember we are in Michigan and if you plant to early and are forever covering and uncovering for the frost and freezes. 

For now...Hanging baskets are a great way to spruce up your place early giving you color and flowers to your home, and if the weather is going to be is very easy to bring them in for the night.  

Have you ever had your garden dirt tested.  As a cost control and environmental issue we test our fields each spring before we plant.  This ensures we are only using what is necessary, and we are not spending money on nutrients and fertilizers we don't need.   If you don't have to fertilize as heavy because the dirt has enough nutrients in it then why put more on.  Why spend the money if you don't need to.  We work very hard to bring you the safest and freshest produce possible and to do this we need to make sure our costs stay as low as possible.

Love those Tomatoes!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Young Entrepreneur

Things on the farm are just coming along just fine.  The hanging baskets a growing nicely and so are the veggies.  Joe is working everyday to make sure everything is ready for the start of the growing season.

I went to Tustin, MI this weekend to the 4-H Kettenun Center.  It was the first time I had ever been there and will be back again, if possible.  It is a very nice facility set in the woods in the northern part of this great state.  I took a class on Entrepreneurial Education.  What a great class.  Myself and two other 4-H Leaders from Macomb County, along with several others from the Oakland, Barry and several other counties, are now certified to teach this curriculum to 6th thru 12th grade youth.  We plan on taking this information into the schools and our 4-H clubs to teach kids about becoming business owners.  So much interesting and exciting information.  We can teach kids about starting and owning their own business.  They can take something they love to do and make it into a money making adventure.  And how great is that, to love what you do and that is your job!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kids on the Farm

I took pictures of the tomatoes and peppers growing in the greenhouse, but I switched printers and I can't seem to get them off of my memory card....I'll keep working on it . 

Kids working on the farm.  It's a topic that is getting alot of attention right now with legislators and the farming community.   We have always had the pleasure of having our children with us as we get our work done on the farm.  They help feed animals, pick fruits and veggies (sometimes they eat more than they pick),  many times it's not even working, it's just being with mom and/or dad while they are working.  Some are saying that it is dangerous and they are working on making it illegal for our children to care for any animals on the farm, use any equipment, and drive tractors. 

I can't imagine not having our children by our sides as we work.  Accidents can happen, yes, but accidents can happen anywhere and at anytime, whether it is on the farm or not.  Bicycles, skateboards, rollerskates, horses, dirbikes, they can be dangerous also.   We as parents take every precaution to make sure our children are safe when we have them with us.

Our children are now grown and I expect to have grandchildren in the next few years.  It will be very important to us to teach our grandchildren about farming and our way of life.  We a few...only about 2% of the population of this world feeds 100% of the population.  We need to teach our children this way of life.  It is a great way to grow up...I know my kids loved being part of something that almost no one else in their school could say that they were part of.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring...or Summer....

I must say this weather has been fantastic.  Well it has been great in our neck of the woods.  The nasty weather down by Dexter and up around Lapeer wasn't so nice. 

I know alot of people will want their fresh veggies sooner this year because the weather is so nice.  Unfortuneately, we cannot get into the fields any earlier.  The ground is still very cold and wet.  This warm weather is great to getting the soil temperature warmer and dried out, but mother nature is sure to show her cold and wet ways again.  We try to get into the fields my the middle of April, but again that is also dependent upon the weather.

We have tomatoes ready to transplant....YEAH!!!  We are seeding and transplanting almost everyday now so we can have those wonderful veggies ready for July.  I will try to get out to the greenhouse and get some new pictures to post.  For now how about a picture of those fabulous tomatoes we will have this summer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What a Beautiful Day

Wow, wasn't the weather today great!

The heaters don't have to do any work in the greenhouse on days like today.  Everything is growing nicely.  We have more plant material coming in next week for transplanting and Joe will be busy seeding more veggies also.  Today Joe spent part of the day working on the plow.  All the plow points that dig into the ground for turning the soil needed to be replaced.  He is working on several pieces of equipment so when the time comes to get into the field and start planting, hopefully, everything will be in working order. 

It is nice to enjoy a day like today, doing some work, but also able to take some time and play.  Joe, Elizabeth (our daughter) and Ben (our nephew) went out on the dirt bikes this afternoon.  They didn't get to crazy since they hadn't ridden since last fall.  They got home with no injuries....that is a good thing.

Have a great week...the weather is going to be great.

Sue Kutchey

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Another windy day!

Well you gotta love the wind.....I thought our wind earlier in my post was strong.   It was nothing compared to Friday night!

As the winds picked up you can only hope everything stays in one place, but about midnight Friday night we could hear some loud a very large piece of plastic.  Yes it was, Joe and Elizabeth went out to see if it was the greenhouse and if they could fix it, but the wind had taken the entire roof the the center bay of our gutter greenhouse. 

Saturday morning, as soon as  Joe made sure his hanging baskets that we had just planted earlier on Friday were safe and warm, he headed to Toledo, Ohio to get a new piece of plastic.  The wind was to strong to recover the greenhouse on Saturday, so once again we checked the divider to make sure it was secure and patched a few holes, and covered all the baskets with a cloth help prevent the plants from freezing and hoped for the best. 

Sunday morning...all is well.  The plants made it through the night, Joe has his crew of volunteers coming to help recover the greenhouse and hopefully this time it stays in place.

Stay tuned for updates.

Sue Kutchey

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Windy Day

 Well thank goodness the wind died down today.  Almost had a major greenhouse issue...the new plastic let loose and was flopping around in the wind.  Joe got a few friends to help pull it back down and get everything buttoned back in place.  Today he is spending most of the day getting his equipment in working order.  He had to take the big JD tractor in for an oil leak, I guess he can't fix everything! 

I'm heading to Lansing tomorrow for a Farm Bureau Conference; Voice of Ag.  I am a member of the Farm Bureau State Promotion and Education Committee and we are working with Michigan Farm Bureau to put on this conference.

The purpose of the two-day conference is to provide members with new ideas, training and leadership development to spread positive agricultural messages. The conference will help those seeking to bridge the gap between agriculture and consumers through communications, education and promotion efforts.
We planted geraniums and some hanging baskets in the greenhouse.  Such a warm cozy place to work!  Well I will post again when I get back and let you know what is new around the state in the agricultural circles!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

So here we go...

So here we go...our first blog.  Boy has this farm come a long way.  When this family first started farming, the city roads we know now were just two track dirt roads.  They used horse drawn wagons and plows, and everything was had picked.  Here we are today....computers, facebook, twitter and GPS.  We use horse power instead of horses and computers and GPS to track everything from expenses to planting our crops in the field.  The one thing that has stayed the same is the hand picking.  We still hand pick all our vegetables we sell at our market.

Keeping our customers happy with the freshest vegetables around is our goal.  Check back in to see how our season progresses.