Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Updates From the Homestead


Things have really been coming together around the farm these days, it seems that all of the hard work, ups and downs, failures and start overs have been worth the effort. As of these past two weeks Chris and I have reached our goal of bringing together the art and farm aspects of Crooked Coop Farm, and we are currently a weekly feature at the Oconomowoc Farmer's market in Oconomowoc WI. This is our current booth set up showcasing my rustic wood paintings and our first harvest from the market garden. This will be a process that changes as we figure things out along the way, but we are both very pleased with the beginning success of the molding of our dreams.
Chris has been cooking his entire life, from childhood to teenage jobs working fast food to a chef for fine dining restaurant. He has always dreamed of having his own garden to supply the ingredients for his recipes while also reaching toward a goal of self sufficient living. With the garden in full swing he is getting closer to the dream every day.
My dream has been to make a living working as an artist since I was a kid, I would sign up for art camps and classes trough the summer, and every club and class I was able to through the school year. After high school I continued on through college to receive classic training resulting in a Bachelors of Fine Arts sub majoring in Painting and Drawing while also receiving a minor in Art History. It has taken many years and many failures but finally the income I bring to the house is through my artwork now. It wasn't easy but it was worth it.
Now that we have our farm and booth at the market is exciting to watch the paths we have both created meet to create a successful business for our family. We are off to a slow start and have a lot of trials along the way that could have easily swayed us to give up and move on, but we know this is the path are meant to pursue and the future holds a spot for Crooked Coop Farm.

The garden has really taught us a thing or two about what it means to be an organic farmer... the weeds... oh my the weeds. There is no rest when you have a garden that needs attention, and we have learned this the hard way more than once. We definitely underestimated the amount of attention that needs to be given to the garden just for weeding. Our weeds became overgrown and took over every plant we had within a short amount of time. We thought he effort between us would solve the problem but quickly learned that the effort needed to be multiplied. It took about a week and about 30 hours of weeding to get our garden looking as great as it does now. I now know that at least one of us need to give the garden about 3 hours of weeding and harvesting attention each day 7 days a week. A bonus to that amount of work is that is doubles as our cardio and exercise so we are really getting in great shape now.
This is our first harvest for market this year all certified organic. The large green squash  on top is an Anna Swartz Hubbard that Chris decided to grow because the squash and I both share a name :) below it we have purple potted pole beans that will turn green when they are cooked. We have white acorn squash called the Thelma Sanders that has the most delicious sweet flavor that I swear is better than candy. We also brought along two types of potatoes, the Desire red potato and the French fingerling... we sold out of almost everything!

Here are both of the potatoes drying in the sun after they were freshly washed.

When you buy produce from us this is where your food comes from. We were able to get some of our fall crops planted once the weeds were clear. This week we planted beets, kale and a variety of lettuce that will be ready for market before the season is over.

Our next market will be this Saturday and this week we will be introducing new products to our table, the yellow Kellogg breakfast tomato and the Black Seaman tomato, both organic and both delicious. Until now we have never grown these colors of tomato so it will be exciting to see the feedback we receive at the market.

The last to update our homestead is our new fuzzy critters 5 Muscovy ducklings. We already have 3 but they are so nice to raise we wanted to get a couple more so they joined the broader coop with a few hens we are raising to increase our egg production.
Our summer has been productive and quite the hard work after the struggles we went through this past spring. It is wonderful to see the dream develop and exciting to see what the future has for our farm.

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