February...So it Begins Again
"He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter."
As Days Grow Longer, We Begin Anew
In our climate when February comes, it is time for our seeding to begin. Some crops that we grow, namely the onion family, have many days to maturity. We begin them in trays in late February within the warmth of our germination chamber. This chamber, built by Rich, maintains ideal temperatures and humidity which allows seeds to germinate despite the freezing outdoor temperatures.
We are now working directly with Kim Mackendrick (produce manager at Oakwood DLM). Starting this month we are making deliveries of sunflower and pea shoots as well as mild mix microgreens directly to the Oakwood DLM location on Wednesday's. Thank you all for your patience!
-There are still CSA membershipsavailable for this season...sign up to save on your produce this year! https://www.foxholefarmohio.com/2019-csa-membership
-February 19th Brick Chicken Cooking Class at Dorothy Lane Market's Culinary Center https://www.dorothylane.com/classes/single-class/?class=2583
What to Look Forward to
What are we growing this year?
Green Beans Beets Broccoli Raab Carrots of all colors Cucumbers Pickles Eggplant Fennel Bok Choy Salad Mix Spinach Arugula Kale Kohlrabi Leeks Head Lettuce Okra Onions Scallions
Sweet and hot peppers Radishes Rutabaga Zucchini Patty pan squash
Tomatoes Turnips Winter squash Dill Cilantro Parsley
What else will we bring to market?
Organically-grown spring and summer transplants for your garden
Foxhole granola Floral jellies Potted herbs Hand-crafted windowsill herb boxes
A New Year
"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
2019 has begun and we are feeling quite rejuvenated by our down time spent with family and friends. We are also feeling inspired by our time of reflection.
We are spending this month planning our master seeding schedule, taking care of our paperwork for the year, building a new germination chamber, and researching new ideas for the farm.
Here is a bit of a teaser on what's to come from Foxhole Farm this year:
*A Day at Foxhole Farm...We welcome you to tour the farm and see where all of your vegetables, micros, and herbs are coming from.
*Farmers Market Presence...We have confirmed our attendance at both the Centerville and Oakwood Farmers Markets this year. We'll be bringing the best from our farm each week, including: produce, potted herbs, floral jellies, and more.
*Foxhole CSA...This is our first year offering CSA shares, by which you can purchase produce at a discounted rate! Email me at for more information or to sign up.
*Sheep will grace our pastures...We will begin our flock of sheep this year. This means you'll be able to look forward to years of grass-fed lamb.
*Deliveries to DLM and partnerships with other local restaurants.
*Farmer to Table grows...Hire me to cook for your special events, right in your kitchen! Having been trained at the Culinary Institute of America and having access to the best of local produce, meat, and other products, I love filling my time in between farming obligations to 'chef'.
*DLM Cooking Classes...I will be teaching a handful of classes at Dorothy Lane Market's culinary school. Those include:
*January 24th (Deep Winter Meal from farm to table)
*February 19th (Cast Iron Brick Chicken)
*April 3rd (Early Spring Harvest Farm to Table)
*May 14th (Cooking with Jose Andres)
A Look Ahead at 2019
We are pouring over the seed catalogs ordering a lot of our favorites from last season as well as many more veggies and herbs. We'll plan to have vegetable and herb seedlings for sale in the spring as well as potted herbs and a whole smattering of vegetables and herbs for your eating pleasure :). We hope to have sheep grazing in the pastures and may even begin growing culinary mushrooms in 2019. We just can't wait to have a full season to work with, as we got a late start this year. In the meantime, you can still find our shoots and microgreens at Dorothy Lane this winter, first come, first served. As I understand it, the shoots haven't always been making it to the Springboro and Oakwood locations. We'll work on ironing that out with DLM.
Foxhole Farm Featured in Edible Ohio Valley
Keep a look out for this year's winter issue of Edible Ohio Valley at DLM and beyond. We were invited to write an article about our first year running Foxhole Farm and were so flattered to have the opportunity to do so. The photos of pea shoots and our family above were taken by Michael Wilson as part of our photo shoot for the article.
Bundling Up for Winter
I must start this newsletter by thanking you for your support in our first market season as Foxhole Farm. We have felt 'the love' from those both near and far. Rich and I are thrilled to be living our interpretation of the good life: working together to bring food to our community. And what a community to be a part of! It is such an exciting time to move back home to Dayton to join the burst of small, independent businesses which are germinating throughout the Gem City.
We have had a handful of frosty mornings here in Brookville, which indicate winter is on its way. And so we are buttoning up the farm and preparing for the ground to freeze. The Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting a mild winter for us in the Midwest with higher than average temperatures and more rain than snow. That means different things to different people. We will beware of the higher chances of muddying the fields by making sure to rotate our incoming sheep often. We will sleep well knowing that the dormant vegetable patch is protected by plant matter and wood chip mulch which acts to prevent erosion from heavy precipitation.
This month will be focused on our transition to microgreen growing, family time, and more time for Farmer to Table catering. The cycling of seasons brings a new palette of colors in the landscape and a shifting of our energy toward repose and consideration of our next season.
Where to Find Foxhole Goods this Winter
We have great news! We are going to be making weekly deliveries of shoots and microgreens to Dorothy Lane Market through the winter. We have very limited indoor growing space on the farm this year and we are going to push it to its limits. Every Wednesday we will deliver pea shoots, sunflower shoots, and mild mix microgreens to DLM. (The first week's batch was delivered just this morning). They are going to be distributed to all three locations. Thank you to everyone who supported us in our efforts to get our products into Dorothy Lane. We feel grateful to work with such a spectacular purveyor of local goods.
We are going to pound the pavement in 2019 to install a hoop house on our farm. A hoop house is an insulated growing house in which we will plant directly into the soil. Whether or not we install a heater (making it a greenhouse), this structure will allow us to bring hardy vegetables to market throughout the winter.
Centerville Indoor Market
Benham's Grove Barn
166 North Main Street
Come out and see us two different days this winter:
Thursday November 15th 2:30-6:30
Thursday December 20th 2:30-6:30
We'll have microgreens, shoots, Sam's homemade chai-spiced apple butter and a few other homemade baked surprises! We are bulking up our offering with some scratch baked goodies that make good afternoon treats or holiday gifts. Lastly, we will start pre-sale of our CSA shares for next season. These make interesting gifts for people and give regular shoppers a discount every time they buy our goods. Come to market to get more information on how it works :).
October Farm News
End of Market Days
Salad greens, scallions, and squash...Oh My! The needle on our thermometer is bound to break 80 degrees today, the first of October. We'll harness that energy from the sun and so will the plants, with rumors of a snowy, long winter buzzing about us.
This month is our last month of outdoor market season. We will bring what is still coming from the garden to Oakwood Market each Saturday through the 20th, and likewise to Centerville Market each Thursday through the 25th. Likely we will have late fall crops which we will offer to Dorothy Lane and a few Dayton area restaurants beyond that. I have just enough indoor growing space to raise microgreens and shoots throughout the winter, but I am still hunting for my platform to sell them to folks. I'll keep knocking on doors and let you know when one opens!
Without a lot of plants to take care of this winter, we will need other living bodies to keep us company on the farm ;). I can't wait to welcome our twelve bred ewes and ram to their new home on our farm. As our vegetable garden slows, we will use the found time to complete our perimeter fencing project, which we have chipped away at over the summer. Posts are in the ground and next up, wire needs to be strung. Next month the walkers on the bike trail which runs the length of our southern field will be surprised to look out over our new ovine friends, grazing the pasture.
What's with Microgreens?
Microgreens or shoots are plants harvested at a very young age, most ready after just two weeks. They are a very concentrated source of nutrients, each variety boasting a different list of vitamins and enzymes. The flavor is concentrated as well, which lends the microgreens to add a refreshing kick to salads, omelets, pizzas, smoothies, tacos, and sandwiches.
Microgreens, shoots, and sprouts are all terms used to describe very young plants. The difference between them is the environment in which they are grown. Microgreens and shoots are grown in a soil-based medium in the sunshine, whereas sprouts are grown in a water based medium indoors. We choose to grow microgreens as we feel they benefit from feeding from the soil nutrients. The risks associated with sprouts are mitigated when growing microgreens, as you are not consuming the root and seed coat of the plant, which harbor bacteria.
You can always find sunflower shoots, pea shoots, and a mix of mild micros including kale, radish, and beets at our market table. I love to experiment and bring new micros to the table so this fall come to the booth with a request or to see what micro surprise I will be testing out.
September Farm News
These Harvest Days
September harvest in southern Ohio offers the best of both summer and fall worlds. Late season tomatoes and peppers grace our market table along with winter squash, beets, and other storage crops. That being said, fall is officially here! Less daylight hours translate to slower growth from our plants, southern-bound Canada geese flying overhead, and a few more minutes to sip coffee with Rich at the table in the morning. And one by one, our vegetable beds are harvested and reseeded with early winter crops or cover crop seed which will hold the soil in place over the winter and replenish the nutrient bank which fed this year's plants.
Rich and I can't believe the first season that we have had. We arrived at market as soon as possible after closing on our property in April. We have met so many wonderful customers, fellow growers, and enthusiastic chefs. But just when I start to reflect on our first season, I realize that we are still in the thick of it. Our markets run through October and we are seeding hardy greens, radishes and turnips which will grow well into the first days of frost.
With one of the more important roles I have on the farm and for our family being to look ahead at what's to come, it is all I can do to soak up NOW...this time of the year when we have too many balls in the air to look away for a minute. This busy bee season of fall we spend working like mad to harvest as much nectar as possible to store away so that we can let our bodies rest and collect our minds over the course of winter.