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Posts Tagged ‘local organic farms’

   On the way to my family’s house the other evening, I passed one of our local strawberry patches.  It came to me as the sweet perfume of sun-ripened berries wafted in the window on the balmy summer air…It’s that time of year again…

Time for shorts and flip flops, farmers markets and county fairs, fresh fruits and veggies, canning and preserving, frolicking in the garden, and chowing down on all the local goodness you can get your hands on!

Here in the valley we’re very lucky to have such a dazzling array of produce to choose from!

You can put a face and warm smile with what fills your plate, by visiting a Fruitstand or Farmer’s Market in your area….

If you prefer stalking your own goodies in their natural habitat, you can find a You-Pick Farm in your county…

A CSA is also a convenient option which supports your local farmers…

And if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can always grow some fruits and veggies of your own…You don’t have to have 40 acres, just a few pots or old buckets on the porch will do!

Whatever you choose, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing where your food came from and who grew it…not to mention nothing compares to the taste of fresh veggies and fruit!

Or the smell of it on the breeze for that matter…Happy foraging!

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It’s a bee~luscious lemonade you’ll be reaching for year-round!

For the past year, our family here at Local Choices has been working hard at starting a new beverage business and getting our honey lemonade in a bottle.  It has been a dream of ours for a year, and it so exciting that we are days away from being ready to sell!
To help convince buyers to put us in stores we are leaning on our social media presence to create
demand.  If you would be so kind…please like our Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter or Pinterest.  We’ll be posting important information on the state of our precious bees, healthy local food companies, and the continuing story of Hey Honey!
Hey Honey!  Artisanal Lemonade is the only lemonade that is sweetened 100% with California wildcrafted
honey.  We will strive to support our local California and USA economy with organic lemon juice, honey, organic purees and organic extracts, we never use additives, preservatives, anything artificial or from concentrate.
We will be in a bottle soon and have secured distribution in health food stores in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and
San Rafael California.  If you live in the area keep an eye out for our lemonades this summer!
In addition to the original lemonade we’ll also have a decadent Strawberry Basil and a refreshing Lemon Lime Mint.
Thank you for supporting our family start-up!  We are looking forward to bringing you delicious
alternatives to sugary drinks and soda that you can feel good about giving to your family!
 Have a bee~utiful day….The Hey Honey! Team!

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Here you are, the long awaited video of “our girls”, sorry for the delay.  With all the changes coming to Camp Turlock, we’ve been busy bees!  There is some exciting news we can’t wait to share with all of you, so stay tuned!

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Shady Oak Chickens

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The summer has been a busy one with many new and exciting projects around here on our very young evolving farm, and yes, I said “farm”….

For many years our CaMp TuRloCk homestead has been a place for family celebrations, a respite for friends to recharge with some country-time & a menagerie of well loved animals and of course home to Local Choices.

Today it feels good to say our homestead has added a new venue:  A farm!

A farm that grows our own food organically, a farm that provides a pastured haven for chickens of  Shady Oak Organic Eggs, a farm that feeds our family and beyond!

So stay tuned as we look forward to sharing with you our growth, new projects & this amazing gift of nature that is right out our back door.

In the meantime, enjoy some photos from our garden. See, we have been working hard!

(Check back soon for the sound of  happy chickens)

Growing Corn

Lavender at Local Choices

A day's berry harvestPhotos taken by Alexandria Araiza

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Happy planting, harvesting and eating!

by Neal & Marie Curran

 

Spring is coming and so is our garden! Here at Nine Acre Farm, we are incredibly busy planting our spring/summer garden. Most of this work as of yet is indoors. Our plants go through quite a journey to make it from seed packet to the field. We are trying our hardest to keep conservation-intensive methods in mind even as we work indoors. We hope our process will be helpful to you as you begin your 2011 garden.

1)  A garden-ready greenhouse



Our greenhouse is small, but can fit many plants. We built tables for our plants. On two of our tables we have plastic tubing (a waste material) arched over the tables to support insulating plastic at night.  To warm the greenhouse when it’s cold and at night, we have use an old wood stove and a homemade chimney. Discarded fencing posts from the property fit perfectly in the stove. When it gets too warm in the greenhouse, the walls double as windows that lift open from the bottom.
Also, we make our own potting soil in our greenhouse. It is a mixture of homemade compost, peat, and perlite (available at most Lowes).

2)  Seed packet to greenhouse


In late December and throughout January we started plants such as broccoli, artichokes, celery, kohlrabi, beets, lettuce, leeks, brussels sprouts, and many more. Instead of using plastic trays, which aren’t always space efficient and are wasteful when they fall apart, we use soil blocks. We use the soil blocks to punch out a mold of soil. Each block mold contains 20 1-inch spaces: one for each seed. After seeding, we sprinkle our homemade potting soil over the block and water.

Currently we have begun seeding our tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Because these members of the Nightshade family require higher germinating temperatures than our winter crops would find agreeable, we start them on soil blocks on an electric heat mat. This is an excellent way to get a jump start on summer crops!

3)  Greenhouse rotation

When our seedlings begin to grow out of their one-inch cubes, we move them to two-inch cubes made with a larger soil blocker. The two-inch blocks remain on the tables to be covered with plastic at night, just as the one-inch blocks. After a couple of weeks, we move them to our uncovered table. Here they begin the process of hardening off. The lack of plastic covering at night exposes them to lower temperatures.

4) The Cold Frame


After plants have spent a week or two on the uncovered table, they are moved to the cold frame outside our greenhouse. The cold frame is a wood frame on the ground with a tarp covering the soil. At night, the plants are covered with plexiglass (a waste material available to us). They are uncovered during the day but sheltered with sheet when it gets to warm/sunny. Plants spend about one or two weeks in here.

4) Greenhouse to field


I’m not going to talk much about this part, but I will tell you that once plants leave the nursery and go into the great adult garden, they still receive a little help. They are sheltered nightly with a light row cover. So far we have a few rows of transplants and additional direct-seeded vegetables (snap peas, carrots, turnips, beets, leaf lettuce, radishes, etc.) growing in our garden.

~ For more information about our farm or to join our CSA (starting in mid-March!) check our our website at www.nineacrefarm.com and email us at neal@nineacrefarm.com.


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Take this opportunity to hear what’s going on in your Central Valley every first Friday of the month with Tom Willey and guest speakers on KFCF radio….

Down on the Farm ~ KFCF 88.1  fm

Friday Feb. 5th

5:00-6:00 pm

The topic: “A recent immigrant to these parts from No.Carolina has discovered Fresno’s ethnically diverse neighborhoods to be a veritable food wonderland. Host, Tom Willey will interview James Collier whose fascination with our food culture led him to co-found the online community, “Taste Fresno”, fast gaining members and notice. It’s possible newcomers recognize treasures underfoot to which we locals have become complacent. We’ll discuss a citizen food activist’s vision of the celebrated edible culture we could become on KFCF’s Down on the Farm. “

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Happy October my Locavores,  how will you eat this month and beyond?

As a true believer in eating local and trying to do my part I am spreading the word…..
Elc90x901

The task really is not that difficult and can actually be fun finding what fabulous family farms are in your back yard, especially if you live here in the Central Valley surrounded by loads of farms big & small.

The challenge is about eating within a hundred miles and making conscious food choices. I have already done the leg work for you, just browse through my blog and find farms, farmers & farmers markets close to you and connect with them….trust me, you will wish you had done this sooner!

Your First tip:

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.

More reasons why & how @
www.eatlocalchallenge.com & www.familyfarmfresh.com

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I am very excited to say that I am on a committee that is putting together a new Farmers Market here in Turlock.  Our goal is to offer our community a healthy local food shopping experience!

If you are a farmer interested in space at this market, leave your information in a comment and I will get back when the market is further along in its planing stages.

The survey that was posted has been closed, so check back soon for upcoming market news!

Happy Farming, Just Anna!

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Well, life has been busy here at Local Choices and consequently it has put me behind on my local favorite finds, so I’m catching up by putting together a not so short blip of all I wanted to share with you!

Make sure to right click on the photos to see more and remember…be a locavore & support local!

  • Local Choices on Facebook… for quick updates on what’s going on here in the Central Valley don’t be left in the dark, get yourself a facebook page, become our fan and connect with others!
  • Pure Valley Honey Bees… Frankie and Evelyn by far have the yummiest honey products I have ever tasted! This bee team comes from Le Grande and can be found at Merced, Mariposa and Los Banos Farmers Markets. Visit their website to see what they have & what they are up to!
    Pure Valley honey Bees
  • Xiong & Silva Farms…. a while back I discovered this small corner produce stand in Turlock on Tully & Canal, it is family farmed and diversified with fruits and vegetables, the selection was abundant and super fresh!
Xiong ~ Silva Farms
  • Green Leaf BBQ Shop & Catering…. is a new BBQ Shop located in Village Market Corner on Canal St. in Turlock. Owners Tim & Carrie take pride in offering unique bbq’n supplies that are earth friendly, from Treager bbq’s to wine infused wood chunks for a sweet smoked flavor. Need good quick advice on your techniques check out Tims blog & facebook for fun facts!
Green Leaf BBQ Shop
  • Pageo Farms…. from the road you can see the rows of sweet beautiful lavender but when you drive in there is a whole lot more going on. This charming Turlock farm has a stand with organic fruits & veggies, a large variety of peppers & tomatoes grown by Josh, bath salts, lavender lemonade, lavender cookies and what ever treats they feel like baking up for the day. In the back a courtyard surrounded by lush greenery, renovated barns and silo make for a perfect wedding or party setting. Look for them on 11573 Golf Link Rd. Become their friend on facebook for updates!
Pageo Farms
  • Merced Shares…. all I can say is genious, a group of urban women who love to grow their own foods found they had so much extra they decided to create a “food exchange”, they get together and bring what ever they have left over from their harvest, divide it up and everyone is happy! Learn more about these progressive backyard farmers on their blog!
Merced Share’s
  • Heifer International & UC Cooperative Extension… these two organizations have collaborated to help promote and support community and school gardens teaching organic sustainable agriculture here in the Central Valley. A valuable quest that needs community involvement, want to volunteer? Check out the learning farm in Ceres.
Heifer International & U C Cooperative Extension School Communituy Garden Seminar
  • Cynthia Flesher’s Pink Papaya Spa Parties….Inner Balance and Outer Beauty is her mantra, she is a Certified Massage Therapist in Turlock offering home spa parties with her luscious Pink Papaya skin & body line loaded with 100% pure essential oils. Treat yourself and friends to an “all about me time” and book a party!
Theraputic Body Works by Cynthia Flesher

Check back again for my next Central Valley updates!

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planting, hoeing, shoveling, cover cropping, composting, integrated pest management, cultivators, tractors and many hands of love for the belief of growing certified organic healthy foods.

Brian and Tracy Kline come from a long list of conventional farming families and wanted to continue the tradition but with an alternative twist….organic farming was the row they chose!

Their first small patch started in 1993 as “Dos Manos Farms” and has flourished to “Kline Organic Produce” with more land, specializing in a variety of seasonal heirloom tomatoes and potatoes, various unique vegetables, fruit, herbs, their new pasta sauce and spicy pickled bean products, an annual tomato tasting, selling at 2 farmers markets and a CSA of over 40 members!

This local family farm here in the heart of big Ag has a small farm charm that is tended by committed family, including their two young daughters, and many friends. It oozes with the most comfortable natural energy enticing you to be a part of.

With every farm visit I learn something new, this time I came away with a true understanding of how and why farmers connect with mother earth, and what she can give us providing she is nurtured with respect and appreciation, the bond for those who do is phenomenal!

You can find Brian’s smiling face at Modesto Farmers Market on Saturdays and Thursdays & Tracy’s friendly face at Sonora Farmers Market on Saturdays.  To keep up with what is going on at the farm and learn more about your local choices visit their website at www.klineorganicproduce.com.

Happy Farming,

Just Anna!

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