Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blue Heron Farm 2015 CSA Now accepting registrations!

2015 CSA brochure - click here

Hello to all returning and potential CSA members, neighbors, friends and family!

The days are getting a bit longer, the sun is actually shining even though it is single digits out but - it's time, it's time ..Here we are - middle of February - seed starting ordering time and CSA sign up time! Delia asks, "Mama, are the lambs to be born today? Soon, sweet girl, soonJ
This year we celebrate the CSA's birthday here on the farm - 10 years old! It all started when two frequent customers at the Alburgh Farmers' Market (which turned into what is now the Champlain Islands Farmers' Market) said "Hey why don't you start a CSA - we'd be members."  That first year we had 17 members - 17 families we produced for and now we are at just over 60 families. We are glad we listened to their advice and because of our CSA we are able to thrive as a small diversified farm.  With diversifed income streams for the farm: farmers' markets, wholesale, direct sales, and our thriving CSA we are able to make farming work for our family.  We love that you are part of the farm and that we get to see you every week during the season to share the farm's bounty with you and that you are here with us in the fields - knowing where your food is coming from.  What a great direct link to one of your food sources - knowing the hands that grow your food and being able to shake them.  Can't get that from the grocery store.

We have been busy this winter taking care of the animals and planning for the growing season to come. Adam is on the farm full time now with some teaching in these winter months at CCV.   Sadie, 7, is working on her First Grade year at home with us and she is very active in her dance classes at Miss Liza's, 4H, sports, and book club. Sadie is learning how to read and enjoying every minute of it.  During her 4h group, she was able to practice what she has learned with electricity and made her own lamp. Delia, 4, is doing most of the same activities with her big sister and she is loves doing her schoolwork alongside her sister.  Delia loves all things baby and animals - watch out if you have a baby kitty, puppy or real baby - she will be quite the little mama to it. I have been busy with Sadie's school, helping Adam with the animals, going to farmers' market at the hospital and working on some really fun knitting projectsJ
So, How are you ?- what have you been up to?  Sorry we haven't written more this winter - but as I am realizing writing with two children and a farm - are quite hard to do.  You all have been in our thoughts thoughJ

Adam and I continue to learn about farming - what we want to be, what we don’t want to be when our farm grows up.  We are looking at systems and are continually reflecting on our farm practices to make things more efficient, more productive, more nutritious, more manageableJ We are heading to the NOFA winter conference this weekend and are looking forward to being energized, inspired and walk away with a few more skills.
We will be offering 60 shares this year.  We will have the Individual, Full and Salad Shares available. There is still the sliding scale, financial aid is available(through NOFA-VT and the farm), we will take EBT for payments, payment plans, credit cards,  possible bartering, pro-rated summer resident shares and prices will not go up. We can make deliveries but there needs to be 10 or more full or individual shares in that one location.  Looking to get a birthday or anniversary present? Why not a BHF CSA share - It's the gift that gives over 18 weeks of delicious organic food.  Or would you like to donate a share to a family in need or buy veggies to be sent to the food shelf or Food for thought - we can do that tooJ

We also have 1 to 2 CSA Individual share membership to barter to a person or family that can commit to working 8 hours a week.  Please get in contact with us if you are interested in this. We will also have CSA member work days scheduled once a month where you can come out to the farm and help us with big labor projects that are family friendly. Also, this year we will continue to work on and post on our farm blog www.blueheronfarmvt.com and we are pretty active on facebook too - please "friend" us.
 We want to continue to make organic produce affordable to all and be able to pay our costs. With members buying upfront their vegetables for the season, it helps our costs immensely and we can budget for the rest of the season. We would like to get payment by April 15th. If any of you can pay sooner than that, that would be great since most of our buying is right now through March (I know, I know I should have mailed this in January). Shares will start the first or second week in June. If these shares don't work for you, or you would like to make a creative share - please let us know - we can try to work something out - we are pretty flexible.

**For those who pay by March 15th – you will be entered to win 5 dozen of eggs or a skein of our organic yarn or those who refer someone to our CSA, you will be entered to win also - the more you refer - the more chances to win.  Just have those people write your name at the bottom of the 2015 membership registration.
We value your support and friendship. If these costs are a hardship, please call us and we can come up with a payment plan. We are also hoping to provide 5 supported shares for families who are in need of this. If you are in need of financial aid this year please let us know and we will get you the financial aid info for a  supported share.  Also we are accepting donations for the Farm Share program that supports our farms supported shares. Last year we were able to give financial support to 4 families from our community and provide extra food to the Round Barn through generous donations from our members. Our goal is to raise $500 for supported shares so NOFA-VT will match it and make a share more affordable to families in our community. If you would like more info, please give us a call. You can send the donation in with your registration form or send it directly to NOFA-VT with “Blue Heron Farm supported share” in the memo.

Because of you, our CSA members, we are able to outreach to our community here in Grand Isle County with food and goodwill.
Last year, we had our 9th year with the Senior Shares at the Round Barn here in Grand Isle. We delivered fresh veggies to 16 residents for 10 weeks and have had community dinners with them once a month since October. We are looking to expand this for this upcoming year and look forward to having them out at the farm with us. If you would like to join us for our monthly lunches, just let us know and we will let you know when they are.  We will continue this program again this year with the hopes of expanding it.

Also, we donated and sold, at a reduced rate, a bunch of food for the Food for Thought program last year, which fed over 125 children in Grand Isle County for 12 weeks. Each week, Blue Heron Farm was able to donate or sell  fresh veggies. Our farm plans to help out again with this year by donating veggies and if any of you would like to help with volunteering on those Sundays, delivering food to families, growing veggies here at our farm or your own place, buy a CSA share for this program, donate money (see our registration form) or with financial support please call Kaight at 372-5843 or give us a call.
We will also be working on growing certain crops for the food shelf here in the county.  If you would like to help with any of this, let us know.  There are times - for example - last summer, a bunch of lettuce mix came up that was ready and we had way too much to sell or give to you all.  We called a few people and folks came out and we harvested over 75lbs of lettuce mix, that we washed, spun, and bagged and brought to the Grand Isle Food Shelf.  None of it went to waste, it didn't get plowed under, it went right to people in our community.  We are always looking for folks who would like to help come glean veggies for the food shelf - let us know if you are interested.

Thank YOU!
We couldn’t do this without all of you. It is because of you, we made it through last year with the hope for this growing season. Adam, Sadie, Delia and I look forward to walking out to the chickens with you and your children, meeting our sheep and their lambs in the pasture, mooing to Miss Annie, Miss Maggie, picking ground cherries, finding beautiful flower bouquets again,  uncovering treasures of potatoes and carrots from the earth, and enjoying that you know where your food comes from.

When we sit and plan this year and reflect over the last 11 years(!) – we are truly blessed to have this as our work. We are honored that we are one of your farmers and you are our community. Hope you are all well. We have enclosed this year’s CSA brochure. Please pass to a friend if you are going to fill out the electronic version. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you walking in the fields - smelling the basil, having tomato juice run down your cheeks, & eating fresh sweet peas again .

Your friends/farmers at Blue Heron Farm,

Adam Farris, Christine Bourque, Sadie and Delia Farris
PS- NOFA-VT Supported farm share program will be released March 1 - If you need financial assistance - please let us know and call NOFA (434-4122) or download(www.nofavt.org) their application. Get your supported share application in ASAP as soon as it is released because it is on a first come first serve basis until funds run out.

PPS - I am really, really hoping to pull off a REAL website for the farm this spring too..thanks to my very experienced sister Sue:)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Farmers Market this Saturday!

Champlain Islands 
Winter Farmers' Market
Opens October 25th!

It's time to settle down for warm winter soups and roasts, gather with friends, and celebrate the harvest in South Hero!

Great local foods and artisan crafts abound at the
Champlain Islands Winter Farmers' Market.
Stock up on local vegetables, meats, eggs, wool, delicious preserved
foods, fresh baked goods, artisan crafts, and more! 
The Winter Market takes place on
Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm
at the South Hero Congregational Church
on South Street in South Hero,
on the following dates:
October 25
November 8 & 22
December 6 & 20

For more information visit

Monday, September 29, 2014

Journal Post for week of September 29

Volume IX, JOURNAL 16
                                                                                                                          September 29, 2014
       Blue Heron Farm Journal
So what’s happening on the farm this week?
Week 16J  Hi everyone- Sorry we haven't written in a few weeks.  It comes down to time sometimes - wherther we have enough time to pick this or that or write the newsletter, or wash eggs or feed lunch..you know how it is.  I wanted to make sure we wrote today to fill you on the next few weeks. 
We have pickup today September 29 from 4-630 and drop offs on thursday october 2 (except for FAHC which will be on wednesday)
·        October 6 from 4 to 630 and drop offs Thursday October 9. - week 17
·        SKIP the whole week of October 13 (Columbus Day)
·        October 20 from 4 - 630 and drop offs Thursday October 23 - Week 18 - Last pickup
·        Also on October 20 will be Blue Heron Farm's Annual Hoedown Potluck - bring a dish to share, bring an instrument and come celebrate the Blue Heron Farm's 10th Birthday!!  Eating will start around 5.  You can pick up your share anytime between 4 and 630.  We'll have birthday cake, farm fresh food, mulled cider and music and other treatsJ This is open to anyone who wants to come and celebrate the farm's birthday!
This weekend October 4 and 5th we will be at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds.  We will have all our wool there along with fresh colors for this year.  It is an amazing festival including a yarn tasting, sheep dogs, food, music, amazing farmers and their wares.  We will also be at the Saturday Farmers Market in Grand Isle thanks to Carly and SophieJ
Thanks to the amazing volunteer crew on Mondays  - Diantha, Gretchen and Gail and Carly we have been able to harvest all the onions - nearly 500 lbs last Monday and today we harvested almost 500 lbs of potatoesJ We still have more potatoes coming - the storage varieties and more of those yummy gold potatoes. It looks like the reminerilzation of the potato and greens soils are paying off.  We also have very sweet carrots coming -  Delia and Sadie have been tasting them every day to make sure they are sweet.  The girls have been eating the spinach like potato chips this week - they gobble it up - no cooking neccesary.  The baby red russian kale in your share this week is perfect to eat raw, put in smoothies, stirfry or make kale chips. We went to a wonderful family potluck over the weekend and we brought a tossed salad with lettuce mix, kale, spinach and arugula - it was gorgeous! We made a maple balsamic vinaigrette - something that should be on a magazine cover ;)
We found out a couple of weeks ago our cow Maggie is pregnant and due May 6 - Christine's birthday.  Annie our other milk cow is due November 6th.  We will be breeding our sheep soon - probably the middle of October or so.  We were gifted two blueberry bushes from Island blueberries - Delia is ecstatic - blueberries are her favorite.  Sadie's our raspberries - we will have to get her a few bushes this fall or next spring.  We will be processing meat birds this Wednesday if anyone is interested in buying some.  they will be fresh til end of day Saturday - then they go in the freezer. 
It's so easy to focus on all the hard things, all the challenges with farming and family life.  We struggle with the balance. I have been reflecting on this a lot lately - crops fail, wars, violence, not enough time to do x, not enough rain, too much rain, housework needs to be done, we need to build house, laundry, paying bills, etc.  We all get bogged down with all the quagmire. If we focus on all the challenges of every day life, we don't get to see the zinnias amongst the quack grass. J this is so easy to say than do, really. We are trying to focus on the positive - the positive gives you a lot more energy than constantly harping on what is wrong or negative. We are not looking at the world with pollyanna glasses but to see the bigger picture.  A friend texted me this yesterday "The brave who focus on all things good and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world." So be brave.  Revel in the moment.  Bring the brave light.
It is amazes me how much this land nourishes all of us - our bellies, our souls, our minds. Thanks for being part of it.    Thanks for listening.
Have a great week. 
We look forward to farming with you this season.   
Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, and Carly
 What’s in the share this week:
This  list is what is in a  full share this week.  Things may change between Monday and Thursday and Individual and Salad share will get differing amounts and may not get everything on the list. Onions, Lettuce Mix, Potatoes, Spinach, Baby Red Russian Kale, Cilantro, Dill, Winter Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes
Farm Fresh Raw milk for Sale
We are very lucky to have two milking cows - Annie and Maggie - both give us plenty of milk each and every day and we would like to share that with you and anyone else would like to have raw milk.  We sell it $5 a half gal.  We also can do a sliding scale if needed for the milk.  You can buy milk at CSA pickup or anytime out of our barn fridge next to our house at 34 quaker.
Eggs for sale We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown eggs– with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen.  The eggs are $5.00 a dozen.  $3.00 half dozen
***FRESH CERTIFIED ORGANIC whole CHICKEN AVAILABLE at the FARM TODAY - $5.50 a lb*** Also available in the fridge freezer section in our barn milk fridge next to our house.
Slow-Cooker Caramelized Onions & French Onion Soup
The slow-cooker is the ideal way to make big batches of luscious, brown, meltingly tender Caramelized Onions for whatever purposes you like them. Included is my recipe for perfect French Onion Soup using the caramelized onions as a base.
For the Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

12 small to medium sized yellow onions
3 medium sized red onions
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

For the French Onion Soup:

1 1/2 cups beef broth - you could use veg broth
1 1/2 cups chicken broth  - you could use veg broth
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
6-8 slices (1 to 1 1/2-inches thick each) French bread
olive oil for drizzling
6-8 thin slices Swiss cheese (or 1/4 pound grated Swiss cheese, or more to taste)

To Make the Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions:
Halve, peel, and thinly slice all of the onions. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the bottom of the slow-cooker's crock. Add about half of the onions, sprinkle about half of the salt over the onions, drizzle another 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and repeat with the remaining onions, salt, and olive oil. Sprinkle the thyme over everything and then use tongs to toss the contents so the onions are evenly coated with oil. Place the lid on the crock, turn the heat to HIGH, and let it cook for 9-10 hours, stirring and flipping the contents from bottom to top after 1 hour and again after 3 hours. After those stirs, you should not need to keep agitating the contents of the slow cooker unless your cooker runs hot. If you know it runs hot, it wouldn't hurt to move the onions around every couple of hours to prevent scorching. When the onions are deep golden brown to medium brown, turn the slow-cooker off and portion out the onions into freezer safe containers. I tend to do one batch big enough for French Onion Soup, and two smaller containers for pizzas, flatbreads, sandwiches, and whatnot.
To Make the French Onion Soup:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. You can either remove half of the caramelized onions from the slow cooker and finish making the soup in the crock or you can transfer half of the caramelized onions to a pot to make the soup. Either way, add the beef and chicken broths to half of the caramelized onions over HIGH heat. While the soup heats, drizzle the bread slices with olive oil on both sides. Depending on the size and shape of the bowls you will be using to serve the soup, you may have to trim the bread to fit. Toast the bread in the preheated oven for about 6 minutes, flipping halfway through the time, or until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Set aside.
When the soup is steaming hot, but not boiling, taste the broth and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle the soup into broiler-safe bowls, top each bowl with one or two croutons. Top each crouton with a slice of Swiss cheese or a generous handful of grated Swiss cheese. Put the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and browned in places. Serve immediately.
All-Dressed Kale Chips
Crispy and chewy kale chips baked in the oven and seasoned to perfection. Enjoy these as a healthy alternative to potato chips. Use as many or as little spices as you'd like.
Total Time
per baking sheet:

approx. 1/2 bunch kale leaves
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
1.5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove leaves from the stems of the kale and roughly tear it up into large pieces. Compost the stems (or freeze for smoothies). Wash and spin the leaves until thoroughly dry. Add kale leaves into a large bowl. Massage in the oil until all the nooks and crannies are coated in oil. Now sprinkle on the spices/seasonings and toss to combine. Spread out the kale onto the prepared baking sheet into a single layer, being sure not to overcrowd the kale.

Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 12-15 minutes more until the kale begins to firm up. The kale will look shrunken, but this is normal. I bake for 25 mins. total in my oven. Cool the kale on the sheet for 3 minutes before digging in! This really makes all the difference! Enjoy immediately as they lose their crispiness with time. Repeat this process for the other half of the bunch.

Note: Feel free to make these in a dehydrator if you have one. You can also experiment with the convection or dehydrator setting on your oven (if applicable). Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/print-recipe/?id=762#ixzz3EjYHa0oZ




As you know, we partner with NOFA-VT to offer Supported CSA shares to community members who not be able to participate otherwise.   On Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 generous restaurants, coops, and food stores statewide will participate in Share the Harvest 2014 by donating a portion of their day’s sales to the Farm Share Program. NOFA Vermont thanks these participants and all of the people who eat out or shop at participating establishments on this date.

Donations to the Farm Share Program are always welcomed and are accepted year round. If you would like to contribute to the Farm Share Program, you can do so online or download this coupon to make a donation.

NOFA Vermont's Farm Share Program is a great way that limited-income Vermonters can afford to purchase CSA (community supported agriculture) shares of fresh produce from their local farmers. Donations to the Farm Share Program go into a fund which helps subsidize CSA shares to needy Vermonters. NOFA Vermont believes that all Vermonters should be able to eat local organic food, regardless of their income level, while also making sure farmers get a good wage for their hard work.

In 2014, the Farm Share Program is serving over 1,400 limited-income people statewide with participation from 50 Vermont farms. Demand for Farm Share Program support is significant and a waiting list for CSA share recipients has been established. The Farm Share Program is funded by individual donations and by the annual Share the Harvest fundraiser.

Click on any of the 2014 Share the Harvest participant's names below to learn more about them.

If you know of a restaurant or food store who would like to participate in Share the Harvest 2015, please contact Becca Weiss at becca@nofavt.org or 802-434-4122 x 20.

Share the Harvest 2014 participants are listed below.

Special thanks to those businesses who have shown their commitment to our local food system with their long-time participation in Share the Harvest. Businesses with 8 or more years of participation are designated with asterisks (*).

2014 Participants
S Burlington
E. Thetford
Enosburg Falls
Essex Junction
St. Albans
St. Johnsbury
St. Johnsbury
S. Burlington
S. Hero
S. Royalton
White River Junction