Saturday, January 30, 2010

They Called for an Inch...

...and we got 6! It has been cold the last few days, REALLY cold. We were able to run some last minute errands before the snow started so we could hunker down and enjoy it! As the huge, fluffy flakes blanketed the farm,
we spent a lot of the day ordering seeds. It's so much fun thumbing through each catalog looking at all the pictures of colorful tomatoes, shiny peppers, perfect carrots, and pretty much anything you can think of. Today: flowers. Since we have limited space, we are trying to be picky - but it's so hard. I think we'll just order one of everything. That will make it easy!
Ok, maybe not. We were able to resist ordering more than we need (just barely) and were still able to pick out a lot of beautiful flowers - black eyed susans, delphinium, celosia, zinnias, and quite a few more! Plus, we have all the seeds Linda saved from last year - sunflowers, calendula, cosmos, etc. We are going to be planting a lot of our flowers in the herb garden on the hill. It is hard to picture with the ground frozen solid and covered in snow, but it is coming quickly. I can't wait!

Maryland Farmers' Market Conference

We slipped off the farm yesterday to attend the MD Dept. Of Agriculture's Farmers' Market Conference in Annapolis. It was a day full of powerpoint presentations, bad florescent lighting, and ample opportunity to network with other market managers and growers. There were a handful of presentations on the various state rules and regulation which apply to the market setting, a bit about promoting and advertising, and there was even an opportunity to register your scale with the government, (who knew that you had to do this?). Much to our satisfaction, the focus of the conference though seemed to be on how to use Farmers' Markets to increase access to fresh and local food for low-income populations. Michelle Dudley and Michele Levy of Crossroads Farmers' Market gave an inspiring presentation about the successes and struggles that have come with managing that incredible market. For those who have not heard of it, Crossroads FM focuses on attracting customers from the predominantly lower-income Crossroads area in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, as well as city senior citizens - though anyone can shop there, and everyone should! It was the first Farmers' Market in Maryland authorized to accept food stamps, WIC, and senior assistance vouchers and the only market to match food vouchers with market 'Fresh Checks' - a grant funded project which helps to further ensure that the market's fresh food offerings are accessible to all. We are pleased to be joining the Crossroads market this season as vendors!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Look What Shawn Found in the Compost!

Can you believe it? A beautiful little pak choi sprouting up out of the old stump in the middle of January! We had frozen several heads of pak choi and a couple bunches of kale in the fall that Jackie (De La Tierra Gardens) had given us - looks like this little guy wasn't ready to go!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Welcome to Truffula Seed Produce at Garden Gate Farm

Here we are! Welcome to Truffula Seed Produce, our little farm business located on Garden Gate Farm in Carroll County, MD. Garden Gate Farm is a four acre "farmette" owned by Josie's parents who keep a flock of egg laying chickens and maintain a large vegetable garden, fruit trees, and berry bushes. Shawn and Josie live in a little cabin on the hill and run Truffula Seed Produce.

We are getting things going here in our little corner of the county. Slowly but surely we are working our way through the winter preparing for the excitement that comes with warmer weather. We have made quite a bit of progress during these cold few months on several different projects.

First, we have been constructing a high tunnel on a flat sunny spot on the east side of the property. It is 25' x 28' and close to 13 feet high! So far, with some help from Dave (Josie's dad) and his big white van, we have put up the metal framing. Soon we will be building the ends and then adding the plastic. We hope to have it finished by the end of February (weather permitting) so we can get some seedlings going in there!

The finished frame
Check out more photos of us constructing this thing on our gallery page!

Second, we have been in the market for a pick-up truck. Every farm needs a farm truck! We had been looking for a diesel since it was important to us to use something other than gasoline. We could run it on bio-diesel and then hopefully one day convert it to run on used veggie oil! Well - the way opened. Josie's little Saturn, which had been good to her for many years, was hit in a gas station parking lot by a Jeep. It only had a small buckle in the hood, but due to it's low value (Kelly Blue Book: $250) it was totaled. We had to give it up to the insurance company. But they paid us well for it and we were able to put that money towards our new truck. So here it is! A 1995 Chevy Cheyenne 2500 Diesel. There seem to be a few things wrong with we'll see. We will keep you posted!

Third, we have been planning our new website - as you can see - it's up and it looks great! Linda, Josie's mom, did all the work to make it even better than what we wanted! We couldn't be happier with it.

There have been lots of other things here and there, but those are the biggies. Stay tuned for more exiting happenings here at Truffula Seed Produce!