Black Creek Organic Farm - Fall Happenings
Remember my blog a year ago about those local organic farmers? They grew up here, then moved to New York and then moved to Kaua'i for 7 years to learn hands-on how to farm organically? Well, this year they've got another cool tidbit to share. They are adding an organic Christmas baby to the farm! Yep, Kristin is pregnant and she couldn't be more excited to use cloth diapers, coconut oil on big baby legs, and puree their very own produce for baby's first bites.
She was raving a year ago about how beautiful it was knowing her organic crops fed me and my baby when I was pregnant. Now it's her turn and I am so excited for her! I love to watch new moms, especially the super crunchy type, take on this adventure. On a scale of 0-10 of crunchiness, she rates like a 9.3. Let's put it this way - she's got more crunch to her than a raw beet. And I say that with admiration.
I told you all I would check in with this little gem of a farm in 2016. Besides the baby coming in two months, they had some new food offerings this season. And, as with each season that rolls around, they had some new learning experiences too.
But really, the reason I check in on them and cheer-lead their farm is because they care deeply about making a nourishing and wholesome product. I love their dedication and passion. They care more about getting real food to people than they care about their annual revenue. Levi harvests by hand until it's dark out and Kristin plans, organizes, and makes everything lovely until the wee hours next to him. I get everything from maple syrup to flower arrangements to beets at their farm. Isn't this how it was meant to be? I'm hopeful about a movement starting, taking back our food one dedicated little farm at a time.
I always like to ask interview questions so you can hear from them directly, so I went there mid October with my camera and baby in hand to document the latest farm happenings.
1) How was your third season on the farm?
"We had the high tunnel which allowed us to have tomatoes three weeks earlier this year. We expanded the layer flock, so we were able to supply eggs to our CSA customers. We also raised a small number of meat chickens which were also available to our CSA customers. Our CSA membership grew by a few families."
4) To reiterate from last year.... your crops are more nutrient-dense than "organic joe shmo" at the grocery store because...?
[besides what they said last year - that store product usually has some shipping time before it gets to the customer, which means time sitting from harvest to consumer and that lessens the nutritional value]
"Kelp, lime, and rock powders are the foundation for our nutrient dense foods. Kelp and rock powders provide a vast array of micronutrients, where as lime adjust the pH to make these minerals acceptable to the crops and provide valuable calcium."
5) If people want to grow organic food at home in their garden, where do you recommend starting?
"The best way to start is by educating yourself as much as possible. There are numerous books, magazines, YouTube videos on the subject of organic gardening. Education will save you a lot of time and disappointment. Vegetables are very specific on their requirements for optimal growth."
6) Why do your carrots taste better than everyone's?
"Carrots' flavor reveals the condition of the soil it was growing in. Our carrots taste so good because of our biologically active soil. Before we plant carrots we will amend the soil, as necessary, with compost, kelp, and rock powders. These preparations supply the soil with all the nutrition needed to grow a tasty carrot."
7) Share some of your pesticide techniques, would you? I think people love to hear ways you can be creative and resist crop damage without compromising the health and quality of it.
"Beetles can be troublesome for us. We find the best way to control their populations is with diatomaceous earth (DE). DE works mechanically rather than chemically. It is a powder of siliceous sedimentary rock from the fossilized remains of diatoms. We apply it with a duster to the affected crops. The D.E. will then pierce the exoskeleton of the beetles resulting in death. Because of the fact that it works indiscriminately we do not apply to flower and crops once blossom set. Which makes the control of the dreaded cucumber beetle difficult but we do not want to harm the honeybees."
8) Many farms, like you, do not get the organic certification. Why is that?
"The scale of our operations are small and most of our marketing is direct sales. Where certification benefits the farmer is when they grow for wholesale markets. The price of the certification and the hours invested in all the additional paperwork is not advantageous to the small, direct sales market grower. The premium that you would receive from the wholesale market growing organically definitely warrants the additional expense and labor for the certification."
9) Is there a food movement in NW Ohio? What do you wish people knew about the food you grow here?
"There is a growing awareness about the benefits of good food. It would be nice to see more people into eating healthy before the onset of some illness. However, the testimonies of these individuals is often the best advertisement for organic food. We want everybody to know that this food is available to them. We are open about what we do and invite anybody who's interested to feel free to stop by. Transparency is vital to integrity of the farm."
Black Creek's list of produce and food: beets, carrots, lettuce, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, radish, spinach, beans, corn, shelling peas, cabbage, fennel, onions, leeks, garlic, okra, sweet peppers, hot peppers, swiss chard, turnips, tomatoes, winter squash, herbs, and flowers
Buy their product:
Toledo Farmer's Market, Defiance Farmer's Market, All Things Foods Co-Op (Bryan), and their CSA program & farm located right outside of Defiance: 5506 State Route 15, Ney, Ohio
*They are accepting 2017 CSA (community supported agriculture) shares of their farm - you buy in to their farm up front and reap the harvesting benefits as each item becomes available
**It's been a great season for an abundance of Kale, so keep your eyes peeled for a Kale Sale soon - you can freeze it for smoothies or blanch it to maintain shape for sautes or soups.