News and blog
Time for my journey!
I am going to be documenting how my (Bryn) family will utilize all that comes in the weekly CSA box. I have decided if you all can do it… then so can I?
First, let me introduce our family. Right now it is just my husband, Brian and our daughter Emlyn. Emlyn is 6 months old and just starting to eat solids. Some days she does - some days we forget! We both work full-time and Emlyn is in a nanny-share during the day. We also help with the farm and try to stay active in our community volunteering. So… we are BUSY people. But cooking real good, real local food… doesn't have to take a lot of time or planning. This is my way of demonstrating that and hopefully get your wheels turning too! So we are perfect for a "Just Right" CSA box.
This week's haul… instead of bok choy we had 3 heads of lettuce! YUMMY!
I was most concerned about the beets and beet greens and yet they were the first to go. We were able to roast the beets at 375 for 35 minutes and then I put them in a blender until smooth enough for baby and it made 4 meals for her! However, beets STAIN I found out and so she now eats her beets naked on the porch.
Then the beet greens were half chopped up to include in tasty salads and the other handful I put in our morning green smoothies! Brian commutes 45 minutes each way to his job on Broad St. in Columbus. A green smoothie is quick and easy way to be sure he is getting some good nutrition in. At first even I was skeptical but you cannot taste the beet greens and you know you are getting a TON of nutrition in one yummy sweet drink.
1 Bunch Beet Greens
1 Cup Orange Juice
1 Cup Frozen Strawberries from last season
Directions: BLEND and ENJOY!
Basil - Garlic Scapes - Eggs
This was totally just made up at 9PM after I didn't have time to think about dinner and the baby went to bed extra late. I found one pound of ground pork from our partner Oink, Moo, Cluck Farms! I sautéed the garlic scales and basil in some oil. Then added the meat until browned and added 4 eggs! It was super easy and enough for breakfast the next morning for the both of us too! I added fresh salsa. Brian said he would have loved an avocado on top too!!
Lettuce, Garlic Scapes, Cilantro, Micro Greens and Honey!
Well, I cannot find a picture and I must rush out to the Licking Memorial Hospital Pick-up! But we made the BEST steak salad! We topped our lettuce with garlic scales, cilantro, micro greens and made a quick homemade salad dressing! This was enough for four salads
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2.5 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1.5 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
So…. what did you do with your food this week?
Growing-up, as brother and sister, the Lee and Bryn could not have been more different. Being one-year apart in school we often had teachers who did not realize or believe we were siblings until late in the school year. Lee’s quiet and insightful demeanor was a stark contrast to Bryn’s overtly extroverted personality. However, despite the outward differences, the foundation of our character was built upon a passion for sustainable agriculture, community, and family. As brother and sister, we were shaped by the decision our father, Tom, made when at fifty years old he decided to follow his passion; going against the societal norms to purchase a 110-acre farm in Central Ohio. Watching our parents make this decision and move our family from the city to the country instilled in us a deep aspiration to follow one’s passion and
to never stop striving to achieve our dreams. As city kids from Colorado we seemed to be the outcasts the first few years of school in rural Ohio. It was through our many projects and activities in local 4-H clubs and our FFA chapter that we found community and a real understanding of farm life. Our perception and appreciation of family was shaped by the early mornings completing chores and late nights lambing in the barn. We both went off to college and beyond but our passion to be on the land, in sustainable agriculture, and with our family has brought us back to the family operation. Though the farm has been in operation since 1995 under the direct guidance of our parents; now, sixteen years later, we have officially formed an L.L.C. partnership and look to transition the farm from one generation to the next. It is our turn to make what once was “just a dream” into a thriving multiple family and generation farm.
During the early years Bird’s Haven Farms was like many central Ohio farms concentrating on corn and soybeans. However, with a limited amount of land our family knew that grain would not create a sustainable business. Our father loved gardening and began to realize the size of our farm, while not perfect for corn was perfect for produce. In 2005 we began phasing out commodity crops and by 2011 we were solely cultivating specialty crops. We began to offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions and utilize high-tunnel technology to extend our growing season. The cultivating and harvesting of produce was taught to us at a young age in our father's garden and our crops have thrived. However, the cultivation of a business and operational management continues to be a challenge. Until 2010, the family farming operation was subsidized by our father’s employment as a veterinarian. However, as we transition the farm from our parent’s generation to the brother/sister partnership of this generation it is our goal to be completely viable and sustainable without the need for a second income or off-the-farm job. The growing local food moevement has allowed the current farm operations to expand and hopefully become economically viable enough to support the next generation.
The blessing of having land and a childhood in agriculture has never been lost on the two of us. We understand the value in the gift our parents gave us through our education and the purchase of the farm. Through our experience and challenges faced during the operations growth and the difficulties in the transition we greatly respect other young and beginning famers. Our operation, Bird’s Haven Farms, has already become a place of training and mentoring. Our farm is located five miles from Denison University and has hosted interns from their sustainable agriculture course, volunteers from various student groups, summer work-training programs, and also through Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s apprentice program. One of our great aspirations is to be not only a highly productive farm but also a thriving business and a model to other central Ohio beginning farmers. As others have helped us grow we also want to learn how to help teach others about the business of farming and how to plan for a better business - not just a better season.
Over the next five years our goal is to create an operation where our parents can step away from the operational management and financial obligations of the farm. Our desire is to create a business partnership that will support both Lee and Bryn’s growing families. We are hopeful this dream can be achieved by the committment of our community in our farm and by the increased desire by institutional buyers in central Ohio to purchase local produce.
As we enter 2014 we cannot wait to see where this season takes us and the community we will meet along the way!