Category Archives: Arkansas

Old, new and in between

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We woke up to a beautiful misty morning the other day.

A picture of one of our CSA baskets.

Some Anaheim peppers.

Patrick displaying the “take”.

Amy Brosi came up to see us from Huntsville Texas.  She along with her husband own Evolution Biodiesel, and also have a farm called Far Out Farms.

Here is Paul Pakis, the mystery, the legend.  I had mentioned him before, now here are the pictures to give you a visual.  We’re glad to have you Paul, and to other WWOOF host farms, you could be lucky to have him also, he’s looking.  It sounds like I’m trying to set him up on a date, maybe I am.  Ladies!  He can spread mulch like he’s done it his whole life.

Get it Paul!

The Pak-Man.

This is Kyle, one of the newest additions to the WWOOF-pack.  He and Karen arrived together, they hail from Chicago, but have been traveling and WWOOF-ing for a few months.  They arrived yesterday morning.

Siesta time affords you many luxuries, like fishing.  Take that 9-5 job!  Doesn’t he look thrilled to be holding that little bass?

 

 

 

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CO-OP Shots

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CO-OP Shots

Ozark Natural Foods, our local food CO-OP, sent out some representatives to take our picture to put above the produce section, along with other local farms and farmers who sell to their store.  Store Produce Manager, Pauline Thissen, has been a pioneer in publicising the importance of local foods to the area and is a steadfast supporter to many local farms.  It’s been a long time coming to get this picture taken, but it finally happened and should be up in the store by next week.

Something tells me Isaac had the camera, but I’m not so sure.

We’re all starting to congregate in front of the hoop house.

(L-R)Jake”Snake”Jones, David Dallago, Marine Champion, Patrick Jones, Paul Chapracki, Amanda Wunderlich; (Front) Jonathan “Disco” Bame, Isaac Chapracki (in lap), Oliver Chapracki (with fist raised), Pauline Thissen, and Laura (I don’t know her last name, she’s our latest WWOOF’er from Missouri.)

Things were starting to get a little out of hand.

I’m sure Paul took this picture.  He really wanted them to get some “Depth of feild” and gaze into the hoop house for the shot.

This shot is definitely one of Isaac’s.  He is notorious for butt shots.

He also took this picture of Marine.

It was so hot this particular morning, we were all a little batty.

We all had a great time though.

It was so DRY!!! How dry was IT?

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My goodness gracious.  It has been so hot and DRY lately, things are dying all around us.  Lawns are brown, trees are loosing their leaves, the people are wilting themselves.  Team WWOOF is so bored, I can tell.  They spend a lot of time, all day usually, watering.  You see with the CSA, we can’t let things die on us.  Our customers are depending on a crop.  Let me rephrase that.  We could totally let it ALL die and the customer would have to understand, because they signed a piece of paper, and something like drought is part of the liability.  But we’re too nice, and since we have a lot of help and it’s too hot to do much else, we put a hose in their hand.  It’s funny, because as I type this out, it is currently raining.  The rain, which has only been going on for about 20 minutes or so has prompted me to write about the dryness, because I’ve been needing to.  One of our CSA members asked me the other day how things were growing.  I let him know how tough it’s been and how some things are just wilting away.  He totally understood if the bags were empty for the next few weeks.  He shared the story of his garden with me.  He said he and his wife had been gone for three weeks.  Even though they had someone watering it for them, they returned and their garden was dust.  This “heat wave” that the weather man has talked about has lasted for two months now.  It’s more like a heat tsunami!  This wave won’t leave.  I guess my message to you dear reader is respect the fact that there is produce at your grocery store, and there are many, MANY factors that go into its survival.  Uh oh, the rain knew I was talking about it, it just stopped : (

Buzzy Day Today

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Up with the sun, and we got more accomplished before 9:30am than most.  Early this morning, Paul went up to Lowell Arkansas with a new farm friend Butch Wilson, to pick up a bee hive.  Butch and his wife came to the Slow Foods potluck held here about a month ago and noticed that there was a hive at the back of the farm.  Since he and his wife grow a garden, he said that he couldn’t support what we were doing in that way, but would like to help out in another way.  So, Butch and his wife purchased a bee hive for us, to help pollinate the crops.  Thank you Butch, and your wife, I feel bad that I don’t know her name, for your generous contribution!  Also, a few representatives from the CO-OP, Ozark Natural Foods came by to take our picture to go up on the wall in the produce section of the store, and interview us for their newsletter, or possibly their blog?  I’m not sure, I was in and out of the conversation, but we were interviewed about the operation.  Lastly, about 20 highschool/college engineering students came out for a tour of the farm.  Paul and Jonathan took them around, and with their enthusiasm, I’m sure these folks were wowed.  Then it was lunch time.

 

Life is a funny thing

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So the tomato tasting “contest” was more of a tomato tasting “event”, held Sunday at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks.  The Ozark Slow Foods Movement is the group that hosted the event, and they purchased Peron, Chocolate Stripe, Mexico Midget, and Grape Cherry varieties from our farm to put into the tasting.  There were 60 varieties for the public to choose from.  Paul says there were well over 200 people who waltzed through the hall.  I say “waltzed” but they had to put in their time in line, which went out into the parking lot.  Paul and Oliver walked over to the Botanical Gardens, whilst Isaac and I wo-manned the farm stand.  There was a woman who walked by and said: “The Mexico Midgets were delicious!”  I thanked her for the compliment and we talked tomatoes for a bit.  She must have talked to Paul inside the venue because they were not marked as “Ozark Alternatives”.  This woman told me of the ones she was excited to taste and was sorely disappointed, and the ones that surprised her like the Brandywine variety.  It was $5 to enter this event to participate in the tasting.  I wish I could have seen the crowd and the line, I don’t know if I would pay the $5 to taste, I don’t enjoy tomatoes enough to want to taste all of them…shhhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone.  I mean don’t get me wrong, tomatoes are awesome, I like them on a sandwich, I feel no need to explain myself any further.  If you come by my Farmer’s Market stall though, I’ll tell you how good they are!

The same day at the Farmer’s Market, we sold out of all that we brought.  It was a good feeling, I must say.  We had pints of Blackberries, several bunches of flowers, several quarts of tomatoes and a few of Okra.  All of it gone.  The crowd was all jazzed up about the tomato tasting so they were in the mood to buy.

I wore my bonnet at the market that day and at least ten people complimented me on it.  I couldn’t believe it.  Usually I get a “that’s nice”, but really they’re thinking of Laura Ingalls Wilder, or Mother Goose.  This day was otherworldly!

I was recognized at a busy restaurant today at lunch, by a complete stranger.  He said: “You look familiar.”  There we were, for what seemed like minutes, me saying nothing.  “Where do I know you from?”

“I don’t know”.  Is my reply.

“But I’ve seen you before”.

I’m shaking my head, I have no idea who this is, not even the slightest inkling.  I’m usually great with remembering faces.  “Do you go to the farmer’s market?” I ask.

“YES!  Yesterday.  You sold me blackberries!”  He says and points at me.  I look down at his little boy, I remembered his face.

“Aaaahh!  Yes.  I did sell you blackberries!”  Ha ha, and I walk away.  It was a very surreal and awkward experience, but flattering at the same time.

Lastly, Paul gets an email from someone who says that he spoke to brothers in a natural foods store in Missouri.  They tell him all about the farm and their experience on the farm.  He’s intrigued, and apparently he has spent time at both Dripping Springs and Foundation Farm.  Hmmmm….I wonder who those brothers could have been.  I don’t know anyone from Ava MO.  Life is sure funny sometimes.

Come one come all!

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Up at 5:30 am this morning.  It never gets any easier, I don’t care what anyone else says.  Today is Sunday, so that means it’s time once again to load up the truck and head down to the farmer’s market.  The Slow Foods Movement is holding a tomato tasting contest and are buying five different varieties of tomatoes from us for the contest.  I’m not sure how it’s judged or awarded, or if there are awards.  I just finished picking okra.  Since we were not here for 24 hours, the okra was long and not edible.  I think I might have picked enough the right size for us to eat for dinner.  I invite all of you locals to come down to the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks today for the contest.  Should be lots of yummy local tomatoes for your tasting pleasure.

Things I Love, Things I Loathe

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I am quite satisfied with these flowers, these are a cactus variety of zinnia from Baker Creek Seed Co.  The package said “Giant”.  Not quite so sure about that, but the color is really nice.  We’ll put this into the “Love” category.

This too can be put into the “Love” category.  This, another cactus variety of zinnia, called “Bright Jewel Cactus”, seeds from Baker Creek Seed Co.  I’m in love with the color.  Anything orange attracts my eye, but when it’s a beautiful flower, even more so.  With this pack of seeds you get a few colors.  I’ve noticed a few white, a few yellow, some orange and pinks.  I’m satisfied with this mix of seed.  A beautiful mix of color.

This is the pink that comes mixed with the “Bright Jewel” packet.  It’s pretty, more of a salmon pink.

The award for “I love you, I love you, I love you!” goes to the “Righteous Red” zinnia from Seeds of Change.  These seeds had an excellent germination rate and produce hearty, vigorous plants.  The color was very chromatic, no complaints.  Absolutely stunning flowers.

I am also in love with my Celosia, seeds from Seeds of Change.  The germination rate was good and the plants are healthy.

Dum dun dun dun DUM!!!!  It’s that time to talk about the things that make me shudder and ultimately mean a swing and a miss on my part.  These pictures are of a zinnia variety called “Envy”, which is funny, because there is nothing to envy here.  I was so excited to buy these seeds, more than any of my others.  I bought them from Baker Creek Seed Co.  Zinnias should be direct seeded, but can be started in your green house, or indoors.  The risk of starting them early is to not let them get root bound, because they can suffer a transplant shock, which can send double blooms, (refer back to the picture of the Righteous Reds), to turn into singles, which you will see:

Hideous!  This is what the seed company advertised.  In fact, that’s even a terrible picture.  The picture in their catalogue was a lime green like this.  Not what I have here.

The single blooms are not pretty and they fall apart AND they look ugly a whole lot faster than they should.

I only have one plant that produces double blooms, but the color is far from what was advertised.  Let this serve as a warning to stay away from this variety of zinnia.  Notice the brown petals, this flower just bloomed!  Shouldn’t be brown.  Yuck “Envy” zinnia, just yuck.