Arugula

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Posted 2/19/2018 1:24am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
 
 
 
 
Week 7 passed right on by in a flash.  This week brought a mix of rain and farming events that pushed days of work right out the window.  I sense this was the last week of off farm socialization before the onset of the season's brunt becomes ever encompassing, that is if the soils can catch a breath of air from the inundating amounts of rain.  We added another 1.7 inches of rain this week and it appears we might be in store for a another couple inches this week!  
 
I was so thrilled that despite the overwhelming sense of clouds there were three instances of brilliant sunshine that helped restore the winter February glooms this week, in which I am sure you all noticed and soaked up as well!
 
The week started out with an appointment from a long standing customer, intern, and friend that actually had no dealings with produce per say, even though a 10 lb bag of Heirloom Carolina Red Shelled Limas went in tote.
Matthew and I have been talking about turning something we are crafted in  into something that can be created for others on a larger scale and this appointment I might say is the official start. The topic is handcrafted wooden beds with 100% organic mattresses, spanish styled chairs, & settees with 100% organic cushions that are made solely out of re-purposed second-hand hardwood (either from old barns or from naturally deceased trees from our own property and other surrounding Middle TN properties)  My first commissioned 100% organic mattress is in the pipeline, and here soon Matthew will be milling.  More info coming soon, but in the meantime if you have any interest of this topic please let us know.  
 
Next we had a visit from a new individual that expressed interest in interning, which is great!  Therefore, we will proceed with the standard trial and error period to see if a mutual simpatico work relationship will present itself in the cards.   Nonetheless, with this being said,  I am still looking for farm partners to apply. Click here for more info on Arugula's Star Farm Farming Partners and Click here for ASF Farm Partner's Application.
 
I did get the onions started this week in one of those moments when the energetic sun shined and it was lovely.
 
Mid week we took off towards Louisville, KY for the Big AG Farm Show, which was primarily an interest of Matthew's and Eastenn Dutch's.  I went along for the ride, as part of the trip included a visit to the Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest up in Kentucky, south of Louisville. https://bernheim.org/program-and-events/.
 
Upon return, there was the annual Women's Farmer Gathering & Potluck in Nashville on Friday, which is always quite empowering and quaint.  
 
The steers were moved to a new grassy strip on Saturday evening after a very long day of rain.
 
And finally we wrapped the week up with the 2nd Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Day, EEFFD, of the year. We had yet another lovely day set aside just for this in these grim cold winter times.  Our numbers were up from the last as we were delighted with a family of 6!  Eastenn Dutch was quite excited and we explored vibrant green moss, dead trees, forest creeks, and wet feet only to be warmed up by the fire ring in the end.  Please be curious and go ahead and mark your calendars  for the next EEFFD, which will be on Sunday March 18th.  March 18th will be our last time up on the Hill TOP bald, south big forest, fire ring spot.  
 
 
Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 2/19/2018 1:14am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
 
 
 
 
Week 7 passed right on by in a flash.  This week brought a mix of rain and farming events that pushed days of work right out the window.  I sense this was the last week of off farm socialization before the onset of the season's brunt becomes ever encompassing, that is if the soils can catch a breath of air from the inundating amounts of rain.  We added another 1.7 inches of rain this week and it appears we might be in store for a another couple inches this week!  
 
I was so thrilled that despite the overwhelming sense of clouds there were three instances of brilliant sunshine that helped restore the winter February glooms this week, in which I am sure you all noticed and soaked up as well!
 
The week started out with an appointment from a long standing customer, intern, and friend that actually had no dealings with the produce per say, even though a 10 lb bag of Heirloom Carolina Red Shelled Limas went in tote.
Matthew and I have been talking about turning something we are crafted in  into something that can be created for others on a larger scale and this appointment I might say is the official start.   The topic is handcrafted wooden beds and mattresses, spanish styled chairs, & settees that are made solely out of re-purposed second-hand hardwood (either from old barns or from naturally deceased trees from our own property and other surrounding Middle TN properties)  My first commissioned 100% organic mattress is in the pipeline, and here soon Matthew will be milling.  More info coming soon, but in the meantime if you have any interest of this topic please let us know.  
 
Next we had a visit from a new individual that expressed interest in interning, which is great!  Therefore, we will proceed with the standard trial and error period to see if a mutual simpatico work relationship will present itself in the cards.   Nonetheless, With this being said,  I am still looking for farm partners to apply. Click here for more info on Arugula's Star Farm Farming Partners and Click here for ASF Farm Partner's Application.
 
I did get the onions started this week in one of those moments when the energetic sun shined and it was lovely.
 
Mid week we took off towards Louisville, KY for the Big AG Farm Show, which was primarily an interest of Matthew's and Eastenn Dutch's.  I went along for the ride, as part of the trip included a visit to the Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest up in Kentucky, south of Louisville. https://bernheim.org/program-and-events/.
 
Upon return, there was the annual Women's Farmer Gathering & Potluck in Nashville on Friday, which is always quite empowering and quaint.  
 
The steers were moved to a new grassy strip on Saturday evening after a very long day of rain.
 
And finally we wrapped the week up with the 2nd Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Day, EEFFD, of the year. We had yet another lovely day set aside just for this in these grim cold winter times.  Our numbers were up from the last as we were delighted with a family of 6!  Eastenn Dutch was quite excited and we explored vibrant green moss, dead trees, forest creeks, and wet feet only to be warmed up by the fire ring in the end.  Please be curious and go ahead and mark your calendars  for the next EEFFD, which will be on Sunday March 18th.  March 18th will be our last time up on the Hill TOP bald, south big forest, fire ring spot.  
 
 
Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 2/19/2018 1:12am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
 
 
 
 
Week 7 passed right on by in a flash.  This week brought a mix of rain and farming events that pushed days of work right out the window.  I sense this was the last week of off farm socialization before the onset of the season's brunt becomes ever encompassing, that is if the soils can catch a breath of air from the inundating amounts of rain.  We added another 1.7 inches of rain this week and it appears we might be in store for a another couple inches this week!  
 
I was so thrilled that despite the overwhelming sense of clouds there were three instances of brilliant sunshine that helped restore the winter February glooms this week, in which I am sure you all noticed and soaked up as well!
 
The week started out with an appointment from a long standing customer, intern, and friend that actually had no dealings with produce per say, even though a 10 lb bag of Heirloom Carolina Red Shelled Limas went in tote.
Matthew and I have been talking about turning something we are crafted in  into something that can be created for others on a larger scale and this appointment I might say is the official start.  The topic is handcrafted wooden beds and 100% organic mattresses, spanish styled chairs, & settees with 100% organic cushions that are made solely out of re-purposed second-hand hardwood (either from old barns or from naturally deceased trees from our own property and other surrounding Middle TN properties)  My first commissioned 100% organic mattress is in the pipeline, and here soon Matthew will be milling.  More info coming soon, but in the meantime if you have any interest of this topic and would like to put your name in the waiting hat please let us know.  
 
Next we had a visit from a new individual that expressed interest in interning, which is great!  Therefore, we will proceed with the standard trial and error period to see if a mutual simpatico work relationship will present itself in the cards.   Nonetheless, With this being said,  I am still looking for farm partners to apply. Click here for more info on Arugula's Star Farm Farming Partners and Click here for ASF Farm Partner's Application.
 
I did get the onions started this week in one of those moments when the energetic sun shined and it was lovely.
 
Mid week we took off towards Louisville, KY for the Big AG Farm Show, which was primarily an interest of Matthew's and Eastenn Dutch's.  I went along for the ride, as part of the trip included a visit to the Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest up in Kentucky, south of Louisville. https://bernheim.org/program-and-events/.
 
Upon return, there was the annual Women's Farmer Gathering & Potluck in Nashville on Friday, which is always quite empowering and quaint.  
 
The steers were moved to a new grassy strip on Saturday evening after a very long day of rain.
 
And finally we wrapped the week up with the 2nd Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Day, EEFFD, of the year. We had yet another lovely day set aside just for this in these grim cold winter times.  Our numbers were up from the last as we were delighted with a family of 6!  Eastenn Dutch was quite excited and we explored vibrant green moss, dead trees, forest creeks, and wet feet only to be warmed up by the fire ring in the end.  Please be curious and go ahead and mark your calendars  for the next EEFFD, which will be on Sunday March 18th.  March 18th will be our last time up on the Hill TOP bald, south big forest, fire ring spot.  
 
 
Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 2/16/2018 11:55pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
 
Arugula's Star Farm sending a quick reminder that our second Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Day (EEFFD) of the season is this Sunday February 18th 1:30-4:30pm.  The 3 Hour Time Frame has an "arrive and go as you please" structure.  Your family can stay for the whole time or just for an hour. 
 
We are in the Winter Season Session, which means we will be at the Hill Top Grassy Bald & Big Back South Forest Sight with Open Fire Ring.  There will be well posted signs on where to go upon arrival.  
 
Weather Forecast looks cloudy with only 20% chance of rain and temps in the low 60's.  
 
We sure hope to see you soon come Sunday!
 
If you are planning on coming, please send us a quick "yes", but as noted this is not required as we do not want a "yes or no" response to prevent you from coming if your family makes a quick last minute decision!  
 
Also, as our farm is not on any sort of social media, please pass this posting along to any friends that you think would be interested. Please click here for full info on Arugula's Star Farm Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Days (EEFFD)!  
 
 

 
In the middle of the week, we decided to take our own exploration off of the property to Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest up in Kentucky, south of Louisville. https://bernheim.org/program-and-events/
The pictures are of us at Bernheim having fun in a sound scape geometrical memorial structure.
 
This park offers a similar type of program to the EEFFD that we are offering here and it is called Muddy Boots Play Group.  When I read about Bernheim's Muddy Boots Play Group program after learning about it, they mentioned great key points of why opportunities like the EEFFD are very important for children to take part in,  and further supports why I wanted to offer something at our farm for the 2018 year! 
 
Here below is what Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest has written about the Muddy Boots Program and I am including it because it represents the good cohesive beneficial concepts of what all nature based forest programs offer:  

Regular forest experiences and unstructured time in nature can have dramatic and profound influences on child development.

Our mission is to provide a safe space for children to play, create and discover outdoors, connect them with nature and help them become resilient learners.

Wisdom begins with wonder. At Muddy Boots we help children explore for themselves and encourage them to think, discuss and problem solve. Through unstructured, outdoor free play children develop a host of important skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, cooperation and confidence. 

Our forest is a magical site where children are free to imagine and explore possibilities for their own healthy development.


 
 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 2/13/2018 1:35am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Point of Wet Weather Saturation for Week 6 here on the Farm

February is fairing quite soggy thus far and the rains do not seem to be letting up.  Out here we had a total of 4.5 inches in the 6th week. There was already a fair amount of ground water accumulation from the rains prior, but the rain filled week really pushed the grounds well over maximum point of saturation. Our lower fields have lots of wet weather seeping spring accumulation from the higher slopes and rising ground water seeps from the lowest sea level point soil association of the Bodine, thus turning our sogs into full blown bogs.  

I think we had two sunny days in week 6 and we tried to be out and about a doing as much as possible on those days.  Eastenn Dutch and I checked on and dug up some of the Biodynamic Barrel Compost that we made here in the Fall of 2016.  The reason for this was because I had the opportunity to attend the Fellowship of Biodynamic Prepmakers Conference over the weekend at Jeff Poppen's Long Hungry Creek Farm in Red Boiling Springs, TN and we were to take along any biodynamic preps that we had made on the farm for some good analyzation.  I rode with my good friend Hilary, from our local Demeter biodynamic group, and we had a grand ole time with lots of hands on learning and lecture listening and group discussions. The Fellowship of Biodynamic Prepmakers are the biodynamic Prepmaking leaders in this country really and they all were there...Hugh Courtney from Virginia, Mr. Frey from Frey Vineyards in California, Marjory(Pearl)from Oregon, Dwayne from Minnesota, Lloyde from Colorado, and Brian from Wisconsin, just to name a few.  They meet up and host a conference once a year every year in a different part of the country to help farmers learn more about Biodynamic Farming and we were just lucky that they finally decided to make it to the South!  

I car camped in the back hatch of my wagon car on Friday night, and even though I have car camped a many of times I had yet to car camp when there was a pouring rain storm through the night.  This lended itself to the extra neat experience, which gave the sense of sleeping in the rain without getting wet. 


As I was looking into Frey Vineyards I came across this blog clip on their site that gave a good explanation of Biodynamic Agriculture in which I am going to paste right here below if you are inclined to read... 

Biodynamic® is defined by the Demeter Farm and Processing Standards and is protected via a certification mark, which is an inclusive type of trademark. Demeter International is the first, and remains, the only ecological association consisting of a network of individual certification organizations in 45 countries around the world. Demeter US has 163 members and reaches over 10,000 certified acres.

I’d like to point out that Demeter US was formed seventeen years before the USDA National Organic Program (NOP); following the evolution of farming practices in the last century, one could suggest that Biodynamic agriculture is the parent of organic. At Frey Vineyards we adhere to the Demeter Farm Standard, which incorporates NOP practices, but goes a step further because it retains the view of the farm as an integrated whole.

The Demeter standard requires whole farm certification. 10% of total acreage must be set-aside as wild area to promote biodiversity. Because the farm is managed as a self-contained system, fertility is generated via the integration of livestock, compost, green manure, and careful crop rotation. Disease and insect control are addressed through botanical species diversity, predator habitat, and attention to light penetration and air flow. The use of the preparations is required. There are eight preparations in all, made from herbs, mineral substances and animal manures, that are utilized in field sprays and compost inoculants applied in minute doses, much like homeopathic remedies are for humans.

The Farm Standard is historically significant because it dates back to the beginning of the modern sustainable agriculture movement and captures key agronomic principles not comprehensively addressed within any other agriculture certification system. As such, Biodynamic agriculture represents one of the highest paradigms of sustainable farming, and offers one of the smallest carbon footprints of any agricultural method.

Standards are developed democratically, seeking input from farmers and processors and then vetted and voted upon annually by the international Demeter board. The standards are living and evolving and deserve respect from everyone who cares about Biodynamic agriculture and anthroposophy.


All of these wet times in winter on the farm can really sculpt and determine what can be done when and where.  For example, pea planting is going to be upon us soon and one cannot plant pea seeds when the ground is saturated to its max.  We can only hope and bide our time well in the meantime. On the other hand, an act that is not impaired by saturated soils is the starting of seed onions in wooden trays in our own farm made planting soil, which never gets to soggy! The 13th will be the day, as we will find ourselves in the favorable root starting sign of Capricorn.   

Onion varieties on the docket for 2018:

  • Heirloom Rossa di Milano Red Storage (certified organic seed from HMS)
  • Heirloom Walla Walla Sweet Onion (certified organic seed from HMS)
  • Open Pollinated Gladstone Sweet White Storage (certified organic seed from HMS)
  • Open Pollinated Valencia Sweet Spanish Storage (certified organic seed from HMS)

Until next time keep your head rooted into the ground...yes indeed our head is our roots!


Important announcement:  Please remember that the second Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Day is coming up on Sunday February the 18th from 1:30-4:30.  We would love to have you!  I will post one more reminder towards the end of the week. For more info click here...EEFFD


Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 2/5/2018 12:41am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
The "ROOM ZOOM" & Winter Trellis Cleaning
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If you have ever read the book of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss then you might just recognize the apparatus that E. Dutch requested to construct.  Yes, he calls it his "ROOM ZOOM" and with it he can fly through the air with great ease and he got the idea from his favorite page in the book.   He can fly inside and out and he was ever so handy when we started our winter trellis cleaning project.  There above are some nice before and afters of this project.  We come in by hand and pull off the interwoven 2017 Heirloom Carolina Red Lima Vines and lay them down to be used as mulch for our up and coming Snap and Snow Vine Sweet Peas. Our trellis systems are enduring and they will follow long term rotations of crops and cover crop.  Over the next so many years, we will continue to add to our metal trellis systems in order to grow higher volumes of Legume pole varieties.  
 
Going from week 4 to week 5 we moved into the second winter month of the year.  February is the last month we as farmers have to get items in line before all the hustle and bustle of March begins.  In fact, some early plantings  will have already begun by the end of this month.  Snap Peas and Snow Peas are a couple of those crops and both of which we will be growing lots of! Sweet Peas are one of my most prized and favorite fresh eatings of the growing season.  Peas are always the first legume of picking that has nice bulk weight. Peas are so very delicious and they only are in season with magnitude in the spring for our state of TN and that is any reason of why a pound is easily consumed just by one person in a mere day.
 
The varieties that we will be growing for market this spring are:
 
Sugar Ann Snap
Cascadia Snap
Sugar Snap Vine
Heirloom Golden Sweet Snow
Ho Lan Dow Snow
 
I am hoping to successfully plant these varieties in a proper succession to insure that customers and restaurants can have available peas for at least a month or more!  
 
Speaking of, here is a link to what MEEL has put together with our Heirloom Carolina Red Limas.  If you are in MEEL's delivery range, which is kind of wide and far, please give this superb looking chili bundle a try. 
 
 
We are eating everything carrot around here.  Carrot and Bean Soups, Carrot Spiced Soup, Crunchy Raw carrots, you name it.  Night vision is our goal, or at least that is what I have told E. Dutch.  He dreams of being a Buck Deer and by eating his carrots of plenty he might obtain night vision in the ranks of just that!  Sorry not to have plenty to offer over, but just planted enough to make it through the winter for us this go around. I thus far have been very impressed with their stance even after all the real cold weather we have had this winter. Of course they are not perfect, as not any overwintered carrots in the open are, but some are quite close.  
 
We finished off the mild week by rotating the two American Milking Devons into their 4th paddock.  They have made it out into the large windmill field where we are running the temporary fence lines narrow from East to West.  They are just wonderful to have around and we think they are liking it just as much as we are enjoying them being here.
 
Lastly, as for all to happen, it is pertinent that I find and fill the two farm partner positions, so here I am going to re post the link to the website that shares all info about the available Arugula's Star Farm Farm Partner Positions. Please post and pass along to anyone that you think might be interested!
 
Thanks and Until Next Time
 
 
Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 1/29/2018 12:05am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Dreaming of Potatoes and the First EEFFD 
 
 
 
 
January for farmers always involves seeds.  Inventories, Planning, Selection, Ordering & Eating.  We go to bed and arise with just this one our minds.  This year I agreed to take on the organization and placement of the local farmer group potato order.  There has been a small group of farmers that have been ordering potatoes from the Maine Potato Lady now for the last 8 years.  This group order was due mid week to insure that we TN potato planters get our potatoes in March.  It is hard to find potato distributers that will ship out potatoes in March, and so this is why I love the Maine Potato Lady, not to mention the companies wonderful selection of organic heirloom varieties.  
 
The most interesting fact to be learned by a potato order evolves around economics.  I always order certified organic Potato Seed and therefore I do not grapple with the differences in cost, as I know for our farm it is a must, but by organizing the group order, the difference in the cost of conventional potato seed and organic potato seed easily spelled itself out on paper right infront of my eyes.  A 50 lb Bag of Organic Adirondack Red Potato Seed cost $78.00 and a 50 lbs Bag of Conventional Adirondack Red Potato Seed cost $28.00.  The organic is about 2.8 times more in cost per pound than its conventional counterpart.  When one transcribes this into potato prices at the grocery, I think it would be found out that an organic potato does not sell for 2.8 times more than a conventional potato.  Now of course, one cannot buy but the basic potatoes in the grocery, but even by sliding on over to the local farmer's market the going price for an unusual non grocery store available variety sells for around $2.00-2.50 per pound.  This price is still not the appropriate mark up.  Let's say a conventional potato sells for $1.00/lb then that would mean that a specialty organic potato should sell for at least $2.80.  
Here at Arugula's Star we specialize in growing Organic Heirloom Fingerlings and the cost of a 50 lb Bag of Potato Seed of these blow all the other figures out of the water, with a whopping $117.00.  This cost is 4.1 times more per lb than the specialty conventional potato.  If you have always wondered why fingerling potatoes cost more then this is why.  An organic fingerling potato could and should bring at least $4.00/lb, which for certain will make me rethink our selling price for the 2018 season.  
 
The Heirloom Organic Fingerling Varieties that we ordered this year for Arugula's Star Farm were:
  • Austrian Crescent
  • Rose Finn Apple
  • Russian Banana
  • Red Thumb (not heirloom, but a beautiful little variety nonetheless!)
I was quite disappointed that one of my favorite Fingerling varieties called Magic Molly, a deep purple variety, was already out of stock.  
 
Come late June these lovely specialty fingerlings should start finding their way into many Nashville area restaurants.  You will be able to buy them by picking up On Farm, shopping at the Leipers Fork Farmer's Market, or by Front Door Delivery.  
 
This 4th week of January seemed to be the most mild thus far for this year and the month of January.  We started the week off with gentle rains and ended the week with gentle rains, with bright sunshine adorning us just in the nick of time on Sunday afternoon for the first of the 2018 Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Days.  Eastenn Dutch awoke the morning of saying with such excitement  "It's time to get up...people are coming out today to the forest!"  As we were putting out our farm banner and signs showing visitors the way, the fog lifted, the clouds cleared, and the sun shinned brilliantly.  The clearing seemed like an instant, a moment, a puff of magic.   As I presumed, our first one started out small with only a couple of families, but with time more will come.  The afternoon could not have been better.  We discovered chestnut oak acorns with root sprouts, sawed wood, built pretend forts, walked within the forest to a waterfall, and warmed wet feet by the fire. The next EEFFD will be on February Sunday the 18th from 1:30-4:30.
 
Until next time, stay warm, and enjoy the out of doors!
 
Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 1/27/2018 12:55am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Arugula's Star Farm is sending you a quick reminder about the 1st Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Day happening this  Sunday Jan. 28th from 1:30-4:30.
 
Afternoon sun and temps in the mid 50's are expected.  
 
Please come join us for Forest Exploration, Free Play, Firewood gathering, and Fire Ring Enjoyment.  We would love to have you. 
 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 1/22/2018 3:25am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Snow Falls and Spring Calls
 
Another week with snowflakes falling, but instead of just flurries there was a substantial blanket of white.  By the end of the day on Tuesday I started realizing that "stockpiling" does not work when the steers cannot find the grass. They were trying their best to burrow their noses down through the snow to find what they could, but because of the accumulated 2 1/2 inches they were having lessened success by the minute.  Luckily, we remembered there was one dry round bale of good hay stored in the barn from a prior years hay mulch purchase that we were able to access to satisfy the steers hunger.  
Not only did the animal waters keep freezing, but Leipers Creek froze solid and we were able to enjoy sleding on the icy surface.  For those of you who received New Year's cards from us, you will notice that E.Dutch believed enough that his snow sled did indeed get to glide!  
 
A lot of firewood got chopped this week and we even started dropping the first out of 5 accessible dead oaks.  We are always sad to see such old large trees pass, while all at the same time thankful, as we yet have never had to chop down an alive tree for firewood. E. Dutch got some rope practice in and worked on his axing skills. By the end of the week, the weather suddenly broke and spring was calling. Who would have thought, what a nice reprieve!
 
Please remember that this coming weekend on Sunday the 28th from 1:30-4:30 is our first Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Day. As you can see we have the fire ring ready and waiting a top the hill, all it needs now is a handful of forest visitors to help get the fire ring started.  We will have different saw tools for different age levels for the non required participating project.  
 
Finally I am pleased to announce that the ASF Farming Partner Information has been posted and the Application is available for interested candidates.  Here is a little synopsis of What exactly an Arugula's Star Farm Farming Partner is...and to read in Full Click Here. 

An individual that basically embodies a shared work interest, both physically & mentally in the 2018 growing season, and takes on the role of being a comprehensive small farmer alongside myself Allison (and my little 3 1/2 year old co partner E. Dutch, and my husband Matthew that acts as only a background systems & equipment counselor).  Just as any farmer has to see all parts of the farm through from start to finish, so will be the expectation of an Arugula's Star Farm Partner.  With this mentality, workloads often come in cycles and vary week to week, but there are consistencies within the variations.  

My goal for partnering with a couple of individuals will allow the farm to GROW & THRIVE within a well managed farming system.  By partnering, there should be a duality of benefits for all partners..., for example I get to continue mowing forward with my organic/biodymaic farm goals within the canopy of our farm property, while still getting to be a very hands on Mom, and then the farm partners gets an opportunity to farm without any financial investment or loss.  If there are partners, then production can continue on when I am needing to perform a few Mom duties here and there.  

Please pass on this opportunity to anyone you see fit. I am wanting to try to fill these 2 positions as soon as possible and hopefully by the end of February before snap and snow peas start to be planted.

In the Bean Department, things are already starting on an up note. I took on a small experiment for a portion of the Heirloom Carolina Red Pole Dry Beans this past fall and it seems to have been a success. In 2017, all dry beans that were sold to restaurants through Nashville Grown were sold in shell, but the goal moving forward in 2018 is to offer shelled dry beans.  The 50 lbs that was set aside to hull and offer shelled has been purchased through MEEL and by an up and coming specialty Tea Shop on 12th Ave. South.  MEEL is Nashville's local meal kit and marketplace provision doorstep delivery company. We want to see how the Heirloom Beans move and are hoping to form a good bean partnership moving forward.  To buy our beans through MEEL or to purchase a meel kit please visit localmeel.com  

Thanks!

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 1/15/2018 1:20am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Arugula's Star Farm Week 2...Arrival of the American Milking Devons

The weather was cold, then warm, then cold again with even a flurry of snow! How excited we were to see Loran Shallenberger, operator of Bells Bend Grass-fed, pulling down the lane this past Wednesday with two American Milking Devons(18 months old). This act had for certain been a long time in the making, as their scheduled delivery date was marked for July of 2017. As agriculture and farming goes though, timing is not always prompt, and nor can plans be to set in stone. Nature is always changing and it is hard to know from month to month what might turn out. As Loran put it, “Better Late than Never”!

These American Milking Devons are known as a heritage multipurpose breed. They were breed for three purposes…milking, drafting, and for beef. Our intent for them being here on our farm is for agricultural purposes of pasture management and obtaining manure. We are so called “custom grazing” these two steers for Bells Bend Grass-fed, while simultaneously getting the biodynamic benefit of their presence. Initially, there was going to be 5, but since winter is upon us only 2 were brought. They are going to be eating by the method of what is called “Stockpiling” and will not need to be fed any hay. Eastenn Dutch and I will just be rotating them on a regular basis into small paddock areas, for them to eat the browned over grass from the Fall. This type of stockpiled grass can supposedly provide better nutrition for the steers than feeding them rolled hay.

The weather was so pleasant on the day that they arrived that E. Dutch was out and about bare legged trying to introduce our dog to his new found friends. Then the weather changed and the snow flurries fell and we were back to breaking ice, splitting wood, and breaking kindling. We are really enjoying our new electric log splitter that we got to replace the old one we had that hooked and ran from the back of the tractor. This method should be more efficient and allows little ones to not have to breath in diesel fumes. This little splitter is quite and powerful and I would highly recommend it, that is if you are not using the old hand fashion method.   

As I mentioned the header topics last week and stated more info would be on the way, the first one to be complete is that of the Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Days. To learn about what these are just click here on Ecosystem Exploration Family Farm Days.  These days are a very casual mimic of the concepts of nature school and forest school and are free and open to any families interested in participating. They will take place once a month for the whole duration of 2018, come rain, shine, cold or hot!  The first one will be held on Sunday January 28th from 1:30-4:30 pm.  We hope your family will try to make it!

Heirloom Potato Planning has started and so has hay mulch acquisitions. More Heirloom Carolina Red Lima Beans being shelled and thoughts of a design of a larger scaled (but still small scaled), dry bean sheller for 2018. I have a goal that Arugula's Star Farm will be a leading organic & biodynamic TN heirloom Dry Bean producer… no more having to get your specialty heirloom beans mail ordered from Rancho Gordo!

I will be needing 1-2 Arugula's Star Farming Partners for the 2018 growing season, with more info being posted on that by next week.

Keep your thoughts high and your feet grounded and until Next week eat your organics!


Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314


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