The Soil & Soul of Organic Farming

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In 2013 we named our farm Good Heart Farmstead with a nod to the soil.

You see, when soil is “in good heart” it means that it’s alive and healthy.  And of course, we know that when people are in good heart, they’re healthy and happy.

Through our time spent working on farms, attending conferences, reading books, and learning from other farmers, Edge and I knew that soil is the base of every healthy farm. That healthy soil is so much more than NPK—the macro-nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  It’s also the micro-nutrients, the level of organic matter, the microscopic beings that make up living soil.

At the heart of it, the healthiest and most nutritious food is grown in healthy, living soil.

That’s why we’ve always grown organically.  Because it’s better for you as eaters, better for us as farmers, and better for the environment.

Because when we farm with the soil in mind, we farm as part of an interconnected ecosystem.  While we may never understand all the intricacies of the fields we cultivate, we approach our work with respect and humbleness, and the understanding that growing healthy, nutritious food begins by taking care of the soil.

Because healthy, living soil is the foundation of the organic farming movement.  

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In 2016 we became officially certified organic.  This mattered to us, because we wanted a clear way to communicate what our farming practices are with you.  We believed in the value and trust that comes with certification, and we welcomed the third-party organic inspector.

At the end of that first visit, our inspector remarked, “You don’t use any pesticides?”  Apparently, we were among a small handful of organic farms she’d visited who didn’t use pesticides at all.  As we’ve gone through the certification process, we’ve learned there are actually many things allowed under organic standards that we personally don’t feel comfortable using at Good Heart.  Still, we believed that the organic certification was the best standard.

In the fall of 2017, however, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted 8-7 to allow hydroponic growing—food grown without soil— to be certified organic.  This was a reversal of their 2010 decision, which banned hydroponics by a 12-1 vote.  Read more about that in this short Farewell Warning to Organics.

Since then, the USDA has limited the NOSB’s scope of work, and the NOSB will no longer be able to address questions about organic integrity or big issues facing organic farming.  Instead, their role will be focused only on approved and prohibited substances.  At the same time, the USDA has recently allowed CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) to be certified organic.

So what does this have to do with you?

As our customer and community member, it matters to us that you know and trust our growing methods. 

And as organic farmers, we see the landscape and integrity of the organic label drastically shifting away from soil and farming methods that work with and protect the environment.

You are always welcome to ask us questions about our growing practices and methods we use, and we encourage you to reach out anytime.

We will continue to farm organically, to responsibly work the soil, and to stay rooted to our name: Good Heart.

So much of this shift has come about so the conventional farming industry can hop on the growing organic movement.  We know that you value organic food, and because of that, we invite you as an eater to learn more about what’s happening in organic.

Dave Chapman, a fellow Vermont organic farmer, has helped spearhead the Real Organic Project, an organization working to bring integrity back to the organic label.  He gives a clear overview of what’s happened and where organic is headed, and you can read that here.

Thank you for being part of Good Heart.

We are honored to be your farmers, and we take the responsibility of growing your food to heart.

We eat what we grow, we feed Waylon what we grow (more often we have to tell him to stop pulling the carrots every time he walks by a carrot bed!), and we’ll continue to stay rooted in the soil.

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge

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Celebrate Spring with Fresh Greens

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Greens are growing, tomatoes are up-potted, and the first harvest of the CSA season is on Monday!

You still have time to sign up for the Spring CSA, or to get in on the Full Season Share.  But hurry!  There are only 5 shares left.

Here’s what to expect for the Spring CSA:

The first few weeks of spring harvest will include a mix of fresh spinach, mini-lettuce heads, pea shoots, onions and garlic.

As the weeks continue, beet greens, radishes, salad turnips, baby kale, and arugula will all grace the share.

Throughout April, we’ll have cilantro, bunching onions, and mesclun mix.  By May, we’ll have baby carrots and baby beets ready for harvest.

For the Spring share, we’re offering home-delivery for Worcester residents, and Montpelier pick-up at the Skinny Pancake.

When May ends, the Summer CSA will begin!  

We have 24 more shares available for summer, and you can sign up for a summer of fresh, local organic veggies, herbs and flowers right here.

Subsidized summer shares are available through the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program here.

With the greenhouse already green, and our living room filled with seedlings, we are so looking forward to growing food for you this season!  Please do let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you for letting us be your farmers.  You make every seed sown and every harvest more meaningful.  We truly appreciate the care you take in eating, the smiles you share at pick-up, and the community you help grow with each bite.  Thank you thank you.

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge

This Week Only: Get a Free Set of Farm Cards

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Happy Spring!  Or at least…happy spring for a day!

We woke this morning to melting snow, blue skies and soft pink clouds.  Even if the temperatures will be going back to winter by tomorrow, the feel of spring sure does make us smile.

This Friday is National CSA Day.

A day when farmers and eaters around the country are celebrating the bounty and benefits of Community Supported Agriculture.

We’re celebrating, too!  But why keep it to just one day?  We’re making it CSA WEEK.

Everyone who signs up for a Full Season, Spring, Summer CSA, or Farm Stand Credit this week will get a free set of Good Heart Greeting Cards, with farm photos taken by farmer Kate.

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Sign up between now and Sunday, February 25, and we’ll mail you a set of greeting cards.

Heads up: we only have 9 more Spring and Full Season Shares available!  

And there are only 28 Summer Shares left.

Get all the details on each share over on our CSA Share & Sign-Up page.

We’re so looking forward to growing for you this season.

 

To Our CSA Members: Thank You & Happy New Year!

Today is the last day of 2017!

Before we turn to the new year, we want to say THANK YOU for being part of Good Heart.

And to show you, we made a little video for you:

We wish you a joyful New Year, and look forward to growing for you in 2018.

{There’s still time to save $146 on a 2018 Full Season Share!  Check out our CSA page for all the details, plus payment plan options for every share}

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge

Happy Holidays from Good Heart!

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Happy Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, all the Holidays!

We actually do celebrate all three, spending a night with good family friends lighting the Menorah, singing songs, and eating latkes; another night gathering with family at home to light candles for solstice; and closing the holiday season with Christmas, tree lit up and our traditional turkey dinner gracing the table.

I’m realizing that being a farmer lends itself to diversification far beyond the fields. 

To recognizing the strength in coming together, whether it be planting basil along rows of tomatoes, or sharing traditions.  The more I grow and connect, the closer I get to the fact that we share the same soil.

In that light, I want to say again thank you.

Thanks for being part of the Good Heart CSA, for helping us grow simply by showing up for your share each week.

Community Supported Agriculture, at it’s best, is also Agriculture Supported Community, and we strive to support your health through the fresh, organic vegetables we grow for you.

We’re always striving to make local organic food more accessible, and I’m very excited to announce that we will officially be accepting EBT/SNAP payments for CSA shares in 2018!

If you qualify for EBT, you also qualify for the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program subsidy.  This combination allows you to purchase a CSA share at half off, and use your EBT to pay for the share.  I’ll be sending out more information on this as we get closer to the Spring Share.

If you’re looking for the best discount on your 2018 CSA, take advantage of our December Deal:

The Full-Season Share : March 19 – November 19

  • Spring, Summer, and Fall combined for 36 weeks of seasonal local organic bounty.
  • Save 15% when you sign up and pay in full by 12/31 :
    • Market Value: $974
    • December sale price: $827.90

Your December sign-up greatly supports the farm and will help us purchase propane for the greenhouse, seeds, potting soil, and keep the farm running all winter long.

Learn more about our 2018 CSA shares, and sign up on our CSA page.

Here’s this week’s harvest:
*If you didn’t get a double-share at Thanksgiving, you’ll get a double share today!

REGULAR SHARE:

  • Mesclun Mix
  • Garlic 1/4 lb
  • 6 lbs Root/Onion Medley, choices of: 
    • Carrots
    • Potatoes
    • Daikon Radish
    • Parsnip
    • Onions
  • Choice of one value-added product:
    • Kraut
    • Roasted Tomatoes (frozen)
    • Parsley Pesto
    • Magic Soup Starter

DOUBLE SHARE:

  • Mesclun Mix
  • Garlic 1/2 lb
  • 12 lbs Root/Onion Medley, choices of: 
    • Carrots
    • Potatoes
    • Daikon Radish
    • Parsnip
    • Onions
  • Choice of one value-added product:
    • Kraut
    • Roasted Tomatoes (frozen)
    • Parsley Pesto
    • Magic Soup Starter

See storage tips below

We’ll see you all soon!

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge


VEGETABLE STORAGE TIPS

Root vegetables: store in a plastic bag in the fridge

Onions & Garlic: best stored in a cool, dry place, such as the pantry.  Can also be stored in an insulated garage, so long as the temperature does not dip below 32º

Kraut & Magic Soup Starter: store in the fridge.

Roasted Tomatoes & Parsley Pesto: store in the freezer until ready to use, then store any left over in the fridge.  Both are great in sauces, on pizza, or casseroles/lasagnas, and more!

December CSA Deals

Happy December 1st!

Last night’s snow welcomed in the month quite appropriately.

Waylon’s been asking about the seasons, and we’ve been talking about the difference between calendar winter and when it feels like winter.  He’s on the side of when it feels like winter (and also very excited to make snowballs and eat snow).

As this season winds down, we’re looking ahead to 2018. 

As always, we have a December early-sign up discount for next year’s CSA.

Here’s a look at next year’s shares:

  • The Full-Season Share : March 19 – November 19 
    • Spring, Summer, and Fall combined for a delicious share of seasonal local bounty.
    • Save 15% when you sign up and pay in full by 12/31 :
      • Market Value: $974
      • December sale price: $827.90


Individual shares will have our standard 10% discount:

  • The Spring share March 19 – May 28 
    • this share will  feature mesclun, spinach, kale, chard, baby beets, hakurei salad turnips, radishes, and fresh herbs
    • $209 value, CSA members get it for $188.10
  • The Summer share June 4 – September 17
    • Our classic Veggie & Herb CSA share, with a wide range of veggies from mesclun mix to tomatoes to roots.
    • $495 value, CSA members get it for $445.50
  • The Fall share September 24 – November 19
    • The Fall Harvest Share will feature hearty greens, mesclun, a variety of roots, winter squash and value-added items.  It will wrap up at Thanksgiving with a double-share.
    • $270 value, CSA members get it for $243

From now through December 31st, we’re offering 15% off the Full Season Share.

This is our biggest discount of the coming year, and we offer it as a sincere thanks for your support and all you do to help us grow.

And, to make it easier for you, we now offer PayPal payment with no added service charges on our website.  Please let us know if you have any questions!

Learn more and sign up over on our CSA page.

Here’s this week’s harvest:

  • Winter squash — acorn, festival
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mesclun mix
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots

See recipes below

We’ll see you all soon!

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge


RECIPES

Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary

Carrot and Parsnip Fries

Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple & Red Pepper Flakes

Last Summer CSA Pick-Up

 

thanks to all who came out for pizza night!  we raised almost $600 for subsidized shares!

How can it be that summer has come to an end?  Wasn’t it just 90º a few days ago?

And just like that, it’s autumn.  The equinox really pulled us into a new season, and though we’re saying goodbye to tomatoes and peppers, we’re looking forward to winter squash and more root veggies.

Are you looking forward to warm autumn meals, too?

We have two offerings for you:

  • The Fall Harvest CSA: Oct 9-Dec 18 you’ll get an average of $27 vegetables per week, plus some value-added bonuses like roasted tomatoes, sauerkraut, and our magic soup starter.  This gives you 10% off retail prices
  • Fall Farm Stand Credit: do you want fresh organic veggies, but don’t need a full share?  Farm Stand credit gives you 5% off, and the flexibility to choose what and how much you want each week.  If you miss a week, the credit carries over until the end of December.

*We have $1390 to put toward subsidized CSA shares!* 
You can sign up for a Fall Harvest Share at 50% off through the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program.

Program details and eligibility information is on their website, just click the link above.

We’ve enjoyed seeing you each week this summer, and we do hope to see you more this fall!

Here’s this week’s harvest:

  • Mesclun
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Delicata Squash
  • Garlic
  • Purple Top Turnips

See recipes below

We’ll see you all soon!

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge


RECIPES

Pizza Night Fundraiser TONIGHT

Join us tonight for our annual Pizza Night Fundraiser.
5:00-8:00, $15 suggested donation

All proceeds will benefit the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program, which helps us subsidize CSA shares.

We’ll have music by Duffy Gardner (who is the mason that led our oven-building workshop!) along with slices and salad.

*this is our last pizza night of the season, so don’t miss it!*

Fall Harvest is just around the corner!  Sign ups for our October-December CSA share are open now on our website.  

Applications for subsidized shares through NOFA-VT Farm Share Program are available now on their website.

Here’s this week’s harvest:

  • Kale or Chard
  • Leeks
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Carrots or Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Sage

See recipes below

We’ll see you all soon!

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge


RECIPES

Pizza Night @ The Farm, Fri 9/22

Join us on Friday for wood-fired pizza and music.  *our last pizza night of the season!*
5:00 – 8:00 pm.  Suggested donation $15.  

This Friday is our annual Pizza Night Fundraiser, and all proceeds will benefit the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program.  This great program helps us subsidize CSA shares for limited-income Vermonters.

We’ll have music by Duffy Gardner, slices with farm-fresh toppings, and salad.

Out in the fields, we’re busy seeding and transplanting winter greens.

Just as much as September is harvest season, it’s also planting season.

So as we harvest potatoes, winter squash, and carrots, we’re also planting spinach, lettuce, and pea shoots.  All of these, along with kale, chard, and asian greens, will be in the Fall Harvest Share.

We’ve also been busy roasting tomatoes, which will be a new item in the Fall Harvest Share.  We’re really excited about these, as they’re our favorite way to eat and preserve tomatoes.

Sign up for your Fall Harvest Share by 9/30 our CSA page.

Shares cost $291.60, and payment plans are available.

You can sign up for a subsidized share on the NOFA-VT website.

Here’s this week’s harvest:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Celery
  • Shallots
  • Kale or Brussels Tops
  • Watermelon Radishes

See recipes below

We’ll see you all soon!

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge


RECIPES

Watermelon Radishes: the unsung hero of root vegetables

Brussels sprouts tops are tender and delicious!  Similar to collard greens and kale, they can be sautéed, braised, or made into “chips” (like kale chips).  We love them most sautéed with a sprinkle of sea salt, pepper, and olive oil, and served as a side dish with beans, chicken, or pork.

Pizza & Art on the Farm

Join us and NOFA-VT tomorrow (Wednesday, 9/6) for a farm pizza night!  

5:30-7:30: We’ll have wood-fired pizza, salad, and a farm tour.  Suggested donation $10

And this Friday, immerse yourself in art on the farm:

Worcester Range is a new series of paintings by Lydia Gatzow, produced over the course of spring and summer at Good Heart Farmstead.

The paintings will be on display in the second yurt down the road at Good Heart, with an opening reception on September 8th 4-8pm.  Free and open to the public! 

There will be complimentary refreshments, good company, and of course, the Worcester Range itself.  The exhibit runs through September 15th.

All dates after the opening are by appointment only. You can make an appointment by emailing lydia@lydiagatzow.com.

30% of proceeds from each purchased painting goes to Good Heart in support of their mission. If you are currently a CSA member you get an additional 10% off!

We hope you can join us for these special events, to feed your belly and creativity.

In Good Heart,
Kate & Edge