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Welcome to the blog.
Posted 11/15/2013 8:51am by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Hello everyone! I put together this handy little chart to let you know what we've got in stores at the moment. If you don't see something here you'd like to see, please ask your local produce manager to order it for you. We take orders on Tuesdays and deliver on Thursdays. Next week is our last delivery before Thanksgiving. Let me know if you have any questions!

-Becky


 

What's Available (and where) as of 11/15/13

 

Pkg Lettuce  

Pkg Pea Greens  

Pkg Spinach  

Curly Kale   

Red Curly Kale   

Carrots  

SaladBar
Lettuce

SaladBar
PeaGreens

Herbs

Countryside Market
(Bertrand)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boogaarts
(Kearney)

 

 

 

Hy-Vee
(Grand Island)

 

 

Hy-Vee-Lincoln
50th & O)

 

 

Hy-Vee-Lincoln
(84th & Holdrege)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hy-Vee-Lincoln
(40th & Old Cheney)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hy-Vee-Lincoln
(70th & Pioneers)

 

 

 

 

Hy-Vee-Omaha
(132nd & Dodge)

 

 

Hy-Vee-Omaha
(180th & Q)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hy-Vee-Omaha
(180th & Pacific)

 

 

 

 






































































Posted 7/25/2013 2:41pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Hello friends,

A couple of weeks ago we pulled up the garlic we planted last October.

    

When garlic is ready (the leaves start to die and the cloves are well difined within the heads), you loosen the soil (we used a broadfork but I've heard of people using spades) and dig 'em up.

Then you put them on racks to dry. You have to make sure that there is airflow on all sides of the garlic heads. Then you let them cure for about 2 weeks.

 

When the garlic is cured, the skins will be dry. Then you cut the necks back to about 1 inch and trim the roots and BAM. No mo' vampires. And maybe some delicious food.

Fun stuff, eh?

Look out for our garlic in stores in a couple of weeks!

-Becky-

Posted 7/1/2013 3:28pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Hello. Hola.

I say it both ways now because, according to Armando, our greenhouse worker man, I'm basically bilingual (not true, by the way). He is always in the process of teaching me something in Spanish and I am constantly in the process of forgetting whatever it is he last taught me. I have retained a few gems. Esta pesado (it's heavy). Necessito dos personas (I need two people). Albahaca (Basil).

It's almost the 4th of July and I'd like to be able to report that everything is in full swing here, but in some cases, that just isn't the case. Don't get me wrong, we've got purple bell peppers coming out of our ears and a few white pumpkins the size of small boulders, but our tomatoes just haven't gotten with the program and some of our peppers just don't want to ripen up. I think it's all the weird weather we've had. I named this season Winsprimmer, because it's as if Winter, Spring, and Summer couldn't agree on when they were going to happen so they just picked their days by throwing darts at a calendar. Yesterday and the day before were very cool days, which is bizarre for June/July in Nebraska, especially considering the Western half of the country is living in a furnace at the moment (es muy caliente).

But I'm not going to dwell on the lack of ripe tomatoes. No siree bob, I am not. I am going to tell you about the 7 BILLION onions (cebollas) we have growing out here (that's only a rough estimate, don't hold me to it). Sweet yellow onions that are JUST ABOUT ready for eatin'.

I'm also going to tell you about the glorious sugar baby watermelons (sandias) that are plumping up nicely. In fact, I ate about half of one for lunch (lonche) today. It wasn't as ripe as we'd like them, but it's getting there. Just wait until our Golden Midget watermelons ripen! I cannot wait to share them with you all! And eat them, obviously.

In addition to onions (cebollas) and watermelons (sandias), we have some marvelous kale and swiss chard. Fun fact about kale: You harvest the leaves off the stalk, and it keeps growing up and up and up. Right now we have a bunch of kale plants in our 48' greenhouse. They look like tiny palm trees. If only Alex had his GI Joes out here, we could pretend they were on a mission (a la Clive Cussler) in the jungle. It would also help if we were 18 or so years younger, I s'pose. But as the immortal Aaliyah once said, "Age ain't nothin but a number" so if I am 26 years old and want to play with GI Joes in my Kale Jungle, that's cool, right? Right.

Ok, now I need to go pick a few tomatoes, so I'll leave you. If you have any questions, you can ask me here or on Facebook.

 Garlic Scapes

Violet Jaspers

Radishes

Indigo Rose

 

Posted 3/4/2013 4:46pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Hello everyone!


There's a new blog post up on the Schwarz Family Farm website!

Here's the summary:

  • Spinach
  • Peas!
  • 12"
  • Herbs
  • It's a puma!

Make sense? No? You should probably read the blog then.

Love,

Becky

Posted 3/4/2013 4:02pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Hello All!

So far this year we've been keeping pretty busy with spring plantings and harvesting all sorts of yummy stuff. We're about done with spinach for the time being, so you'll notice that winding down. We seem to be holding steady as far as lettuce goes. One unexpected increase has been in the sugar pea green department. Who knew people would love them so much? We've had a hard time keeping up, in fact. You see, when the stores unexpectedly order more than they usually do, we adjust our planting schedule to keep up, but the peas take two weeks to grow, so this week we will harvest approximately what we thought we would need two weeks ago. See the problem? It's been an interesting process, but PEAS be patient with us (so punny), we will catch up and reach equilibrium eventually.

In other news, we had a light dusting of snow this month. And by that I mean:

It snowed kind of a lot. BUT! For all of you nay-saying city dwellers who thought, "Ugh. I hate snow. It's cold and a pain in the butt and I want it to be spring," remember that this snow equaled about 1" of rain, which we DESPERATELY need. In addition, it will help slow up the heating process this spring, hopefully mitigating this blechy drought we've been experiencing. At least, that is what the state meteorologist tells me. AKA, this snow may have delayed the spring, but an early spring means an extra long hot dry summer, which is NOT a good thing. Not for the peeps who grow your food, anyway. So keep your chin up! Spring will come as it always does. Just try to think of all the delicious food that is preparing to make its way to your table!

On to less chilling news (ugh, the puns), I thought I should show you some of the de-lish herbs we've been selling lately:

 

Ok, so I had more but they wouldn't upload and it was driving me crazy, so it will just have to wait.

Instead I'll tell you a story. This morning I was walking toward the greenhouse when I spotted these paw prints. Not just any paw prints, but MOUNTAIN LION prints. Not just one, either. There were THREE of them. Three different sizes. Like a mama and her two babies. Or a dad and mom and baby or something. Here's the proof:

I swear my fingers don't look that fat in real life. Oh, well. The point is those prints are pretty big.

Isn't that crazy, though? Every night these giant cats just roam around, hanging out at our place. Eating our turkeys or something.

...I wish they'd eat our pigeons.

Have a great day!
Becky

Posted 2/5/2013 9:28am by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

I just got done reading an article on foxnews.com about why organic food prices are higher than conventional food prices. Overall, the article is very informative and presents correct information. I would recommend it to any of you who are interested in learning more about what it takes to grow organic fruits, grains, livestock, and vegetables.

HERE is the link.


But before (or after) you read it, here are some of my comments/observations on why not everything in this article jives with what I know about organic (or even conventional [which is to say not organic]) agriculture. Please keep in mind that these are just addendums to the article based on how WE do things and do not necessarily mean that ALL organic farms are like us:

#1 states that organic farmers hire people to clean up polluted water and for remediation of pesticide contamination. I cannot speak to other regions of the country, but the water here in South Central Nebraska is not "polluted." It is higher than average in nitrates, but we do not filter or otherwise "fix" the water we put on our crops because we do not need to. Like I said, it could be different in other regions, but here we don't need to do this. As far as pesticide contamination goes, we generally do not have a problem with it. Once a sprayer came in on a windy day and sprayed the field across the road and it got on our popcorn. This was bad news, but we harvested the contaminated crop separately. It all worked out fine in the end, though, because the company who sprayed the field payed us for the damages without a problem. The worst part was we have had to wait 3 years before recertifying that area of our field for organic production.We can harvest it again as organic after June 24th of this year.

#3 mentions the use of sewage sludge in conventional production. I read that and thought, "that sounds disgusting," but honestly, I only know of one conventional farm in our area that uses sewage sludge, so it is pretty rare, and I doubt they would allow its use on food grade crops. Not that it makes the words "sewage sludge" sound any more appealing to anyone...

#5 If a farm produces both organic and conventional crops or if their organic crops are sent to a packaging facility that is also used for conventional crops, I can see how they would need to keep them separate. On our farm, we only grow organic. If for some reason we are unable to certify a certain crop1 we still don't use conventional pesticides or fertilizers to grow it, so we don't have to keep it separate anyway since there is no cross-contamination that would occur.

#6 discusses the inspection fee. For reference, the company we certify with, OneCert, charges between $1,000-$4,300 to certify. Last year we paid $2,400. This year, since we made more on our corn, we will pay $3,000. So the figures they give you are low-ball numbers. FYI.

#9 baffles me a little bit. Some of it is correct. Organic farms typically ARE smaller than conventional farms. But growth hormones are used in livestock, not on plants. Unless I am way off the mark and there is some sort of growth accelerant that I don't know about, organic crops grow at about the same speed as conventional ones. They reach maturity later in the year than conventional crops, but that is largely due to the fact that they are planted later in the spring. But even still, in some cases we plant our crops later in the spring and they reach maturity at roughly the same time our conventional neighbors' fields do. But, like I said, growth hormones ARE used in conventional LIVESTOCK production, so if that is what the author of the article meant, that is correct.

 

That is all! Like I said, overall the article is spot on and explains things very well. I would definitely recommend it. And if you have any questions about organic agriculture or the way we do things or even our reasons why, please contact me at becky.schwarz@hotmail.com and I'll get back to you. Thanks for reading!

-Becky Schwarz-

 

1 We sometimes buy plants that are grown conventionally because they are not available as an organic plant. This usually means we have to notify our certifier of the purchase and they let us know how long we have to raise the plant using organic methods before it can be certified organic. Example: Mom bought a conventional chocolate mint plant last summer. We re-potted and divided the plant and treated it as if it were one of our organic plants. We can now sell it as organic.

 

 

 

Posted 1/2/2013 4:23pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Hello everyone. It's about that time of the year where our carrots are frozen into the ground and the aphids decide it's time to come inside and feast on our lovely greens (But really, can you blame them? They're so delicious). We're also about to come upon conference season!


Next week we have the Great Plains Growers Conference in St. Joseph, Missouri. I'm personally excited for their series of lectures on marketing, etc. One down side, their trade show is a lot smaller than MOSES, which translates to less free stuff and fewer samples. Alas...we will probably survive.

I suspect that most people find the idea of sitting in a room for chunks of time listening to people drone on about soil fertility and greenhouse construction to be a rather dull use of their time, but I find them rather interesting. Basically you go to learn from other peoples' mistakes and triumphs. We get to hear about new ideas and techniques and hang out with our friends at Four Season Tools, where we get all of our greenhouses. That's always a fun time.

I actually prefer GPGC to MOSES because, while MOSES is larger, GPGC is more geared toward our region (Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska), while MOSES focuses on the Northern U.S. like Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. You wouldn't think there is that much of a difference, but seriously...have you ever BEEN to Minnesota? It's NOT like Nebraska. It makes sense that the diseases, insect problems, crops, and techniques are all a little different from region to region. But I will say that I like the fact that MOSES offers row crop seminars, because I enjoy going to those. But all in all, the folks at GPGC are my peeps.

In other news, we had a blizzard the week before Christmas, and most of our low tunnels blew away or tore. We'll see if we can salvage some carrots from the mess. I hope we can. I love carrots.

Otherwise, we've had a pretty calm holiday season. We've started to up our Micro Green production and have sent out 1 oz packages to some of our Hy-Vee stores. My favorite micro green is a variety of swiss chard called "bright lights." It's a multi-colored delight.

Hope you get the chance to try some one day!

Becky

Posted 12/13/2012 3:54pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Hello everyone! I apologize once again for my abysmal blogging skills. This time it isn't so much due to my lack of time as my lack of knowing what to say. But then I realized a lot has happened since we last spoke.

For starters, our new greenhouse is UP AND RUNNING!

Here are some pictures from the journey:


One day I will take some pictures of how it looks NOW and show you. It's pretty much finished, including the benches, automatic sidewalls, and trolley system.

 

Now, since pictures are more fun than words, here are some more pictures of what we've done this year:

 

We've started selling herbs in pots!

 

Here are our low tunnels. Underneath are the beds where we grow our winter carrots and turnips.

 

We actually did a farmer's market this year! Bertrand had a farmer's market for the first time ever and we participated. This was our set up.

 

We grew onions with plastic mulch this year. It was a VERY successful experiment! We're going to expand our onion growing next year. I'm hoping we can get some specialty onions growing.

 

Carrots! They are simply beautiful this year (even though we're getting to the point where it's too cold to dig them up, sadly). But they should keep until early next spring.

 

We grew watermelons for the first time ever this year. They are my favorite fruit (seriously, they are good in everything. Personally, I like them in juice form). I was like a proud parent when I picked my first watermelon. It was glorious.

 

Here are some of our Goldi tomatoes, also new this year. They were fairly prolific and we're going to add them to our permanent rotation of tomatoes.

 

That's all for now, I guess! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Just email Becky at becky.schwarz@hotmail.com.

Always,

Becky

Posted 7/24/2012 12:31pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Aloha, friends! Here I am with some more catching up since I'm sick and can't do much out at the farm. Let's all give my gallbladder a round of applause...

This summer we bought a John Deer Gator (shown below) which is basically a tiny little pickup with no doors or walls...or air conditioning. But it's REALLy great for getting around on the farm. We can put our vegetables in the back and cart them over to the pack shed, which is REALLY nice especially if you're picking cucumbers or tomatoes or something heavy like that.

Below you'll find some of our lettuce mix from this summer...We've now got 3 labels that we use for lettuce. "Mixed Lettuce" is what we use on large leaf lettuce. "Baby Leaf Lettuce" is the smallest kind of lettuce. We try to keep the leaves 5" or shorter. Anything in between the two is "Spring Mix." Now if you see these different labels, you know that basically it's the same varieties of lettuce, just different sized leaves.

This year, we are experimenting with a few things. Mom really wanted to grow some chickpeas, so we made a short little bed next to one of the greenhouses and did an experiment. We poked holes (with the blunt end of a sharpie), planted the chickpeas, watered them, and hoped they'd come up. A lot of them did! This is a picture from a while back:

Another experiment this year has been my all time favorite fruit: The WATERMELON. Below is a picture of my first watermelon baby. Sadly, this one did not make it, but we have PLENTY more growing like weeds. I picked one the other day but haven't had a chance to eat it. I'll let you know when I do if they are ready...YUM.

NEW this year we have Goldie and Sun Gold tomatoes. They are both yellow-orange grape/cherry sized tomaotes. Word on the street is they're pretty fantastic. Ignore the 4 oz label, the reality is more like 6-12 oz depending on the packaging. If you want to "try before you buy" you can find samples of these little darlings at the Chatterbox Cafe on Minor Avenue in Bertrand, NE.

Last but not least (for now anyway) is this photo I took earlier in the summer of a moth that we found near the greenhouses. I don't know what it is for sure, but it was ginormous (obviously). Anyone who can identify it gets some free tomatoes. Insects and weeds are part of the reason a lot of farmers choose not to farm organically, but most of the insects on our farm are actually beneficials, which mean they kill the bad bugs. So, in the summer, at least, our insect population largely manages itself. We do have to spray some organic pesticides to control things like caterpillars on our tomatoes, but generally the bugs and organisms in the soil take care of themselves and reach a sort of equilibrium. The weeds, on the other hand, are still pretty annoying. Especially bindweed, which has been pretty nasty this year. But let's not focus on that. Let's focus on the pretty moth creature:

 

Well folks, that's all for now until I can upload some more photos to the website. Until then, stay cool and make sure you drink lots of water. This summer has been pretty HOT and DRY.

 

Love,

Becky

Posted 6/20/2012 1:02pm by Tom & Linda Schwarz.

Good news! "Later" translated to "two days later!" Here I am again with more updates.

So back to this last winter. Aside from a couple of measley snow storms...like this one:

 

We had a very mild winter. This meant we got out into the field sooner than we might have to plant corn and beans. In the meantime, we also planted our veggies. We've upped production on our lettuce now so that we do most of it out of trays instead of out of the ground. There are a couple of reasons for this. It is easier to harvest, the leaves are cleaner, and it is easier for us to harvest the lettuce at just the right stage. We have more control over their environment, which can be helpful. As a result of this change, we had to have more tables built to put in our 42' greenhouse to hold our trays of lettuce. Here is what it looked like the other day:

 

We're experimenting with growing basil in pots. We're going to be delivering them to HyVee sometime soon. This is what they looked like a couple of weeks ago:

 

Bad news, kids. I am once again being called away to work. We'll have to continue this conversation another day. Hope that day is SOON!

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New recipe: Chocolate Mint Infused HoneyApril 26th, 2014

Ingredients:1 1/2 oz pkg chocolate mint1 Pint honey You will also need:Cheesecloth & string Directions:Remove leaves from mint sprigs. Rinse with cold water and pat dry. Place in sachet and roll o

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