Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Evansville Farmers Market - 2013!

Evansville Farmers Market

Welcome to the Evansville Farmers Market 2013!!!
"Is it Spring yet?" asks Lola, Shetland Sheep Ewe
from R&B Acres, Oregon, Wis.

Hi All!!

Renée Frank, Co-Manager of the Evansville Farmers Market 2013, here with a preview of what you might find at the Evansville Farmers Market 2013.  We have many special events planned for our markets and look forward to seeing your bright smiling faces every Saturday morning, May 4 - October 26, 2013, from 9 am to 1 pm.

Mid-April in Wisconsin
and still snow on the ground!
Unfortunately, this spring has not been nearly as nice as 2012, thus our produce vendors are struggling to have ripe produce at the market for you.  We hope the asparagus and rhubarb and maybe, baby spinach will be large enough to harvest and be available opening weekend.  If not, there will still be eggs, frozen, locally raised chicken, honey, arts and crafts for the taking.

Empty field waiting for warmth.

Opening weekend, we are hosting a Cinco de Mayo Celebration and have invited area Spanish students and their families to join us to share a bit of their heritage with the community.  If you know of someone who was or is connected with agriculture in the Latino community, PLEASE have them contact us so that we can set aside a space for them to share their knowledge and expand our minds a little!

Creekside Place Community Center
We are located on Church Street, directly adjacent to Creekside Place Community Center, 102 Maple Street, Evansville, Wisconsin.  The entire street is closed to traffic and devoted to the market and our special events.  Our ongoing quest to make this market relevant to the Evansville community means attracting vendors, of all sizes, shapes and colors, as well as provide ongoing education and outreach opportunities for various non-profit organizations in the area.

In our efforts to build community connections, we have teamed up with the Rock Hour Community Time Bank for many of our volunteer needs.  These range from helping with the Kid's Arts and Craft's table, putting up street signs, posting fliers, changing the table tents in area businesses, special event coordinators and more.  If you have a bit of time you would like to devote to the EFM, please sign up here.  Make sure you let your boss know too, as many business will give you credit for community volunteer work!
If I can't have Spring outside,
I will have it inside with variegated cat grass!

If you are interested in becoming a vendor at the EFM 2013, please go to www.evansvillefarmersmarket.com/ to find our vendor application as well as our rules and regulations.

Is it time to plant yet?

You can contact us through info@evansvillefarmersmarket.com if you need further assistance.  Check out our facebook page for up-to-date information, links and special notices related to the Evansville Farmers Market.

Thanks for reading,
(Stop in at the EFM Information Table, sign our guest book mentioning this blog and receive a special gift!)
Bottle Babies! Late April Shetland ram lambs

Renée Frank,
Co-Manager of the Evansville Farmers Market

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

News from The Hen House - March 2013

Adventures in Mushroom Growing

Shiitake Mushrooms
Hi all!

Brad here once again, to bring you the latest in New from the Hen House!  Our wonderful caretaker, Renée, has started another new adventure - MUSHROOM GROWING!

Golden Oyster Mushrooms
She recently attended the Madison Garden Show held at the Alliant Energy Center and met many new and interesting farmers and gardeners.  One of the things she has often wondered about after seeing Golden Oyster Mushrooms at the Dane County Farmers Market back in the summer of 2009, was - Could they be grown on our farm?  Since that summer, she has periodically checked out various websites devoted to growing fungus of all types.  Most of the websites talked about much larger scale farms and a very long turn-around time to the first harvest.   
Inoculated wooden plugs
with directions.

This was a major buzz-kill UNTIL the Garden Expo! While wandering the seemingly endless aisles of garden products or garden ideas, she stumbled upon a Wisconsin fungus grower, Field and Forest Products Inc., Peshtigo, Wis.,  They had smaller packages of plugs or sawdust that had been inoculated with several varieties of mushrooms available for purchase.  After a bit of hemming and hawing, she decided to plunk down $25 and take home two small packages of wooden plugs: one of Golden Oysters and the other of Shiitake!

Pot of boiling water to be poured
on paper towel rolls to discourage
other fungal or bacterial growth
For the fungal-neophyte, apparently the process of growing mushrooms is slow and dependent upon many factors.  As a Rooster, I only care about the fruiting bodies, or the big, puffy parts I can eat but Renée was interested in all steps to the process, from knowing what type of wood logs to track down to how to serve it in a way that her fungus-phobic children would eat.  She learned that Golden Oysters like to grow on logs on freshly felled softwoods and Shitake perfer freshly felled hardwoods.  This led to her dilemma of how to track down the right type of wood, cut at the right time of the year.  We have very few trees on the farm!

Making holes for the
inoculated wooden plugs.
She had a few leads from friends that lived on wooded parcels of land but while chatting with another mushroom lover at a ski race, she learned that these inoculated wooden plugs or even the inoculated sawdust could be encouraged to produce fruiting bodies on things like paper towel rolls and coffee grounds.  

The wait time until harvest was significantly reduced and the mushrooms could be grown indoors, in a controlled environment.  Originally she had been told that her wooden plugs would probably produce fruiting bodies, outside, on logs, maybe summer 2014. Now she is looking at the summer of 2013 if all goes well!
Paper towel rolls stuffed with plugs
and bagged for optimal growing conditions!
I will keep you posted as to her success or failure in future blog posts.  I am hopeful as she discovered mycelium — a network of moist fibers that use powerful enzymes to penetrate wood or other organic matter, on her damp paper towels. YUM! YUM!

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2004-10-01/Grow-your-own-Mushrooms.aspx#ixzz2OIWqTpQ0

Alpha Rooster
The Hen House
R&B Acres LLC

News from The Hen House - April 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Newspaper Pots?

Hi All!
Brad again with a post on Reneé's latest free time activity. I'm really not sure about this one BUT in the spirit of reduce, reuse and recycle I want to share with you her creative, though not original, idea of making pots out of old newspaper. I mean, she already recycles shredded paper and junk mail by using is as fluffy bedding in my hens nesting boxes as well as a covering on the floor of the coop for those birds who still haven't become "coop-broke" when needing to relieve themselves. I have to say, I really appreciate that white shredded paper in the dark of winter. It just makes the coop so much brighter and we all perk up when she applies a fresh layer.

But I digress - back to newspaper pots. Like I said earlier, this is creative but not original. Apparently, Reneé was on Facebook and noticed that one of the homesteading/gardening pages she "liked" had this idea of recycling newspapers into pots. Unfortunately, all it showed was a picture and no link to directions. She started trolling the Internet for information on just how to do this when WHAM - YouTube had a video showing exactly how it was done!

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!!! She was one happy hen to see how easy it was to make and that it would naturally degrade once planted into the soil. Her only concern was water seepage. She didn't know if the newspaper pots would last long enough to be handled and ultimately planted, given that Spring has yet to arrive in Wisconsin. Even with that concern, she decided to try it.

After watching the video and reading a few other sites on creative recycled pots, Reneé went rummaging through the recycling trash can at home, kinda like the farm dog known as Coby when looking for leftovers, until she found an empty wine bottle that was the right sized diameter for her envisioned pots. Then she set up shop.

On her pool, I mean work, table, she assembled her pile of newspapers, scissors, wine bottle, trays and bags of potting soil. She then laid down the newspaper, sometimes one sheet, sometimes two if it didn't feel heavy enough, folded the edges so it was about 5-6 inches wide and began to wrap the end of the wine bottle. (Did I mention she used her favorite wine, wine bottle from the night before? No? Prairie Fume from Wollersheim Winery, Wisconsin)

Reneé noticed that when she first wrapped it, she didn't have any left over to fold over and become the base. She also didn't know if it would stay together without tape or staples. She went back, checked her notes and discovered that by leaving enough free, at the bottom, to reach at least half way across, and starting with the part that had the outside edge of the newspaper, she could get the pot to hold its own shape, without extra support.

These first pots, when taken off of the bottle, were highly unstable due to the wrinkles on the folds of the bottom of the pot. Once she put soil into them, they flattened out and really held their shapes. Her first batch has gone to the baby heirloom cherry tomato plants that were in need of transplanting.

Granted, it was a bit messy in her basement for a while but the end result has been happy tomato plants waiting for Springtime warmth to kiss Wisconsin once again.

They are currently migrating between the temporary greenhouse and her basement until the soil and air temperatures warm enough so they won't freeze.

I know the girls and I have been really enjoying the delayed Spring as it has meant extra time in Reneé's gardens scratching for grubs, worms and other yummy things we missed all winter. Unfortunately for us, once it truly warms up, Reneé fences us out of the garden until the end of harvest season. I guess she doesn't like the creative designs our beaks leave when we are just sampling the produce.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for updates to Reneé's adventures in 21st Century Homesteading - Including News From The Hen House!


Alpha Rooster -
The Hen House

R&B Acres LLC
Oregon, Wisconsin