Taking Memberships for 2013 Summer/Fall

Farmer Steve

Farmer Steve
Proud Parent of Beautiful Onions


What is a C.S.A.?

Quite simply, it Stands for Community Supported Agriculture and can be the answer to todays industrialization of America's food supply by bringing the community closer to the source of their food supply.

How does it work?

If a person is interested in becoming a member of our C.S.A they would purchase a full or half share per season prior to the season's start. Pre-payment allows a small independent organic grower, like Steve Smith, the finances to invest in the equipment and materials he needs for the upcoming season. For as low as $15.00 per week your share of produce is distributed (each week) over a 24 week growing season (June through November) for your eating pleasure. Distribution may be achieved via delivery or picked up at a designated distribution site on a designated day at a designated time. Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A. will notify it's members as to which method of distribution will be used for that season as the season grows near. We request minimally 24 to 48 hours notice if you will not be available on the distribution day so that we may make other arrangements with you, within reason. If we do not hear from you and your share does not get picked up on the day of distribution within the time slot specified, your share will be donated to a shelter or another community organization.

*Payment plans are available. Call or email and ask us for information about our "Early Turnip Discount."

Why Join a C.S.A.?

1. It Affords you the most healthy and nutritional produce


2. It supports your local farm and economy.

3. It supports the environment.

4. It allows you a relationship with your local farmer.

5. It allows you to have a voice about the produce and food

you eat.

Things to Consider:

1. Do you enjoy cooking with a variety of seasonal vegetables?

2. Are you willing to share the risks along with the benifits. The farmer may occasionally encounter challenges, such as weather related issues, pests and blights? Eating local and seasonal is different than buying whatever you want whenever you want at a grocery store. It will take some getting use to. However, eating local and seasonal is healthier and absolutely more in sync with the environment.

3. Are you adventurous? Do you like trying new and different vegetables and fruits?

Our Distribution Area:

Steve's farm is located in Anna Illinois, 30 miles South of Carbondale Illinois. Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A's distribution area covers Anna/Jonesboro, areas north of Anna such as Cobden and Makanda up to Carbondale, east to Carterville and Marion, west to Murphysboro. We also will distribute to the Lick Creek area and, of course, south, east and west of Anna within a 20 mile (or so) radius. (We are flexible based on the amount of interest we receive in a particular area and distribution issues can be negotiated within reason.)

Who is Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A.?

Steve Smith is the owner and Head Farmer. Steve has various friends who graciously donate their time when they can and we encourage our C.S.A. members to get a little dirty and come out to the farm and volunteer to work in the fields from time to time.

About Steve Smith

Steve Smith came to Anna Illinois from New York and established the farm in 1977, over 30 years ago, with a strong desire to go back to the land and organically grow vegetables. He succeeded, and became the first viable organic farm in Southern Illinois. Steve is truly a pioneer in organic farming in the region. He is dedicated to providing the Southern Illinois community with fresh, local, ecologically sound produce and he is always excited about sharing his knowledge with everyone, especially the next generation.

To contact Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A. you may email: steve.hollowpumpkin@gmail.com or call (618) 614-2233

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Farmer Who Dreams of Eggplants

2011 is almost over. We have had record rains this year and yet, Steve has been very pleased with how the 2011 Summer/Fall harvest went. There were a few disappointments in 2011 such as the loss of our corn crop and apples to the raccoons. For the most part we have had a very successful year. Our membership in our C.S.A. increased in a manageable manner and we hope we will continue to grow in 2012. We try to take it slowly and we try not to over extend ourselves so we may learn and improve each year. This year also brought an experiment to our door step. We have begun to experiment with season extension, specifically here in Southern Illinois. Southern Illinois brings some challenges with it and right now we are all trying to learn what will grow inside our new high tunnel during our winter months and what will winter over in the fields and retain a high quality for our C.S.A. members. We have taken on a few Winter/Spring members to test the waters. If all goes well we will continue to grow this section of our C.S.A. like we have been doing with the Summer/Fall section. We will make any adjustments that are necessary to have a productive season extension in the future.

When I met Steve, I had no idea the extent of his passion for farming and supplying the community with healthy organically grown produce. I found out, quite rapidly I might add, one evening when Steve began to mumble in his sleep. What was he mumbling about, you might ask? Well, it was not about me, I can assure you. Most men dream of warm places with beautiful women - Steve was mumbling about eggplants, yes, EGGPLANTS! That is when I realized that Steve has just about the largest passion for farming than anyone I know and his talent for it meets his passion. It was then that I decided to hop on board to help Steve to realize some of the goals for the farm that he had not been able to in the past. Now, we are about to enter our fourth year with the C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture), we received a grant to put up our second high tunnel green house, and we are considering goats, chickens and ducks for the future! It all happens because of our dedicated members and supporters! We can all be proud that we are a part of the growth a of sustainable, healthy food supply for our community and we can be proud that we are examples for others to join in on cleaning up our worlds food supplies.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Here They Are: The 2011 Hollow Pumpkin Farm Volunteers

2011 Hollow Pumpkin Farm Volunteers!
Last evening Steve and I held a Thank You dinner for all of the 2011 farm volunteers.  We were tickled pink to have most of our 2011 volunteers come out to the farm last evening to share a meal with us.  We love bringing folks together and many of our volunteers got to meet each other last evening.  Not all of our volunteers could make it so the photo is not complete. We would like to give a shout out to:  Chris and Caroll Long, Mike Long and his lovely wife Julia who recently gave birth to their second child.  Betsy Herman and her son Noah, Orlan Mays, Patty Weyhrich and Jordan McCoy, who did come out to the dinner but did not make it into the group photo. Lisa Barnes and Talia Cruz, If we have forgotten anyone we hope you will forgive us.  We cannot do what we do without you!  Each volunteer brings their own skills and knowledge with them and each and everyone of them worked their butts off when they were out here.

If anyone is interested in volunteering to work on the farm and learn about organic farming and bring home some great veggies - please contact Steve and Fran at:  fran.hollowpumpkin@gmail.com or call:  (618) 697-6154 or (618) 614-2233.  Remember - We can make our  community and region sustainable, our food banks and the most needy of us fed if we help each other!

Steve Smith and Fran Jaffe

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food: Local Sustainability and Helping Each Other and the Community

Finally, a new post.  We are coming to the end of the 2011 Summer/Fall section.  There are three more distributions.  We are gearing up for the new Winter/Fall section which begins on January 11th 2012.  We are only taking 12 members for the first year of this section.  There are 6 more slots left.  If anyone is interested in receiving a detailed sheet about our various packages please email:  fran.hollowpumpkin@gmail.com and we will send you all of the information.  Deadline for payment for the Winter/Spring section alone is December 1st of 2011.

As some of you may know, Fran has been involved with the "Occupy" movement. Since the beginning of Hollow Pumpkin's history, Steve has always been a contributor to the Food Pantry and to Good Samaritan as well as truly sharing with his neighbors in the Anna region and beyond. One of the things the Carbondale section of the Occupy movement has been focusing on is how to improve our communities sustainability, work on local issues and to create an inclusive atmosphere.  One of the focuses is about the depletion of our regional food banks and how to feed our community in need.  To that end there is a section of "Occupy" that is called Occupy Hunger Southern Illinois.  We would like to pass some information onto our readers about this local collective of farms, organizations and individuals.  There are roles to play by farms and organizations but we will focus on the role of the individual today.

Here are some suggestions, from Occupy Hunger, as to how individuals can contribute to this effort:

1. Grow your own food - plant more than you need and donate the excess.
2.  Help your neighbors do the same
3.  Try new crops and give the excess away
4.  What you don't grow, buy from local producers when possible
5.  Purchase extra items, even if it is a small amount or a few extra cans or packages of something, at the farmers market or when you shop, at the Co-op for instance, and donate to your local charity/food bank or get in touch with Occupy Hunger at www.occupyhungersoil.blogspot.com and find out if they are collecting to do a mass distribution and bring your extra items to their drop point.
6.  Don't buy GMO food or seed
7.  Volunteer to transport food to the local food banks and other items needed. (contact Occupy Hunger)
8.  Volunteer to work for one of the producers (Farms) in the region!

These are just some of the ways we, as a community can become self sustaining and sustainable for the benefit of the environment, community and each of ourselves individually.  (Not to mention the health benefits.)  If we help each other we help ourselves!

To address the 8th item on the above list - Steve and I have been very blessed here on Hollow Pumpkin Farm this 2011 season.  We have had many, many volunteers come out to help all of whom showed an interest in learning about organic farming and helping Steve in the process.  Steve has had a lot of fun sharing his knowledge and friendship with this marvelous group of individuals.  We will have photo's of most of them in our next posting after this evenings Volunteer Thank You Dinner.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What is a C.S.A.? Reflections and History

 The winter squash, pumpkins and salad mix are a sign that fall is coming on.  Hollow pumpkin C.S.A. has nine more distributions for the Summer/Fall season and we are constantly hatching ideas for our   new experimental Winter/Spring season.  The deadline for payment for this shorter season is December 1st 2011.  We will have 6 distributions over a 12 week period beginning Wednesday January 11th 2012 and the cost is $180.00.  We will only be taking 12 members for our trial spin.  We will increase membership each year.   We also have membership packages which includes both the Winter/Spring 6 week section and the 24 week Summer/Fall section combined to make a full 30 weeks of C.S.A. distribution for the year.   Early turnip discounts apply prior to December 1st 2011 for the full 30 weeks, and prior to January 1st 2012 for the 24 week Summer/Fall section For more detailed information please contact us at:  fran.hollowpumpkin@gmail.com

This seems like a good time to reflect on what a Community Supported Agricultural endeavor is all about.  I found a great web page on the history of C.S.A's and how they came to America and what is in store for the future of C.S.A.'s.  Below is part one of this informative series.                    
The History of Community Supported Agriculture, Part I
Community Farms in the 21st Century:
Poised for Another Wave of Growth?

This is the first in a two-part series exploring the birth of the CSA movement in the United States as well as the potentials for this
 growing and successful model of community agriculture.
By Steven McFadden

Over the last 18 years Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
 has taken root in North America with moderate speed and has
gradually grown to include as many as 1,700 farms spread over
every region. Against a surging tide of decline for small
 farms in general, CSA has set roots deep and wide.
CSA is providing direct support for hundreds of small farms
 and clean local food for thousands of families.
As side benefits, CSA is also establishing a matrix of
environmental oases, building networks of families
who are cultivating new and healthy aspects of community life,
and helping to shape a new vision of agriculture.
As CSA approaches its 20th anniversary, the possibility
 of a substantial third wave of development looms large.
The workable paths are well known by now; meanwhile,
a host of food- and farm-related issues is steadily building
a groundswell underneath this grass-roots movement.
Oddly, the origins of CSA in the United States have remained i
ndistinct and are routinely reported incorrectly.
PART I: The Origins of CSA in America—Dispelling an
 “Agrarian Myth
For years, one standard albeit erroneous telling of CSA’s history has
been echoed
 in hundreds of articles and web sites.
That version was recently repeated by
 Time magazine: "The CSA movement began in
Japan some 30 years ago with
 a group of women alarmed by
pesticides...Their teikei
[partnerships with local farmers through annual subscriptions]
 spread to Europe and the U.S. From a single
Massachusetts CSA in 1986,
subscription farms in the U.S. have boomed..."(1)
I can fault no reporters for repeating this false history.
While I did know all
along that CSA sprang forth from not one U.S. farm,
but from two, for most
of the past 18 years I also labored under the
misimpression that some of
CSA’s inspiration had come from Japan,
for that is what I read everywhere.
But that’s not how it happened.
An email discussion on the CSA-L list
piqued my curiosity. Correspondents such as
Wolfgang Stranz of Germany,
Allan Balliett of West Virginia, and Connie Falk
 of New Mexico uncovered
many of the details of how CSA unfolded here
in the United States.
I’ve been reporting on CSA since 1987,
so when I read their postings,
I was prompted to research the movement’s
beginnings to unearth
 a clearer sense of what really happened and why.
 I also wanted to
see how the beginnings might bear upon the
present and the future.
I learned that while community farm initiatives
 got under way in both
Japan and Chile in the early 1970s, those efforts
did not directly influence
the 1986 start of the CSA movement in the states.
The U.S. impulse came
from Europe, and specifically from the biodynamic
agricultural tradition.
The ideas that informed the first two American CSAs
were articulated
in the 1920s by Austrian philosopher
 Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925),
and then actively cultivated in post- WW II Europe
 in the 1950s, 1960s,
and 1970s. The ideas crossed the Atlantic and
 came to life in a new form,
CSA, simultaneously but independently in 1986 at
both Indian Line Farm
in Massachusetts and Temple-Wilton Community Farm
 in New Hampshire.
The two original CSA farms are still thriving as of 2004.
 Both have established enduring legacies, even though
they have confronted many challenges over the years.
The stories of these two farms illustrate many of the challenges
 the entire
 CSA movement faces. Their stories also demonstrate many
of the potentials.
Indian Line Farm
Susan Witt was there at the beginning. She is director of the
E.F. Schumacher Society, headquartered about a mile down
 the road from Indian Line Farm in
South Egremont, Mass.
Susan recalls that articles in Rodale’s Organic Gardening
(2) attracted a young gardener named Jan Vander Tuin to South
Egremont in 1985,
where he met with her, Robyn Van En and other members
of the community.
According to a 1992 article that Vander Tuin wrote for RAIN
magazine (3), he had been working on a biodynamic farm named
Topinambur near Zurich, Switzerland. He also traveled to explore
other farms—Birsmatterhof in Germany (close to Basel, Switzerland)
 and Les Jardins de Cocagne in Geneva,
Switzerland. Vander Tuin noted that the producer-consumer
food alliance in
Geneva had been founded by a man inspired by the co-op
 movement in Chile
 during Salvador Allende’s administration (1970-73).These
experiences shaped
 Vander Tuin’s thinking as he returned to the United States
and began talking with
 Witt, Van En, John Root, Jr., Andrew Lorand, and others. Each individual
 was generally knowledgeable about anthroposophy and biodynamic farming
 (two pillars of Steiner’s legacy).
Witt recalls that their discussions were informed by Steiner’s concept of
world economy, and she felt the work of the Schumacher Society best put
those ideas into practice. "One of Steiner’s major concepts was the
producer-consumer association, where consumer and producer are
linked by their mutual interests," she explained. "And one of Schumaker’s
major concepts was ‘to develop an economy where you produce locally
 what is consumed locally.’ We began to see CSA as a way to bring these
key ideas together."

In those early days there was much talk of biodynamics and
 anthroposophy and the "Small is beautiful" philosophy of
 E.F. Schumacher, as Witt recalls, but definitely no talk of Japan.
"None of us had heard yet of what was happening in Japan."
On this point, Anthony Graham and Trauger Groh of the
Temple-Wilton Community farm agree. None of the CSA
pioneers in the United States had heard a word about teikei in Japan.
As Anthony recalls, "We (Anthony, Trauger, Lincoln Geiger) all went to
a conference in Kimberton, Pennsylvania, as well as a group from
 South Egremont including I believe Robyn Van En. This was after both
 of our farms had started, maybe a year later. A speaker at the conference
 mentioned what was going on in Japan, and that was the first any of us
learned about it."
In autumn 1985, with Vander Tuin’s enthusiasm added to the wherewithal
 of the rest of the community, the Massachusetts group undertook a project
 with an apple orchard. Root and a community of developmentally disabled
from nearby Berkshire Village sold 30 shares in the orchard,
then picked, sorted,
 and distributed 360 bushels of apples, as well as cider,
hard cider, and vinegar.
While that project was under way, the core group made plans.
They began as the
CSA Garden at Great Barrington (not Indian Line Farm) an unincorporated
managed on behalf of all shareholders, with Witt, Root, Van En and
Jan Vander Tuin acting as principals. The association entered into a
three-year lease with Van En to use land at Indian Line Farm for a garden
 starting in 1986, the same year the Temple-Wilton Community Farm started
about 80 miles to the northeast in New Hampshire.
The association that leased Indian Line Farm held onto the name CSA Gardens
 at Great Barrington until 1990, when there was a difficult split. Robyn stayed on
 her land; the farmers and many members departed to form the Mahaiwe Harvest
CSA at nearby Sunways Farm.
Robyn went on to write the pamphlet "Basic Formula to Create Community Supported Agriculture," to produce a video "It’s not just About Vegetables," and in 1992 to
found CSA North America (CSANA), a nonprofit clearinghouse to support CSA
In 1997 at age 49, Robyn died of an asthma attack. Her contributions were later
recognized in the naming of a national clearinghouse of information,
the Robyn Van En Center for CSA Resources.
After Van En’s death, her son was forced to sell the farm. The farmers who
 had been working the land could not afford to buy it. But with the help of the
 Schumacher Society, they partnered with a community land trust and
The Nature Conservancy to buy Indian Line Farm in 1999. This partnership
serves as a model for other CSAs.
According to Susan Witt, the key idea of the Indian Line Farm
 transaction is this: The consumers actively took responsibility to
 hold farmland open and to make that land available and affordable
 for farmers over a long term. Other CSAs, she said, should give serious
 consideration to this basic idea.
The Temple-Wilton Community Farm
Anthony Graham was among the founders of the Temple-Wilton
 (TW) Community Farm, along with Trauger Groh and dairyman
 Lincoln Geiger. Anthony remembers that they were all talking with
 one another back in 1985. "Trauger had just moved to New Hampshire
 from Germany. He and I and Lincoln and others in this community
were talking intensively, making plans. One day in the autumn we
drove out to South Egremont to meet with the people there and share ideas.
 There was a lot of excitement.
"The folks in Western Massachusetts had their approach and we had ours,
" Anthony recalled. "A lot of our inspiration for the Temple-Wilton farm came
out of discussing with Trauger what he knew from Germany, and from the
Camphill Village in Copake, New York, in 1961.”
Through the 1970s and early 1980s, Trauger, Carl-August Loss, and
other farmers at Buschberghof in Northern Germany had been
experimenting with ideas from the work of Rudolf Steiner.
Then Trauger met Alice Bennett of New Hampshire.
They were wed and he moved to be with her.
"Back in 1985, out of our discussions with Trauger,
we decided on our approach,” remembers Anthony.
“We asked members of the farm community for a pledge
 rather than asking them to pay a fixed price for a share of the harvest.
We realized that the members of our community had a wide range of needs
 and incomes and that one set price was not necessarily fair for every family.
 What we do each year is to present a budget showing the true costs of the
 farm over the coming year and then ask the members of the farm to make
pledges to meet the budget.
"Our approach works. It requires honesty and good will, but it works,” Anthony says.
The last four or five years, our annual budget meeting with the farm
members has only taken about 45 minutes. It’s fast, up front, and
everyone understands it by now."
The overall philosophy of the TW Farm evolved from some of Steiner's
 ideas spelled out in his anthroposophical writings. Some of the farm’s
 key ideas are:
New forms of property ownership—The land is held in a common
 by a community through a legal trust. The trust then leases its property
long-term to farmers who use the land to grow food for the community.
New forms of cooperation—A network of human relations replaces old systems
 of employers and employees as well as replacing the practice of
pledging material security (land, buildings, etc.) to banks.
New forms of economy – (associative economy). The guiding question is not
 "how do we increase profits?" but rather "what are the actual needs of the land
and of the people involved in this enterprise?"
Trauger Groh is retired from active farming but stays close to the TW Farm.
 As he looks back over the years, he said he feels satisfaction.
The farm has found a permanent home on good land and has also
 secured an orchard. In 2003, he said, the farm had a record harvest,
and it received funding support from state, federal and local sources.
"The farm will easily raise the rest of the money," Trauger said. "There is
enormous public interest. Wilton has voted at town meeting two years in a
row to spend $40,000 of taxpayer money to support the farm and its programs.
 Now remember, this is in skinflint New Hampshire, where a request for money
for a new light bulb can cause a knockdown, drag-out debate. Not one person
 has ever stood to speak against the funding request for the farm.
"Now is when all our work is paying off," Trauger observed.
"We have a track record of 18 years. People know us and trust us.
They can see what we are doing for the land and for the community."
Reflecting on the start of CSA in America 18 years ago, Trauger said "As
with all great ideas, the idea of CSA had arrived. It just needed to emerge.
The time was ripe. Who started at what hour is totally unimportant. What is
important is that the CSA initiative has emerged and developed, and there is
now a base for people to carry forward."

 If you are interested in reading part two of this series please click on this link:  http://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/features/0204/csa2/part2.shtml
The faces below are of Hollow Pumpkin Farm's most recent "Farm Angels," which is what community is all about.  Many other folks in the community have come out from time to time to also lend a hand.  We are forever thankful for these folks and they remind us of what the C.S.A. is really all about!
Jessica Allee

Tod Kington

Sarah Tezak
Talia Cruz

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A.: Past The Halfway Point

It's been a while since the last posting and now Hollow Pumpkin's 2011 season is past the halfway point.  The season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.  The weather began a bit bumpy and got much better so the crops came in fairly well.  The pests, such as raccoon, rabbits and deer, have been on the increase so we lost our corn and unfortunately it looks like the coons have taken to most of our apples and pears.  So the fruit crop this season has been a bit sad.  The musk melons have been fabulous this season and we do have pumpkins this season.  The harvest is going to be small so we will probably not have pumpkins for the farmers market but we are going to do our best to supply our C.S.A. members with some pretty pumpkins.  The photo you see does have a yellow pumpkin in it.  We like the yellow tone of this pumpkin.  The rain has not been abundant lately and it has taken a toll on our tomatoes as well as our summer squash.  Usually we have too much summer squash but this year the field played out early.  Steve is planting another large round of fall crops and we believe that this will be a good fall season.  I, for one, am looking forward to green leafy veggies and a bounty of winter squash.
we'd like to give thanks to Jessica Allee and Tod Kington for coming out to the farm and putting in some long hot hours.  Jessica comes on Mondays and Wednesdays.  She helps with the C.S.A. Processing on Wednesdays.  Tod comes out when he is needed.  He gives us the extra man power that we need to do the heavy lifting and shoveling etc... Sarah Tezak has begun to come out on Fridays to help Steve get ready for the Farmers Market.  She is a huge help to Steve.   Finally, we had a surprise visitor the other day and that was Charlie Howe who is one of our beloved members.  Not only did Charlie work very hard but he brought us a slice of elderberry pie that he made from the elderberries we gave out in a prior distribution.  The pie was fabulous.  We thank Charlie for coming out and lending a hand and encourage him to continue making pies, he does a great job.                                                                                                 We hope the C.S.A. members are enjoying their C.S.A. experience and playing in the kitchen with all of the fresh organically grown veggies.  Happy and Healthy eating to you all!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

News from the Farm and Beyond

Where to start? Well, we trapped our second raccoon "Rocky II" the sequel. We are continuing to be vigilant about setting the traps in the second corn field. We suspect that the Rocky series will be just as prolific as the movies.

The tomatillos have arrived as well as our red potatoes. For week #8 of the 2011 C.S.A. we will have both tomatillos and red potatoes to offer as well as - cucumbers, garlic, bell peppers, some tomatoes, basil, dill and hot peppers and summer squash will be there as well.
We hope everyone is staying cool in this extended heat wave. The vegetables are a bit cranky and so we have continued our "Grab Bag" for the C.S.A. week #8 distribution. We all may have to rethink what to plant for the next season if the climate is indeed changing around these parts.

Big thanks to all of our volunteer help: Lisa Barnes, Talia Cruz, Betsy Herman and Jessica. Also big thanks to Glen Etzkorn for helping with the harvest.

My sister, who lives in Colorado, caught a blurb on NPR the other day about King Neptune the world war II Navy pig who came from, of all places, Mt. Pleasant in Union county which is very near to Anna and his resting place is in Cobden. Here is a link to an article about the 700 lb World War II pig and his contributions. http://weku.fm/post/paying-attention-forgotten-navy-pigs-plaque

The final photo is of some of the produce our members received last week on the 7th week of the C.S.A. distribution. There was arugula, some parsley, a mixture of white yellow and red onions, cherry tomatoes and slicers, basil, some cucumbers. We hope everyone enjoyed and we will be back for week #8 at the Co-op in Carbondale IL between 4pm and 6pm July 27th.

Celebrate ripe, local, organically grown produce and happy eating one and all!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rocky Raccoon Has Been Caught

Hello from Hollow Pumpkin Farm. For the past two weeks or so we have been having major raccoon issues. The first field of corn was completely dined on by this little rascal. Today we finally caught the little bugger and took him a good distance away from the farm and released him. We certainly think he is cute but we hope he stays away this time.

The farm is bubbling with many new folks who have shown and interest in learning to farm organically. Steve loves to teach and he receives some needed help in return so it is a win win situation. We welcome Talia and Jessica to the farm and hope they learn all they want to and continue to farm or garden organically in the future.

Life on the farm is all about work these days. Steve takes advantage of all the daylight as the days get shorter. The good news is that the yields on many of our crops has increased and things are trying to get into their natural rhythm. We will see what this next heat wave will bring in the way of crop challenges.

Our 7th distribution is tomorrow and the list of produce is: Green peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, arugula and basil. Red potatoes are coming soon and we hope we will be able to provide some sweet corn from our second field at some point soon as well.

That's all for now. We hope everyone is enjoying the veggies and experimenting with some of the veggies they may not be as familiar with. Happy eating.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What's New for Week #5

It is easy to become impatient while farming, but as the saying goes: "Good things come to those who wait." The cucumbers have arrived and they are some of the best we have grown in a while. Our Yukon Gold potatoes and our broccoli are also pretty tasty. Steve has been putting in long hours and has some good help in Cliff Connolly and it is paying off.

The C.S.A. members received: Yukon Gold Potatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli, tomatoes and a choice of green cabbage, carrots, Kohl Rabi, basil or beets.

The tomatoes are popping too. We had our first full harvest of tomatoes yesterday and it only gets better from this point on. The heirlooms take a little longer but, we will wait....they are worth it.
we are contemplating having Steve camp out by the sweet corn to ward off the darn pesky raccoons! The coons are truly becoming public enemy number 2 (deer are number 1, rabbits number 3.) We finally realized that the raccoons got to our corn last year even before the ears were noticeable. We thought that our corn tasseled and never produced ears.....now we need to come up with a plan to save this years crop.....Any ideas are welcomed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What's New for Week #3

This is kohlrabi. It tastes like broccoli and can be used in any dish that includes broccoli. We will be distributing kohlrabi to some of our members for Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A.'s third distribution on Wednesday June 22nd 4pm-6pm at the Neighborhood Co-op in Carbondale, IL. It is the least known of the vegetables that we will be including so we have a recipe on the newsletter this week.

We will be trying something new for this distribution. We will have a core of 4 items that all of our members will receive and Steve will be bringing crates of some cabbage, beets, kohlrabi and a few snap peas. Our members will be able to make some choices to meet the fulfillment of their half and whole shares. Steve will be there to explain the process and make sure that everyone is happy.

Once again, we would like to remind those members who may be picking their shares up at the Co-op on a non-distribution day to, please, ask a produce clerk to get your bag from the cooler.

Moving onto other news - Hollow Pumpkin Farm got some long over due soaking rains! For a week we had been watching black clouds pass us by....hearing thunder just around the corner and getting no rain while our neighbors were getting some good down pours. The rain finally worked it's way to us and boy the plants are dancing. It also sounds like we will be having moderate temperatures in the mid 80's so it is possible that our broccoli will flourish and be added to the list of produce for the C.S.A. soon. Update will be forthcoming.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Distribution: Week 2

Week two of Hollow Pumpkin's C.S.A. distribution went well. We are getting our rhythm down and our members are coming with smiling faces. I finally was able to meet some of the members who are new and could not make our opening gathering. All I can say is - we have a great membership this year. I have to admit I say that every year because it seems to be true each year we do the C.S.A.

This week we included: a mix of summer squash, some beautiful beets, romaine lettuce, green onions, basil and dill as well as a small portion of snap peas.
Some members wanted to know what the yellow "Flying saucer" looking Squash was. Well, it is called Patty Pan squash and it is a summer squash and can be cooked just like Zucchini or the yellow summer squash. Steve and I are grillers. We love to marinate the squash and grill it outside over a fire. The patty pans are exceptional grilled on the
open fire. The patty pan is
my favorite of the summer squash. If you did not get a patty pan mixed in with your bag, do not worry. Summer squash season has just begun and you will see the patty pans a few more times. Everyone will get a chance to try them if you have not already done so.

When the basil arrives can pesto be too far? There are so many ways to make pesto. I was told that pesto really means garlic....in other words as long as garlic is in it the sky is the limit. For vegans, tofu is used instead of Parmesan cheese. Here, on Hollow Pumpkin Farm we like to use a mixture of Asiago and Parmesan. We use cashews instead of walnuts and as a substitute for the way too expensive pine nut. Some folks put sun dried tomatoes into it.... What ever your heart desires pesto is always soooooo good. I will put up a pesto recipe on the recipe page very soon, so stay tuned.

A very important note to all of our members: The Neighborhood Co-op Grocery has graciously allowed us to use their cooler. Some of our members have a special arrangement with Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A. to pick their produce up on a non-distribution day because of work conflicts etc.... We want to remind those folks who have that arrangement with us to PLEASE ask a produce clerk to get your share bag for you. DO NOT walk into the cooler yourself. It is a privilege to be able to use the cooler and the clerks may not know who you are. It is an understandable policy for any retail establishment to not allow customers to enter their storage areas etc.... for obvious reasons. Please exercise common courtesy.

What's ahead? Very soon we will have cucumbers, garlic, onions, cilantro, parsley and potatoes which we are waiting for them to size a little more.

We are watching our broccoli very closely. Once again, Steve planted the
broccoli, which likes cooler weather, for the spring. However, due to all the early rain and lack of sun, the broccoli grew way too slow. Now it looks promising.....but, we are in for hot, hot weather which the broccoli does not like. We will keep you tuned into the broccoli saga.
The peppers are growing and the tomatoes are setting. Steve did plant corn again this year. Our Members who were with us last
year may remember that our corn tasseled but did not make ears. All we could assume about that was it was too hot and dry,
for that had never happened to farmer Steve before. So we hope for better luck this season.

The beets are so pretty this year. They are also so very tasty. You can roast them, boil them, make a cold summer soup (borscht) out of them. I hope our members will try one if not both of the recipes we have printed. There is a non-vegetarian recipe on the recipe page of the blog.

Steve will be at the Co-op for the third distribution Wednesday June 22th. I am on the road again. The newsletters will go out either Sunday or Monday prior to distribution. The newsletter for the distribution on Wednesday June 29th will go out on the morning of distribution. We hope our members are enjoying their shares. As usual, Steve and I always welcome questions, suggestions and constructive comments so please feel free to contact us if the mood should strike.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

C.S.A. Distribution: Week #2

We are distributing this Wednesday, June 15th 2011, at the Neighborhood Co-op in Carbondale from 4pm to 6pm. This will be distribution #2 and the share bags will look pretty and full this week. We will be including:

summer squash
green onions
(Possibly: radishes and oriental greens such as tat soi and bok choy)

We all know that we blinked and spring was gone. It seemed like summer came on very prematurely. It has been hard to figure out what veggies from the spring planting would hang around and what veggies of the summer planting will be sized enough to begin distributing. Luckily for us, we have a mixture of both spring and summer veggies for our members this distribution, which does not happen often. The lettuces finally succumbed to the heat and became a bit tough and bitter. the good news is that we are going to get a bit of rain and cooler weather to boot!

The scientists are pretty darn sure that global warming is what is bringing us super cell tornadoes and excessively hot and arid weather. they are sure that the earth's core temperature has risen and we should expect more drought conditions to come. Hollow Pumpkin Farm is preparing for the future. Steve has figured out an inexpensive way to irrigate our fields on a more consistent basis and we are in the process of implementing this system. Good things are happening here on the farm so keep your eyes opened for more to come.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

First Distribution Accomplished

Our first distribution of the 2011 C.S.A. season is behind us now. There are some kinks to work out but all and all we think it went well.

For the past two years we have been delivering to our members door steps. This year we have chosen to have a central distribution point at he Neighborhood Co-op, since we have grown to a point where it has become unfeasible to continue door step delivery. We are still getting used to this system. Farmer Steve was up and out harvesting huge heads of romaine lettuce at 5:30AM and harvesting went on until 2:30PM when we began to pack up the shares and get Steve out the door. It always amazes us how long harvesting and processing takes. As the season progresses we will get into the rhythm of things and hope we can cut the time down just a hair so that we will be early to the Co-op in order to set things up prior to the arrival of our members.

We hope everyone was pleased with the huge romaine and the beautiful carrots etc... We did not tag the oregano and the lemon balm for we felt the aromas of the two herbs would tell our members what they were. Both herbs are very pungent and distinct. When in doubt, we hope our members are reading their newsletters which include the list of vegetables in their shares. We will tag things that we think folks might not know about and if anyone still cannot figure things our they can always email us and we will be happy to fill them in. We want to thank our wonderful members for helping Steve carry in the shares and for showing up on time and joyful about the harvest.

What about the rhubarb? Well, when we put up the list of produce in the share bags on Sunday, Steve went out and checked the rhubarb for bug damage and there was very little. Wednesday, harvest day, was a very different story. There is a bug called Curculio that loves to poke its nose into the rhubarb and suck the life out of it. We believe, due to the heat that the bugs became active and attacked the rhubarb between Sunday and Wednesday, and so, we did not have enough usable rhubarb for every member. That will happen from time to time. We may put something on the list that, come harvest day, will not be suitable for our C.S.A. members. That is one reason we did not put lists up prior to harvest in the past. Things in the field change from moment to moment...it is all living matter.

It is time for a thank you. Betsy Herman's son, Noah, came and helped process produce on Wednesday. Thank you Noah! We hope you will visit us often. A reminder to all of our members - we are trying to recycle so we would appreciate it if you can return the white tree tags along with your empty bag when you come to pick up your share at the Co-op next Wednesday June 8th. If you have any questions or comments please contact us...we like to hear from you!

Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 C.S.A. Distribution Begins

Hello to all of our C.S.A. members. The time has finally arrived! We will begin the 2011 C.S.A. distribution this week, on Wednesday June 1st from 4pm to 6pm at the Neighborbhood Co-op Grocery in the Murdale shopping center in Carbondale, IL. The wet sunless weather, that we have had for quite some time, has slowed some of the growth. However, as usual, farmer Steve has done a fabulous job of keeping the plants in good shape.

Our list of items that our members will find in their share bags this week is:
Garlic scapes, Green onions, Salad mix, Romaine lettuce, Rhubarb, Carrots, Oregano and Lemon balm.
Steve had told me that, soon, we will have Beets, Summer squash and dill to add to the share bags. It is hard to know what to plant and when to plant when the weather goes from cold and wet right to scorching hot. The plants get confused and so, In the cooler weather we planted broccoli and cauliflower...unfortunately due to the profuse rain they did not size enough to make it through and now the heat will take it's toll on them as well. We hope to have them for the cold crop shares.
The farm is looking good. Steve has begun to bushhog the whole place. The new greenhouse has shaped up and the summer plants are happy!

Thank you, Lisa Thomas, for the beautiful pictures you took at our annual gathering. Thank you to Betsy Herman and Cliff Connolly, who came out and volunteered to help.

Please check out the recipe page for a brand new rhubarb recipe!

Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Members Gathering

This year some of our members braved the unusually cool and damp weather to come out to the farm and look around at our third annual beginning of the season members gathering. They got a first hand look at what is growing in the fields and greenhouse and how the unusual weather, this spring, has affected the growth.
We have many new members, and so we imparted some information about this season. We will, most likely begin our distribution on June first as usual. However, because of the wet and cool weather we will probably be working on a bell curve this season and begin with a lighter share bag
for the first few distributions and increase the size as the crops respond to what we hope will be better conditions.
We do not use boxes to distribute our shares. We use reusable bags and our members rotate bags each week. We reminded the members who attended the gathering that in order for this system to work they must bring their empty bag with them, beginning with the second delivery, in order for them to pick up their full bag. Distribution will be at the Neighborhood Co-op in Carbondale in the Murdale shopping center, this season, every Wednesday between 4pm and 6pm. We thank Francis Murphy and the Neighborhood Co-op for graciously letting us use their space and cooler.
The beginning of the season members gathering is a casual gathering that allows the members to see the farm, if they have not done so already, meet some of their fellow members, ask questions and share a dish of food with everyone. Good food was certainly what we had and we would like to thank everyone who attended for making such yummy dishes. We also like to invite the folks who have helped on the farm so that our members can meet the people who are responsible for helping us get the farm/C.S.A. up and running each season. This year Phil Mendenhall showed up with his wife Vikki. They run a farm down the road from us and yet Phil has been out to the farm a number of times to help with the green house. Now that is community at it's best!
We also invited Mike Hatfield, his wife, Jessica , Orlan Mays and his wife Chastity to come out as well. Mike and Orlan are part of the Food Works Network and they are new farmers. Mike has a farm called Flyway Farm in Makanda, Illinois and Orlan is running and tending a community garden in Attucks Park in Carbondale Illinois. Farmer Steve has taken on a mentoring position in order to assist with Mike and Orlan's growth as farmers. We are constantly impressed with the skill and talent that both Mike and Orlan already bring with them.
During the coarse of the gathering a good question came up which was: "What will we do if the price of gas goes up above five or six dollars per gallon?" My first response was to say that we will cry. On a more serious note, one of the reasons for having a centralized distribution point is to use less gas. The other fear, I'm sure, of members in our C.S.A. is will we have to raise prices. Hollow Pumpkin Farm is trying to keep our prices as low as possible. We know that food prices have gone up all over the country and in our regular grocery stores. If you figure it out, Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A.'s produce is being brought to it's members for less than grocery store prices at this time. We will try to continue to do so for as long as we can.
One of the purposes of a C.S.A. is to have that community of members who may be interested in helping to keep the costs down. (example: Donating some time in the field with the farmer so that the farmer does not have the payroll expense.)
On a less serious note - I had a small window of opportunity to snap some photos of some of our new members and some who have been with us from the start. Thank You, everyone, who came out to the farm
yesterday. It was such a pleasure to meet some of our new members and, of course, see our continuing members. We also encouraged our members to bring family and friends and a few did. I hope their experience was pleasant and please, one and all, feel free to come back to the farm and see the progress this season.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another Challenging Season

Well, much has happened over the past few weeks. Tornadoes and rain, rain, rain to name a few. Last year was a drought this spring brings an over abundance of water. Just goes to show you that nothing in farming is for sure folks. Steve said it has been a long time since we have seen a frost in May, and yet, we saw the past two nights bring us early morning frost. So, it looks like we are in for another challenging season.

Today, our friend Sarah Tezak out on the farm. She volunteered to work with Steve and work they did. Mulching the asparagus was the main focus today. Steve ran out and got a huge round bale of hay early this morning. Steve is hoeing and tilling the ground...loosening it up after the large amounts of rain which turns the soil into "Cement." So far the strawberries, lettuce and rhubarb are hanging in there. The green onions are abundant.
We want to thank Sarah for graciously giving her time to us to help on the farm. She brings a gentle grace to field work and we love her.
Just a note: We are having our beginning of the season Members Gathering on Sunday May 15th. It will begin at 3:30pm and it will be a pot luck. Please contact us to R.S.V.P and let us know if you will be attending. You may find directions on the info. section of our facebook page: www.facebook.com/hollowpumpkincsa, or you may email us at fran.hollowpumpkin@gmail.com
We hope all of our members will try to come...it is a time to meet your fellow members, see the farm and have good food, drink and conversation. It is also a great time to ask farmer Steve questions - so mark it on your calender.

Friday, April 8, 2011

High Tunnel Finale!

It's been a while since the last posting and I bet you all want to know what we have been up to. We are finally able to tell you that the plastic is up and but for a few minor trims here and there, the new high tunnel is up and shining! Once again this city girl has learned a few things. One is that building a high tunnel is not as easy as it looks. We had to wait for the perfect day... it could not be windier than 10 miles per hour, it had to be warm so the plastic would adjust properly and preferably no rain so we could have help because no one wanted to work in the rain including us. At this time of year, the wind blows the temperatures fluctuate and the rain falls. We had several days where we thought we could get the plastic up and Steve made calls to folks who volunteered to help but alas...wind, rain and cold kept coming. Today, we finally had all of the right ingredients and our angels came out to help. Thanks to Scott Rogers, Phil Mendenhall and a special thanks to our friend at Flyway Farm in Makanda, Mike Hatfield, who is a part of the Foodworks mentoring program and Steve has taken him under his wing to pass on some of his knowledge to Mike. We think Mike has a lot of knowledge to pass along to us as well so it is a great program all the way around. Mike graciously offered to help us get the plastic up on the High Tunnel! We thank Foodworks for having us as a part of their mentoring program. We also want to mention that we have a second budding farmer who will be aboard with Steve through the Foodworks mentoring program His name is Orlan Mays and Orlan will have a farm located in Murphysboro. We met Orlan at the Seed Swap in Carbondale and we liked him from the start. We are looking forward to sharing knowledge with Orlan soon. We will post a photo of Orlan as soon as we get one so stay tuned. The lettuce mix is growing once again, all the taters are in, spinach abounds, tomatoes are constantly being planted. We had already planted some tomatoes in the old green house and kept them nice and warm with row cover during the cold snaps, summer squash seedlings are popping and the list goes on and on. suffice it to say, we have been busy. We began this post with a photo of the mostly finished high tunnel. the following photos will take you from finish to start. Enjoy.

Mike Hatfield of Flyway Farms in Makanda, IL

In the beginning there was plastic, plastic and more plastic!