Farm Newsletter: May 2013

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May 2013 Greer Farm Newsletter

Blueberry and Blackberry Season
Normally we would be letting you know that is it time to come and pick blackberries and blueberries, but this is not a normal year.  The berries are at least two weeks away and our vegetables are probably a month late.  We may be open by June 8.  Please check the home page of our website  for the most current information.  We appear to have a much better blackberry crop, including two new varieties producing for the first time.  The blueberry crop will be greatly diminished from last year due to a hard late freeze when many of the bushes were in full bloom.  There will be berries for pick-your-own.  We will not be picking for our commercial accounts as in past years so our pick-your-own customers can have a more enjoyable time in the berry patch.  Our price will remain the same as last year, $3.25 per pound for blueberries and blackberries.
We are not having a CSA this year delivering vegetables weekly.  While we scaled back on the amount of vegetables, we have the same nice varieties as last year.  The weather did not cooperate and we have no spring greens.  Hopefully we will have beans, onions, fingerling potatoes, garlic, squashes, tomatoes, peppers and a lot more in mid to late June.  We will sell our vegetables at the farm this year.
Log cabins on the Farm
The cooler than normal spring has made overnight visits to the farm very popular.  Since February we have had busy weekends and some weekday visitor.  We added a tetherball pole this year and found a way to keep weeds out of the bocce court.  A major change from earlier years is that the watercraft (jon boats, paddle boats, canoes and kayaks) are all free of any additional charges.  We also have two adult mountain bikes and two smaller kid's bikes for use without charge.  Hopefully in the next few weeks we will install a hammock at each cabin site.  More than ever, families and friends are booking all four cabins to share time together.  It is not too late to book all of the cabins now for summer use or in the fall when it is so nice on the farm.
What is there to do on the Farm?
 An amazing number of calls start out with a simple question.  What would we do if we came to your farm and rented a cabin?  We will take a moment to remind all of you just what is available.  Of course, the first thing is that you can relax and forget about where ever you came from.  For some, that is all they want. No television, ipod, internet, phone or other diversion.  We do have ipod/CD/radio players in each cabin, wireless internet, 200+ channels of television, dvd player, phone with free long distance, but we do not force you to use any of it! We feed animals every day and you are welcome to participate.  Currently around the barn yard is a flock of ducks Eva raised in the winter, geese, Eva's pot belly pig, goats, sheep and lambs and my roosters.  At the hay barn are our three quarter horses and Pepper the zebra.  Cats and kittens are everywhere.  There is a pasture full of pigs being raised for meat near the hay barn and the egg mobile is south of the house.  You can collect eggs in the evening.  Participation in feeding is encouraged for all ages. There is a horse shoe pit, volley ball court, sand beach, hiking trails, fishing, bocce court, tetherball and a kid's playground activity center. In the evening you can collect firewood for a camp fire and see an amazing number of stars.  We post on the information board the times the international space station can be seen as it passes over in the night. 
Farm to Fork Cooking Classes
Chef Eva developed a very interesting set of cooking classes for 2013.  The classes offer something for everyone.  There are three classes in June and two each in July and August.  This weekend, May 25, is a very different class: A Bacon Tasting.  If you want to get out of the city for a day, this will be a fun activity.  To celebrate independence Day, June 29 we are having our own celebration in the kitchen. Each of the dishes were served in a tavern near Independence Hall for the writers of the Declaration of Independence.  This includes some of Washington's, Jefferson's and Franklin's favorites. Photos of two recent classes:  For the Love of Chocolate and Singapore Street Food.
Greer Farm Products
We do not have  a farm store, but we do have a lot of natural products that you may be interested in.  Due to the demand for our grass fed beef we have only been able to stock ground beef. Maybe by mid summer we will have steaks and other cuts available.  We are taking orders for the balance of 2013 for beef by the split quarter, half and whole.  We think we offer superior grass fed beef. Beef Order Details   We also are raising pigs on pasture, pasture chickens and have free range eggs. 
Chef Eva is back making jams and sauces as the fruit and pepper season starts again.  This week she is making a variety of strawberry jams. We bought hundreds of pounds of local strawberries that are being made into jams this week.  This is a list of what we had earlier in the spring.  You can expect greater variety this year than last. All of the ingredients in her jams and sauces are raised on the farm except for local peaches and strawberries.
Geocaching on the Farm
Something is new on the farm.  Geocaching has arrived and we hid it and now you have to find it.  Be the first of the summer to find our cache.
Never Say Never
We have always turned down requests to have weddings on the farm.  I guess when you see our farm and its broad spacious gardens you wonder why not.  This is still a ball up in the air, but if someone approached us and wanted to be the first with something not too elaborate, we will consider it. 
Farmer's Don't Blog
We have been blogging about farm life since February 2006 and never missed a month to write one or many more blogs about farm life and other topics.  May 2013 is not over, but we have posted several items that may be of interest to you. If you wonder why occasionally the photo in a blog has nothing to do with the blog, I cannot help you.  We have a random bug that seems to re-sort photos in an unusual way.  A fix is on our list of items to do this summer.  If you have an interest in goat milk, we invite you to read about some friends of ours near Greenville that have a goat dairy and farm fresh goat milk available.
Hope:  What life is about
When you live on a farm and that is your means of support, every day you live in anticipation of hope.  You hope someone makes a cabin reservation or buys some beef. You hope it does not freeze or does not get too hot. You hope for rain.  Life is all about hoping for a better tomorrow.  In another life, I often spoke in public.  The corporate world is also a place full of hope. I traded a suit and tie for jeans and boots, but all the same I maintained my same focus on hoping for a better tomorrow for myself, my family and the world.
I recently ran across a copy of a speech I made in Milan, Italy 15 years ago just months before folding up my corporate tent and heading to farm.  I will quote some of it below and it is amazing how much the deeply held corporate values I had are the same today.
"What will it take to be successful?  It means embracing deeply held values that are customer focused. Values that create trust, demonstrated commitment to excellence and show concern and caring to your customer's needs.  Those that will be successful will be those that respond to the market with a contagious passion.  They will folow an unplanned path and in doing so the legacy they develop will be greater than they ever dreamed.  You will be successful by understanding that a plan of action does not need to be infallible or absolutely comprehensive.  Those that will be successful will be as always those that dare to be first, be different and to embrace change.  The leaders will not be those you expect, but those that took a different path and made their own way."
From our Home to Yours
Make our farm your farm.  Take time to relax and visit us.   There is so much to take advantage of here. 
From our family to yours we thank you for supporting our family farm.  Please forward this newsletter to anyone that may find it interesting.
All the best,
Sid, Eva and everyone on the farm
Where has all the months gone?  May is almost over and Memorial Day is this Monday.  Summer is days away.  School will soon be out and families will take off for their annual vacation. Here on the farm it is the end of calving, lambs have been weaned, day old chicks have grown into chickens, kittens scurry around in the barn and its finally warm enough for our vegetables to grow.  The bushes and brambles in the berry patch are almost ready for our pick-your-season. Eva's over 100 rose bushes are in full bloom confirming the change of season.