Category Archives: Ways to get our food

March is greenhouse month

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In mid-February, right after my birthday, Ben gets the greenhouse started. Every Monday, he seeds a new round of flats. The flats are germinated in the house, either in a cool guest room, or in a closet we have newly outfitted with a space heater and metal shelving. Some seeds, like tomatoes, germinate best in the heat, others, like lettuce, in the cool. Once the first seed leaves show themselves, the flat gets whisked out to the greenhouse where the sun shines. We heat the greenhouse, but only barely; we want our plants to be hardened and ready for chilly spring conditions, so we only heat enough to keep the nights in the forties.

We’ve started longer term crops, like the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant that won’t be ready until July, as well as some of the first crops that we plan to have in our first CSA share, like lettuce, kale, and the gorgeous napa cabbage you see in the photo. The weather forecast says it will be staying a bit warmer at night early this week, and so we plan to transplant that napa into the field. Also going into the field early next week are carrots, beets, turnips, and radishes.
We’d like to share a few other highlights from our crop plan with you. Last year, we increased the area planted in tomatoes, which allowed us to really load up the CSA shares with tomatoes for a few weeks in late August and early September, so we plan to repeat that. Another change we made last year that we plan to keep was our switch from bush beans to pole beans. Pole beans have better flavor, are more productive, and are easier to pick. We think those positives outweigh the only downside of the time we have to spend setting up and taking down the trellis. We delivered far more beans in the shares last year than ever before, even as we had less area planted in beans.

New this year, we’re trying for some fall broccoli. Even the best broccoli farmer I know says that there’s only a 70% chance of broccoli every year, but we found the space to give it a shot. Another new crop this year is celery, which we’re looking at as sort of an experiment. From what we’ve read, Virginia’s climate is borderline too hot for celery, which takes a long time to grow but prefers cooler weather and plenty of water. We made some irrigation improvements last year, and we found a space for it close to the edge of a field where it will receive some morning shade, which may help it keep cool. So if we get some celery or broccoli that we like the looks of, they will make it into our CSA  share, and show up at market!

It is not to late to join our CSA!  Bring the fruits of our labors into your home, and sign up now–we would love to have you!

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Be a part of our 2018 CSA!

IMG_9254.jpgIn December, when the seed catalogues start arriving in the mail, I begin to think about the coming year’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program. Managing a CSA properly means planning for a diverse assortment of crops in each box. We don’t want to deliver a box with 10 pounds of summer squash in it and nothing else (though there are weeks when I could do that!). Of course, summer squash is one of the “anchors” of our CSA, along with tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, so we attempt to plant and harvest continuous successions of these anchor crops. So when I peruse the seed catalogues by the woodstove, sipping my morning cup of coffee, I am searching for a few untried but promising varieties of each important crop to add variety and keep things interesting both for me and our CSA members. And every year we like to try a completely new crop. In 2018 we are excited to try our hand growing celery and black-eyed peas.

By choosing to join our CSA program, you choose to support our farm in the winter, when the most important work is mental, rather than physical. In the summer, we pay back your investment in our farm with the fruits of our physical labor. But winter is the time for mental labor, as I look over the 2017 field maps to plan the 2018 maps, deciding what the landscape of tomato stakes and bean trellises will look like.  And when I am imagining the shape of the coming season, you become part of my mental landscape as well. I am motivated by the thought of you opening your box, marveling at some variety of radish you have never seen before. I love thinking about you sharing the fruits of our labor with your friends and loved ones.

Our CSA runs for 19 weeks, from June through October, and is available for pickup on Wednesdays in Charlottesville, in Lexington, and at our farm. Please visit our CSA page for more details and to sign up now!

Order now for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday because it celebrates family and food, two things we value highly. Every year we pull out all the stops to celebrate the harvest and our community. Last year we had so many people descend on the farm we set up a long dinner table in the bakery! We want to include you in the bounty, so we are taking orders for pickup on day before Thanksgiving.

IMG_8406Last year we had some special requests for mini butter croissant rolls, so this year we are offering them to everyone! We have also added bulk pricing on pastries and larger bread loaves to make it easier to feed your family.

THANKSGIVING MENU

  • Multigrain sourdough ($7/small, $12/large)
  • Country white sourdough ($7/small, $12/large)
  • Corn rosemary sourdough ($7.50/small)
  • Sesame spelt ($7.50)
  • Danish rye ($4.50 half, $9 whole)
  • Farmhouse sourdough ($7)
  • SPECIAL: Mini butter croissants ($23/doz, $12/half-dozen)
  • Butter croissants ($3.50/ea, $20/half-dozen)
  • Chocolate croissants ($4/ea, $23/half-dozen)
  • Almond croissants ($4/ea, $23/half-dozen)
  • Apple-walnut tarts ($4/ea, $23/half-dozen)

Your orders will be available for pickup at our farm, at the Lexington Farmer’s Market, and at Basic Necessities in Nellysford on November 22, 2017.

To place your order, please email us at littlehatcreek(*at*)gmail.com with “ORDER” in the subject line, and indicate:

  • Where you want to pick up your order
  • Which products you would like

We will write back to confirm and send you an invoice to pay via PayPal. Please note that the order deadline is Saturday November 18. Please email with any questions you may have!

We are looking forward to sharing the products of our kitchen with you!

Heather, Ben, Sam & Hazel

 

 

New pickup location at the Rockfish Valley Community Center!

We have added a new pickup location in Nelson County!  As of Nov 12, you can get your wood-fired bread and pastries at the Rockfish Valley Community Center on Saturdays, during opening hours. If you have an existing subscription, and would like to switch to this location, please contact us, and we will make the change.

Happy eating!

Ben and Heather

The farmer’s market season opens!

Come find us this morning (Saturday April 2) at the very first 2016 Charlottesville City Market (7 AM to noon) and at the last winter market at the Rockfish Valley Community Center (9:00 to noon).

We have beautiful plant starts for your garden, fresh spinach and wood-fired breads. And, we also are introducing hand-laminated croissants and scones, fresh from our brick oven. Quantities are limited, so get there early!

Looking forward to seeing your friendly faces!

Day 5: 2016 CSA signups are now open!

We are excited to announce that signups to our 2016 Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) are now open!

Purchasing a share entitles you to 19 weeks of ecological produce from our farm and a loaf of wood-fired sourdough bread. We pack our CSA boxes with fresh fruits and vegetables that are picked at their peak, so that our members can experience the best our farm has to offer from the beginning to the end of the growing season. We also publish a popular weekly newsletter with farm news and recipes to help you make the most of your box.

To keep things interesting, every year we introduce a few new varieties. For 2016, we are adding carrots, beets, broccoli raab (rapini), as well as new varieties of tomatoes and squash. But we are keeping prices, pickup times, and locations the same! For more details on our CSA, please go here.

You can sign up by filling out this form. We sold out last year, so don’t dally too long. We look forward to welcoming you to our community!

Low-cost CSA shares are here!

If you find yourself wanting to eat fresh local food, but find it too expensive for your budget, we have a new option this year. Thanks to generous donors to our farm, we are now have a limited number of pay-what-you-can CSA shares!

To help decide if the pay-what-you-can program is right for you, please look here to view the details of our CSA share and what the costs are.  Before you sign up, send us an email with the amount that you would like to pay for your share.  Once we make sure we have the funds to support your share, we will send you a link to sign up for our CSA.

You may pay any amount that suits your budget; we won’t ask questions.  Please keep in mind that the more you are able to contribute towards your share, the more people like you we will be able to help.

We are thrilled that we are able to make our delicious vegetables and bread available to folks that may normally be unable to afford it.  This is our way of increasing access to fresh, nutritious food that is responsibly-grown and -produced.

Please help us spread the word about this exciting program! And if you would like to make a donation to help us extend our low-cost CSA share program to more people, please contact us.

How winter bread deliveries will work

Thank you to all of our customers for making our first season a success!  This winter we will be selecting crops to grow for you next year and fine-tuning our bread recipes to make our sourdoughs even better.  If you like our bread and can’t wait until next spring, we will be baking bread this winter on a pre-order basis only.  See below for the details!

Starting in January, we will be baking bread once a month for on-farm pickup and for delivery to Charlottesville and Lexington. Please subscribe to our list if you would like to pre-order. Remember, our bread freezes very well, so be sure to stock up!

How it works: When you subscribe to our list, you will receive an email one week in advance of the delivery date with a list of breads that we will be baking. Please reply to that email with your pre-orders no later than midnight on the Monday prior to your pick-up date. Then, on the delivery day, look for your bread in a bag with your name on it!

Delivery days: January 9 (*previously January 8*), February 5, and March 5.

Lexington location: we will deliver to Farm to You at 2 pm, located at 637C Waddell St. in Lexington. You may pick up during shop hours (2-5 pm).

Charlottesville location: we will deliver to the front porch at 215 5th Street NW. Pickups will be between 10 AM and sundown. We ask that you please drive slowly through this neighborhood and respect the privacy of the homeowner that is allowing us to use this space. Thank you!

Nelson location: Bread will be available for pickup starting at 10 AM at our farm. Look for your bread in the first outbuilding you come to, on your left as you come up the drive.

Payment: When you email us with your bread order, we will send you an invoice confirming the details of your order. You may remit payment via Paypal, by mailing us a check, or by giving us cash (Nelson pickup only). If you opt to use Paypal, please email your payment to “littlehatcreek@gmail.com.” We would appreciate it if you would please use the “friends and family” option to avoid fees. If you opt to pay by check, please make it out to “Little Hat Creek Farm” and mail it to 163 Shaeffers Hollow Lane, Roseland, VA 22967.

That’s it! Thank you for your business!