Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, Herbs and More!

One of our shop goals is to provide you with garden plants that are locally and responsibly grown. Equally important, is a selection that is varied and unique. To achieve those objectives we have invited growers you know from past seasons including Swainway Urban FarmNatives In Harmony and Claralouise Urban Farm. We are also adding several new growers who are offering sometimes exclusive yet always unique varieties.

Alison from Claralouise Urban Homestead has been with us for several seasons. She specializes in growing unique edible varieties and she is up to the challenge again this year! She spent some of her  down season time working with the vegetable breeding project started by Washington state vegetable breeder Tom Wagner. Through this research and work she has come up with 6 varieties of potato plants grown from seeds that will be ready and in the shop next week. Currently, she has beautiful  lettuces, asian greens, kale, and collards. She continues to bring in new varieties throughout the season so check in often to see what she comes up with next!

Our new and new-to-us growers are folks who have years of growing experience and are now ready to share with the community. If you follow our blog posts, you have already met up with Kate Hodges of  Foraged & Sown and Aliena Sword of Perfect Circle Homestead. Kate is offering sustainably grown berry bushes and strawberry plants. Aliena will be sharing her sustainably grown tomatoes, peppers and flowers.

Sarah from The Appropriate Farm describes herself as “Hippie housewife with six kids, a bunch of goats and a painted pony on a sustainable micro-farm in the suburbs of Columbus Ohio”. Among other offerings, we are excited to share her “Glaskin’s Perpetual” rhubarb. It is an heirloom variety that should produce lightly the first year followed by heavy yields thereafter.

Jorgensen Farms has been growing organically since 2002 in Westerville. Farmer Val has interesting varieties of organic tomatoes and peppers to share. Yellow Perfection is a tomato variety we are anxious to try. It is described as a rare English heirloom, producing yellow fruit perfect for adding a splash of color and sweet flavor to salads and also works well in sauces and kabobs.

All of these growers continue to bring in new and interesting varieties. Please do stop by to let us know if we have hit and hopefully exceeded our goal of bringing you the most locally grown and varied offering of vegetable, herb and flowers seedlings. Remember, these growers live and work in your city. Your support of their efforts keeps money in your neighborhood and offers your garden a link to the hands that help you grow your family’s food.  Happy growing!

 

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Catch Up With 4th Street Farms

4th Street Farms began on a vacant lot in 2011 in Weinland Park, a neighborhood of the Historic Short North, just as the 6th Street Community Garden was winding down and land transitioning to new housing. All of the founders of 4th Street Farms live on 4th Street and grew up gardening, cooking & canning, as well as raising livestock like chickens, goats & hogs. We all share a passion for growing, eating & sharing. We invite you to join us.

4th Street Farms is open to all with no fences & has regular service days where we all work on the space, which is thickly planted with berries, herbs & vegetables. We have pears, cherries, apples, plums, blueberries, strawberries, passion fruit, currants, mulberries, june berries, blackberries, red, black & golden raspberries…as well as thyme, mint, dill, oregano, cilantro, chives, lovage, rosemary, parsley, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage & carrots….

Our focus is on sustainability. The water is harvested from the roof of the house next door, stored in tanks, & feed down buried drip lines on timers. We use organic or natural solutions, no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, compost our food waste into soil, lay wood chip and cardboard to tame the weeds in the paths & choose native or well-adapted plants that are perennial or self-seeding to keep down planting costs. We rely on volunteers & neighbors to grow at 4th Street  IMG_2234.JPG

More than anything, we are working towards a world in which healthy delicious food is widely available to everyone. We look forward to a vibrant 2015 planting some new varieties and hatching our own chickens, as well as participating in Earth Day, Columbus Chicken Coop Tour, Roots & Roofs, Columbus Volunteer Challenge, Weinland Park Community Festival, & Make a Difference Day. Stop by anytime for a self-guided tour. Join us on Facebook and Twitter to follow our adventure or sign up for a volunteer day!

 

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Meet Our New Berry Supplier

ForagedandSownLogo

HOW DID FORAGED & SOWN COME TO BE?
I’ve spent the last few years dividing my time between cultivating food at home with my family and in woods and fields foraging for unique edibles and leading walks. It’s always been my intention to expand my efforts, but I’d thought I should choose one focus. Over time, I thought my attention would be pulled in one direction or the other – making my decision for me. But when I found, last summer, was that I was splitting my time between them as equally as ever, I decided to stop waiting and move forward, integrating both passions.

TELL US ABOUT KATE
My earliest memories involve being outside and tasting food fresh from our family garden, or playing with “weeds” growing in our yard. I remember sucking the sweet nectar from red clover flowers gathered with my friends as we walked home from school. My goal is to give those same experiences to my child and to expand upon them and share them with others.

WHAT IS YOUR GROWING PHILOSOPHY?
I believe in the importance of local, organic, sustainable, heirloom. Low-input methods are my focus, particularly on the perennial berries side of the business. I believe that building many small urban food systems that sustain us for years, a non-centralized food forest if you will, is absolutely achievable and a wise use of the small plots of land many of us have here in the city.
Experimenting with heirloom varieties of cultivated plants really appeals to me, because the flavor differences are so apparent. I also really love the connection to our past that heirloom varieties lend.
I’ll pursue organic certification, maybe this year – definitely next, and in the meantime operate according to the organic standards. The public here in Columbus is wise to the big picture benefits of organic operations, and it only makes sense as a new market grower to respond to consumer preference. I’m lucky that my own ideals line up with those.

WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM GOALS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
More than anything, I want continue to experience and share flavors. Currants, gooseberries, multiple varieties of raspberries, a whole range of culinary herbs, edible flowers, foraged greens ranging from pungent to sweet and crisp – it’s obvious to me why I’ve focused on the offerings I’m growing. I’d love to be able to continue to experiment with additional offerings, those that customers are interested in and those that I discover.

HOW ARE YOUR OFFERINGS DIFFERENT THAN WHAT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN CENTRAL OHIO?
Central Ohio has great access to organic staple vegetable and fruit crops, and I’m providing items that can be added to those ingredients to enhance them, creating a memorable cooking and eating experience. Additionally, since I’m working on a small scale, I’ve taken the opportunity to focus on berry crops that are less usual in order to broaden the market offerings instead of competing with already-successful producers.

WHERE ELSE IN THE CITY WILL WE FIND YOU?
I’ll be selling cut culinary herbs and select foraged items at the Clintonville Farmers’ Market beginning April 25. Those who sign up for my email list will receive exclusive offers for the special items I have in extremely low quantity, including this first year’s berry crop. http://www.foragedandsown.com/sign-up/

I’ll be providing flowers, strawberries and other berry plants for City Folk’s beginning in May, and medicinal and culinary herb seedlings for Boline Apothecary.

I lead classes on wild edible identification and usage through City Folk’s Farm Shop, Boline Apothecary, the Ohio Herb Education Center, and in partnership with DirtLab Bushcraft. I’m also available for private group walks. A comprehensive schedule of current classes and walks, and a contact form to schedule a private event, is all available at foragedandsown.com or by contacting me at ForagedandSown@gmail.com

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Our Urban Homesteading Story

My family’s urban homesteading adventure began when I bought my first home at 19. Young, dumb, and carefree, I decided to start digging! I used the common garden knowledge taught to me by my mother and grandmother and slowly pieced together what now feeds my family for most of the year. I am famously known for my ”Ah…. What the heck I’ll give it a try attitude?” And, that attitude has led us into raising everything from pigs to bobwhite quail.

We are active all year on our homestead. Early spring you will find us in our backyard diligently running buckets of sap from the tree to our rocket stove. This time of year also finds us in our greenhouse where we start seeds that will end up in our large food plots. Early summer, we order our chicks and once summer is in full force we are planting, weeding, harvesting, dehydrating and canning all of our well-earned bounty. By the end of summer we will end up with 120-170 lbs of rabbit and chicken in the freezer and enough canned vegetables, jellies, jams, sauces, stock, soups, and salsas to last us well into the next spring, when all of the fun begins again! Late fall into winter we seed barley fodder. The fodder gives our animals fresh greens to enjoy during cold, dreary days when greens are not available. We also gather firewood and plan all of next year’s crop rotations.

We pride ourselves on giving purpose to everything in the eco system we have created. For example, the chickens and rabbits we raise help fertilize the food we grow while keeping the bugs and weeds in check. In return they provide us with eggs, meat and fur through the year. When supplies are needed, we look for items to upcycle before making a trip to the store. We collect rainwater to irrigate our crops and wood chips and mulched leaves are gathered to keep our beds covered, hydrated and fertile. This results in little to no waste on our homestead.

Our homesteading has drawn attention from neighboring schools and recreation centers who would like to include us in their spring nature walks and science curriculum. It is really a great feeling having a positive impact on the youth in our community and if I had to choose what I liked best about our lifestyle, educating the youth would be it! I encourage you to join the homesteading movement. The benefits are endless!

Aliena Sword and her family have spent the last 11 years growing and learning on their urban homestead in North Linden. The family also enjoys hunting, fishing and conservation. Follow the Sword family’s homesteading and outdoor adventures on their facebook page Yankee Girl Outdoors

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Ground Swell 2014 Wraps Up

ground swell dish cloth

City Folk’s created these beautiful linen blend dish clothes as a graduation gift.

The first year of City Folk’s Ground Swell is complete! Last Sunday, 9 mentees graduated with the support of 7 mentors.

The year was full of learning for everyone – formal education in classes and workshops, informal round tables and gatherings, and one-on-one work experiences. Details about Ground Swell 2015 will be announced soon.

We asked mentee Ellen to summarize her experience:

“Last November I was having a really difficult month for a variety of uninteresting reasons. A lot of it was centered around a feeling of alienation – that no one I was close to was feeling the same way as I about issues related to the food system, health care, social justice, and sustainability. Shortly thereafter, I heard about Ground Swell, a homesteading mentorship program masterminded by Shawn Fiegelist, and run under the aegis of her store, City Folks Farm Shop.

The Groundswell program consists of a group of mentors and a group of mentees. The mentors teach classes at or through City Folks, and/or they have extensive experience and knowledge in pertinent subject areas. The mentees take classes in the areas of Small Livestock, Sustainability, Homemaking, Food Growing and Preservation, attend discussions, and receive help from the mentors, as needed. I thought it sounded like a great way to learn how to do things I was too scared to try without supervision.

I lived most of my life outside Chicago, two generations removed from farming. I grew up thinking that laundry detergent is Tide, toothpaste is Crest, deodorant is Secret, and you buy all your cleaners from the store. No one had ever mentioned doing things otherwise. Until 2011, when my friend made homemade bug spray. I thought that was pretty cool, but I didn’t think it worked that well, so I used Google and had my socks knocked off by the volume of homemade recipes, found in blogs, with accompanying information detailing the harmful chemicals found in commercial sprays. Things snowballed from there.

By our first Groundswell meeting, in February 2014, I had tried and rejected multitudes of concoctions, considered and rejected a couple of business ideas, made every washable textile in our home smell unwashed (still looking for the perfect laundry soap recipe, broad hint), tended many years worth of gardens with varying degrees of success, given my husband two rashes, given myself a chemical burn on the face, healed the burn, and smelled like vinegar for one entire week. It was a relief to put myself into the hands of experts.

I won’t list every class I took, you just need to look at the City Folks class schedule to get the idea, but they were many and varied. For me, this has been a period of opportunity, inspiration and community. I’ve had the chance to see almost everyone’s garden, and it’s been so fun to see what their goals are, how they plan to achieve them, and see or hear about results! I have access to a vast amount of information and advice, practical experience, tools and miscellany for borrowing, and anything else this group would be willing to share. I’ve borrowed ladders and leather jackets, received and shared SCOBYs and sourdough starter within the group and outside it, received and shared plants, seeds, and bulbs, as well as books, ideas, photos, and help – both physical and informational.

It’s difficult get us all together, given the complexity of balancing the schedules of roughly 20 individuals, but I hope that we will continue to find opportunities to do so. One of the best results of the program is that I have a warm memory of an experience, a conversation, or even just a shared moment with each person, mentor or mentee.”

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P(reserve)

photo (1)The end of the growing season is upon us. Our garden yield becomes sun­dried tomatoes and squash put up for the winter, trips to the orchard fill our shelves with applesauce, earlier bushels of produce now sit in jars in the larder ­ waiting to fill our grateful bellies with sunny nutrients and memories of summer. In our house you also find the wild harvest preserved as jars of fruit leather made from Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata – not an olive at all but a small berry bursting with brightness), half pints of mulberry jam (Morus rubra) and prized bags of frozen serviceberries (Amelanchier spp.).

Outside of the house, we plant cover crops to nourish the soil for next year’s plantings, we mulch around perennials, and we ready our tiny, new greenhouse to experiment with season extension and growing through the winter. The wild side, though, continues to flourish. Greens that were sought out as the first signs of spring begin to appear again as summer’s heat gives way to longer nights and cooler days. It’s the perfect time to commit to learning the wild edibles in your own yard by *gasp* letting the weeds take over.

Set aside a spot in your yard to be your wild edible garden. It can be as small as you need it to be in order to fit into your current growing plan, and it can be that corner that your hose can’t reach to. It should be a spot that isn’t already covered in grass: if it is, just remove the grass and toss it into your compost, leaving the dirt beneath exposed. Rough up the soil a little bit to bring sunlight to the seeds lying dormant in the soil. Then wait.

Reserve this place and call it your wild edibles spot, weed garden, or native learning garden. If the soil isn’t laden with chemicals, you’ll see a progression of plants for you to get to know, and possibly eat, that will span almost the entire year.

Embrace the flora that needs no care from us. The best place to start is your own yard.

-Kate

Kateontheway.wordpress.com

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Preserving Traditional Wisdom

We are thankful for this guest post by Ground Swell mentor Jen Kindrick. She is past president of the Clintonville Farmers’ Market board and co-founder of the Columbus WAPF chapter.

As we are busy preserving the harvest this month, my thoughts turn to the importance of preserving traditional wisdom.  The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) is an organization that understands the importance of traditional wisdom as it relates to diets. They work tirelessly to fund and promote research that supports traditional diets and the peripheral benefit of a strong local economy through sustainable agriculture and collaborative communities.

WAPF was founded to further the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, a Cleveland dentist who traveled the world in the mid-twentieth century to study the dental structures and incidence of tooth caries in people living in isolated communities. His research took place at a most critical time when people were moving to cities in droves. In many cases, he was able to make comparisons between groups that were still isolated and eating their traditional diets and those that were recent transplants to the cities where diets leaned in favor of processed foods for their convenience. Despite the cultural and environmental variations of the populations he studied, Dr. Price was able to draw conclusions about the cornerstones of a healthy diet which often included raw milk, properly soaked/sprouted nuts and grains, a variety of fermented foods and the use of various of fats including butter, lard and beef tallow.

Food processing has saved us considerable time in the kitchen but this decrease in cooking time does not come without consequences. Research is mounting on the ill effects of the processed foods we’ve come to rely on to keep up our busy lifestyles.

Following traditional methods of food preparation encourages one to slow down by virtue of the process.  Making lacto-fermented sauerkraut is not complicated. The naturally occurring bacteria do their magic while the most difficult part of the process is waiting for the fermentation to reach the perfect balance where the flavors have mellowed with time and the complexity becomes more nuanced. The beauty of all fermented foods is in the variation from batch to batch.

A return to traditional wisdom means moving away from an attitude of consumption to one of self-sufficiency.  Taking the time to make foods sheds light on the true cost at the grocery store. Diligent planning and a small investment of time can save much money. One caveat is that time is precious and we don’t want to waste our effort with mediocre ingredients. Also, every time we source from local farmers and/or support sustainable agriculture, we cast our vote for a better world.

Feeding our families is a sacred act. It is gratifying to feed our loved ones thoughtfully sourced foods prepared for optimum nutrition. To learn more about the Weston A. Price Foundation, please visit westonaprice.org. The next WAPF Columbus chapter meeting is Sunday (9/21) from 3-5 pm at Harmonious Homestead (1224 E. Cooke Rd. Columbus, 43224). We hope to see you there!

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Canning Tomatoes Available Now

tomato canning jars‘Tis the season for tomato canning!

When we heard from Clintonville Farmers’ Market vendors that they had an excess of canning tomatoes, we offered to host a drop-off point for bulk boxes. You can read all the details on the tomato pre-order form. We’ll have pickups at the shop from August 30 – September 14.

Our favorite information about canning tomatoes comes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They have lots of tested recipes and all the details you need to know to can tomatoes safely.

What is your favorite tomato canning recipe?

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August Focus: REAP

pickles

This is the season where your hard work in the garden or investment in a CSA is rewarded with a bountiful harvest! Focus this month on reaping the most from Ohio’s produce.

August Tasks:

  • Harvest beans, tomatoes, peppers, squash and more.
  • Save seed and/or attend Rachel’s class on seed saving to learn how.
  • Put up the harvest by blanching and freezing, drying, or canning.
  • Hang herbs to dry for tea and the spice drawer.
  • Order seed garlic or reserve some from a local harvest for replanting.
  • Store hard neck garlic and onions in a cool, dark place.
  • Sow carrots, beets, radishes, and greens by mid month.
  • Forage for chanterelle mushrooms, elderberries, wild grapes, wild black raspberries, wood sorrel, plantain, and more.
  • Turn compost (a good idea once a month)
  • Collect first pullet eggs – we’re hearing that chicks purchased through the store this spring are beginning to lay!
  • Take a deep breath. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the many chores of August but the abundance around you is wonderful. Soak it all in!

What other chores will you tackle this August?

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