The holiday season is here and I hope you’re feeling the spirit!

Our family had a great time celebrating Thanksgiving here in Des Moines.  We enjoyed family time and, of course, amazing food.  One of the highlights of our Thanksgiving meal was the smoked pork butt from Berkwood Farms.  We sell their Berkshire pork products at the Farmstand and finally found the time to smoke the pork butt!  It was delicious.

We may have even started a new post Thanksgiving Day tradition at our house.  For years, Eric and I have hosted both our families to a party at our house the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Even though my family was out of town, this year’s party was a huge success.  I love our house, but one of my biggest complaints is when we host a get together there’s not a great place for us all to sit down and enjoy a meal together.  Instead, we have people sitting in random spots throughout the house using their laps as a table.  This year we tried something different.  We used our tables and table cloth from our set up at the Beaverdale Farmer’s Market and at the Farmstand.  We set up the tables in our garage; yes the garage.  While it sounds strange, we ended up having a beautiful garage dinner.  Our garage is heated (not energy efficient, I know) yet it was perfect for hosting our new tradition, “the gourmet garage feast.”  

We were able to enjoy fabulous grilled steaks, a fall harvest salad featuring DUG produce and microgreens, and oven roasted radish and turnips all from the farm, and naan made from HoQ restaurant.  Come to think of it, our garage is the perfect spot for hosting.  You can enjoy everyone’s company while eating great foods and drinking fine wines all while not worrying at all about making a mess!  

Here’s an update on what’s happening at the farm:  

I was recently accepted into the Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program (SIP).  I’m both excited and honored to be a part of this program.  SIP is a two year program and it will, “pair beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced farmer mentors; provides targeted learning and peer networking opportunities; offers business planning support and guidance; and gives participants the chance to save money while learning how to build a profitable farm.”

After the two years, I will have cash available to purchase a farm asset. I’m leaning towards purchasing a walk-behind BCS tractor but I have some other great ideas for how to spend that money as well.

The crew is almost finished with the installation of our new water drainage system.  As most of you probably recall, we dealt with some major standing water issues this grow season.  We decided that instead of dealing with the flooding issues again we wanted to fix the problem as soon as we could.  While it is a financial investment to have the drainage system installed, I’m confident we won’t regret it.  We are even thinking to the future and plan on installing a water collection tower that we will be able utilize all the water pumped through the new drainage system and reuse the water in the field.  We may not get it installed for the next grow season it is something that is high on our to-do list.

Our massive pile of logs has all been split and neatly organized on the backside of the plot.  This was a big undertaking and it took Eric and friends days of laborious work using the log splitter, chainsaw, and man-power.  The wood is now neatly piled and it has opened up our back plot.  Once the wood is seasoned we will be selling it by the bundle.  The next step is to build our permanent compost bin system next to the stacked wood piles.

 

As the colder weather approaches it’s nice to be able to take a break from the farm work and spend some time relaxing, enjoying family, and accomplishing random tasks that kept getting put aside during the busy grow season.  I’ve learned very quickly to appreciate the seasons as winter is the time to regenerate.  I’m not sure how some farmers grow year round without completely burning out.  My house is the cleanest it has been in months and I’m actually all caught up on laundry!  

That said, I’m just starting to get my seed catalogues in the mail and I’m already shifting gears to what seeds to order for next season.  It’s exciting to start looking back on the ups and downs of the season and use that data to plan for the spring.  I’ll grow many of the same crops as this season but will also be experimenting with some new crops.

Cheers to snow, warm fires, family time, and basketball season!

 

The Gourmet Garage

The Gourmet Garage

Photo taken by Chef Lynn P. from Table 128

The crew dug a trench, laid the perforated pipe, topped it with rock, covered with fabric, and filled in the hole.

An interesting shot of about 7 feet of our soil horizon in the heavily flooded area

A glimpse of some of the wood before Eric began the project.

The finished product

Enjoying more free time at a wreath making class at The Botanical Gardens taught by Tara from Plant Life Designs