Easter Egg Natural Dyes and Lettuce!

Herb Mentor is a website that teaches about herbs and everything from salve-making to elderberry wine and ginger-beer-making!  All stuff that I hope to have in the future, too, as this is what I love… But there are talks from amazing, knowledgeable herbalists and you can sign up for a monthly fee of $10 I think to do a home-study, “course”. It’s pretty neat. This is the post they sent out this week for dying eggs naturally… too good not too share…

HerbMentor News Issue 49: Easter Egg Natural Dyes Revisited.

I’ve always wondered exactly how to dye eggs with vegetables but never found any recipes, and our experiments never seemed to last too long… if at all. We definitely have enough eggs and I’ll be trying this with the kids this week! I wonder if yellow onion skins will make a blue-green Aurucana egg grass-green? (We have onion skins you can pick up this Saturday from 9-2 when we’re open if you need ’em…)

So carrots are officially gone, but lettuce is in! We don’t have a ton, so come early!  We will begin picking Red Sails lettuce, the nice huge leaves, that were growing in the insulated beds (notice I said “were” because they officially outgrew the bed and the rigid foam had to be removed). We still have lots of onions and beautiful spinach, some say the best they’ve ever had… And lettuce plants should be ready by Saturday for daring individuals ready to plant! The weather should be nice…

I’ll probably make a tea for sampling – maybe Lighten Up! with lemon verbena, milky oats & oatstraw, calendula and lemon balm. Come by for some tea, veggies and a tour of the greenhouse!

Happy Passover and Easter!

Farmstand and insulated beds

Farmstand OPEN

We had a couple of great OPEN farmstand days, selling lots of carrots, onions and spinach, even jerusalem artichokes and eggs! It was really nice to get to know our community!

People sampled (and some bought to take home) tea as well, Minty Morning, made from our spearmint, nettles and oats, with alfalfa and calendula. A very GREEN, tasty tea, even most kids like!  And did I mention we have amazing potting soil for sale? It is approved for certified organic growers, has worm castings, and Keith says it is the best potting soil we’ve ever used! $11/bag.

We’ll be open again THIS SATURDAY, March 27, 9-2

We will have some carrots, lots of onions and sunchokes, eggs, tea, salves, spinach, and finally a lettuce/asian greens/kale salad mix! Soon we will have broccoli, kale and lettuce plants for sale for people that like to get their plants in early.

Insulated Beds


In our greenhouse we have insulated beds. Insulation on the bottom, sides and at night-time on the top. This allows us to have 60-70 degree soil temperature in the beds as opposed to 40-50 degree soil temperature in the greenhouse. Here are pictures of lettuce grown in and out of insulated beds (in the greenhouse) for comparison:

This is also where our tomato starts are, as well as some newly planted summer squash and cucumbers! Come by if you have any questions, but it’s easy :

Dig out a bed, put rigid foam insulation on the bottom and standing up for sides, slowly fill in with 8 inches of good soil on top, being careful not to move the sides off the bottom piece (so the top fits on with no gaps). Now plant!

(Note in the picture above the lettuces of the tomatoes – we’ve starting taking that south-side off as well during the day for greater solar gain – both for the plants and so the soil can really warm up when the sun is out).

The greenhouse is really getting filled up, lucky we’ve dug out all the carrots so we have a big bed to plant more!

Hope to see you Saturday!

Laying hens and chicken tractors!

This is one amazing mama… I think she raised 3 batches of chicks last year!

I was just sent this info on a workshop coming up in Amherst, at Simple Gifts Farm, and it sounds pretty good.  I noticed today they moved their way-cool “chicken tractor” up close to the road. Thought maybe some of you would be interested… they will teach about chicken tractors and even sell some coops (pre-ordered) and already-laying hens!

Workshop on raising laying hens being offered by Dave Tepfer of Simple Gifts Farm.

Homes for Hens Workshop
Saturday, April 3 from 10:00am-1:00pm
at Simple Gifts & NACF Farm in North Amherst 1089 North Pleasant St.

More information and to sign-up the website is: http://www.justfoodnow.org/hens.html

This community-oriented program is sponsored by NACF, SGF and Amherst Farmer’s Supply.

Farmstand OPEN this Sat Mar 20

Birch Moon Farm and Herbals

42 Cooleyville Rd, 2 houses east (towards rt 202) of the Shutesbury Library

AGAIN THIS SATURDAY,

MARCH 20, 9-2

We will have freshly dug carrots for sale!

3 lb. for $5      5 lb for $7      10 lb for $12

onions $2/ lb,  fresh spinach $8/ lb

Come by the farm THIS Saturday March 20
between 9 AM and 2 PM.
No checks. No credit cards. Thanks!

Call with any questions! We will have more as the season progresses, and plant starts for sale later in Spring!

413-259-1183

Or click on  “Sign me up!” to recieve (automatically) emails with produce sale dates and updates!

CARROTS, ONIONS and SPINACH for sale!

Birch Moon Farm and Herbals

42 Cooleyville Rd, 2 houses east (towards rt 202) of the Shutesbury Library

THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 9-2

We will have lots of freshly dug carrots for sale!

3 lb. for $5      5 lb for $7      10 lb for $12

onions $2/ lb fresh spinach $8/ lb


Come by the farm THIS Saturday March 13
between 9 AM and 2 PM.
No checks. No credit cards. Thanks!

Call with any questions! We will have more as the season progresses, and plant starts for sale later in Spring!

413-259-1183

Gingersnap Granola!

Today we made Gingersnap granola!

It was really easy and everyone loved it.

~

Granola

(we use all organic ingredients)            Preheat oven to 250 degrees F

3 cups organic rolled oats

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup chopped pecans (or try almonds or pumpkin seeds, whatever you have)

Mix those together in a bowl. In a separate (small) bowl or measuring cup mix:

3/4 cup sunflower oil (or any light veggie oil)

1/4-1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup – I did 1/4 c. honey, 1/8 c. maple syrup and a drizzle of molasses!)

1 Tbls. vanilla extract

Mix and pour over oat mixture, then stir in :

1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

pinch of salt (optional)

2 tsp. powdered cinnamon

1 tsp. powdered ginger

1/4 tsp. powdered cloves

Stir together, taste and adjust spices if needed, then put in a large roasting pan and bake 35-45 minutes, stirring regularly, until it becomes a nice golden brown.  After you take it out of the oven you can add  1/2 cup raisins or freshly ground flax seeds if you like. Cool in pan then store in glass jars. Stores best in the freezer but it doesn’t last long enough in our home to make it anywhere but the counter…

Great on yogurt or ice cream, with local, grassfed, raw milk, or just plain. We eat ours with Side Hill Farm yogurt – plain – because I put a little extra sweetener in this than I usually do for our family’s granola. Hope you enjoy this! And the recipe is pretty flexible, so omit the spices, add apricots instead of raisins, try different nuts… it pretty-much always tastes good as long as you don’t burn it!