News & Views:  Plowhand's Journal

A gritty-detail and big-picture snapshot of the sweat, tears (and maybe blood?) involved in running the farm. Occasionally we pause to reflect how this labor and its fruits connect to the rest of the world. Better yet, where do our spirits find nourishment for the work ahead?

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Saturday Farmers’ markets are over, but we still have plenty of tasty produce available at our Market Barn on Bottom Road, 1/2 mile east of Tiskilwa. There are vine ripened tomatoes, red raspberries, radishes, turnips, bok choy, peppers, sweet potatoes, chestnuts and more! It’s self-serve so please come prepared to have exact change, or pay by check.

Summer started this evening at 5:34. Strawberries are almost gone, blueberries are off to a good start, and it look like the raspberries will soon be plentiful. Let us thank our God for abundant provision.

A freeze is expected soon, so we’ve been harvesting sensitive crops. We have a large quantity of green bell peppers, green jalapeño peppers, and green tomatoes. That means it’s time for Green Tomato Salsa Ingredients: 5 cups chopped green tomatoes 2 cups seeded, chopped green jalapeño peppers 4 cups chopped onions 1 cup bottled lime (or lemon) juice 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional) 1 tablespoon ground cumin (optional) 3 tablespoons dried oregano leaves (optional) up to 1 tablespoon salt according to taste 1 teaspoon black pepper (fresh ground is better) Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir frequently over high heat until mixture begins to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2O minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into clean, hot pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. For a milder salsa substitute green bell or other mild peppers for some of the jalapeños. For a hotter salsa, substitute habanero peppers for some of the jalapeños. Yields about 5 pints. I sometime triple the recipe. You may purchase the green tomatoes, green jalapeño peppers, and garlic from us at Princeton Farmers’ Market or order for on farm pickup. (adapted from National Center for Home Food Preservation page: We also have plenty of ripe canning tomatoes and red jalapeños if you wish to make tomato salsa. A good simple recipe is at I don’t bother to remove the tomato skins.

Autumn started 3:21 a.m. Wednesday, so today is the first full day of autumn. We observed the occasion by starting the chestnut harvest. Chestnuts will be available at markets and by order.

For the benefit of those who have specifically requested Raspberry News, here is this week’s expanded U-Pick schedule:
  • Wed July 1st: Blueberry U-Pick, 7 a.m. to Noon
  • Wed July 1st: Raspberry U-Pick, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thu July 2nd: Raspberry U-Pick, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sat July 4th: Blueberry U-Pick, 7 a.m. to Noon
  • Sat July 4th: Raspberry U-Pick, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thanks for your support and patience with these short notices as we respond to the ripening berries.

Plow Creek Farm is seeking three interns (plus one intern to join us for the month of June) to join us for the 2015 growing season. See for details. If you know someone who might be interested, please pass on the information.

We’ve taken a break from finishing our new hoop house to mulch the blueberries and strawberries. We usually don’t mulch the strawberries until the end of November or even early December, but the current cold snap made the strawberries go dormant early,

Summer starts this morning at 5:51. Happy Summer Solstice! It’s sort of felt summery already. Blueberries and strawberries heading to market, and plenty of heat. I’m not one who likes the heat, but I like what it produces.

GoslingsOur goslings for this year have arrived. They will be eating the weeds in the strawberry patch soon. Then they will be available for Thanksgiving dinner.

This afternoon, during a late snowstorm, we harvested our first crop (not counting maple sap) of the year. It is our earliest, and most nutritious vegetable, stinging nettle. I expect to be bringing some to market in late May.

It feels good to start planting outside. We set out our first transplants yesterday. We planted about 1800 onions. They don’t look much different from blades of grass at this point. I hope we can keep grass from growing until they get bigger.

Spring peepers started peeping here this morning. We finished pruning the blueberries earlier this week which is late according to the calendar, but we are often still at it when the peepers start.

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