Archive for local farms

The Toil for Healthy Soil

Happy Dirt Veggie Patch is a drop off point for Community Compost. We are a small 3 acre farm in Phoenix that grows a wide variety of vegetables. We maintain healthy soil with compost made on site. Your peels and pits, leftovers and less-than-their-best veggie scraps arrive at the farm in trash barrels that get dumped into big piles for processing.

The first thing we do is look through the fresh droppings for anything that doesn’t belong. Almost any naturally produced item can contribute to building healthy soil – but plastics, metal or any other questionable trash that won’t break down is picked out and put in the regular trash. Meat and dairy products can theoretically be composted, but as a practical matter we exclude them as much as possible because they attract critters that we would rather not have to contend with.

Packaging items that are labeled as “compostable” typically don’t work very well in our system, so we pick most of those out too. Thin green compostable bags work ok, but compostable cutlery and dishes, etc that are more substantial take much too long to digest in our small operation. So into the trash they go.

Another indigestible item is the plastic stickers that come on produce. We have to let these go through at this early point in the process, because trying to remove them all is impractical. We have found that it is easier to remove them from finished compost than at the beginning of the process. Still, this is the biggest contamination issue we deal with. Thousands of stickers, still sticking to their morsel of compost! It is a huge headache trying to remove them all, not to mention hours of labor. We would love it if customers could remove stickers from their produce before tossing them. An even better solution would be  for the industry to go to paper stickers. After all – the entire purpose of the sticker is to exist for a fraction of a second to speed things up at the checkout stand. After that nobody cares. So why do we make stickers that last for generations? The simplest thing with a very simple solution ends up being a blight upon the land. Paper breaks down easily in compost – plastic does not. 

One more irksome item is plastic teabags. They absolutely do not break down, and pop up in otherwise finished compost with amazing frequency. Each one requires bending over, emptying their enclosed contents, and getting it to a proper disposal receptacle. Much easier would be for everyone to use paper tea bags which easily return to the Earth.

Once we have the compost spread out on the piles, we let it sit in the sun for a day or so, weather permitting, to dry it a bit. In Winter we often cover with tarps to keep excess rain off the piles. Compost needs some moisture to work properly, but too much moisture prevents enough air from getting into the pile. While the food is drying in the air, it is very attractive to a variety of birds in the area. Throughout the day, flocks of birds come visit the compost – taking some and pooping some – stirring it up and speeding the digestion process. Some come for the ripe fruits, some for the multitude of bugs and worms.

At night, there are other critters which visit the piles, mainly skunks, raccoons, and opossums. Feral cats are also on the prowl. These animals also like to feed on rodents, so there are no rats to be found and only rare sightings of mice.

When the latest dump load has dried, we cover it with straw, leaves, dry grass clippings or other farm clippings. This introduces the “brown” component that gives microbes the balance of nutrients they need to activate the digestion process. We layer the pile with additional loads of “fresh” produce until it is big enough to start cooking on its own. 

At this point we take our trusty old tractor and turn the pile and mix all the ingredients together. Once it is all mixed, the composting process really accelerates. Within 2-3 days the temperature of the pile will soar, eventually reaching 140-150 degrees. Thermophyllic bacteria do the work of eating it all and gradually turning it into beautiful brown humus. These bacteria also eat and digest any pathogenic microbes that may happen along the way. It takes a few weeks until the temperature goes back down. We then turn the pile (which is considerably smaller by now) one more time. The pile heats up once again , but reverts to ambient temperature more quickly. After the second turning, piles are left to finish for several months. This allows the beneficial fungi and earthworms to infiltrate and leaves us with a beautiful, rich, sweet-smelling compost that is pure nutrition for our crops and essential for maintaining healthy soil.

We are very thankful for all of those who contribute their compost through Community Compost. We are also very excited to now be getting leftovers from the new Market of Choice in Medford. This will increase our supply of home-made compost significantly, which will help increase our production of local veggies! All of the compost we make is used on-site to fertilize our crops and maintain healthy soil, eliminating most of the need for expensive fertilizers from faraway places.

Thank you for your support!

Local Farms Got Produce!

Wandering Fields Farm

Wandering Fields Farm in the Little Applegate Valley!

We’re ready for orders at Rogue Produce! We’ve got a host of your favorite local farms contributing the freshest and tastiest produce in our bundles this delivery. Ben Yohai from Wandering Fields makes his regular Autumn appearance bringing Rogue Produce a beautiful selection of yellow and purple potatoes (both with yellow flesh), shallots, onions, garlic, and leeks. Devon Benbrook at White Oak Ranch supplies the bulk of the protein in the bundles and features a new item—a 50/50 blend of ground beef and pork that is great for meatloaf and meatballs (time to use that tomato sauce you might have made this summer). Devon says the blend is great for hamburgers, too.

Valley View Orchard has their famous peaches (and sweet cherries, and you’ve got to get those fast) packaged frozen in beautiful 1-lb. bags, and Terra Sol Organics is ready once again with sunflower and pea shoots. Additional local farms represented on the list this week include Ella Bella Farm, Happy Dirt Veggie Patch, Wandering Roots Farm, Fry Family Farm, Sweet Creek Foods, Windborne Farm, Poetential Farm, By George, and Noble Coffee. Order now for a home delivery on Friday, October 4. Here’s a preview of our pre-bundled CSA Share selection.

Shallots

Shallots from Wandering Fields!

Veggie Bundle

This amazing autumn arrangement includes frozen peaches from Valley View Orchard; green kale and bunched carrots from Wandering Roots Farm; French breakfast radishes from HappyDirt Veggie Patch; pea shoots from TerraSol Organics; a potato medley, onions, and garlic from Wandering Fields; mixed Italian peppers and delicata squash from Ella Bella Farm; and organic broccolini.

Omnivore Bundle

It’s fiesta time with fresh corn tortillas from Jennifer at Windborne Farm; red or green enchilada sauce from Sweet Creek Foods; ground chorizo sausage from White Oak Ranch; mixed Italian peppers from Ella Bella Farm; slicer tomatoes from Fry Family Farm; cilantro from Wandering Roots Farm; onions and a potato medley from Wandering Fields; and organic avocados. It takes a whole village of local farms to make a fiesta!

Ella Bella Peppers

Ella Bella Peppers!

Keto Bundle

Stimulate your culinary creativity with the 50/50 blend of ground beef and pork from White Oak Ranch; a dozen eggs from Poetential Farm; a wedge of Swiss cheese from By George; organic avocado; pea shoots from Terra Sol Organics; slicer tomatoes from Fry Family Farm; organic broccolini; and mixed Italian peppers from Ella Bella Farm!

Breakfast Bundle

First priority at breakfast: choose your coffee! Pick your favorite from Noble Coffee Roasters in this Breakfast Bundle, which also includes your selection of bagels from Little Shop of Bagels, ground breakfast sausage from White Oak Ranch, a dozen eggs from Poetential Farm, frozen peaches from Valley View Orchard, and sunflower shoots from Terra Sol Organics (these last two items pair well in a yummy and nutritious smoothie)!

Get your orders in by Tuesday, October 1 at 10am for a home delivery on Friday, October 4. Enjoy the best from your favorite local farms!

Spring CSA Sale: Fresh Incentives!

Spring is on it’s way and the Rogue Valley is gearing up for another amazing season of local produce and food selections! Rogue Produce has some fresh incentives lined-up for new customers at our Online Farmers Market and new members of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program! Now is the time to join!

Fresh Incentives

Sign-up with Rogue Produce between now and April 1st to take advantage of these incredible offers:

  • Purchase 2 Rogue CSA Shares and receive $10 of credit to spend at our Online Farmers Market;
  • or 6 Rogue CSA Shares and receive $25 of credit to spend at our Online Farmers Market!
  • Sign-up and deposit $345 into a spending account and receive 1 Rogue CSA Share for FREE (a $55 value);
  • or deposit $500 into a spending account and receive 2 Rogue CSA Shares for FREE (a $105 value)!

Why Rogue Produce and the Rogue CSA?

Here are the top 6 reasons to pick the Rogue CSA with Rogue Produce, and shop at our Online Farmers Market:

  1. Home Delivery – That’s right, there’s no drop site to pick up from – we come straight to your door with fresh produce every other Friday. We deliver from Ashland to Grants Pass (and Merlin, actually); and from Jacksonville to Shady Cove, and everywhere in between!
  2. Highest Quality – We work with any and all farmers in our region, so we’ve come to know where to find the best quality produce all year-round. We ensure that all of the farms we work with use organic methods, and DO NOT use chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
  3. No Commitments – Going out of town for a vacation? No worries, you’re never obliged to order and you can skip a delivery anytime you’d like for any reason, with no penalties!
  4. Not Just Fruits and Veggies – In addition, we’ve got grass fed and finished beef, lamb and pork; cow and goat cheeses; fresh baked breads and baguettes; free-range eggs; jams and preserves; olive oils and vinegars; pickled items; salsas; nuts and seeds; super food products; and so much more!
  5. Deliveries All Year – We keep delivering all year-round, and we supplement our list during the off season by purchasing from certified organic farms outside of our region. By expanding our reach, we’ve found some amazing products that you can’t get anywhere else locally!
  6. Variety – Every delivery you get 3 different CSA Shares to choose from (in addition to all of the other items on the full list at our Online Farmers Market). We currently have 3 types of CSA Shares:  The Veggie, Omnivore, and Whole Kitchen – and we plan on expanding this selection soon!

Incredible Local Partners

At Rogue Produce we work with any and all the farms you’ve come to love in Southern Oregon, including Wandering Roots Farm, Happy Dirt Veggie Patch, Whistling Duck, Wandering Fields, Blue Fox Farm, Rock Field Farm, Dunbar Farm, Pennington Farm, Higher Power Raw Foods, By George Creamery, Rogue Creamery, Oak Leaf Creamery, La Baguette, Rise Up Bakery, Organicos Bakery, Dauenhauer Cattle, White Oak Ranch, Pickled Planet, American Ruralcraft, Bright Earth Foods, Valley View Orchard, and SO many more!

If you want to experience the best of what’s local and support small farms that practice sustainable agriculture in Southern Oregon, sign-up with Rogue Produce before the Spring Equinox to cash in on our fresh incentives!

Choose Your CSA Share: Veggie, Pizza or Mexican!

We have a CSA Share for you this week, for sure! We’ve organized your favorite products from local farms and small businesses into 3 delightfully themed selections for home delivery next Friday, February 22nd. Sign-up with Rogue Produce and get busy making tasty meals with these amazing local ingredients!

The Veggie Share

Get your local spinach from Wandering Roots Farm!

We’ve got spinach this week coming in for the first time this year from Wandering Roots Farm, and the hearty salad mix (kale, chard, arugula and mustard greens) returns from Matt at Happy Dirt Veggie Patch. The Veggie CSA Share includes raw sprouted pecans from Maria at Higher Power Raw Foods; a cut of TouVelle Cheddar from Rogue Creamery; a fresh baguette from La Baguette; and we top it off with organic tangerines, Fuji apples, carrots and a couple pounds of red potatoes. Remember that you can substitute additional veggies (you can let us know your preference in the “special instructions” section at the bottom of the order form) for the bread and/or the cheese in the Veggie Share!

The Omnivore Share

Organic pizza dough from Bread Stop Bakery. Choose either original or rosemary!

We are now the exclusive provider in Southern Oregon of the amazing fresh and organic pizza dough from The Bread Stop, in Eugene. They’ve discontinued their deliveries to our area, but we have a special connection that makes the trip north from time to time to stock up! You can choose from the original or the rosemary (use the “special instructions” box to let us know which). We’re also acquiring an amazing tomato sauce – perfect for pizza – from Sweet Creek Foods, also located in the Eugene area. Sweet Creek uses only organic and northwest grown tomatoes for all of their sauces! And to top it off (no pun intended), you can choose from the mild or spicy Italian sausage from Riverdog Farm; you cannot find a tastier sausage for any Italian dish!

Mild or spicy Italian sausage links – you pick!

We’ve thrown in a couple of other possible pizza toppings into the Omnivore CSA Share:  crimini mushrooms, red onion, and some of the spinach from Wandering Roots. To round out the share we include a delicious lettuce mix, also from Wandering Roots, as well as some beautiful gold potatoes and Fuji apples.

The Whole Kitchen Share

This CSA Share is for Mexican night! We’ve got the favorite fresh corn tortillas from Jennifer at Windborne Farm, chorizo sausage from Devon at White Oak Ranch, and a new enchilada sauce from Sweet Creek Foods (you can choose from mild red or green)! We include other items to round out an enchilada meal or to make a great breakfast:  a loaf of Little Applegate sourdough from Rise Up! Bakery, red onion, a medley of red and gold potatoes, spinach from Wandering Roots Farm, and a dozen eggs (with a couple of duck eggs mixed in with every dozen) from Harris Family Farm in Central Point. Yummy!

Additional News

Working with Maria at Higher Power has inspired us to add some of her additional products to our list. This week we’ve included her raw bee pollen, and 1 lb. bags of raw granola. We’ve also added Albecore Tuna from Sweet Creek Foods!
If you’d like to place an order for delivery next Friday, February 22nd, please submit the online form by Monday afternoon at 5:00pm. Have a look at all of our service options and sign-up today. Support your favorite local farms and food artisans and enjoy the best of what’s local!