This week at the market

We are offering the following for tomorrow in Iowa City:
Salad greens

See you there!

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Spring rain; a necessary inconvenience

So, as it has been raining, the proclaimed drought we’ve been under appears to be on the wain.  Though that is a good thing for so many reasons, the cold wet weather delays planting, allows grass to grow tall and weeds to take root where vegetables should be.  Yet another catch-22 that nature seems to serve up on a regular basis to a farmer.  We farmers pray for rain, but it must be the right kind and at the right time and when we need it most.  When we get it, it’s more than often a torrential storm that washes topsoil and comes with a cold front that stunts growth to new tender annuals, while giving naturally-occurring perennials (a.k.a., weeds) just what they need to thrive.  So, we do other things like clean chicken houses, plant trees, mulch beds, and ready ourselves in every way possible for that moment the soil is dry enough to work and the grass is able to be cut back.  For now, we are losing ground.  Nature waits for no one, but we have no choice.  Ours is a tricky position.  The farmer must commune with and embrace nature, but we are in a timeless battle with it at every turn.  We wait for nature to allow us to proceed, and when it does, we must double and triple our efforts to take advantage of the minimal time allotted for an endless list of tasks.  Most of all, this circumstance allows me to think too much about nature and agriculture and how at the same time nature is a necessity and an inconvenience to the pursuit of growing food.  But I digress…

This week at the market: asparagus, radishes, greens, spinach, lettuce, rhubarb, chives, eggs, chicken.

See you there!


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Is it really time to start Farmers’ Market already!? Where did the winter go?

So, winter has come and gone (almost didn’t even notice we had a winter), and it is time to start appearing at the public marketplace to sell farm products to the community.  Most people get excited about spring, myself included.  The weather is warmer, things start to grow, birds are singing, flowers blooming, and grand plans hatched in the cold, dark evenings of winter can finally commence.  What actually happens though, which I am finally beginning to grasp and seemingly particular to my situation, is the weather warms unseasonably early and especially warm for about two weeks in April.  Many things get done then in anticipation of many more weeks of warm, pleasant weather and worrying about all the work that needs doing before the market starts.  Potato seed and onion sets are acquired; early season seeds are germinated at 80 degrees, potted-on in tray flats, moved to the high tunnel, and then to the outside racks; plots are cleaned up, burn piles and last seasons perennial growth are lit ablaze; flower beds are cut back, raked out, and tidied up for another go; overwintered growth emerges with promise to give a little back from last years efforts; livestock is ordered, barns and brooders are cleaned and everything starts to happen all over again.  Then, it rains for a week and the temperature hovers around 48.  The fields that were almost ready for onion planting and potato planting and compost spreading and cultivation and seeds are now a muddy mess.  Transplants begin to pile up with no place to go.  Early small plantings of seed sit in the ground wondering why you took them out of their packages and introduced them to this inhospitable environment.

And then it dawns on me: oh yeah, THIS IS SPRING!  Hurry up and wait.  Pick your spots.  Git while the gittin’s good.  Hope it dries out before it gets too hot to have spinach or peas or spring carrots or broccoli raab.  You could say there is some anxiety involved…

But then, you see that you have some overwintered spinach, and onions and lettuce, the asparagus is up and going like gang-busters, the rhubarb is out of this world, and all the greens, arugula, lettuce, and radish seeds put down in the greenhouse are starting to produce a crop.  The strawberries look really healthy, raspberries are pruned back and all the fruit trees are also looking pretty ship-shape.  250 chicks are due any minute!  We just bought 2 bred Scottish Highland heifers and one of them already had its calf within 12 hours of arriving on the farm.  We are getting 75 ducks this year: a first.  We’ll raise turkeys again after a year hiatus from them and we’re looking to expand our egg business by next fall.  All and all, things are pretty normal around here.


A few things we will have to offer you on Saturday:

photo 4-1 photo 3-1 photo 2-1 photo 1-1

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Call for CSA Memberships

Salt Fork Farms is getting geared up to start the planning phase of the 2014 growing season.  We will be buying seeds before you know it as well as chicks.  We are opening up our CSA for memberships as of today in order to help with these winter expenses.  Please take a look at our agreement and if interested sign up — the sooner the better!  Thanks and stay warm.


Community Supported Agriculture Membership Agreement 2014

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The last market

Good evening everyone. Can you believe it’s the last weekend in October already? This means the World Series is underway, Daylight savings is almost over and the last Iowa City Farmers’ Market is here. What really amazes me is that Milo is almost 3 1/2 and Charlie is almost 3 1/2 months. How does time go by so fast?

We are always sad as the last market nears. It’s signaled, usually, by the first frost and this year the first snow has happened already. Over the last few years we have held a limited winter market. First at some friends’ house, later at DeLuxe Bakery (FYI, DeLuxe is celebrating 10 years in business this fall! Congratulations DeLuxe!).  This year Salt Fork Farms will be housing the winter market out of Salt Fork Kitchen. The winter market will start November 2nd and be held each Saturday, 9-12, until the last Saturday in April. Once again you will be able to get your eggs and a lovely breakfast. Also, did you know Wake Up Iowa City! is roasting coffee for SFK, and you can buy it at the restaurant? How great is that?

This week for the last Iowa City Farmers’ Market, Eric will be there with greens (!!!), peppers, eggplant, leeks, celery, carrots, radishes, daikon, beets, spinach, arugula, squash, pumpkins, apples, onions, garlic, eggs and chicken. Last but not least, we will have fresh chicken on 10/30.  If you are interested in fresh chicken, please email us at and let us know.

Thank you all for letting us be your farmer. We are so grateful that we get to do this.


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Get a load of this!

First off, our market produce this week is really nice.  We have outstanding quality carrots, celery, leeks, beets, radishes, greens, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, scallions, potatoes, okra, edamame, just to name a few.  Of course we will have eggs and chickens.  Matt will be helping you at market this week.  Should be a good one to visit him.

I will be at the restaurant.  SFK has a new lunch menu that introduces hand-made french fries!  Check it out…

new lunch

Also, let it be known that we have a Bloody Mary Bar on every Saturday and Sunday including home-made everything — mix, pickles, celery, hot sauces, etc.

We are also serving Confluence beers out of Des Moines on-tap, Millstream sodas, PBR, and wines selected by Robert Morey.

We will also be hosting two upcoming dinners on October 17th and November 1st.  Contact me to find out more and make a reservation!


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October 5th Farmers’ Market

Hi everyone.  Eric here.  It looks like I will be at the market this week to sell you our produce and poultry products.  We once again are sorry that we cannot continue to operate the breakfast stand at the market this year, but we plan on returning next year once the restaurant settles into a groove and Jay and I can let someone else control the wheel.

This week we will have the following:

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, beets, turnips, carrots, okra, sweet corn, beans, celery, parsley, basil, other herbs, greens, chard, collards, radishes, eggs, and chicken.

Hope to see you there,


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