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LOCALLY GROWN, ORGANIC PRODUCE DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR.

START PREPPING YOUR BACKYARD GARDEN!

02/05/16 — Farm

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With Punxsutawney Phil predicting an early spring this year (independently verified by Canada's Shubenacadie Sam), it's time to start getting that backyard, side yard, or community garden plot ready for a bountiful spring and summer. If you're like us at JBG, your hands are itching with the urge to get out and fill that garden with new plants. But before you start planting, we've got a few tips to ensure your 2016 garden is productive and healthy!

Be sure to check out the details for our Annual Transplant Sale, as well as a special gardening workshop with Brenton, at the bottom of the page!



Check your Tools

It happens to the best of us - tools lying around, rain barrels getting a little slimy, trellises falling apart. Now is the best time to get everything clean and ready for you to hit the ground running when your pick up your organic transplants! Organize that shed, clean your tools, fix any broken fences or irrigation, and get ready for a great year!

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Clear your Garden

Whether you put in a winter cover crop, or you have leftover fall crop residues, or even if your garden has filled up with grass (hey, we'll count that one as a cover crop too), it's time to clear that bed and get ready for new plants. We recommend cutting whatever is left in your garden down to ground level. You can compost the residues or dig them right into your garden to decompose.

Aerate your Soil

Next, you'll want to start getting your soil ready for the growing hungry plants you're about to put in there. First things first, it's time to loosen the soil. Over time, water, gravity, and sedimentation slowly compact your garden soil. Compacted soil is not as productive - your plants need lots of oxygen around their roots and plenty of space for water to trickle down. You can use a digging fork to loosen the soil, or use the double digging technique. If you have rocky or poorly aerated soil, consider building yourself a raised-bed garden to give those plants the fluffy soils they need to thrive.

Ok, maybe not this much compost. Ok, maybe not this much compost.

Compost compost compost!

Your next step is to make sure your soils are healthy and fed! We recommend applying a few inches of compost to your garden every year. This provides your garden space with nutrient rich organic matter and a host of microorganisms. Not only is compost a fantastic, natural, slow-release fertilizer, but it will increase the water-holding capacity of your soil, and decrease erosion.

You can go a step further and get your soil tested - this will tell you if you need to add any micronutrients or amendments to your soil. Here at the farm we test with a number of laboratories to attain the best possible soils we can, but for the casual home gardener, this step is not as necessary.

You can also find a comprehensive, month-by-month list of tips for central Texas from our friends at The Natural Gardener.

Alright, you're ready to start planting, now what?

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Come to the Annual Transplant Sale

Our greenhouses are filling up with spring transplants for your backyard! This year's Transplant Sale will be held at our Garfield Farm greenhouses on March 5th and March 12th. Transplants will also be available for pickup at any of our farmers market locations and we're planning a fun pop-up sale with some friends of the farm!

Our selection this year includes tons of Tomatoes (heirlooms, cherries, traditional red slicers, paste tomatoes), tomatillos, sweet & hot peppers, basil, eggplant, squash, zucchini, watermelons, spinach, cilantro and more!

Learn from a Pro

Our very own farmer Brenton is the king of taking a backyard garden to the extreme. This March, he's going to share some of his knowledge to equip all you Central Texas gardeners with the education needed to make sure your families are well fed this year. Join us on Saturday, March 12th for the Organic Backyard Gardening Workshop w/ Brenton Johnson.

When: Saturday, March 12th 10 am  - 12pm

Where: Our Garfield Farm! 4008 River Road, Garfield TX, 78612

Tickets: Available now!

Brenton's teaching a gardening workshop - don't miss it! Brenton's teaching a gardening workshop - don't miss it!

Nitty Gritty:

  • This workshop is designed to equip Central Texas gardeners with the tools they need to plan and execute a successful spring vegetable garden, and is designed for novice and experienced gardeners, alike.
  • Topics will include: site selection, soil prep, soil fertility, irrigation, planting guidelines, variety selection, and pest management.
  • Workshop instructor will give useful, hands-on demos of proper planting, watering, and harvesting techniques, with a special focus on tomatoes.
  • Participants will have an opportunity for an open discussion and Q&A session with Brenton
 

Backyard Bonuses:
  • All workshop participants will enjoy 10% off their entire transplant order
  • Following the workshop, participants are invited to go on a walk-about with Brenton, where he will give a tour of a portion of the farm
  • All workshop participants are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Spring farmscapes
  • Participants will also receive a special discount to our CSA, as a type of crop insurance in case their backyard garden is less than bountiful :)
  • If you bring your kiddos, we will have a JBG volunteer there to bring them on a farm walk-about and some sand pile exploration

Sign up for the gardening workshop at jbgorganic.com/workshop - we've got a limited number of slots available!

NOW HIRING: PLANTING CREW

02/05/16 — Farm

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JBG is currently hiring transplanting crew as we approach one of our busiest planting seasons of the year. Farm experience is helpful, but we will train. This job is perfect for individuals interested in beginning a career in organic agriculture. Read the full job description and apply here.

WEEK 5 IN PHOTOS

02/05/16 — Farm

Golden beet harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon Golden beet harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon

This week was beautiful at JBG. Clear frosty mornings gave way to highs in the 70s - all of our organic vegetables are loving this weather! We've got a great harvest headed to markets this weekend, and the weather is going to continue to be beautiful, so make sure you stop by and visit us!

We're harvesting some spring onions for markets this week. Photo by Scott David Gordon We're harvesting some spring onions for markets this week. Photo by Scott David Gordon

A small mountain of spring onions. Photo by Scott David Gordon A small mountain of spring onions. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Frosty mornings at the farm this week. Photo by Scott David Gordon Frosty mornings at the farm this week. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Salad mix getting a nice deep watering. Photo by Scott David Gordon Salad mix getting a nice deep watering. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Did you hear? We're hiring for our transplanting crew! Details on the jobs page. Photo by Scott David Gordon Did you hear? We're hiring for our transplanting crew! Details on the jobs page. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Spring is coming. Photo by Scott David Gordon Spring is coming. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Newly transplanted brassicas. Photo by Scott David Gordon Newly transplanted brassicas. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Up close with the collards. Photo by Scott David Gordon Up close with the collards. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Our new volunteer coordinator - welcome! Photo by Scott David Gordon New volunteer coordinator at our Hergotz farm - welcome Rachel! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Fennel transplants. Photo by Scott David Gordon Fennel transplants. Photo by Scott David Gordon

GOLDEN BEET & BRUSSELS SPROUTS FETTUCCINI

02/03/16 — Farm

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by Megan Winfrey

How about them brussels sprouts?! That majestic bouquet on my doorstep made me feel like I'd won something - and I may or may not have held it in the crook of my arm and practiced my best "figure 8 wave." Needless to say, I used them immediately for this recipe, which I think is a perfect one to welcome the coming Spring. Bright, yet still deep and rich in flavor. Light, but still pasta. This one goes out to mister groundhog - thanks for the good report, buddy.

Golden Beet & Brussels Sprouts Fettuccini
  • 3 golden beets
  • 1 stem of brussels sprouts
  • 1 lb. fettuccini noodles
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 4 tbs. goat cheese
  • salt & pepper
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I'm going to start with a little note on the prep work. I've found that with golden beets, unlike with red beets, you can easily peel them like potatoes! You can of course peel red beets, too, but suffer the blood bath. Golden beets don't stain or even transfer color, so I find it much easier to peel, chop, then bake rather than cook, cool, then peel and chop.

I'd never taken brussels sprouts off the vine before, but they popped off rather easily. The little ones at the top held on tighter, but I managed to pinch every last one off because to waste a sprout would be a crime. I then cut each one in half (but left the tiny ones whole), discarded the outer leaves, and rinsed thoroughly.

OKAY, let's cook.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Spread the chopped beets onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake 25-30 minutes until tender. While the beets bake, sauté the red onion and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, thyme, red pepper flakes, and a dash of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan and continue cooking at a low simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the brussels sprouts are tender. Add the beets and additional salt and red pepper if desired. Prepare the pasta to al dente. Toss everything together with a drizzle of olive oil and top with crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and enjoy as a chilled pasta salad - or both!

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF FEB 1ST

02/02/16 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of Feb 1st CSA Box Contents Week of Feb 1st

Austin,  San Antonio,  Houston

Large Box
Beet, Red
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Collards
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Fennel
Herb, Parsley, Flat
Onion, Spring Yellow
Potato, Sweet
Turnip, White Japanese
Medium Box
Beet, Red
Brussels Sprouts
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Collards
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Fennel
Herb, Parsley, Flat
Onion, Spring Yellow
Small Box
Bok Choy
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Herb, Dill
Onion, Spring Yellow
Potato, Sweet
Turnip, Scarlett
Individual Box
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Chard, Rainbow
Greens, Spinach
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Onion, Spring Yellow
Potato, Sweet

Dallas

Large Box
Beet, Red
Broccoli
Cabbage, Green
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Collards
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Fennel
Herb, Parsley, Flat
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Onion, Spring Yellow
Potato, Sweet
Turnip, White Japanese
Medium Box
Beet, Red
Cabbage, Green
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Collards
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Fennel
Herb, Parsley, Flat
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Onion, Spring Yellow
Small Box
Cabbage, Green
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Kale, Curly
Herb, Dill
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Onion, Spring Yellow
Potato, Sweet
Turnip, Scarlett
Individual Box
Cabbage, Green
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Chard, Rainbow
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Onion, Spring Yellow
Potato, Sweet

ALWAYS IMPROVING

01/29/16 — Farm

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

From the Farmer's Perspective

One of the things that motivates me to farm is the need for continuous improvement. When I do the same things all the time, I lose interest, so luckily I've found myself in a job where nothing stays the same for long. I'm the kind of guy who is full of ideas - my staff can tell you, sometimes I drive them crazy with the timing and frequency of them. But 2015 was a hard year for the farm. With two major flood events, my focus has been determinately set on problem solving in the present - salvage, recover, replant - instead of the future. This week was a step back into my old self though - I busted into Krishna's office twice with aha! moments and now I feel ready to dive into 2016 full on.This week I'm talking about some of the things we design behind the scenes to make sure your veggies show up each week.

We're making some serious improvements right now at the farm - take our harvest management system, for example. Every day at JBG, there are harvest needs in four very different departments - CSA, farmers markets, restaurant sales, and wholesale accounts - that need to be picked, sorted, packed, and delivered, usually within 24 hours. Two years ago, every department manager would individually call or text Vicente, our harvest manager, with their orders! Vicente would sit in his "office" (pickup truck) on the phone the whole day, keeping track of these numbers in his notebook. Talk about inefficient.

We have to do a lot of planning at JBG, from field plans to harvest management, and more, to ensure our complex system runs smoothly. We have to do a lot of planning at JBG, from field plans to harvest management, and more, to ensure our complex system runs smoothly.

Then, we moved to an electronic system designed by employee Mike Reed. Mike, who is a spreadsheet wizard, took ALL of the information needed from each department and turned it into one monster of an Excel spreadsheet that consolidated and recorded numbers for harvest. As you can imagine, this spreadsheet was as complicated as the system it was designed for. It was a huge improvement - for Vicente, our managers, and for on-farm record keeping. But the spreadsheet had it's drawbacks as well - managers were exceptionally good at breaking it, putting numbers in the wrong places, or replacing code with fixed values. Mike was the only one who knew the spreadsheet in and out, and so was the only one with the knowledge to fix it! I knew something had to change.

One principle that has guided me in my years of farming is the K.I.S.S. Principle - Keep It Simple, Stupid. We couldn't keep relying on a spreadsheet that was too complicated for our managers to effectively use. So, with the help of Krishna and his amazing wife (who happens to be a great coder), we've implemented a new harvest management system this year. It's simple, easy to use, has a friendly interface, and most importantly - has precautions against people trying to break it! We used all of the lessons learned in our first harvest management spreadsheet, keeping only what we needed to effectively communicate with everyone on the team. Keep it simple, stupid. The JBG staff has been really happy with the changes, and I've seen awesome improvements! For example, with the new system, our farmers market managers have input to tailor each farm stand to the customers that shop at that particular location - cool, right?

Our market managers will now have be able to customize their markets to fit their customers! Photo by Scott David Gordon Our market managers will now have be able to customize their markets to fit their customers! Photo by Scott David Gordon

The next big improvement I'm looking forward to is creating a detailed look into every crop - labor costs, yields, sales, everything we need to know exactly which crops are profitable and which we still need to work on to get them there. One of my most read authors is Richard Wiswall - he's an expert on farm profitability and appropriate business tools and someone I look up to very much. I think it's important as a farmer to make sure that my teams aren't killing themselves to grow things that just don't work for us, and I'm excited to learn about all of our crops in depth.

Ryan Kellman/NPR Chef's Garden in Huron, OH (Ryan Kellman/NPR)

This may not sound interesting to someone who isn't a full-time farmer, so let me try to put it into perspective. I really enjoyed reading this NPR article this week about the Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio. These guys are some of my farmer heroes, and what they are doing for the land and their customers is just awesome. You might read this article, look through the pictures, and see a beautiful farm growing specialty crops. I see a whole lot more - I see three generations of farmers who have been working for at least as long on improving their farm processes. They are doing everything they can to produce the best soil, and the best veggies on that soil. And they know exactly what the costs are to grow food in this very special manner - the article notes that prices from the Chef's Garden are about 2.5 times more than a regular production system. They aren't short-changing their efforts and they sell to customers who know what they are getting for their money.

Ryan Kellman/NPR Ryan Kellman/NPR

When you see the photo of their farm's packing facility, you probably just see a big warehouse of veggies. I see a great deal of inspiration for the future of JBG in the details. I see a refrigerated room for sorting and packing, keeping the cold chain intact and the produce at its freshest. I see that there is good flow, easy movement, and great placement of tables and machines for the tasks at hand. I see drains on the floors and stainless steel surfaces and ten other things that guarantee the highest level of food safety in their facility. These are all plans for our future JBG facility and it's encouraging to see these farmers doing it. It's a result of that same dedication to constant improvement. We would be bored without the challenge!

WEEK 4 IN PHOTOS

01/29/16 — Farm

Markets have been incredibly bountiful - we are grateful for the warm weather this winter! Photo by Scott David Gordon Markets have been incredibly bountiful - we are grateful for the warm weather this winter! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Another beautiful week at the farm, and another great set of photos from farm photographer Scott David Gordon! We spent another busy week finalizing crop plans, filling up our greenhouse, and transplanting the first of the spring crops in the field (with a little pause in the transplanting for a heavy mid-week freeze). Enjoy the photos from Week 4!


Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

A friendly four-legged friend at Mueller Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon A friendly four-legged friend at Mueller Farmers Market. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Collards. Photo by Scott David Gordon Collards. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Collard rows post-harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon Collard rows post-harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

You guessed it - more carrots! You guessed it - more carrots!

More of our favorite carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon More of our favorite carrots. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Kale for spring. Photo by Scott David Gordon Kale for spring. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Katie shows Scott our vacuum seeder. Photo by Scott David Gordon Katie shows Scott our vacuum seeder. Photo by Scott David Gordon

The honeybees we're busy this week, and we saw lots of pollen-laden ladies flying around the farm. Photo by Scott David Gordon The honeybees we're busy this week, and we saw lots of pollen-laden ladies flying around the farm. Photo by Scott David Gordon
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