Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Announcements

Hello all! 

Hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying the cool weather of late.  I wanted to make a few announcements about the Spring/Summer CSA program.

1.  Deliveries (including on-farm pick-ups) will begin May 9th/10th.  Home deliveries will occur Thursday afternoons.  Please attend your chosen location on a weekly basis.  If you need to pick-up at an alternate location please try and allow us a 24 hour notice.  Everyone will be issued two boxes (or crates).  We ask that you return your empty box each week to trade out for a full.  You may also bring any empty containers (egg cartons, plastic trays, etc.) issued by us.  Also, If you have purchased a large number of add-ons to your box, please bring along an additional bag or container.

2.  ADD-ONS!  This is a feature on our new site that will allow you to add local, sustainably-produced meats, cheeses, honey, fruits, etc. to your weekly boxes.  Please see here:  http://harmonyridgefarms.net/members/add-ons .  This is password protected; I will provide all members with their password shortly.  I will have all items available for purchase posted the Friday prior to your deliveries to allow you plenty of time to order your items.  Items must be ordered by Tuesdays at noon.  Any orders placed after that time will go into the following week's box (if possible).  The site does not countdown automatically, so we will notify you if something is sold out.  You will receive an itemized receipt each week for your add-ons and we will bill (via e-mail) on a monthly basis.

3.  RECIPES!  Wendy and Holly's recipes will no longer be attached to the weekly boxes.  They will be catalogued by Month here:  http://harmonyridgefarms.net/members/recipes. 
(They are currently set-up by season, but we will be changing it to a monthly set-up.)

I believe that's all for now, please let me know if I can answer any more questions. 

Thank you all for your support of Harmony Ridge Farms.  See you in May!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Hello all,

Happy Spring! We've been hard at work ensuring to the best of our ability your deliveries will be bountiful come May and beyond.

I just wanted to make a few announcements about our CSA.

- We still have memberships available, both basic and 'plus'. We will continue open registration until all available memberships are sold. We do expect to sell out of shares sometime in April.

- We've added online payment to our site via paypal here: http://harmonyridgefarms.net/about-the-farm/csa/. Once there, scroll to the bottom of the page. Upon receipt of your online payment, we will e-mail you to iron out all the details. Of course, you may register the old-fashioned way by submitting the form available at the said web address with a check made payable to Harmony Ridge Farms.

- We've added a new delivery in Kernersville. Pick-up will happen at P.U.R.E. Wellness, 144 N. Cherry St. Kernersville, NC 27284 Suite 1 in the Hart Complex, beside Time Warner Cable. Time frame for pick-up will be between 12PM - 2:30PM (subject to change).

- We welcome volunteers on the farm, as there is much to be done this time of year. If you wish to pitch in, please let me know and we can arrange a suitable time.


K. Isaac Oliver

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our new website!

We're excited to announce the launch of our new website: www.harmonyridgefarms.net. Thank you Brad, Chip and Matt and all the folks at Wildfire Creative for all your hard work!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 2012 Newsletter

I’ve noticed robins in greater numbers of late on the farm. I knew they migrated, but have wondered why they’re seemingly always around. It’s been said they follow the 36 degree line as it progresses North, yet many remained here last winter when it was so much colder.

Upon researching, I discovered that it’s more accurate to say they migrate only when food is scarce…fruit being their primary choice, adding to the menu earthworms and insects in winter. In a kind of orchestrated risk diminishment, robins spread out in winter in search of fruit. The hardiest brave the cold North while others search for easier pickings.

The short dry spell leading up to the weekend’s snow allowed us to turn ground. Robins and other birds just about follow the tractor, knowing a meaty bonanza lies just beneath the surface. The worms must have had their fill as well, at least in our fields, as they seem to wriggle out of each shovelful. The soil test results we received back this week attest to the added vitality of our soils, just as well as the worms.

Based on our results, our need to use costly bagged amendments will be largely eliminated; it seems our close attention to soil health is paying off. The test results have left us singing in anticipation of Spring…which brings me to the most fascinating aspect of robin migration: most robins hold in their song until they’ve reached home, where they will breed. It’s as if they’re storing creative energy, allowing it to surge forth when Nature deems it fit to reproduce…the arrival of Spring.

Our song begins in the Greenhouse, each sprouting green potential hitting a different note. It’s always a magical thing to watch it unfold. Yes, we couldn’t resist an extra-early sowing of tomatoes…some of these will go in our new hoop-house in hopes of early tomatoes. Lettuces, herbs, broccoli, cabbage, endive, radicchio, onions, chard and beets are up, and this week brings sowings of peppers, fennel, kohlrabi, raab and basil.

Looming rain brings with it a sense of urgency and things tend to get done. Saturday was just that way, and with the help of a prospective intern, Michael, and my Dad we pushed our onion transplanting upwards of 10000. In addition to our staple Yellow Candy Sweets we are trying Red Candy, Zeppelin and a supersweet white called Sierra Blanca. Later this week I’ll start in on the dried sets, which I’ll plant close together for Spring Onions.

One of the great joys of building Harmony Ridge these past few years has been all the great people we’ve met, including those who’ve lent a hand. First to come to mind is our neighbor Bobby. He’s given freely of sage advice on soil and climate and is always around when you need him. Just the other day he brought his forklift by to help us unload our new Springtooth cultivator and seeder for the tractor. It’s amazing how local folks seem to show up right when you need them on a young farm. One of Bobby’s former hands, Kelly, works on small machines and has been indispensible of late, as we are mechanically-challenged.

It has been great getting to know other farmers in the area as well. This year we will work more closely with some of the best around…making their products available to CSA members through our new add-on process. The website under construction will allow members to simply check off items they wish to add to their weekly boxes in one easy step. We are excited to enrichen the CSA experience while helping other farmers sell their goods…meats, cheeses, fruits, honey, jams, dry goods, etc. available on a seasonal basis.

As I have some catch-up to do in the Greenhouse today, I’ll leave you with a few more announcements…

- membership is still open for our Spring/Summer CSA program. Our first deadline is this Friday 24th. If you wish to join I urge you to submit your registration soon as we can only serve so many. If you are indeed joining us, please drop me a quick e-mail stating your intention so we can better gauge our marketing and production needs.

- There will be a new delivery location in downtown Kernersville. It will occur midday on Thursdays, details TBA.

- On our new website we will have a section with testimonials and references. Please let me know if you would like to serve as a reference for our CSA program. I would simply list your name and number. I am also welcoming the submission of any 1-3 sentence farm testimonials.

Once again, thank you all for your support. Until next time…


Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 CSA Signup details below...

Harmony Ridge Farms 2012 CSA Registration

It is my pleasure to announce open registration for Harmony Ridge Farms’ 2012 Spring and Summer CSA Program. We are looking forward to an abundant harvest this year and would like for you and yours to share in the bounty. Your support has allowed us to invest in tractor attachments that will allow us to harvest more while expanding our reach in the field. We will farm 5 acres this season, up from 2 ½ last year. Even though we are mechanizing part of the growing process, you can be assured we will continue our policy to select and distribute only the finest quality, all-natural produce, while providing great variety and personalized service. Our CSA shareholders allow us to grow, and I believe the gratitude we feel comes through with each and every box we fill.

With additional land, experience and tools we are equipped to offer additional shares to interested families, couples or individuals. We will limit the number of farm members to ensure we can provide the highest quality product and service.

We are not offering half-shares, but will carry over half shares from 2011. We encourage you to ask a friend, neighbor or family member to purchase a joint membership if need be.

Your weekly produce shares will not be customizable, but will reflect the variety of produce in the field ready for harvest: your crate will be different each week, containing a generous amount of seasonal standards with specialty items mixed in at our discretion. You will never experience ‘feast or famine’ with our CSA.


Abundance. A season full of fresh, naturally-grown and nutrient-rich vegetables and herbs grown by us for you. The season will run from early May to late August. (We will start as early as Mother Nature will allow.)

Variety and Tradition. Vegetable varieties selected for flavor and delivered weekly at the peak of freshness. We grow many hard-to-find heirloom vegetable varieties, and a full compliment of the traditional standbys. We time our harvests to allow for the utmost variety on any given week, but do not skimp on the old favorites.

Unparalleled freshness. Most of the produce is picked within a couple days of delivery.

Weekly recipes. With each produce delivery you’ll find a set of recipes selected for their tried and true flavor, ease and for their inclusion of our vegetables. Often the herb cuttings we provide are called for in the recipes.

Family involvement. The opportunity to help out and learn basic skills on the farm (if so desired).
Environmental and Personal health. A contribution to the local community and ecosystem by supporting a low-waste and chemical-free food production system. A contribution to your family’s health and well-being.

Proximity. We are 3 miles Northwest of Winston-Salem, off Reynolda Rd. Scheduled visits are welcome.

Social opportunities: A Farm to table dinner at a local restaurant and perhaps another event or two depending on time available.

Participation. Be a part of ever-evolving family enterprise. We want you to feel a part of the farm and we believe our personalized service reflects this warmth and gratitude. As we wish to evolve and continually enhance our CSA, we welcome your feedback and advice.

Peace of mind. Know your family’s vegetables are au natural and grown just down the road.

This year’s Spring/Summer program will run 18 weeks with the first delivery/pick-up in early May (date TBA) . The price of our regular membership/share will remain at $675. Deliveries vary in quantity, depending on the season, but weigh between 8 and 18 Lbs. Payment received prior to the harvest season secures your membership and ensures we have the resources we need to produce a wide variety of crops while securing a reliable outlet for our product.

“Plus” Membership

Harmony Ridge will also offer a ‘Plus’ program. ‘Plus’ members will receive all of the above listed benefits in addition to the following:

• Locally sourced free-range eggs (weekly dozen)
• Locally sourced raw honey
• Locally sourced, seasonally available tree fruits and berries. All fruits will be as naturally grown as we can find. To give an idea of quantity any given week…strawberries (2 quart), blueberries (1 quart), Peaches (3-4 Lb), Apples (3-5 Lb).

We have priced the “CSA Plus” at $915. The added cost of the “Plus” program figures in the cost of sourcing, including the time we spend picking fruit and traveling to acquire these goodies.

To secure your CSA share, please send a check payable to Harmony Ridge Farms, 3620 Rosebriar Circle, Winston-Salem, NC 27106 ($675 for regular membership and $915 for a “plus” membership) by Friday, February 24th. You may direct any questions to me, Isaac, at 336.467.1052 or harmonyridgefarms@gmail.com.

A note about payments…if you wish to stagger your payment over 3 months you may do so. Please remit the first 1/3rd payment prior to the 2/24/12 deadline. This payment will secure your membership. The following two payments will occur in March and April consecutively. Regular membership paid in this way will result in 3 payments of $225, or for Plus Membership, 3 payments of $305.

A few notes on CSA deliveries. We’ve decided to follow to the schedule we followed last fall. 2011 SUMMER MEMBERS PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE! Members may choose between one of four delivery options: 1.) Pick-up shares at the farm on Wednesday evenings between 5 and 7:30PM, 2.) meet me in the West End, W-S (location TBD) between 10:30 and 11AM Thursdays or 3.) meet me on the front porch of my parents’ house in the Greenbriar Farms Neighborhood at 3620 Rosebriar Circle, Winston-Salem, 27106 between 12 noon and 1:00PM Thursdays or 4.) request home delivery at an additional charge of $150. Home deliveries will occur early Thursday afternoons. We ask that you choose one option and continue your schedule every week. We can accommodate reschedules with sufficient notice. (I should note we are considering a dropoff in Kernersville as well.)

Thank you all for your time and consideration.

Warm regards,

K. Isaac Oliver

Please kindly remit your payment to renew (or begin) your Harmony Ridge Farms CSA membership by tearing off the bottom portion of this page and sending a check payable to Harmony Ridge Farms, 3620 Rosebriar Circle, Winston-Salem, NC 27106.

Yes! Sign me up. I, ______________________ have enclosed a check for $675 for regular membership. (Or initial $225 for payment plan)

Yes! Sign me up. I, ______________________ have enclosed a check for $915 for PLUS membership. (Or initial $305 for payment plan)

I will be picking up at ____ Harmony Ridge Barn on Wednesday evenings 5PM – 7:30PM

____ West End on Thursday mornings 10:30AM – 11AM

____ The Olivers’ house, 3620 Rosebriar Circle, W-S, 27106, Thursdays, Noon – 1:00 PM

My current e-mail address(es) ____________________________________________

My phone number(s) ____________________________________________

Monday, December 12, 2011

2012 Harvest in Review

Having a difficult time finding words for this newsletter I picked up my copy of Mary Oliver’s American Primitive, and opened at random. Here I found…

Fall Song

Another year gone leaving everywhere

its riched spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumpling damply

in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island

of this summer, this Now, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering

in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds

and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure

Painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

Flares out at the last – boisterous, and like us longing

To stay – how everything lives shifting

From one bright vision to another, forever

In these momentary pastures.

There are no better words to describe the feeling about this time of year on a vegetable farm, when the cold and the rot and the dark finally overcome the once feverish life in the fields. It is fitting to think of the locus of this life and growth process moving underground, I can sense the movement as I grow more reflective in the shortening days…reflective and restless at once, unsettling as a warm December, I too am “flaring out at the last” as the roots and the greens hold my imagination still.

The Fall CSA has come to an end. I believe it was a success and not too overbearing as I was afraid it may be, on the heels of a particularly long and hot Summer. Owing to the abundant rain we’ve received since September, much of the irrigation work (‘drip-running’) I did late summer to prepare was largely unnecessary. It’s been in the farmer’s best interest to get out of the way and on the horn. We established good contacts this Fall to help move some of the overflow. Even so, much of those swelled-up roots, tender greens and fat broccoli shoots went straight into share boxes.

I believe investment in long-term health begins with seasonal vegetables. I also believe I would be amiss to not discuss vegetables and health when recapping this season. Inspired by the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and Dr. Furman’s Eat to Live program (and having loads of vegetables needing consumption) my dad decided to combine a juicing regimen while adopting a vegetarian diet. He lost 30 pounds in just a couple months and has steadily dropped another 10 since. Without minimizing the enormous physical benefits of losing the weight (he’s on his way to kicking his blood pressure meds), his attitude and outlook have undergone a sea change, there’s a kick in his step and light in his eye that helps pick me up when he drops by the farm at the end of his day. For me it’s a wonderful thing to make a business of producing something actually healthy on so many levels.

And produce we did this year (with Mother Nature on our side). The harvest began in April and has been nearly nonstop since. April brought green onions, salad mix, radishes and spinach. The first asparagus shoots got us excited for Spring 2012 when we’ll finally taste in earnest the fruit of their active ‘subterranean’ life. May brought more salad greens, all sorts of lettuces, baby carrots and beets, Asian greens (Napa Cabbage and chois), broccoli, leeks (an excitingly successful overwintering experiment), sugar snap peas, kohlrabi, chard and the first new potatoes. June brought much more of May’s harvest with an emphasis on the roots (onions, beets, potatoes and carrots reaching maturity) in addition to cherry tomatoes, green beans, squashes, cucumbers and all sorts of herbs. Independence Day rolled around with our first Sweet Corn harvest just around the bend. While this first crop was small on the ears, there were three more crops to follow, seemingly each ‘louder’ than the previous. We were particular proud of our late August/early September harvest of bicolor Serendipity. More than a half acre of plump deliciousness. Many a lunch I had in those rows. Tomatoes really came on strong in July, and quite a vertible mix we handled this season. Next year we’ll hone in on the bigger, more reliable heirlooms and hybrids to minimize picking. I think we got a little overexcited last winter with our catalogs…the whole ’we should really try this one out…’ became a refrain that rang in my ears come August when the tomatoes seemed oh so small, Peppers started rolling in early-mid July, along with fennel, cabbage and garlic.

We planted a load of garlic cloves last fall…about 2300. The garlic harvest was accordingly abundant. Nevertheless, there is a reason it is typically grown in near desert conditions…humid weather during curing and storage can invite rot. While much of it has kept fairly well hanging in the barn, I found quite a number of damaged cloves cleaning it this fall in preparation for planting. Hopefully the stock will be viable for a successful (albeit intentionally smaller) harvest next year. I’ve found it more in everyone’s interest to grow more sweet and storage onions next year instead of loads of garlic. We have yet to master the art of storing onions past October…it will certainly be an objective for next season.

August brought peppers, eggplant (although disappointing numbers and size), melons (also somewhat below our standard), the aforementioned sweet corn, more tomatoes, blueberries and hard squashes. The blueberry bushes are reaching pretty decent size and should produce quite a bit next season. This August, we decided to make tree fruits part of our regular CSA shares. We sourced some magnificent fruit from Windy Hill Orchard in Southern VA. Their apples and peaches are superb and nearly all-natural (they would I believe meet organic standards in WA state). September brought a close to our Summer CSA with some superb arugula. Rounding out the late summer offerings were shallots, crowder peas, more green beans, sweet potatoes, okra, storage potatoes and onions.

Early October brought some much-needed down time following preparations for the fall CSA. A restful vacation to Asheville rejuvenated my weary bones and readied me for yet another harvesting bonanza. The Fall program brought kale, turnips, pac choi, peppers, lettuces, mesclun, green onion, chard, endive, mustard, beets, carrots, radishes, broccoli, cabbage and apples…which were supplemented by storage potatoes and sweet potatoes, garlic and hard squash. Fall is my favorite time to dine from the garden, and chard one of my favorite veggies (I know it sounds crazy) so I’ve been living high on the hog. With a couple months to lay low, recharge and envision next season’s farm, I feel full of anticipation and gratitude. Thank you and happy holidays.