First Spring Organic CSA Share 2015

In your first organic CSA share for 2015 we are offering a freshly harvested selection of spring favorites.

Spring share, strawberries, onions, lettuce, sweet potatoes, juice, kale, spinach

Spring share, strawberries, onions, lettuce, sweet potatoes, juice, kale, spinach

Green Onions
Siberian Kale
Sweet Potatoes (from our fall crop)
Quart of Tomato Juice-  From last summer’s crop.   All ingredients from our farm, except the sea salt!

Spinach Soufflé

 1 to 1 1/4 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
2 TBL butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Mix spinach and onion together in bowl and set aside.
In separate bowl, mix eggs, cheese, sour cream, flour, butter, salt , pepper.
Add spinach and onion and mix well. Place in a 11/2 quart greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

Sesame Kale

2 cloves garlic, minced
1bunch kale
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper, if desired

Mince the garlic cloves. Wash kale. Remove and discard the stems from the kale and tear it into bite-size pieces. Save the stems for another use, such as vegetable stock.

Heat the sesame seed oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic to the hot oil and sauté for about 20 seconds. Add the kale and water to the garlic and oil, and cover the skillet.

After 1 minute, stir the kale, then re-cover. After 1-2 more minutes, when the kale is wilted, stir in the soy sauce and sesame seeds. If desired, add salt and/or pepper to taste.

Ice Quakes to Strawberries

We finally made it through one of the coldest winters we have seen in quite a while. All of the beautiful snowfalls that we greatly anticipated, just brought tenths of inches or even worse, ice.

Ice Drips from the dormant organic blackberry vines.  The cold weather and ice of February encapsulated the entire farm

Ice Drips from the dormant organic blackberry vines. The cold weather and ice of February encapsulated the entire farm

One evening some of the most beautiful and largest snowflakes I have ever seen filled the darkness. The child in us all makes us stop and marvel at the quiet beauty that comes with snow.   The stillness and peace falls over land along with the snow. That peaceful silence was suddenly interrupted with a bang.    It sounded as if a door had been slammed, which alarmed us. We felt sure that we had an intruder.   Once again, a loud bang. If this was an intruder, he needed another line of work, for he was a noisy one for sure. We checked all the doors, and listened to several more sounds which seemed to explode in all areas and continued through the night.   The mystery was solved on the morning news. Ice Quakes?   We had never heard them or heard of them until this winter. Water in the ground freezes and expands, the ice and ground around it crumble and create loud booms. Who Knew?

Strawberries grown in our Haygrove tunnels are earliest to season and make their way into the CSA this week.

Strawberries grown in our Haygrove tunnels are earliest to season and make their way into the CSA this week.

Today winter still wants to claim part of spring. The rain has the fields laden with water, so much so that no work can be done without doing more harm than good.   Despite the cold, despite ice quakes, the signs of spring are all around us. The flowers are blooming, the smell of freshly cut grass is in the air, the trees are budding and the sound of tree frogs is filling the night air. However, the most important sign of spring is that the STRAWBERRIES are in! The sweet smell and flavor of the strawberry melts the ice quake memory, warms the soul with the promise of spring and delights our senses with the promise of more to come. Goodbye ice quakes, welcome strawberry spring!



Rain Delays and Honey Bee Inspections

Sunny days like today, while waiting for the ground to dry from all the recent rains, gives me opportunity to open the honey bee hives and check their progress.  April and May are busy months for the honeybees on the farm.   The queen bees are laying 2000-3000 eggs a day, worker bees are tending the larva and brood, field bees are gathering nectar and pollen for the hive.  To successfully produce a honey crop, the boxes must be chock full of 40,000-60,000 bees.  After coming out of the winter with 15,000 bees, the hive has a lot of young bees to raise in a short order.  Nectar flow starts in mid April or first of May with the arrival of white clover.  This year, with all the rain in April and cool temperatures, it is shaping up to be a great honey production season.  The bees have a little extra time to build up their numbers and the main flow of nectar should hit mid May.
Ice covered hives

At Delvin Farms I manage between 15 and 20 beehives for both pollination and honey production.  We get a little honey each year but the main objective is for pollination of our organic vegetables and maintaining a hive that will last through the winter.  I’ve been keeping bees for 5 years and it does get easier as experience has taught me what works and does not work.  Raising bees is not easy because of all the non native predators and diseases that have moved into the area in the last few decades like verroa mites and hive beetles.  The mites and beetles will kill a weak hive and /or at least cause severe stress.  I do choose not to treat my hives with the commercial chemicals however and instead try to raise bees with genetics that can live in our area.  Each beehive has one queen which is hatched by the overwintered hives on the farm.

Because she comes from existing stock, she should be able to survive through our winters in Tennessee, live in our humid climates during the summer and combat the natural predators.  Since we have added the bees to the farm, we have seen a huge increase in the number of bees in the vegetable fields.  Cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, blueberries, blackberries, and apples rely on insect pollinators like bees to fruit and grow a crop.  We provide the flowers for the bees to feed and the bees in turn provide honey for us to harvest and benefit the plant by assisting the production of the fruit.

frame of honey bees

Frame of honey bees with brood about to be hatched. Approximately 4000 bees, 18 days old. This frame shows excellent pattern and comes from a strong hive.

honey bees on top of frames

Full box of honey bees at Delvin Farms. Bees are raised in 10 frame boxes, two boxes deep. Honey supers are added when needed in spring.


Full frame of capped honey from 2014 harvest.  Spring honey is light color, crisp taste, floral.

Full frame of capped honey from 2014 harvest. Spring honey is light color, crisp taste, floral.

Strawberries Mark the Beginning of the Season!

Strawberries always mark the beginning of the growing season for us on Delvin Farms. Our organic strawberries are extra large, plump, deep red and delicious. Voted best berries by taste at many of the six farmers markets we attend, they are by far our customer’s favorite fruit we grow on the farm. During the peak of the season we harvest between 2500-3000 quarts of berries each week from mid May to early June. We have become well known for having some of the organic strawberries

How do we grow our Berries?

Strawberry growing begins in the fall with the purchase of 35,000 organic plug plants. We grow two types of berries, Chandler and CamaRosa, both of which are June bearing varieties meaning they fruit and harvest over an eight week period in the spring and early summer. Raised beds covered with a plastic mulch and centerline driptape provide the perfect conditions for growing big plants with lots of berries. The berries are delvin farms

What makes our Berries taste so good?

That is a hard question to answer but I’m convinced it is from growing in a living, organic soil full of microbes, honeybee2015organic matter, micro and macro nutrients alike. We water the berries heavily during the fruiting season using the water conserving drip irrigation system. Most importantly, the berries are allowed to fully ripen on the plant before we harvest them. The mid May heat, sunshine, organic soil and water are the perfect combination to create a sweet, juicy strawberry’ie taste.

Come get your Delvin Farms strawberries at any of our farmers markets starting end of April til early June or secure your order by signing up for our CSA program. The 2015 season is shaping up to be a great year for the berries with big plants, lots of blooms and mild temperatures. Come early to the markets as they sell out fast !!