News and blog

Posted 5/28/2012 9:56am by Katrina Karlsen.

Hello Folks,

Unlike a sappy movie sequel, this Return will not leave you disappointed.  After a brief stint out of our greenhouse this April, our mini lettuce heads took a monthlong hiatus, only to return this week from our outside fields.  Sweet and crunchy, they do not disappoint.  We pack them in bunches of three, and within each bunch you'll get a variety of shapes and colors to please the palette and the eye.  Each bunch is approximate to one head of lettuce.

Add these to our lineup of beets, carrots, salad mix, kale, and others this week, and you'll get quite the shopping bag full of goodies.

Click here to visit our online store.

Sincerely,

Jed, Emilia, and Ray

Posted 5/25/2012 12:53pm by Jed Beach.

Our greenhouse tomatoes are growing so quickly that we pruned and tied them today. We tied wire along the GH rafters and hung twine down to each plant. Then, using some tomato clips from Johnny's Selected Seeds, we attached the twine to the tomato clips and voila! We have beautiful pruned and supported tomatoes! At least for the next couple of weeks and then we will prune and tie all over again.

Posted 5/25/2012 12:51pm by Jed Beach.

Our beet bunches are a mixture of Red, Chioggia, and Golden beets. . .bunched together to make one large handful of beautiful tasty, vitamin packed goodness!! Make sure that you don't forget to eat the greens!!!!

 

Posted 5/21/2012 10:31am by Jed Beach.

We're excited to be trialing an acre of different dry beans and grains this year.  Last week, we planted fava beans, lentils, oats, and garbanzos, amongst other things.  Dry bean and grain growing used to be a big industry in Maine - several of the most important technological advances, including the threshing machine and the reaper/binder, were invented by ingenius Yankee farmers here in Maine.  The combine and its accompanying massive scale drove most of the industry out of the state - but it's slowly making a comeback, thanks to the efforts of small growers finding specialty niches.  It seems like an important frontier for Maine's local foods movement to cross - while we're doing  a good job producing and consuming vegetables, meat, and dairy, we still import virtually all of our grains.

 

For more information on the work being done in the state, visit the Maine Grain Alliance webpage.

Posted 5/21/2012 10:22am by Katrina Karlsen.


Dear Online Farmstand Shoppers,

This last week, we have been feasting on sweet beets from our greenhouse.  We're growing a mix of red beets, goldens, and striped chioggias.  Mixed together on a plate, they are like candy you get to enjoy twice - once with the eye, then with the tastebuds. 

One of our favorite things about beets is that you get two veggies in one - the greens, lightly steamed, are sumptuous in and of themselves.

Add carrots, salad mix, kale, and others to our weekly offering, and you can be eating all (or most) of your veggies locally this week!

Click here to visit our online farmstand.

 

Sincerely,

Jed, Emilia, and Ray

Posted 5/14/2012 12:45pm by Katrina Karlsen.

Dear Online Farmstand Shopper,

Back in the colonial days, when spring meant that winter stores were drawing down and vitamin-rich foods were all but nonextistent, European colonists would scour the fields, looking for dandelion greens and other early emerging "weeds."  Fortunately, we live in an era of greenhouses, cold frames, and other season-extension techniques, and you don't have to scour anywhere to get your post-winter vitamins fix.  You can even order online . . . and enjoy fresh salad mix, beets, kale, chard, and other tasty items, direct from Ararat Farms.

That's right: our online farmstand is open this week, and it looks like it will be open for good at this point.

Click here to go to the online farmstand

For those of you who are new to our online farmstand, or want a refresher, keep reading . . .

How To Order
All products in our store are at our wholesale prices! A $5 shipping fee per order is applied.

During the growing season, our store is open from Friday through Wednesday at 7 AM; shop online as you would any e-store, and checkout securely with PayPal.  On Wednesdays, your order will be harvested, packed, and cooled. On Thursdays, it will be delivered to the State of Maine Cheese Company, at 461 Commercial St. (Route One), Rockport.  Your order will be available for pickup Thursdays from 3-5 PM; and Fridays and Saturdays from 9-5 PM. When you arrive, please see the friendly State of Maine Cheese Company staff to assist you with picking up your order.

If you’d like to pick up your order at Ararat Farms instead, please follow the instructions at checkout and the $5 shipping fee will be waived.

We generally update our inventory on Monday mornings, so that’s when any new seasonal treats will become available. 

Now Available: Payment by Check As Well As PayPal

For those of you who are not as comfortable with paying online, we now offer the ability to pay for your order by check.  However, in order for this feature to work, please do not try to give your checks to the State of Maine Cheese Staff when you are ordering.  We will email you a statement at the end of each month, and you can mail us a check.

How to Pay with a Harvest Bond

For those of you who purchased a harvest bond through us, enter your email and other contact information on the checkout page, and click on the button to place your order. You will receive an order confirmation by email that also contains your current balance.

Want to learn more about harvest bonds?  Click here to learn more.  We've still got a few more available!

About Our Reusable Bags

Your order will be packed in a reusable bag with a label bearing your name.  If you return the bag to either State of Maine Cheese or the Farm when you pick up your next order, you will get a $1credit to your account.  Make sure the label bearing your name is still on the bag!

Thank you, and we look forward to supplying you all season long (and into the winter!)

Sincerely,

Jed, Emilia, and Ray

Posted 5/10/2012 9:28am by Jed Beach.

The grass has been growing like mad over these last few rainy weeks, and we have taken the opportunity to let our free range chicken flock and goat herd out of their winter quarters to stretch their legs and graze upon the fresh greenery.  Our goat herd's main job on the farm is brush control, and this is an area where they excel, munching down invasives like Japanese knotweed.  Our chickens are out on our poorest pasture, helping to fertilize it with their manure while enriching their eggs with that bright yellow color that only comes from a flock on pasture.  

Posted 4/23/2012 10:07am by Jed Beach.

We've been busy planting seeds and transplants out in our fields over the last two weeks - we've got about an acre planted out in kale, root crops, onions, scallions, snap peas, and greens so far.  But seeds are finicky and cautious - they only germninate under the right combination of soil warmth and moisture, and so far (until the last few days) the soil has been too cool and dry for good germination.  The rains of the last few days have given us the moisture we need, and we'll spend next week covering our field crops with floating row cover - a white nonwoven fabric that traps solar heat and warms the soil faster.  We'll also be harvesting kale and other greens from our greenhouse next week to fill in the gap.  Spring is on its way - but slowly.

Posted 4/16/2012 11:31am by Katrina Karlsen.

Dear Online Farmstand Customers,

This week of April 16th is the opening week of our online farmstand!  We're pleased to offer you a diversity of items, including nutrient dense lettuces, kale, and salad mix, sweet and tasty hakurei turnips, red fingerling potatoes, and eggs from our free range chicken flock!

For those of you who are veterans of our online farmstand, we've revised it this year to make the shopping experience more convenient and integrated into our regular website.  Let us know what you think!

For those of you who are new, welcome!  We've tried to make the online store easy to figure out - the directions about how to order and when/where to pick up are located in the lefthand sidebar of the store page.  However, if you have any questions about how to order, please don't hesitate to shoot us an email at jbeach@araratfarms.com and we'll do our best to walk you through it.

Click here to go to our online farmstand!

Thank you, and happy spring!

 

Sincerely,

Jed, Emilia, and Ray

Posted 4/2/2012 9:49am by Jed Beach.

Warm weather seems to stir a primal urge in farmers and gardeners alike to plant things. The heat wave we had a few weeks ago whipped this feeling into a frenzy for many of us. The smell of the soil waking up, buds opening - it was hard to resist the feeling that we should go out and plant the whole garden, all at once. Good thing we didn't - the soil thermometer read 38 degrees this morning, way too cold for effective seed germination. Planting the whole garden in a rush of enthusiasm brings other complications too - weed competition is fiercer if you don't cultivate the soil a couple times prior to planting, and if you don't space out your plantings in succession over the space of months, you don't get a succession of harvests at the other end.  Patience when planting is a virtue.