Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jams, Jellys, Pies May be Coming to Windmill Farm

I have all my seed catalogs out on my desk, making my lists to purchase; making my lists of items I am going to grow; making a drawing of my fields. It is always exciting to start out fresh each year and visualize what our gardens will look like mid July. Our plans includes many more varieties of vegetables that we may not have grown before. I particularly want to grow more cut flowers this season to not only enjoy myself, but to make available as an added item to market.

Many farmers are excited because Cottage Food Permit Bill AB1616 came into effect January, 2013. It now allows farmers to sell non-potentially hazardous cottage industry items prepared at the farm directly to a consumer. Items such as jams, jellies, food items, dried fruits, baked goods, pie, nuts, honey, and many more items. This will open up an area for our CSA customers to enjoy many more items from our farm. As an example, some fruits ripen quickly and need to be harvested quickly. Our members may receive the fruit/vegetable once in their basket before it is too ripe to eat. We can prepare jams, jellies or dry them and be able to give them to our members in a different form. Or be able to sell the items at our roadside stand or by email/Facebook however we wish to market them as long as they comply with the local rules and health standards.

I contacted our Butte Co Environment Health Dept and received all the information needed and will be going to obtain my permit next week. Cost $48 + we will need to have our well tested for another fee. I believe it will help many local organizations too as it used to be a nice way to make money for non-profits, to have a bake sale as a fund raiser, but laws stopped making that an option. This new Cottage Food Permit opens up an additional way for, particularly small farms, to find new sources of revenue.

Did you know that there are about 275 CSA farm in California? And it is stated that most CSA farms are relatively small less than 20 acres on average. The UC Ag Dept states that in 2010, there were over 32,938 CSA members which is a lot for so few farms that offer this membership service.

One item I want to grow this year is cotton, I don't know why but I have found it fascinating. Maybe just a few rows. I was able to obtain some cotton right from the field last year and used it during the holidays. I thought some of my CSA members may find it interesting in my floral arrangements or to see cotton in its' raw state.

I rarely have a chance to actually go shopping for items for the house, I mostly use Internet shopping. But our friend, Tina needed me to pick up an item that would not fit into her small car so we went to Marshall's. I was surprised to walk into the store and find 2 items I immediately loved. Took them home and I am loving them. I had read that one new color for 2013 will be the color Tangerine!!! So I am officially-in style.

Don't forget about my Extreme Coupon class scheduled for this Saturday, January 26th 9-12pm. Still a few openings, should be a very informative and fun class.

My next class, Learn to Knit, have Tea and Cookies class just recently scheduled for a Monday evening, February 25th 6:30-9pm. Aimee from Paradise Yarn shop will be teaching it, we will be providing, wonderful homemade refreshments; door prizes; instruction; handouts; needles and yarn. Call if interested for more information. As always, space is limited because they are being held in our home.

Enjoy this burst of warmer weather-from Windmill Farm to your house.

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