News and blog

Welcome to the blog
Posted 1/17/2015 12:13pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Friends  and Supporters of the Farm,

   We hope that you are enjoying your winter months.  We are doing some much-needed repair projects and new construction.  Gregg, Oliver and Juan have put a new high tunnel that will be very fun to work in this spring.  We are hoping to have some early greens and veggies for the very first markets of the year.  Gregg is already envisioning how everything will work and look in this high tunnel.  We know that you will benefit from the early greens and we will not feel so guilty at the first markets when we have nothing to sell but asparagus.

   Speaking of asparagus, the field that we plants with 10,000 asparagus roots last year is looking very good.  Nick, our soil specialist who helps us to get our soil in optimum condition took some samples and he was pleasantly surprise at how much better the field is doing.  Last year we added tons (literally) of calcium and chicken manure.  Now we are working to improve the bio-mass of bacteria (the good ones) to improve the aeration of the soil. 

Our main and most important tractor, the Kubota, went in for serious heart surgery at Christmas and we are hoping to have it back by the end of January.  We did get all the plastic out of the fields before the tractor went to the shop. 

Juan is pruning trees; Oliver is doing general clean up and repair; Gregg is making jam and canning applesauce.  This week Oliver and Juan will be butchering some two year old layers.  So we will be starting out the market season with stewing chickens. 

We are overwhelmed with eggs right now.  We are trying to sell them at the house, but everyone around here has chickens of their own.  We are taking them to auction every Tuesday just to get rid of them.  If you would like to make the drive up here to stock up on eggs, let us know - We will give you a good discount for the drive.  Eggs do keep very well, the ones you buy in the stores are usually between two and four months old.  

The New Farm

We struck the first deal in our two part deal about purchasing another farm.  We negotiated and purchased a nine acre farm with a house and many outbuilding and a large pond.  We are still  working on the deal for the 17 acres of adjacent land.  The land is not being sold by the same person as the farm.  We have not yet reached an agreement, but we are only about $12,000 away.  So hopefully before the end of February we have that finalized.  Thanks to all who have helped us with these purchases by loaning us money.  We really do appreciate you support.  If others could and would like to help us, let us know and we will explain how you can help.

Spring Work Days

We are planning Spring Work days and Visit the Farm days.  We will let you know more particularly about the details in February, but we would like to hold a work day in late March and another in April.  We will see how the weather seems and how soon we can get into the ground.  I know that Gregg and Oliver have been talking about a lot of blackberry bushes and strawberry plants for sure.  I know that there are gooseberries to be transplanted and many other things. 

 

Animal News

We have also got some new pigs that are growing very well.  There are seven in all.  They are smaller so we have them together, but we will be splitting them up soon, since they are growing so fast!  We added two new feeder steers to the mix and we will be getting a few more of them later in the winter.  We will be getting 50 new pullets in April and the usual 100 meat chickens in early April.  We may also be doing our own turkeys again this year.  

CSA for 2015

 

Thanks to all who have already signed up for the CSA.  Now is the time to sign up.  You can sign up by going to the website www.orchardcountryproduce.com and go to CSA Experience. You can pay when you sign up with your credit card or you can send us a check.  If you would like to sign up for all three session - spring, summer, and fall you will automatically get a discount of 6% when you sign up.  If you would like to save 4%  send us a check instead of using a credit card.  So if you sign up for all three session and send a check for the amount before May 15 you can save a whopping 10%!

 

 

If anyone would like to have a drop off spot for a CSA delivery for the 2015 season, please let us know.  We would be glad to work with you about getting a delivery set up for your location.  You would need to get at least 6 shares (any size) for a delivery. If your business would like to have a CSA information session with Gregg or Oliver during January or February, please let us know. 

We are also looking for more apartment complexes to have CSA deliveries.  If your community or building would give us a chance to work with them, please let us know and we will contact the right people in the complex to get a delivery set up.  Sometimes if residents do the asking it helps to get us a opportunity.  Please keep us in mind.

We MAY also be looking for a new Farm Stand location for a new Saturday market - probably in Northern Virginia - not too close to Fort Hunt Rd.  We do not want to compete with ourselves!  If you know of any locations with good visibility and possibility, please let us know. 

We intend to be back at Westminster Farmer's Market, St Luke's Farm Stand, East Columbia Library, NGS Farm Stand and DOT Farmer's Market.

We are also hoping to be making deliveries to all the same locations as last year.

Fridays

River Park

Gangplank Marina

11408 Newport Mill Road, Silver Spring, MD 20902  NEW

Flats 130

77H Apartments

Senate Square Towers

 

Wednesdays

The Wyoming

Peace Corps

JBS

International Baccalaureate

Navy League Building

Columbia Plaza

Calvert Foundation

NEA

Blue Labs

Smith Group

HOK

DC Department of Health

CSPI

 

Family News

If you are associated with facebook you saw our family photo from Christmas.  We love seeing you folks throughout the year.  you usually do not see all of us, but that picture should help you to keep us in mind as your farmers!  As you probably know we have seven children - Oliver and Stuart are the only boys - they were standing on either end of the back row in the picture.  We have five daughters.  Each of the girls were sitting in front of their husbands.  In order- Lydia, Katie, Martha, Sarah (almost married) and then Virginia ( not married).  Tamara  (Stuart's wife ) was on the end.   Sarah is planning a March wedding for this year. So we are gearing up for it - before markets start for us and before The Twirley Top opens for the year.

 

Whew!  This was a long letter!  I hope that you were able to read it through to the end!  Let us know if we can do anything for you or if you have any questions about the farm.  Thanks for your support! 

Gregg, Louise, Oliver, and Virginia Keckler

Orchard Country produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce.com

Posted 12/22/2014 3:16pm by Gregg Keckler.

We will be at NGS on 17th Street in the Courtyard from 8 - 2:30

Come out and get fresh vegetables.  We will have these items available for sale.

 

 

Vegetables

kale

cabbage red and green

spaghetti squash

butternut squash

potatoes

sweet potatoes

Buttercup winter squash

pumpkins - LOTS

cheese cake winter squash

Brussel sprouts

Delicata Squash

turnips

Jerusalem artichokes

 

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 Bosc pears

Honey Crisp Apples

Braeburn apples

Fuji apples

Granny Smith Apples

Asian pears

Pink Lady Apples

Gold Rush apples

 

 

 

  

 

Meat

 Pork - We have great Kielbasa!

 Beef

 

 

 

Baked goods

Apple pies

Sweet Breads

cookies

yeast bread

 

Other items

jams and jellies

honey

 Shagbark Hickory syrup

OUR OWN Fresh eggs

 

Cheese from Whispering Brook Farm

 

Come out and stock up with good food!

 

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 12/15/2014 1:48pm by Gregg Keckler.

We will be at NGS on 17th Street in the Courtyard from 8 - 2:30

Come out and get fresh vegetables.  We will have these items available for sale.

 

 

Vegetables

kale

cabbage red and green

hot peppers

spaghetti squash

butternut squash

potatoes

sweet potatoes

Buttercup winter squash

pumpkins - LOTS

cheese cake winter squash

Brussel sprouts

Delicata Squash

turnips

Jerusalem artichokes

 

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 Bosc pears

Honey Crisp Apples

Braeburn apples

Fuji apples

Granny Smith Apples

Asian pears

Pink Lady Apples

Gold Rush apples

 

 

 

  

 

Meat

 Pork - We have great Kielbasa!

 Beef

 

 

 

Baked goods

Apple pies

Sweet Breads

cookies

yeast bread

 

Other items

jams and jellies

honey

 Shagbark Hickory syrup

OUR OWN Fresh eggs

 

Cheese from Whispering Brook Farm

 

Come out and stock up with good food!

 

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 12/15/2014 6:43am by Gregg Keckler.

 

Last week to order apples at St Luke's.  NGS has Deoember 16 and December 23 to go - Order now!!

 

 

We will be able to deliver apples to the St.  Luke's Farm Stand on Fort Hunt Rd in Alexandria, VA on Saturdays from 7:00am until 1:30 pm

We have LOTS, LOTS, LOTS of APPLES!

 

Honeycrisp apples are a sweet, crisp apple.

Granny Smith are a tart crisp apple.

Fuji are sweet, crisp apple.

Pink Lady are crisp (hard) and tart.

Gold Rush are crisp and tart.

 

 

 

 

All of these apples make great eating apples.  They are also great for pies, crisps and baking ,as they will hold their shape very well.  DO NOT USE THEM FOR SAUCE!  They are too crisp for sauce.

If you want apples for sauce, please let us know.  We have excellent sauce apples as well for the same great deal!

 

You can ask for a mix of apples in each half bushel or you can just order a half bushel of one kind - take your pick!

DO NOT PLACE YOUR ORDER FOR THE APPLE SPECIAL ON THE STORE - email me and I will take your order.  The store can not give you the discount!

Keep  these apples  in mind if you are buying items for a school or organization.  These are delicious and we will give you a REAL DEAL!

There are approximately 40 apples to a half bushel - if you buy more them one half bushel we will sell them to you for $10 per half bushel.  Let me know via email if you want to buy some in quanity and I will order them for you. 

If you buy them from the store the normal price is $15 per half bushel.

 

Sorry, but we can no longer deliver to DOT or Cedar Lane, any Wednesday deliveries, Columbia, or Westminster!

Louise

Posted 12/8/2014 3:10pm by Gregg Keckler.

We will be at NGS on 17th Street in the Courtyard from 8 - 2:30

Come out and get fresh vegetables.  We will have these items available for sale.

 

 

Vegetables

kale

cabbage red and green

hot peppers

spaghetti squash

butternut squash

potatoes

sweet potatoes

Buttercup winter squash

pumpkins - LOTS

cheese cake winter squash

Brussel sprouts

red beets

Delicata Squash

turnips

Jerusalem artichokes

 

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 Bosc pears

Honey Crisp Apples

Braeburn apples

Fuji apples

Granny Smith Apples

Asian pears

Pink Lady Apples

Gold Rush apples

 

 

 

  

 

Meat

 Pork - We have great Kielbasa!

 Beef

 

 

 

Baked goods

Apple pies

Sweet Breads

cookies

yeast bread

 

Other items

jams and jellies

honey

 Shagbark Hickory syrup

OUR OWN Fresh eggs

 

Cheese from Whispering Brook Farm

 

Come out and stock up with good food!

 

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 12/8/2014 3:08pm by Gregg Keckler.

We will still be able to deliver apples to the NGS Farm Stand on Tuesdays from 6:00am until 2:30pm.  Order them NOW for the Holidays and for gifts!

 

We will be able to deliver apples to the St.  Luke's Farm Stand on Fort Hunt Rd in Alexandria, VA on Saturdays from 7:00am until 1:30 pm

We have LOTS, LOTS, LOTS of APPLES!

 

Honeycrisp apples are a sweet, crisp apple.

Granny Smith are a tart crisp apple.

Fuji are sweet, crisp apple.

Pink Lady are crisp (hard) and tart.

Gold Rush are crisp and tart.

 

 

 

 

All of these apples make great eating apples.  They are also great for pies, crisps and baking ,as they will hold their shape very well.  DO NOT USE THEM FOR SAUCE!  They are too crisp for sauce.

If you want apples for sauce, please let us know.  We have excellent sauce apples as well for the same great deal!

 

You can ask for a mix of apples in each half bushel or you can just order a half bushel of one kind - take your pick!

DO NOT PLACE YOUR ORDER FOR THE APPLE SPECIAL ON THE STORE - email me and I will take your order.  The store can not give you the discount!

Keep  these apples  in mind if you are buying items for a school or organization.  These are delicious and we will give you a REAL DEAL!

There are approximately 40 apples to a half bushel - if you buy more them one half bushel we will sell them to you for $10 per half bushel.  Let me know via email if you want to buy some in quanity and I will order them for you. 

If you buy them from the store the normal price is $15 per half bushel.

 

Sorry, but we can no longer deliver to DOT or Cedar Lane, any Wednesday deliveries, Columbia, or Westminster!

Louise

Posted 12/1/2014 3:17pm by Gregg Keckler.

We will still be able to deliver apples to the NGS Farm Stand on Tuesdays from 6:00am until 2:30pm.  Order them NOW for the Holidays and for gifts!

 

We will be able to deliver apples to the St.  Luke's Farm Stand on Fort Hunt Rd in Alexandria, VA on Saturdays from 7:00am until 1:30 pm

We have LOTS, LOTS, LOTS of APPLES!

 

Honeycrisp apples are a sweet, crisp apple.

Granny Smith are a tart crisp apple.

Braeburn are a tart, crisp apple.

Fuji are sweet, crisp apple.

Stayman Winesap are crisp and tart.

Pink Lady are crisp (hard) and tart.

Gold Rush are crisp and tart.

 

 

 

 

All of these apples make great eating apples.  They are also great for pies, crisps and baking ,as they will hold their shape very well.  DO NOT USE THEM FOR SAUCE!  They are too crisp for sauce.

If you want apples for sauce, please let us know.  We have excellent sauce apples as well for the same great deal!

 

You can ask for a mix of apples in each half bushel or you can just order a half bushel of one kind - take your pick!

DO NOT PLACE YOUR ORDER FOR THE APPLE SPECIAL ON THE STORE - email me and I will take your order.  The store can not give you the discount!

Keep  these apples  in mind if you are buying items for a school or organization.  These are delicious and we will give you a REAL DEAL!

There are approximately 40 apples to a half bushel - if you buy more them one half bushel we will sell them to you for $10 per half bushel.  Let me know via email if you want to buy some in quanity and I will order them for you. 

If you buy them from the store the normal price is $15 per half bushel.

 

Sorry, but we can no longer deliver to DOT or Cedar Lane, any Wednesday deliveries, Columbia, or Westminster!

Louise

Posted 12/1/2014 3:16pm by Gregg Keckler.

We will be at NGS on 17th Street in the Courtyard from 8 - 2:30

Come out and get fresh vegetables.  We will have these items available for sale.

 

 

Vegetables

kale

cabbage red and green

hot peppers

spaghetti squash

butternut squash

potatoes

snacking peppers

sweet potatoes

Buttercup winter squash

pumpkins - LOTS

cheese cake winter squash

Brussel sprouts

red beets

Delicata Squash

turnips

Jerusalem artichokes

 

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 Bosc pears

Stayman Winesap Apples

Honey Crisp Apples

Braeburn apples

Fuji apples

Granny Smith Apples

Asian pears

Pink Lady Apples

Gold Rush apples

 

 

 

  

 

Meat

 Pork

 Beef

 

 

 

Baked goods

pecan pies

Apple pies

Sweet Breads

cookies

yeast bread

 

Other items

jams and jellies

honey

 Shagbark Hickory syrup

OUR OWN Fresh eggs

 

Cheese from Whispering Brook Farm

 

Come out and stock up with good food!

 

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 11/24/2014 4:43pm by Gregg Keckler.

We will be at NGS on 17th Street in the Courtyard from 8 - 2:30

Come out and get fresh vegetables.  We will have these items available for sale.

 

 

Vegetables

kale

cabbage red and green

hot peppers

spaghetti squash

butternut squash

potatoes

snacking peppers

sweet potatoes

Buttercup winter squash

pumpkins - LOTS

cheese cake winter squash

broccoli

Brussel sprouts

cauliflower

caleriac

red beets

Delicata Squash

turnips

Jerusalem artichokes

 

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 Bosc pears

Stayman Winesap Apples

Honey Crisp Apples

Braeburn apples

Fuji apples

Granny Smith Apples

Asian pears

Pink Lady Apples

Gold Rush apples

 

 

 

  

 

Meat

 Pork

 Beef

 

 

 

Baked goods

pecan pies

Apple pies

Sweet Breads

cookies

yeast bread

 

Other items

jams and jellies

honey

 Shagbark Hickory syrup

OUR OWN Fresh eggs

 

Cheese from Whispering Brook Farm

 

Come out and stock up with good food!

 

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 11/24/2014 4:26pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

News!

We are almost finished for the 2014 season.  We still have a few markets to go to yet. 

This has been a good year.  We had apples, apples, apples.  More apples than we have ever had!  We were so happy to be able to offer the apple deals to our customers throughout this fall.

We added an extended fall session which was very helpful to give out extra food stuff that would have gone to waste.

We have many repairs to do this winter including tractor repairs, crate rebuilding, barn fix-up, spreading chicken manure on the fields of rented land. 

Gregg is busy buying seed and planning next year's spring crops.  We have already planted garlic for next year. 

Oliver and Juan are still pulling up black plastic and mowing and tilling.  They will be pruning trees, berries, and adding extra straw to the strawberries.

Gregg is already making new jellies and jams and also shagbark hickory syrup.

 

We hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.  We are going to be enjoying our three new grandchildren who were born during 2014.  So we now have 6!

New arrivals in 2014 - Eleazer Keckler , Rueben Tuckey, and Ella Wooten

We have created gift certificates for folks who would like to give a gift of a CSA share for 2015.  We have several options on the store.  When you order a CSA gift certificate we will send it to you and you can add the name.  We also have gift certificates in $20 amounts to be used at any of the Farm Stands or markets throughout the 2-015 season.  Please consider these as gift options for good food and also to support local farming.

We will have the 2015 CSA sign up open after January 1, 2015. 

 

Yours,

Gregg, Louise, and Oliver Keckler

Orchard Country Produce an Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce.com