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Posted 4/30/2014 1:03pm by Gregg Keckler.

Greetings Columbia-area customers and friends!

As many of you know, Thursday, May 1st is the first day for the East Columbia Library farmers market - 2pm - 6pm (it's also May Day!) 

After jumping through a lot of hoops this winter, we got permission to continue the market, but outside of the 'umbrella' of the Howard County Farmers Markets official organization.  This means, of course, that we do not have access to quite the same promotional budget & audience, so we have to rely heavily on good-old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising for the market.

We created a facebook page for the East Columbia Farmers Market here - https://www.facebook.com/eastcolumbiafarmersmarket


If you have a Facebook account, could you take a minute to like our page and share our most recent status so other folks in the area can find out about the market as well?  (plus, you'll be entered in a chance to win a free CSA share from our farm!).  Most importantly, please continue to patronize the market and spread the word!

Oliver is looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow at the market- the weather will be beautiful!

Thanks for your loyalty to the market!

The Kecklers @Orchard Country Produce
Posted 4/30/2014 12:54pm by Gregg Keckler.

Greetings Columbia-area customers and friends!

As many of you know, Thursday, May 1st is the first day for the East Columbia Library farmers market - 2pm - 6pm (it's also May Day!) 

After jumping through a lot of hoops this winter, we got permission to continue the market, but outside of the 'umbrella' of the Howard County Farmers Markets official organization.  This means, of course, that we do not have access to quite the same promotional budget & audience, so we have to rely heavily on good-old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising for the market.

We created a facebook page for the East Columbia Farmers Market here - https://www.facebook.com/eastcolumbiafarmersmarket


If you have a Facebook account, could you take a minute to like our page and share our most recent status so other folks in the area can find out about the market as well?  (plus, you'll be entered in a chance to win a free CSA share from our farm!).  Most importantly, please continue to patronize the market and spread the word!

Oliver is looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow at the market- the weather will be beautiful!

Thanks for your loyalty to the market!

The Kecklers @Orchard Country Produce

Posted 4/28/2014 6:10am by Gregg Keckler.

We will be there!  We will be at National Geographick Society in the Courtyard Tomorrow for the Farm Stand In spite of the cold weather  and the rain!  Come out and get fresh vegetables.  We will have these items available for sale.

Vegetables

Fresh asparagus

spinach

fresh garlic

Frozen Brussel sprouts and  broccoli

 

Fruits

stored apples

 

Plants

bedding plants

herb plants

 

Meat

 

Pork

 

Beef

Chicken stock and chicken broth

 

baked goods

 

Other items

jams and jellies

honey

Shagbark hickory syrup

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 4/21/2014 3:55pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

Tomorrow is the first market of the season!  We will be at National Geographic Society Tuesday, April 21 from 9-2pm in the courtyard.

  We will have jellies, honey, Shagbark hickory syrup

 apples, potatoes

beef, chicken broth, chicken stock, pork

flowers, bedding plants

bakery items, bread, cookies, pies, eggs

cheese 

 

Our spring season is starting slowly, but we are making a start. Come out to buy, say Hi and welcome the beginning of a great growing season!

 

Gregg, Louise, Oliver, Sarah, Virginia Keckler - Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm

www.orchardcountryproduce

Posted 4/7/2014 2:41pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

We are having our last work day for 2014.  If you have not contacted us yet, but would like to come to help plant things, let us know.

We will be planting raspberries, blackberries, potatoes and radishes.  We are expecting to start at 11:00am and finish by 2:00pm.  We will have a lunch for everyone at 2:00pm.

We would love to have you come and visit, work a little and share a lunch.

 

Gregg, Louise , Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm

Posted 4/1/2014 4:35pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

   We are getting a slow start this year.  We have lots of lettuce, kale, greens ready to plant, but we cannot seem to get them into the ground.  Too Wet!  Tonight Gregg and Oliver are planting some lettuce and cabbages by hand since the tractors can not get into the fields. 

We had a great two days for work days earlier in March.  All the Spring onions were planted.  We are looking forward to the work Day in April.  We have set aside Friday, April 11 for the last work day for this spring. If you have not contacted us yet about coming, please let us know if you can come.

We are planting strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, sweet onions, several fruit trees, and more peas this month.  We did get quite a few sugar snap peas and snow peas in the ground in March. We are also going to be getting our first batch of chicks in April.

We are sending two hogs and a steer to the butcher in April as well.  All the pruning is finished except for the black raspberries.

  We are very grateful to all who have signed up for the CSA so far this year.  If you signed up for the CSA, but did not pay yet, please pay for the Early Bird Special by April 30th.  You can go to the website www.orchardcountryproduce.com and click on membership details and it should tell you if you signed up and if you owe money. 

Keep in Mind!

Tuesday, April 22  -first day of National Geographic Farm Stand in the courtyard from 9-2pm

Thursday, May 1 - first day of Columbia Farmers Market at the library from 2-6pm

Saturday, May 3 -first day of the Farm Stand at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda 9-1pm

Saturday, May 3 - first day of the Farm Stand at St Luke's Episcopal Church on Fort Hunt Rd, Alexandria, VA 8-1 pm

 

We are looking forward to seeing everyone this spring!  We are expecting great early greens, asparagus, and onions.  Can't Wait!

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler 

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce.com

Posted 3/17/2014 2:00pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

  Please let us know (if you haven't already) whether you plan to attend one of our two work days in March.

Friday, March 21 - beginning at 11:00am  with lunch served about 2:00pm.

Saturday, March 22 - beginning about 11:00am with lunch at 2:00pm.

 

We will be planting blackberries and spring onions on both days and for the truly robust folks who enjoy a challenge there is the opportunity of putting up deer fencing.

  We will provide a delicious healthy lunch for everyone and a time to visit.

Coming soon! Friday, April 11 - the last work day for this spring. 

 

CSA subscriptions are coming in now!  If you are planning to sign up for 2014 CSA season, sign up is going on now!  www.orchardcountryproduce.com

 

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm

Posted 3/3/2014 7:59pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

March certainly came in like a lion!  I was collecting frozen eggs this morning from the chicken nests, believe it or not!  Oliver has pruned all of the orchard trees, despite the snow and ice, and Gregg has been making lots of jam.

We managed to get some turkey manure spread on a couple of fields (to add nutrients to the soil- it's an organic fertilizer!) and we will do the rest when the spring plowing is done.  Unfortunately, with the cold and snow-covered-ground we will be getting a later start on planting the early vegetables outside.  The greenhouse has been active though, we've planted kale, radishes, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and herbs such as rosemary, lavender and stevia. 

We will have several farm work and visit days this spring.  There will be a planting day on Friday, March 21 and on Saturday, March 22.  We will also have a work and visit day on Friday, April 11.  Let us know if you would like to come to work and/or visit on any of these days and we can provide timeframes at a closer date.

We have 2 happy pigs weighing in at about 225lbs each.  We will be getting more pullets (ready-to-lay hens) in April and also the first batch of chicks to be raised as broilers.

I know it is hard to think about summer vegetables, strawberries, cherries, and peaches with all this cold weather, but if you haven't signed up yet for the CSA - check it out now.  You can sign up at www.orchardcountryproduce.com (navigate to CSA menu)

If you would like to organize a drop site in or around DC for either Wednesdays or Fridays,  you can do it!  Get at least 6 shares (any size) for a drop off to your site.  Send us an email and we will add your site address to the list so folks can sign up.

We will be back at all our regular market locations this year (Yes- including East Columbia Library on Thursdays!!). 

DOT - Tuesday

NGS - Tuesday

East Columbia Library - Thursday

Westminster - Saturday

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church - Bethesda - Saturday

St Luke's Episcopal Church - Alexandria VA - Saturday

Family/Personal news!

Welcome to Eleazar Keckler on February 19, 2014.  He joins sisters Tabitha, 3 and Abigail, 1.  His mother and father, Tamara and Stuart Keckler are hoping he will not be too overwhelmed by his doting older sisters!

We love to hear how you all are doing over the winter months as well, so feel free to shoot us an e-mail back to tell us about anything new and exciting!

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler
Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc.

www.orchardcountryproduce.com
https://www.facebook.com/orchardcountryproduce

Posted 2/14/2014 4:09pm by Gregg Keckler.

Yes, we are getting tired of the snow, too! After Tuesday and Wednesday last week, we had about 6 inches on the ground and after it melted down to about 3 inches, it all turned to ice over the weekend.  Then this week starting Wednesday night and lasting through Thursday afternoon, we got about 14 inches more!  Apparently tonight through Saturday morning we are supposed to get another 3 - 5 inches.  This is definitely one of the more snowy winters in recent history.

Here are some photos that were posted on the facebook page of some of our wintery moments, and also an inspiring collage of spring/summer/fall photos that we took at our farm.  They are supposed to inspire you to "Think Spring" and maybe with the power of positive thinking, we can start thinking about spring planting!

 Winter 2014 Think Spring

Don't forget that the Early Bird Special is on for all those who sign up for the full-season CSA before the end of April.  You can find the sign-up page under the CSA Experience tab --> CSA Member Sign-up page.  We are also open to new drop-sites (businesses, residential complexes, non-profit organizations, schools, even private homes*, etc), just e-mail us and let us know and we'll try to work something out with you! As always, don't hesitate to e-mail us if you have any questions!

*We try to have at least 4 - 5 shares per site, so private homes usually work best if you have friends/neighbors who are willing to pick up their shares at the same site.

                

 

Posted 1/6/2014 4:55pm by Gregg Keckler.

 

Dear Folks,

   We have had a very good 2013 season and are  looking forward to the 2014 season.

Right now Oliver and Gregg are doing a lot of repair work and field work.  They hauled in nine ton of turkey manure for the 10 acre field on Myerstown Road.  We purchased this field and a meadow in 2012.  The field had been continuously planted in corn for at least 20 years.  That is as far back as I can remember.  Last summer I had a friend who does soil analysis and recommendations come a do a few samples for us.  He recommended a ton of limestone/calcium per acre each year for a while and then another sample.  We are starting this regime with a load of  turkey manure and a load of calcium over the winter.  Then another load of limestone in the spring before planting.  We will be working on this field for a while.  Interestingly I also did a sample of the soil on our home place which we have been continuously farming for 30 years.  The tests came back excellent in all categories.  This is because we use a lot of our own manure, green row cover and rotation plantings.

We have several pigs right now in various growing stages.  We are attempting to grow our own pork from the beginning!  So we have a nice large black sow that we raised from young.  We (hopefully) just got her bred and she should be due in the spring.  We will keep you posted on our success.  We also have two feeder pigs that we bought at 70 lb from our daughter and son-in-law who raise pigs.  They are all doing very well and are quite snug in the barns. 

 

The chickens are also staying warm in their shed for the winter.  We are still getting 19 eggs/day.

 

 

We will be doing the tree pruning this month and berry pruning.

We are now taking subscriptions for the 2014 CSA season.  If you would like to sign up, go to www.orchardcountryproduce.com and follow the directions to sign up.  You can sign up and pay right away with paypal or you can choose invoice and send us a check.  If you send a check we are also offering a 4% discount which you can take at the chieckout. In order to get the Early Bird Special you must sign up before Aprill 30

We will be returning to all the following markets for drop-offs and market sales in 2014.

Westminster Farmers Market

Columbia Farmer's market

St Luke's Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA

National Geographic Farm Stand (DC)

Department of Transportation (DC)

Cedar Lane area, Bethesda

We will also be making deliveries for the CSA on Wednesdays and Fridays again as before.

if you would like to add a location for us to deliver CSA shares, please send an email and we will work out a plan for your delivery.  We do ask that you have at least 6 shares (any size) in order to get a delivery.  We will deliver to your office, church, neighborhood, etc. 

 

We are enjoying our winter routine.  We hope that you are enjoying winter vegetables and fruit.   We have a new collection of jellies and jams which Gregg is creating right now. 

 

We also have several stewing chickens and chicken broth.  We butchered some older laying hens in december.  We used the pressure cooker to cook the meat and then packaged it for great chicken stock or broth.  We also have the raw hens for sale if you would like to cook them down yourself.  Check them out!

 We still have one more Winter Delivery on January 14.  If you would like to order anything from us for this delivery the store is open now!  You may choose any of the locations listed for pick up. 

Have a Great Winter!  We will keep you posted on happenings from the farm!

 

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc 

www.orchardcountryproduce.com