Planting Apple Trees With Derek

May 26, 2022

I meet some interesting folks at the Dane County Farmer’s Market. Derek’s family runs The Flower Factory stand, a couple blocks down from my stand.

Derek stopped by one Saturday last year and we got to talking. Turns out we have similar interests in permaculture and have read some of the same books, including Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard.

Mr. Shepard talks about starting apple trees from seed, which is always going to be interesting because apple trees from seed are always a hybrid of their two parents. If you want a known variety of apple tree, you need to graft it onto another tree or rootstock.

Derek mentioned he had started several apple trees from seeds, but wasn’t sure if he would find space to plant them. I had been thinking about planting apple trees, as my son and I love to eat fresh apples every day they are in season, and pigs love apples.

A plan was born to trade apple trees for meat, we just had to wait until spring. Well that time came last Sunday as you can see by the photos. 16 apple trees planted next to our pig pasture.

My Dad even got in on the act, hauling water on his ATV.

Derek, like me, is a curious person. We look forward to eating some of these hybrids. Maybe we’ll have the next great apple. Even if we don’t, I’m sure me and my son and the pigs will enjoy!

Hi Matthew,

As promised, here’s the list of the apple trees that we planted at your farm. I have the maternal line as a D number, and then the apple variety that I collected seeds from after it. It will be interesting to see how much variation is within a maternal line. 

Going North to South

Antonovka
D30 – Wolf River
D27 – Hudson’s Golden Gem
D34 – Turley Winesap
D30 – Wold River
D34 – Turley Winesap
D13 – Caville Blanc d’Hiver
Antonovka
D34 – Turley Winesap
D28 – Pink Perl
D35 – Buford’s Red Flesh
D30 – Wolf River
D26 – Snow
D26 – Snow
D26 – Snow
Antonovka


Celebrate: Stephanie and Mitch

May 22, 2022

Dane County Farmer’s Market is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

The Dane County Farmer’s Market, (DCFM), is a big part of our life.  And I realized, for many of our regular customers, it’s also a big part of their life.

Because just as regular vendors make a market, so do regular customers.  It’s a community. 

So we are going to celebrate this community with an ongoing series.

——-

Not all the customers have been attending for decades, its nice to see newer customers as well.

Its been great getting to know Stephanie and Mitch the last few years.  Thank you, Stephanie and Mitch!

Name: Stephanie and Mitchell

How long have you been attending DCFM? About 3 years

DCFM memory: Our favorite times at the market are when we get there early, so it’s just starting to get warm and there aren’t many other customers yet. It’s nice and peaceful and you have more time to talk to the vendors. We also make a morning out of it and often get coffee at Ancora afterwards. 

Curiousfarmer Favorite: Ground beef because it’s so versatile and Turkey for thanksgiving.

Go to meal: Beef and broccoli, with the stew meat.


Celebrate: Terese

May 19, 2022

Terese, May 7th, 2022

Dane County Farmer’s Market is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

The Dane County Farmer’s Market, (DCFM), is a big part of our life.  And I realized, for many of our regular customers, it’s also a big part of their life.

Because just as regular vendors make a market, so do regular customers.  It’s a community. 

So we are going to celebrate this community with an ongoing series.

——-

I’m happy I started this series as I’m learning so much more about DCFM customers. 

Terese is editing the 50th anniversary DCFM cookbook.  I didn’t know she was formerly a professional chef.

She upped the game on these questions by including a recipe.  Thank you, Terese!

Name: Terese

How long have you been attending DCFM?

1974…that was when I first lived in Madison, but it was only for a summer. When I moved here again, in 1977, I started going to the market more regularly. I feel like a fixture now!

DCFM memory:

When I was chef at the Ovens of Brittany East, back in the mid-1980s, I’d go to the market before the restaurant opened on Saturdays, to get whatever looked good to me for the weekend menu specials. Very few vendors sold many fresh herbs at that time, but I could get big bagfuls of thyme springs, rosemary branches, sage leaves and such from one of them. We used them in our soups and entrees and garnished each of the finished plates with them. People loved that they got something other than the regular old parsley sprig, and many tucked theirs into a lapel or a purse to bring home and use in their own kitchens.

Curiousfarmer Favorite: 

It’s too hard to pick one! Can I pick three? Chorizo links, uncured bacon and ground pork are the ones I use the most.

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This is what I’m going to make if I get lucky and find morels this season: 

Spaghetti with Morels, Curious Farmer Bacon, Green Onions and Cream

8-10 ounces spaghetti

6-8 ounces bacon 

1/2 pound fresh morels (or other mushrooms, like crimini), cleaned, halved and dried between paper towels

1 bunch green onions, sliced in half lengthwise and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, garlic chives or green garlic, divided

1 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but about 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.  Use a fairly high flame to saute the morels in the hot fat in batches (don’t crowd the pan!) until tender. Add the green onions, rosemary and about half of the chives. Stir and cook about 1 minute. Remove to a bowl.

Boil pasta until tender. Meanwhile, add heavy cream to the hot skillet and boil to reduce it by about 3/4. Stir in the bacon and morel mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Drain pasta when it is tender, saving some of the pasta water to use if needed. Toss pasta with the sauce; if it’s too thick, thin it with some of the pasta water. Sprinkle pasta with remaining chives and serve immediately.


Celebrate: Emily

May 15, 2022
Emily, May 7th, 2022

Dane County Farmer’s Market is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

The Dane County Farmer’s Market, (DCFM), is a big part of our life.  And I realized, for many of our regular customers, it’s also a big part of their life.

Because just as regular vendors make a market, so do regular customers.  It’s a community. 

So we are going to celebrate this community with an ongoing series.

——-

Emily is one of our carless patrons.  When we we started our Madison meat drops during Covid, Emily suggested a downtown location so that she and others wouldn’t miss out.  It’s been a hit, and many walking customers have enjoyed the last couple of years.  Thank you, Emily!

Name: Emily Reynolds

How long have you been attending DCFM? Over a decade

DCFM memory: Maybe not a memory, but DCFM is the only thing that can regularly drag me out of bed before 7am! (clearly not meant to be a farmer) 

Curiousfarmer Favorite: Cottage bacon is a recent favorite! My favorite standby is ground beef. I always pick up a pound or two!

Go to meal: I love breakfast hash: ground beef, plantain, black beans, and red peppers fried up and topped with fried eggs. Also great mixed into rice or on tacos. 


Celebrate: Lisa

May 12, 2022
Lisa: May 7, 2022

Dane County Farmer’s Market is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

The Dane County Farmer’s Market, (DCFM), is a big part of our life.  And I realized, for many of our regular customers, it’s also a big part of their life.

Because just as regular vendors make a market, so do regular customers.  It’s a community. 

So we are going to celebrate this community with an ongoing series.

Even though I’ve never met Lisa’s son, I feel like I know him as I receive regular updates from Lisa. Thank you, Lisa!

Name: Lisa

How long have you been attending DCFM? 27 years 

DCFM memory: buying food and flowers for my wedding. My friends and I cooked the meal. 

Curiousfarmer Favorite: pork tenderloin for grilling, brisket for smoking 

Go to meal: market salad or vegetables, roasted potatoes, grilled steak or pork, fruit crisp. 


Celebrate: Anne and Terry

April 24, 2022
Anne and Terry, April 23, 2022

Dane County Farmer’s Market is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

The Dane County Farmer’s Market, (DCFM), is a big part of our life.  And I realized, for many of our regular customers, it’s also a big part of their life.

Because just as regular vendors make a market, so do regular customers.  It’s a community. 

So we are going to celebrate this community with an ongoing series.

—–

You will usually see Anne and Terry at least a couple of times on Market Saturdays as they make it a whole morning. When I’m shorthanded they step behind the booth so I can make a pit stop. They claim they’re bad for business, but they’ve usually got someone waiting when I return. Thank you, Anne and Terry!

—–

We have been attending DCFM since the early 80s.  

DCFM Memory: Making our purchases and coming home to make a great omelette with all the eggs and veggies we purchased.  Cows on the Concourse!  Meeting the great farmers that feed us and seeing them each year. All DCFM memories are amazing. DCFM memories should be a PBS special. 

Curiousfarmer favorite:   Tie between ground beef and Canadian bacon. Matt is  great too!

Go to meal:  Meatballs whether they are Italian, stroganoff, Swedish etc with CF beef.  Healthy and delish. 


Celebrate: Pamela and Michael

April 17, 2022
Pamela and Michael, April 16, 2022


Dane County Farmer’s Market is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

The Dane County Farmer’s Market, (DCFM), is a big part of our life.  And I realized, for many of our regular customers, it’s also a big part of their life.

Because just as regular vendors make a market, so do regular customers.  It’s a community. 

So we are going to celebrate this community with an ongoing series.


Saturday April 16, 2022 was the first April DCFM in 3 years! And it was a cold one, 20s to start, finishing in the 40s with a stiff breeze. I wore long underwear and had to put on my insulated bibs over top of everything to keep from freezing, but this is Wisconsin, so of course I saw a couple people wearing shorts!

We saw many familiar faces, including Pamela and Michael who were dressed appropriately. Thank you, Pamela and Michael!

Name: Pamela and Michael

How long have you been attending DCFM?

Since 1974!

DCFM memory:

I saw ground cherries for the first time at farmers market. Michael thinks he saw cheese curds for the first time there, must have been a while ago.

Curiousfarmer Favorite:

Currently we are focusing on pork ribs but we have many favorites.

Go to meal:

I always make different things but a current easy favorite is instant pot ground pork risotto.


Celebrate: Mary and Charlie

April 8, 2022
Mary and Charlie, outside their home.

Dane County Farmer’s Market is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year!

The Dane County Farmer’s Market, (DCFM), is a big part of our life.  And I realized, for many of our regular customers, it’s also a big part of their life.

Because just as regular vendors make a market, so do regular customers.  It’s a community. 

So we are going to celebrate this community with an ongoing series.

———

Mary and Charlie have allowed Curiousfarmer to use their driveway during our winter meat drops and all during the pandemic.  They are my last stop and Mary always gives my coffee thermos a much needed refill.

They have been a fixture of local markets and local food since the beginning.  You can often see Mary biking to or from a Saturday market laden with her goodies.  We really appreciate Mary and Charlie.  Thank you!

Name: Mary and Charlie Mussey

How long have you been attending DCFM? 

 When did it start? That’s when:)

A DCFM memory: 

 We had a lovely pussy willow tree at our first house on the southside in 1982. I was able to get a spot at the first 2 DCFM of the spring to sell cuttings. I had some rooted and some dried. I sold them as “Mussey’ Fuzzies” and sold out the at the first market!

How long have you been enjoying Curiousfarmer? 

Since we picked up our turkey when Eric left the market. We saw how happy your animals were out in the sunshine with fresh food and sunshine. We’ve been eating “happy meat” ever since.

Favorite CF product: Brisket

A go to meal for your family: Corned beef made with irish ginger beer and German pilsner beer. That reflects my maternal grandparents, Josephine Schmidt and Thomas O’Brien. You can guess who ruled the roost of 8 kids!

Thank you!


Dad’s Story: Milk Cows

April 1, 2022
Grandpa on my Mom’s side with dairy cow hitched to cart

Milk Cows

We had five milk cows.  Two were Holsteins, two were Jerseys, and one Guernsey.

The Holsteins gave too much milk and were hard milkers for a boy.  The Guernsey, my favorite, was real quiet and easy to milk.  The two Jerseys, the older one was a nice cow, the younger one was her daughter.

She was a kicker.  You didn’t know when she was going to kick, today or maybe tomorrow, but she was going to kick the pail over.

The hired man milked in the morning.  When we boys got old enough, we milked in the evening.  

If we were in a hurry, we could milk with a boy on each side.  Eventually we aged out of the job and younger brothers took over.  Brother Carl will tell you that he milked for the longest time.

We turned the cows out to pasture during the green season.  We had to go out with a tractor, truck, horse, whatever was available to bring them in to the barn.  It was never a problem, as soon as the cows saw you they started for the barn.

We took the milk to the house and Mom would run it through the separator to get the cream for making butter.  The skim was fed to the pigs and chickens.

We sold cream on Saturday evenings in Grand Ridge to about five different customers, 45 cents a pint or 80 cents a quart.  Its funny, I can’t remember what I did this morning, but I can remember the price of cream from seventy years ago.


Dad’s Story: Blacky

March 23, 2022

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date: April 2nd.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: oakgrovelane@yahoo.com. Thank you!

My Dad has started writing down some stories from his life and I’m encouraging him.  I’m editing and typing them up and will share one now.

Blacky

Dad went to the Illinois State Shorthorn Sale to buy a bull, late 1950s.

 He was bidding on the high bull when the auctioneer stopped the sale and said, “A few years ago, Shetland ponies brought more than what this bull is bringing.”

A few years earlier, Shetland ponies got real high.  The smaller the pony, the higher the price.

Les Mathers, the man selling the bull, had even imported Shetland ponies from Scotland during the Shetland pony boom. 

Inspired by the auctioneer, Les shouted, “a pony goes with this bull.”

Shetland ponies were the latest boom and bust fad as scarcity created demand with higher and higher prices being paid until finally supply catches up with demand and the price crashes.  

Probably the best example of this was the Dutch Tulip Bulb craze of the 1600s where some of the most rare Tulip bulbs sold for more than six times the average person’s annual wage at the time.

Chinchillas, Pot-bellied pigs, and most recently Alpacas, would fit in this category as well.

Well, Dad bought the bull and when he got home told us we had a pony to pick up.  Uncle Bill had his hired hand take my brother Dean and I to go get the pony.

We called him Blacky.  He was wild.  Blacky had never had a rope on him.

I trained Blacky to pull a cart with a homemade harness.  I had my younger brother Elmer get in the cart and I led Blacky down the road east about an eighth of a mile.  

Everything went really well until I turned Blacky around and we headed back home.  I gave Elmer the reins and walked beside them.  Blacky took off at a dead run home.

They made the first turn by the barn, but everything went bad on the second turn, upsetting Elmer and the cart.  Despite that initial setback, Blacky got really good at pulling the cart.

Another thing Blacky liked was riding in the back of brother Dale’s old 47 Chevy.  Take out the back seat and roll down the windows.  The neighbors did a double take when we drove by.

We built a new garage and had a New Year’s Eve party.  We played cards, danced some.  

It was a mixed group, some neighbor friends, some from Streator.  One Streator girl said she had never ridden a horse.  I went and got Blacky and gave her a ride with me leading.

When the Streator friends were going home, (2 girls, 1 boy), they got hit head on by a drunk, driving without his lights on, on the wrong side of the road.  Killed all three kids.

This was very upsetting to all of us.  That Streator girl had her first and last pony ride on Blacky.