Here is your opportunity to visit five working farms in Livingston County, all of which are about 30 to 45 minutes south of the intersection of I-80 and I-55. The Fourth Annual Livingston County Farm Crawl will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 22, and Sunday, August 23, 2015. Check back often for updates or subscribe to get new posts by email!
Agnes the goat with her quintuplets at Antiquity Oaks
The dates have been set for the 2015 Farm Crawl. It will be held Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23. The same five farms will once again be opening their gates to visitors for the weekend. Planning meetings are underway, and more details will be coming soon!
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The winner of the Farm Crawl Gift Basket is the Swink Family of Dwight, IL! They received the following items: Two bars of goat milk soap from Antiquity Oaks. A $10 gift certificate for garden produce from Eden Harvest Farm. A bottle of goat milk lotion from Cherokee Wind. Sugar scrub, lip balm, and a tube of herbal salve from Farmer in Odell. AND a coffee mug with a picture of a cute alpaca cria from M2A Farm! Congratulations!!
Thank you all for supporting the Livingston County Farm Crawl this year. We're already thinking ahead to 2015!
Although it is free to attend the Farm Crawl, we do ask that you get tickets on Eventbrite so that we will have an idea of how many people to expect. Trade in your ticket for a passport at the first farm you visit, and then as you visit each farm, get the passport punched. When you visit the last farm, drop your passport into their box to be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket of prizes from all five farms.
And in case you didn't know yet, we have a Facebook page. To see more pictures of the farms, visit us on Facebook today.
It seemed so far off for so long, but now here we are - just under 4 weeks until the 3rd Annual Livingston County Farm Crawl! That sounds like a long time, but there's a lot to do this time of year on the farm, plus whatever else life throws at us between now and then, and whatever preparations we have to make specifically for Farm Crawl Weekend. Four weeks is going to fly by. Here are some pictures and notes about what is going on here at Farmer in Odell:
At the end of June, I attended a workshop at the U of I Extension office on straw bale gardening. We'd happened to have just gotten several bales of straw, so we got to work and set up two straw bale gardens. We planted zucchini, several types of beans, carrots, beets, radishes and parsley. It's now been a month and here is a picture of one of the gardens. The zucchini on each end have been growing in this one. The zucchini in the other "garden" didn't ever germinate. The only other plants that sprouted are beans and radishes. I can't blame the straw bales for that, as the seeds never sprouted at all. We'd been hanging on to older seeds for many years. We kept them in the freezer for years, but last year I just left them in a box in the cool basement. I have a feeling that was a bad thing as our germination rate on the old seeds was poor everywhere - not just the straw bales. In 2015 we're going to start with all brand-new seeds. Today we gave them some more fertilizer. I'm hoping that by the Crawl, we'll have flowers on all the beans and zucchini so we can actually harvest some before fall.
These three pictures are of the garden between the driveways - behind the straw bales. This garden has 9 rows of fencing for things that climb. We started with peas on 7 of the fences. Some of those are still producing, but about a month ago I planted pole beans and cucumbers where there were gaps or where the peas were just about done. Now some of them are simply huge - growing taller than the fence. Another variety isn't really climbing at all, but they are growing very well. I'm actually impressed with all the pole beans, and they are flowering, which makes me very happy. We haven't had enough beans for several years to allow us to can or freeze any for winter. I'm thinking that this year we will. The cukes aren't quite as thick as the beans, but we'll get enough for eating fresh, and maybe even be able to make a few jars of pickles. Between the fences we've planted a variety of other plants - broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, fennel, onions, chard, kohlrabi, turnips, and beets. They are doing well and this week I'll be harvesting our first baby beets and broccoli. Today I picked and ate a kohlrabi. Last week I picked 3 turnips which are the size of my hand! And the chard has been used several times over the past few weeks. The nice thing about chard is that it just keeps coming back all year :)
Behind this garden (and past the strawberry patch) are the tomatoes and peppers. They are in buckets which are half buried in the ground. We did this last year for the first time in order to eliminate the weeding around the plants. It's done a good job of that, but they don't grow very well in the buckets. I've since learned that they have a large root system and need a lot of room to grow. The buckets don't accommodate that and they also dry out fast. But this year we're actually getting tomatoes from some of the plants. Here's a picture of the first one ripening. Today we got about a dozen of these little tomatoes - without the bites.
We have more garden space than this, but I'll move on to a few pictures of the animals. If I show you EVERYthing now, you'll have no reason to come to the Crawl! First is York giving you a smile.
Goats eating their dinner, chickens eating theirs, too. These chickens are our meat birds. They are a little crowded in the tractors, which means they are ready to take a trip down to Arthur. They are going to the processor this week so they'll be frozen and ready for you to buy at the farm crawl. Be sure to bring a cooler with you! We'll have chicken and eggs as well as some produce available to purchase. Most of the other farms will also have food for you to buy - so maybe two coolers would be better ;)
In addition to expanding the Farm Crawl to two days this year, there will also be more demonstrations at the various farms. Although the schedule has not yet been finalized, here are some of the things visitors can expect at this year's farms.
At the Farmer in Odell, visitors can see how to milk a goat, grind your own flour, make bread, and make soap.
At Antiquity Oaks, there will be goat milking, mozzarella making, solar oven cooking, soapmaking, and scything (cutting grass hay with a long blade).
Visitors to Cherokee Winds will learn about goat milking, needle felting, making felted soap, soapmaking, and beekeeping.
M2A Farm has a new resident -- Olivia the emu -- that visitors will be able to see, and there will also be spinning demonstrations.
There will again be a corn maze at Eden's Harvest Farm for a $3 fee, and there will be lunch available as a fundraiser.
The date has been set for the Third Annual Livingston County Farm Crawl. We are expanding to two days this year and moving it to the fourth weekend of August, rather than the third. This year's event will be Saturday, August 23, and Sunday, August 24!
Stay tuned for details as plans are finalized! Type your email address into the box at right to receive new posts by email.
The Second Annual Farm Crawl was a success, according to farmers and guests alike.
Raffle winners were:
Marlana Sokolovich - The Country Mansion
Taylor and Logan Conger - The Country Mansion
C. L. Gukeisen - The Country Mansion
Mike & Elena Cummings - Station 343
Sherri Sachs - Station 343
Lesa Namchick - The Basket of Homegrown Products
Mike Sinks - Pet Products
Planning for the Third Annual Farm Crawl will begin soon!