PLANT the farm...

       Spring has officially arrived, but apparently Illinois didn't quite get the memo. We enjoyed a few hours here and there, but it wasn't until this week that the coats have gradually been put away. I am genuinely excited for the arrival of spring! The past few weeks at the farm have found us working as many hours as we can in the greenhouse. We are planting starter crops to be transplanted into the field, transplanting flowers ready to set up our garden center, and making plans to move greenhouses! Needless to say, it has been incredibly busy.

          Today, we are focused on tomatoes. Many of our summer visitors enjoy the ripe tomatoes we have daily, and we don't blame you! Today we grafted tomatoes. Grafting tomatoes calls for a hardy tomato as root stock, pinched together with an heirloom tomato, to protect from disease. If you are interested in learning more, check out this article from The Atlantic. It is most definitely tedious work, but we are hopeful it will be worth the time in amazing tomatoes this summer!

Grafting Tomatoes at the Farm.

         We're also planting our tomatoes in the greenhouse today. We love that they are in the ground, and waiting for some sunshine... now come on spring! We can't wait for the sweet tastes of summer. 

Tomatoes at the farm, we have quite the selection to choose from!

       What are your favorite tomatoes? If you don't have a favorite, check out the selection we have at the farm and pick one out to try! You won't be disappointed. Yum!

-Molly

 

Acorn Squash: Thanksgiving Sides!

Acorn Squash, photo by Molly Nolan

Acorn Squash, photo by Molly Nolan

Acorn Squash, available at Garden Patch Farms, is an incredibly easy and delicious addition to your holiday meal! Check out this simple recipe for Thanksgiving, or perhaps to accompany some of the leftovers this weekend? Either way, we know if you try this you will not be disappointed, (click the image to download a PDF of the recipe)!

Stop by the farm to choose from a selection of Home Grown Squash, pick up some last minute table-decor, and get the fresh eggs you need for holiday baking! We will be closed on Thanksgiving to enjoy with our families, and we wish you all the best this Thanksgiving! We will reopen Friday at 12:00, with Christmas trees, wreaths & greens!

Happy Thanksgiving, see you soon at the farm!

-Molly

Plant the Farm: Garlic

Garlic is officially in the ground. We begin planting garlic in October, allowing months for the bulbs to grow into full heads of garlic. As we come to the end of our busy u-pick season, we begin preparing our fields and farm for next year's crop. Garlic is generally ready to be picked in June, and planted now, as it requires months to mature.

It's a beautiful process, this image shows a clove ready to be covered with soil:

Garlic bulb in our greenhouse.  Photo by Molly Nolan.

Garlic bulb in our greenhouse.  Photo by Molly Nolan.

We plant rows of garlic in our greenhouse, providing you with home-grown garlic you can count on! Just one more reason to shop at the farm.

Planting Garlic, running along the hose lines. Photo by Molly Nolan

Planting Garlic, running along the hose lines. Photo by Molly Nolan

November finds us busy with preparations for Christmas on the Farm, and finalizing all of our holiday plans. We're looking forward to Christmas trees,  creating all of our custom wreaths and as always, our beautiful arrangements of greens!

Can't wait to see you at the farm. 

-Molly

Blackberry Cake, Hello Heaven!

Have you been to our farm to pick fresh blackberries? They are so lush and delicious this time of year, that we are sharing an amazing recipe for Blackberry Cake!  This cake is very simple, the glaze added at the end  makes it an amazing display of blackberry goodness.

Use our recipe from the website, or click on the recipe to download the pdf.

Blackberry Cake, yum! 


If you haven't been by the farm for Blackberries, come visit us soon! We can't wait to see you at the farm!  

-Molly

This Summer at Garden Patch Farms...

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This summer has been eventful at Garden Patch Farms! We kicked off the summer with our Butterfly Festival, releasing butterflies and enjoying a beautiful day at the farm...

If you weren't able to join us, be sure to check out all the exciting things going on at the farm this summer.

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Our fields are open to Pick, have you signed up for field updates?  We also have some additions to the farm that if you haven't met, you need to stop and say hello! We have a lot going on at the farm, stop by to see what our farm friends are up to, pick some fresh fruit, and have a great day!

Click through to see some of the photos from the Butterfly Festival here:

We look forward to seeing you at the farm this weekend! 

-Molly

Gooseberry Cheesecake: Such a Delight!

http://www.womanandhome.com/recipes/532082/gooseberry-cheesecake-recipe

http://www.womanandhome.com/recipes/532082/gooseberry-cheesecake-recipe

Gooseberries seem to be a well-kept secret, as they aren't available to purchase everywhere. At Garden Patch Farms, gooseberries are home grown, for only $5 per pound. Visit the farm to Pick your own, or take some home from our store today!

Be sure to try this amazing recipe for Cheesecake, utilizing the flavors of a favorite summer fruit! Click the image to download the pdf version and print it out!

Recipe from: http://www.womanandhome.com/recipes/532082/gooseberry-cheesecake-recipe

Recipe from: http://www.womanandhome.com/recipes/532082/gooseberry-cheesecake-recipe

Can't wait to see you at the farm, and hear about all the amazing ways you're using gooseberries! 

-Molly 

Roasted Rhubarb Clafouti

Baked Rhubarb Clafouti:

Rhubarb is the perfect addition to Clafouti, a French dessert that sounds difficult to make, but is quick and delicious. Clafoti, a baked custard, is not only simple to whip up for a tasty dessert, it keeps well for an amazing breakfast. Baked clafouti is soft and milky, and after a night in the refrigerator sets into a thick almost pancake-like treat (original recipe found here).

Rhubarb is in full swing at Garden Patch Farms, and now is the best time for you to create a quick (but impressive) dessert! Be sure to pick some up, and with a few simple ingredients listed in the recipe attached, you will have an exquisite dessert!

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Found at: http://www.foodily.com/r/MsBrXxUH8i-roasted-rhubarb-clafouti-by-the-kitchn

Found at: http://www.foodily.com/r/MsBrXxUH8i-roasted-rhubarb-clafouti-by-the-kitchn

Click on the recipe below to download a printable PDF recipe. Get to Garden Patch Farms to pick up what is simply the best rhubarb around, and get cooking!

Thanks to thekitchn.com for this amazing recipe! Visit the blog at Garden Patch Farms for more recipes throughout the year! 

-Molly

Our Fresh Produce List and U-Pick List

Often times, we just get so busy during the day that it's nearly impossible to answer the phone and give our undivided attention to our callers.  Fortunately, almost every call we take is a question about when specific produce is ready.  Lucky for our callers, we've compiled two different lists available for download.  The lists are as follows: 

1. Approximate Ripening Dates - This is a list of all the fresh produce we sell in our store and their approximate ripening dates.  Please remember, these dates are approximate.  In order to be informed when your desired produce is ready to be picked, please visit our 'Be Notified' page.  

2. U-Pick Produce List - This is a list of all of the produce available for u-pick.

 

A Sign of Good Things to Come...

When people ask me my favorite season, I have always been quick to respond that I am particularly fond of the fall.  The colors have come to represent our busiest season, as people from many different cultures look to Garden Patch Farms as their hot spot for apple, pear, and pumpkin picking.

With snow still on the ground and another snowstorm due to hit us at midnight, I can't help but focus my thoughts on the sunny days of spring as we are preparing in the greenhouse.  When the sun is shining, on the inside, you wouldn't even know that the temperature outside is almost 50 degrees less.

Heating soil to kill off weed seeds.

As the season grows near, we've been hard at work preparing soil in our soil heater.  Once the soil heats for nearly 3 hours, we'll combine it with a growing medium and compost from last year's crops to ensure that we have healthy soil to grow those beautiful flowers for which we've become so popular.  Once we mix it, the soil is ready to be put in pots and baskets.  If we're lucky, we don't have to wait too long for some of our flowers to arrive.  

Waiting for flowers...

Although we grow many of flowers from seed, there are many benefits to buying plugs from a reputable grower.  Having plugs delivered allows us to make space for the baskets, patio boxes, and pots in which the plugs will be planted.