Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lone Duck Updates

Well, let's share the big news first: Little Duck has hatched! All is well and we're thrilled- it's amazing how quickly you can fall in love with someone so little! Of course, the practical part of this update is to share that our on-farm hours will remain the same (1-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, and other times are available- just ask!).

In other news, you may have seen this article about different kinds of fish that pose a risk to your (or the environment's) health. If you haven't, I'd encourage you to click on the link- it's a good starting point. There are a lot of other articles out there if you're interested in learning more about your piscatorial choices, but the number one thing to keep in mind is that neither farmed or wild-caught fish are inherently better. It all depends on which kind of fish and how they're caught and managed.

While we may not be able to provide for all your fishy desires, Lone Duck Farm tilapia is sustainably raised, farmed without antibiotics and with strict safety measures. Fresh tilapia is a firm and flaky white fish (it's much firmer when fresh than the frozen packages you'll find in the grocery stores) and we are more than happy to discuss the details of why you can feel good about this choice!

Contact us today to talk about getting some delicious tilapia for dinner!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tuesday Hours Change

We've changed our on-farm hours for Tuesdays- we're now open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays

*If this doesn't work well for you, fret not! We're still available by appointment, as always- just give us a call or send us an email and we'd be more than happy to find a different time to have you stop out at the farm for some tasty produce or tilapia!

**Though it seems absolutely crazy to write this, the last 8 1/2 months have flown by (no pun intended) and there may be additional, last minute changes to our hours based on the upcoming arrival of our own "Little Duck." Unless you are a CSA customer (in which case, you'll receive your own update/instructions), please check this blog or our Facebook page before stopping out at the farm in the next few weeks- we may be (very excitedly) unavailable during our normal hours!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lone Duck Farm CSA Shares Now Available!

Some people know all about CSAs (and might even school us!) and others are left scratching their heads about what this acronym could possibly mean. So just in case you're wondering, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture (a buying agreement between the farmer and his or her community). CSA's provide pre-paid "shares" of the farm's produce to individuals/families, who then pick up their box of produce on a set day (usually once a week). This allows the share holder to get to know his or her farmer, to have a stake in the growing process, and to have access to the freshest food available; it also allows the farmer to know how much and which types of food to grow, guaranteeing him or her a market for their hard work. Financially, shareholders/members pay less than they would if they bought each item individually, though there is some risk involved- CSA farmers may sometimes need to substitute one item for another, depending on growing conditions. And did we mention that when you pre-pay for your veggies (and can plan for a set amount of produce to enter your house each week), you might just find it easier to actually eat the recommended amount of vegetable servings? :)

Lone Duck Farm is about to embark on the whole CSA adventure, and we'd love it if you came along! We're starting out with two share options- a full share and a half share, available weekly. Share holders can sign up for a three month season, and our first season will be starting in October and ending in December (14 weeks of delicious, fresh greens!). After that, shareholders can decide whether to commit for another three months, let their share expire, or to extend their share for even longer than just the next season! So what can you expect from each option?

Full Shares ($30/week = $420/season) include:
3 heads of living lettuce
1 bunch of kale OR swiss chard
1 bunch of watercress OR purslane
1 bunch of arugula OR endive
1 bunch spinach OR mizuna (a delicious, mild alternative)
1 head of pak choi OR celery
2 bunches of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, mint, chives, parsley, or cilantro)
1 seasonal item (see list below)

Half Shares ($18/week = $252/season) include:
2 heads of living lettuce
1 bunch of kale OR swiss chard
1 bunch of watercress OR arugula OR purslane
1 head of pak choi OR celery
1 bunch of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, mint, chives, parsley, or cilantro)
1 seasonal item every other week

Seasonal items may include: rhubarb, peas, mulberries, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, garlic, leeks, beets, onions, potatoes, or Brussels sprouts.

**As an added benefit, we're also offering a discount on tilapia to our CSA members- about 15% per fish! And members get first notice of any other products that may become available as we expand our offerings.

At this time, we're offering CSA shares on-farm, meaning that you'd need to stop by the farm between 3 and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays to pick up your share for the week. If we happen to have multiple shares headed to the same area of town, we can discuss setting up a delivery option.

So does this sound interesting to you? We'd love to answer any questions you have or send you a sign up sheet! Drop us a line or give us a call- we're excited to hear from you!

Friday, June 14, 2013

We're in the paper!

That might even be what brought you here! Whether you saw us in hard-copy or you're here on your own, rest assured that we're mighty excited about your visit to our website!

Take a look around the different pages, read some previous posts, and feel free to ask us some questions! Interested in a specific topic? Wondering about something on the farm? Just want to say hi? We welcome conversation!

As for what we have available this week, we offer the following for your gustatory pleasures:

  • Radishes
  • Arugula
  • Mizuna (a very tasty, mild Asian green)
  • Bok Choy
  • Oregano
  • Chives (garlic and standard)
  • Swiss Chard
  • Limited Spinach
  • Limited Kale

We're a bit light this week on our lettuces, but no worries. They'll be back soon!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weather got you down? You are not alone... (I am here with you...)

Michael Jackson aside, this weather has not been conducive to my motivation. I'm sure many of you can relate. However, I have to count my blessings as I hear reports of the winter weather my friends and family in the Twin Cities are experiencing (complete university closures in late April?!?). At least our snow isn't sticking around- and Matt and I have the opportunity to refresh ourselves every time we step into our own little oasis (aka: the greenhouse). With our milder temperatures and the extended daylight, we aren't needing to heat it during the day at all- in fact, we have to run the occasional fan! Our "peak" temperature this spring hit 120 degrees, which gives our chilly outdoor garden fits of jealousy. We don't tell the overwintered garlic about all the greens and the neon chard- everyone's got their limits, you know?

Inside the greenhouse, though, things are different. No frosty resentment here-  and the bright, beautiful Swiss Chard seems to be loving the conditions, whatever they are. (Just in case you're interested, chard makes a great substitution for cooked greens in most recipes- pastas, soups, casseroles- and it is consistently on those super-food lists you can find.) Barbara Kingsolver once said that if she were only allowed to grow one vegetable, this would be it- and I'm inclined to agree with her.

In other rafty news, our lettuce count is running a bit low this week (due to increased interest- wow, you guys!), but don't you worry- our rafts are full and our harvest is looking great for next week- and even better for the following week. We've had to start shading the little basils and arugulas (too much light!), but they're promising to be delicious! Look for them on our lists in the coming weeks.

So our offerings this week are:

  • Swiss Chard! (Want to try it without the pressure of cooking something new at home? Head over Cafe Soeurette and order some Rainbow Chard Fettuccine!)
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Watercress (try it on your sandwich, you won't regret it!)
  • Limited lettuce

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Miracles" of Life (including Swiss Chard)

This is only our second post, but I have to say, wow, guys! Since we officially went “live” two weeks ago, we’ve had over 900 views! That’s a bit more than I was expecting! So thank you (!!) for the huge outpouring of interest and support!

These past weeks have been busy here at the farm. We’ve had the arrival of some unexpected lambs, Matt spent a weekend at the Home, Garden, and Leisure show (did any of you meet him there?), we’ve added a few more on-farm customers, and we’re busy preparing for spring! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to air out the house, clean out the barn, and see some of those early spring flowers (we’ve been planting up a storm of seedlings to reintroduce some native perennials). It just seems like spring around here- at least in the greenhouse. Yes, we are determinedly ignoring all of that white stuff surrounding our warm oasis of green.

(One of last year's inherited crocuses, in case you've forgotten what spring looks like)


As for what Lone Duck Farm has to offer this week, we’ve got some beautiful red and green leaf lettuce bouquets, plenty of bright, crisp Bibbs, and our Romaine lettuces are definitely big and tasty. All of the lettuces are between $2.50-$4 a head, depending on kind and size.


If you’re looking for some additional color in your life right now, our Swiss Chard is big, bright, and beautiful.

Not sure how to prepare this sorta sweet surprise? Oh, I could count the ways! But here’s just one recipe (it was our “beginner” recipe), from the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver:


Eggs in a Nest
2 cups uncooked brown rice

Cook rice with 4 cups water in a covered pot while the other ingredients are being prepared.

A few tablespoons of olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped, and garlic to taste

            Sauté onions and garlic in the olive oil in a wide skillet until lightly golden.

Carrots, chopped (we usually use one or two medium carrots, but they can also be omitted)

½ cup dried tomatoes (we usually omit the tomatoes, but I hear it’s tasty even with them!)

            Add carrots and tomatoes (if using) and sauté them with the onions and garlic.

1 or 2 large bunches of Swiss chard, coarsely chopped (include the stems, but keep those pieces a bit smaller)

            Mix with other vegetables in the skillet and cover the pan for a few minutes; uncover, stir the ingredients all up, and then use the back of the spoon to make 8 depressions in the vegetables (like the depressions were numbers on a clock).

8 eggs

            Break an egg into each depression, and then recover the pan, allowing the eggs to poach for 3-5 minutes. Then remove from heat and serve over the brown rice.


This recipe serves 4, but can be modified pretty easily.



(OK, food stylists we are not- but I promise, it's delicious!)

P.S.- If you haven’t read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” yet, you should really pick it up!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Three W's- Who, What, and Why?

Some of you who know us are probably thinking that it's about time we got this blog up and running! We tend to agree- we've just been a little busy! We've spent the last two years dismantling our every adolescent expectation of a glamorous, comfortable city life by buying a farm, putting in gardens and a greenhouse, filling up our barn, permaculturing the land, and generally getting a small homestead going while working jobs in the outside world. Now it's time for us to update all of you on our progress and our current farm status!

Our journey started long, long ago in a land not-so-far away. The year 2009 found us living in Fond du Lac, WI in a nice house in a nice subdivision. Matt was a mechanical engineer, Elise worked in a non-profit organization. And while we were comfortable, neither of us was particularly happy. We knew something wasn't quite right, but we weren't sure what it was. Luckily (at least in the long run), Matt got briefly laid off from work and we realized that the security we had always associated with a set paycheck wasn't actually all that secure. And if that security was an illusion, what else did we need to reevaluate? The increased time to read, cook, and do things around our home brought about lots of questions and changes that sent us reeling- but in the right direction.

We started to ask whether our current lifestyle was sustainable- not only financially, but for the environment- and how we could make it better for everyone involved. We read. And we read. And then we read some more. And as we read (and cooked from scratch more often), we began to explore what else we might be able (and even WANT) to do- could we do away with prepackaged food all together? What about growing our own vegetables? Making our own dairy products? Our own sweeteners? What about meat? Could Matt actually farm full time rather than commuting to Milwaukee every day? The answer was YES- but not where we were living. We figured that goats (and their owners) might fare poorly in a well manicured neighborhood that had covenants forbidding fences. So we put our house on the market and decided to search for a more earthy lifestyle, wherever that might take us.

Serendipity, later revealed as God, brought us to a 125 year old farmhouse on five acres just south of West Bend. We closed on the farm in May, and by June, we had found our farming gateway drug- chickens. But chickens aren't called the gateway drug without reason, and our menagerie soon expanded to include not only our friendly, feathered bug-hunters, but some milkable mini-ruminants (who think they're really dogs) and you guessed it, one lone duck (who seems to think he's just a chicken who loves bathtime).

The animals may have given us a name for the farm, but it's our vegetables, fish, and other produce that are our mainstays. We're growing vegetables and fish in our 30'x72' greenhouse, and are planting and permaculturing the rest of our acreage to further our three main priorities for the land- sustainability, diversity, and abundance. We want to grow as much food as possible while using natural fertilizers and insectaries (with beneficial bugs like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps), companion planting, and prevention strategies; if we absolutely must use an insecticide or other "potion" we make sure that they're OMRI certified or made from ingredients we'd eat ourselves (garlic spray as a finished product might not be something we'd eat willingly, but we could and probably do eat all of the ingredients in it).

We've become fully rooted in living a low-impact, nature- and God-honoring lifestyle and it is our passion to help others do the same. After all, individual actions make the biggest impact when they inspire others to make changes, too. But not everyone has an inner farmer just waiting to bust out, and we firmly believe that you shouldn't have to become one just to live a less impactful life and have access to nutritious, delicious, local food. Not everyone has their heart quicken at the idea of thawing frozen water buckets in January and smushing potato beetles in July- and that's OK! Wherever you're at, we want to help- whether it's providing your food for you, teaching you how to make cheese/bread/soap/beer/wine/etc., or giving you ideas of how you might improve your own backyard garden.

We'll be updating this blog at least once a week and we encourage you to sign up for email updates. Some posts will have our updated product lists (you might also find it easier to check the appropriate tab, rather than scroll through all of the posts), while others will have tips, recipes, and everyday life stories. Check back often and let us know what you think!