It's Salad season! Get the most out of your greens!

Here in Montana the spinach and lettuces are abundant right now! I can't wait to take my spinach to market in a few days because it is so big and beautiful along with the various salad greens I've grown this spring.

I don't know about you, but my biggest pet peeve is buying lettuce and then a few days later opening the bag and finding a stinky, slimy, unappealing mess in the bag!  I do find it happens with store bough more so than with farm fresh. But it still happens in either instance!

I recently came across this article and I appreciated the testing they did and I fully agree with the results.  For years I have always advocated for the bag and paper towel method and it works just fine. But if you are looking for an extended time for your greens, the winning method in this article is sure to make you do a little happy dance!  Check out this article from TheKtchn.com:

Buying a big bag of salad greens or lettuces is a great, economical way to get your veggie servings, but we've all dealt with the frustrations of opening the bag a few days later and seeing sad, wilted or even slimy leaves inside.
What's the best way to store salad greens so that they last the longest? We tried three methods to find out which was best — and there was a clear winner!   READ MORE AND GET THE WINNING METHOD HERE!!!

So this spring and early summer, enjoy your greens for longer!  And if you are in Missoula, please stop by the Orchard Homes' Farmers' market this Thursday, June 15th from 4:30-7pm in the parking lot of Orchard Homes' Country Life Club (2537 S. 3rd Street West) and pick up some fresh spinach, a crisp romaine head or some tasty Spicy Asian Mix from Turner Farms!

Farm Tour Season kicks off at Turner Farms!

Today, we hosted the first Farm Tour of the season! After a long, quiet winter it's always so fun to welcome groups of kids and adults back to the farm!  These groups ignite our passion for what we do and rejuvenate our desire to share the farm with Missoula!  To see the kids' faces light up when they hear the turkeys gobble at them or the pigs snort at them just makes our hearts sing!

This mornings group was a group of 15 preschoolers with their teacher and parents.  While this age is always challenging to keep their attention, it is also one of the funnest because it doesn't take much for them to squeal in delight at the simplest things!  This morning I brought out a dozen chicken eggs along with a turkey and goose egg.  I love letting the kids touch and feel the eggs...something they are usually not allowed to do at home but I want them to use all their senses when they are on the farm!  Holding an egg is surprisingly one of those things the kids love to do and fight to get in line first!  I love that it's the simple things which delight the kids!

While we tour the farm and look at all the animals, I also love giving the kids the opportunity to feed the animals.  Whether it's a handful of hay, an apple or today it was old pears, they just love to toss the animals something and watch them eat it!  Again, the simple things in life tend to bring the most joy!

With spring tours, we are lucky enough to have some baby animals around.  Today the kids got to see the two young lambs we have, the pigs who are 3 months old and then the big excitement were the baby chicks!  I love having the kids sit in a circle in the grass and then I bring them each a chick to hold.  For many, it is their first time and they are nervous and reluctant but for a few it is old hat and they are comfortable.  During today's tour, there was a very young, petite little girl who took her chick and and sat down with a sweet smile on her face.  That chick just nestled down in her wee little hands and was lulled to sleep.  It was the cutest darn thing!  What always, secretly, makes me giggle is when the rough and tough boys are being handed a chick and at the last minute they pull their hands away and decide they don't want to hold it! 

We will welcome hundreds of people this year as they pass through our gates for field trips and farm tours.  Our hope is that they leave knowing two things: 1) Anyone can farm or raise their own food--whether it's raising meat animals or whether it's a tomato plant in a pot on your porch! And the other thing we want people to learn from our farm tours is how important it is to preserve local agricultural land and to support local farms!  We want people to always have access to local food and a chance to experience farm life close to town, so we stress the importance of preservation today for the sake of tomorrow!!

If you are interested in one of our farm tours, please check out the tab on our website under Farm Tours and then contact us to schedule a time.  We do tours for all ages during the spring, summer and fall. (Spring and Fall are the most popular!)

Spring has Arrived!

Spring has arrived! Not necessarily with a bang but it has arrived and while the longer days and warmer temps gently remind us of spring's arrival we still are keenly aware of winter's strong hold on us! Our mountains are still snow covered and are receiving fresh snow everytime it rains in the valley.  Our nights are still dipping down to freezing so that means no crops are ready to go out in the gardens yet.  But our greenhouse is full and getting fuller everyday. It's just too hard to be out there watering the tiny plants and not seed another tray of veggies!  We will end up with more than we can plant this year for sure but we'll have some of those starts for sale or we'll share with our farmer friends!

 The advantage of this slower start to the planting season is it has offered us the opportunity to do some projects we normally wouldn't be doing this time of year.  This past weekend, we hired a crew of the local FFA kids, who are trying to raise money for a leadership camp this summer, to come and clean out some of our gardens and help up lay down new landscape fabric on our walk paths in one of the gardens.  This was a project on our list for the last couple of years, but it always falls to the bottom of the list once planting begins.  So there is an advantage to a cooler spring!

The fruit trees have all been pruned and are starting to slowly bud out.  The crop fields have had manure spread and have been tilled.  The onions have been planted...all 1500 plants! Although, we still have onion sets to put in too! The sweet peas have been planted, the raspberry canes cleaned out and thinned, the lettuce bed is prepped and ready for seed this week.  So as you can see, we are ready to roll once Mother Nature decides she's ready!

Meanwhile, you'll continue to find us hanging out in our tropical feeling greenhouse, seeding more trays and dreaming of the best harvest ever!

Winter is the great chalkboard of Farming!

Winter is the great chalkboard of Farming!

Winter with its quiet, peaceful lull is a welcome season here at Turner Farms. After the hustle and bustle of harvest season and then the holidays, we are ready for some down time. Sure, we do lounge a little and read a few more books and sip a few more cups of coffee but honestly, winter is a time for us to look at our methods of farming and do some tweaking. 

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