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Spring 2017 CSA starts in March

December 15, 2017

Laughing Frog Farm will offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares this spring starting March 1 or March 3, 2018, depending on your pickup location. For 11 weeks, until May 12, each member will receive a box of nutrient dense, organically raised vegetables, herbs and fruits. One delivery location will be to the Eastside Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. A second location is the Health Museum, 1515 Herman Drive, 77004 for pickup on Thursday afternoons 1:00 to 5:00.
An up-front payment of $275 is due at signup.  A box will consist of a variety of seasonal vegetables and herbs.  Fruits and mushrooms will be added when available. A $25 discount is offered to renewing members.
We grow by organic standards and concentrate on increasing the nutrients in our soil. We welcome our customers to visit our farm on the third Sunday of every month in the spring and fall.

There delivery locations:
• Eastside Farmers Market — Saturday morning pickup.
May 3 thru March 12 – 8:00 until noon

• The Health Museum — 1515 Herman Drive 77004 – Thursdays May 1 thru March 10 – 1:00 until 5:00

An up-front payment of $275 is due at signup.

Name____________________________________________________________

Email_____________________________________________________________

Phone #___________________________________________________________

Payment method:
• Credit card – online below or at the market
• Check – mail to 38238 Wiggins Rd. Hempstead, Tx 77445 or at the market
• Cash – at the market

glen@thelaughingfrogfarm.com
Organic principles / Permaculture methods
http://www.thelaughingfrogfarm.com/csa/

We cannot refund money for canceled shares.

CSA MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT
A) By joining the Laughing Frog Farm CSA, I confirm that I wish to participate in subscription service of weekly deliveries of fresh vegetables, grown using sustainable and chemical-free farming practices, with concern for flavor, nutrition, the environment, worker health and the community. I understand that Laughing Frog Farm will do everything possible to ensure a bountiful, diverse assortment of vegetables each week, and also realize that there are risks involved with farming and that quantities will vary.

B) My vegetable delivery subscription involves a commitment for eleven weeks and I agree to consider if the program is right for me before signing up. I will make arrangements for my basket to be taken by somebody at my regular drop-off spot during vacations or absences or it will be donated to charity.

C) The fall season total is $275 for 11 weeks. If I am unable to honor my commitment to the entire season, I understand that Laughing Frog Farm does not offer refunds for payments made, and I will either forfeit the remaining baskets or transfer my baskets to another individual.

sign up for CSA

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Forty years after “Ladderman”

September 20, 2017

Forty years ago on Tuesday, Sept. 20 my company, Houston Stage Equipment, loaded the Houston Ballet’s “Swan Lake” scenery into a trailer headed for Jones Hall.
The entire crew then got together at Larry, my business partner’s house, for some refreshments and fajitas catered by this little local Mexican restaurant named Ninfas. About 2:00 a.m. I got on my bike and motored home. I pulled into the garage and headed to my second floor home in the little fourplex.
The phone rang. I don’t think my phone had ever rung before. When I picked up the receiver I heard my landlady, who lived in the apartment below me, alarmed that the light in the garage had just gone out. I assured Ms. Brown that I would check on it, and halfway down the outdoor staircase I saw a young man on a ladder climbing toward the window of the apartment over the garage. I yelled. He ran. All the neighbors came out, and down from the garage apartment came a women, barefoot and in a red nightshirt. I had never met her.
Ms. Brown had called the police, so we had to wait. Everyone went inside but the young woman and me. We sat on the steps and talked. It took two hours for the police to arrive but it didn’t seem long. We relayed our stories to the police and sat back down on the steps and talked. And then, suddenly, the sun came up. “I’ve gotta go to work”, so I quickly changed from my clean jeans and shirt to my work jeans and shirt and headed to the shop.
We had lots of change orders and additions to do, so I worked long hours for the next three days, but took Saturday off, ostensibly to sleep, but I also thought I might try and get the attention of the woman I had met.
Early, before I felt comfortable knocking on her door, Ms. Brown called me with another emergency. Her cat had died and she wanted to know if I would bury it for her. So, as my grandmother would have said, “I braved up” and knocked on the garage apartment’s door and asked if she would like to go for a walk.
Our first date was a walk down the railroad tracks in Houston’s east end to bury a cat.
The next date was more romantic.
And that is how I met Kenan.
Happy 40th Kenan!

Restarting Local Business Begins With Us

September 3, 2017

The Sunday morning after hurricane Ike struck the gulf coast in 2008, there was minimal flooding here in Hempstead, and no electricity, so I went into town to see if I could find the source of the electrical outage. We had a full freezer and I needed to know if I should crank up the generator. It was about 5:00 am when I drove by the Snowflake Donuts shop operated by an immigrant family, and a young man was standing out front, in the dark, with a sign that said “Open Today, Cash Only”. They were not going to let a little hurricane and no power stop them from cranking up the propane in order to pay the bills. I didn’t stop and feel guilty about that.
Houston has a young population, a large energetic immigrant community and hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs. Often those assets are all rolled into one person.
If you want to jumpstart this recovery, continue to donate what you can, time and/or money, but the thing that really makes the economy come back is supporting local business. If you buy lunch from a food truck or a mattress from Gallery Furniture, you know that much of that money will be recirculated into the local economy.
It will take government money to get the roads and schools back and rebuilding the homes is a long term project, but each of us has the power to help the local hardware store, the small restaurant, and, of course, the local farms. We can help rebuild lives purchasing the things we need to rebuild our own.
So before you head off to the big box store, or click “add to cart” at Amazon, look around our home turf for it. That money just might come back to you and your friends.

After the storm

August 29, 2017

The last four days were unbelievable, but we fared well. We had over 40” of rain and finished with no dead livestock and practically no dead plants.
We had just planted a few hundred seedlings of pac choy and broccoli raab and they seem to be happy. We have extremely healthy soils, very permeable, due to years of not tilling and not exposing the microbes to the elements. That, combined with rotational livestock use, means we can absorb more water and hold it for drier days. We also have the advantage of being 270’ above sea level, meaning the water has somewhere to go, but we would rather keep it in the soil.
All our beds are built high with swales on the sides holding the excess water. None of the newer beds are straight, but are curving to maneuver the water and hold it until it can be absorbed.
Straight beds up and down the elevation lead to runoff. Straight beds across the elevation lead to flooding those very same plots.
Also, we leave grass between the beds. Most times you will see soil or mulch in these areas that would become mud under these circumstances. The grass keeps roots in the ground. Those roots stimulate the growth of fungi, bacteria and the rest of the soil microbes as well as prevent erosion. You can walk in the gardens at any time, no matter how wet.
The healthier soils and better root systems also provide more nutrients to the plants.
So a combination of location, lots of luck, reconsidered farming practices, and planning have helped us survive this catastrophe.
We hope our customers will come out and support farmers at the markets and patronize the restaurants that support us. We will not miss a beat and will be back at the market this week and ready to supply our CSA starting Sept. 6. Please consider joining our CSA.

The five rules of the soil

July 13, 2017

1. Armor the soil. Never expose the soil directly to the elements. Soil should be covered with plants, mulch or even weeds to enhance the microbial action.
2. Living roots in the ground as much as possible. We leave the roots of plants that we have harvested because michorrizal fungi only grows on roots. Removing the roots would destroy that fungi and the relationships that exist in the soil. Luckily we can have plants growing all year here in the gulf coast.
3. Do not disturb the soil. The relationships in the soil are complex and we want to allow them to grow without destroying them with plowing. We move the soil as little as possible with a hoe.
4. Provide plant diversity. Different root structures and leaf shapes attract a diverse group of microbes and beneficial insects.
5. Integrate livestock. We raise chickens and rotate sheep into the gardens to provide fertility and aerate the soil. After animals and their fresh manure leave, we will not eat vegetables from that garden for 90 days.

Fruit and Vegetable Prescriptions – Just What the Doctor Ordered

June 18, 2017

In 2010 Wholesome Wave.org launched FVRx, a prescription fruit and vegetable pilot program to make fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available to communities, helping patients who are at risk of diet-related illness and cannot afford, or access, healthy food.
The program is now available in Houston and Laughing Frog Farm, along with other local farms at the Eastside Farmers Market and the East End Street Market, are now participating in the program.
We are your “farmacy”.
If you are someone who might qualify for the program, see your doctor or clinic and find out. And pass the information on to someone who needs it. Everyone deserves nutrient dense food.
http://www.wholesomewave.org/how-we-work/produce-prescriptions

Gulf Coast Native Sheep for Sale

March 29, 2017

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We raise Gulf Coast Native Sheep in Hempstead, Texas.
We will have a few sheep for sale in May 2018.

I often suggest to new, homesteading sheep farmers, who usually want two ewes and a ram, that they get an experienced ewe, a ewe lamb and a ram or two older ewes and a ram.  It is usually best to find ewes that do not have the same line as the ram. Since we trade out rams every few years we often have unrelated pairs.
Gulf Coast Sheep are mostly parasite and hoof rot resistant. We do not vaccinate and we worm only if a lamb does not pass the Famacha test. No ewe lambs that have to be wormed twice will be in the breeding program. Ewes that produce multiple lambs that have to be wormed twice will be culled. No ram lamb that ever has to be wormed will be sold or used as breeding stock.
We had 60 inches of rain in two months last spring (2016) and had no cases of hoof rot and one abscessed hoof, even though they were grazing in puddles of water as much as two inches deep at times.
The wet, warm weather is breeding ground for barber pole worm. Out of 29 lambs in 2016, we had to worm 8 lambs. Four had to be wormed twice and they were not in the breeding program.
All lambs are born on pasture with no aid from humans. We do not have a barn or indoor livestock area. We average 1.25 lambs per birth. Gulf Coast Sheep tend to be smaller, reaching processing weight at about 10 to 12 months and yielding about 25 to 30 pounds of meat. The meat is exceptional and is listed on the Slow Food Arc of Taste.  They are fed grass, hay and alfalfa.  With the rains we have had in the past few years, they have had grass almost all year, making feeding economical.  The wool is fairly course with stable lengths varying from two to five inches.
Ours are raised on pasture with a variety of grasses, clovers, forbs, trees and brush. We plant winter cover crops to improve variety and weather tolerance. They tolerate our heat and humidity, but need access to shade when it is hot and sunny.
As parasites become resistant to dewormers, and warming temperatures move those parasites further north, parasite resistant sheep are becoming more popular.
The sheep are registered, or are able to be registered, with the Gulf Coast Sheep Breeders Association. This breed is listed as “critical” by the Livestock Conservancy. Preserving this breed with its’ ability to adapt to the humid southern climate without chemical/medical inputs is important.
If you are spending lots of your time taking care of sheep and are losing sheep to illness or at birth, you might consider the Gulf Coast Native Sheep.
Sheep going out of state might require a health certificate and an additional fee of $100.00  per flock would be added for us to take care of this.
A $50.00 deposit per head will reserve your sheep.
Please contact me if you are interested.