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Urban Farm

Posted 10/14/2019 6:24pm by Jeri Villarreal.

Our City Farm is a labor of love. In the fall of 2016, that farm became more labor than love. The Spring of 2017, I realized that I wasn't able to continue farming as I had; there just wasn't enough of me to go around. We had many instances of vandalism and with each theft, they took more than things, they took my passion and will to continue my dream; my farm.

Taking a break can be good and this break has brought so much clarity and direction. I realize, I love farming with every fiber of my being. I love my community that supported what we did to the very end. Also, I still believe that everyone should know where their food comes from, how it was grown and have the confidence that it is safe and natural. I want to provide people with nutrient-dense, natural food that tastes great, looks beautiful and gets people excited about what's on their plate.

Bring on the purple peppers, yellow carrots and white summer squash because Our City Farm is back! In my heart, we never left. When you drive by the farm in the coming months, you will likely see a dramatic transformation. The farm will not only get some much needed love and attention, we will also be putting in new structures and laying out the farm in way that allows us to grow as much produce as possible. Stay tuned for the finished product. 

Growing season 2020 is going to be amazing!!!

Posted 3/26/2015 9:15pm by Jeri Villarreal.

Today I realized that we are starting our fifth season farming! It really seems like yesterday I was just a young backyard farmer with a few chickens, 10 raised beds and a dream to continue to grow. That is just what happened! A year and a half later, I found a vacant lot in the city and saw a dream coming true. Today when I pulled up to the farm, I was beaming with pride and joy remembering those times and being able to see my dream become reality. From 10 raised beds to 50 raised beds and 4 fifty-foot berms and a hydroponic greenhouse. From backyard chickens to a 12x14 coop and a 3,500 square-foot chicken yard. We've truly come a long way.

The farm is now fenced and it's time to install what I think will be one of the most beneficial and important feature of the farm. The Edible Landscape. This will 1000 square feet of growing space in the front of our farm dedicated solely for the benefit of the community. Imagine naturally grown, beautiful fruits and vegetable available at the fingertips of any passerby that it interested in trying them. This is a way to reach out to the entire community and give back a bit. I hope encourages kids to try a new food and for people to want to learn more about growing their own food. I cannot wait to complete the installation. The first work day on this project is scheduled for Saturday, March 26th from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM. We would love to have you help out with this very exciting project! Sign Up and Join Us!

Posted 3/20/2015 12:41pm by Jeri Villarreal.

Spring has sprung and not just veggies are popping up at Our City Farm. Our new fence is being installed and we are thrilled. This fence will help in deterring theft and keeping uninvited animals from disturbing our beds and chickens. We have asked that the fence be set back 10 to 15 feet from the sidewalk in front of the property. This will allow us to install an "edible landscape" at the entrance to the farm.

Farm Construction

Our edible landscape is a way for us to give back to our community and connect with our neighbors. The landscape will overflow with fresh, naturally-grown fruits and vegetables that are free for anyone who would like to try them. We will include information on how to properly harvest, prepare the produce and suggested recipes. This will give Our City Farm a new way to connect with our friends and neighbors and hopefully introduce people to something new, fresh and delicious.

Exciting things are happening at the farm! We will be having an Open Farm in April to showcase all of the new additions and improvements we've made at the farm. So far, this Spring is shaping up to be a fruitful one!

Posted 2/22/2015 1:17pm by Jeri Villarreal.

Winter has been long and cold and all we keep thinking is thinking is, "Just thaw enough to work the soil a bit". While that hasn't happened yet, we have our seeds in hand or on order, the farm plan is complete and the girls are ready to get situated in their new coop. 

Last season we focused on a lot of infrustructure and scaled back the CSA and decided to not go to market. This year, all of the remaining projects are scheduled to be completed before the CSA begins. We will fence in the remaining property. Install a bramble patch and increase the number of fruit trees. While we can't expect honey this year, we are installing our first hive. The hydroponic greenhouse is also scheduled to be completed by May. If you would like to volunteer to help out with any of these projects or with any of our weekly farm tasks Sign up here!

We are returning to Tower Grove Market this year and are so very excited! This will also allow us to open up another pickup location and interact with our friends and neighbors. If you are suffering from the winter blah's, think spring and secure your spot with our CSA! Join Now

Posted 10/9/2011 7:17am by Jeri Villarreal.

Once eggs are washed, the best way to keep them fresh is to seal them with food grade mineral oil (like we do) and store them at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Eggs can last 5 weeks or more past their date of lay. Whether farm fresh or store bought, there is a simple test that you can perform at home to determine whether your eggs are still fresh.

To conduct this test, you will just need a bowl of tap water that is 3/4 of the way full. You can use a deep soup bowl or a mixing bowl. Simply place the egg or eggs in question in the bowl, wait for them to become still and observe. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom and lay horizontally or near parallel to the bottom of the bowl. An old egg will stand up on end in the water, float vertically in the bowl, perpendicular with the bottom. A very bad egg will just completely float vertically on the surface. It is possible for an egg to be somewhere in the middle. If it's close to vertical, I would toss it.

I have included photos of our float test that we conduct on our personal stash of eggs. We carefully select the most uniform and unblemished eggs for our customers. We keep the rejects for ourselves. Here are a few of our fresh rejects in the test.

Notice how the fresh egg rests at the bottom of the bowl.

And now for our bad eggs.

These eggs are all bad…very bad. They just popped up from the bottom of the bowl and floated vertically on the surface of the water.

So, why do bad eggs float? The large end of the egg contains a small air cell. Because the shell of an egg is extremely porous, over time, more and more oxygen seeps into the shell causing that air cell to expand. The longer the time, the more that cell will expand. Since air is lighter than water, the end with the air cell will start to float up to the top the larger it gets.

The best part about getting into farming is all of the science behind it. I've learned so much and I know there is so much more to learn.

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