We are busy tweaking and testing our updates to the Member Assembler, our CSA Member Management platform. We have a new logo, new website look, better sign-up process, new pricing, more features, and more. I'm excited to show it off to everyone.
Look for the new Member Assembler ad in your next copy of Growing for Market. Have you seen our ads in Growing for Market over the past year? They are pretty fun -- we'd love to hear some feedback that you have seen the ads!
Hopefully we'll have the updates out by the end of the week. That's the great thing about a service like Small Farm Central -- we get to continually work for you based on your feedback and keep our services ever improving.
I hope you are having a good Fall and maybe taking a break from a long season. You will be hearing more about the Member Assembler in the coming week!
Notable harvest photos posted by our farmers in September
Salem Road Farms has a gorgeous harvest of red hot peppers. Wagner Farms farmstand in Corrales, New Mexico is overflowing with New Mexico green chiles.
Bloomfield Farm in Charlotte, Vermont is raising a photogenic pig!
The Grass Whisperer spots a rainbow over grassfed cattle near Deansboro, New York.
Among my favorites of the orange foods is the sweet potato. Don’t let the rich, sweet flavor fool you, this variety has a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes and packs a nutritional punch of beta carotene and vitamin c. Just like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes can be served mashed alongside a favorite roasted meat. Here are a couple versatile ways you can prepare mashed sweet potatoes to complement your meal.
Orange-Basil Sweet Potatoes
About 2.5 pounds sweet potatoes (2 large)
1/2 cup orange juice (unsweetened, no pulp)
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil or 1-1/2 tsp. dried basil
kosher salt to taste
Peel sweet potatoes and cut to a large dice (about 1-inch cubes).
Steam for about 20-30 minutes until fork tender.
Mix in other ingredients.
If you want more orange flavor, you can add 1/2 tsp. of orange flavor (natural) or orange zest to bump up the citrus.
Honey-Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed in 2-inch cubes
1 tbs. honey
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. olive oil
1⁄4 cup half and half
2 tbs. butter
1 canned chipotle pepper with 1 tbs. of the adobo sauce it comes in, chopped
(note that is one pepper from the can, not one can! Very hot.)
Heat oven to 400° F.
Toss the potatoes with the oil, salt, honey and brown sugar. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until fork tender. Mash the potatoes with the half and half and the butter. Add the chopped chipotle and 1 tbs. sauce. The texture will be coarser than mashed potatoes because of the roasting, but the flavor is worth it.
Find seasonal recipes for all of your CSA produce at The Expatriate’s Kitchen, http://expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com
p> America's farmers are getting older by the numbers and the next generation needs to stand up so our country can eat into the future. This demographic challenge has received a lot of attention within the agriculture community for many years and the issue is now entering the consciousness of the wider media.
40 Farmers Under 40
The Mother Nature Network released an interesting feature last month featuring the work of "40 farmers under 40". Some of the top entries include a pop signer turned avocado farmer, farmer/writer Zoë Bradbury, and filmmaker Ian Cheney of King Corn renown.
Not surprisingly, this list features farmers in the sustainable farming movement rather than the conventional farming track.
The Greenhorns Movie
A group of young farmers, they call themselves the Greenhorns, is in the process of finishing a feature-length documentary on the young farmer movement. The filmmaker has energetically travelled around the country filming young farmers at work while in the process of starting her own farm in the New York City area.
Here is the trailer for the movie:
More Young Farmers on the Web
There's a lot more about young farmers all over the world wide web. Here are some selected articles:
Having young people coming into farming is not a choice, it is necessary demographic change as our farmers age. I am heartened that young farmers are so passionate about what they do and so prolific is recording their journey!
We previewed the "Photogenic" template last week and now it ready for the prime time. Get started today to take advantage of this new template. One special part of our "premium templates" is that they are limited in quantity, so they will go fast!
View the test site at: http://premium4.smallfarmcentral.com.
We hope you like it as much as we do!
A domain name is defined as:
"...an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS)."
That doesn't help much, does it? Basically, a domain name is something like yourfarm.com that identifies your website on the internet. This is obviously an important decision as you start a farm website and one you have probably thought about.
If you don't have a domain name yet, search for your preferred address at domaintools.com.
We've covered domain names in the past, but here are some basic thoughts to keep in mind as you make that decision:
Is your preferred domain already registered? We'll cover that soon in the blog. In the meantime, if your domain name is registered by someone else, let us know via email and we'll help you pick an alternate domain name.
We'll have a new premium template out for your farm website in the next few weeks. Here are the mock-ups. This template gives you a chance to show off all of your great farm photography!
Homepage of new premium template
Internal page of new premium template
Our newest feature, product graphs, which I discussed at length last week has been released.
If you are a current Small Farm Central subscriber, you may access the product graphs by logging in to your control panel and navigating to:
Create Content / Products / Product Graphs
If you need help with the product sliders, read the detailed help document. If that still does not help, let us know!
If you are not a current customer, but want to check out the new feature, request a demo.
We will be introducing a new feature in the next week or two: product availability graphs. These graphs help your customers visualize what is seasonal throughout the year; this is both educational and practical. Educational because eaters will understand what crops are available in your climate throughout the year and practical because they know what to expect in their CSA box or at the farmers market throughout the season.
Product availability graphs have been around on farm websites for a long time, but they were usually created in an external program like Photoshop or Excel, then an image was created, and then the image was posted to the website. This is not a very flexible or scalable approach -- some issues include:
Our new product availability graph feature in Small Farm Central solves these issues and adds some new twists.
Here is an example vegetable product graph as it would look to customers visiting your website:
Below is a screenshot of the farm website administrator editing the same product graph. Each product availability block can be dragged earlier or later time of the year as you develop your graph or edit it later.
Our Availability Twists
We are still working on a few last details for the product availability graphs, so stay tuned for a release notice in the next week or two. We'd love to hear what you think of our approach!
Our newest template will be coming out in the next week or two. Note, this is not a premium template. This template is available to all subscription levels.
Enough talk, here is the initial mock-up of the site: We think it is clean and professional while retaining "organic" imagery that keeps the template botanical and agricultural.
We hope you'll love it!