Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email:

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,

PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.


A Vote with our Shovels, 2018 Fruit Results, Planting Optimism with Perennials

We harvested our last quince the other day. It held steadfast stemming from its home perched on the limb of the tree, surviving the frosts, a freeze, and even a few snowshowers earlier in October. This lovely 'love-apple' fruit marks the end of our harvest season. We have been enjoying the slow sweet ripening on the counter diffusing and seducing with hints of flowers ready to be cooked in the kitchen. When you catch a nostalgic scent of springs past, cut and simmer quince with your apples for a hearty sauce, or enjoy solo, slightly poached and drizzled with honey-invoking the spirit of Aphrodite and Venus – honoring the culinary traditions from Apicius to your Grandma's orchard, and marveling at how such an ancient fruit has been overlooked in today's kitchen. You may also be asking why quince fruit was overlooked on the fall fruit menu this season. Our harvest was minimal yet beautiful and unfortunately we did not have enough fruit to extend into fruit market shares or much for our retail quince lovers.

Not to be a fruit tease, we wanted to share how the fruit season as a whole fared and would love to hear from you! Please take a moment to let us know how we did and we will do the same

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Orchard Music

"To listen to trees, nature's great connectors, is to learn how to inhabit the relationships that give life its source, substance, and beauty," David Haskell, Song of Trees

We have been listening to, singing with, and growing fruit trees and flowers since 1993--growing and nurturing neighbors, and fruit forests throughout this 24 year time frame and would love to welcome you into the farm foray--we promise we won't make you sing and dance. We will let our fruit and flowers sing a symphony for your tables.

At the start of another season, as we wake up from the dream state of winter-- here are some of our farm's favorite music we invite you to tune into.

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No Sun, No Food

We thank our subscribers for bearing with the hiatus in food-delivery during what is typically the pinnacle of vegetable production so that your farmers could go on a fishing expedition out west for a view of the “great American eclipse” (a term which slightly irritates me). The last time we missed a late-summer delivery was when Erin and I got married in 2011. Best that these interruptions are kept to a minimum if for no other reason than that they double-up the harvesting work in the adjacent weeks.

Not that you missed much.

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CSA - For the Love of Fruit, Flowers, the Land and Community

While I am welcoming the snow's return, don't let the illusion of winter cloud the weather's reality these days. If you're thinking, "'s too early for red-wing blackbirds to arrive at the ponds and too warm for February," yes, you are correct. The 68 degree F high temp this past Wednesday set a new record for the entire month at the Madison reporting station, besting the old mark of 64 degree F set on the 25th back in 2000. (Incidentally, the previous record for the day was 60 degree F, set in 1984). So that's five high temp records in a row, from Saturday February 18 on through Wednesday February 22. It appears from the instrumentation at both the Boscobel and Janesville National Weather Service Sites ---which hit 72 degrees F on Wednesday, that we've set an all-time record for the entire state for the month of February.

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You're Invited: Yoga, Chocolate & Fruit Tasting Benefit Supporting Seeds for Senegal Project

Sunday, January 24, from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, Main St. Yoga Studio, 1882 East Main St. Madison, WI

Come breathe, move, open your heart, and celebrate mid-winter with an all - levels yoga class taught by Hatha Yoga Instructor Barbara Flesch.

Then we’ll dine in community, savoring the sensory experience of nourishment with a mindfulness tasting of chocolate, and sweet and savory fruits grown with love and care with Erin Schneider, Co-owner of Hilltop Community Farm, LLC. Cost of class includes yoga instruction and homemade and homegrown organic food, fruit and refreshments from Hilltop Community Farm.

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We're in the News...Currant situtation: Tangy fruit

by Jane Burns, Wisconsin State Journal

The puns are endless, and there is a pretty good supply of food uses, too. What there isn’t, however, is much knowledge about a once-common fruit that is making its way back into dishes and drinks in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. Currants disappeared from American plates and palates for a few generations because of a blip of history. They’re back now, with growers and gardeners finding places for them on their land and in their recipes.


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We're in Acres U.S.A. : Branching Out: Sustainable Farmers Embracing Alternative Orchard Methods

We've made it into Acres USA upcoming July 2015 issue.

Here's the article from Writer, Tamara Scully highlighting our farms and other farmers' approach to sustainable orchard management. Happy reading and our gratitude to Acres, Tamara, and all our farm friends for helping us write the future story of our farm and fruit.

Branching Out: Sustainable Farmers Embracing Alternative Orchard Methods
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On Apples, Black Locust, and Functional Design

We are just over halfway to our Fruit n Fencelifitng goal, help us Fall into Success this Season

With fall, comes reflection, shifting seasons, birds in flight, chanaging colors on the landscape, settling in with warm socks and tea. So its fitting that thoughts shift to t-posts and apples. The first fruit trees we planted at the farm were apples. We like them, they grew well in Wisconsin and Alar was the commercial food scare of the moment. Rob and his father picked up a couple at a local nursery, brought them back home and plopped them in the ground. Thirty years later, we're still enjoying being perched up in an apple tree (one of our favorite varieties for baking that my grandma's mother planted) harvesting the all-purpose floral fruit. Nonetheless, when Rob and I set out to turn an acre of the front pasture into an orchard apples didn't make the long list. For what we envisioned as a sustainable orchard, apples were in small doses at least here in the buggy humid upper midwest.

So we worked from our first principals in our design. Observing and working with nature and utilizing different niches in the landscape and season to find fruits that are well adapted to the climate and would be relatively unhampered by pests and diseases. Having had good successes thus far with pears, hardy kiwi, currants, and yes even a malus or two, our orchard has started to take shape. We've had lot of fun with over 740 people along the way, started to harvest a substantial amount of currants, are celebrating our first quince harvest and bemoaning our first bout of growing pains. In farming, as in life, there are always wildcards. For our farm, the Queen of Spades are deer and woodchucks.

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