Category Archives: Nature

Thursday, May 14, 2015: Another beautiful day today! The sun doesn’t set today until 9:00PM!

Click on photo to learn more about growing rhubarb!

Good News: No frost last night!  It didn’t even come close! 

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful–mild temperatures, bright sun and light winds!  Today is also starting out beautiful and is quickly warming up!  It looks like this weekend will feel more like the middle of July than the middle of May!  By the way, today the sun doesn’t set until 9:00PM and it will continue to set after 9PM until August 7th!

RHUBARB PLANT SALE TODAY!!

Buy 3 pots for only $20! (Originally $12 each!)

 

WHAT WE ARE SELLING TODAY:

We will be having trees, shrubs, and perennial and annual plants including:

Apple trees: Honeycrisp, Jonafree, Jonagold, Liberty, Gala, etc.

Peach trees: Early Red Haven

Blueberries: Bluecrop, Jersey, Elliot, and Aurora

Red Raspberries: Latham

Seedless Grapes: Reliance

Rhubarb: Victoria — SALE!! — 3 pots for $20 — SALE!!

Everbearing strawberries: Fresca (white flowers), Frisan (pink flowers!)

Tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, yellow and red sweet onions

Pawpaw trees

Ostrich ferns

Redbud trees

White pine trees

Lilac bushes

Beauty bushes

Hydrangea

Hollyhocks: O’Hara, Chater’s Double, and Queeny Mix

Foxglove: Excelsior

Coral Bells/Heuchera

Sedum Groundcovers

Sempervivum

Vinca Minor

Cactus (thornless houseplants)

Morning Glory

Angel Trumpets

Dianthus

AND MORE!

Sunset today May 14 is 9:00PM  Sunrise tomorrow is 6:20AM

Magicland Farms, Monday, December 22, 2014–Also, the Earth has been getting closer to the sun for over 5 months now!

Right now it is raining–that’s right RAINING–thru much of Minnesota even some northern parts of that state!  Despite this there is still a fair chance of having a white Christmas here since it looks like our rain will turn to snow late on Christmas Eve.  While we will likely then have a couple of weeks of typical cold January weather, it seems like we will have an early January thaw starting in mid-January instead of the end of January which is more typical.  Those who have been calling for a severely cold winter should think of revising their forecast soon.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, tomorrow Tuesday December 23 will be the last day we will be open all day until next spring sometime.  Right now we plan on closing things up on Wednesday unless the weather looks too bad on Wednesday and then we will likely close up for the season tomorrow!  Right now we still have a good supply of a variety of nice crisp, naturally chilled apples as well as sweet onions and red potatoes.

Oh yes, that headline teaser…while the average distance from the earth to the sun is 93.24 million miles, on January 3 this distance is only 91.65 million miles.  On July 4 the distance increases to 94.82 million miles!

The Eagle and Pike, also: What we plan on picking today, Friday, September 12, 2014

This morning Matt and I saw something interesting through our large dining room picture window.  It was a large Bald Eagle flying low over Pickerel Lake carrying a fish. The interesting thing was that the fish was a Northern Pike and looked larger than the eagle–the pike was over 2 feet long and weighed over 4 pounds (these are estimates, of course, but they are reliable estimates since we have seen many, many pike in this size range.)  Apparently, the eagle had too hard a time with the pike and we did see it finally drop the fish.

The sweet corn we will be picking today is bi-color Mirai and white Mirai.

Today we will also have for sale peaches, Zestar, Earliblaze, Gravenstein, Wolf River and Summer Treat apples, a new patch of green beans and starting a new patch of yellow beans, acorn, buttercup, butternut, Heart-Of-Gold and spaghetti winter squash, watermelon, muskmelon, zucchini and yellow summer squash, pickling and slicing cucumbers, Newaygo Sweet Onions, SunSugar cherry tomatoes, Canning and slicing tomatoes, Little Red Tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, sweet green bell and Jalapeno peppers, yellow and orange Super-Sweet peppers, new red potatoes and new Yukon Gold potatoes!

Visit our Arts and Craft Room for unique gourd art!

DAILY SPECIALS

EARLIBLAZE APPLES : $5 a half bushel

SLICING TOMATOES: $5 a two quart tray (weighs 4-1/2 to 5 pounds, which comes to around a dollar a pound)

SLICING/CANNING TOMATOES: $10 A HALF BUSHEL (about 26 pounds)

NEWAYGO SWEET ONIONS: 1/4 peck for $3, 1/2 peck for $5 (this is a great savings over buying them by the pound)

RIVERSIDE SWEET ONIONS (NOT QUITE AS SWEET AS NEWAYGO SWEET ONIONS BUT LONGER KEEPERS): Whole peck for $7 and 1/2 bushel (about 22 pounds) $12

JALAPENO PEPPERS: 1/4 PECK FOR $4

PECKS OF GREEN PEPPERS: $6

If you want to read the latest blog post seconds after it is published, don’t wait until you get a notice for it in your email.  Rather go to blog.magiclandfarms.com.  Book mark this URL to get there with a single click.

All perennial and annual Flower Plants in Greenhouse are Half Off!

Hardy Pecan trees (Wisconsin strain) NOT INCLUDED IN SALE

Perennial Hollyhocks SALE

Perennial Foxglove SALE

Hardy Sempervivum aka Hens and Chicks SALE

Sedum SALE

Nasturtium Hanging Baskets SALE

Morning Glories, individual and hanging baskets SALE

Pink and Red Dianthus SALE

Red Leafed Heuchera SALE

Hardy English Lavender SALE

Hardy Salvia SALE

Begonia SALE

Echinacea aka Purple Coneflower SALE

Moonflower SALE

Hardy Blue Fescue Grass SALE

Oxe-Eye Daisy SALE

Visit this link to see photos: http://www.pinterest.com/bfcreations/flowers-and-plants-available-at-magicland

Monday, October 28, 2013: Is this the week we will see Indian Summer?

Despite the major warm-up the TV weather gurus have been talking about, I don’t think Indian Summer will make its presence known this week.  Why not?  Well although Wednesday and Thursday might feel a bit like Indian Summer, I think it will lack mostly sunny skies and there is a chance we might get some significant rain during this period of warmth.  Nonetheless, it does look like next week, starting on Monday, we just might experience this famous historical and romantic period of the year.  However, next week will be November already and while Indian Summers do occur in November, they are a bit rarer than October Indian Summers.  But then, I never ever remember gorgeous fall colors hanging around just three days before Halloween!

This past Friday night was a very windy night  and many areas, especially in Muskegon County, were out of power for several hours.  This same wind shook our Wisconsin strain of pecan trees so much that some of the pecan seed nuts fell to the ground and we picked them up on Saturday. Our pecan trees (some are 70 feet tall now) were planted with seed pecans that came from wild trees found growing wild along the Mississippi in southwest Wisconsin. (Click here to read a short article I wrote several years back for the Mother Earth News Magazine.) As we did in 2011, we are again making available these seed nuts for planting.   We will have packets of 3 seed pecan nuts available for $2.  One packet should produce at least 2 pecan trees–more likely 3 trees. Growing instructions are included in the packet.  Keep in mind this fall is a good time to plant these seed pecans.  An even better time was the Fall of 2011! (We didn’t have any pecan seed nuts for sale in 2012.)

As many of you know, while we have an excellent crop of apples this year, our winter squash crop, except for the spaghetti squash, was rather poor. (We had an exceptional spaghetti squash crop–both in quantity and quality).  Our acorn, Heart-of-Gold and our Celebration squash was less than half of last year, our butternut was poor and our buttercup was basically a crop failure–we didn’t get enough buttercup to pay for the seed! As you would expect, our supply right now, compared to other recent years, is low.  However, at present we are continuing to sell our acorn, Heart-Of-Gold and Celebration squash at the special price of $6 a half bushel. We might withdraw this special price after Halloween and only sell the squash at individual prices of (50 cents each for small, 75 cents each for medium and $1 each for large.)

While we have had a killing frost, we are still picking our cherry tomatoes that are in our high-tunnel (which is basically an unheated greenhouse with 12 foot high ceiling).  Also, we have very limited supplies of slicing tomatoes since we picked them green and are ripening them on our special ripening bench.

When we open at 10AM we will have:

  • Slicing and cherry tomatoes
  • Green and colored bell peppers, Ancho and Jalapeno peppers
  • Sweet onions
  • Beets without tops
  • Winter Squash: Acorn, Heart of Gold, Celebration (see Special 1/2 bushel price for selected squash types and green peppers below), Spaghetti squash, Butternut, and Blue Hubbard.
  • Freshly dug Carrots (by the pound, 1/2 peck, and 1/2 bushel)
  • Pie pumpkins (Learn how to make your own pumpkin puree for pies and all sorts of baked goodies HERE: How to Make Pumpkin Puree Info Paper)
  • Asian pears and Royal Riviera Pears
  • MANY varieties of apples including: Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, Stark Jumbo, Red Delicious, Mutsu/Crispin, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Jonathan, Splendor, Empire, Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, Kandil Sinap, Jonagold, RedGold, Jonagored, Northwest Greening, Idared, Roman Beauty, Calville Blanc D’Hiver, Hawaii and samplings of Jonalicious, King David, Court Pendu Plat, SunCrisp, and Ashmead’s Kernel.
  • LARGE selection of pumpkins from miniature to giant, including many different colors such as white, tan, yellow, green, and of course orange! A large, colorful selection of Indian Corn, dried corn stalks, as well as nice quality straw bales made from oat straw for $5 each and dried corn stalks. Find all three in our greenhouse to the left of the parking lot. Watch our newest YouTube video about Fall and Giant Pumpkin harvesting!

SPECIALS (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!)

Sweet Green Bell Peppers — half bushel $10, whole bushel $18 (that’s about 79 cents a pound). Watch our YouTube video to learn how to freeze peppers!

Limited Time Special — Jonathan and Cortland apples 1/2 bushel $6

Limited Time Special — three pints of cherry tomatoes (red Jasper and/or SunSugar) for $6.

Jalapeno Peppers — 1/2 peck for $6

Spaghetti Squash– half bushel $5, whole bushel $8 (that’s about 16 cents a pound!)

Acorn, Celebration and Heart-of-Gold Winter Squash — half bushel $6 (that’s about 20 cents a pound!) – Watch our YouTube video to learn how to cook squash then read our info paper by clicking the link below!

Learn how to keep winter squash for a year by reading our info paper: “How to Freeze Winter Squash.”

Freshly Dug Carrots — half bushel $8

 

Saturday, October 26, 2013: Many more huge explosions on sun–shortwave reception blacked out on earth!

It wasn’t really that long ago, say just a month or so, some solar scientists were saying they believed the sun’s 11 year sunspot cycle was over and they were wondering why the sun was so inactive when, according to past cycles, it should be quite active.  What does this show?  Don’t rely on any long range (earth or solar) weather forecast!  It’s hard enough to forecast what’s coming up tomorrow!  The forecast of a month from today is nearly worthless.  Right now the sun has become so active so fast one wonders what is going on.  Solar scientists think right now huge rumblings are taking place deep, deep within the sun since huge flares have shot up from the sun in areas  100,000 of miles apart–at the same time!

Getting back to earth…we have been asked numerous times when we will be closing.  Our policy, which has been in effect for several years, is to state we are committed to being open through Halloween, October 31.  Then how long we stay open depends upon the weather.  We close any day there is enough snow to make the roads hazardous and we close any day the temperature isn’t expected to rise above 34F.  This year, no matter how nice the weather is, we will be closing for the season on November 27, which is the day before Thanksgiving.  However, we may close earlier because of weather, low supplies of produce or for any other reason we decide upon.  We plan on notifying the readers of this blog, at least the day before we close for the season.

As many of you know, while we have an excellent crop of apples this year, our winter squash crop, except for the spaghetti squash, was rather poor. (We had an exceptional spaghetti squash crop–both in quantity and quality).  Our acorn, Heart-of-Gold and our Celebration squash was less than half of last year, our butternut was poor and our buttercup was basically a crop failure–we didn’t get enough buttercup to pay for the seed! As you would expect, our supply right now, compared to other recent years, is low.  However, at present we are continuing to sell our acorn, Heart-Of-Gold and Celebration squash at the special price of $6 a half bushel. We might withdraw this special price after Halloween and only sell the squash at individual prices of (50 cents each for small, 75 cents each for medium and $1 each for large.)

While we have had a killing frost, we are still picking our cherry tomatoes that are in our high-tunnel (which is basically an unheated greenhouse with 12 foot high ceiling).  Also, we have very limited supplies of slicing tomatoes since we picked them green and are ripening them on our special ripening bench.

 

When we open at 10AM we will still have slicing and cherry tomatoes, green and colored bell peppers, Ancho and Jalapeno peppers, sweet onions, acorn squash, Heart of Gold Squash, Celebration squash (see Special 1/2 bushel price for selected squash types and green peppers below), spaghetti squash, butternut squash, blue Hubbard squash, broccoli, carrots, pie pumpkins (Learn how to make your own pumpkin puree for pies and all sorts of baked goodies HERE: How to Make Pumpkin Puree Info Paper), Asian pears, Royal Riviera Pears, and apples including: Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, Stark Jumbo, Red Delicious, Mutsu/Crispin, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Jonathan, Splendor, Empire, Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, Kandil Sinap, Jonagold, RedGold, Jonagored, Northwest Greening, Idared, Roman Beauty, Calville Blanc D’Hiver, Hawaii and samplings of Jonalicious, King David, Court Pendu Plat, SunCrisp, and Ashmead’s Kernel. Large selection of pumpkins from miniature to giant, including many different colors such as white, tan, yellow, green, and of course orange! A large, colorful selection of Indian Corn, dried corn stalks, as well as nice quality straw bales made from oat straw for $5 each and dried corn stalks. Find all three in our greenhouse to the left of the parking lot.

Watch our newest YouTube video about Fall and Giant Pumpkin harvesting!
SPECIALS (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!)

Sweet Green Bell Peppers — half bushel $10 (that’s about 79 cents a pound). Watch our YouTube video to learn how to freeze peppers!

Limited Time Special — Jonathan and Cortland apples 1/2 bushel $6

Limited Time Special — three pints of cherry tomatoes (red Jasper and/or SunSugar) for $6.

Jalapeno Peppers — 1/2 peck for $6

Spaghetti Squash– half bushel $5, whole bushel $8 (that’s about 16 cents a pound!)

Acorn, Celebration and Heart-of-Gold Winter Squash — half bushel $6 (that’s about 20 cents a pound!) – Watch our YouTube video to learn how to cook squash then read our info paper by clicking the link below!

Learn how to keep winter squash for a year by reading our info paper: “How to Freeze Winter Squash.”

Freshly Dug Carrots — half bushel $8

 

Friday, October 25, 2013: Fall Color at its peak–best in years!

A glorious sunrise silhouetting three sugar maples overlooking the still, tranquil water of Pickerel Lake.

This fall not only had one of its latest first killing frosts in many years but also the peak fall color is much later than normal AND, surprisingly, Jack Frost has done an extraordinary good job on the leaves this year.  In addition, most leaves are still on the trees and roughly half of them have turned glorious colors of startlingly crisp reds, pastel yellows along with a splash of brilliant oranges here and there.  We have been busy taking photos of this gloriously beautiful treat of nature and have posted some of our photos here.

View on our farm. Notice the long rows of corn to the left that are still green in color – those were our last patches of corn.

Another view of our farm, this time a view of both our woods and tree line.

A close-up view of one of our large maples all in red.

A view from our orchard looking into our woods.

Sugar maple tree in bright yellow.

Three sugar maples.

Can you spot the woodpecker? One of many feathered friends that frequent our large sassafras overlooking Pickerel lake.

A tranquil view of Pickerel lake.

Sunrise on Pickerel Lake.

A Maple and a Willow tree.

Reflecting the Beautiful Fall Color. :)

 

Yesterday I mentioned in my post about the fact that the sun exploded a M9 flare.  Well just a little while ago another, even larger explosion took place which resulted in an X1 flare!  Pay attention to the news since no doubt these explosions will be reported on, and possibly even be making headlines, within 2 days!

When we open at 10AM we will still have slicing tomatoes, green and colored bell peppers, Ancho and Jalapeno peppers, sweet onions, acorn squash, Heart of Gold Squash, Celebration squash (see Special 1/2 bushel price for selected squash types and green peppers below), spaghetti squash, butternut squash, blue Hubbard squash, broccoli, carrots, pie pumpkins (Learn how to make your own pumpkin puree for pies and all sorts of baked goodies HERE: How to Make Pumpkin Puree Info Paper), Asian pears, Royal Riviera Pears, and apples including: Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, Stark Jumbo, Red Delicious, Mutsu/Crispin, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Jonathan, Splendor, Empire, Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, Kandil Sinap, Jonagold, RedGold, Jonagored, Northwest Greening, Idared, Roman Beauty, Calville Blanc D’Hiver, Hawaii and samplings of Jonalicious, King David, Court Pendu Plat, SunCrisp, and Ashmead’s Kernel. Large selection of pumpkins from miniature to giant, including many different colors such as white, tan, yellow, green, and of course orange! A large, colorful selection of Indian Corn, dried corn stalks, as well as nice quality straw bales made from oat straw for $5 each and dried corn stalks. Find all three in our greenhouse to the left of the parking lot.

Watch our newest YouTube video about Fall and Giant Pumpkin harvesting!
SPECIALS (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!)

Sweet Green Bell Peppers — half bushel $10 (that’s about 79 cents a pound). Watch our YouTube video to learn how to freeze peppers!

Limited Time Special — Jonathan 

Limited Time Special — three pints of cherry tomatoes (red Jasper and/or SunSugar) for $6.

Jalapeno Peppers — 1/2 peck for $6

Spaghetti Squash– half bushel $5, whole bushel $8 (that’s about 16 cents a pound!)

Acorn, Celebration and Heart-of-Gold Winter Squash — half bushel $6 (that’s about 20 cents a pound!) — Watch our YouTube video to learn how to cook squash then read our info paper by clicking the link below!

 

Learn how to keep winter squash for a year by reading our info paper: “How to Freeze Winter Squash.”

 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 24, 2013: Warmer weather ahead, massive explosions on the sun and more..

While it still didn’t reach 32F near Pickerel Lake, it did obviously freeze last night at Magicland Farms since it dropped to the upper 20s at the Fremont airport. While I didn’t notice any snow at Pickerel Lake, the usual suspects got some (perhaps an inch or more) such as in the Holland area. Today will likely be the coldest day for some time–perhaps even for at least 10 days! Whether it will get warm enough to call it Indian Summer is a question I do not have a definite answer for.

The big weather news right now is what is happening on the sun.  At around 8:30 last night the sun exploded with a M9 class X-ray flare.  This is just a shade short of the big ones– the X class flares.  Since the explosion happened when the sun was facing earth this means the earth might have an intense magnetic storm in a day or so which can cause real problems (on the funner side it also means we might have a fantastic display of the aurora borealis (northern lights) showing up in a day or so!)  The sun seems more active right now than it has been for quite some time and so we can expect more solar explosions to occur in the weeks, perhaps even months, ahead.

When we open at 10AM we will still have slicing tomatoes, green and colored bell peppers, Ancho and Jalapeno peppers, sweet onions, acorn squash, Heart of Gold Squash, Celebration squash (see Special 1/2 bushel price for selected squash types and green peppers below), spaghetti squash, butternut squash, blue Hubbard squash, broccoli, carrots, pie pumpkins (Learn how to make your own pumpkin puree for pies and all sorts of baked goodies HERE: How to Make Pumpkin Puree Info Paper), Asian pears, Royal Riviera Pears, and apples including: Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, Stark Jumbo, Red Delicious, Mutsu/Crispin, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Jonathan, Splendor, Empire, Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, Kandil Sinap, Jonagold, RedGold, Jonagored, Northwest Greening, Idared, Roman Beauty, Calville Blanc D’Hiver, Hawaii and samplings of Jonalicious, King David, Court Pendu Plat, SunCrisp, and Ashmead’s Kernel. Large selection of pumpkins from miniature to giant, including many different colors such as white, tan, yellow, green, and of course orange! A large, colorful selection of Indian Corn, dried corn stalks, as well as nice quality straw bales made from oat straw for $5 each and dried corn stalks. Find all three in our greenhouse to the left of the parking lot.

Watch our newest YouTube video about Fall and Giant Pumpkin harvesting!

SPECIALS (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!)

Sweet Green Bell Peppers — half bushel $10 (that’s about 79 cents a pound). Watch our YouTube video to learn how to freeze peppers!

Limited Time Special — Jonathan 

Limited Time Special — three pints of cherry tomatoes (red Jasper and/or SunSugar) for $6.

Jalapeno Peppers — 1/2 peck for $6

Spaghetti Squash– half bushel $5, whole bushel $8 (that’s about 16 cents a pound!)

Acorn, Celebration and Heart-of-Gold Winter Squash — half bushel $6 (that’s about 20 cents a pound!) — Watch our YouTube video to learn how to cook squash then read our info paper by clicking the link below!

Learn how to keep winter squash for a year by reading our info paper: “How to Freeze Winter Squash.”

 

 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013: New Magicland Farms YouTube Video Out! Also, what is happening today at Magicland Farms

We just published a new video on YouTube.  Its title is “Fall Harvest at Magicland Farms 2013” and can be viewed by clicking here.

Well it is likely we had a killing frost at Magicland Farms this morning.  Here at Pickerel Lake it got down to at least 36.8F and it was 31F at 6AM at the Fremont Airport.  This is one of the latest first freezes in recent memory.

Yesterday morning was the first day this fall I was cold at the farm.  It was cloudy, sort of windy and the temperature was around 41F.  However, in the afternoon the sun came out, the wind died down and the thermometer was pushing toward 50F and it felt nice out–especially in the apple orchard.  Apparently other people also felt this because in the afternoon our Pumpkin Patch was quite busy.

Does the weather models now sense the onset of Indian Summer?  As I mentioned in my last post, the weather forecast for next week has suddenly changed–the meteorologists have added about 7 degrees to the temperature forecast for next week.  Now I see something else.  The NWS’s 8-14 forecast on Monday was for colder than normal across central Michigan and on Tuesday suddenly it changed to normal temperatures.  One other thing.  The Nationwide forecast is showing a sudden warmup next week across the entire country.  However, this warmup across the northern plains is for temperatures to rise only from the 30s to the 40s–one still needs an additional 20 degrees of temperature to be able to call it Indian Summer–however the direction of the change in weather models is significant.

Yesterday we spot picked our Splendor apples and we now have them up for sale.  Splendor is a nice looking apple that is quite firm and crisp and very sweet.  From past experience they also seem to keep for a long time.  Our stand is now brim full of many varieties. Read up about all our varieties in our new apple description booklet: CLICK HERE.  Yesterday we also picked broccoli and dug carrots.

When we open at 10AM we will still have slicing tomatoes, green and colored bell peppers, Ancho and Jalapeno peppers, sweet onions, acorn squash, Heart of Gold Squash, Celebration squash (see Special 1/2 bushel price for selected squash types and green peppers below), spaghetti squash, butternut squash, blue Hubbard squash, broccoli, carrots, pie pumpkins (remember to take home our free “How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree” paper with your purchase of any pie pumpkin), Asian pears and apples including: Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, Stark Jumbo, Red Delicious, Mutsu/Crispin, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Jonathan, Empire, Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, Kandil Sinap, Jonagold, RedGold, Jonagored, Northwest Greening, Idared, Roman Beauty, Calville Blanc D’Hiver, Hawaii and samplings of Jonalicious, King David, Court Pendu Plat, Splendor and SunCrisp. Large selection of pumpkins from miniature to giant, including many different colors such as white, tan, yellow, green, and of course orange! A large, colorful selection of Indian Corn, dried corn stalks, as well as nice quality straw bales made from oat straw for $5 each and dried corn stalks. Find all three in our greenhouse to the left of the parking lot.

SPECIALS

Limited Time Special — Jonathan and Cortland apples $6 a half bushel

Limited Time Special — three pints of cherry tomatoes (red Jasper and/or SunSugar) for $6.

Jalapeno Peppers — 1/2 peck for $6

Sweet Green Bell Peppers — half bushel $10 (that’s about 79 cents a pound).

Watch our YouTube video to learn how to freeze peppers!

Acorn, Celebration and Heart-of-Gold Winter Squash — half bushel $6 (that’s about 20 cents a pound!) — Take one of our “How to Freeze Winter Squash” papers home with you.

Spaghetti Squash– half bushel $5, whole bushel $8 (that’s about 16 cents a pound!)

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013: Official Killing Frost in Chicago, most of Illinois and Indiana.

While it doesn’t look like we had an official killing frost (32F or below) at Magicland Farms, most of extreme southern Michigan and nearly all of Illinois and Indiana did.  In fact, it got down to at least 27F at West Chicago’s Du Page airport and at least 31F at the official Chicago reporting station of Ohara airport.  Midway airport, which is the airport I lived next to, is on the on the south side and was a relatively mild 32F at 5AM.  BTW, Midway airport is now surrounded by a huge metropolitan area– you must drive for about a half hour to the west before you see your first corn/soybean field!  The only reason we didn’t freeze here was due to the fact that the air was coming off the warm waters of lake Michigan.  Also needed here was that there had to be some sort of temperature inversion or all that mild, moist air from the Lake would just shoot up to the stratosphere and never be seen again!

Well what does all this mean, if anything?  As I mentioned in earlier blogs it means the first prerequisite for Indian Summer was fulfilled last night–a killing frost over much of the central part of the country.  As I mentioned in my Saturday blog post, I found that 85% of the years Indian Summer starts from 1 to 5 days after a killing frost.  While there has been a big shift in the last 24 hours for the weather forecasters next Monday’s forecast (from the mid 40s they were calling for just 2 days ago to the mid 50s some are calling for now) they still aren’t calling for weather that anyone could call Indian Summer.  It will be interesting to see what plays out… One thing that worries me about my forecast for Indian Summer is that this year Halloween would have to be included as a day in Indian Summer.  Everyone knows it always rains on Halloween so I see a little problem with my forecast!

Here is an interesting note about apples. My wife Annemarie takes her blood sugar levels daily.  The other day she ate a huge, sweet Jonagold apple–her favorite.  After taking the apple she tested her blood sugar level–it didn’t seem to change at all.  She has done the same thing after she ate a small piece of brownie or other baked delectable and found her blood sugar level had shot up like crazy!

Yesterday we started to pick our Mutsu (also known as Crispin apples).  This year the Mutsu aren’t only huge in size, but they are real nice looking.  They also seem to my taste to be exceptionally sweet this year (personally I have found most of the apples are sweeter than usual this year–even the Court Pendu Plat).  We also picked more Golden Delicious and this year we also have a very nice crop of these.  We also again filled up the stand with half bushels of Jonathan.  They have been going fast for one reason they are a great general purpose apple that has more real apple flavor than any other.  The other reason, of course, is that we are still selling them at our sale price of $6 a half bushel for tree-run Jonathans, which are mostly of top quality!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, and in my October 20th newsletter, a pdf file of our booklet that describes most of our fall and winter apple varieties is now available.   When time permits, we will expand this booklet to include our summer and early fall apple varieties.  The apple descriptions and photos in this booklet are copyrighted, although feel free to download it and even print it out for your own use.  Obtain your copy by clicking Magicland Farms Apple Booklet.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR APPLES CRISP

If you leave your apples sitting out in the kitchen they will become soft in a few days.  In order to keep them crisp, either keep them in a refrigerator or, when its cool outside (below 50F), in a plastic tote in an unheated garage or similar area.  Don’t worry about them freezing until it gets really cold (high temperatures below 30F), sometimes this doesn’t happen until after Christmas.

When we open at 10AM we will still have slicing tomatoes, green and colored bell peppers, Ancho and Jalapeno peppers, sweet onions, acorn squash, Heart of Gold Squash, Celebration squash (see Special 1/2 bushel price for selected squash types and green peppers below), spaghetti squash, butternut squash, blue Hubbard squash, pie pumpkins (remember to take home our free “How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree” paper with your purchase of any pie pumpkin), Asian pears and apples including: Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, Stark Jumbo, Red Delicious, Mutsu/Crispin, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Jonathan, Empire, Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, Kandil Sinap, Jonagold, RedGold, Jonagored, Northwest Greening, Idared, Roman Beauty, Calville Blanc D’Hiver, Hawaii and samplings of Jonalicious, King David, Court Pendu Plat and SunCrisp. Large selection of pumpkins from miniature to giant, including many different colors such as white, tan, yellow, green, and of course orange! A large, colorful selection of Indian Corn, dried corn stalks, as well as nice quality straw bales made from oat straw for $5 each and dried corn stalks. Find all three in our greenhouse to the left of the parking lot.

SPECIALS

Limited Time Special — Jonathan and Cortland apples $6 a half bushel

Limited Time Special — three pints of cherry tomatoes (red Jasper and/or SunSugar) for $6.

Jalapeno Peppers — 1/2 peck for $6

Sweet Green Bell Peppers — half bushel $10 (that’s about 79 cents a pound).

Watch our YouTube video to learn how to freeze peppers!

Acorn, Celebration and Heart-of-Gold Winter Squash — half bushel $6 (that’s about 20 cents a pound!) — Take one of our “How to Freeze Winter Squash” papers home with you.

Spaghetti Squash– half bushel $5, whole bushel $8 (that’s about 16 cents a pound!)

 

 

 

Friday, October 4, 2013: What is happening at Magicland Farms.

Last night we had a thunderstorm around 2AM that left, according to radar estimates, over an inch of rain.  While the Muskegon River is very low, we have had more than the normal amount of rain this summer and fall so far.

When we closed yesterday at 6PM we didn’t have any canning tomatoes.

When we open at 10AM we will have bi-color sweet corn, slicing, heirloom and cherry tomatoes, watermelon, green beans, sweet bell, Ancho and Jalapeno peppers, zucchini squash, sweet onions,  fresh carrots, acorn squash, Heart of Gold Squash, Celebration squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, blue Hubbard squash, pie pumpkins, Asian pears and apples including: Honeycrisp,  Gala, Cortland, Macoun, Stark Jumbo, Baron, Snow, Spartan, Jonathan, Empire, Hawaii, Candy Cane, Tolman Sweet, Kandil Sinap.  (Note: For descriptions of Tolman Sweet, Hawaii, Candy Cane and Kandil Sinap apples scroll down to end of this blog post.) We also now have nice quality straw bales made from oat straw for $5 each as well as corn stalks. Find both of these in our greenhouse to the left of the parking lot.

Yesterday we picked the last patch of our zucchini and summer squash.  We plan on picking more zucchini tomorrow. I was surprised to find so many nice looking squash out there.  While the quantity isn’t anything like it was in July and August, we actually filled over 3 five gallon buckets with it.  While most were sold yesterday, it is interesting to see such nice zucchini so late.  To get good zucchini one needs healthy plants AND bees.  As anybody who wanted to buy our cut sunflowers that we kept outside knows, bees are numerous at Magicland Farms.  Now we see bees all over our broken watermelon that we have left in the field when we sampled them during harvest.  Why do we have so many bees?  No doubt it has something to do with the farm and the way we farm.  For instance, we have left in place several tree lines and our farm includes our 20 acre woods, which are perfect places for one or more wild bee hives.  The honey bees not only help with the zucchini, but with the cucumbers, melons, winter squash, pumpkins and, of course, our fruit crop.

Honey Bees feasting on our watermelon.

See the hundreds of honey bees all over the melons!

SPECIALS

Spaghetti Squash– half bushel $5, whole bushel $8 (that’s about 16 cents a pound!)

I am in the process of writing descriptions of our apple varieties.  In order to get this description out as soon as possible, I am leaving out the summer and early fall apples and starting with Jonamac. Since we have over 40 apple varieties that ripen after Jonamac this is quite an undertaking at this busy time of the year.  To help out here I will be listing in the blog the more unusual apple varieties as we pick them.  See below for a start.

Apple Descriptions For Some Of Our Unusual Apples You May Never Have Heard About

Tolman Sweet Appearance: Fruit is medium-sized and round with yellowish-white skin  sometimes with a faint red blush. Qualities: The firm, fine-grained white flesh is juicy and very sweet with a distinctive “candy sweet apple” flavor.

History: A very old American apple believed to have originated in Dorchester Massachusetts.

CANDY CANE (a.k.a. Surprise): Appearance: A very small apple, the size may be compared to our Whitney Crab Apple. It is pale yellow, sometimes spotted with rust, and it may have a little red blush. Qualities: The flesh is crisp, flavor has a nice tart snap, and as we tell our customers – you need to bite into it to know the Surprise! Hint: Think pink! Uses: Fresh eating Harvest time and availability: October – November Storage: Good keeper. History: An obscure apple of European origin. Historical records show this being sold by southern nurseries from 1824 to 1870.

HawaiiWhen at its prime, this is an exceedingly crisp apple.  It also is quite juicy with a very sweet flavor.  The scent and taste of pineapple has been repeatedly claimed for Hawaii.  I have had quite a few Hawaii apples and found that some seem to be missing the pineapple scent (although most have the same tang found in pineapples) but I also have tasted Hawaii apples that had a definite pineapple flavor. However, you may find the only thing tropical about this apple is its name! With or without the pineapple taste this apple has consistently ranked near the top of many unbiased taste tests.

History: Hawaii was developed in California in the 1940s and is likely a cross of Golden Delicious and Gravenstein.

KANDIL SINAP: This unusual apple has a very picturesque long narrow shape with a snow white flesh that is crisp but very tender, fine grained,  juicy and moderately sweet. Kandil Sinap means “sweet apple of Sinope” and it is apparently named after the Sinop peninsula in Turkey, which juts into the Black Sea.  This variety probably arose in the early 1800s and by 1890 was a favorite in Turkey.  Its parentage is unknown. Uses:  Fresh eating.