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Farm Frederick's Blog (19)

One Step At A Time - Learning To Take It Slow

My normal tendency, in just about everything I've ever done, is to jump right in, feet first and just start. No questions asked... just get the ball rolling, get on top of it and try not to fall off. As crazy as that sounds, this method has helped me accomplish a lot of things in my life. Things I would have never done had I thought it through. I was a Marine, for example, when I was 18... I'd never do that now! Mostly because I'm older and I get tired quicker and the thought of people…


Added by Farm Frederick on December 5, 2013 at 10:41am — 2 Comments

New Beginnings - Starting a Small Farm in Downtown Frederick

I've been in love with farming since 2008, when I started hanging out with Loran Shallenberger, a great guy and a very talented farmer who was living near the base of Sugarloaf mountain at the time. I started helping Loran, who had just begun his own farm project called North Comus Acres on a rented piece of farmland. Loran raised hogs, chickens and grew vegetables, and we became good friends. I helped Loran, alongside my daughter Amber, who was 7 or 8 at the time for the better part of 2…


Added by Farm Frederick on November 11, 2013 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

Doing Things The Hard Way Never Felt So Good

Historically, I've done things the hard way. It's my nature. I joined the Marine Corps my junior year of high school because it was the "hardest" of the armed forces. After 4 years of struggle and stories upon stories to tell my grandchildren some day I got out of the Marines and plunged right into a career as a stand-up comic. That's harder than being a Marine, take my word for it. And after a decade in the performing arts, I decide to be a farmer?! What the hell is wrong with me? I could…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 13, 2012 at 5:05pm — No Comments

Season 3 - The Next Chapter

It has been a long time since I've added a post to this blog or even checked in on this page. As last season ended I believed that I would no longer be gardening our beautiful plot of land at Virgate Farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland. With a move to Baltimore and a new job I had put the garden behind me a blazed ahead as I always do. Last week I made a pit stop into my old stomping grounds at Cafe Nola to see some familiar faces and enjoy a delicious cup of Illy coffee. While I was there, I heard…


Added by Farm Frederick on February 28, 2012 at 1:23pm — 5 Comments

Rooster Kung Fu

I've been hanging out with our chickens a lot more these past couple weeks and I've noticed a number of things that both delight and concern me. The roosters don't get along with each other. If that weren't bad enough, I believe each of them want me dead. I've never had a pet who wanted to kill before. I've also never had a pet that, if time's got tough,  I could legally eat before. Try explaining that to a rooster though. Roosters don't care about reason... they're not trying to understand…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 25, 2011 at 6:38pm — 7 Comments

As The Season Winds Down (lessons from year 1)

As our first full season of running our own farm comes to a close, there is so much to reflect on. Where did we succeed? Where did we fall short and what can we do to adjust those efforts and improve for next season? What lessons did we learn through our trial and error approach to small-scale organic gardening? I love this time of year. The feeling of completion of something grand and the hopeful forward glance at what may be possible in the next season. I think that might be the most…


Added by Farm Frederick on September 23, 2010 at 12:30pm — 4 Comments

An Abundant Summer

I'm pleased to report that things are popping up all over the Nola farm dispite the enormous lack of rain. It has indeed been a hot, dry growing season in Mt. Airy, Maryland but we're trudging on through. Irrigation has become a daily duty in order to keep our heirloom tomatoes healthy and beautiful and it has definitely paid off. We've been fortunate enough to offer dinner specials from our garden nightly throughout the summer. It's an amazing feeling. We've had so many heirloom tomatoes…


Added by Farm Frederick on August 3, 2010 at 5:25pm — 4 Comments

Bees, Chickens, and First Harvest Specials

Things are absolutely poppin on the Nola Farm. Since I last checked in with Homegrown big things have happened. First, we finally got our chickens moved into their brand new home on the farm and they are loving life. Plenty of room to run and play, a fresh bed of soil to take dust baths in and a garden full of juicy worms and bugs to eat all day. It's a beautiful thing. They are totally made for farming. The chickens are too light to crush your veggies and as they walk through your beds they… Continue

Added by Farm Frederick on June 8, 2010 at 9:28pm — 1 Comment

May-niac... or Mayk up your mind. You see the theme.

Okay, right into it... May is crazy! The weather this month is stressing me out. May is behaving like a child and I'm totally calling 'time out.' Two days ago we were worried about losing our tomatoes (which we planted too early) to frost, and today it's 80, humid and we get hit by a series of thunderstorms. I think the most interesting thing is that I never really paid all that much attention to the weather patterns before... not like I do now anyway. Now, I have to know what's going on… Continue

Added by Farm Frederick on May 14, 2010 at 8:20pm — 5 Comments

The Gazette Covers Our Farm

Hey folks. Cafe Nola was covered in the Gazette again, this time they ran a full length article about what we're up to on the farm. It's a great article that you can check out here:

Gazette Article

(click above to see article with photos)


Added by Farm Frederick on May 9, 2010 at 11:56am — 2 Comments

Nola gets covered in The Gazette

This week Cafe Nola celebrated Earth Day with a Zero Waste mentallity. We offered no carryout containers or paper to go cups. Instead we offered refillable travel mugs for only one dollar. No paper napkins or straws were used and, as always all glass was recycled. Aside from a few customers wanting only carry out the effort was a success. It proved manageable for future efforts. I feel like we can reduce our waste to very little without changing alot about what we already do.

Angie, a…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 25, 2010 at 12:12pm — No Comments

How Many People Does it Take to Move a Chicken Coop?

We've had a productive week or so on the Nola Farm. We put a roof on the chicken coop and we're preparing to cover the outside with a wooden siding. The roof is made of corrugated metal. It's pretty lightweight and inexpensive, reflects the sun well and sounds awesome in the rain. We were going to cover the entire coop in metal but we thought it would look too "Chipotle" and felt that it might be too ironic for a chicken refuge, besides... the wooden siding was less expensive and looks…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 24, 2010 at 8:00pm — No Comments

25 Baby Chickens Arrive to Nola Farm!!!

Yesterday, 25 beautiful baby chickens arrived at the Frederick Post office. We got the call early yesterday morning... Alex said she could hear the babies 'peeping' in the background. Dave picked them up from the post office and brought them by the cafe for everyone to see. People came out of their booths and seats to get a glimpse of the tiny birds in their small shipping box. The box they shipped in was really small but they all made it through the trip. We unfortunately lost the runt of the… Continue

Added by Farm Frederick on April 13, 2010 at 9:42pm — No Comments

Nola Farm Journal - References and Resources

I think that the most overwhelming part of starting a project like this is know where to begin. What do I do? Who do I contact? Do I need insurance or a tax ID? When and what do I begin planting? So many questions flood your mind that it can seem an unmanageable task... but it isn't and you are not alone. Plenty of people around the world are doing this and have been doing this for years and there are valuable resources everywhere... the trick is knowing where to look.

So here…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 8, 2010 at 2:26pm — 1 Comment

Nola Farm Journal - Poison Ivy Follow Up

So... now three member's of our crew have experienced a violent reaction to something on the farm, which we have assumed to be poison ivy. Julien has got some pretty bad blisters on his forearms and Dave's case seems to be spreading to his torseau. The blisters on my hands have healed but now my left armpit is under attack. What we've learned through this painful process is that poison ivy can be present even if the vines and leaves are not. A write-up by…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 8, 2010 at 1:53pm — No Comments

Nola Farm Journal - Layout and Bed Prep

The past two weeks on our farm have been devoted to infrastructure. We had to come up with a layout that is easy to maintain, good looking, and capable of producing a good amount of food. I definately didn't want to bite of more than I could chew so, heading the advice of my friend and mentor in small-scale organic gardening Loran, I created a layout that I didn't feel overwhelmed by and that I thought looked nice. As of today, our garden consists of two beds 5 ft X 35 ft, layed out on a…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 3, 2010 at 6:45pm — No Comments

Nola Farm Journal - So Allergic to Outside!

So apparently I'm incredibly allergic to poison ivy or summac or oak. The truth is I never got a look at the vine that did me in. During my first real week of turning over soil in my garden beds my skin began to show signs of a reaction to something. I've reacted to poison ivy before so I didn't panic... although maybe I should have. After three days my entire body was covered in sores and boils. It's gross I know. How do you think I felt? Waking up with my right eye almost completely…


Added by Farm Frederick on April 2, 2010 at 9:46pm — 1 Comment

Nola Farm Journal - 2nd Entry

Deciding to start a farm is easy. You can do while you're drunk and most times that's probably how it's done. Following through is something else entirely. Do I really want this much responsibility? We could just buy organic produce from other small farmers... why go through all the trouble? In my case, it's personal. I want to know how it's done. I want to know, not only how to grow food, but also the economics of food. Where it comes from, how much it costs. I figure the best way for me to…


Added by Farm Frederick on March 29, 2010 at 7:24pm — No Comments

The Nola Farm Journal - 1st Entry

My name is Doug. I'm a member of a very unique group of people and we're embarking on something very exciting this year. This group, my community, my family for the past year are either employees or patrons of Cafe Nola, an eclectic little restaurant and coffeehouse in downtown Frederick. That's in Maryland.

Being proponents of the small farm/ small business movement (Nola being one) and some of us amateur gardeners in the making, we've decided to start our own small farm. The…


Added by Farm Frederick on March 29, 2010 at 6:49pm — 3 Comments



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