Sunday, September 30, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Rain, rain, and more rain - fall has arrived and it promises to provide relief from this past summer's heat and drought.

David and Debbie went down to the test garden this past Monday and picked watermelon (both Moon & Stars and Congo), some more beans, cucumbers, and naturally, more squash. The pumpkins are still doing good and David is hoping that they make it to mid-month when they are supposed to ripen.

The watermelons were saved and served at Sunday Night's For Everyone at our church. Donald got to taste test them, and they passed. No one at church complained about them.

Small Pickin's
We are getting near to the end of our harvest opportunities, but it is good to see that the test garden produced so well (better than we had hoped).

Debbie and David went to Smart Mart in Cameron and picked up 500 pounds of Lime. This is less than half of what we will need but will get us started on preparing the production fields. We were unable to do anything with it this weekend due to weather, but hope to get it down soon. We will ultimately need about 1,200 pounds as we need to apply 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet, and we have over 60,000 square feet in production fields.

On Thursday, David, Debbie, and Donald visited with LeFlore County NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to ensure that we could "alter" Headache Creek (a very small creek that cuts through field 1). We named it headache creek as it is rather deep (probably about a foot) and you cannot see it when the hay is growing. As a result, when you are driving between the main creek and the production fields, unless you remember, you end up with a headache.

This coming Saturday is our Church's Fall Festival, and we have donated 53 pounds of processed and frozen squash. If you live in the area and are needed some frozen squash, be sure to drop by the Heavener First United Methodist Church, in Heavener, OK.

Until next week:

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

This past Wednesday David went down to the test garden and picked what he said (hoped?) was the last squash harvest of the year (it wasn't, there are still more growing).

He picked a lot of vegetables:

Zucchini Squash
We have had an excellent crop of Zucchini Squash. These were from the Wednesday harvest.

Patty Pan Squash & Cucumbers
We also had an excellent crop of Patty Pan Squash - more than we really anticipated. We have had a fair crop of Cucumber, though it probably could have been better.

Pole Beans
Our first, and possibly only, bean harvest - at least we had enough to harvest.
The "Farm" Kitchen
Debbie and David sliced and diced 11 pounds of Patty Pan Squash and 42 pounds of Zucchini Squash this week. It is now located in our church's freezers. The church fall festival is coming up and we plan to sell the squash at the festival. All proceeds will go to the church.

We also have several watermelon coming ripe and at least a few pumpkins growing.

We have all come to the conclusion that, if we were to go commercial (rather than organic), we could have a very successful market crop operation. By using fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides, our production gardens would most likely do very well - however, one has to wonder if (1) the profit would be there due to high cost of inputs, and (2) if the demand would be there as we would be just ... like everyone else.

We will stick to all-natural growing methods.

Until next week,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

We have had rain - glorious, wet, rain. It drizzled on and off on Saturday and today there has been a steady, light rain fall most of the day. This has provided us with a weekend off from farming.

David and Donald went down to the test garden and picked some of the squash that was clearly visible. You would think that there would not be much left; however, they picked a full basket.

There is a good crop of pole beans that are ready to pick. As this variety is prone to disease if not handled properly, they should not be picked while wet. We will have to wait until it dries out to pick them, but they look good and healthy.

Our Congo watermelon's were eaten by something (not sure what) and all they left were the seeds; however, the Mood & Stars watermelon are doing good.

We have a few pumpkins and a lot of blooms, so the pumpkin patch is still a work in progress.

We are happy with the success of our test garden. Production was good for most crops, especially when considering the fact that we planted late, the soil was virgin soil and the soil was not really prepared properly.

The garden is now more of a weed patch then a garden, but it is still producing. We will cease watering all areas except the pumpkins (hoping for a good fall crop) and will most likely be mowing the garden down by mid-October so we can start preparing for next year.

The immediate goal is to determine what we want to plant over the next 12 - 18 months so that we can set a schedule for the production fields as well as the test garden. We will be moving equipment down to prepare the fields for winter crops as soon as the weather clears.

Until next week,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

Ramblings of a Wannabe Farmer

Ramblings of a Wannabe Farmer
By Donald Baker

Last week at our Beginning Farmers and Ranchers class at the Kerr Center, I had the opportunity to have a discussion on successful farming with Mr. George Kuepper, Horticulture Program Manager and the main instructor for the Horticulture track.

We had just returned from visiting Wild Things Farm, a very successful farming operation located in Pocola, Oklahoma.  Our discussion related to the ability of small acreage, or even backyard, farms to be successful.

Based on my limited knowledge of farming and what we learned at Baker Heritage Farms over the past 9 months, it is my humble opinion that small acreage and back yard farmers can be just as successful as large commercial farmers, and possibly even more successful. Smaller farms can adapt more quickly to changing conditions, including weather, markets, and growing habitat, then large commercial farms can.

Larger commercial farms generally specialize in two or three primary crops, concentrating on those crops that will generate the most profit that season. The size of these operations limit plantings, many times to just one planting per year.

Small farms generally plant a number of different crops, and have the ability to plant throughout the year, depending on where they are located. These farms usually specialize in market crops that are in demand in their local area.

When disaster hits, the large commercial farms are more exposed to crop loss, whether the disaster is weather related, or related to insects, fungus, or other disaster. This has been very evident over the past two years. Corn, soy beans, and wheat are generally sensitive to weather, particularly drought or flood. As such, commercial farmers have had two devastating years back-to-back. Their losses were high due to their concentration on one crop. The small acreage farmer, however, can better plan for drought through diversification, planting schedules (Baker Heritage Farm had several successful crops because planting was late, missing the heat related pollination issues that affected many larger commercial farmers), and the ability to address the disaster due to the smaller scale.

How does this relate to profit? Mr. Kuepper and I agree - the small acreage or back yard farmer can be profitable, possibly even more profitable per acre than larger commercial farmers. How can this be possible when commercial farmers have more equipment, better infrastructure, and larger acreage? If you take away the government crop insurance and other government sponsored price support programs, there is a good possibility that the larger commercial farmer will show more of a loss than a profit over time. All of the large equipment cost money, the infrastructure costs money, and the cost of buying or renting acreage has increased substantially over the past several years. The small acreage, or backyard, farmer is usually able to control operating and input costs, more through necessity then planning. By using organic (sustainable) growing methods, the smaller farmer is constantly improving the soil while producing market crops. The crops produced are of higher quality, more favorable, and healthier than those produced by larger farmers, and thus, can bring in more profit when sold locally. The integrity of the soil is maintained, avoiding draining resources from the soil allowing continuous planting without damage to the soil.

Small farm operations can better control costs and production, providing a safety net through diversification (Wild Things Farm has diversified into agri-tourism), and can generate a higher profit margin.

While the payday will not be larger, the profit margin can be, and the additional benefits (lifestyle, being good stewards of the land, time with the family, and working with your hands) are irreplaceable.

Yes, farming is a challenge - but what would life be without a challenge. Will the family farm ever return? We hope so. The objective at Baker Heritage Farms is to determine successful ways for the family farm to exist and to promote the benefits of family farming.

Keep watching for more Ramblings. Next up - challenging the claims that food causes obesity. 

Until next time ...

Sunday, September 9, 2012



Donald had the pleasure of attending the second to last Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Horticulture class at the Kerr Center this past Saturday. This class was more intense then other classes and included a field trip to Wild Things Farm.

Jim and Cathie Green started the 90-acre Wild Things Farm in 2000 to raise wild flowers. They immediately changed direction and started growing strawberries. Mrs. Green provided a tour of the farm, background information, and an excellent power-point presentation of the various activities conducted on the farm. Wild Things Farm is a very successful, diversified farm that has made a beneficial transition to agri-tourism. Mrs. Green provided a diverse range of information that will be useful to all of the attendees including Baker Heritage Farms. A big thank you to Mrs. Green and Wild Things Farm for their hospitality. For more information on Wild Things Farm, visit their web site at

After the visit to the farm, each class member gave a brief overview of their successes and failures, what they have learned, what has worked and what has not worked, and the ups and downs of farming.

This class included more information on preparing a farm business plan, including drafting contingency plans (necessary for resilient farming). Also included was Farm Food Safety (Good Agriculture Practices for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables) and winter cover crops. The class ended with a final visit to the Demo field as well as the other Cannon Horticultural Plots.

We need to complete our Farm Business Plan and get it submitted before the final class next month. We have already benefited from the Business Plan by keeping our farm on track with our initial plans.

We are already working on planning our winter cover crops. We have several goals for our cover crops, including:

1st - Increase nitrogen levels;
2nd - Weed control;
3rd - Tillage; and
4th - Attracting beneficial insects.

We have been working to determine what winter cover crops will meet most of these goals based on priority, and are essentially down to a number of clover and vetch varieties, peas, and beans. The Kerr Center has offered their assistance and we will be meeting with them in the next couple of weeks for their guidance in determining what we will actually plant this fall. We have not yet determined whether or not we will be planting any winter production crops in the test garden.

Debbie, David, and Donald went down to the test garden today. More squash was picked, as well as some cucumbers and watermelon.

We are in a quandary with our watermelon. We have had several go rotten, and one of our Congo watermelon had split; when we opened it the meat was red and juicy. However, we picked one of the Congo that met all of the criteria for ripeness, but when we opened it, it had yellow flesh. We also picked two Moon & Stars, which showed all the signs of ripeness. When we opened one, the flesh was red and the seeds were mostly black. Danielle liked the yellow flesh of the Congo melon, which she thought was sweeter and better tasting then the Moon & Stars. We think that the Congo melon may have been cross-polinated, we will need to better plan our planting times and location to try to avoid future cross-pollination problems. The Moon & Stars appeared mostly ripe and had a good watermelon flavor. Debbie thought both types were good, as did David. At least we know we can grow watermelon.

Moon & Stars Watermelon
Congo Watermelon
We have at least two pumpkins that are doing well and several other possibilities. Our beans are growing but it will be interesting to see if we can get a usable harvest before the first frost sets in.

It has become obvious that being diversified in crops, and working the farm year-round, will increase the success, and possibly even the profitability of the farm. One of the things we learned from Mrs. Green at Wild Things Farm was how to use agri-tourism as a benefit to both the farm and the community. We hope to eventually open a cooking program at the farm, showing how to cook a number of dishes using products produced on the farm.

Watch for Ramblings of a Wanna-be Farmer to be added to the blog in the near future.

Blessings to all;

Baker Heritage Farm

Veggie Soup Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Mary Cochran:


  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 leek
  • small head of cabbage
  • several Roma tomatoes
  • 5 small potatoes
  • 5 carrots
  • several okra
  • Chipotle salsa
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 container of College Inn Culinary Broth Thai Coconut Curry, 0.5 cups 240ml
Dice all vegetables.
Put in large crock pot.
Add seasonings, salsa and broth.
Trop off with water.
Cook until vegetables are tender.

Vegetable Soup

Monday, September 3, 2012

12SEP03 - Current

Two posts in one night - guess that is what happens when you do not post for two weeks. Anyway, greetings from Baker Heritage Farms once again.

One update was left out from the last posting - David has now completed the hen house. The only thing left is the fencing. We will be ordering the chickens this coming spring so that we do not have to worry about heat and feed bills over the coming winter.

This Labor Day weekend was a very busy weekend on the farm.

Isaac was supposed to pay us a visit the end of this past week, but he apparently decided that a visit was not really necessary. We did receive a little rain late Friday afternoon, but nothing dramatic. It was light enough not to interfere with farm work plans for the weekend.

Saturday morning, Donald was able to mow production fields two and three. Sunday was an opportunity to go down to the fields a have a "family evening" playing in the newly mowed fields and just enjoying the evening. After relaxing and enjoying nature, we visited the test garden and harvested more produce.
Basket one of two.
 We harvested a watermelon, several patty pan squash, and cucumbers.
Basket two of two
 And more patty pan, cucumbers, and zucchini squash.
Our first pumpkin.
Cherokee Purple Tomato (Heirloom)
Our tomatoes did not produce this year - or so we thought. This one tomato was from a plant we gave up on, it had been essentially destroyed in an earlier storm. While we put cages around the rest, we did not put one around this plant as we thought it was going to die. Obviously, it survived. A little late, but at least we know we can grow them.
This watermelon had a short life - it was picked. We have not yet opened it, but plan to tomorrow night. It will be interesting to see if it is really ripe.

We have posted a lot of pictures, essentially of the same thing. However, it is important to note that the test garden is just off of where the production fields are. If you remember, we have some serious chemical deficiencies in our production fields and have no reason to believe that it is really any better in the test garden. In addition, this was virgin soil, with no additives applied. Plus, we planted late. It has been encouraging to see that, even without working the ground, we should be able to produce vegetables. We were unsuccessful with our corn, tomatoes and onions. Our beans have yet to produce but seem to be surviving. We have had an over abundance of squash, and still have numerous blossoms, so it appears more are coming. Our watermelon and pumpkin seem to be doing well, but it is still to early to determine how successful we will be.

We are very happy with the results of our test garden this year. At least all of the work was not wasted.

NOTE: We are asking readers to submit their recipes for posting, particularly those that can be used for home-grown vegetables, fruit, etc. You can submit your recipes directly to the blog (they may not show for up to one week, but they will eventually be posted) or by emailing them to We are also asking that you submit pictures if possible.

Donald was visiting relatives while on a business trip the past few weeks and, after visiting an Aunt and cousin in the Glenford, New York area, learned more about Broom Corn and gourds. We have now added these two items to our planned plantings in 2013. We plan to plant the gourds around the field fencing.

Have a great week.

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms - Located in eastern Oklahoma.

12SEP03 - Catching Up


We apologize for the lack of a posting for the past two weeks; however, due to limited internet service, we were unable to post.

When the last posting was made (12AUG22) we were unable to post the pictures David took of the garden. Here are the pictures we were unable to post:
Pumpkin Bloom
This photo was taken on August 20th - there is a real pumpkin there now.
This photo was also taken August 20th - we have since lost one watermelon to rot, but we have picked one as it appears that it may be ripe (though it has not been long enough, we will find out how ripe it is soon).

David and Debbie went down to the garden later that week (August 23rd) and picked another bountiful harvest of squash (both zucchini and patty pan). 
One of two baskets harvested August 23rd
2nd basket of two harvested August 23rd
We grow BIG patty pan. 
Yes, we know that patty pan is supposed to be picked while it is still small, but you are also supposed to wait until the blossom dies, our patty pan are just plain big by the time the blossom dies, and they still taste great.
Watermelon amongst the squash.
Overall, it would appear that the test garden is doing very well.

Now you are up-to-date with the happenings at Baker Heritage Farms up to this past weekend (see "12SEP03 - Current" for the happenings over the Labor Day weekend).

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms