Spring Lettuce

Spring has finally arrived here in East Central Illinois. The daytime temperatures are reaching the low 70’s and the sounds of spring thunderstorms roll across the fields. The rain and warmth combine to begin the vegetable growing season.

One of our favorite early crops here at Five Feline Farm is leaf lettuce. Our preferred variety is Rocky Top blend both for the growth and flavor.  This non-GMO seed blend is sourced from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Red Oak leaf, Green Oak leaf, Red Romaine, Redwing, and Black Seeded Simpson among other more rare varieties combine for a colorful salad.

Not only do we enjoy frequent salads from this crop, it is a popular item at the Farmer’s Market.

Picked young and tender, just a quick rinse and spin dry is all that is needed. It  will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days stored in a plastic bag with a dry paper towel placed in the bottom to absorb any moisture.

This lettuce needs very little added to create a tasty salad. Our most recent bowl had a few crumbles of cheese, a sprinkle of pecan pieces and sliced grape tomatoes on top of a mound of freshly torn leaves. A simple dressing of high quality olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt and a couple of twists from the pepper grinder allowed the flavor of the lettuce to shine.

What is your favorite Spring treat?

Five Feline Farm Foodies

We are foodies.

Our farm is all about food. Growing food, planning for food, selling food at the Farmer’s Market or our own Mercantile, preserving food, and yes, of course eating food.

During these dark, cold Winter days we continually look for ways to improve our food production. We plan for the growing season and the basement holds hundreds of tiny plants waiting for warmer weather. Tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, rosemary, basil, onions and even flowers for our pollinator friends are beginning their lives in the grow stations.

Our current food supply is sourced as much as possible from the freezer and pantry. Rows of gleaming jars full of home canned sauces, salsas, pickled peppers and broths line the pantry while baggies and containers of frozen fruits and sauces pack the freezer. All of these inspire a multitude of meals.

Once Spring and Summer finally arrive, we will have access to fresh vegetables mere steps from the front door. A short stroll out the back door lies the primary herb garden ready to add an abundance of flavor to any dish. Many of these fresh herbs and vegetables will make it to the Farmer’s Market this summer.

It’s a foodie’s paradise.

Spring Begins at Five Feline Farm


This past week Five Feline Farm hosted a booth at the Lake Land College Innovative Energy Conference. Keynote speaker Ed Begley, Jr. gave great information about living more sustainably by doing what you can. He suggested that every person can do something to conserve by taking just a few steps such as changing to LED lightbulbs or having a home energy audit.

So, what can we do at the Farm?

The goldfish pond uses two electric pumps during warm weather. One is a continuously running pump that powers the filter and waterfall. The other runs a few minutes a day to add water from the well. Plenty of sunshine is available in this area so a solar collector is the goal to power both pumps.

Shouldn’t be too hard. A little study, invest in materials, and the pond goes off the grid.

The next task will be to add some insulation to the greenhouse. The new greenhouse was built on a deck for a secure base that allows drainage. However, it also allows heat loss overnight. Insulation on the deck walls will curb some of this loss. Electricity will be installed so tender plants can stay warm enough overnight to survive. Perhaps next year, this will be converted to solar power for the auxiliary heat source.

With the promise of Spring, outdoor activities around the Farm kick into high gear. We are energized to complete those tasks we have only dreamed about through the long cold winter.

Five Feline Farm Spring task list:

-pick up downed branches in the woods that have fallen or broken during winter storms

-repair any structures that sustained winter damage

-establish new garden areas and install edgings

-run electricity for greenhouse heater

-install solar power to the goldfish pond pumps

-attend Indiana Flower and Patio Show

What spring tasks will you be doing?