We love to talk about our farm and growing good things in the heart of Texas! Feel free to come by our booth at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market and chat each Saturday. You can also email your questions through the contact page here on the website. Here are some of the questions our wonderful customers have asked:
How do I take care of my PBF Red Wiggler Composting Worms?
Worms eat plant materials:
grain scraps (like bread, oatmeal, cornmeal, flour)
Worms also need calcium in order to lay eggs to hatch more worms.
Ground eggshells are a great source of calcium for worms!
Some things are not good for worms:
NO dairy products
NO citrus peels
NO raw potatoes or potato peels
Keep your worm bin moist, but not wet. If the worm bin becomes too wet, mix in shredded newspaper, leaves, or grass clippings to absorb moisture. If the bed becomes too dry simply mist with water. Your worm bin should always have a pleasant, earthy smell. If your bin develops an unpleasant odor, you are over feeding the worms and they are not composting quickly enough. Just stop feeding for several days to let them catch up.
Scraps can be tossed on top of the compost, but if you gently bury the scraps it will help them decay more quickly.
After feeding, always tuck worms back in with a sheet of newspaper (avoid colorful or slick pages.) Red Wigglers will never crawl out of the bin, but keeping the lid on blocks light and retains moisture.
Red Wigglers are quite hardy and can handle cold temperatures, although they will compost more slowly in the cold. They work most efficiently when they are warm. A worm bin can be kept in the garage, the mudroom, or even under the kitchen sink. Outdoor bins must be in the shade.
When you see that your worms have composted scraps into castings (uniform dark brown material that looks like coffee grounds) harvest it and put it around your plants. They’ll love it!
Why are PBF pastured eggs different colors? Are they different inside?
Different breeds of hens lay different shades of eggs. The color is only different on the shell~ when you crack Pecan Bluff Farm eggs into a bowl they all have the same gorgeous orange yolk and stiff white that you can expect from our pastured, free-ranging hens. We have several breeds of hens. Our Ameracaunas lay the lovely tinted green and blue eggs that get so much attention from customers. Our Production Reds lay large brown eggs. Our Black Australorp and Black Star hens also lay nice brown eggs. The white eggs are from our Leghorn hens. And this spring we will bringing chocolate brown eggs to market from our sweet Cuckoo Maran hens. They are gorgeous!
Why are your eggs hard to peel? I want to make pretty deviled eggs!
Fresh eggs are very hard to peel. Since the eggs we sell are super-fresh, you will probably have some trouble peeling them to make a lovely tray of deviled eggs. Fresh eggs all have a very small air pocket in them, and the egg membrane has not separated from the shell. Old eggs available in the store have been sitting around for so long that the air cell has increased in size and the membrane has separated, making the egg easier to peel when boiled. So how do we handle this problem in our home kitchen? We do a few things to make our eggs peel a bit better: take a dozen eggs and stick them in the back of the fridge. Keep them there at least two weeks. Then, add the cold eggs to a pan of cold water with 1/4 salt mixed in. Boil as desired. Immediately transfer hot boiled eggs into a bath of cold water and ice mixed with 1/4 cup baking soda. It helps if you dump them in and crack the shells against each other a little as you put them into the ice bath. Let them sit in the ice/water/soda bath for 10 minutes. Peel under cold running water. Hope this helps! If we still have some that don’t peel nicely, we just mash them into the best egg salad you’ve ever tasted!
How long will farm fresh eggs keep?
Eggs store very well, so if kept in the refrigerator you can expect them to lose very little quality for a couple of weeks. Even though refrigerated eggs won’t actually spoil for many weeks, remember you will always get the best taste and the most nutrients when you eat eggs as fresh as possible. Grocery store eggs are sometimes older than 6 weeks when they finally reach the shelves!
Why are some peppers green and some are red and some are in between?
All peppers start out green. They are edible at any time and in any color. Many peppers develop more sweetness as they ripen to yellow or red. It is personal taste whether you like your peppers green or red. If you see a pepper with some green and some red, or a pepper that is a funny shade of maroon, then you know that pepper was picked while in the process of changing color. In the Texas heat it can be difficult to raise red peppers, because ripening takes time (sometimes weeks) and the longer a pepper stays on the plant the higher the chance it will become sunburned. So, we pick our peppers when they are big and firm and fleshy because they’ll taste best then. We generally try to bring a mix of colors to market to please everyone.
Which peppers are hot and which are mild?
At market we try to keep our peppers sorted so you can find just what you’re looking for. And always fee free to ask our pepper expert, Mike, if you’d like details about the flavor of our peppers. Some peppers we grow are considered mild. They include sweet banana, bell, pablano, and TAM jalapeno. Some of our peppers are considered hot. They include cayenne, pimiento, tabasco, jalapeno, chili pequin, and habanero.
Our sweet red cherry peppers are beautiful and delicious, but we’ve found their flavor can vary from mild and sweet to intensely hot. Enjoy the mystery!
What on earth do people do with squash blossoms?
It has been fun picking delicate squash blossoms for our customers to enjoy! It is a real treat to be able to provide a delicate and fresh product, lovingly harvested and delivered to people who are so excited about it. Some folks eat squash blossoms because they are a traditional southern summer treat, battered and deep fried. Others consider them a gourmet treat, stuffing them with goat cheese and basil, then dipping them in tempura batter and frying. Our family eats them raw on salads. You can use them as a base for a Mexican summer soup.There are dozens of ways to enjoy the summer’s best blossoms, but come get yours fast ~ they sell out quickly every week.
What is a squash blossom?
A squash plant produces male and female flowers in order to produce fruit. The male flowers provide pollen, then wither. The female flowers are pollenated by our friendly local bees, then a fruit begins to form at the base of the flower. The flower sometimes hangs on as the fruit develops, so often our customers get lovely baby squash with the delicate blossom still attached to the end.
Do you always have pecans for sale?
Due to the drought conditions in the past few years, we haven’t had a good pecan crop harvest in a while. Thankfully, our trees produced a bumper crop of delicious pecans this year. We have shelled pecans for sale each Saturday at market. Our pecans are especially delicious!
What is stevia?
Stevia is an amazing herb we grow here at Pecan Bluff Farm that is naturally sweet but doesn’t cause cavities and doesn’t raise blood sugar. You can taste the intense sweetness just by chewing a leaf, and the fresh or dried leaves can be added to hot or cold drinks like tea and coffee. You can read here to find out whether using stevia is right for you.
Summer is tomato season! Why did you quit bringing your delicious tomatoes to market in July and August?
Actually, here in central Texas we can grow nice tomatoes in the spring and early summer, then even nicer tomatoes in the fall. But during the brutal heat of July and August, tomatoes can’t handle the heat. Intense heat causes poor fruit set and damage to the fruit, like sun scald and rotting on the vine. So, in July, we trim our tomato plants back and let a new flush of green growth start, in the hopes the plants will start producing tomatoes again by September and October. We also plant some fresh plants during that same time so they’ll be ready to fruit when the slightly cooler fall temps arrive. Though we all miss those good tomatoes during the heat of the summer, we are very blessed to have two season (spring and fall) in which tomatoes can thrive here!
How should I store and use eggplant?
The eggplant we’ve grown this summer is called Black Beauty and is a glossy, lovely eggplant. We try to pick them at the peak of ripeness, because if the eggplant is too green it can be tough. If the eggplant is left too long on the vine it turns a bronze color and tastes bitter. Eggplants are fairly fragile after they are picked. They need to be eaten within 3 days of picking. We harvest on Fridays and Saturday mornings before market, so when you buy an eggplant from us, plan to use it early in the week for best results.
Eggplant is delicious sliced, brushed with olive oil and grilled. It can also be used to replace meat in pasta dishes like lasagna. It has a mild, earthy flavor and adds great dimension to any meal.