Monday, June 29, 2009

Vol 14 No 4 - Week of June 29th

Emergency Garlic Harvest

With another week fully of rainy days, we did more maintenance than planting this week. The fields are just too wet to work in.

Despite the rain, the tomato plants are doing well, but the eggplant & peppers seemed to have stopped growing. This is probably due in part to the lack of sun, excessive wetness and the cooler night temperatures that we have been experiencing at the farm. The fava beans are almost ready to be harvested and we should have them in next week's delivery.


This week we started the potato harvest on our first planting of the Pontiac variety. There were a lot of cracked potatoes and the yield was low. We have an additional 10 plantings of potatoes which include blue & red gold varieties. We can only hope that these additional planting will fare better than the first.


In the greenhouse, the seeded Brussel sprouts, chard, spinach, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, cukes & zukes are ready to be transplanted. The raised beds are saving us somewhat, but the furrows are just filled with water and in some places it is ankle deep.

We received the stevia transplants, but have not planted them yet due to the weather. We hope to get them planted this week. Stevia is an herb that many people use as a natural sweetener.


Farm-Spring 2009 033.jpg

From the Fields: As mentioned earlier we were not able to do any planting this week. We were able to cultivate the beds to keep the weeds in check. The garlic harvest was started, as the sheaths that surround the garlic bulbs were being compromised by the rain and we thought it best to start the harvest. Better to have small garlic than no garlic due to the possibility of the bulbs rotting the wet beds. At least half of the garlic has been harvested as of Sunday afternoon. We plan on transplanting the lettuce, Chinese cabbage & spinach into some of these beds. The garlic is now lying out on the racks to start the drying & curing. We are pleased to mention that the garlic harvest this year is far better than last year's harvest!


Weather Report: It rained almost every night this week, from a trace to about 1" each day. We did manage to get a few hours of sunlight on a few days! We narrowly missed a hail storm which would have been devastating to the field crops. The storm passed just north of us into NY. The forecast for the week shows periods of more rain & thunderstorms during mid-week. We can only hope that they will be "scattered" and not over the farm.


Animal report: The deer just love the tomato plants in our fields at Scott's farm! The plants they forgot to eat the first round, they found the second time around. Scott is aggressively working on the problem with the fence and we hope to report all is well by next week. We have had a quiet week at the farm and all our fences are doing well and we haven't had any animal break-ins. Many of the tomato plants eaten at Scott's have started to re-sprout. This will delay them bearing fruit, but we are fortunate they all were not lost.


Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vol 14 No 3 - Week of June 22nd

Record Rain for June?

Needless to say we had a trying week (see additional comments under the animal report). The rain just kept coming and coming & coming. Last week we reported well over 5" of rain fell, so add another 4-5" on top of that. The field crops are not happy. The excessive rain with the lack of sun is causing some crop failures. About 30-40% of our broccoli, cauliflower and shallot crop has been lost as well as 50% of the kohlrabi. We do overplant to offset losses, but don't plan on having the losses this severe.Picking Daisies.jpg

Friday was our only nice sunny day at the farm, in which we were able to cultivate and weedwack trying to get the fields under control. Saturday with the forecast of rain all day, we worked in the Franklin greenhouse (Farmer Rich hates to work in the rain) and were able to totally turn-it-over. This involved harvesting all the remaining onions and set them out the dry on our wire racks (we just need some sun for them to dry). We weeded the beds, fertilized and planted oriental greens. We also transplanted cucumbers. Having both our on-farm greenhouses and the Franklin greenhouse allows us to adapt during the season. Without these greenhouses we would be very behind at this point in the season. Many field crop farmers are finding it extremely difficult with the excessive rains. We have a few more beds in the fields open for cucumbers and squash but have not been able to plant them. Fortunately the plants we had ready were sent over the Scotts to plant in our fields there. Our new seedlings (the cucurbits) are almost ready to be planted in the fields and we hope we have better weather this week to accomplish it.

We have to check in with Farmer Jim at Windy Brow Farm to check on the status of his fruit crop that we hope to start delivering in mid-July. These heavy rains may be affecting the fruit crop as well. We hope to have an updated report for the next newsletter.

We have decided to deliver the onions again this week, as we have to start the garlic harvest early and need the room on the drying racks for the garlic. Also with this high humidity with all the rain, we are unsure that the onions will dry correctly, so it is best to deliver them while they are good instead of losing them. The garlic looks like is may start to rot in the ground, so the main objective this week will be to harvest it as the sheaths are starting to rot away and exposing the cloves. We would rather have small garlic than no garlic at all!

From the Fields: Ali planted about 150 pounds of potatoes on Tuesday while Farmer Rich was making his deliveries and another 100 pounds on Wednesday. We hope that they don't get washed out. The furrows are like brooks between the rows. Since we have raised beds, our losses aren't as large as if we didn't have raised beds. We received the Stevia transplants from Richter's nursery (2 months late) and hope to get them in the fields this week, but the weather forecast is looking gloomy.

Weather Report: More rain, no sun! The impact of this weather is more than just soggy fields. It interrupts our planting schedule in the beds we had already prepared and we are unable to prepare new beds. It also contributes to fungal diseases such as roots rotting. The week ahead is not looking any better with more rain in the forecast, but a lot can change during the week. We'll hope for the best!

Animal report: Last Saturday we brought about 1200 tomato plants, 600 pepper plants, 200 eggplant and 600 squash plants up to our fields on Scott's farm and he & his crew promptly planted. The field is surrounded by an electric fence, but by Monday night one deer ate all the tomato plants. They are just stumps at this point and may come back. Fortunately the deer did not eat any of the pepper, eggplant or squash plants. More transplants are slated to be brought up to Scotts to be planted this week.

Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vol 14 No 2 - Week of June 15th

Please don't eat the Daisies !

Once a month we will feature Veggies & a Movie! Movie.gif Tonight it is Please Don't Eat the Daisies! Ever since our first year we have been delivering daisies this time of year. They grow naturally in our fields and are quite pretty swaying in the breeze. Just a little something extra to brighten up your day.(Sorry no recipe - just put in a vase with water and enjoy). Upcoming features may include Citizen Kale, Lawrence of Arugula.... you get the idea !

We usually don't like to deliver the same item two weeks in a row, but the Texas Super Sweet Onions still had such beautiful greens that we didn't want to lose them. Also the spinach crop was abundant and delivering it was better than waiting another week where it may start to bolt if the temperatures start going up.

The crew started the garlic curl harvest and depending on the delivery site you may be receiving garlic curls instead of green garlic this week. We will start the garlic harvest soon in both our fields & Scott's. We will start to deliver some garlic heads, but prefer to pull them and start the drying and curing process. It is during this process that the intense flavors will set in.

From the Fields: This week we seeded Brussel sprouts, chard & more lettuce. We also got ready for the last planting of peppers, tomatoes & eggplant. We delivered transplants to Scott's farm as he is devoting probably over 2 acres of fields for crops for our CSA members. Squash & cucumbers have already been planted there this week and more tomatoes, peppers & eggplant are ready to go in (we just need a break in the rain). Farmer Rich also seeded zukes & cukes for the next planting. Our crew cleaned up one of the lettuce beds, as the lettuce had begun to bolt. This is when the lettuce is starting to go to seed and it easy to identify. A long center stalk will appear with flowers. Though still edible, it will have a bitter taste and we prefer not to deliver it to the members.

Over 1000 pounds of potatoes have already been planted and we hope to get another 350 pounds in this week. It just needs to dry out a bit.

Weather Report: Rain, rain and more rain! Farmer Rich lost track of exactly how much rain fell during the week, but it was well over 5". With such a lack of sun, the greens seem to wilt in the field with just a peek of sun during the day. Our fields do lay wet and fortunately the raised beds save the crops from destruction. On the positive size, the field crops have doubled in size over the last week. Probably a little more sun and they will double in size again!

Animal report : As long as the foliage outside the fence stays lush, the groundhogs are content to eat out there and not break into our fields. Last year at this time it was very dry and our newsletter heading was Score of the Week: Members 150 lettuces, Groundhog 400 lettuces. Needless to say we had lost that crop. So far there are no signs of them breaking in, and we hope that it stays that way.

Recipes on the back of the newsletter also includes two new online recipe services to checkout.

Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Vol 14 No 1 - Week of June 8th

First, thank you for supporting our farm. It is only through the continued support of our members that our small farm can continue the practice of farming. CSF deliveries are not meant to replace you having to shop, but to supplement your veggie choices each week. As we like to say " it is about more than just the vegetables ". Our methods of growing ensure we continue to build soil fertility and use natural practices to control pests. As the weeks progress, you will meet many interesting vegetables, some of which you may never have tried before. The most feedback we receive throughout the season is from members telling us how they were introduced to a vegetable that they never tried and simply love it. Some say they were "forced" to try it, as they didn't want it to go to waste only to find out they wished they had more. We try to include a variety of vegetables that may be eaten raw or cooked and will provide recipes to match your deliveries each week. Becoming a community supported farm member also connects you to each other. You are able to meet each week, share stories, and introduce others to the concept of supporting a local small farm.

We have new help this year and they are all working hard and learning a lot from Farmer Rich. Ali is our new full-time employee and Lisa and Jessie work part time. They all have grown up on farms in the area. We work between the farm in Wantage and the extra greenhouse in Franklin. In addition, an extra field at our long time "trading partner" Scott is committed for planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, garlic and squash. We are also working on planting extra potatoes at Ali's farm. We do work with other local farmers to continue to provide a variety of produce to you each week that we may not be growing or if we have had a crop failure. They all are local and have similar growing practices.

Remember, you are eating seasonally, and these early spring deliveries are light, as most of the delivery is greens. The deliveries will get larger as the season progresses. We are actually delivering earlier than we have in some years past and some CSA's have not even begun their deliveries.

You will notice on our blog, that some members have sent us their blogs to include on our bloglist. If you have a blog that you would like to share, just e-mail me and we'll include it in our bloglist.

Now onto farm news......


From the Fields: We increased our growing area, by fencing in a nice field in the back across the brook. This probably has given us an additional 25% growing area. It has already been planted with celariac, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, snow peas, fava greens, fava beans, and potatoes (mostly all-blue potatoes). Our main fields have also been increased by extending the rows. In these fields we have planted: chard, kale, a pick-your-own cherry tomato patch, tomatoes, red cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberry spinach, summer squash, onions, garlic, We have direct seeded the following: beets, New Zealand spinach, Oriental greens, radishes, turnips and soy beans.

Weather Report: We have had cooler temperatures and just enough rain over the last few weeks. The field crops are responding well and Farmer Rich is turning on the irrigation system for the crops planted in our plastic field rows. The plastic helps keep the weeds to a minimum as well as maintain moisture in the soil.

Animal report: We have a new load of baby groundhogs just outside the entrance of the greenhouse in Franklin. We left the front door open while working and one tripped over Ali's feet, got scared and ran out. Luckily it hasn't been back since! Back at the farm, more seriously, a family of groundhogs are milling around the perimeter of the fenced fields. We guess they are watching the crops grow and we just hope they don't break in one night. We have had a decent amount of rain, so they have plenty to eat outside the fence. The terns have returned as well as our spring crop of geese paddling about in the pond.

Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Deliveries to Start Week of June 8th

Deliveries will be starting the 2nd week of June, as we did last year. It is not up to us but up to the plants. Rich is assessing the fields to see what can be harvested, but the freeze we had at the farm last week set everything back. Farmer Rich & our new employee Ali have been busy planting and the cauliflower, cabbage broccoli, chard & kale are all in. This week coming, they plan on planting tomatoes, peppers & eggplant. Our Vidalia type onions (Texas Super Sweet) are doing well and will probably be in the first delivery. Garlic greens are up and probably will be in the early deliveries and the garlic scapes should be ready to harvest toward the end of June. Radishes, turnips & New Zealand spinach all have been seeded. The fava beans are coming along great and they are usually harvested in early to mid July. We anticipate the early deliveries to include onions, garlic greens, lettuce, herbs, sorrel & rhubarb . Farmer Adam (a neighboring farmer) has planted strawberries this year and we hope that they do well for a middle of June delivery, but as we say it is all up to the plants!