Monday, July 26, 2010

Volume 15 - No 8 - Week of July 26th

Great Day @ the Farm!

We had a full-crew and then some come up to the farm on Sunday. It was record attendance for a trip-to-the-farm, outside of our October Garlic planting trips. 7-25 FarmTour.jpgAll our CSA delivery sites (Mahwah, Hoboken, Jersey City and On-Farm Pickup) were well represented with members & their families and friends helping out with a few projects. Even some former CSA members from New York City came up to help as well. We gave a tour of the farm to start out the day and then took to the fields to work on weeding & mulching the leek & zucchini beds with one crew and the other crew planted some potatoes. Thanks to all who came up to the farm - we like the help & really enjoy the "community" in our community supported farm. We were a really "close" knit group huddling under that tent!

Though, late in the season to plant potatoes, they should be ready by October. They are a short-season variety and we are taking a chance that they grow in time, but better to try then not try at all. The reason they didn't get in earlier, was the box from last year's harvest was left in Scott's cooler. They "grew" (the potato eyes grew about 18") while in the cooler and Farmer Rich thought it best to try to get them in the ground. We didn't want to plant them in the spring (which is the normal time) as we were worried that perhaps they may have carried the late blight that was prevalent last year. But at the point of rediscovering them in the cooler, they were in good shape we had no fear of them having any sign of late blight. The day was a bit hampered by an afternoon rain storm, but at least we were able to get some work in, have a nice lunch and then huddled under the tent to keep dry!

What's up & growing: The back field is getting enough water so the Cilantro, Sen Posai, Turnips, Tendergreen Mustard, Dicon Radish, and French Breakfast Radishes are all up and growing well. Last week's plantings of carrots and Redmeat Radishes are also doing well and the newly transplanted winter squash have taken off and are growing great both on the farm and in the fields at Scott's. The potatoes in Scott's should be harvested this week and we hope to get them into the delivery next week.

Planted this past week:
More Brussels Sprouts
Lettuce (which didn't take well due to the heat)
Kale
It was TOO!! Hot to plant anything else

Weather Report: It was another super HOT week and the humidity level was high as well. Rain fell on Friday and then again on Sunday, both of which were much needed. These intervals of rain have helped immensely. There was a threat of severe weather on Friday night with a chance of "golf-ball" sized hail, and the chance of a tornado, but fortunately neither passed over the farm. We did hear there were quite a few reports of severe weather in the Passaic & Bergen county areas with a number of trees down. 2 Fawn under plumtree.jpg

Animal report: Fortunately all was quiet this week in the fields, with just a few voles tasting the eggplant, sweet peppers and beets. Luckily the pesky rabbits have been around for the past two weeks. Farmer Rich and John saw two fawns on Saturday under our one plum tree. They were enjoying the plums that had dropped to the ground. We had hoped they would come out on Sunday during the trip to the farm for all to see, but the rain must have kept them undercover or perhaps they ate too many plums and were resting with stomach aches!

Fruit Delivery: The variety this week is Shiro which is another Japanese variety. They are a nice yellow plum.

Week of July 26th - 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 at anytime during the season. 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, July 19, 2010

Volume 15 - No 7 - Week of July 19th

Trip to the Farm Sunday!

The first work-day at the farm for the season is scheduled for Sunday, July 25th. We plan on a few projects for those that are coming up. The main projects will be to weed & mulch the leek bed and hopefully mulch between the beds of peppers and tomatoes. We hope that Farmer Adam will arrive this week to cut the hay in time for Sunday. We can always come up with other projects as well.

Due to the excess heat this past week, we had to change up our schedule a bit. On harvest days, we start about 5 am, as the sun isn't quite up and it is the best time to harvest to prevent wilting. Once harvested, we can get the produce into the cooler. By 11 am, we are a little "burned out" and work on smaller projects and try to keep cool and well hydrated.

What's up & growing:The tomatoes, eggplant and peppers continue to do well. The zucchini have slowed down just following the dry period we had. The herbs are doing well and the last planting of peppers that was "borderline" have bounced back. The winter squash are in. We should have some new potatoes within the next week or two. Hannah's cut salad mix is coming back for another harvest soon. The newly seeded lettuce is doing well, but the oriental greens are having problems. The Brussels sprouts are almost ready to harvest. We removed the plastic over our lower greenhouse, mostly due to the excess temperatures, in an attempt to save the husk cherries & tomatoes that were planted in it. We hope they will recover and will keep you posted.
Planted this past week:

Rainbow Carrots

Cilantro

Golden Ball Turnips

Dill

Sen Posi

Tendergreen Mustard

French Breakfast Radishes

Dicon Radishes

Redmeat Radishes

We plan on seeding this week:

Kale

Collard Greens

Lettuce

Last planting of Zucchini

Chinese Cabbage


Weather Report:
It was super HOT again this week, and the temperatures are running about 7-9º higher than normal. The humidity level was up as well which severely hampers our farm activities. It is just too hot to maintain long hours in the fields. Friday the 16th was perhaps the worst day of the year, even worse than our 100ºF+ on July 7th. There was a trace of rain on Friday night and the 4" of rain last week helped immensely. The pond went from being low to filling up again. The days are getting shorter now which means we need less water. Irrigation continues as the rains have been spotty at best.


Animal report: Continued break-ins are attempted, especially during the drier periods. The baby rabbits break in but were not much of a problem this week. Fortunately the ground hogs are staying away. The voles, "in-season vegetarians", like to munch at ground level. Their favorites are carrots & beets and actually destroyed the last beet crop, which left us just with the greens.

Trip to the Farm - planned for Sunday July 25thWorkDay2.gif

Start time will be 11 am. In addition to some "work-time" we'll give you a tour of the farm. We like to work a little, have some lunch and enjoy a day in the country! Please RVSP if you plan to attend so that we can plan on refreshments and provide you directions.


Fruit Delivery

This week is the first delivery of Plums from Windy Brow Farm. The variety this week is Redheart which is a Japanese variety. The main varieties of plums are European, Japanese, Cherry plums and cross-hybrids.


Week of July 19th -
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 at anytime during the season. 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, July 12, 2010

Volume 15 - No 6 - Week of July 12th

Finally Some Rain!

Rain.gif

Farmer Rich gave me a call on Friday that it finally rained at the farm after weeks of little to no precipitation. It only rained about ½" but everything fluffed up. Then on Saturday the much needed soaking-in rain came. We received about 2 ½" of rain on Saturday morning alone. Fortunately, we were able to work in the greenhouses harvesting greens, as the rain kept up for quite a few hours.

Our plan for the week if it hadn't rained was to seed in cells and transplant into plastic. This would enable us to conserve water by utilizing the drip irrigation. Cilantro, dill, radishes, beets, turnips all produce better in an open field situation and if it hadn't rained we would have to have postponed them for who knows how long. Fortunately the rain came and we are on track for our normal schedule.

John tilled the back field and the harvested garlic beds once the rains came. Prior, it was way too dry to attempt any plantings. Another tilling of the garlic beds is needed prior to planting, but the conditions are much better now.

The heavy rains filled the pond back up. It was getting very low and we were getting worried about running out of water. We are a bit ahead of schedule for "rolling" over our fields. They key is getting the plantings in on time and for a while there we were nervous about the drought conditions affecting our schedule and the future harvests.

What's up & growing: Now that it rained all the plants are much happier. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplant are all looking great. The New Zealand spinach should be harvested soon. Our cherry tomato fields are showing lots of blossoms and hopefully this means lots of tomatoes. The spring broccoli plants are not doing well and we will be reseeding them this week and hope to have decent crop for the fall. All of the squash plants are producing. We have mixed varieties such as zucchini, yellow and crookneck squash coming along and the trombocino should be harvested soon. We plan on another planting of red cabbage soon.

Fruit Delivery Flaming Fury Peaches are delivered again this week from Windy Brow Farm as the plums were not ready yet. Farmer Jim hopes that the plum harvest will be on schedule for next week. We usually have Shiro and Red Heart plums in the July deliveries.

Weather Report: The hot, hot temperatures finally dropped when a cool front brought in the rain over the weekend. We don't know what is going to happen next, as the record temperatures may have affected the plants long term. We did notice that the lettuce was starting to get bitter and the broccoli & cauliflower suffered during the extreme temperatures. It appears more seasonable temperatures are on target for this week. We hope that optimum conditions will last for more than just a day or two.

Animal report: As the drought conditions had continued early in the week, the animals seem to get more rambunctious. We have noticed that over the years, the drier it is they become more interested in the crops behind the fences as they are not finding succulent growth in their "outside the fence" living quarters. A new crop of baby rabbits appeared and they are enjoying the clover in between some of the beds and they really like the kohlrabi leaves. There may have been a bear that visited the back field, but did not enter the field. Two areas of fence were pushed down. Nothing was damaged except the fence. A similar problem occurred last year in the same area so apparently it is not looking to eat any veggies, but interested in just seeing what is going on. The beet patch has been invaded by voles, who have been feasting. This of course ruins the beets, but the beet greens are still good.WorkDay2.gif

Trip to the Farm- planned for Sunday July 25th Start time will be 11 am. Projects for the work day will include helping with mulching and some general field work. We'll give you a tour of the farm, work a little, have some lunch and enjoy a day in the country! Please RVSP if you plan to attend so that we can plan on refreshments and provide you directions.

Week of July 12th - 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 at anytime during the season. 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, July 05, 2010

Volume 15 - No 5 - Week of July 5th

Drought Conditions!

4th of July.jpgWe hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July and celebrated being Food Patriots! We have the Red (the beets), the White (the onions) and the Blue will be coming soon (blue potatoes). Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and one of our founding fathers, considered himself a man of the land. He was one of America's early agronomists and is credited as introducing Brussels sprouts, eggplant, cauliflower & broccoli to America. He is quoted as saying that "those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God...." He promoted crop rotation, use of fertilizer and contour plowing. He wrote: "No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth and no culture comparable to that of the garden."


No rain fell during the past week and there is no rain in the forecast for this week. We are spending a lot of time keeping the crops watered. We need to move the hoses and overhead sprinklers on a daily basis between our different fields. The drip irrigation system is working well, but the drip irrigation is installed only on the wrapped beds. We depend on the overhead sprinklers for all the other beds & fields. We hope to install some more sprinklers soon so we don't have to keep moving them.

The US Drought Monitor has the northeast listed as D-0 - Abnormally dry for 24% of the area. The area they illustrate does show all of NJ and southern NY and eastern PA to be included in this 24%. Their scale goes from none to D-4 which is an exceptional drought condition. They also have listed that we have a deficit of 1.3" of precipitation over the last 30 days which is 66% of normal precip for Sussex County.

Weather plays such an important role in agriculture. We love to look at historical data to see how each season relates to the past. Last year, the month of June yielded 7.93" of rain and this year only 2.40" fell for the whole month. The record high for the 4th of July was recorded as 100ºF in 1966 and the record low as 41ºF in 1986. (source: Location: Sussex 2NE, NJ http://www.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=phi )

Crop Report

planted this week:

Zucchini

Herbs
Cucumbers

Peppers

Oriental greens

Lettuce

Kale

What's up & growing:

The fava bean field that was harvested is being readied for planting this week. The garlic harvest continues, though the bulbs are on the small side. So far the tomato plants are looking good as we continue to irrigate the fields. The eggplant and peppers are in great shape too, whereas the broccoli is suffering. It apparently it is not liking the hot-hot weather.

Weather Report: As noted, there has been a total lack of rain over the past week and in general over the last month as well. The ground is parched & cracked. John was tilling up the back field and created a "dust bowl". When he got off the tractor he was covered in dust. We have to run water to get the soil workable and ready to plant this week. It looks like the Mohave Desert back there! We do have a good system of overhead sprinklers for that area. We ran water on the drip line for two days straight and the soil is still bone dry.


Animal report: We have a dill loving critter and the rabbit continues to munch on the kohlrabi leaves. The "pests" have arrived! The cabbage worms are eating the Brussels sprouts and the potato beetles are eating the eggplant. The squash beetles are eyeing out the squash. Since we do not spray anything to keep them away, we have been hand picking them off of the plants so they are somewhat under control. We also depend on our "air-force". The birds will swoop down and enjoy the cabbage worms and there are other beneficial insects that help out too!

Fruit Deliveries Start The fruit we deliver is from Windy Brow Farm located on Route 519 in Fredon Township, just south of Newton, NJ, and we have been delivering their fruit for about 7 years now. Usually, the fruit deliveries start towards the end of July, but the peaches were ready early this year! This week's harvest is Flaming Fury Peaches.

Week of July 5th - 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 at anytime during the season. 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.