Monday, September 26, 2011

Catalpa Ridge News–Vol 16 No 16–Week of September 26th

Another Soaker

RainCloud-drops

We were greeted by more rain on Friday/Saturday, in which at least another 2 ½” of rain fell at the farm. Apparently everything that couldn’t take the excess rain is dead and we fortunately have some crops that are still surviving these conditions. We are still holding our heads above water (though barely) and the harvest this week was good and it looks like next week will be good as well.

We drove up to Saugerties for the Garlic Festival on Saturday and on the drive up passed through Pine Island (the Black Dirt area) and saw the piles of water logged onions that were caught in the latest rains from last month. Their fields were totally devastated and we could see that many fields by the road were actually small lakes during the heavy rains. They had substantial losses of onions, squash and pumpkins. We also spoke with farmers at the Garlic Fest who were as far north as Schoharie County, NY. They all had devastation to their fields and are in similar position as us for CSA deliveries.

It is touch and go but we will strive to stretch the deliveries as long a possible. We have received many supportive e-mails from our CSA members, which are indeed appreciated. It is always nice to hear from you!

We always try to approach our predicaments with good humor and our “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” header last week brought an equally good humor & supportive response from Martha in Mahwah:

· I feel compelled to remind you that you are an organic farm, not Shoprite. Those of us who purchase a share of your farm understand that we purchase the risk as well as the rewards. We feel bad for you and the crew, and the losing battle you are fighting. There weren’t enough life boats on the Titanic so we hope you secure space in one of them. We would also recommend locust insurance as there is little else left to befall your farm. We would also recommend throwing in the towel while you are still sane. Food is renewable and will grow again next year, and we will be there to buy another share.”

We fortunately have secured our spot on a lifeboat even with life preservers! We are looking into locust insurance too and probably won’t have to worry about a dust bowl this year!

From the Fields: We still are looking for an area for garlic planting in October. We are working on plan 14 which includes clearing an area in the back, about 3 rows at this point. We did have garlic there last year and do not like to plant it again in the same spot, but at this point we want to get it into the ground and worry about crop rotation another time. We do have a new area ready to go, and if things dry out we will be able to plant there.

We plan on planting buckwheat microgreens in the Franklin greenhouse this week.

Beds in the fields are slated to be cleaned up. We plan on spreading some compost & fertilizer to rejuvenate the fields for next year as long as we have a window of dry weather to work.

The crew will be cleaning garlic and can work in the greenhouse to keep dry.

Weather Report: Shorter days means the crops grow slower. We did have a spurt of warmer temperatures over the last several days and it looks like it will continue during the week. More precipitation is on the horizon, but fortunately the predictions include terms like “chance of thunderstorms” and “chance of rain” which is a welcome change.

Fruit Report The apples are from Soons Orchard in Middletown, NY.

TECH NOTES - We have our OWN Community Toolbar that you can install in your Web Browser! Quick links to all our content: Newsletters, Harvest Identifiers, Facebook, Twitter, search, weather & more. Follow this link and then install http://jerseygrown.ourtoolbar.com/

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Upcoming Events

· October 1st & 2nd 9th Annual Garlic Gathering @ Olde Lafayette Village 10 am - 4 pm Lafayette, NJ (Routes 94/15)

· CANCELLED - October 16th 5th Annual Garlic Fest @ the Hoboken Historical Museum – Hoboken, NJ

Week of September 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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catalpa Ridge News–Vol 16–No 15–Week of September 19th

Rearranging the Deck Chairs…..titanic

As Farmer Rich so aptly put it this week, “It’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” in regard to the conditions at the farm, post Hurricane, post severe rain the following week and the damages that have occurred along the way.

Crop losses still abound (see photo of just one area below).

Dying

Showing the impact of just one small area where the severe wet has caused plants to die back and mud to be ever present

On the positive side, the crew has managed to put together a nice delivery with the help of some other neighboring farmers.

On the negative side, the continued severe wet condition is causing problems with plants dying back and delivery quality. We had picked up some lettuce from a neighboring farm for this week’s delivery on Saturday and by Sunday it was undeliverable. This was probably due to it being too wet when harvested. Needless to say we didn’t deliver it.

Meanwhile at the Franklin Greenhouse, (now known as the shuffle board court on the upper deck of the Titanic) had a severe outbreak of aphids. There were none a week and a-half ago. There were so many, almost overnight, the crew had to throw out the bok choi, radishes and mustard greens as they were undeliverable.

Normally we depend on the Franklin Greenhouse to provide the late deliveries when autumn comes, as the plants usually do much better there then in the fields. Looks like this year it is not going to happen as we only have a handful of crops surviving there now. We’ll try to re-seed it with quick crops for the later deliveries.

There are a number of CSAs that have actually stopped delivering for the season due to massive flooding. While we overplant during the season to offset crop losses and also depend on our trading partner network of farmers close to us, the overplanting is helping but the crop losses have exceeded even our worst expectations and the neighboring farmers are either in the same shape as us or worse.

We are fortunate in one respect that the farm is high up on the mountain and we physically don’t get flooded from major rivers or streams. We didn’t have to worry like the farmers in the Hudson Valley, Pine Island and Great Meadows areas who were flooded by rivers and streams that were also contaminated. Our soil structure is very good for the dry times, but not so good for wet. We have never had 24” of rain in 2 ½ weeks in our 16 years. Hopefully it will be another 16 years before a season like this happens again.

From the Fields: We still need to prepare an area for garlic planting. Remember the photo from last week where we showed you the mini grand canyon! We hope things dry out in time for planting garlic in late October. We are ready to go – we have the compost, the garlic and the plastic – we just need a nice dry spot or two! Unfortunately, more rain is in the forecast for Thursday, Friday & Saturday.

Harvested potatoes were water logged and their storage life is about 16 hours. These you can add to the crop loss column.

The crew was able to plant the last of the lettuce transplants and hopefully they will produce before the season is over.

Weather Report: The temperatures are getting cooler and the low temperature so far this week was 39°F. Most of the field tomatoes are already shot, so it really doesn’t matter if we get an early frost! An early frost may kill the peppers. We have had a great pepper year and you probably don’t want any more peppers at this point!

Fruit Report The Ginger Crisp apples are from Soons Orchard in Middletown, NY.

TECH NOTES - We have our OWN Community Toolbar that you can install in your Web Browser! Quick links to all our content: Newsletters, Harvest Identifiers, Facebook, Twitter, search, weather & clip_image002[4]more. Follow this link and then install http://jerseygrown.ourtoolbar.com/

Upcoming Events

· October 1st & 2nd 9th Annual Garlic Gathering @ Olde Lafayette Village 10 am - 4 pm Lafayette, NJ (Routes 94/15)

· CANCELLED - October 16th 5th Annual Garlic Fest @ the Hoboken Historical Museum – Hoboken, NJ

Week of September 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, September 12, 2011

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 16–No 14: Week of September 12th

Deliveries Continue Despite Gloomy Conditions 

Last week we reported on the Whirlwind of Disasters post Hurricane Irene. One thing we forgot to mention as part of that whirlwind was that the tractor's hydraulic hose broke while John was tilling a field mid-week. This was the area we planned on planting the garlic, but as you can see from the photo we now have a mini-Grand Canyon in that field. On a positive note, it was a good thing that we didn't get to prepare it as it would have all been washed away.  Farmer Rich is still looking for where all the soil went from the wash-out. 

MiniGrandCanyonMini Grand Canyon

We had another 9" of rain that fell last week which brings our total for the  2 1/2 weeks to about 24" of rain. Needless to say we do have crop losses in all fields. Most farmers we talk with are all in the same boat!

We will continue to deliver as long a possible. A lot hinges on the newly seeded crops that didn't wash away. They are mostly in the back field which is in better shape than our front fields.

From the Fields: It has been too wet to do much field work. The crew did manage to plant a few hundred lettuce plants this past week. The Franklin Greenhouse is basically in good shape despite the problems we had in the greenhouse post Hurricane. There was some "burning" from some beds drying out as we were without power to get water into the greenhouse for over one week.  The plants surprisingly look as though they are coming back!!

The tomato plants have suffered greatly, but we should be able to continue with tomatoes in the delivery for the next several weeks as we do over-plant to off-set crop losses. This year the over-planting has worked out by at least being able to provide a harvest instead of saying that everything is dead.

Weather Report: As noted above, more unwanted rain fell during last week. This week it looks like we have a good forecast with little to no rain to fall. Cooler temperatures and shorter days are on the horizon.

Fruit Report – The apples are from Soons Orchard in Middletown, NY.

TECH NOTES - We have our OWN Community Toolbar that you can install in your Web Browser! Quick links to all our content: Newsletters, Harvest Identifiers, Facebook, Twitter, search, weather & more. Follow this link and then install http://jerseygrown.ourtoolbar.com/

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Upcoming Events

· October 1st & 2nd 9th Annual Garlic Gathering @ Olde Lafayette Village 10 am - 4 pm Lafayette, NJ (Routes 94/15)

· CANCELLED - October 16th 5th Annual Garlic Fest @ the Hoboken Historical Museum 1 pm - 5 pm 1301 Hudson Street – Hoboken, NJ

Week of September 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, September 05, 2011

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 16 No 13–Week of September 6th

Whirlwind of Disasters

Post hurricane Irene brought us a whole whirlwind of disasters to deal with after the hurricane itself. At least 9” of rain fell during the deluge of the hurricane with 5” of rain falling the week before. The upper greenhouse was lost and Farmer Rich and the crew recovered it on Thursday. The Franklin was without power until just this Monday a.m. (the 5th) so this meant we were without the fans & water. Lack of the fans lead to the temperatures in the greenhouse to exceed what we normally desire and there was no pump to get water onto the crops. Fortunately Jim hooked up a generator on Thursday so Renee was able to water everything to keep it from totally dying. We do have significant crop losses needless to say in the Franklin greenhouse itself.

Meanwhile back at the farm almost nothing is doing well. Our farm is low lying which is great during dry years, but not so great during wet years. There are significant crop losses due to the excessive rains, but all is not loss. Almost all farmers we partner with are all in the same boat, so produce is getting harder to find.

 

PostHurricaneIrene Recovered

Post Hurricane Irene – Upper Greenhouse plastic ripped away

Greenhouse Recovered on Thursday

From the Fields: The crew pulled up four rows of plastic on the fields and we tilled the area to get it ready for garlic planting next month. Needless to say it was too wet to proceed. The weeds had gotten out of control so two days were spent weed whacking the remaining fields to promote better crop production on what remains. The crew was able to do some transplanting but the wet conditions are hampering everything.

Forty flats of mixed lettuce were transplanted into cells in the greenhouse. These will then be planted into the field over the next two weeks. The seeded cilantro, dill, mustard and arugula are all doing well for now. We seeded new chard, beets and they are up & growing.

Weather Report: More rain is in the forecast this week which is not needed! The post hurricane week was quite nice all in all with cooler temperatures and nice cool breezes at the farm. Too bad the winds didn’t dry everything out.

Fruit Report – The peaches are from Soons Orchard in Middletown, NY.

TECH NOTES - We have our OWN Community Toolbar that you can install in your Web Browser! Quick links to all our content: Newsletters, Harvest Identifiers, Facebook, Twitter, search, weather & more. Follow this link and then install http://jerseygrown.ourtoolbar.com/

clip_image002

Upcoming Events

· October 1st & 2nd 9th Annual Garlic Gathering @ Olde Lafayette Village 10 am - 4 pm Lafayette, NJ (Routes 94/15)

· October 16th 5th Annual Garlic Fest @ the Hoboken Historical Museum 1 pm - 5 pm 1301 Hudson Street – Hoboken, NJ

Week of September 6th  - 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.