December Already?

We’re heading into our 4th week now since our CSA program wrapped up. It was a bit of hubbub at the last pick up time due to hurricane Sandy. We needed to change some of the pick up dates due to the storm but overall got off with light damage. A 40 foot blue spruce tree fell very narrowly missing the farm house. It pulled down our phone/cable connection but thankfully not the elect.line. We did loose electric service for about 12 hours but that was due to a general outage in the area. Our row crop covers were badly torn[as I had expected] but the good news was the chicken house didn’t dump over. We tried to position it strategically so it would have minimal damage and definitely had the stabilizing/support riggers in place with the knowledge that we might get pummeled by high winds. It’s weather conditions like this that make you take stock of all the many things that can go airborne on a farm. We often save up the scrap metal and what some people would call “Spring cleaning”until our busy season is over.
It’s that time! We’ve been doing some cleaning and clearing. First of all a big thank you goes out to workshare member Jason Sylvester  and Cassie Shoup who have been incredible with tree removal. How fortunate we are to have a “tree guy” as a workshare member!  Workshare member Jon Kasitz also wields a mean chain saw! We have removed that one fallen tree as well as a bunch of evergreens that all succumbed to early death due to an insect infestation. When we moved here close to 30 years ago there were many evergreens around the houses that all were about 10 feet tall. We have taken down a few over the years and the ones that remain are now 40 to 50 feet tall . Some of them are not as healthy as they used to be. So, the landscape and skyline is changing a bit around here. The plan is to plant some smaller flowering trees in the Spring.
We’re keeping up our strength by eating lots of our delicious root crops and greens!
Farmer Karen

CSA Pickup Date Changed

Because of the impending storm we decided to postpone Tuesday Oct.30th CSA share pick up time until Friday Nov.2nd. Pick up time for members picking up at the farm will be from 3:30 until 7pm. For the satellite groups,{as always] the pick up representative can arrive earlier to pick up for their groups.
We hope that everyone remains safe!
See you Friday.
Farmer Karen

Preparing for Sandy’s Arrival

At first it seemed like a bunch of hype but we figured this storm would at the very least bring us a couple inches of rain. That alone would be a couple of inches more then we need right now. We  stepped up the pace and with the help of all  of our wonderful workshare members and some really great volunteers from Vanguard we got all the carrots dug and a lot of the parsnips before the rain started. It’s hard to know if it is better to have the leafy greens in the cooler or in the ground during a big rain and blow. We decided to split the difference. We harvested ahead of time many things and covered others with a row crop cover. Why does it always seem to get super windy right after we roll out the row crop cover? Twenty mile per hour winds will surely shred the covers but sinse we are reusing some from another crop that already saw the same fate it seemed worthwhile to minimize erosion, and mud splash. Here’s to hoping we won’t find the peach trees wrapped in a thin white cloth called row crop cover when this is all over with.
We spend all day Saturday moving things that might take off in the wind or would not take to being soaked with water. The greenhouses are always of chief concern as is the top- heavy mobile chicken coop.
On my walk back from closing the door to the chicken coop this eve I can’t help but wonder what things will look like in a day or two after inches of  rain and the 50 mile per hour winds that are expected.
I’ll write a blog post when Sandy has moved on out. Hope everyone else remains safe and dry!
Farmer Karen

Falll is here!

The apples are all picked and in cold storage. We’ve had our first killing frost back on Oct.12th. The frost killed the last of the peppers, eggplant and tomatillos but we anticipated this so we hustled like crazy to pull the remaining fruits so they wouldn’t be lost to the cold. As a result we have these items that we can continue to offer in the csa shares although they are smaller in size than we put in the summer share boxes.
Many of the Fall leafy greens are ready now and there will continue to be new and different things in the shares each week.
The frequent rains and wet soil conditions have proven troublesome. Wet conditions hamper harvest and cultivation activities. We’ve learned to accept that Mother Nature is not always predictable or on the same schedule that we would like. We’re the ones that need to adapt and work around the weather conditions. This is also a big part of eating locally and seasonally. The carrots and other root crops are dirtier than they might be in a drier year. We hate to see our fine farm soil leaving along with the bags of carrots and other root vegetables but hope everyone understands that a bit of extra washing is needed as a result of the wet weather conditions.
We’re busy preparing for the end of one season and are well in to preparations for next year. As the weather permits we spread our wonderful compost on the fields and till it in. This is followed by various covercrops that are planted to hold the soil from eroding and enhance the soils nutrients and general health. It’s all about the health of the soil around here! We hope that everyone is the healthier for eating our produce. Fresh, local, lovingly grown and packed with nutrition-what can be better?
Thanks for caring where your food comes from!
Farmer Karen

The Season Keeps Moving On

Peach and melon harvest have come to a conclusion. Tomatoes are now past peak production. Lots of peppers[including some wonderful sweet red and yellow ones], eggplant, okra, tomatillos and beans yet to come. Lots of root vegetables will be ready shortly or in weeks to come. The winter squash vines are beginning to die back revealing the fruits that up until now have been hiding under dense foliage.

We’ve been waiting for the temperatures to cool off a tad in order to sow some of the Fall greens. A lot of these crops will not germinate[or worse yet- will germinate poorly] if the soil temperatures are too warm. There are year’s when we have these crops sown by mid August but this year due to the hot weather it is the tail end of August and the beginning of Sept. In addition to the direct sown crops we have also sown many crops such as head lettuce and some boc chois  in the greenhouse. These have the potential of growing into wonderful full size heads but the down side is we will need to spend the time[ at a very busy time of the year]to transplant them to the field.

The apples are ripening up and look pretty good although the harvest is about two weeks early as have been the other tree crops this year. We’re scrambling to clear the zone around the apple sorter so we can get started washing apples. Our barn is so small for all the actions going on at any given time! We’ve taken some time to put wheels on a few more of the pieces of packing equipment. This will give the ability to roll some pieces to the side temporarily allowing us to maximize the space task by task. Sometimes you rejoice in the simple things in life -like wheels on equipment and cooler weather to work in!

So, we realize this is a time of transition for many family’s as they send the kids off to school. For the farm it is a transition from Summer to early Fall. For all of us seasonal eaters it’s the beginning of a food  transition too!

Farmer Karen

Tuck some of summer’s abundance away for the winter!

So many fruits and vegetables! The weather is beginning to shift to cooler nights and who isn’t happy about the return to mid eighty degrees for the high temps. Daylight is arriving quite noticeably later now. The plants also respond to cooler temps and the shorter days. We’re past the peak of melons, watermelons, tomatoes,sweet corn and peaches. We’ve been eagerly awaiting the maturation of some really great sweet red peppers and apple harvest. Now’s the time to “put up” a few things for those winter months when all this great produce is just a warm memory. It’s easy enough to freeze some pesto, tomatoes and peppers for some great winter soups. Freeze a quantity of peaches now for delicious smoothies later. Now is the time! If anyone would like to tap into our #2 [less then perfect] produce give us an email or call.You can get a great deal and have all this goodness through out the winter months! Farmer Karen