Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spring Farm Update!

By Farmer Richard and his sidekicks Andrea & Captain Jack the Dog

Spring is different every year and as we write this update temperature is on our minds.  We were happy to see the snow melt away towards the end of March…..and then woke up to a winter wonderland on March 23!  Once the snow melted again and things dried out, we were able to dig overwintered parsnips and sunchokes….just before it rained!  After some rainy, cold days, we were thankful for warm days in April which allowed us to get some field work done.  We planted all the parsnips as well as the first beets, carrots & peas.  The transplanting team worked hard to plant all the onions and then moved right into transplanting the first crop of head lettuce, fennel, basil, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi.  They also managed to get the parsley and Brussels sprouts in the ground!  Thankfully everything was in place before the next wave of rain.  This past week has been cool and wet.  In fact, it’s downright chilly today and there is a chance of frost!  Don’t worry….the crew covered the strawberries yesterday to protect the blossoms so there should be plenty of strawberries to pick on June 21 at Strawberry Day!  (Mark your calendars!)

Weather talk aside, we’ve had a pretty good spring and have a lot of good field updates.  First, our asparagus and rhubarb crops are producing beyond our expectations!  Both of these perennial crops take about 3 years to establish before we can do any substantial harvests off them.  Over the past few years we’ve put in new rhubarb and asparagus plantings.  Richard & Jack have been waiting patiently (Andrea not so patiently) for our new fields to become established and this is the first year we can harvest from all of these fields!   Despite the cool weather we’re still seeing some impressive asparagus harvests.  The rhubarb field is also producing well and the bright red stalks are gorgeous!
As we look ahead to June, we should mention that our first two pea plantings are in and looking good.  Sugar snap and snow peas should be ready for the first to middle part of June.  The pea vine looks like it might be ready as early as next week.  The strawberry field is blossoming and the plants look healthy.  We do watch the weather closely though (that darn weather topic again).  The blossoms can’t take the frost, so we’ve covered the field with our giant field blankets to get them through the week…just in case Jack Frost pays our valley a visit.
Anyone interested in garlic?  We’re happy to report the garlic crop appears to have overwintered nicely with about a 99% survival rate!  We’re planning to harvest green garlic next week….and before we know it we’ll be enjoying garlic scapes and fresh, juicy bulb garlic.
Our pastures are lush and green and the cattle love their days grazing the hillsides.  Our goat pasture is full of young energy with nine new kids and more on the way!  We’re also happy to report we have pigs roaming our pastures again!  Last week we got 15 piglets.  It took them a few days to acclimate to their new home, but it looks like they’ve adapted well.  They’ve also grown accustomed to the nightly deliveries of compost from the packing shed. Just like us, they are enjoying many spinach salads for dinner.  The chickens moved to the pasture with the pigs. They’re a little more vulnerable to pesky predators, but are learning to defend and protect themselves. Manuel and Juan Pablo have done five plantings  of “salad greens.” This is our first week of harvest from our spring-planted salad greens.  We should have salad mix, baby kale and more baby arugula coming soon!  We’re also learning how to use a new vacuum seeder we got this spring. We’ll use it to plant our cilantro, dill, bunched arugula, baby bok choi and radishes.  It was fun having a shiny, new piece of equipment.  It’s dirty now, but seems to be working well and we’re thankful to have it as it will help us fine-tune the plantings for greater precision.
Jack is happy to have the field crew back from Mexico so he can play ball at lunch time.  Richard has been hunting for morel mushrooms in his spare time and Andrea is having fun cooking them along with asparagus, spinach, ramps and all of the other tasty green things available now!
Kelly & Beth have been busy in the office preparing for the start of deliveries.  Lately they’ve been working on processing orders for maple syrup.  Our friend and neighbor, Alvin Miller, had another pretty good year for making maple syrup.  If you haven’t taken advantage of this offer yet, don’t wait. We’ve extended our deadline until May 20th, but that’s the absolute last day for orders!  Alvin needs time to bottle the syrup, so make sure you send your order in as soon as possible so Alvin knows how many bottles to fill!   We’re happy to have another season of CSA underway. While farming isn’t easy, we are blessed with great customers and a great crew!  Our crew has been practicing flexibility for the past several weeks.  On warm, sunny days they stay late to get the work done.  On rainy and cold days they help in the packing shed and greenhouses doing whatever needs to be done.  Without a hard-working crew, we couldn’t be the farm we are today.  We’re glad that you’ll be sharing with us in the bounty of this year’s harvest.  Rest assured we have a lot of delicious food coming your way!

No comments: