Root Down Farm Ramblings
When I was a kid I would always get sad when July was coming to an end. I knew that school would be around the corner soon, so I'd mope on August 1st. Now that the farm rules my life I loooovvveee the end of July. July is crazy. Everything loves July: the weeds, the bugs, the heat, the humidity, the sun, the storms, and the crops, not to mention all the kids, too. So now when July starts coming to a close I give Mother Nature a gentle "Thank You" and celebrate a little to myself. We've just have to make it through this week though...gotta make sure I'm not counting my eggs before they hatch kinda thing.
I recently was talking to someone on the phone and apparently sounded preoccupied. When they asked if there was a better time to talk, I responded 'There's no good time, it's July.' We are in the midst of the part of the season that I lovingly refer to as The Grind. The larger harvests have started and the tomatoes are looking like they are on the brink of really lettin' loose. We are fighting the weeds and the pests. On the other hand, the greenhouse is almost empty. Though we continue to seed crop starts in there until the end of August, the volume is insanely reduced (which is a good thing since time is limited to 24 hours per day). But any time I feel like we are 'caught up' is the exact time I find more things to do, or more accurately more crops to weed. To add to the fun, the barn roof is being replaced this week. So please, please, please exercise both caution and patience this week while picking up your share and visiting the UPick Fields. Ahhhh. July.
The last of the big transplanting weeks is (hopefully) taking place this week. About 2/3rds of the plants in the greenhouse will be going in the field and from then on there will be mostly direct seeding and smaller plantings from the greenhouse. We've direct seeded the first of the crops solely for the winter share as well. Now we're waiting for the summer crops to start kicking in. The tomatoes are looking like they are a little behind...potentially there were some problems with pollination. Some vegetables that we eat are not in need of pollination because we eat them before maturity. Some good examples of this are broccoli, leafy greens, celery, onions, amongst other things. Other vegetables that need pollination (mostly done by bees) before we can eat them include zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and beans. It's a complicated mess that most people potentially don't think about when they are trolling the grocery store or searching for a perfect ear of corn at the farmer's market (FYI corn is a special one, maybe we will get to that ridiculous process one of these blogs).
We've made it to the halfway point of the year. Six months down, six to go. The 4th of July is right around the corner and though summer seems like it is in full swing, this is the time of year where we are in a little lull...waiting....waiting...for all the summer crops to start coming in. Of course the squash has already made it's season debut, but there will be more heat loving crops soon (usually by the end of the month).
Hooray for Cherries! We got the green light from Bitner-Singer Orchards and the fruit share will start today for Thursday share pick ups and on Monday July 3rd for all Monday share pick ups. If you've signed up for a fruit share your name will be on the sign in form (it will not appear if you have not signed up). The fruit share sets up in the back of the share room, so don't forget to get your fruit when you get your veggies between 2 and 630!
The first day of Summer was last Wednesday and we celebrated by seeding for the fall and winter months. This time of year marks some of the last days for long season crops to get in the ground if we want to be able to harvest them before it gets too cold! That's right, time to plan for winter now. So we put our first of the fall brassicas into the fall fields while we are still harvesting from our Spring fields. It's kind of the craziest time of year for us, so if I seem frazzled in the share room now you know why. The week of the 4th of July is a mark in the season where larger harvests start coming in, starting with summer squash and zucchini, then cucumbers and followed by tomatoes. We usually have tomatoes by the last week in July. To sum up: we're planning and planting for Fall and Winter, starting to harvest for Summer, and cleaning up for Spring. Good thing there is so much light in a day during this time of year (it kinda all makes sense, doesn't it?:).
I love making salads for myself this time of year. I always eat tons of salads in the beginning of the CSA Share season because, of course, it's in season and it is the time of year when the right vegetables are just singing. This has lead me to become kind of a salad snot. I refuse to ever order them at restaurants because I know that I can easily throw one together that will taste better than anything I could ever order. The butterhead lettuce that we've had the first 2 weeks is my favorite. And I have a go-to salad dressing recipe that I make that uses a lot of ingredients we generally have around. I like to add texture with things like radishes and salad turnips and garlic shoots or scapes or even chopped up broccolini because it is so tender. Then I'll chop up some greens with the lettuce and add Sunflower seeds and blue cheese and a big bowl and I'm set. And now that the temperatures have decided to prematurely take on summer highs (you know summer starts this Wednesday), a salad is all I want to eat for lunch after being out in the sun in 90 degree temperatures for hours.
There were a lot of firsts last week on the farm. Of course it was the first week of the share, 2 employees got to drive tractors for the first time in their lives, and one of our dogs got sprayed by a skunk. Yes, this week was packed with stress or excitement depending on how you look at it. Now that our dog isn't stinky anymore, and the tractors and employees made it through the work week, and the first share was freakin' awesome, what's next? Well, as Steve put it, "Now we have to take care of everything we put in the ground." We are almost done planting and seeding the summer crops, and now comes the hard part: caring for them. We are also now starting to plant the fall crops while of course caring for and harvesting the spring crops. Ahhhh. It's difficult for me to have a never-ending-to-do-list where things sometimes just don't get done because there isn't enough daylight. When you are working with living things there is a very specific window of time to get things done, and if you miss it that's it. Sometimes we miss things because there is too much to do within that window of time...and it drives me nuts.
The Summer Share is starting! The Summer Share is starting! Don't forget to make the first trip to the farm to kick off the summer CSA season starting next week. If your pick up day is Mondays, then we will see you on Monday June 5th between 2 and 630. If you have Thursdays as your pick up day, we will see you Thursday the 8th from 2 to 630. Everyone in the share should've received a couple emails from us already with all the information needed to pick up your first share. We've been working feverishly to get everything ready for all 300 families coming to see us this week. How exciting!
Yeah for the last week of May. This means the week will start with some relaxation (thanks Memorial Day) and end in chaos because the Summer Share will be starting the following week.
This is technically the last Spring Share pick up week. Next week, the week of Memorial Day, will be an add on week for anyone currently in the Spring Share. Spring Share members should look for an email from us with more information on this soon.
Hello Universe! Just reminding everybody that the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. I know, I know...but it must be said:) As stated in the emails sent out to everyone in the Summer Share, we are looking to start the Summer Share the week of June 5th (we always try our best to start the first full week of June).
Well, this is a challenging week for a lot of us (us including animals, birds and bees, etc.). The rain gauge on the farm is almost as full as it can be without overflowing. It tops out at 5 1/2 inches and we are approaching that amount for the week. Which, just so we are clear, is more rain than we should receive for the entire month of May. If you can imagine the equivalent amount of snowfall for the week, if it was the winter, would be approaching 5 FEET!! And to cap it off we even had a tornado watch on Monday.
**Just a reminder to our Summer Share holders (ie "Farm Shares" and "Small Shares"): The Spring Share is not the Summer Share. The Summer Share will start in June and you will get emails from us leading up to it.
That's right, the Spring Greens Share will be starting the first week of May for everyone who signed up for it. Not sure if you signed up for it?...well, if you did you would have received an email from us last week. So, if you did not receive an email, then you are not signed up for the Spring Share. Remember: the Spring Share is not the Summer CSA Share. **I know that statement sounds simple, but it is key:).