It’s late July and things are moving a bit slowly here at the farm. The crew is working hard and putting in long days and our weekly punch list always has several items that rollover to the next, but the crops aren’t doing their part this year. Our greens supply is short right now, cucumbers are waning, peppers and eggplant are flowering but not making fruit of size yet, tomatoes look great but are still green, watermelon are bulging but not sweet enough, etc., etc. We’re doing everything we can while we wait for the pieces of the puzzle to come together. To understand why the produce supply is a bit skinny right now we have to look at the big picture of how we plan a farm season and the variables that make it all come together.
Each year we count on 22 weeks of harvests starting at the beginning of June and running until the end of October. Some years fall a week shorter due to the calendar or a particularly cold/wet spring but the majority of the years we have grown here have all hit the mark for all 22 weeks. (This year we will actually have 23 weeks due to a particularly mild and dry spring, pushing crops ahead and allowing us to start the CSA the last week of May…) When we put our planting schedule together in the fall preceding each summer we don’t plan specific crops for specific weeks. Those of you who have ever had a garden and looked at a seed packet guaranteeing big beets in exactly 68 days or tender arugula 28 days after sowing know that the science of vegetables isn’t exact -no matter what the seed companies put on the packet. Because of this we do our best to hit the starting date with as many spring crops as possible (radishes, lettuce mix, kale, chard, baby bok choi, etc.) and then build in the rest of the season using succession plantings that are designed to give us good variation in the kinds of crops each week of the summer until Halloween. For example we try and plant broccoli and arugula every three weeks, carrots every two weeks, cabbage once a month, fennel every eight weeks, etc. As these crops are ready we harvest and generally the difference in time between the maturity of each crop and the demand for diversity and quantity in the CSA share dovetails one crop with the next, giving all of you some variety as well as enough produce to make real meals each week. We hone this system each fall, adding and subtracting plantings or moving their dates one week forward or back on the calendar. When the system works well, which is most of the time, we have lots of interesting food and we feel like we have found harmony and symbiosis with natural world. When the odds stack up the other direction and the share is a bit thinner we’re left feeling clumsy and harried. Luckily this doesn’t happen that often! Our hope is that you understand this crazy process and can ride through the fog of this week, hoping for sun on the other side.
Organic Maine Wild Blueberries…Preorder This Week for Delivery Next Week…
The Harvey family will be raking beautiful, high quality berries for us again this year in Oxford Co. They will rake the day before, if its not raining in western Maine,so the quality will be amazing. Berries will be offered by the quart (quarts are 1.7 pounds each (3 qts.=5lbs.) for $9each. Pre-order at pick-up this Tuesday or Friday for delivery next Tuesday or Friday. You can also order by email (by Saturday at noon for pickup Tuesday or Tuesday at noon for pickup Friday). We usually freeze 10-15 pounds for winter muffins, crepes and pancakes…
Weeds Like Rain…Let’s Stop Them Together
The wet weather has really been helpful to the plants in the fields. Unfortunately the weeds are starting to out number the crops as the prevalent greenery this year. As in years past we would like to invite to out to join the crew as we beat back the competition in the fields. Look for us along Pleasant Hill Road east of the Farmstead from 9-11 each Wednesday in August (starting this Wednesday…July 31st). We will be in the fields near the blue or white farm trucks. Park where you can and jump in. We have a big crew this year and the work is fast and satisfying!
Pre-Labor Day Potato Harvest Save the Date
We are planning a mini potato harvest party on Saturday August 10th at 9am (more on this event as it get’s closer…) to pull early spuds. -Don’t worry we will also have our annual labor on Labor Day potato harvest as well. But this one will give those of you with Labor Day travel plans another option to jump in. If you can’t get enough potato harvest come to both days!
Farm Camp In Action
This is fifth and final week of farm camp and we have had a great summer with our local kids, feeding animals, pulling weeds, harvesting and just getting dirty. These kids know local food from the ground up! Thanks to all of you who have shared your kids with us this season and we hope maybe a few of them will add farmer to their list of possible occupations…
What’s In Upic?
What’s In The Share This Week?