Thursday, July 30, 2009

Video Footage from our flooded Fields

Chris took a drive out to the fields this morning, he starts out driving over the bridge...all that water is over the bridge...Then you can see the wheat and rye , or rather you can see water...the wheat and rye are under it...Fortunately most of our vegetable ground is not under water. A few crops we are worried about are the celery, celeriac and leeks. They are still under water as of this evening and we are expecting another inch of rain it does not look like they will be getting dry any time soon. Our experience is that after 24 hours of submersion most vegetables suffocate and start to rot...we will see.

You can see in another view of the lower fields how hairy it was getting out to the potatoes to dig...after an entire night of steady rain (about 6 inches). Please disregard the amateur filming...It is hard to drive and keep on the road with a camera in your hand.

More photos to come...hopefully the rain will stop.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Garlic is in!!!

Tha garlic was harvested a week ago. We have three trailer loads in our pole barn curing. After the tops dry down we will trim it and then once the wrappers are thouroughly dry we will trim the roots and grade it. We save the largest for replanting in the fall and sell and distribute the other sizes.
Though we harvest the garlic scapes for early season eating...a few slip through cracks. The kids and I thought that it was interesting to see the various stages of garlic scape we lined them up for all to see. The scape which is the seed head, gets larger as the bulbils (seeds) swell. Eventually the outer casing of the garlic scape "flowers" releasing the bulbils. We do not plant the bulbils as they would take a full year and a half to become a head of garlic...we plant cloves in November and harvest full heads in July. Less weeding!!!!
One benefit of all this rain is that instead of having to hook up our bed lifter to harvest the garlic, or use a garden forks, we were able to pull it instead. Faster and easier.
Thankfully there is something good about all this rain.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mourning tomatoes

Last Friday we started picking cherry tomatoes. They are always the earliest, and always provide a glimpse of what is to come.
On Sunday night Chris and I pulled out the Compendium on tomato diseases, we were concerned about some yellowing on the lower leaves, we figured early blight...but wanted to be sure.
On Monday morning I went for early morning walk with my sister-in-law......I wanted to inspect the tomatoes more closely, there it was, as sure as could be the tell tale signs of late blight.
Yes, the blackened lesions around the stem, the gray spots on the leaves. Monday afternoon Chuck Bornt our extension agent confirmed it as late blight. We spoke with him yesterday and he has confirmed seven more cases in our area. Two days later some plants were pretty devastated, while others were still green.
In this picture below you can see the area/variety that was the most affected, brown amidst some green. We are in the process of pulling all of the heavily affected plants, saving the green ones. A chemical salesman came to the farm today, the first we have ever met. He came to bring us the Certified Organic Copper that we will be spraying on the still green plants and on our second planting which is still looking green.
We have very mixed feelings about copper, about spraying in general, we tend to be Luddites in this area, we don't tend to even spray the organic sprays. But the dilemma is that we have put a lot of work into these plants, they are among the earliest seeded in the green house, they are then transplanted into larger cell trays, they are then transplanted onto black plastic outside, they are then trellised each week to keep them from falling over. Hours and hours of labor. And trying to save them will be hours and hours more, is it worth it??? Of course it is if we get tomatoes.
There is no guarantee that pulling and spraying will even work, late blight is a persistent disease under the right conditions. It destroyed the Irish Potato Crop in the mid 1800's causing the Potato Famine.
This has been the perfect season for late blight. Wet and cold. And even now though the sun is shining, the nights were cold leaving a heavy dew...more moisture providing perfect breeding grounds for the late blight spores to spread.
Forward we move, we spent the first hours of realization feeling sick to our stomachs, the next morning we accepted complete loss, by the next afternoon we felt we should be proactive and try to at least save the second planting. So in some sick way things are looking up. Other crops look superb, the garlic is large and white and abundant, the purple carrots we will be harvesting in the next months are gorgeous and beans are sweet and crisp...time will tell for the tomatoes...we will keep you updated.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Purchasing Grass Fed Organic Beef

We are excited to be able to offer beef to our members in the city and offer everyone the convenience of paying by credit card online. The wonders of technology.... Truly transforming our communication every day.

We have an updated availability list on our Blog, check it out to see what we have for the week.

E-mail us an order, remembering to tell us when and where you would like to pick it up.

We will put the order together and e-mail you back an invoice. Pay through paypal and the beef will arrive as specified...or come to the farm for pick up.

Be sure to read The Importance of Grass Fed Beef, it will give you an understanding of the scale and values behind our beef sales. It also offers some cooking advice.