Farmer Sam stretches out to harvest our sweet red peppers. The human element in small scale agriculture needs to be acknowledged. Our bodies twist and turn, stretch and crouch, lift and pull to bring food to the table. We try to diversify our tasks and keep the work day to a manageable 10 hours, but sometimes we need to put in extra time to harvest before a rain, frost, or market. Farming is an endurance sport that has a huge payoff in the end, which is satisfaction in our role as stewards of the earth. Thank a farmer next time you purchase some fresh food at the farmer’s market!
Archives for September 2012
Summer is near it’s end and it is time to get into the rhythm of fall. We have some amazing produce to look forward to and the opening of our very own restaurant, Agricola. Currently we have brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, arugula, and spinach in the ground. Winter Squash has been harvested and we wait to allow half the varieties to cure while we can enjoy the other half now. The days are noticeably shorter and it is only a matter of time until the farmer gets to rest.
Carrots are a wonderful crop to grow, when done correctly. We direct seed our carrots into permanent raised beds, which is broad forked by hand and roto-tilled with a walk behind tractor. We rake out any rocks or debris while leveling the bed to make sure our direct seeder has the optimum surface to plant the seeds to the correct depth. By using hand tools and light weight machines we are providing the least amount of compaction to the soil which provides a good growing environment. Thinning the carrots is done while we harvest. Above is our mixed color baby carrots, the first harvest for this bed. Next week the carrots will be larger because we thinned them out by harvesting. Carrots take a lot of care, but are worth the effort.
Toscano kale is my favorite vegetable we grow on the farm. Most farms in the area have kale at the market every week or provide it in a CSA share. This is all for good reason. Kale is a super food packed with nutrients. I eat kale at least once a week and highly suggest everyone include it in their diet. The classic complaint about a CSA share is that they get kale every week. Maybe the farmer is trying to tell you something!