News and Events

  • October 14th, 2011

The sound of welcomed rain is nice, except for the kids are going a little stir-crazy in the house.  I simply can’t imagine what the long days of winter will be like when they are used to being outside or in their second home “the packing barn” all summer long.  “Touch the Dirt Day” was wonderful in so many ways.  For the CSA members and families who were unable to attend, you were greatly missed.  For those of you whom were here, it was a true pleasure!  Of course, just like everything that’s new—we now have a list of some changes for next year (convenient port-a-potty, earlier/second hay-ride, and more food).  For those of you who unfortunately weren’t able to take a hay ride, I really do apologize!  Guess I should stick to farming and not event planning, huh?!  It was an honor to watch children’s excitement (and adults) over things that are part of our typical day.  It was an honor to share the beauties of nature with our extended farm-families.

Fun times learning!

I guess it’s obvious from the last few shares as far as what we’ve been harvesting on the farm—-late-season summer squashes, winter squashes, beginning to harvest radishes and fall lettuce.  We had a beautiful first picking of late-season green beans; it’s amazing to see how the decrease in insect pressure has made.  We haven’t had to do a single thing other than give these plants water and they are producing beautifully!

Last week was a lot of farm clean-up.  Guess that’s a special perk to having CSA members to the farm—it makes us stop to clean-up the farm before winter sets in.  Something else it does is helps us to slow down and enjoy what we have here.  Folks travel miles and miles to see beauty; it was so nice to enjoy the beauty of nature’s changing colors that are right here!  As our migrant workers were tickled to death to finish housing all the tobacco last week, they jumped at the opportunity to chip in a help a friend of ours for a few hours since his  workers abandoned the farm with a few acres left to harvest.  We know they have needed to recouperate, but they have been chomping-at-the-bit for some work lately.  These men come to America simply to work—they don’t want to be bored.  We went ahead and removed the tomato stakes, irrigation in areas of the field we are finished with, and odd-and-ends.

We were able to begin combining corn this week.  That is such an amazing thing to watch.  If any of your families have never seen that and are interested, let me know and we can figure out a time for a “field trip”.  According to our workers, in Mexico all field corn is harvested by hand; here because of the economics and needed food production, it is all harvested with large combines, then moved to a grain cart that will go to meet the combine in the field and then dump into the trailer that the semi will pull to the grainary.  {Side note: the other day, one of our CSA members made a comment that the combine was larger than her first apartment—they are massive machines, but truly feed the world}.  It really is a large production and the fulfilling or dishearting time as you learn how your yields are (which means final production, which also equals how many people you will feed off of that acre/farm).  For those of you who were on the hayride learned that in 1960 each American farmer produced enough food to feed 45 people. Today’s American farmers must produce enough to feed 155 people just to keep up with the world demand. America’s farmers have increased this production using less land, water and energy, at the same time cutting wind and water erosion—we must take care of the land or it won’t take care of us!  There is a lot to think about when watching how the planting, tilling and harvesting of grain crops differs from our vegetable production and it is all directed by the types of food, advancements in equipment, and development of markets and local infrastructure.

Our "field trip" as Daddy unloads!

It really is an amazing place to be to have the opportunity to feed so many people locally, but then within our operation have the opportunity to feed globally.  Just like the multitude of crops we grow in the vegetables, the diversity of production and crop characteristics gives farm families security; security of our profession is something that our farms that are family owned and operated need.

So many of our crops we have been proud of this year; however, I guess we should expect some crop failures here and there.  The butternut squash and spaghetti squash plants we raised didn’t get bigger than a basketball for whatever reason, so our butternut squash were tiny and the spaghetti squash were non-existant.  We weren’t able to locate any spaghetti squash, but obviously lucked out on the butternut.  Small world—some men from an Amish community who were working on one of our tobacco barns a few weeks ago told me about their friends who had an unexpected bumper crop of butternut squash, so we decided to “help them out” and purchase some from them for our CSA.  Lucas and Elly really enjoyed going to help us pick them up because they had a little pony that was wondering around the barnlot that amused them for quite a while.  Speaking of winter squashes, I think we are going to have plenty acorn-style squashes to offer if anyone would like “extras” we can deliver with your CSA share either this week or next.  They will keep for quite sometime!

A little trick I learned this week—-if you are trying to peel a butternut or pumpkin to dice up for a recipe, stick it in the microwave for a minute or so and it will loosen the skin to where it will peel off easier.  You may need to zap it for another 30 seconds or so after that.  A trick taught to me by my mom’s cousin whose been around raising vegetables longer than I’ve been alive probably.

Well hopefully everyone in the area enjoyed a rainy fall day—we know all the crops needed it—-and I know many of the farmers who have been harvesting around the clock needed a rain day, too!  Get excited….Saturday we get to extract honey from our hives—so pictures to follow….and hopefully little samplings from your vegetables’ blooms!!

What a great week,

Mary


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