Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vampire-free Zone!

As you can see from the above photo, BGF is now a vampire-free zone! No pale-faced, night stalking blood sucker could make it through our massive garlic moat!
Well actually, its not technically a "moat" since its mostly hung from the rafters, but it sounded good. All kidding aside though, I had certainly not planned to harvest garlic this week as it is about 3 weeks too early, but our obnoxious weather pattern of late was putting the crop at risk. When we pulled a test batch to give the CSA earlier this week, we discovered that the garlic was actually sitting in water just below the surface. Not good!

So we took a break in the battle with the weeds and did some serious garlic harvesting, to the tune of more than 2400 heads. Whew! That is a lot of garlic, for us anyway. We did lose a number of heads to rot, and let me tell you there is nothing quite like the "heady" aroma of rotting garlic...blech! But it wasn't as bad as I first feared. So now all of it is bundled and 90% of it is hanging. I ran out of drying space in the packing shed, so now I'm working on annexing part of my parent's garage to finish out the last of it. Surely they would appreciate a little protection from vampires too?!?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em!

Rain. Rain. Rain! We've had lots of it this month...more than enough for 3 months put together. So far, in June we've poured 12.75" out of our rain gauge and there's still another week left...yikes! Even though we sit at the top of a hill there is still water standing in the gardens and let me tell you, vegetables don't like wet feet! Crops are failing; spinach, salad, cabbages, broccoli, edamame, peas. A number of crops are holding their own, but even those are so buried in weeds that its a little hard to tell. The high tunnel crops look great, but they just aren't ready quite yet.

At market, we can squeak by with a thin produce offering, because we have other products but CSA is always our greatest concern and this weekend I was fairly sure that we would have to cancel Tuesday's box delivery. The only thing I could find in the garden that was healthy and plentiful enough to go in 35 boxes was spring turnips...beautiful turnips true, but I can't just give people a box of turnips! So at market on Saturday I started telling any CSA members that stopped by the booth that we would likely cancel this week, that I would send out an email after inspecting the gardens again that afternoon.

Later that day as I walked through the beds with the mud sucking at my boots I admired the 100's of feet of summer squashes covered with their beautiful, glowing yellow blooms. Blooms...blossoms...squash blossoms...SQUASH BLOSSOMS! That's it! We have squash blossoms, though we've never harvested them as such, a number of farms do and they are considered quite the delicacy! And daylilly buds, we have those too! Plus a beautiful crop of basil ready in the high tunnel, I think we can do this. But what will we do for greens? We always have greens in the boxes and there isn't enough chard in the tunnel for 35 boxes and nothing else is ready. Nothing except all the damn weeds that are taking over everything! Then a thought struck...We've been custom harvesting edible weeds for a market customer for the past year...could we do it for the whole CSA? Why not? Braising Greens for everyone!

In addition to the chard, we collected purslane, lambsquarters, amaranth, sour dock, sorrel, violet leaves and dandelion. All quite tasty and very nutritious greens and many of which you will see featured in the multitude of herbicide commercials running on TV right now. And I can sympathize with the people who use those chemicals right now, as those weeds and many less palatable ones are taking over the gardens.

So it took a little longer, as foraging/weeding/harvesting is a little more time-consuming than harvesting a cultivated crop, but harvest we did and the boxes came out looking ok. They contained:
Basil, Braising Greens Mix, Uncured Garlic, Peas,Squash Blossoms or daylily blossoms and Turnips. I'm always nervous about the boxes in thin times...I want them to always be full-to-the-brim, bounteous goodness and I'm uncomfortable when they aren't. But regardless, we filled them with everything we had, loaded up the vehicles and headed for the delivery sites.

Many members asked how things were going and if there was anything they could do to help. "Just enjoy your produce and embrace the adventure." We told them, what else is there to say when you are delivering carefully harvested, cleaned and bagged weeds and flowers?
Then later that evening we received this message from a member:

"We greatly relished Tuesday's Clan of the Cave Bear/Euell Gibbons retrospective forage food box...It was a very creative, retrospective supper." -David

Clan of the Cave Bear/Euell Gibbons retrospective forage food box! I LOVE IT!
That's the best thing I've heard all week! Hopefully we won't have to resort to quite this level of foraging in the future, but from now on whenever we harvest "wild greens" that's what we're going to call them.

Its still a hard season, but with such wonderful members and customers who are willing to embrace the adventure of supporting a small, local farm, it sure makes it easier.
Thanks guys!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lavender Harvest

The first lavender harvest of the year and the best one to date. Looking forward to tins of lavender sugar and possibly some lavender syrup.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Morning Peace

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise over slightly misty hills. I made my morning coffee and sat down in the office, while the computer slowly woke I looked out the window to see how the world looked today and I noticed a strange shape a ways out by the pasture fence. It was a deer, but something looked strange about it. I grabbed the binoculars and looked was a doe and it looked strange because she was bent around, bathing her nursing fawn. It was quite a sight, this little peek at nature. Then as I watched, a large bird flew into my little binocular-aided circles of vision. It was a large Bard owl, and it settled on a fencepost a distance away, but still within my still-life view of doe and fawn. What a picture!

I wish I could have shared it, the actual picture, but we don't have anything nearly that powerful in the way of cameras, so you will simply have to take my word for it and use your imagination.

The grasses are a golden green this morning, headed now with blooms and immature seed heads. The light is soft as the morning mist hasn't yet burned away and the sky is a clear blue, finally empty of the recently persistent rainclouds. The Red-winged blackbirds, Chipping sparrows and Meadowlarks are singing loudly, making their morning declarations of territory and above it all the roosters crow, announcing their intentions to start the day. Here on the farm, this is our morning peace.