News and Blog
I apologize for the lateness of this update but it has been another crazy week here at HFF. The hay I had hoped to get in last weekend got rained on and I to re-rake it and fluff it before I could finally bale it on Wednesday and Thursday. The rain won't hurt the bales we use for mulching but it does leach out nutrients that would be beneficial as livestock forage.
The heat continues and with it more of our lettuces are starting to become very uncomfortable. Their biological clocks are not in sync with the unnatural rhythms of the seasons we are experiencing. However, I think we might be able to coax a couple more weeks out of them. It's the nighttime temperatures that are the most unsettling. We did get two showers today so maybe that will cool down the soil a little bit.
This week was also filled with the mundane tasks of building infrastructure and doing equipment repair. All farmers spend way too much time under a piece of equipment. I had to repair the PTO shaft on the John Deere and the tiller decided to take on a large rock which Cody (one of our fine young workers) finally had to chisel out. We also were finally able to run the water lines out to the pasture where we have put in six new plots for growing vegetables. Had to to fix a major water leak ($800 water bill is how we discovered it) and then run 600 feet of new lines to four new hydrants. It looks really nice now and we have started getting our transplants into the ground. We are probably 2-3 weeks behind on some things but hopefully we can catch up quickly.
This week we have a lot of stuff for you. Half Shares will get 2 pints of Strawberries (double from last week) 2 pints of Snow Peas, 1 Cabbage (Chinese style Cabbage) 2 Turnips with wonderful greens, 1 Kale, 1 Swiss Chard and the choice of Spinach or Arugula. We will also offer you the option of an extra Snow Pea if would like that rather than the 2 Turnips.
I hope that you will appreciate the extra bounty as this abundance may need to balance out any impatience while waiting on some of the crops that we have just now been able to get in the ground.
Several of you have expressed your delight in the food we are providing for you. There is nothing quite like fresh, local, organic food. Some of you have recommended recipes and we are trying to figure out how to get this info onto our website. One hint -- fresh Strawberries should be eaten as soon as possible. They do not save well!
Come and visit us. Watch your food grow. Savor the taste of a leaf or a fruit popping straight in your mouth after a one second journey of inches. Let all of your senses take in the breathtaking marvel of nature. Break a sweat and get your hands really, really dirty digging in the soil. By becoming a part of our CSA you are directly connected to the land. But, if you desire even more of a connection -- come on out and we will find a way for you to experience the joy that comes from seeing the miracle of seed becoming plant, plant becoming food, and food becoming a part of us. It's a reciprocal agreement. It sustains us and we sustain it. At least that's how we do it here at Harmony Fields.
Thank you for your commitment to local, sustainable, organic agriculture. People like you are making a difference in the world. Making it a better place.
Garrison Keilor always says, "It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon." Well, it's been anything but quiet this week at Harmony Fields. After a week of almost three inches of rain (including 1 1/4 inches in one hour on Friday night) we have been rejoicing over the dry conditions. We have not been rejoicing over the temperatures (ten degrees above normal) but we will take that over the rain.
The hay we grow here is not only used to feed animals but also plays an important role in our vegetable production. We use it as a mulch to control weeds between the plants and in the rows and it also helps hold moisture in the soil. It also helps control the Colorado Potato Beetle as they don't like moving around on the hay. So, this week has given us the chance to cut and rake our hay in preparation to bale it. Also, it has dried out enough that we have been able to start planting the transplants that have been ready to go in the ground for the past two weeks. We still have a lot to do but we are hoping that Monday will give us a chance to get most of them transplanted.
The snow peas are starting to come on and we may have some of them for you this week. Start planning those stir fry dishes. The Romaine Lettuce will be cut tomorrow and it looks beautiful. Some of the lettuces are wanting to bolt (go to seed) as the hot weather is telling them that it is time to start thinking about their legacy. But we should still have plenty.
All of our lettuce is "field washed" which means that we bring it in and wash it in cold water, spin it dry and bag it. You may decide to give another wash and that is fine. In fact, if it has been sitting in your refrig for several days, a good rinse will really perk it up. I may not field wash the Romaine but cut it as a whole plant and put it in the bag.
Hope to see all of you this week. If for some reason you will be gone for the holiday weekend, please let us know if someone else will be picking it up for you or if you want us to donate it to the Food Bank.
We are looking forward to more stuff coming in next week. We are also excited about getting all of our other stuff in the ground. If for some reason you are sitting around bored some evening (or day) we would be happy for you to come out and get your hands dirty in the soil. Or if you know of someone who like the experience of working on a sustainable organic farm, let me know. We have been having some labor issues lately so help us out if you can.
Thankfully the rain passed us by tonight. I have about 15 acres of hay laying on the ground waiting to be baled. Probably won't finish it up till this weekend. We bale the small square bales and they provide a wonderful workout for the whole body. You will never sleep any better than after a day of putting up hay. Just a suggestion for you health and well-being.
Again, thank you for your support of local, organic food grown on a small family farm in Shelby County.
Finally our internet is up and running again. They put up a new antennae today that enables us to shoot through the trees on Jeptha Knobs eight miles away and get a good connection. We've been down since last weekend. Too much rain weighing down the leaves on the trees. I am hoping to get your weekly updates out to you earlier in the week in the future. Maybe the new technology will help.
Well, it's raining again. The rain does help water the plants but there comes a point where too much moisture is harmful. Fruits, such as the strawberries you will get this week, will not be as sweet since they are water logged. Lettuces do not like this much precipitation and can become susceptible to disease.
We have thousands of plants we need to get in the ground but it is too wet.
One of the advantages of being a CSA Partner is that you will become more aware of the weather and how it is effecting your food. Not a problem when you go to the grocery and buy stuff shipped in thousands of miles from temperate climates grown on factory farms. Local food comes with risks and you will be much more sensitive to the issues facing small family farms here in Kentucky.
In spite of all of this, everything is growing well and we should have another bounty of lettuce, sugar snap peas, strawberries and mint.
If you are picking up at the farm, please try to come after 3:00. Last week we got way behind schedule as we had not had enough time to harvest everything. We are a small farm with a few workers and they can't do everything in the morning hours. Tomorrow may be even more challenging as the forecast is for rain and thunderstorms. We do harvest in the rain but there are conditions where I will not allow anyone to risk their well being.
Tomorrow is going to be extra busy as we will be hosting the training for all of the organic inspectors in the state. I guess that this is an honor for us since they thought we would be a good example of how one should grow organically according to the standards of the National Organic Program. I have had to tidy up a bit as the mowing had been pushed to the back burner.
We look forward to seeing all of you this weekend. Thank you so much for your support of local, organic, sustainable farming.
We are very excited about the beginning of the season and are looking forward to meeting all of our new CSA partners. If you are picking up your CSA share at the farm, you may come anytime after noon. Come to the back door of the house as we never expect anyone to come in the front door! If you are picking up at the market, please come between 8:00 and 11:00 if possible. It will be hectic at the first pick-up so please be patient with us as we try to learn our new friends and catch up with old friends.
As usual, it has been an interesting spring. Dry and hot in April and wet and cold in May. It was 36 degrees here last Sunday morning and yet we had days that were close to 90 in April. I am starting to get use to the weird weather but it is not like it was when I was growing up.
The lettuce is doing very well and and sugar snap peas should be ready by Friday. We will probably give you some kale that I experimented with by growing through the winter (uncovered and exposed to all the elements) so I will be very interested in your feedback on my "experiment."
I know the Derby is over , but we have some very nice mint for you that I'm sure you will find some creative way to use.
Strawberries (an item we don't advertise or promise) are starting to come on. If you don't get any this week then we will be sure that you do for the next week. These are strawberries we planted last year and I wasn't sure how they would do given the weird weather of last spring.
We do look forward to seeing everyone this weekend. If you were not able to be a CSA Partner this year, we encourage you to come visit us at the Market. We meet the CSA requirements first and then sell whatever is left at the Market. The quality is the same, we just want to make sure that our CSA has the top priority.
If you have any questions, please email me or you can call at 502-738-0510 or on my cell at 640-0042.
The last several weeks here in the Bluegrass have been quite challenging. It began with straight line winds followed by snow, ice and freezing temperatures followed by tornadoes followed be more snow, ice and freezing temperatures. We fluctuate weekly between the teens and sixties on the mercury.
People have not only been inconvenienced, but lives have been lost and Mother Earth has seen much of her life compromised. We are in an age of climate change. Even if we can't all agree on WHY we are experiencing this, we can all agree that things are really crazy.
There are many reasons to choose to farm according to organic/sustainable principles, but one of the best is that it truly is "in tune with nature." Rather than releasing carbon to the air we are trying to keep it in the gound where it benefits a healthy planet. Rather than spray chemical poisons, we nurture the earth and the plants so that they provide natural resistance to pests and disease.
Will the weather keep acting crazy? Probably only as long as we keep acting crazy.