News and Blog
Thank you for your support of organic farming in our community. Seven years ago we started offering an organic CSA for people in Shelby and Jefferson Counties. We are the only certified organic vegetable farm in our area and we thought that by adopting the CSA model it would help us in our efforts and provide a much needed service for you.
This is our last weekend for this years CSA. It has been a very good year in spite of the incredible challenges we have faced. The cool, wet early summer was unlike any we have experienced so far. However, we were able to find a way to continue to bring you wonderful produce each week.
We have had some disappointments. The deer this year completely destroyed several of our succession plantings (especially squash and beans) and also wiped out our watermelon and sweet potatoes. We try to work in harmony with nature but it seems that the deer won the battle this year. We will evaluate and come up with a better plan for next year. Out of 750 row feet of sweet potatoes we were able to to harvest only a half bushel. Pitiful. What makes it especially hard on us is the fact that we had to plant twice due to compromised slip quality on the first planting. Organic slips are very expensive and the labor involved in planting meant that we took a big hit financially. Next year. There's always next year.
And, we hope that you will be a part of next year. I will be sending an email at the end of this year or in January of 2014. You will have the opportunity to respond for a guaranteed spot in the 2014 CSA.
I am sorry that I have not kept current with these emails for the last few weeks. We have had labor challenges (following Labor Day weekend--ironic) and by the time we have finished on Friday nights, I am too tired to write anything.
We do appreciate your support. Without you, Harmony Fields Farm would not be possible. We are a family farm and without our family, especially our sons, we would not have made it these last few weeks. Matthew and Nathan have really worked hard to ensure that we would be able to continue after so many of our workers deserted us.
Be sure to let us know if you have any suggestions for making our CSA better. We want you to be happy. We love being your farmer and we want to be able to improve each year. Your feedback is important to us.
The farmer's market will continue through October 12 and if we have anything to sell, we will be there even though the CSA concludes tomorrow. Also, our son Matthew and his girlfriend are doing the Sunday market at Rainbow Blossom in St. Matthew's (Lexington Road) from noon till 4:00. They are also planning some production for our High Tunnel for this fall and winter. I will keep you posted if this works out.
See you tomorrow. Sad day, but--there's always next year.
Larry and Beth
Seems it's feast or famine with our labor lately. Fortunately, it was a feast today which meant we got a lot done. We have been wanting to dig Fingerlings lately but didn't have the forces to do it. Digging potatoes is just plain hard, dirty work. The kind of work that builds character and stamina. The fruit of this labor is some of the best fingerlings we have ever grown. We will be glad to share them with you this week.
Even though the squash has played out, the winter squash is coming along nicely and we will be happy to share a Butternut Squash with you. It may be a little challenging to think "winter" when the temps are in the 90's, but you can always hold this squash for a couple of weeks if you wish to wait for cooler temps.
Tomatoes and peppers continue as do beans and basil and garlic. I am a little concerned about a succession planting of Provider Beans we planted. When I checked them today, it appears that the deer are eating them. All of them. Not good.
I would encourage you to come as early as possible tomorrow as it is going to be another hot day. Your produce will do better if you can get it home and cooled down. When we harvest here we get it out of the field and into one of the walk-in coolers (we have two, each set at a different temps to meet the needs of the different veggies) as quickly as possible. Heat really effects the longevity of produce. In fact, this heat may be affecting my longevity as well!
So, good night and we will see you soon.
Finally it feels like a Kentucky August! All those great days of low temperatures and humidity and I didn't have the time to cut hay. Now that it looks like it next week might work out for me they are calling for 90+ temps plus humidity. We still square bale most of our hay. I have always loved doing hay as it was one of the chores from my childhood that I really enjoyed. When I was finally old enough to help I felt like I was a big boy and that good feeling has stuck with me ever since. So, if you want some good feelings, come out next week and help. Skip that expensive gym time and get a work out you will never forget.
Sorry that I didn't get email out last week. Perfect storm of excuses I won't bore you with. The one legitimate one is that last Friday was our 38th wedding anniversary. Was trying to squeeze in some time for a dinner but it didn't happen. Too much work and not enough workers. A real challenge when important events come on Fridays during market season.
Will be loading you up with more tomatoes and peppers as they are doing well right now. We have some leftover cherry tomatoes from last week that we will let you have as bonus to the freshly picked ones you will get.
If you know of anyone who would like to come out and work on an organic farm, let us know. We have lost some of our labor due to school starting back and other people who have had to take other jobs. So, let me know if you can help out.
Thanks for supporting us. We hope you will continue to enjoy local, organic food.
I sure hope that we don't have rain tomorrow for the market. We have had more rainy Saturdays this year than normal. It has been an unusual summer, but I'm not complaining. I personally enjoy the cooler temps and the lower humidity that have been frequent for the past couple of months.
The heat loving plants have been disappointed, but they are coming on. Been especially challenging for tomatoes this year. Some people don't have any while others are thriving. We are glad that we will be able to share two pints of cherry tomatoes with you and a quart of "Misc." tomatoes which include at least one large heirloom.
Squash is still doing well but the zucchini is pretty well played out. We will try to have the recipe for zucchini bread that Beth made last week available for you since there seemed to be some interest in it.
Let's hope for good weather tomorrow. No matter what, we will be there and we look forward to seeing you. Thank you for supporting organic farming.
Been a long day. Been a good day. Will result in a good day for you. Nine items in your bag this week. Basil will return and cherry tomatoes will make their debut. Big tomatoes almost ready. Will have a few to sell but not enough for the CSA. As always, you may buy anything we have at a significant discount. Beth did not want to let the huge zucchini go to waste so she make a mini-loaf for everyone this week. All organic ingredients except she had to use local, free-range eggs that were not certified organic.
I'm just too tired tonight to share more. My brain is shutting down as I realize I will be getting up in about four and a half hours. So, see you soon.
We are very thankful for the incredible weather of the past three days. Low temps and humidity have made for great working conditions.
Everything is doing well. Some things are a little slower than we would like, but nature has its own pace and it's best to work with nature rather than against it. Most of us are really anxious to have those fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. They are almost ready. We were able to get a few pints of cherry tomatoes to sell this week and we anticipate having enough for you next week. Bigger tomatoes won't be far behind.
We are going to start distributing garlic this week. You have had garlic scapes and green garlic and finally the mature garlic bulb is here. We have a recipe to share with you tomorrow that uses garlic, potatoes and turnips. In fact, there are three recipes for turnips we will give you tomorrow. Completely forgot to give this to our farm pick-up people today. Ask for it next week.
The beans you will get this week are called Royal Burgundy. They are purple. However, they turn green when cooked. Sorry for the disappointment. They are just green beans. The taste, however, is more than "just green beans." Once you try them you will know what I mean.
Fresh, seasonable, organic food is hard to describe with words. You have to experience it. Thank you for sharing the experience with us.
We are now officially half way through the season. It has been a good one so far, despite the challenges presented by the abundance of rain and high temperatures. I just heard a story on the local news about how successful the year has been so far for farmers. Of course, they were talking about commodity farmers. Corn and soybeans. It seems that that's all that matters. The government, economists and the media seem to think that if you aren't growing thousands of acres of corn and soybeans, you aren't a real farmer. Or if you have a few thousand head of cattle then you might count. These cattle are eating corn from the "real" farmers.
For those of us who grow a variety of crops that mature at different times and have unique production requirements, it's a different story. For those who are raising livestock on pasture and providing a humane environment for their animals, it's a different story.
For those of you who join a CSA and/or come to the farmer's market rather than the large chain groceries, it's a different story. Thank you for a being a part of different story. It's a healthier, more sustainable, and better story from my point of view.
Been having a lot of turnips lately. This will continue because I went wild this spring trying out a new planter. It worked. Really well. Will have potatoes (Red Norlunds this week) and carrots to put with those turnips for some wonderful roasted vegetables. Carrots grown in our clay soil are somewhat miss-shappened but they taste great. Also will have Basil for you this week. Beth makes a wonderful Basil Pesto with this and she will be happy to share her recipe with you.
Last week we had zucchini but no yellow squash. This week you will get both. As much as you need. Enjoy it while it's fresh.
Thanks again for supporting local, organic food. Over the next couple of weeks I may be asking you to help me with design of a new brochure about organic food. Still a lot of confusion about what organic means. I am president of the Organic Association of Kentucky and our board of directors are working on a brochure designed to help educate and inform the public about organic farming and food. If you would be willing to help evaluate this new brochure. please let me know. We need feedback from you.
For those who came today--it was good to see you. For those coming tomorrow--see ya then.
What a beautiful day. I will take these temperatures and humidity anytime. The plants are happy too. Way too much rain last week. Soil is gasping for air. Did you know that one of the components of soil is air? About twenty five percent. When the rain overwhelms the air pores, the plants suffer.
The good news is that most of our plants are doing well. We are beginning the transition into summer produce. We are a few weeks behind due to rain back in May (it delayed us being able to prepare the soil for planting) but the zucchini is now producing and you will get some this week. Yellow squash is just starting to flower. Have a few to sell but not enough to share with everyone.
Organic produce is in high demand and local, organic is hard to keep on the shelf. We know since we are about the only game in town for local, organic produce. We do not have a marketing problem. We have people who want our produce, especially certain crops. One of those crops is potatoes and we started digging them today. We will probably have them till the end of the market so you will have a long time to enjoy them. The "fruit" part of this plant grows in the soil. That is one of the reasons that organic potatoes are so popular. This week you will get some "new" Yukon Golds, but we will have some other varieties soon.
We enjoyed our day off last week. The way the holiday fell it just worked out well for us to be off. Our work crew enjoyed it too. There's a lot of hard work ahead and sometimes people just need a break when the work is so physically exhausting.
We are really in a battle right now with weeds. The soil has been too wet for mechanical cultivation and since we don't spray chemicals, we just have to watch them grow. Weed eaters help but they don't take them off at the roots. They grow back quickly. A lot of time is being devoted to this task and we really appreciate our fine workers who are dedicated to making Harmony Fields Farm a reality. Without them, Beth and I couldn't do it alone. Thank you Jeremy, Sean, Samantha, Heather and Matthew. We have room for more, so if you know anyone looking to be involved in sustainable agriculture, send them our way.
Of course, without you, our CSA partners, we couldn't do this either. Thank you for your dedication to our farm and the dream of making the world a better place through better food.
We have had a lot of rain this week. This is very beneficial yet also challenging. One of the major obstacles to organic production is the control of weeds. In conventional agricultural weeks are controlled primarily through herbicides. In organic agricultural weeds are dealt with primarily through old fashioned labor. Hard work. Hand work. This is one of the reasons that organic produce cost more that chemical produce. It cost more to produce it.
The rain and high temperatures have resulted in a flush of weeds. So, in addition to harvesting we also have to get after the weeks. Takes time. Takes a lot of labor. This is why there aren't more organic farmers. A lot of people care about how their food is grown but most people only care about how cheap their food is. Thanks goodness our CSA partners understand. Cost is only a part of the value.
This week we will be adding a bag of Napa cabbage and a bunch of beets. Also will continue with the kale and collards, onions ( some are getting bigger), swiss chard, turnips, and the June apples. Won't be long before the summer produce will be coming in. Spring produce is starting to wind down.
Seasonal eating has taken on a new dimension with the advent of high tunnel production. We have a high tunnel too but we are waiting for the fall/winter season to try our hand at season extension. You will be the beneficiaries of this if we can make this work. More on this later.
Looking forward to cooler temps tomorrow. Hope the rain holds off till the market is over. You are good people. Thank you for supporting local, organic farming. Without you none of this would be possible. Thanks.
Short and sweet and a serendipity. That summarizes this week's update. Been a long, hard day and the 4:00 a.m. alarm will sound sooner than I wish.
New this week will be Swiss Chard and June Apples. The apples are the serendipity as we have NEVER had them two years in a row!! The are tart. They are wonderful to cook with and some people even like to eat them raw. Depends on your palate. Bottom line--they are the only local organic apples you will get this year. Period. No one grows them. No one sells them. Except us.
Lettuce is pretty much done for the summer. We were able to get about a dozen bags, enough to sell, so if you want some, we will sell it to you for a significant discount. As always, anything we have we will sell to you for a discount.
Will probably be the last week for strawberries. Enjoy them while you can. Asparagus is done for the year. We are currently trying to plant about another 1000 plants for the future. Weather is not cooperating. Did get about 2000 new strawberry plants in the ground last week.
Gotta go. It's late. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Enjoyed visiting with our local pick-up people today. Lots of news that will have to wait till next week.
Thank you for supporting us. We sure do enjoy growing you food. It is hard, but the smiles on your faces makes it all worthwhile.