Farm Blog
06 May 2014

May is the usually the turning point for us here at the farm, the month where it all gets down to brass tacks with plantings, massive tilling days, and the beginning of (gasp!) the market season. The air, warmer and more hospitable to work in, breezes across the fields with the soft and gentle touch. Gone are the wretched days of April with snowstorms and heavy cold rains following 75-degree days. May brings us consistency and that is a good thing.

So here we are readying for the 2014 season. The market season has started in New Haven and soon we start our first markets in NYC in well over a decade (Park Slope, Brooklyn). Our other markets in CT - Kent starts the 17th of May, and Weston, Newtown/Sandy Hook and New Haven (Wednesday) start in June. Our stand will be open in June.

The CSA program is just about full for the season and we are excited to launch our inaugural season delivering in to Williamsburg and Prospect Heights Brooklyn (the addition of the Brooklyn farmers market will make the delivery into the city each week much more profitable as well.) We also have our drop spots in New Milford (at the NM Hospital parking lot), as well as in Watertown (at the Taft School).

The fields are packed and we continue to plant each week. In fact, we wont stop planting until September, and we have a top crew of young (and old) farmers working the land to get it done. Led by farmers Quincy and Jed, the farm has a returning group of agrarian mercenaries who take no prisoners, and push themselves to make the farm better everyday. Inspiring, to say the least. Many of you know them already but Lyle “goody gum drops” Nichol, Dana “Noosh” Jackson, and Jason “Tay-son” DePecol are doing the work of six men. When you see them next, shake their hands and buy ‘em a brew. Soon young Will “hippies make me sick” O’Meara arrives from the West Coast and the full time team will be complete. Part time players this season include John “Jack Chuck” Charles and Connor “the fall guy” Green. As usual, there will be times when the crew will swell in numbers – sugar snap pea harvesting, for example – but we think this team is lean and mean.

The new tractor arrived last week, a New Holland 55 HP with a loader that we needed badly. The lads are quite happy, to say the least. And, due to the excellent attention to the machinery (JB) this past winter, all of out tractors are up and running. Fingers crossed nothing goes down this season…

So that’s where we are. The high tunnel will soon be emptied of the greens we are currently harvesting and sun golds will be planted, the fields are stuffed with salad greens, potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, kales, swiss chard and so much more. The tomatoes go in soon, and then the game is on! It’s going to be an exciting season and we hope to see you all at the farm or the markets.

Cheers.

Author Patrick Horan in Farm Blog Read 6460 times Read more...
07 Apr 2014

Ah, spring how we missed you. The warmer air has come at last and erased a long winter from our collective minds… almost! Still it is probably safe to say that the chance of a last winter storm is getting smaller with each passing day and soon the first apple blossoms will burst open inviting the bees to feast.

The planting has started and the crew is coming together nicely.   We put the first 30 lbs of the sugar snap pea crop in the ground on the 2nd of April, another 25 lbs in today, and will do the final 25 lbs next week. And, as each week passes and more of the fields get plowed, tilled, and planted we will reach peak planting and acreage (approx. 20-22 acres) by mid July. We will plant the first of the kales, chards, and other hearty greens this week, as well, and transplant lettuce heads, direct seeding of arugula, Asian greens, radishes, carrots, and beets. This season we will be expanding our selection considerably and some of our friends have been instrumental in helping us with some of the new seed we will try this year.   Sweet.

The mighty tomato crop is coming along nicely, too, and is currently growing at one of the propagation farms we employ. As our greenhouse space is limited - we try to maximize the space we do have with crops that require a little less “TLC” then some of the more delicate heirlooms strains we like to grow. Gilberties, located in Easton, CT is the place this year after we tried a smaller operation last season.  We will be working closely with their greenhouse manager to ensure a steady supply of transplants making it to our fields from early April through August.

So, the season has begun, and just in time. We are looking forward to growing lots of food for our clients this coming season, and with a little luck, and some good weather, our 25th season will be a memorable one.

Lastly, a poem about the mighty sugar snap pea,  by Lawrence S. Pertiller. It just seemed fitting.

 

SUGAR SNAP PEAS

Sugar snap peas,

I plant thy rods.

To enable your journey...

With tentacles to grab tight.

In this garden,

You will make home.

 

Search as you climb and bloom.

Roam and stretch within the room,

You make yours and ascend!

Sugar snap peas...

Near fresh soiled cucumber seeds.

Growing with you slow...

To enhance the sweet organic taste!

To please separately,

Or in a fixed mixed blend.

 

On this day in the month of May.

In late Spring...

The sunset will bring,

A brightness upon your pods.

And ready you will be picked to eat.

Rather cooked or raw...

Under the coming early Summer heat!

Sugar snap peas,

Sweet.

 


 

 

Author Patrick Horan in Farm Blog Read 8937 times Read more...
12 Feb 2014

Ah, winter, how we love you.  And what a brutal display of power you have wrought upon us this year! The cold northern air sweeps across the landscape issuing daily reminders that spring is still six weeks away, and while we can accept that, we would rather the warmer air return asap.  So what is possibly going on while this vortex season continues to rage?  Plenty!  From machine work to building out the internal structure of the new barn, there always seems to be a lot going on at the farm.  

We are also still making our weekly trek to the winter market in New Haven.  Based inside this year after 7 years outside, the market will last until the end of April before heading back out of doors for the regular season.  We are out of our winter storage crops due to an above average autumn sales period, so we are only taking our prepared food line to market.   The sauces, the bloody mary, our honey and jams/chutneys at least allow us a presence, and also allow us to get out the word about the CSA.

Speaking of CSAs, we are expanding ours this year and after the success of last season we appear to be finding our stride.  Models for CSAs are not easy to build and we have had periods where the selection has been lean, to say the least.  We found faults in our model, executed the changes necessary, and know that we can deliver a 20-25 week season with little difficulty (but plenty of hard work!). 

Most of the seeds are ordered, the greenhouses will get their first plantings this month, tractors are ready to work once the thaw comes, and we are ready to rock in 2014.

Sweet! 

Author Patrick Horan in Farm Blog Read 6397 times Read more...
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