Another nice mention from our friends @ Litchfield Maagzine http://www.townvibe.com/Ridgefield/March-April-2014/Savvy-in-the-Soil/
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.
A nice mention in Litchfield Magazine’s Holiday edition about our new field high tunnel http://www.townvibe.com/Litchfield/Holiday-2013/Grow-Baby-Grow/
The chill is in the air, the first frost has come and gone, and now the maple leaves are strewn all across the yard – these are the traditional signs of the season coming to an end. It is a time of much sadness for […]
Ah, July how fast you came and went! After the most wretched June on record the dog days of summer arrived in full force. Amazing what a difference the sun makes to the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and all the other long term fall crops after a solid six weeks sitting in muddy, pool collecting, soil. As we head into the month of August the crew and fields are primed to make the most of the harvest to come.
The first third of the CSA season has now past us b y and from the feed back we have been getting, most of our clients are pleased with the output they have been getting. Most are also aware of the challenges the weather played on all growers in the regions – first the unstoppable rain, and then the record breaking heat of mid July. We have been able to bring to the tables, and to market, quite a few crops and we still have the majority to come. So far we have had head lettuces (red, green, and romaine), arugula, asain braising mix, four types of kale, collard greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, sugar snap peas, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and some I am surely missing. However, the harvest and yields have been up and down due to said weather but things are certainly stabilizing. August, September and October will be robust and the fans will be inundated with field red tomatoes, as well as heirlooms and sun golds, fingerling and blue potatoes, broccoli, leeks, salad greens and cooking greens galore, and so much more.
The markets have been up and down, some places are doing very well, like Wooster Square in New Haven and Newtown/Sandy Hook, but a couple have been let down by poor attendance (Kent, Weston, and on the Green in New Haven in particular) and by overall poor marketing by their respective organizers. We are hopeful that the next few months will improve and that the people will return to spending their funds on local food.
Our farm stand will start its annual sales as soon as our tomatoes arrive and that cannot happen soon enough. One of the knocks 0 i know, there are many – but the most serious one is that our stand never has anything there when people drive over to shop. This is partially true. Usually there is something at the stand but there are also so many days in the summer when we leave stuff there and it withers away. Its a two way street, and we will look to improve our stands set up and make sure there is stuff there for people to but… besides tomatoes!
Lastly a s quick word about the crew. This summer may very well be the best group of guys and gals we have ever had work with us at Waldingfield. From the leadership of Jed right down through to the rookie JC, all of the core have done such impressive work. Doggedly they work the fields, and in return for a modest stipend, they have never wavered from the goals of the farms 2013 plan. To them we owe so much to the success of the next five months. It is only after they all head back to college, or even hogh school, that the great majority of their work will bare fruit. So when you next enjoy something from the farm, think of the crew. They are farmers through and through.
A nice piece on our Bloody Mary in the local monthly magazine. http://www.countytimes.com/articles/2013/07/21/l_c_t_monthly/doc51d72779668a2335144784.txt
With June almost over there is now a certain rhythm which sets pace here at the farm. It is one where the back beat is always constant, one which may include extended jams like planting tomatoes for 12 straight hours, or picking peas for 10 […]
“Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain” – John Foggerty
Ah, the early morning sun is rising in the east, the farm is quiet, and the hounds are still not up from their midnight slumber. After a long week of very wet, soggy, and depressing farming weather we can at least enjoy a weekend and dry out before the rains come again early this upcoming week. Connecticut is close to a record for June rain fall and the crops are starting to show signs of fatigue. We need some sun, and fast! Its a little too early to start crying foul on Mother Nature but shades of ’09 are starting to emerge and, like Fight Club, we don’t talk about ’09…
A lot of people wonder what us worse, rain or drought? Obviously both are an issue but most veggie growers are active users of irrigation systems – though for those big commodity growers out in the plains (and west), its a little more tricky, they rely on rain a lot. We would much rather it be dry then wet. After all, who in their right minds likes to sit in water day after day? Who likes to sink up to their knees in mud when harvesting kale or radishes? What plant encourages slugs to come en masse to wallow on their leaves? Exactly.
Most damaging to the farm in the past two weeks of rain is the fact that for every day we cannot get our big machinery into the fields, its another day we CANNOT plant. Every day lost is a day later in the season where we don’t have a crop yet. Its all a matter of timing right now and time is not on our side. October is a mere 100 plus days away and we gotta get stuff in the ground! We still have half our tomato crop to get in (around 10,000 more plants for those keeping score at home) as well as the next wave of direct seedings like salad greens and beets, and all our fall winter squashes and pumpkins, too. Ugh.
Funny, over the weekend at market, where it was sunny and beautiful way too many people asked if the water was “bad” for the crops? It’s amazing to us that the disconnect is so complete between the growing life and the consumer regarding this issue. Yes, too much rain is bad, plain and simple. Next topic please…
The week has been, and continues to be, a very busy one for all of us at the farm. Major tomato and potato plantings, a bus load of 5th grade school children from NYC, and the raising of the new barn. The story of the […]