Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August 30th and September 2nd

A Farmer's Tale

Once there was a farmer from Ohio.  Although her home state had dark soils and lack of rocks, she decided Maine was the place she would set down her roots.  Being from Ohio, corn is in her blood. So in Maine she had tried to grow corn like she remembers as a child....over 6' tall and full of ears, bushels and bushels to fill your belly and your freezer.  Alas the local Maine wildlife heard of this venture and has set out filling their own bellies and stores for winter.

Argh!  I HATE rodents!!!!  So much damage can be done in one night.  60 ears gone over the course of three.  And not gone gone, but rather one bite out of each one, ruining it for future use.  I think it is a raccoon, or possibly a porcupine, so I have set up my Game Camera for night photos and our Have A Heart trap for arresting this greedy creature.  No photos yet, and no coon in the trap, but rather a skunk!  A small one.  We released it into a wide open field.  I imagined it skipping off across the expanse enjoying its freedom.  Instead, it took a hard right out of the trap, back underneath my truck and proceeded to cross the Rt 125 as cars zipped by.  Although no one was injured or directly sprayed in this event, the corn patch still reeks of skunk....and the real perpetrator is still at large.

Luckily raccoons do not like melons.  And although, in the past, I have battled crows in the melon patch, not this year!  They are full and ripe and oh so tasty!!!  Tomatoes are also on the rise...10 lbs for full shares this week!

Onion Rings with the Sweet Walla Walla onions--yum!!!

This week's bounty: lettuce, kale, onion, hot pepper, carrot, tomato, cuke, zuke, summer squash, melon, dill, cilantro, basil and corn....unless the coon gets to it first.

The Farmer's Table: 
Onion Rings
burritos with all the fixin's
melons, melons, melons
peach, blueberry cobbler

The Shareholder's Table:
fresh salsa
Chicken Ceaser Pizza
fresh pesto on top of chicken with fresh red/yellow tomatoes on top with mozzarella baked 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 23rd and 26th

Bottoms Up!

So you may be terrified to know that there are 4" long, as fat as your thumb, caterpillars in the PYO cherry tomato patch  : )  Many folks call them a Tomato Hornworm, but the variety we most commonly have in Maine is actually the Tobacco Hornworm.  You can tell the difference because the tobacco hornworm has a red "horn" at its rear which faces backwards.  (Rather than a bluish black horn that faces forward).  These guys (eh-hm, yes all farm pests are male) dine on tomato, eggplant and pepper plants (and their fruit) all summer, causing freakishly fast defoliation and fruit damage. They then burrow into the ground to overwinter and pupate in the late spring as the Sphinx Moth, which also has a 4-5" wing span.   Yes, these critters are mighty!  Although every farm and work share person I have had on this farm is petrified of them, I find them pretty fascinating.  They hold TIGHT onto the tomato plants and their mandibles are so strong that they can make a "clicking" noise.  This noise is supposed to scare predators away, but all it does is help me find their well camouflaged bodies in the mass of tomato leaves.  

The ducks LOVE to dine on them.  They follow me through the tomato patch as I toss them caterpillars. It's a wonder they don't choke on them!  Our friends at Winter Hill Farm have two dogs who also love to dine on them.  Simon hasn't quite acquired that pallet yet, so the ducks have no need to share.  Feel free to help rid the PYO tomatoes of hornworms and feed them to the ducks....if you dare!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, chard, fennel, beets, cukes, zukes, summer squash, sweet onions, pepper(s), tomatoes, melons, dill, cilantro, basil and hornworms...just kidding!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August 16th and 19th

The HEAT and the RAIN!!!!

Well, it's been hot to say the least.  I am not wishing summer away by any means, but the humidity could disappear and I think my energy level would jump several degrees!  Some days have been brutal, dripping sweat before 8am, having to dry our clothes out at lunch and finishing the day dripping again.  To try and save ourselves, we borrowed the turkey hut.  We used it as a shade mobile while weeding the carrots.  Although we had to move it about every 15 minutes, it made the day much more bearable! 

And glory hallelujah!  We got almost 2.5" inches of rain!!  The first in almost a month.  It came pounding down, but I think the ground was able to absorb some if it and the plants are definitely responding.  Everyone and everything got soaked that day...and all rejoiced!

The turkeys didn't seem to mind that we borrowed their hut, they had their our fun in one of our plum trees.  This is our view from our kitchen window  : )


The BAD 

2 crates of zucchini took a dive from the truck and got shredded in the driveway.  I was not happy after spending time early morning Sunday harvesting them.  Needless to say, the pigs were psyched!


Some critter has been dining on your corn.  Hope you don't mind sharing!  Can't catch him yet, but we are still trying.  He seems to have taken a break for a few days...to let the corn ripen more, no doubt.

Needless to say a farmer's day is filled of ups and downs.  Rain, yeah! Blistering heat, boo!  Loads of melons, yeah! 2 ruined crates of zucchini, boo!  Corn is almost ready, yeah! Overnight several are eaten by a rodent, boo!  "Keep Calm and Farm on" my new T-shirt says.  Luckily, although there are some really hard days, generally the good way outweighs the bad.  Good is definitely prevailing in this week's harvest.  Hope your fridges have extra hidden compartments, because you are about to get a super dose of good!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, kale, beets, carrots, zukes, cukes, summer squash, melons! tomato, fennel, sweet onions, cilantro, basil

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 9th and 12th

Sunny Side

Thought I would focus on the brighter side of the hot and dry for this week's blog....

Heat loving crops are in their glory.  Melons are looking plentiful and will be ripening soon!

Watermelons are also plentiful and bigger than ever!!

Tomatoes, although later than usual for me, are numerous and starting to blush

Peppers, also a little late, are LOADED with fruit!

The other pluses of severe dry weather:
*harvesting is way easier when we don't have to wade through mud or wear rain gear
*plant disease pressure is less
*we don't have to mow
*crops are clean and need minimal washing

There is a bountiful week of veggies again this week and, again, the plants are thriving much better than I would anticipate.  Cheers to the Brighter Side!

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, zukes, cukes, summer squash, sweet onions, fennel, chard, kale....

The Farmer's Table:
mushroom crusted pork
zucchini noodles with sauce
lots of cucumber crudites
fried zucchini and broccoli

From the Shareholder's Table:

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 2nd and 5th


The turkeys are 5 weeks old Thursday and today they had their first taste of freedom.  Actually they remind me a bit of the ostriches I would see while on my morning walks in Kenya.  (I studied Wildlife Management there my Junior year of college.)  Dry grass, tall necks, running birds.  It was one of the wild animals I was most afraid of because they could run up to 45 mph and kick a wallop (ie kick you to death).

Luckily I was never chased by one and luckily I do not think I have to worry about my turkeys chasing me down either.  They may follow me from one side of the field to the other, but I feel pretty safe leading them along ; )

Unfortunately our lawn is starting to look like the African Safari.  I have never seen it so crispy and wilted.  The fields look a bit brighter and lush, but it's sure rough for them out there.  Zach is on a mission to test our wells' depth.  Testing them to see how hard we can push them.  Currently we run the drip irrigation twice a day for one hour each time.  We can only water a few beds at a time because we only get near 4gpm, so that means it takes us over 10 days to water then entire farm, and it's only dropping a 0.25" each time.  In year's past, that supplemental watering was sufficient, but when this is the only water the plants are getting, I can see them struggle.  I will admit it's hard to see. It's hard to put so much work, mental energy and heart into something only to see it struggle.  We will still have a bounty.  We are currently blessed with more food than the CSA itself can manage.  But there may be a bit less diversity as the season progresses.  Every year is different and every year I am amazed at a plant's resilience and gift of food.

Thank you in advance for your nightly rain dance.

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, broccoli, beets with greens, baby leeks, greenbeans, eggplant, zukes, cukes, summer squash, melons(?), dill, cilantro, basil, parsley