Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17th and 20th

The Close of Summer

This is it, the last pick up of summer.  With it being so warm, it feels like I am quitting mid August!  Although we could go another week, we need to shift gears and start fall harvest, plant garlic and button up the farm before we get caught waiting too long.  Sooooo be prepared, we are stocking you up with veg this week!!!

The weather has been blissfully wonderful and even though it is dry in the fields, the veggies look so bright and vibrant!  I'll be turning on the irrigation today to water field spinach, chard and kale in hopes it will survive well into November.  It's the latest I have ever had to water!  Usually this time of year, we are frantically harvesting root crops before the ground gets so soggy I can't get the tractor through.  I must say the warmer drier weather makes washing much easier too.  Jean, my sturdy 66 year old employee, washes over 6000 lbs of carrots in the fall (not to mention other heavy root vegetables).  She also helps harvest and weigh them, so that means she's touches the carrots at least 3 times!  You may think I am a brutal employer, but we are just making sure we are warding off any osteoporosis by keeping her bones strong : )

I think I mentioned a few blogs ago that I don't grow "baby" or "mega" crops.  Well apparently the celery and the savoy cabbage didn't get the memo, because they decided to take off this fall.  It's kind of fun...i just hope you can fit them in your fridge!

We hope you enjoyed this season's bounty!  I feel like it ended with a bang and we are excited to go for it again next spring!  I'm already experimenting with overwintering some new crops so we may have them early next season.  We planted onions along with the scallions; an onion variety which should (hopefully) survive the winter and then make a bulb so they are ready to enjoy late May/early June.  And soon we will transplant chard and kale in the hoop house.  (As soon as we get all of those tomato plants out of there!) The plan is to harvest some late in the winter share and then have some for early summer pick ups.  We'll see how it goes!

Hopefully we will see all of you again next summer and we look forward to serving many of you this winter.  Thanks for spreading the good news about Little Ridge Farm!! 

This Week's Bounty: lettuce, kale, spinach, tat soi, arugula, cabbage, celery, fennel, pepper, kohl rabi, watermelon radish, gold ball turnip, rainbow carrots, beet, potato, onion, leek and winter squash

The Farmer's Table:
- Roasted fennel peppers and leeks
- Apple squash cheese bacon pie : )
LRF Organic Apples for Sale this week!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10th and 13th

A Look behind the Scenes

Although I try to post mostly positive things about the farm, the day to day isn't always rosy.  Every year has its own stresses and for some reason this one seemed harder for me than most. Weather is the biggest unknown stresser and then there are the random events.  Now that that the veggies are mature and the season is nearing an end, I can reflect on the hardships and sigh that they are over, and not shed another tear.

Despite having some of the most beautiful onion transplants ever, they just decided not to grow this spring. I am still not entirely sure why, but we spent MANY frustrating hours trying to save the crop.  They survived (!) but are smaller than ever so the overall is yield was very low.  At least they are tasty and I believe the few hundred pounds (we usually have a couple thousand!) we have will store nicely. 

This summer brought more weeds than I have ever seen before.  I don't mind weeding (it's actually very satisfying), but this is a little much!  I am maybe a little more obsessive about weeds than most farmers, but in a weed free patch there is better air circulation, no competition for nutrients and harvesting is MUCH easier.  The multitude of weeds definitely got me down this summer, so many hours spent.  Hopefully we can get back on top of them next year.

I LOVE raising livestock.  They make me laugh and their happy life with just one really bad day makes me feel ok about being an omnivore.  But sometimes they get sick.  Sometimes they even die, which breaks our hearts.  Luckily we have not lost a large animal in over a decade, however this year we did have a sick pig.  We are not sure what caused her high fever and shakes, but luckily over the course of 4 days with lots of extra love and attention she fully recovered.

Chicken, our #1 farm worker, companion and entertainment disappeared.  It's been a couple of months now.  We liked to think he flew down to the Androscoggin, found a mate and is now living happily on the water's edge.  We miss him, but are happy for the memories of his shenanigans.

We all have rough days.  Sometimes those rough days have consequences and other times they just make us grouchy.  In this farm community, although I try not to burden you with too much reality, I do think it is important for you, as shareholders, to know that although we are trying our best, sometimes we have really bad days.  Thank you for understanding that some things are out of our control and that some years you will get onions the size of softballs and other years not.  Zach and I are pretty used to the roller coaster diet of seasonal eating with a twist of unpredictability.  We have been doing it for over 17 years.  We are ok with small potatoes or an overabundance of eggplant, but we realize some of you are still testing the waters of being a part of a CSA and we appreciate your support and excitement to try.  And we love our tried and true members that have been with us from day 1!  We hope you all have come to appreciate the gifts of the land, the flavor of fresh food, seeing the perfect and imperfect and realizing they taste the same and the notion of eating seasonally.  Cheers!

This Week's bounty: lettuce, chard, pac choi, fennel, kohl rabi, carrots, beets, peppers, broccoli/cauliflower, acorn squash, pumpkin, tomato (they are ripening much slower now, so lots of green ones this week) ...i think that's everything

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 3rd and 6th

A View from the Farm

I've been taking lots of photos lately. (I just haven't had time to blog!)  The farm has been almost overwhelmingly bountiful.  It's been a challenging season and to have so many happy images this time of year is a relief .  The cooler, less humid, air this week was also a welcomed relief (both for us and the plants).  This is my view as I weed lamb's quarter out of our oats and pea cover crop.

Usually this time of year, the tomato plants start to look pretty sad and harvest is not so much fun, but this year they still look lovely and are pumping out gorgeous tomatoes.  This is view I had when I rolled up the side after having it closed for a chilly night.  My phone doesn't take the best photos and this doesn't quite capture the beauty of my view, but it's close.  

Jean and Eileen harvest spinach while the pigs frolic in the background and I fill crates with broccoli florets.  This was my view last week at 8 am; it was already 80 and humid.  It looks more romantic than we felt : )  But still a great harvest!

Our best cauliflower crop ever.  Nice sized heads and plentiful.  We have been eating roasted cauliflower every day and loving it.  

The greenhouse has turned from a seedling house to a storage house of winter squash and sweet potatoes.  It's a colorful view full of various shapes and sizes.  The field where these grew is now bare and reseeded with cover crop for the winter.  it's the first thing I see when I cross the ridge into the back field.  Seems like just last week we were planting the little plants and covering them for protection.  We spent a lot of time weeding this crop this year and pampering it a bit, but it all paid off!  I'm sure it's making your mouth water just looking at the photo : )

This Week's bounty: lettuce, fennel, hakurei, chinese cabbage, kohl rabi, tat soi, cauliflower/broc, rainbow carrots, pepper, tomato, winter squash, onion -- yum!  Now I just need the frost to melt off so I can harvest everything!!!!


type in "fennel and kohl rabi", oh my there are lots of yummy looking salads with apples too!!

The Farmer's Table:
*sweet and sour eggplant and peppers
*veggie lasagna
*stir fry beets and pork with rice noodles
*roasted cauliflower
*pork roast stew with celery, carrots and spinach