News From the Farm | June 5, 2017

There are times that we look at each other in despair, saying, “there’s just too much going on around here” —!  With everyone going in a lot of different directions life can be pretty overwhelming. Carefully planned days can easily derail into a race chasing down one unexpected loose end after another. Happily, every once in awhile we do get a hint that our efforts may be circling around an internal logic, not actually about to spiral out of control.

One of the biggest themes of the week continued to be to complete the spring transplanting.  Last Monday we transplanted our third planting of tomatoes, this time 60,000 seedlings, all in one day, into a 6-acre field. The field has been growing hay for decades, so the soil is well prepared to grow some delicious fruit.  Later in the week it was flowers, celeriac and direct seeding of dent corn, melons, beans, squash and cucumbers.

Above the crew is transplanting tomatoes 

On Saturday, most of the crew was harvesting 10,000 pounds of potatoes for a big order.  The potato washer was going all day long, keeping pace with the harvest.  And the harvest crew was reported to be seriously irritated by the fact that the Desiree potatoes and German Butterball potatoes were all mixed up in the beds.  As usual, despite the directive for all hands on deck in the potato field, some crews were able to sneak off — one small group to transplant artichokes, and the single-minded and dedicated flower crew, to pick hundreds of bunches of flowers to hang and dry for wreaths next winter.

This crew is transplanting artichokes 

It is this simultaneous focus on getting the summer crops off to a good start, running ragged to harvest spring crops that are ready, and even planning ahead for the fall and winter that characterize May and June.  On the harvest side, this is the time that we start harvesting our 3-acre garlic crop so that it can dry down and get cleaned up for the stores.  We finished harvesting our onions.  And one of our crews was in the tomato fields tying the tomato plants to their trellis. The trellising of the tomatoes is hard work.  The stakes are pounded into the ground, and even the most callused, seasoned and gloved hands get torn up tying the tomatoes to the stakes.

After a successful experiment spreading walnut hulls on a few dirt roads last year, we’re going full-on with the walnut shells now, spreading them everywhere.  They smell lovely and make the roads look orangish.  Best of all, the walnut shells keep down the dust.

Here are reports from around the farm as to what was the most exciting event of the week:

Gorby (one of the intern crew) won first place in the Lynch Canyon Trail 10K run in Solano County (a benefit for the Solano Land Trust).  His time was 51 minutes and a few seconds.  The runner up was a full two minutes later.  Jesse (another member of the intern crew) came in 4th in her age group (20 to 30) in the same race. Kay-Kay, who arrived here from Japan a few weeks ago, is the newest member of our intern crew.  She said that picking larkspur for drying was the most fun of the week.

We hosted several events, and our amazing floral displays showed up at several off-farm weddings.

Nine piglets were born.  Blueberry, their mom, is huge next to the piglets.  She moves slowly and deliberately to avoid hurting them.

We picked our first padron pepper and saw a Galia melon that was only a few weeks away from harvest.

Baby Waylon is getting his first tooth

We are getting ready to transplant 4-acres of asparagus into one of our fields.  We are expecting the transplants to arrive from Gilroy this week.  Next year we might pick a bit of asparagus from this new field, and by 2020 it should have started full production.  We missed the asparagus this Spring — there wasn’t as much as usual for the CSA boxes.  It may seem like a long wait, but more is on the way.

—Judith Redmond