News from the Farm | June 12, 2023

The members of the Full Belly bike gang (Waylon and Oakley) wanted to collaborate on the Beet this week, so after a quick planning meeting late morning on Wednesday, we decided that the three of us would head out on a bike ride around the farm, take some photos, and I’d write up what we saw. 

It was perfect weather for a ride, slightly cloudy, not too hot (unlike Monday, when it was 95 degrees) and no rain (unlike Tuesday when there were a few periods with some  heavy sprinkles), and the wind didn’t pick up until later in the day. We recently spread walnut shell mulch on most of the unpaved farm roads to help keep down dust; it does a great job controlling dust but does make biking a bit more difficult. Regardless, we had a great time and saw plenty of activity in our short adventure.

First we checked in on the former almond orchard at the top of the road. What a transformation since taking out the trees earlier this year (photo here)! The trees are all gone, and the field is almost ready for planting. It’s currently being irrigated and before we know it, there’ll be a crop planted in that field.

Then we stopped by the peppers where Alfredo and his team were hand weeding. Unfortunately, hoes or tractors aren’t an option for weeding when we use mulch, plastic or straw. We helped remove a few weeds, but the other two bikers quickly lost interest and proposed that we move on to check on the flowers. 

I got distracted by a beautiful flowering cactus in the hedgerow, and then hurried to catch up to my speedy companions. By the time I arrived, they’d headed into the tall larkspur plants and were almost completely hidden from view!

We stopped to appreciate the nigella and snapdragons, then began heading back to the office. We skipped going by the cherry tomatoes (there are the first green fruits but nothing snackable yet) and instead checked on the onions. Onions are mature when the stems flop over. When that happens, we stop watering them. The next step is to go through the field with clippers to cut the stems, then lift the onions from the soil with a tractor, then move them to burlap bags, where they cure for a week. Curing dries the outer layers and the top of the onions, protecting them from going bad. Most of the onions were already in the burlap bags but there were a few rows still in the ground to photograph.

When we got back, I wanted a carrot to snack on, so I headed over to the shop. In addition to all the potato washing and packing, flower bunching, and the usual activities, Catlina was working on some beautiful garlic braids. She only makes a few and they’re only available at the farmers markets (sorry!) but at least with photos, everyone can get the opportunity to appreciate her work.

That’s the report from our quick, short jaunt around the farm – a quick glimpse into an early June day before we’ve hit the summer rush.

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager