News from the Farm | June 27, 2022

What’s the news from the last week (or so)?

Tomato staking and tying continues, lead by Alfredo and his small but mighty crew. They grab a roll of twine, tie it to the first post at the end of a row, and then walk the row, wrapping the twine around each post. After getting to the end of a row, they go back down the row in the other direction doing the same thing. The goal is to sandwich plants between two pieces of twine for support and easier picking. Most tomatoes get tied with five layers of twine, about every foot or so, but some short varieties get two. All told, we’ll use almost 200 miles of twine this year! That’s a lot of twine, and a lot of walking and hard work to get it set up. When I shared my calculations with Alfredo and commented on how much work tomatoes are, his response was that he really enjoys tying tomatoes and finds it to be rewarding work and enjoys seeing the neat rows of tomatoes and knowing his role in making them easier to harvest.

We have started harvesting tomatoes from the first planting and other summer crops are rolling in too. I’ve heard rumors that we might harvest our first melons this week, and we’ve started harvesting our first planting of corn! Check out this neat photo that Andrew took; notice all the pollen on the bee’s hind legs. While corn can be a source of nectar and pollen for insect pollinators like bees, corn is wind-pollinated and doesn’t require physical pollination.

We’ve started harvesting some of our grain too, but aren’t finished yet. Unfortunately the combine needs some repairs before it’s ready to go again. While we harvest most of our crops by hand, there’s no way we’d do that for our over 30 acres of wheat, triticale, and barley. So it’ll be a little bit more before it’s all harvested, cleaned, and ready to be sold.

It’s been hot. One thing that the heat is good for, in addition to tasty tomatoes, is drying flowers, which we do a lot of, in addition to all the fresh bouquets during the summer. Right now the wreath room and our greenhouse are full of drying flowers.

We’ve also been harvesting and sending out a lot of potatoes, garlic, and cabbage. Harvesting those crops and getting them out of the field is just the first part of the work. Then our wash and pack crew at the shop has to wash (potatoes) and clean (cabbage and garlic), size and sort, and then pack. It’s a lot of (repetitive) work, so a big thanks to the many hands involved in that effort.

And anyone driving to the farm last week would’ve passed a large pile of crushed walnut shells at the farm entrance. It’ll be gone soon though. We’ll spread it on as many roads as possible to keep dust down. During the summer, wind and cars stir up a lot of dust, spreading tiny mites that harm our crops. We want to keep that to a minimum and the walnut shells really help.

That’s the news from the farm!

– Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager