The days are now starting to get a little longer and the extra hours of light means that the work day is also getting longer. Planting, tilling, watering, seeding, harvesting, it's all in play now! There is much to report so I'll not dilly dally.
Up in the "Big Top" field we are carving up new ground and there is now has over 20,000 kale (four types), collard greens, bok choy, and broccoli plants in the ground. We have only just begun, soon it's gonna be truly epic up there. The sugar snap peas in the driveway field (almost an acre's worth) have really jumped after we got to irrigating and feeding them - usually no need as the ground is traditionally wet still from the winter snow and April showers. Since it has barely rained in a month we have had to start all our watering much earlier this year. Ugh. The lettuce, arugula, beets, and braising mix in the East Street stand field have also been suffering a little from the lack of water but that field has more clay based soil and keeps moisture longer then the other, more sandy, fields at the farm, so they are hanging in there. Rain will come this week. Our first waves radishes, broccoli raab, and asian greens which were planted very early will soon be ready for harvest and some needed market revenue.
The farmers markets we attend mostly start in June but this past weekend was the official opener for the Wooster Square market in New Haven. Though it is a market we attend all year round, cold rain and snow be damned (!), the glorious weather and return of the farms who do not attend the winter market made for a great start to the new summer season. It was gorgeous out and the people were primed to get out and enjoy. City Seed is the non profit who oversee the markets in New Haven once again did a stellar job getting the word out and the place was packed for the first time since last Thanksgiving. It was good to see old friends and meet some new farmers and food purveyors, and make some cash...
So what are we selling right now you may be wondering. Well, as usual, we have our line of killer food products and those have been selling briskly all winter long. But we have been doing a lot of ramping the past few weeks and it is awesome. We have a nice patch (luckily) and the price is right. Also, we have an amazing crop of fall planted King Richard leeks which Jed and Q put into raised beds in one of our greenhouses. The results have been spectacular. Long and delicate, these sweet leeks are a delicacy. You can mix with the ramp (a wild leek) if you are feeling decadent. We have also been taking cut flowers (fields full of daph's) as well a forsythia. Amazing, people will not think twice about paying for something they are gonna look at, but will b*tch about the cost of your arugula or leeks. But that's another post...
So, thats where we are at. The CSA program is still a long month out and there is so much to do it's silly. But we are on it. Q and jed have been really busting their asses the past month, as have Dana and JC (and the Taft crew, too). It is gonna be a killer season. Hope you can join us for the ride.
So here we are the day after the horror that was the Boston marathon bombing. Felt like a good time to get some things off the chest and also write about some positive things, as well. Yesterday was such a sad day for all Americans but especially for the community of New England. We know life goes on and the person(s) who committed this awful crime will be brought to justice. It just does not seem fathomable that a bomb would be used against civilians, but perhaps that's the point. The date will now forever serve as a reminder of something grim, like September 11, or December 14th, and hopefully we can repair quickly.
Now to matters agricultural. Here at the farm the date of April 15th was traditionally when we started to get lots of transplants into the ground. Yes, we have planted somethings already, small amounts, and seeds like snap peas which can take the cold weather, but we hedge that bet knowing the risks. And, we can absorb the loss if a big snow or cold snap came back through the region. The plantings we are doing now are the big ones. Now it is game time, farmers markets are gearing up, CSAs are 7 weeks away, and we gotta get down to brass tacts. The face paint is on! The seedling trays emerge from the greenhouses, maybe spending a night or two outside in their trays to "toughen up", and then they are loaded into the trucks and taken up to the fields.
The spring has been up and down temperature wise so we waited on our first seedlings going into the ground until yesterday. With row covering over them they will be snug and safe from the wee bugs who will soon emerge out of the soil and through the air. The broccoli raab, beets, and radishes have all had solid germinations, as well as the asian greens. They were all planted from seed. The transplants we picked up last week in Massachusetts - 15,000 kale, 5,000 swiss chard, and 5,000 collards, as well as the first waves (20,000) of head lettuce - are now in on on their way into the ground. The fields are starting to look like fields again! It's an exciting time at the farm right now and Quincy and Jed continue to lead the charge with thoughtfulness and diligence. The importance of the proper start to a season cannot be overstated.
The spring brings with it warmer air and the first of the "wild" crops we covet here at the farm. For the past few years we have been harvesting ramps (wild leeks) off the property and they are one of the hottest trends in the farm to table world. The best and worst part is the season : it is only 4-6 weeks long. You can make a nice profit selling these amazing little gifts from nature. Look for them at your local markets. So Yummy. The greens emerge from the forrest floor first,pushing out through the leaves, and are easy to spot with the dark green leaf attached to a red stem. At the base, under ground, is the white bulb. Hard to describe how wonderful these are. And here is a fun fact: the city of Chicago means wild onion or leek in Algonquian! Sweet name...
So, there is some action here at the farm and the hustle and bustle of the place is starting to heat up. The first seedlings are in the ground, fields are being tilled and we finally got some badly needed rain the other day. The nights are still on the cool side but soon the warm nights will return. We have great farm hands lined up for the summer, and currently we have a nice crew from Taft School three days a week. We are looking forward to spring and will keep the updates coming to keep you all informed. cheers.
So, after a little bit of a delay, the 2013 season is officially on! As seen in the picture, the first wave of sugar snap peas went in the ground March 28th. Not bad considering there was snow on the ground last week. The air got considerably warmer and the spot we planted drained well and we were able to till and plant relatively quickly. Jed and Q fixed our old seeder (and added the new one) and it sowed like a dream!
Historically, the first peas go in the ground a little after St Patrick's Day so this is pretty good. Soon the first kale(s), swiss chard, spinach, radishes, lettuce greens, and other earl;y hearty fare will be in the ground, too!. Sweet.
More to come later but just so psyched to be finally in the ground.