What great weather

Black Swallowtails in the caterpillar stage. Apparently they spend the winter in chrysalis, but I hope there’s time for them before it gets too cold. I counted twelve when I took the photo, but can’t count quite that many in this shot. Yes, they’re a fan of fennel and its familial friends.

Black Swallowtails in the caterpillar stage. Apparently they spend the winter in chrysalis, but I hope there’s time for them before it gets too cold. I counted twelve when I took the photo, but can’t count quite that many in this shot. Yes, they’re a fan of fennel and its familial friends.

2019 Week 42, Summer CSA 20 of 26

It has been getting chilly at night, here on the farm. How wonderful! Although the Charlottesville forecast matches our highs, we are often about 7 degrees colder with the night-time lows. These last two nights have been 37-38 degrees. If this follows as a general rule, we may see a frost this Saturday morning. (The forecast calls for 38F, so there’s a chance.) As such, along with the sweet potatoes and sunroot to dig today, I will also have a look at the turmeric. How exciting.

Yesterday, I began the work of preparing beds for garlic, and was surprised to find some moisture at depth when I fractured the soil with the subsoiler — which we do to help ward against spring flooding and possible garlic drowning. The topsoil, of course, is still quite dry. But there is so much to ponder on that end, from mulch to compost to thoughts on the potential regenerative — that is, non-cyclical flow — aspect of plants and soils on rock. The drought, although disastrous for agriculture through much of the US this year — and incongruously following 20 million flooded acres this spring — has at least been strenuous in its forcing through more and more, apparently non-load-bearing, walls of personal farm thinking. That is, what else asks for so much, and nearly annual, shedding of skin?

Although it’s two months too late, we do have some rain in the forecast. I, for one, will spend at least a bit of it out in the fields, watching them drink.

The Farmshare CSA and Farmbucks are on sale until the end of the year! Ask questions if you have them.

Enjoy this wonderful weather,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Veggies
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Tomato, Large
Tomato, Small

Roots
Carrots
Onion
Potato, Irish
Potato, Sweet
Sunroot*

Herbs
Basils, as they pan out
Garlic
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Fresh*

Flowers

Farm Honey for sale

Farm Ferments for sale

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread is back

Wind down

Is it just the coolness, that things seem more still? Or the angle of light that we now have?

Is it just the coolness, that things seem more still? Or the angle of light that we now have?

2019 Week 41, Summer CSA 19 of 26

Maybe we are reverting to the mean, temperature-wise, as we are just days away from the average first frost, and it does feel a little nippy on the farm right now. But water-wise we are still off. No need to harp on the obvious, so I won’t. :)

At this time of year, it is nice to move attention back to some of the less squeaky parts of the farm, like the strawberries — newly planted this spring, and now halfway through a good fall cleaning — and the perennial herbs, soon to get their due. The fence is low in a few parts, and so I will walk that today with wire, against the deer. And it is also, at last, not-sunny enough for another solublized rock spray on the roots; good for them, though no substitute for rain.

Although the first bed of sweet potatoes came in at 20% of expected yield, the second was up to 40%. So, a good “Woot!” to that. Let’s all cross our fingers, eyes, and toes that the next 10 keep it up.

Do note, we are having an Open House and Field Walk on Sunday, October 13th, 2-4pm. You are all welcome, but especially if you are curious to see where we are and where we’re going.

Oh, right, before I forget: the Farmshare CSA and Farmbucks are on sale until the end of the year!

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer
Tomato, Large*
Tomato, Small

Roots
Carrots
Onion
Potato, Irish
Potato, Sweet

Herbs
Basils, as they pan out
Garlic
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread is back!

These cute little "Persian Carpet" zinnias are new this year, but are perhaps a little too short in their stem length for bouquets. I don't think I'll keep them on to 2020, so enjoy them while they last.

These cute little "Persian Carpet" zinnias are new this year, but are perhaps a little too short in their stem length for bouquets. I don't think I'll keep them on to 2020, so enjoy them while they last.

Edamame / soy bean root nodulation. I've cut the nodules in half to check for the presence -- by pink'ish color -- of nitrogen fixing bacteria. We mix an innoculant of the proper species into all of our legume seeds at seeding, but one never knows if they'll take, or if there is enough background bacteria of the proper species already in the soil. Legumes will use available soil nitrogen until they need to fix their own. Although this was soy for eating, the same is applicable for our cover crop mixes, where density of seeding induce competition, and thus nitrogen fixation.

Edamame / soy bean root nodulation. I've cut the nodules in half to check for the presence -- by pink'ish color -- of nitrogen fixing bacteria. We mix an innoculant of the proper species into all of our legume seeds at seeding, but one never knows if they'll take, or if there is enough background bacteria of the proper species already in the soil. Legumes will use available soil nitrogen until they need to fix their own. Although this was soy for eating, the same is applicable for our cover crop mixes, where density of seeding induce competition, and thus nitrogen fixation.

Here is some nodulation without noticeable bacteria. The preponderance of those I dug up were pink, so that's good.

Here is some nodulation without noticeable bacteria. The preponderance of those I dug up were pink, so that's good.

Monarchs have been all over the farm of late. Although they are on the Tithonia here, they have also been big fans of the red clover.

Monarchs have been all over the farm of late. Although they are on the Tithonia here, they have also been big fans of the red clover.


You have to stand a long way back to see where this river runs

Go little farm, go! Who’d have thunk it? All you have to do for a balloon ride, is get married! :) Thanks Cecelia. :) That we got to lift-off from the farm was an unexpected surprise—as most of them are, I suppose—and wonderfully auspicious, as  the old etymology  would have it.

Go little farm, go!
Who’d have thunk it? All you have to do for a balloon ride, is get married! :) Thanks Cecelia. :)
That we got to lift-off from the farm was an unexpected surprise—as most of them are, I suppose—and wonderfully auspicious, as the old etymology would have it.

2019 Week 40, Summer CSA 18 of 26

It was a busy weekend, including a Saturday afternoon at the VegFest downtown, where I got to meet so many lovely and curious folks.

The website is now up-to-date, and the 2020 CSA and Farm Bucks are for sale. (The CSA is sold-out for the January start, but there is still room to begin in April.) I thoroughly updated our pages here, so do have a look if you are interested in being a part of the farm next year. If you have questions after that, I would love to clarify any confusion, or even see how to modify the future design before it’s past. I am still in the middle of data analysis and writing for the 2019 review, but you can read that as soon as I’m done.

We’re three weeks from the average first frost—despite this anomalous warmth—which means the gears get to turn on some of the fall harvest. I will be out with the digging fork today, starting with the sweet potatoes and lemongrass. Winter members, note that you can cut the lemongrass base into little discs, and freeze those for winter.

We do not have enough years on the farm to know just what the raspberries will do in the weeks ahead, but for now we’re getting just enough to go straight to pick-up, rather than to the winter freezer. We have 50% more of the main varieties planted for a 2020 first-harvest, and I will likely add some nutrition—in the form of alfalfa meal, kelp meal, molasses, and compost tea—in all of the berry beds this spring, as a new ritual for a new farm year. Because, berries!

As a reminder, we will be having a CSA Explainer and Farm Tour, Sunday, October 13th, 2-4pm.

I hope you all are well,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Snap*
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer
Tomato, Small

Roots
Carrots
Onion
Potato, Irish
Potato, Sweet*

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Lemongrass*
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread is back!

Just a screengrab without editing, but: Raspberries this year-to-date against last. We’re about 30% less in total yield, and you can see that that’s principally due to the drop in ‘Caroline,’ which tracked ‘Heritage’ so well last year. I’m curious to see in future years if it’s related to the drought—that is, if ‘Caroline’ does not respond well to water stress, or any attendant knock-on effect. ‘Josephine,’ a late-fall bearer, has been coming in of late, as expected. We’re watching that one to see if it’s worth planting another bed for fall production. (Note that we’re in the beginning of Week 40, so only 1/3 of this week’s harvest is yet represented in the chart.)

Just a screengrab without editing, but: Raspberries this year-to-date against last. We’re about 30% less in total yield, and you can see that that’s principally due to the drop in ‘Caroline,’ which tracked ‘Heritage’ so well last year. I’m curious to see in future years if it’s related to the drought—that is, if ‘Caroline’ does not respond well to water stress, or any attendant knock-on effect. ‘Josephine,’ a late-fall bearer, has been coming in of late, as expected. We’re watching that one to see if it’s worth planting another bed for fall production. (Note that we’re in the beginning of Week 40, so only 1/3 of this week’s harvest is yet represented in the chart.)

What stands out to me: The turmeric, chartreuse against its neighbors; the this-and-that-wayness of the field corn; the blue-green cover crops sandwiching the barely-there leafy greens; the asparagus, of course, ringing the farm; and, even, the physical-to-now-visual confirmation that it’s not all that tiny a tiny farm. Plus, the sunrise shadows. Oh, and also the friends and family milling in the parking area, or poking their nose through all the farm buildings. (Not to mention the crazy resolution of satellite cameras, orders of magnitude more distant than we were.)

What stands out to me: The turmeric, chartreuse against its neighbors; the this-and-that-wayness of the field corn; the blue-green cover crops sandwiching the barely-there leafy greens; the asparagus, of course, ringing the farm; and, even, the physical-to-now-visual confirmation that it’s not all that tiny a tiny farm. Plus, the sunrise shadows. Oh, and also the friends and family milling in the parking area, or poking their nose through all the farm buildings. (Not to mention the crazy resolution of satellite cameras, orders of magnitude more distant than we were.)

A kindred feeling

I planted the turmeric and lemongrass out front for you to see grow, as it’s always been so amazing to see … but you never saw! :) Now you do. I love to watch how crops and varieties behave in different settings. This turmeric grew so much better than those in the field, which I would provisionally peg to moisture retention below the wood chip mulch. Moisture, though, is not simply water for the plant, but water for the entire soil super-organism.

I planted the turmeric and lemongrass out front for you to see grow, as it’s always been so amazing to see … but you never saw! :) Now you do. I love to watch how crops and varieties behave in different settings. This turmeric grew so much better than those in the field, which I would provisionally peg to moisture retention below the wood chip mulch. Moisture, though, is not simply water for the plant, but water for the entire soil super-organism.

2019 Week 39, Summer CSA 17 of 26

After the middle of September, we entered a new phase of the farm and farming. Everything is in the ground for the year, and there's nothing more for us to add. We can spray some liquid rock dust on the root greens, and we can pray for rain, but we are essentially pencils down at this point. We are also a month from the last frost, when we scurry for the sweet potatoes and turmeric, and look toward digging the fall roots. This puts us in an interesting in-between period, which seems almost perfectly designed for farm planning.

We get the next two weeks—in the gaps between harvest and other farm jobs, like strawberries beds to cultivate or dry beans to watch for dryness—to pull out the 2020 drawing board. Next year's main aim is productive efficiency—how dreamy!—via farm design, soil rectification, and variety choice, all to decrease the hours worked and increase the veggies. That's for both you and me! :) We will also have a trials garden to consider tomatoes, eggplant, and watermelons at a smaller scale separately, before dedicating space to them on the main farm.

It has been a curiously dry year, with the rare spots of rain often falling all around the farm, but not on it. That last bit was enough to germinate the fall greens, but let’s cross our fingers for more to spur their growth. Per the U.S. Drought Monitor, we are not alone, though—and there’s a kindred feeling there.

Northeast

Early-week heat (temperatures as high as the lower 90s) and locally acute short-term rainfall deficits (30-day rainfall totaling 10 to 25 percent of normal) led to the expansion of D0 (Abnormal Dryness) across West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, as well as southeastern Pennsylvania and the southern two-thirds of New Jersey. Similar pockets of Abnormal Dryness were noted in southern New England.

Southeast

Intense late-summer heat and acute short-term dryness led to a sharp increase in drought intensity and coverage. Excessive heat (95-101°F) and pronounced short-term rainfall deficits (30-day rainfall totaling less than 25 percent of normal) heightened evapotranspiration rates and soil moisture losses, resulting in quickly escalating drought impacts (often referred to as a “flash drought”.) It should be noted that “flash drought” often occurs more quickly (in terms of impacts) than the data indicates.

Part of the exciting work on farm rectification involves building a soil aggregate structure that holds water better at the top levels, re-waters itself naturally and daily from deeper reserves with the tides, and also cuts evaporation with farm-grown mulch. Quite exciting.

As a heads-up, we’re going to have an Open House and Field Walk on Sunday, October 13th, 2-4pm. Come if you are curious to see where we are and where we’re going.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Tomato, Small

Roots
Carrots
Onion
Potato, Irish

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Mint, of some flavor
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread is back!

IMG_1457.JPG

Emergence

If you look carefully, there’s a grass spider in there.

If you look carefully, there’s a grass spider in there.

2019 Week 38, Summer CSA 16 of 26

What a gorgeous, cool, cloudy day. I am pretty certain every living thing here on the farm is smiling about it. All it took was a little rain—or, 1.5 inches in 30 minutes, as we got last Wednesday—to bring the farm back to life. I reseeded all the lettuce, arugula, spicy mix, asian greens, and spinach on Saturday. The nature of the rest of the season—as always—will tell us what we get from that, but the fact of their quick emergence makes me happy. Spinach will continue to grow until we dip under 10 hours in a day—mid-November on this farm—which means that if we have any kind of an Indian summer, they might properly size-up. If it turns cool, they will be around tea-cup size on Halloween, which is perfect for overwintering until the spring when they resume growth.

In order of appearance, our raspberries are: ‘Joan J' ‘Caroline’ ‘Heritage’ and ‘Josephine.’ The first three quarters have stopped producing, with just ‘Josephine’—as expected—remaining. What we get at this point, I’m going to set aside for winter, when I will also take some time to consider pulling out ‘Joan J’—not especially early for us, and not productive—to plant more ‘Josephine.’ We’ll have to wait for all of its yield numbers to come in, though, before we can really know.

I hope you all enjoyed meeting Andrew and/or Sarah from Althea Bread last week. They will not be here again, but their bread can be! Don’t forget to get in touch with them to sign-up for a weekly loaf. It’s not too late for this month.

We are six weeks away from the average first frost! Let the countdown begin.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer

Roots
Carrots
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Mint, of some flavor
Pepper, Hot
Shiso
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread

All it took was a little rain. The spinach comes up. I seeded it twice, so it will be interesting to watch if this is the batch from two weeks ago, or the new seeding from this past Saturday. A few non-spinach friends are also appearing, which incited me to a quick modification of the tine weeder rake this morning, allowing it to rake in-between and leave the cash crop alone. Although our clay may be a little tough for a tine-weeder, it does make me think to do something similar to a garden rake’s tines.

All it took was a little rain. The spinach comes up. I seeded it twice, so it will be interesting to watch if this is the batch from two weeks ago, or the new seeding from this past Saturday. A few non-spinach friends are also appearing, which incited me to a quick modification of the tine weeder rake this morning, allowing it to rake in-between and leave the cash crop alone. Although our clay may be a little tough for a tine-weeder, it does make me think to do something similar to a garden rake’s tines.

Morning geese

It’s always fun to spend a few pick-ups cleaning-up the dried onions. Here are a few ‘Dorata di Parma.’ Although they’re a lovely onion, and yielded and sized well, they were the last to dry down, and were, in fact, largely still green at harvest. The 2020 rotation plan, at present, calls for a following cover crop rather than a cash crop, which gives us a little more time, but its main competitor, ‘Clear Dawn,’ has been so fantastically early, tasty, productive, and long lasting, that unless ‘Dorata di Parma’ stores longer, this might be its final year. So, enjoy them while they’re out.

It’s always fun to spend a few pick-ups cleaning-up the dried onions. Here are a few ‘Dorata di Parma.’ Although they’re a lovely onion, and yielded and sized well, they were the last to dry down, and were, in fact, largely still green at harvest. The 2020 rotation plan, at present, calls for a following cover crop rather than a cash crop, which gives us a little more time, but its main competitor, ‘Clear Dawn,’ has been so fantastically early, tasty, productive, and long lasting, that unless ‘Dorata di Parma’ stores longer, this might be its final year. So, enjoy them while they’re out.

2019 Week 37, Summer CSA 15 of 26

It may just be the pond on the property beside us, and so perhaps a thing that you do not get to enjoy, but I hope you do: these mornings with their morning geese, cooler out there, and perfect.

Also, hummingbirds make little chirping sounds. If one gets stuck in the greenhouse—as happened yesterday morning—you will hear a sad, lost, and frightened sound that pulls you from your work. And then you will find her, up in the eaves, bouncing off the top of the plastic, unable to get out. And though she may be scared of you, if you find a ladder and a bucket, and are careful, you can set her free. / I had no idea that they could speak.

There’s the chance of rain in the forecast, and so, if you like, you are welcome to grab your dancing shoes, and tap out whatever rain dance you might have in you. You will thank yourself later. :)

My best,
See you on the farm

The fall broccoli come in, and much better than expected. For the last three summers, we haven’t been successful in getting the fall brassica out to the field alive from the greenhouse when planted late (bugs), or to stay alive in the field when planted early (heat and then bugs). And though we lost a lot this year, these broccoli did quite well. The 2020 plan calls for a late summer  in situ  mulch of soybean & millet to precede the fall brassica, but I have been wondering if direct seeding the whole menagerie (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, and kale) might actually be the best option. That would be a pretty neat answer, if it turns out to be one.

The fall broccoli come in, and much better than expected. For the last three summers, we haven’t been successful in getting the fall brassica out to the field alive from the greenhouse when planted late (bugs), or to stay alive in the field when planted early (heat and then bugs). And though we lost a lot this year, these broccoli did quite well. The 2020 plan calls for a late summer in situ mulch of soybean & millet to precede the fall brassica, but I have been wondering if direct seeding the whole menagerie (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, and kale) might actually be the best option. That would be a pretty neat answer, if it turns out to be one.

It has been so dry this summer, and a lesson on this small, particular development of a regenerative, rainfed agriculture. After a good afternoon trying (‘experimenting’ would be a kinder term) to believe in various seedings of the fall spinach, I popped up over the hill to see all this greenery. It was such a nice contrast to the dry soil I was engaged with before. And though I stopped thinking of C.E. Morgan’s “All the Living,” that book had been on my mind. It’s tough to recommend it for the material—a southern tobacco farm novel—but the writing is exceptional … and who else uses a word like, ‘candent,’ from hundreds of years ago?

It has been so dry this summer, and a lesson on this small, particular development of a regenerative, rainfed agriculture. After a good afternoon trying (‘experimenting’ would be a kinder term) to believe in various seedings of the fall spinach, I popped up over the hill to see all this greenery. It was such a nice contrast to the dry soil I was engaged with before. And though I stopped thinking of C.E. Morgan’s “All the Living,” that book had been on my mind. It’s tough to recommend it for the material—a southern tobacco farm novel—but the writing is exceptional … and who else uses a word like, ‘candent,’ from hundreds of years ago?

Greenery

Tomatoes #4 & #5 get their stakes, with inter-bed'ed beans -- southern & soy -- and a lush living mulch. A simple white clover monoculture would certainly be easier to manage, but a multi-species mix including the bright-green chicory is the current trial.

Tomatoes #4 & #5 get their stakes, with inter-bed'ed beans -- southern & soy -- and a lush living mulch. A simple white clover monoculture would certainly be easier to manage, but a multi-species mix including the bright-green chicory is the current trial.

2019 Week 36, Summer CSA 14 of 26

As I harvested the ‘Shishito’ and ‘Padron’ peppers today, I tried to move the picking size toward the smaller end. Because wouldn’t you know it, but they get rather hot when they get big. I apologize to any of you who found this out for yourself, just like I did. I was able to squeeze an extra two beds of these frying types into the 2020 plan, and might even try to get a third. They’re so much fun to eat! ‘Shishito’ and ‘Padron’ are currently in the 2020 mix, but I’m also looking into ‘Fushimi’, a purely sweet, long and thin type from Japan. If you know of or prefer any others, I’d love to hear about them.

Although the topsoil is dry, and a lot of the farm still shows the drought we had most of this summer, the rains we got over the last 4 weeks have settled in at depth. And it’s quite a moving thing, at the level of the body, to feel it coming out in the colors of the farm (as in the photo above). Fall, too. Farming bodies feel that coming as well.

Last I heard, Andrew (and/or Susan) Bayker of Althea Bread will be here on Wednesday with samples. I’m so glad Andrew is feeling well and ready to take on the world after his surgery. I’m also glad that all of you who haven’t had a chance to try his bread will finally get that opportunity. If you want to read ahead online, there’s more at his website: Althea Bread.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer

Roots
Carrots
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Mint, of some flavor
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
Here with Samples!

All of the Hot Peppers up until this point have not been especially hot. These — ‘Red Paper Lantern’ — are hot! Watch for them in the mix this week, should you want or not want them in your dinner. :)

All of the Hot Peppers up until this point have not been especially hot. These — ‘Red Paper Lantern’ — are hot! Watch for them in the mix this week, should you want or not want them in your dinner. :)


Potatoes out — a miraculously not-that-bad wheel-hoeing job — spinach soon to go in. Wednesday PM looks like the perfect time to try that seeding -- the heat leaves, the coolness comes, and perhaps a little moisture falls. Among all the sliding doors in the farm year to slip through, fall spinach is the most narrow. Spinach won't germinate in the heat, but if we wait too long, it won't properly grow until the Spring ... when we'd rather it in the winter. Cross your fingers, eyes, and toes. :)

Potatoes out — a miraculously not-that-bad wheel-hoeing job — spinach soon to go in. Wednesday PM looks like the perfect time to try that seeding -- the heat leaves, the coolness comes, and perhaps a little moisture falls. Among all the sliding doors in the farm year to slip through, fall spinach is the most narrow. Spinach won't germinate in the heat, but if we wait too long, it won't properly grow until the Spring ... when we'd rather it in the winter. Cross your fingers, eyes, and toes. :)

The full-on legume cover crop mix comes in. Big seeds — like those in this mix — get seeded at depth, which means better moisture, which means better germination … than smaller seeded crops.

The full-on legume cover crop mix comes in. Big seeds — like those in this mix — get seeded at depth, which means better moisture, which means better germination … than smaller seeded crops.

Potatoes

Tiger Swallowtails on a young Spotted Joe Pye Weed. One for each day of the week. It's always a little mind-blowing to remember that they only live 1-2 weeks in their adult metamorphic stage. Pretty wild.

Tiger Swallowtails on a young Spotted Joe Pye Weed. One for each day of the week. It's always a little mind-blowing to remember that they only live 1-2 weeks in their adult metamorphic stage. Pretty wild.

2019 Week 35, Summer CSA 13 of 26

A pictorial for you all, as the internet ate the first note, and now there’s farmwork to be done!

As a heads-up, I may be out digging potatoes again during this week’s pick-up. They need to be out and the beds prepped for fall spinach by the 1st of September. We are looking for cool weather and moist soil, and are eyeing the forecast intently, as spinach is most definitely not a summer crop. But we keep their seed in the fridge all year, and can seed a little deeper depending upon the weather. After trialing 20 varieties over the last few years, we are down to ‘Space’ and ‘Gazelle’ as the best fall picks. It’s pretty nice to reduce the complexity at seeding and harvest time down to 1 or 2 proven varieties, though I am still in search of a good open-pollinated option.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Taking a mid-summer break.

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer

Roots
Carrots
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Mint, of some flavor
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

Cover crops are my favorite. Field 2 -- aside from where the garlic goes in -- is now all cleaned-up and seeded to cover for the fall/winter. Also, if you haven't met it, this is our small walk-behind tractor, managing all 5 acres of the farm -- though half are in orchard, with the other half in annuals.

Cover crops are my favorite. Field 2 -- aside from where the garlic goes in -- is now all cleaned-up and seeded to cover for the fall/winter. Also, if you haven't met it, this is our small walk-behind tractor, managing all 5 acres of the farm -- though half are in orchard, with the other half in annuals.

Fall roots redux

Soft striations in the soil from a not-so-soft storm.

Soft striations in the soil from a not-so-soft storm.

2019 Week 34, Summer CSA 12 of 26

Hello all, on this doozy of a day. I know that some of you would rather the world end in fire than in ice, but even so, I hope you have enjoyed some mid-day coolness … or even that rarer-and-rarer chance to dwell in the heat, for the way it feels when it is gone. I have a 64 fl oz stainless steel water bottle that is literally too large to hold; but it wasn’t quite big enough to hold enough water for the berry harvest today. I imagined myself something of a cartoon sieve, pouring water in, only to watch it leak out just as quickly.

We had quite a ruckus of a storm on Thursday night. Two and a half inches came down. Everything in farming is about timing, and that was just the wrong time for our freshly seeded fall roots. I left the beets, rutabaga, turnips, and radishes as they are, but bed-prepped the carrots and re-seeded to carrots and turnips. A fast-maturing variety of carrots are in the mail, and when they arrive, we’ll seed some more. We’re cutting it close at that point, but if the moisture gods are with us, I think we’ll be fine.

Due to our nutrient brew turning on the seedlings this spring, our pepper plants are not the twenty-variety trial we had planned, as we transplanted whatever made it. Still, the lack of order at harvest-time has been distinctly and positively surprising. “Is this ‘Lipstick?’ This one looks like ‘Corno di Toro Giallo,’ which was just a trial packet. How cool!” I am working on next year’s plan, which doubles the sweet peppers, as we could use some more. Also, note that the ‘Padron’ and ‘Shishito’ peppers are somewhere between a hot and a sweet type, and so I will be separating those out and moving them over with the herbs. Fried, with a dash of salt, they make a great appetizer.

Working on the 2020 plan has been quite exciting. Here is some of the news: A generally earlier spring, as the year-round CSA means we are no longer holding off until the start of June; expanded spring broccoli, plus a new sprouting type for a weekly harvest; the fall kale king thus far, ‘Madeley,’ as an Elephant Ear type to grow in the spring, while still keeping the ‘Scarlet’ kale; tripled Asian greens, including an added generation of ‘Senposai’ in summer to gap the spring chard and fall greens; better spacing of spring cabbage, and a reduction to just the quickest selections, plus a garden-gnome pointy-type for the fall; dropping of peak summer snap beans in favor of more soybeans, at least until the soil founds more confidence; the aforementioned doubling of sweet peppers; 20% more tomatoes, space-wise, with more committed to ‘Brandywise,’ which was the clear winner this spring, essentially doubling production; small tomatoes will be scythed down to just the most productive varieties; doubled okra, with ‘Fife Creek’ staying on the list for sure, and your comments helping us refine the remaining selections; an easier two-week, two-sub-generation sweet corn planting succession, with more per planting over a shorter duration, keeping ‘Kandy Korn,’ which has been the best in the field these last three years; a narrowing of flowers down to the current winners, devoting all space to them; and the removal of dry beans from the plan in order to grow more cover crops to build the soil. Not to mention a host of rock and plant-based soil correctives, plus foliar-fed backup nutrition, to translate all of this farming effort into a harvest.

While the absence of a crop might pain you, it pains the farmer substantially more, because he sees them all in the field, but never gets to harvest them. Over a decade of farm planning never gets seen. These soil correctives and foliar-fed nutrients mean an end to that. Hip hip.

For the most part, the farm is ready to move out of beta stage next year, with a better sense for the nutritional ailments of the soil and most of the timing now down — though we’ll push an earlier spring, even without plastic-based rowcover. If you know anyone who is interested in supporting this kind of farming, do spread the word. And if you don’t understand how what we’re doing is new and different, ask!

2020 shares are year-round and now for sale. (The website does not yet reflect this, but it will.) Some kind of ‘Farm Bucks’ alternative for the Farmstand will also be available. Nearly all of the expenses for 2020 happen from now until the end of 2019, which means we need your support. Pre-Dec 31st prices and discounts reflect this need. I will update the website when I have the chance with all the new news about how the CSA and farm runs in 2020, but if you have questions before then, just ask.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Taking a mid-summer break.

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Garlic, Scapes
Mint, of some flavor
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

Fall roots

Earthway x 2: Beets, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, and beans of all kinds slide into the bare strips on a 5"-wide two-row system. Here we've ganged an Earthway seeder with another to make that faster and more precise. The beets, in this particular case, also have the overly-excited-to-deposit-seed beet plate halved via silicone in alternating cups. As long as there’s not too much trash in the bed — which a rake removes — it does a good job. In fact, wheel hoeing and raking — and NOT tilling — turned-out to be the easiest bed prep method for this seeder. We also have a single-row Jang, but so far the cheap Earthway has proven to be more versatile and effective, aside from the wee seeds it likes to grind like a peppermill. :)

Earthway x 2: Beets, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, and beans of all kinds slide into the bare strips on a 5"-wide two-row system. Here we've ganged an Earthway seeder with another to make that faster and more precise. The beets, in this particular case, also have the overly-excited-to-deposit-seed beet plate halved via silicone in alternating cups. As long as there’s not too much trash in the bed — which a rake removes — it does a good job. In fact, wheel hoeing and raking — and NOT tilling — turned-out to be the easiest bed prep method for this seeder. We also have a single-row Jang, but so far the cheap Earthway has proven to be more versatile and effective, aside from the wee seeds it likes to grind like a peppermill. :)

Expected Harvest

Greens
Taking a mid-summer break.

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Tomato, Small
Tomato, Large

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Garlic, Scapes
Mint, of some flavor
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

2019 Week 33, Summer CSA 11 of 26

It is amazing how quickly one can work under the threat of rain. Or perhaps the cloudy weather brought the farmer up to a speed which these hot and humid days do not. In either case, there was much list checkbox checking to be had this morning.

One of the new things we tried this year is a diversity of less-hot hot peppers, including something of a rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green — of jalapenos. I did not know I would find it so pleasurable, but that was the feeling — something akin to pleasure — when I discovered their fat colors hanging from the plants at harvest. I hope you enjoy the eating as much as I enjoyed the gathering.

Raspberries are coming on at 10-15h/wk, though the Japanese Beetles are putting in more hours than me. :) Winter members, please take to freeze for later. What you don’t take, I save for late-joiners. So this is your chance! :)

If the rain comes tonight, I hope you get to enjoy it. It feels almost like a rhino walking from poacher territory into a refuge. By which I mean, it feels like refuge. And that feels good. :)

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Bubbles: worm castings, alfalfa meal, kelp, molasses, and EM-1 (effective microbes) get a 36 hour brew. We add humic acids at the end of that, dilute at 10-20:1, and spray. I call it the “nut stew.” All active generations of squash (#4,5,6), cucumber (#4,5,6) watermelon (#2,3), and tomato (#4,5) got sprayed last Friday. There was a wee bit of burning on some of the tomatoes, but otherwise they look good. Let’s see if it helps!

Bubbles: worm castings, alfalfa meal, kelp, molasses, and EM-1 (effective microbes) get a 36 hour brew. We add humic acids at the end of that, dilute at 10-20:1, and spray. I call it the “nut stew.” All active generations of squash (#4,5,6), cucumber (#4,5,6) watermelon (#2,3), and tomato (#4,5) got sprayed last Friday. There was a wee bit of burning on some of the tomatoes, but otherwise they look good. Let’s see if it helps!

Rain Dance

The clouds got silly last Wednesday evening.

The clouds got silly last Wednesday evening.

2019 Week 32, Summer CSA 10 of 26

Thank you so much for the rain dance dancing you all did last week. We got 1.75, 1.5, and 1 inch over three consecutive days. After all that rain, the soil was still just dry enough to dig potatoes. But wet enough to plant the seedlings we had backlogged in the greenhouse: basils, lettuce, fennel, flowers, and celery all made it in. This is a pretty significant week, as, aside from late greens, the last of 2019 goes into the field. Hip hip!

Here's an interesting fact: relative to the start of the season, when farming in the north, we just closed things down for the year, having hit the first frost, with only a few root crops to gather and the snow about to come. But here in the south, we have two more months to go … and then the winter line comes as a kind of fuzzy medium between fall and spring. There's a lot of room in these two extra months for summer veggies, but also a good amount to learn, especially regarding varieties that take the heat and humidity -- whether it be beans, greens, or tomatoes. Sometime in the future I can talk more about that, as it’s most important to the future of the kind of low energy, biological, plastic-less farming we’re trying to develop. It also speaks of proper pacing, not only for the timing of plantings, but the farmer.

As you can clearly see, the farm is limping a bit. If a bit is a lot. I sent some soil off to the lab, and the results are back: our phosphorous is at about 6% of goal, with the potassium down to about 48%. Despite fall rock applications last year, all of that rain pretty seriously leached our phosphorous, which clay does a poor job of holding. The inability to seed cover crops due to waterlogged soils also limited the amount of biological cycling that normally occurs, which is really where farm phosphorous should come from.

We plant most things every two weeks — new beans, squash, cucumbers, watermelons, corn, etc. all go in routinely — but there’s a pretty substantial pipeline which buffers our response time. Once we see something off, there are still months of crops that we can’t address. We’re responding, though! I have been foliar feeding with rock phosphorous, now have soil lab results to properly amend this fall, and am testing a new mix of rocks, plants, microbes, and molasses to aerobically brew for a foliar spray. The idea is that I’m tired of getting 20% back for 100% in — :) — and will be training-wheeling our crops with foliar spoonfuls while the soil gets its legs.

Unrelated to that, and while I’m piling it on, I will also remind you of that note from some months back when I said, “The third planting of tomatoes didn’t make it.” That was our August batch, which a supposedly innocuous alfalfa meal addition burnt at the root. I put the 4th planting in the ground a little early, and seeded the 5th in the greenhouse early, too. But that’s the state of things.

I do apologize, but that’s why we kept the price artificially low again this year. The farm eats this failure — rather than the CSA — and, so far, you all are getting $27/adult/wk for the $20 that went in. I’m rectifying that disparity in future — :) — because we’ll go out of business if we keep that up. But it’s something of a built-in consolation for early soil deficiencies. Thank you all for understanding.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Taking a mid-summer break.

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Pepper, Sweet
Tomato, Small
Tomato, Large

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Garlic
Garlic, Scapes
Mint, of some flavor
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

Clouds like these always make me think of how I’d take it on open water.

Clouds like these always make me think of how I’d take it on open water.

The Desert

There is a serious -- and for a long time thereafter ensuing -- pause that a farmer takes to find that the flower bucket, before the flower, is the more beautiful of the two.

There is a serious -- and for a long time thereafter ensuing -- pause that a farmer takes to find that the flower bucket, before the flower, is the more beautiful of the two.

2019 Week 31, Summer CSA 9 of 26

If this heat without rain has made you just a bit slower in your walk, then you will know just how the farm is feeling. It’s a little sluggish out there. But it strikes me how great it is to have back-to-back opposite extremes — for the varietal selection process of this young farm. Last year, everything that didn’t make it through the deluge got ditched; this year, everything that doesn’t make it through the drought gets the same treatment. What’s left are the varieties most suited to the farm in its worst years, which will be quite a thing to build a new year on. The various yield numbers, in that way, actually get me excited. So, cheers to that.

While planning-out next year, I came upon the seemingly simple “Parker’s Gold,” a yellow yarrow. It is my aim to one day plant each insectary bed into a solid block of a single perennial flower varietal, not just for harvest or beneficial bug habitat, but for the farmer’s own happiness. Ed Abbey — a Pennsylvania native as well — had me curious about the feeling of the desert from a long time back. But this note gets me whimsical:

What we love most about Parker’s Gold is the captivating aromatic leaves that look like ferns but smell like the desert. It is one of our favorite smells from the plant world. —Adaptive Seeds

What else are these hot days good for, but for enjoying these oh-so-slightly-cooler nights?

So, enjoy these nights,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Taking a mid-summer break.

Veggies
Bean, Cowpea Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Tomato, Small
Tomato, Large

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Fruit
Blackberries
Raspberries*

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Cilantro or Dill
Garlic, Scapes
Mint, Peppermint
Pepper, Hot*
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

Do you remember that time when I was mowing a field with a tickle in my ear, and so I finally pulled off the ear protection to find that the tickler was a black widow? But that it was male, and so apparently nothing to worry about? I remember that time. Here's its female counterpart, found hiding-out in the basil seedlings.

Do you remember that time when I was mowing a field with a tickle in my ear, and so I finally pulled off the ear protection to find that the tickler was a black widow? But that it was male, and so apparently nothing to worry about? I remember that time. Here's its female counterpart, found hiding-out in the basil seedlings.

My favorite crop, the cover crop. The fall cover crops get going here: Buckwheat, Oats, Berseem Clover, Field Peas, and Woolypod / Lana Vetch as a winterkill polyculture. A soybean & buckwheat biculture also went on before the garlic. Next, the flowers get undersown to crimson clover. Later in the year the dry beans and field corn get the same winterkill cover.

My favorite crop, the cover crop. The fall cover crops get going here: Buckwheat, Oats, Berseem Clover, Field Peas, and Woolypod / Lana Vetch as a winterkill polyculture. A soybean & buckwheat biculture also went on before the garlic. Next, the flowers get undersown to crimson clover. Later in the year the dry beans and field corn get the same winterkill cover.

With so many particular things to find in a cloud, why so long to find Mt. Fuji, or some other equally mythic peak sent to strike some resonant thing? Yes, for me, something sounds back.

With so many particular things to find in a cloud, why so long to find Mt. Fuji, or some other equally mythic peak sent to strike some resonant thing? Yes, for me, something sounds back.

Dust

How dry has it been out there? The squash say, “Quite.”

How dry has it been out there? The squash say, “Quite.”

2019 Week 30, Summer CSA 8 of 26

Expected Harvest

Greens
Lettuce

Veggies
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Fennel
Leeks
Tomato, Small
Tomato, Large

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish

Fruit
Blackberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Cilantro or Dill
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Mint, Lemon Balm*
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Farm Honey & Ferments for sale.

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

Such wind as to be kind of scary, actually, just came through the farm. But no rain as of yet. If the forecast is with us, we will have at least half an inch by tomorrow night. Let’s cross our fingers on even that tiny amount, but hope for more. Because, boy, has it been dry here.

While preparing the fall carrot beds — wheel hoeing, and then raking them out — one could not help but raise a bit of dust for the rare bit of wind. At the end of the day my arms had a thin sleeve caked all around them. That is not normal.

So, yes, let’s hope for rain. But don’t think us farmers fickle. Having watched it come down oceans at a time last year, we might have called it too much, but our bodies never forgetting the thirst of drought, we would not have called it bad.

The greens are out this week, aside from lettuce, which I hid in the shade of corn, and so is not too bitter to enjoy. The soybeans are in good supply. We have too many blackberries for our small crew. :) And the tomatoes have really come in, despite how terrible they look in the field. :) Foliar-fed phosphorous is the buzzword on my tongue at the moment … plus other trace minerals that kelp and alfalfa might provide, after more fall soil remediation. We’re going to get there. I know it! :)

Oh, one last reminiscence. It was hot out there, as you know, and as my clothes would have told you, looking a bit too much like I had fallen in the creek. I said, “Boy, you should wear a wet suit if you’re going to go swimming.” And my mind was cast to older times and cooler days. It was fall. And Moie, our 60-plus-year-old farmer’s wife and still-broccoli farmer herself, was harvesting broccoli on a cold morning … in a wet suit. For years she had said, “It’s so cold, and you just get so wet out there in the morning. We should just wear wet suits. Why don’t we just wear wet suits?” And then she did!

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

I watched this fellow come out of one field, move across the main path, and fold him/herself into a roll in the shade here — with this shot coming just before the finish. It was reminiscent of a dog, really, getting cozy in a very familiar way, like this is just what s/he does after having found a good spot to spend the day.

I watched this fellow come out of one field, move across the main path, and fold him/herself into a roll in the shade here — with this shot coming just before the finish. It was reminiscent of a dog, really, getting cozy in a very familiar way, like this is just what s/he does after having found a good spot to spend the day.

The thick of it

‘Scarlet Peony Poppy’ seedheads. Yes, it’s true; poppies don’t make it well from the field to the glass. So, no poppies in next year’s line-up. But why not save the seed to grow them for their field appreciation, and not their cutting? We shall, then.

‘Scarlet Peony Poppy’ seedheads. Yes, it’s true; poppies don’t make it well from the field to the glass. So, no poppies in next year’s line-up. But why not save the seed to grow them for their field appreciation, and not their cutting? We shall, then.

2019 Week 29, Summer CSA 7 of 26

We have had a rather dry summer here on the farm, despite other sites not so far from us having a fair precipitation-year. We were lucky to get 1.5” the other day, but I have been watching the mini-drought effects across the farm, and most especially on the snap beans. This last planting — we plant every two weeks — did not like the dryness, and so I have left their curled funniness in the field as a kind of cover crop, rather than putting them in a bin and apologizing to you. Up next, rather than the standard snap bean, are cowpeas picked at fresh stage. I chose those specifically for their better hot weather production, though it is a bit of an experiment. It’s just a short while before we know how they do — from a yield and flavor perspective. Do let me know.

Having had such dry weather, I have spent all my time in the field, and very little with books and spreadsheets and paper sprawled out across the desk. But this last weekend seemed like a good hot one for that kind of thing, and so I got joyfully busy working on our fall cover crop plan, nutrient regimen, and biological ‘explosion’ program. The soil isn’t where I want it to be, and the challenge of determining just how to get it there is just my kind of on-going challenge. I will keep you up-to-date as the practices arise, but they principally involve getting as much microbiology out into the soil, and then engaging the right kind of cultural techniques to keep it there. Plus a bit of rescue medicine while things establish.

I am emptying out the freezer for our blackberry onslaught. If you would like hot peppers in bulk, they’re there. Otherwise they’re going to the compost pile. Also, Winter members, do note last week’s cherry tomatoes when you get here. Cherry tomatoes are super easy to wash and freeze in a bag for winter. Just pop them out when you need them, and cook. No need to make sauce now. Easy.

Happy Summer,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Corn, Sweet
Fennel
Leeks*
Tomato, Small
Tomato, Large

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Potato, Irish*

Fruit
Blackberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Cilantro or Dill
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Mint, Apple*
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Cooking Classes
Get in touch with Cecelia at cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

Oh, boy! Here comes the Fall kale. Eight varieties chosen for: fast fall growth, winter hardiness, spring production before bolting, and flavor of the raab. We’ll see what we see.

Oh, boy! Here comes the Fall kale. Eight varieties chosen for: fast fall growth, winter hardiness, spring production before bolting, and flavor of the raab. We’ll see what we see.

Thank you all for being so lovely to our farm campers last week, Moby and Joon. They had a great hot time, but especially when you all showed-up — just for them — at pick-up. They had just had dinner and a bath — and were consequently tied-up for a bit while they dried-off and didn’t roll in the dirt — when I took this shot.

Thank you all for being so lovely to our farm campers last week, Moby and Joon. They had a great hot time, but especially when you all showed-up — just for them — at pick-up. They had just had dinner and a bath — and were consequently tied-up for a bit while they dried-off and didn’t roll in the dirt — when I took this shot.

Still Young

I recently heard somonee express in a podcast that when he sees a thing for a third time, he should finally wake-up and act on it. It has been well more than three times that some curiously gorgeous detritus of life has stopped me in the greenhouse. Stopping is probably the proper end, but maybe a photo in passing, too ...

I recently heard somonee express in a podcast that when he sees a thing for a third time, he should finally wake-up and act on it. It has been well more than three times that some curiously gorgeous detritus of life has stopped me in the greenhouse. Stopping is probably the proper end, but maybe a photo in passing, too ...

2019 Week 28, Summer CSA 6 of 26

I believe we have had a proper and official welcome to summer. So, welcome to summer! I hope some of you got to enjoy it over the 4th of July with water other than sweat, and maybe of the cold, jumping-in kind. I suddenly have the urge to recraft the schedule to harvest blackberries while the sun is still somewhat eastward, being as that gives at least one round of shade. On that count, blackberry harvest -- this being the first year for real production, young as the farm is -- has been one of the most enjoyable parts of this new farm season. But if the curve continues, we might change our minds -- Wednesday, 10.4#; Friday, 19.6#, Monday, 47# -- I'll let you know this Wednesday. :) At any rate, there are lots of blackberries!

Also on my mind — and wanting to put in yours — is the still awesome youth of the farm. We have two years under out belt, with one of them being a total — 5.5 feet of rain — wash-out. Some things work, others don’t, that are very particular to the circumstances of this land. Hopefully it will just take a tweak here and there to fix it all. The thing in farming, though, is that it takes at least a year to make one tweak, and another to make a second. I am learning patience on this front, with my love of fixing things luckily balancing the weight of what breaks. A note then, if you find a thing broken.

I have had questions about the Winter CSA, and can address them in person, as the dialogue is probably easier than email. I will also make some amendments to the website to clarify all the logistics surrounding it. Thank you for asking! :)

So many thanks to you all,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Broccoli
Corn, Sweet*
Fennel
Tomato, Small

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Radish, Salad

Fruit
Blackberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Cilantro or Dill
Dried Herbs
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Mint, Citrus Kitchen*
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Cooking Classes
Wednesday, July 10th: Sold-out
Thursday, July 11th: Space Available
Contact cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

The 'Honeydrop' cherry tomato. Perhaps I'm a little weird, but I very much do not enjoy eating tomatoes out of hand, even all the sweet cherry tomatoes. But for trial purposes, I taste them all the same. I had one of these yesterday, for the first time ever, and found myself totally astounded. It was sooo good! So, here's to the first tomato I've ever enjoyed in the field. :)  We had 100 varieties of tomatoes last year, and I clearly meant to reduce that count this year ... getting better year, by year. But, somehow, we ended-up with 100 varieties again. And, again, I mean to reduce that count next year, as we pile-up more and more winners and drop the loswers. 'Honeydrop' -- by flavor, at least, not yet knowing its field health -- is one of those winners.  Here’s the Fedco write-up that first lured me:   Honeydrop Small-Fruited Tomato ECO (62 days) Open-pollinated. Rampant Indeterminate. From a selection of F-1 Sunsugar, Rachel and Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm in Chesterfield, MA, developed Honeydrop and sent us the original seed, with their blessing to keep the production going. Honeydrop’s sweet juicy fruity honey-colored treats taste almost like white grapes. They are much less prone to cracking in wet weather than    Sun Gold   . Seeking to add another light-colored cherry to our selection, we trialed it against Blondkopchen, Dr. Carolyn, Isis Candy, Lemondrop and Weissbehart. It bested them all by such a wide margin in earliness, sweetness and complexity that we declined to add any of those others. Parthenocarpic. Still retains a percentage of recessive pink off-types but see    Pink Princess   ; these are also yummy!

The 'Honeydrop' cherry tomato. Perhaps I'm a little weird, but I very much do not enjoy eating tomatoes out of hand, even all the sweet cherry tomatoes. But for trial purposes, I taste them all the same. I had one of these yesterday, for the first time ever, and found myself totally astounded. It was sooo good! So, here's to the first tomato I've ever enjoyed in the field. :)

We had 100 varieties of tomatoes last year, and I clearly meant to reduce that count this year ... getting better year, by year. But, somehow, we ended-up with 100 varieties again. And, again, I mean to reduce that count next year, as we pile-up more and more winners and drop the loswers. 'Honeydrop' -- by flavor, at least, not yet knowing its field health -- is one of those winners.

Here’s the Fedco write-up that first lured me:

Honeydrop Small-Fruited Tomato ECO (62 days) Open-pollinated. Rampant Indeterminate. From a selection of F-1 Sunsugar, Rachel and Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm in Chesterfield, MA, developed Honeydrop and sent us the original seed, with their blessing to keep the production going. Honeydrop’s sweet juicy fruity honey-colored treats taste almost like white grapes. They are much less prone to cracking in wet weather than Sun Gold. Seeking to add another light-colored cherry to our selection, we trialed it against Blondkopchen, Dr. Carolyn, Isis Candy, Lemondrop and Weissbehart. It bested them all by such a wide margin in earliness, sweetness and complexity that we declined to add any of those others. Parthenocarpic. Still retains a percentage of recessive pink off-types but see Pink Princess; these are also yummy!

Success! We have been double-seeding the greenhouse lettuce, finicky as it has been at germination. Being a shoulder-season crop, lettuce does not like the heat — neither in germination, nor in growth. On a prior farm we had a special, cool room with fluorescent lights to get them started; in past years I have put them under benches in the greenhouse to keep them cool, only to step on them; last year I took the seedlings into the walk-in fridge for a few days to get them started. But I never got the balance of germination and seed-attention — i.e., lack of spindly growth — that I wanted.  But look at all those pulled seedlings. We have success. I keep the greens seeds — lettuce and spinach, principally — in the fridge year-round. And when it’s time to germinate, I pull them out; seed; dust with vermiculite for moisture retention but light access; mist with a fog nozzle; and then put in the normal caged-from-critters seedling site, but this time cover the cage with cardboard. I didn’t think that would be cool enough, but it was well hot last week — over 100 in the greenhouse at times — and we had close to 100% germination. Here here!  After a two-month planned hiatus from the heat — because it doesn’t grow so well in summer — the fall lettuce is on!

Success! We have been double-seeding the greenhouse lettuce, finicky as it has been at germination. Being a shoulder-season crop, lettuce does not like the heat — neither in germination, nor in growth. On a prior farm we had a special, cool room with fluorescent lights to get them started; in past years I have put them under benches in the greenhouse to keep them cool, only to step on them; last year I took the seedlings into the walk-in fridge for a few days to get them started. But I never got the balance of germination and seed-attention — i.e., lack of spindly growth — that I wanted.

But look at all those pulled seedlings. We have success. I keep the greens seeds — lettuce and spinach, principally — in the fridge year-round. And when it’s time to germinate, I pull them out; seed; dust with vermiculite for moisture retention but light access; mist with a fog nozzle; and then put in the normal caged-from-critters seedling site, but this time cover the cage with cardboard. I didn’t think that would be cool enough, but it was well hot last week — over 100 in the greenhouse at times — and we had close to 100% germination. Here here!

After a two-month planned hiatus from the heat — because it doesn’t grow so well in summer — the fall lettuce is on!

Because the grass is always greener on the other side — and for me the fence is the present, dividing the past from the future — I’m somewhat jealous of the future farm. Here’s to making that future present, with a seriously gorgeous mix of cherry tomatoes.  This one is ‘Napa Chardonnay Blush,’ and despite its beauty — this photo not especially showcasing that trait — it’s tastes first, aesthetics second. Don’t be scared of the weird ones — if you think this one weird — or you’ll miss out on some super yumminess.

Because the grass is always greener on the other side — and for me the fence is the present, dividing the past from the future — I’m somewhat jealous of the future farm. Here’s to making that future present, with a seriously gorgeous mix of cherry tomatoes.

This one is ‘Napa Chardonnay Blush,’ and despite its beauty — this photo not especially showcasing that trait — it’s tastes first, aesthetics second. Don’t be scared of the weird ones — if you think this one weird — or you’ll miss out on some super yumminess.

Tithonia is so popular! Hummingbirds, butterflies, honeybees, bumblebees. Tithonia’s stems and leaves color the vase water and make it smell a certain not-bad way. Some winter research showed farmers using a genus relative in a water ferment to spray on their crops. Maybe we’ll try that this year or next, and see what the impact might be.

Tithonia is so popular! Hummingbirds, butterflies, honeybees, bumblebees. Tithonia’s stems and leaves color the vase water and make it smell a certain not-bad way. Some winter research showed farmers using a genus relative in a water ferment to spray on their crops. Maybe we’ll try that this year or next, and see what the impact might be.

And lastly, I wanted to point out the new-to-you ‘Salmon Rose’ scabiosa. It is a slow bloomer, but well worth the wait. These pictured are somewhat light on its continuum of color, with the deeper hues making me quite eager to put them on the list for 2020 — which list, I should note, is happily and already populated by a good few other new additions from this year.

And lastly, I wanted to point out the new-to-you ‘Salmon Rose’ scabiosa. It is a slow bloomer, but well worth the wait. These pictured are somewhat light on its continuum of color, with the deeper hues making me quite eager to put them on the list for 2020 — which list, I should note, is happily and already populated by a good few other new additions from this year.

Aftermath

‘Cherokee Sunset’ Rudbeckia is new to the farm lineup this year. Let’s keep it. :)

‘Cherokee Sunset’ Rudbeckia is new to the farm lineup this year. Let’s keep it. :)

Expected Harvest

Greens
Cabbage
Chard
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame
Broccoli
Fennel
Tomato, Small*

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh
Radish, Salad

Fruit
Blackberries*
Strawberries, Frozen

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Cilantro
Dill
Dried Herbs
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Mint, Kentucky Colonel*
Turmeric, Frozen

Staples
Popcorn

Flowers

Cooking Classes
Wednesday, July 10th: Sold-out
Thursday, July 11th: Space Available
Contact cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up.

Althea Bread
On break for the summer.

2019 Week 27, Summer CSA 5 of 26

Although I will try for earlier tomatoes next year — without organic’s traditional resort to plastic coverings — I am quite glad to have the cherry tomatoes ready, in some small measure, for the 4th of July. Blackberries, too! The first harvest is always a little light, but they will soon be taking much too much of my harvest day, I smile with mock scorn. :)

Although it may still confuse, while we have our last year of the Summer CSA — rather than a year-round approach — I will be noting two limits on the fruit, and setting aside a veggie/greens ‘pickle pile’ — as I have been — for winter. A first limit will be for the summer, the second for what you can freeze for winter. In this case, I am specifically thinking of blackberries and raspberries. If you have any more questions about how the CSA works, let me know! I don’t mean to confuse. :) Also, if you have not yet signed-up for the Winter CSA, you may do that now, to put the berries in your freezer. A $100/Adult downpayment would be nice.

I am very excited to also have some brand-new Kohl-Dill pickles for sale, $10/jar. Katherine at Gathered Threads fermented them, and was really happy with the result. I had them with lunch and dinner today, and had a hard time swallowing through the smile. :) We will try again with another style next time, perhaps her most seriously excellent Chilero, or her Summer Salsa. Let me know what you think.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Some of the aftermath of the last cooking class, which featured snap beans. We had Sautéed Beans with Basil Purée; Buckwheat and Snap Bean Salad; and Bean, Broccoli, and Edamame Salad with Curry Leaves and Coconut.  Sticking with cooking class etymology, for just this one more time, it is at this point a mostly lost knowledge that ‘aftermath,’ as a word, originally meant the second cutting, as of hay. ‘Math’ in this case being related to ‘Mow.’ So this isn’t technically the aftermath of the cooking class, but why be archaically correct when you can be normally right? :)

Some of the aftermath of the last cooking class, which featured snap beans. We had Sautéed Beans with Basil Purée; Buckwheat and Snap Bean Salad; and Bean, Broccoli, and Edamame Salad with Curry Leaves and Coconut.

Sticking with cooking class etymology, for just this one more time, it is at this point a mostly lost knowledge that ‘aftermath,’ as a word, originally meant the second cutting, as of hay. ‘Math’ in this case being related to ‘Mow.’ So this isn’t technically the aftermath of the cooking class, but why be archaically correct when you can be normally right? :)

Flea beetles sure like eggplant leaves. Some plants co-evolved with insects, using their new aearation as an expected heat-loss radiator. I don't exactly think that's the case here, though. If one current mode of agricultural thought posits pestilence and disease to be ecological garbage collection, it's one more prod on the road to full soil health.

Flea beetles sure like eggplant leaves. Some plants co-evolved with insects, using their new aearation as an expected heat-loss radiator. I don't exactly think that's the case here, though. If one current mode of agricultural thought posits pestilence and disease to be ecological garbage collection, it's one more prod on the road to full soil health.

What a good time of year! The first soybeans of summer arrive. If you didn't take note on the crop label, my favorite way to eat edamame is to boil for 4-6 minutes, drain, salt, and eat as soon as you don't burn your tongue. :) No sooner or later, though, as the enjoyment diminishes with their coolness.

What a good time of year! The first soybeans of summer arrive. If you didn't take note on the crop label, my favorite way to eat edamame is to boil for 4-6 minutes, drain, salt, and eat as soon as you don't burn your tongue. :) No sooner or later, though, as the enjoyment diminishes with their coolness.

Cahier & Césaire

'Ildi' shows it multi-flora tresses. 'Sungold' and 'Chiapas' are so far first to the post, but it will be just a bit before they are producing at production scale. Soon, though! :)

'Ildi' shows it multi-flora tresses. 'Sungold' and 'Chiapas' are so far first to the post, but it will be just a bit before they are producing at production scale. Soon, though! :)

2019 Week 26, Summer CSA 4 of 26

Expected Harvest

Greens
Cabbage
Chard
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Bean, Soy / Edamame*
Broccoli
Fennel*

Roots
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion, Fresh*
Radish, Salad

Fruit
Strawberries, Frozen

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Cilantro
Dill
Dried Herbs
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Mint, Chocolate*
Turmeric, Frozen

Staples
Popcorn

Flowers

Althea Bread
Specials of the Month:
June 26th: Herbs de Provence and Olive Oil

Cooking Classes
This Wednesday & Thursday, 6pm
Featuring: Snap Beans

Digging the new carrots has been an unexpected transportation to other farms and other times in places more northern than this one. And I felt, as I dug or popped the greens off, about diasporas. Even in this very small way, I understood the distant land one called home, as I build this new one. Which had me thinking of Aimé Césaire and his Cahier, his notebook of a return to the native land. It is well, well beyond the little feeling here, but what a force of nature that screed was:

I would roll like frenetic blood on the slow current of the eye of words turned into mad horses into fresh children into clots into curfew into vestiges of temples into precious stones remote enough to discourage miners. Whoever would not understand me would not understand any better the roaring of a tiger. ― Aimé Césaire

As to popping off the tops of carrots. Do note that I very rarely give you a root with the tops still on, unless you will eat them! :) The greenery pulls all the moisture out of the root, leaving you with wobbly vegetables. Better for me to put the greens back into the soil, and then give you crisp, fresh veggies. I understand the market appeal of greens tops, but I’d rather not. :)

I was made inclined to plant some fennel this spring, but too late to go in with the early batch of crops. Next year I will definitely plant some first thing, for an early harvest. That said, I harvested some of the cutest baby fennel this week, and will continue onwards … just in case this heat causes them to bolt. New also are some small ball onions, plus the year’s first edamame. My favorite, indeed!

We had our first farm cooking class last week, and it was so great … for me! I got to finish my day with a fancy, super-yummy meal at the simple price of washed dishes. I’m sure it will be great for you, too. :) Let Cecelia know that you’re interested, or if you have questions. Bulk discounts available. Private group classes also encouraged — come with your friends. Get in touch at pick-up, or email cecelia.baum@gmail.com. This week we’ll be featuring snap beans.

See you on the farm,
Austin

The inaugural cooking class! Inaugural (and inaugurate), says the memory, is a word that comes from the divination of fortunes from the flight of birds. (Ain't words neat?) Which leads me to note that the goldfinches have been most appreciative of the new wildflower patch, and the fence that overlooks it. To watch their looping flight -- like they can't quite fly, but then they can -- over the fields is, truly, to feel it. Does this mean a rollercoaster in our future. That's okay by me. When it's all said and done, who isn't sad that it's over? Or that the line is so long, because you're going again? … contemplates the farmer.

The inaugural cooking class! Inaugural (and inaugurate), says the memory, is a word that comes from the divination of fortunes from the flight of birds. (Ain't words neat?) Which leads me to note that the goldfinches have been most appreciative of the new wildflower patch, and the fence that overlooks it. To watch their looping flight -- like they can't quite fly, but then they can -- over the fields is, truly, to feel it. Does this mean a rollercoaster in our future. That's okay by me. When it's all said and done, who isn't sad that it's over? Or that the line is so long, because you're going again? … contemplates the farmer.

Last week’s class featured kohlrabi … in a slaw with fresh herbs, and stir-fried with kale, ginger, garlic scapes, and hot peppers, plus some yummy South Indian Dal.

Last week’s class featured kohlrabi … in a slaw with fresh herbs, and stir-fried with kale, ginger, garlic scapes, and hot peppers, plus some yummy South Indian Dal.

Hoss Tools makes some very fine wheel-hoes, including this new-to-the-farm-for-2019 High-Arch Two-Wheel Hoe. Various attachments attach -- as they would -- to the frame, like these 6" sweeps. We have about a mile of dry beans this year in a field that took quite some time to clean of sod. But, apparently, cleaned not well enough -- per the tool damage. A very literal few minutes after emailing Hoss with a note and photo, they said, "Would you like a reinforced version?" So I said, "Yes!" And here we have it, with rebar welded down the middle. We are principally on a one-row system this year -- thus the two-wheel hoe -- but I will be trying a ganged-Earthway two-row seeder next year, plus another new wheel-hoe dedicated to two-row crops. Guess who I'm going with? / Having the right tool for the job doesn't just make the job go faster, it makes it go WAY faster.

Hoss Tools makes some very fine wheel-hoes, including this new-to-the-farm-for-2019 High-Arch Two-Wheel Hoe. Various attachments attach -- as they would -- to the frame, like these 6" sweeps. We have about a mile of dry beans this year in a field that took quite some time to clean of sod. But, apparently, cleaned not well enough -- per the tool damage. A very literal few minutes after emailing Hoss with a note and photo, they said, "Would you like a reinforced version?" So I said, "Yes!" And here we have it, with rebar welded down the middle. We are principally on a one-row system this year -- thus the two-wheel hoe -- but I will be trying a ganged-Earthway two-row seeder next year, plus another new wheel-hoe dedicated to two-row crops. Guess who I'm going with? / Having the right tool for the job doesn't just make the job go faster, it makes it go WAY faster.

Blackberries are here in small quantity. I imagine we will start picking them  en masse  by the end of the week / start of the next! Hip hip.

Blackberries are here in small quantity. I imagine we will start picking them en masse by the end of the week / start of the next! Hip hip.

The most common common name for these are 'dogbane beetles.' I found them while wheel-hoeing the grits / polenta corn. Because, who doesn't like shiny things?

The most common common name for these are 'dogbane beetles.' I found them while wheel-hoeing the grits / polenta corn. Because, who doesn't like shiny things?

Recall

‘Pink Passion’ chard sure is pretty to look at. :)

‘Pink Passion’ chard sure is pretty to look at. :)

2019 Week 25, Summer CSA 3 of 26

If you forgot what hot and humid feels like — which I nearly did — today was a pretty solid reminder. The squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes, though, quite enjoy these warm nights, which speed along their growth. It is the temperature at night, in fact, which is the biggest predictor of crop growth … up until it gets too warm in the day.

On the tomato front, we planted two generations on the same date this year — earlies and ‘normals’ — with the former averaging 69 days to maturity, and the latter, 79. As it turns out, though, the disease resistant ‘normals’ average 73 days, which means we will likely have a pretty hefty early bumper crop of tomatoes once they start coming. Because the third planting didn’t transplant well, enjoy the first while we see how the yield curves. I expect — and hope — to have a superabundance early in the season, which is a great segue into the Winter CSA … and the 2020 CSA in particular.

I am super-duper excited to move the farm out of beta stage into proper youth next year, and am most excited about recoupling the decoupled Summer and Winter CSAs into just ‘the CSA.’ Although we’ll still have a Winter CSA this year, starting next year it’s just a year-round CSA that starts in June. Hip hip! For all of you interested in such a thing, you can start with the Winter CSA this winter, with a $50/adult downpayment. All remainders from the prior week, and set-asides during the week, will be out for preservation — extra blackberries and raspberries to freeze, tomatoes to can, kale to ferment, beans and cucumbers to pickle, etc. This is the way the CSA was originally designed, but it has taken a little bit of time to get there on this farm. If you can’t tell, I am so glad to finally come back to that kind of home.

A few CSA / Farm notes:

  1. This farm is your farm, Wednesdays 3-7pm. Walk the fields, walk the mowed perimeter of our corner of the property. Have a little picnic. Explore and come back with questions.

  2. If you find yourself early to the CSA, there’s a parking lot at Preddy Creek Park, not far from here, that would be great to hang-out in. Please don’t arrive before 3pm. Thanks!

  3. If you have any of those white half-gallon buckets, please help them find their way back home to the farm. :)

Cooking classes start this week, Wednesday and Thursday, 6pm. Email Cecelia — cecelia.baum@gmail.com — to sign-up. The classes are a cozy 4-6 people, and feature the week’s harvest prepared in a variety of ways. Learn all the culinary uses and ways to incorporate the farm into your meals, including vegetable substitutions. There will be 10 class-weeks spread over the summer and early fall, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6pm, at the farm. At the end, we’ll collect all of the year’s recipes into a farm yearbook and cookbook. Sweet!

We still have room in the CSA this year. Tell your friends, we’ll love them! :) Get 10% of every dollar they send our way, sent your way.

Thank you all so much,
My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Broccoli

Roots
Carrots*
Kohlrabi
Radish, Salad

Fruit
Raspberries, Frozen
Strawberries, Frozen

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Basil, Holy
Anise Hyssop*
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Dill*
Dried Herbs
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Oat, Milk*
Turmeric, Frozen

Staples
Popcorn

Flowers

Althea Bread
Specials of the Month:
June 19th: Einkorn
June 26th: Herbs de Provence and Olive Oil

Cooking Classes
This Wednesday & Thursday, 6pm

Watching the garlic for clove differentiation. Because of the rain, we didn’t get these in until December! last year … much later than the standard Halloween planting date. But I’m a little surprised to see them so slow in their growth, for how warm the spring was. We’ll just wait, though, until they’re ready. :) Shvelsi, Music, and Silverskin to come.

Watching the garlic for clove differentiation. Because of the rain, we didn’t get these in until December! last year … much later than the standard Halloween planting date. But I’m a little surprised to see them so slow in their growth, for how warm the spring was. We’ll just wait, though, until they’re ready. :) Shvelsi, Music, and Silverskin to come.

Left Field

The first sweet corn -- Bodacious (F1) -- starts to tassel. The tiniest little buds of an ear are also beginning to show. It generally takes 21 days from silk to harvest, so I will let you know the moment I see a preponderance of silks. My hope -- too early on this farm to be yet an aim -- was a July 4th harvest. I removed the early-earlies from the plan, but after having had a June 21st 'baby' corn harvest in 2017, suddenly I miss that date. Next year we might go back to the tiny ones to start.

The first sweet corn -- Bodacious (F1) -- starts to tassel. The tiniest little buds of an ear are also beginning to show. It generally takes 21 days from silk to harvest, so I will let you know the moment I see a preponderance of silks. My hope -- too early on this farm to be yet an aim -- was a July 4th harvest. I removed the early-earlies from the plan, but after having had a June 21st 'baby' corn harvest in 2017, suddenly I miss that date. Next year we might go back to the tiny ones to start.

2019 Week 24, Summer CSA 2 of 26

Once upon a time, I thought to name this ‘Left Field’ Farm, because the best things come out of left field. But a few farms already had that name, and so I went with Atelier, though perhaps the gist is true; this week is proving it. The best things come out of left field. So a long, curious-glancing bow to that.

What a wonderful time it was to meet you all last week. I am so very excited for this summer, and to share it with you. If you like what we have here, tell your friends! :) We’re a young farm, and in need of sales. The CSA, Farm Bucks, and Farmstand are all options, though the CSA is what truly supports us.

A field-note-free update this week because we have so many other kinds of news!

Cooking Classes: If you did not hear last week, new this year are farm focused, vegan cooking classes with Cecelia. The classes are a cozy 4-6 people, and feature the week’s harvest prepared in a variety of ways. Learn all the culinary uses and ways to incorporate the farm into your meals, including vegetable substitutions. There will be 10 class-weeks spread over the summer and early fall, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6pm, at the farm. At the end, we’ll collect all of the year’s recipes into a farm yearbook and cookbook. Sweet!

Prices: $20 for a single class, $15 per class for 4 classes or more, or $12 per class for all 10. The first classes are right around the corner, Wednesday 6/19 and Thursday 6/20. Email cecelia.baum@gmail.com to sign-up and for additional information, or tell us in person at the CSA pick-up.

Bread: Andrew at Althea Bread will be taking a medical leave for a few months this summer. We wish him all the best in healing and health. June will be the last month for weekly loaves, but he will be back in a couple months to start again. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and understanding.

Honey: Our beekeeper Adam at Sublime Bees harvested several hundred pounds of honey this spring, and said the bees looked better than ever. The rest of their summer honey yield stays for them, but I did buy 50 jars before they were all gone. I will have them for sale at the farm, $10/jar.

Ferments: I dropped a very good quantity of kohlrabi and dill off for Katherine at Gathered Threads. In a few weeks we will have some Kohl Dill ferment for sale on the farm. I’m sooo excited! $10/jar.

Pickle Pile: As we are about 1/3rd sold, we have mucho excess on the farm right now. I will have last week’s extra greens — 100+ lbs — and beans out this week. Free to year-round members to put by for the winter; for sale to summer folk.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Broccoli
Pea, Shell

Roots
Kohlrabi
Radish, Salad

Fruit
Raspberries, Frozen
Strawberries, Frozen

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Basil, Holy
Basil, Italian
Basil, Thai
Cilantro*
Dried Herbs
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Lemon Balm
Turmeric, Frozen

Staples
Popcorn

Flowers

Althea Bread
Specials of the Month:
June 12th: Flax Seed
June 19th: Einkorn
June 26th: Herbs de Provence and Olive Oil

This fellow got stuck in the wash/pack hardware cloth. Sadly. Member Joe said that as a boy in Ohio they called them, ‘Sand Wizards,’ and a few of you also noted that they’re called ‘Cicada Killers.’ Pretty mighty in the air. We’re sorry, love, for your demise.

This fellow got stuck in the wash/pack hardware cloth. Sadly. Member Joe said that as a boy in Ohio they called them, ‘Sand Wizards,’ and a few of you also noted that they’re called ‘Cicada Killers.’ Pretty mighty in the air. We’re sorry, love, for your demise.

Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB) larvae. Mmmm. They can defoliate whole swaths of a field, so we go collect them for a 'burial at sea.' They have not been much of a problem in the past on this farm, but are a few levels higher here than 'normal' this year. The parents -- and I reckon the larva -- are very good at evolving beyond pesticides. I rather like them for that survivability.  I did not grab a photo, but I observed at least four dead, ‘black’ bodies of the larva. I have seen that many times in the Tobacco Hornworm due to a parasitic wasp, and there is online note of an egg parasite for CPB, but not yet any note about a larva parasite. I’ll keep you informed.  As a last note, this researcher is much impressed with them:  “An important thing to keep in mind is that Colorado potato beetle has a legendary ability to develop resistance to a wide range of pesticides used for its control. High predisposition to resistance development seems to be an inherent characteristic of this species. It is probably caused, in large part, by the coevolution of the beetle and its host plants in the family Solanaceae, which have high concentrations of toxins, namely glycoalkaloids (Ferro, 1993). The first instance of Colorado potato beetle resistance to synthetic organic pesticides was noted for DDT in 1952 (Quinton, 1955). Resistance to dieldrin was reported in 1958, followed by resistance to other chlorinated hydrocarbons (Hofmaster et al., 1967). In subsequent years the beetle has developed resistance to numerous organophosphates and carbamates (Forgash, 1985). Presently it is resistant to a wide range of insecticides, including the arsenicals, organochlorines, carbamates, organophosphates, and pyrethroids. Resistance crisis was temporarily abated with the introduction of highly effective neonicotinoid insecticides. However, the first cases of beetle resistance to neonicotinoids have been already observed in several field populations (Alyokhin et al., 2006; 2007; Mota-Sanchez et al., 2006).” [  http://www.potatobeetle.org/overview/#ins  ]

Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB) larvae. Mmmm. They can defoliate whole swaths of a field, so we go collect them for a 'burial at sea.' They have not been much of a problem in the past on this farm, but are a few levels higher here than 'normal' this year. The parents -- and I reckon the larva -- are very good at evolving beyond pesticides. I rather like them for that survivability.

I did not grab a photo, but I observed at least four dead, ‘black’ bodies of the larva. I have seen that many times in the Tobacco Hornworm due to a parasitic wasp, and there is online note of an egg parasite for CPB, but not yet any note about a larva parasite. I’ll keep you informed.

As a last note, this researcher is much impressed with them:

“An important thing to keep in mind is that Colorado potato beetle has a legendary ability to develop resistance to a wide range of pesticides used for its control. High predisposition to resistance development seems to be an inherent characteristic of this species. It is probably caused, in large part, by the coevolution of the beetle and its host plants in the family Solanaceae, which have high concentrations of toxins, namely glycoalkaloids (Ferro, 1993). The first instance of Colorado potato beetle resistance to synthetic organic pesticides was noted for DDT in 1952 (Quinton, 1955). Resistance to dieldrin was reported in 1958, followed by resistance to other chlorinated hydrocarbons (Hofmaster et al., 1967). In subsequent years the beetle has developed resistance to numerous organophosphates and carbamates (Forgash, 1985). Presently it is resistant to a wide range of insecticides, including the arsenicals, organochlorines, carbamates, organophosphates, and pyrethroids. Resistance crisis was temporarily abated with the introduction of highly effective neonicotinoid insecticides. However, the first cases of beetle resistance to neonicotinoids have been already observed in several field populations (Alyokhin et al., 2006; 2007; Mota-Sanchez et al., 2006).” [ http://www.potatobeetle.org/overview/#ins ]

Work and Days

I could check the numbers, but I think we have about 100 varieties of flowers on trial this year. ‘Zeolights’ and ‘Bronze Beauty’ Calendula among them. The flowers are a few weeks away from profligacy, but there will be some to start the Summer!

I could check the numbers, but I think we have about 100 varieties of flowers on trial this year. ‘Zeolights’ and ‘Bronze Beauty’ Calendula among them. The flowers are a few weeks away from profligacy, but there will be some to start the Summer!

2019 Week 23, Summer CSA 1 of 26

First things first. I have a box of new seeds to my shoulder — from Fedco and Adaptive Seeds, beets and cilantro, Lebanese Squash and new variations of kale — and in the end-of-the-day sleepiness, their simplicity hits me square with a wave of thankfulness. Everything smells and feels right in this sunset, but especially these small things that remind me of what I first felt when I got into farming … because I am already, and still, feeling them. The whole season of summer like one long work week, and yet the hours of summer, sometimes, like days, with so many riches falling from them. We start June on the opposite side of Thanksgiving, six months distant, and how appropriate a date, because how else can I — could we? — begin this new season, but with thanks?

Thank you all for being CSA members to the farm. It is you alone who found what we are doing together.

Second things second. We still have room — ample, perhaps — in the CSA. If there is anything I can do to incentivize your assistance in the filling-in of those holes, please let me know. You are welcome to 10% of every dollar referred into the CSA for your efforts. I am not on social media, but if you are, feel free to spread the word. I have pull-tab fliers and quarter-sheet fliers also available. Just say the word!

On the farm, all has been lush — but not too lush! — and busy, with some anomalous heat to speed along our crops. What looks like a snake in the grass, but has for so long been just a stick, or a strap, or a hoe, is now in fact a snake in the grass. The cedars waft their melted sap across the fields. And at night the fire flies constellate every possible tree row like lighting in the clouds. As to the crops, most of our experiments have fallen into the win side of the ledger, though a few — particularly the 3rd planting of tomatoes, and the early germination of sweet peppers — haven’t. Strange to say, but the galling feeling that comes from some of these losses turns into the excitement I feel in fall when I make the new plan. Because this time all the quarters are coming up heads.

As for that, the 2019 season is essentially in the books, and I have for a few months already been planning 2020. Strange to say, I admit, but so it goes in farming. As I have elsewhere noted, we spend the fall designing, the spring building, and the summer staying out of the way of the contraption we dreamt up. Or as others have said, first we sow, and then we reap. Here’s to the odd ease of summer — with its sane, rhythmic schedule — because what is more easy, after all this work, than reaping it? Ha.

All my best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: Tell your “I’m not quite ready for a CSA” friends that the Farmstand opens this week! Thursdays, 3-7pm.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard
Kale
Lettuce
Asian Greens

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Broccoli
Pea, Shell
Pea, Snap

Roots
Kohlrabi
Radish, Salad

Fruit
Raspberries, Frozen
Strawberries, Frozen

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Dill
Dried Herbs
Garlic, Scapes
Hot Pepper, Frozen
Mint, of some kind
Turmeric, Frozen

Flowers

Althea Bread
Specials of the Month:
June 5th: Oat Porridge
June 12th: Flax Seed
June 19th: Einkorn
June 26th: Herbs de Provence and Olive Oil

After a few bed-prep hiccups, the dry beans and corn are in. The grits / polenta corn — Tennessee Red Cob — was too fat for the push seeders I have, so I tried a new — rather, ancient in design — jab seeder, putting them in seed-by-seed. It was only a few minutes into it, sweeping my foot to cover the seed as I went, that I remembered this old line of Hesiod’s. “A few thousand years old” old, to be inexact. I don’t have my copy here, but an internet translation has it as such:   Pray to Zeus of the Underground, and to holy Demeter, that the sacred grain of Demeter may become heavy with ripeness, as you begin the plowing, laying hold of the end of the plow-handle and coming down on the backs of your oxen with a switch as they pull at the yoke-pole with their strappings.  Standing a bit further back, the servant who has the mattock should give the birds grief as he makes the seed disappear inside the earth.  Good management is the best thing for mortal men, while bad management is the worst.

After a few bed-prep hiccups, the dry beans and corn are in. The grits / polenta corn — Tennessee Red Cob — was too fat for the push seeders I have, so I tried a new — rather, ancient in design — jab seeder, putting them in seed-by-seed. It was only a few minutes into it, sweeping my foot to cover the seed as I went, that I remembered this old line of Hesiod’s. “A few thousand years old” old, to be inexact. I don’t have my copy here, but an internet translation has it as such:


Pray to Zeus of the Underground, and to holy Demeter,
that the sacred grain of Demeter may become heavy with ripeness,
as you begin the plowing, laying hold of the end of the plow-handle
and coming down on the backs of your oxen with a switch
as they pull at the yoke-pole with their strappings. Standing a bit further back,
the servant who has the mattock should give the birds grief
as he makes the seed disappear inside the earth.
Good management is the best thing
for mortal men, while bad management is the worst.

This wasn’t the first time I noticed this, but it was the first time with a camera around to get the proof: I have enormous fingers.

This wasn’t the first time I noticed this, but it was the first time with a camera around to get the proof: I have enormous fingers.

We found a few friends on the Friday Field Walk. This has been a much warmer spring than the last, and with a rain schedule permitting proper cultivation — i.e., weeding — of the fields. Carrots much appreciate the love. We’re not more than a month out — likely sooner — from their harvest.

We found a few friends on the Friday Field Walk. This has been a much warmer spring than the last, and with a rain schedule permitting proper cultivation — i.e., weeding — of the fields. Carrots much appreciate the love. We’re not more than a month out — likely sooner — from their harvest.

What governs the fall of a sparrow, one wonders. And also its rise? A bee is so inestimably light in one’s hand. It also feels infinitely precious … and for that reason weighty. How on earth, all this? Spring is a good time for these feelings of the miracle of being.

What governs the fall of a sparrow, one wonders. And also its rise? A bee is so inestimably light in one’s hand. It also feels infinitely precious … and for that reason weighty. How on earth, all this? Spring is a good time for these feelings of the miracle of being.