So much goodness

That rare morning, with features so amazing, even color would be gaudy.

That rare morning, with features so amazing, even color would be gaudy.

2019 Week 11, Winter CSA 8 of 12

Expected Harvest

Greens
Spinach

Veggies
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Dried Culinary Herbs
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread

Winter CSA Dates

03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

Last week’s tractor marathon didn’t exactly start, but ended nonetheless … with two great comments on the phone. The first, from the local mechanic, “Your timing chain is gone; down in there, gone; in the crank case, gone.” And the second, from Joel at Earth Tools, the dealer, “Jeez. You really would like a reliable machine. You’ve been having trouble with this one. Like whoever put it together did it at the end of the day, Friday. If you drop it off, I can put a Honda on it, and use yours for parts.” So, a new engine, with a new warranty, for one-third the price of a new one … plus a road trip to Kentucky. That’s the deal on tap for the end of the week. In the meantime, we will be renting a four-wheel tractor to prep the fields in a hurry.

If you have not noticed, that rain from last year never actually let up, and we have had some pretty consistent field moisture. The current situation offers an interesting option to gamble. We need the entire farm to be prepped, spread, and rolled in the next 20 days. Is this the driest we get, or is the future drier? This Friday’s forecast is for 0.2 inches … in a thunderstorm. Do we trust that simple number, which knows nothing of storm burstiness, nor the week that follows? I’m not a gambler, and so we don’t. We wait until Wednesday, rent a tractor, and prep with what is the driest soil we have in the present … and accept the future for what it is: unknown. What an interesting and great way to start the year, with acceptance.

A quick, final note. I was standing in the fields, newly warmed, just smelling them … and I had a feeling. It was a feeling about farming, but it came to me like surfing. We paddle out all winter to the big swell forming, and this takes a long time. We get used to the direction, and the pace. Then, all of a sudden, the forces change, the swell swells, and we turn around, paddle like mad men and women for that lip which holds us for the pop-up. And then we do, pop-up, and take the long slide down for autumn, where nothing comes from fighting forces, but everything comes from surfing them.

That’s what I saw, and that’s what we’re feeling … that it’s just nearly time to turn around, and paddle like mad. Woot, woot!

See you all on the farm,
Austin

Thank you all, you early members. Ginger goes on sale, and sells out, in November. I wasn’t sure, at first, if we’d have any to plant this year … but you made it happen! :)  We’re sticking with the ‘Indira Yellow’ turmeric, as it grows so well in our climate. But we are moving back to the Hawaiian ‘Bubba Baba Blue’ ginger, as opposed to last year’s Thai ‘Khing Yai,’ per yield trials from two years ago. The mature ginger, being blue, scared me a little … but we can’t reach maturity in this climate, and so never really get that seemingly-off color. Thanks again!  Oh, and for those who might be wondering, like I know some are: Ginger, apparently, originates in maritime Austronesia — think Polynesia, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.

Thank you all, you early members. Ginger goes on sale, and sells out, in November. I wasn’t sure, at first, if we’d have any to plant this year … but you made it happen! :)

We’re sticking with the ‘Indira Yellow’ turmeric, as it grows so well in our climate. But we are moving back to the Hawaiian ‘Bubba Baba Blue’ ginger, as opposed to last year’s Thai ‘Khing Yai,’ per yield trials from two years ago. The mature ginger, being blue, scared me a little … but we can’t reach maturity in this climate, and so never really get that seemingly-off color. Thanks again!

Oh, and for those who might be wondering, like I know some are: Ginger, apparently, originates in maritime Austronesia — think Polynesia, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.

The present future

In the summer, maybe, we do not find ourselves so often on our belly, looking at what the land is giving. And maybe that’s a deficit we need to correct. But in spring, yes, absolutely. I don’t think there is one spring flush of garlic that hasn’t pulled me chin to ground.  You would hardly believe it, but we’ve spent about $4k trying to install garlic on the farm over the last two years, having met significant rot each spring. The return this year, I am most happy to say, looks fantastic! — thanks, perhaps, to not mulching it, and giving the ground a chance to desiccate just a bit. We risk frost-heave and cold damage without a protective mulch, but found little-to-none of that this year. We also risk weeds! which we will attend to diligently this spring.  I recently reviewed Filaree Garlic Farm’s expansive offerings, and might spend a little bit more to identify — by growing them — varieties that are happy on our farm. For instance, although the ‘Silver White’ Silverskin may not be your favorite — fine flavor, but a softneck with many small cloves to peel — it stores the longest and has been the healthiest crop two years running. Are there others like it?

In the summer, maybe, we do not find ourselves so often on our belly, looking at what the land is giving. And maybe that’s a deficit we need to correct. But in spring, yes, absolutely. I don’t think there is one spring flush of garlic that hasn’t pulled me chin to ground.

You would hardly believe it, but we’ve spent about $4k trying to install garlic on the farm over the last two years, having met significant rot each spring. The return this year, I am most happy to say, looks fantastic! — thanks, perhaps, to not mulching it, and giving the ground a chance to desiccate just a bit. We risk frost-heave and cold damage without a protective mulch, but found little-to-none of that this year. We also risk weeds! which we will attend to diligently this spring.

I recently reviewed Filaree Garlic Farm’s expansive offerings, and might spend a little bit more to identify — by growing them — varieties that are happy on our farm. For instance, although the ‘Silver White’ Silverskin may not be your favorite — fine flavor, but a softneck with many small cloves to peel — it stores the longest and has been the healthiest crop two years running. Are there others like it?

2019 Week 09, Winter CSA 7 of 12

What a great week we’ve had, and will have! I seeded the broccoli family crops — broccoli, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi — in the greenhouse on Monday. The spring has had its way with them the last two years, but we are trying a few new things to keep them alive after transplant — a more thorough hardening-off process, a pine-based wash to prevent post-transplant desiccation, and a “we’re not in New Hampshire anymore” approach to soil moisture — i.e., the ground isn’t necessarily, and probably actually isn’t, sodden in the spring. The cabbage and the kohlrabi comprise a significant chunk of this batch, as our new fermentation partner, Gathered Threads, will be culturing them this summer. Hip hip.

This is also the week we scramble to prepare the farm for its new living mulch mix. That means we till, seed, and roll the entire annual half of the farm. I really do like how easy it is to just say a thing, as opposed to do it. Because that sure was easy to say. :) If you don’t see me in the greenhouse at pick-up, I’m out there doing that.

A reminder that we still have some shares to sell for this summer, AND that you get 10% cash back of every dollar you successfully refer into the CSA.

Enjoy the weather, &
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Spinach

Veggies
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Dried Culinary Herbs
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread

Winter CSA Dates

02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

We’ve finally hit a string of dry weather for the orchard’s annual haircut. Welcome to the present future. One doesn’t actually prune the tree in front of you, but the tree three to five years ahead of you. Which branches will be crossing? What hormones will flow, and how will the branches angles, with this cut? I can pretty confidently say I’m not all that good at it just yet, because the feedback that makes you better, in pruning, is always a few years off.

We’ve finally hit a string of dry weather for the orchard’s annual haircut. Welcome to the present future. One doesn’t actually prune the tree in front of you, but the tree three to five years ahead of you. Which branches will be crossing? What hormones will flow, and how will the branches angles, with this cut? I can pretty confidently say I’m not all that good at it just yet, because the feedback that makes you better, in pruning, is always a few years off.

It was meant for spreading peat moss or compost … but it made it through about 30,000 pounds of rock dust before it bit the … umm. I may find a welder to fix what broke, and add some reinforcement, or not.

It was meant for spreading peat moss or compost … but it made it through about 30,000 pounds of rock dust before it bit the … umm. I may find a welder to fix what broke, and add some reinforcement, or not.

There’s a bit of foolish pride in the joy that comes in seeing one survive what one’s tools do not.

There’s a bit of foolish pride in the joy that comes in seeing one survive what one’s tools do not.

That darling hut

Time to reef the sails and throw on the windbreaker.

Time to reef the sails and throw on the windbreaker.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Spinach

Veggies
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Dried Culinary Herbs
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread

Winter CSA Dates

02/13/19, 02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

2019 Week 07, Winter CSA 6 of 12

There were bluebirds sitting on the irrigation risers as I spread the rock dust, and there is now birdsong in the morning before the dawn. Onions are waking in their seedling trays, and I’m having to slap myself for adding another new hot pepper here, or a curious pickling cucumber there. It’s time! The new season is on, and we get to transfer our focus from design to build, and then, later, from build to ride. As always, thank you all for being along for that ride.

See you on the farm,
Austin

PS, most tangentially: I can remember the April afternoon when I learned that Gabriel Garcia Marquez had died. It is like that, too, with Mary Oliver. And so we should not let that passing pass without some kind of witnessing.

One of my favorite lines of hers is from a semi-poem — her “Sand Dabs,” which she slipped into her pocket as she walked her Cape Cod beach — and it’s what I heard in my head when I heard that she had gone:

Myself, myself, myself, that darling hut!
How quick it will burn!

(Mary Oliver, ‘Sand Dabs, Five’, Winter Hours)

And then I saw these lines, last week — translated by the most impressive Jane Hirshfield: “The moon in Japanese poetry is always the moon” — and knew that they all were sisters:

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

(Izumi Shikibu (Japan, 974?-1034?) [translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani])

And saw that the question I was asking, she had already answered:

After I published Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, people often asked me how the spiritual poetry of women differs from that of men. My answer: more imagery of houses. (The earlier poem here by Izumi Shikibu also uses the image of a house to speak of the experience of self and its boundaries.) To become the authority of one’s own household is no small thing in many women’s lives, even now, and the lives of earlier women poets are almost always marked by some fracturing with the expectations and course of ordinary life. The same is often true for men, of course, especially mystics.

Which is a much too long and digressing way to say:

Thank you, Mary.

One of the challenges of the small scale farm is designing human-powered tools to improve the health of the farm and farmer, when it comes to the farming.  After literally throwing out the first 2400 pounds of rock dust by hand — left hand, right hand, left hand, right hand — I decided there had to be a better way for the next 27,600. We’re only halfway there, but it’s pretty wild what wheels can do. Wagon + 8 buckets = 600 lbs of rock dust relatively easily rolled out to site, where 200 lbs fit into a modified — all I had was fluorescent orange gorilla tape — peat moss spreader to hit the right application rate. It’s good to do on a cold day, and it still makes you hungry … but we only do this once! :)  Here’s to doing everything we can to make 2019 rock! (Oh shoot, was that an unintended pun?)

One of the challenges of the small scale farm is designing human-powered tools to improve the health of the farm and farmer, when it comes to the farming.

After literally throwing out the first 2400 pounds of rock dust by hand — left hand, right hand, left hand, right hand — I decided there had to be a better way for the next 27,600. We’re only halfway there, but it’s pretty wild what wheels can do. Wagon + 8 buckets = 600 lbs of rock dust relatively easily rolled out to site, where 200 lbs fit into a modified — all I had was fluorescent orange gorilla tape — peat moss spreader to hit the right application rate. It’s good to do on a cold day, and it still makes you hungry … but we only do this once! :)

Here’s to doing everything we can to make 2019 rock! (Oh shoot, was that an unintended pun?)

Halfway into allium seeding — fresh onions, storage onions, shallots, perennial scallions, and leeks — plus perennial flowers, most of which are hanging-out in the walk-in for their moist-cold stratification. Everything is new for me on the farm again this year, with a new “Row Crop Living Mulch” (RCLM) 3-ft row system. Onions, in this case, get their own row, transplanted as multi-plant blocks. I’m excited to see what happens.

Halfway into allium seeding — fresh onions, storage onions, shallots, perennial scallions, and leeks — plus perennial flowers, most of which are hanging-out in the walk-in for their moist-cold stratification. Everything is new for me on the farm again this year, with a new “Row Crop Living Mulch” (RCLM) 3-ft row system. Onions, in this case, get their own row, transplanted as multi-plant blocks. I’m excited to see what happens.

Hanging-out in the greenhouse were last year’s trial polenta corn seeds, and a wee passel of garlic bulbils. If one were concerned about the transfer of soil-borne disease, saving garlic bulbils and planting from that would help — as opposed to planting from saved bulbs — though there is no cross-pollination, and they are also clones of their parent.

Hanging-out in the greenhouse were last year’s trial polenta corn seeds, and a wee passel of garlic bulbils. If one were concerned about the transfer of soil-borne disease, saving garlic bulbils and planting from that would help — as opposed to planting from saved bulbs — though there is no cross-pollination, and they are also clones of their parent.

Because it blows my mind every single year: the first onions pop.

Because it blows my mind every single year: the first onions pop.

Like we have summer

Blackberry brambles get their annual pruning. This coming summer ought to be our first for proper production. Hip hip. I’m really hoping the ‘Triple Crown’ come on well, as they were the flavor winner last year.

Blackberry brambles get their annual pruning. This coming summer ought to be our first for proper production. Hip hip. I’m really hoping the ‘Triple Crown’ come on well, as they were the flavor winner last year.

2019 Week 05, Winter CSA 5 of 12

I’m sometimes a little little slow on the uptake, but usually in the end there’s something I take up. For example: I have been through two Julys on this farm, and nearly two Januaries, which is finally long enough to realize that we have our summer like we don’t have our winter. And these gorgeous days of late winter into spring are perhaps some of the best we ever get. Because, my, how they are great. I pruned the blackberries last week on a literally breathtaking day, as windy as it was sunny. Which was where I learned my lesson. How many months can we call crisp and scintillant?

We have another new member in the summer CSA, which is great for a long list of reasons, one of which being funds for new black raspberries. As you may remember, heavy spring rains and strawberries do not mix. These black raspberries come in at the same time — early June — and will be a higher ‘altitude,’ less susceptible counter to strawberry mold. The planting window for those is right around the corner, so it feels very good to have them on order for this year — with harvest in 2020 — as opposed to missing the window and waiting until 2021 to harvest. Hip hip!

Note that the spinach looks a little like it has been through some weather — which it has. Although I would rather not use row cover on the farm — it is made from plastic, which I have been removing from the farm’s field use — a winter covering would expedite growth and prevent desiccation. I lend you my ear.

See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: My favorite holiday — Groundhog Day — is this Saturday! … Cross quarter season to the winter solstice and the spring equinox, and a relatively useful marker for the perception of change.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Spinach

Veggies
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Dried Culinary Herbs
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread

Winter CSA Dates

01/30/19, 02/13/19, 02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

Wheels

Leopold used to walk home from his campus office mid-day to take a nap. Lover — how weak a word — of birds as he was, he was usually up and out the door at 3:30 in the morning to listen to that chorus. And thus the nap. There was a time when I don’t think I would have understood him, but a winter in the Catskills — really in winter, and really in the Catskills — corrected that. How many other miracles are we blind to?  Bird-hop in snow on the office porch. / The entirety of the earth — and being alive on it — right there. Shibboleth though the shot may be.

Leopold used to walk home from his campus office mid-day to take a nap. Lover — how weak a word — of birds as he was, he was usually up and out the door at 3:30 in the morning to listen to that chorus. And thus the nap. There was a time when I don’t think I would have understood him, but a winter in the Catskills — really in winter, and really in the Catskills — corrected that. How many other miracles are we blind to?

Bird-hop in snow on the office porch. / The entirety of the earth — and being alive on it — right there. Shibboleth though the shot may be.

2019 Week 03, Winter CSA 4 of 13

It was almost dry, for a moment there, last week. And though digging another bin of sunroot proved that it really wasn’t, that string of sunny days was our best shot in a long while to get a round of minerals out onto the farm … and so I did. The parking area is finally clear of pallets thanks to that effort — including an 8,000 pound day where we learned again how impressive wheels are, doing this all by hand and foot.

Thanks to a new member, we also have the funds to get a dumpload of basalt rock dust from a local quarry. The mode of action and the results are still under discussion, but the gist is that under strong biological conditions, and especially on “old” eroded soil like ours, it provides a missing foundation of plant health for a very long while. I am crossing all biological options off the “Do everything you can to make everything better” list, and this one comes next.

By the next CSA pick-up, the greenhouse will be up and running with onions and perennial flowers seeded in their trays. The long, disparate list of things-to-do that was a mountainside of separate springs all winter long, is about to come down into one big frothy flume. How exciting that that — the annual Spring blast-off into a new year — is (still) so exciting. I just checked the spreadsheet, and it looks like there are over two hundred new crop and flower varieties — out of over 400 total, among annuals — on the farm in 2019. Disease-resistance-paired-with-heirloom-flavor is the (Germanic, it seems) buzzword of the year, and I am quite anticipating all the comparison trials.

Spreadsheet checking got me curious, and it also looks like despite the crazy — if Thoreau was an immortal and had farmed from his 18th birthday until now, he would never have seen a year like last year — year, folks who came every pick-up got 20% more than they paid for. Meaning, missing more than a whole month still got you even, despite the farm tripping along at 20% production. See! Miracles all over.

Note: If a potentially-snowy driveway scares you, let me know another day and time that you might stop by to peruse the walk-in fridge and chest freezer. Spinach is harvest-dependent upon snowmelt, but I am aiming to give it a go Wednesday at 11am, when the leaves should have a chance to thaw.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Spinach — snow-melt depending

Veggies
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Dried Culinary Herbs
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread
Danish Sprouted Rye
Local Country Wheat
Red Corn Porridge Bread

Winter CSA Dates

01/16/19, 01/30/19, 02/13/19, 02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

In Latin,  carina , is the keel of a boat. In English, it is also the breastbone of a bird.

In Latin, carina, is the keel of a boat. In English, it is also the breastbone of a bird.

The place it is in

Although it might have been more efficient to wait until everything was in — Fedco and High Mowing have yet to send their seeds — I couldn’t help myself. It’s just so much fun organizing seeds for the year ahead. Here the tomatoes get piled in with like colors. I somehow failed to reduce the tomato variety count by very much at all next year — 90 planned against last year’s 98 actual varieties — although a full half of those are new and supposedly improved, with the remainder being the best of last year’s batch. I for one am very excited to approach tomato normalcy again, though the future’s never promised. I also put together a new book of our 2019 tomato varieties, should any of you enjoy a quick’ish read once it arrives from the printer.

Although it might have been more efficient to wait until everything was in — Fedco and High Mowing have yet to send their seeds — I couldn’t help myself. It’s just so much fun organizing seeds for the year ahead. Here the tomatoes get piled in with like colors. I somehow failed to reduce the tomato variety count by very much at all next year — 90 planned against last year’s 98 actual varieties — although a full half of those are new and supposedly improved, with the remainder being the best of last year’s batch. I for one am very excited to approach tomato normalcy again, though the future’s never promised. I also put together a new book of our 2019 tomato varieties, should any of you enjoy a quick’ish read once it arrives from the printer.

2019 Week 01, Winter CSA 3 of 13

A new year is a nice demarcating line to finish debriefing the old, and entertain wholly the new. And perhaps more than just ‘nice,’ it might also be instrumental in moving on from a farming year such as 2018. So let’s. :)

I have been rolling over two stones in my hands, of late. One, which I had all year, from Arundhati Roy in The Cost of Living, of her home in India, though well taken out of context most anywhere; the other, new, from Wendell Berry, on How to be a Poet (to remind myself), whose screenless entreaty is not lost on this screenfull farm note.

They are big countries, each, with many pockets of geography to settle in. The emphasis in both is mine, and are the places where I first landed. Perhaps more farmer related than farm, but the New Year is an interesting liminal space, and a very good one for greasing the joints and oiling the engine that keeps the farm-er running.

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.
—Arundhati Roy

And from Wendell,

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
—Wendell Berry (full text and audio)

My best,
Happy New Year,
& See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Spinach

Veggies
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Dried Culinary Herbs
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread

Winter CSA Dates

01/02/19, 01/16/19, 01/30/19, 02/13/19, 02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

Solstice

I was watching the sun push through the frost-work on the greenhouse, and I felt this really strong desire to be able to see it arise. Is it possible to see that formation? Or is this something that only happens in the dark? I imagined the seat — like at a theater — the insulated coveralls, and the kind of attention one would need … and laughed. :)

I was watching the sun push through the frost-work on the greenhouse, and I felt this really strong desire to be able to see it arise. Is it possible to see that formation? Or is this something that only happens in the dark? I imagined the seat — like at a theater — the insulated coveralls, and the kind of attention one would need … and laughed. :)


2018 Week 51, Winter CSA 2 of 13

If the winter is a slow diving into depth, the solstice is when we touch bottom. What you throw upward must have, for that instant before the rising thing becomes the falling, a moment of rest. It stops. And while long ago we might have felt something start to rise in us, and called our celebration the solstice. Maybe we also felt something stop.

We live in the shallows here, as far as winter goes, but we still have our dive. And, as for that, perhaps the shorter the winter, the more we need it. Where are the old rites which properly engage this passage? It seems we farmers should have at least a week of customs to take us around this horn. But this is a farm, and we grow things. So I suppose it’s something we could just as well grow ourselves.

Happy Solstice!

Althea Bread: If you are into more bread, let Andy know. He will be dropping off more loaves this Wednesday, but only if you order!

Summer CSA: The 10% discount on the Summer CSA ends in two weeks. If that’s of interest to you, take note.

Be well,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Winter CSA Dates: 12/19/18, 01/02/19, 01/16/19, 01/30/19, 02/13/19, 02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

Expected Harvest

Greens
Kale
Spinach

Veggies
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Burdock
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread

It snowed. Neat stuff happened.

It snowed. Neat stuff happened.

The farm here is new, and the design is new and evolving. This means that the farm as a system has a lot of wavy hands in its plan. “You mow the living mulch walkways into a bag, and then you ferment it in a 55 gallon drum for a week or two, and then you —   wavy hands   — put it back out in the field at 50% dilution.” It always feels good to get the wavies out of the way. Here’s the new nutrient cart. The math on flow rate through various diameter hoses at different distances with a changing volume above was a little sketchy, but I did my best with that, and we can just make the tubes bigger or smaller if we need to. Or walk faster. :)

The farm here is new, and the design is new and evolving. This means that the farm as a system has a lot of wavy hands in its plan. “You mow the living mulch walkways into a bag, and then you ferment it in a 55 gallon drum for a week or two, and then you — wavy hands — put it back out in the field at 50% dilution.” It always feels good to get the wavies out of the way. Here’s the new nutrient cart. The math on flow rate through various diameter hoses at different distances with a changing volume above was a little sketchy, but I did my best with that, and we can just make the tubes bigger or smaller if we need to. Or walk faster. :)

Winter?

Garbling the dried herbs before they go into their jars for the winter. Despite being cautious and not drying many of the herbs this summer — while the weather was not conducive to such a venture — we have a good amount of dried herbs to work with.

Garbling the dried herbs before they go into their jars for the winter. Despite being cautious and not drying many of the herbs this summer — while the weather was not conducive to such a venture — we have a good amount of dried herbs to work with.

2018 Week 49, Winter 1 of 13

Sixty-plus degrees though today may be, welcome to the Winter CSA! How exciting. I spent a really, really lovely afternoon digging another bed of carrots, and even stopped a bit on the way back to … stop. As my friend Ferris Bueller likes to say, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

There is sugar spinach in the pile this week. Not for the tongue-in-cheek diabetic, nor those watching their sweets before the holidays. Spinach uses sugar as an anti-freeze in its leaves, which means some super — sometimes cloyingly — yummy greens at this time of the year.

I’m super excited for you guys to try the Althea Bread this week. If it’s half as good as last week’s, I will have to sell the farm to support my new lunchtime passion. If you’re not on the aforementioned sweets-free diet, try it toasted and spread with butter and the farm honey! Mmmm … Or, dipped into some rooty stew. I have had the heat off and the slow cooker on, tiny as the office is, working my way toward some winter soup for just such a purpose.

Be well,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Winter CSA Dates: 12/05/18, 12/19/18, 01/02/19, 01/16/19, 01/30/19, 02/13/19, 02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

Expected Harvest

Greens
Kale
Lettuce
Spinach*

Veggies
Beets*
Carrots
Celeriac
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries
Strawberries*

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Burdock
Chives
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Turmeric
Winter Teas*

Staples
Popcorn

Althea Bread
Sunflower-Kamut (Organic Kamut, organic bread flour, organic sunflower seeds, salt)

I thought to myself, “Maybe I should get a farmer shot before the year is out, just as a kind of reminiscence.” Scarecrow-y as the shadow-self looks, it’s there. I have sometimes been reminded of a quote in Charles Russel’s “Trails Plowed Under” (1927), when I happen to see my shadow:  “Of course a good many of these fancy men were more ornamental than useful, but one of the best cow-hands I ever knew belonged to this class. Down on the Gray Bull, he went under the name of Mason, but most punchers called him Pretty Shadow. … It comes from a habit some punchers has of ridin’ along, lookin’ at their shadows. Lookin’ glasses are scarce in cow outfits, so the only chance for these pretty boys to admire themselves is on bright, sunshiny days. Mason’s one of a kind that doesn’t get much pleasure out of life in cloudy weather. …”

I thought to myself, “Maybe I should get a farmer shot before the year is out, just as a kind of reminiscence.” Scarecrow-y as the shadow-self looks, it’s there. I have sometimes been reminded of a quote in Charles Russel’s “Trails Plowed Under” (1927), when I happen to see my shadow:

“Of course a good many of these fancy men were more ornamental than useful, but one of the best cow-hands I ever knew belonged to this class. Down on the Gray Bull, he went under the name of Mason, but most punchers called him Pretty Shadow. … It comes from a habit some punchers has of ridin’ along, lookin’ at their shadows. Lookin’ glasses are scarce in cow outfits, so the only chance for these pretty boys to admire themselves is on bright, sunshiny days. Mason’s one of a kind that doesn’t get much pleasure out of life in cloudy weather. …”

Garlic

We know it’s the end of Summer when the twin-wall polycarbonate covers the Summer Kitchen windows, and the Baker Creek catalog comes in the mail! You asked for less hot hot peppers, so I’m adding a few to the 2019 collection. Here’s to a rainbow of jalapenos for next year.  As an aside, the half-bi-nocular in the upper left was my grandfather’s, which he used to watch boats and geese on his backyard corner of the Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. My nephew saw it this summer, learned of its provenance, and asked with all sincerity: “Did my great-grandfather have one eye?”

We know it’s the end of Summer when the twin-wall polycarbonate covers the Summer Kitchen windows, and the Baker Creek catalog comes in the mail! You asked for less hot hot peppers, so I’m adding a few to the 2019 collection. Here’s to a rainbow of jalapenos for next year.

As an aside, the half-bi-nocular in the upper left was my grandfather’s, which he used to watch boats and geese on his backyard corner of the Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. My nephew saw it this summer, learned of its provenance, and asked with all sincerity: “Did my great-grandfather have one eye?”

2018 Week 48, Summer CSA Pick-up 26 of 26

Let's put this phrase to bed for the year! "Though the rains delayed us for a month ..." the garlic is in! I planted 85 pounds of some quite beautiful cloves -- from Fillaree Garlic Farm in Washington state -- this past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Two of those efforts finished-out the last hour+ by headlamp, which was a surprisingly meditative, focused task. Only a few ounces remain, which is either a high-five to cloves-per-bulb- and pounds-per-clove- per-variety calculations … or luck. Let us go with the latter, in hope that lavish praise wins her over to our side in future ventures.

In winter, one of my favorite morning things to do is read through the variety reviews from real growers and gardeners over at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. While pondering the ‘Chinese Red Noodle Bean,’ I came across this:

I love growing "weird" things and this beans is one of my favorites. My neighbor boy, at the age of three, wanted some "wickerwich" that was growing in my garden. He showed me the beans. I picked him a big one, he took one bite and told me they weren't "wickerwich" after all. They do look a little like licorice I suppose. But he ate the whole thing, and that's great! As far as the beans themselves, I really like them. They add a beautiful color to any dish, and the bean flavor is a good one. I love how they climb, and I'm thinking about putting them against a tall fence to see how tall they'll get."

A few CSA notes …

Summer CSA: For those of you who signed-up for next Summer with a downpayment, but failed to send the post-dated checks with it, could you please do so? Your downpayment PLUS post-dated checks finalizes your order. It also permits me to possibly seek a loan with your committed dollars, which will be needed to get the CSA off the ground. If you have friends who might be interested, you are my/the farm’s best advocate, as you know the farm and you know the possible member. Get 10% of their CSA dollars for your effort, up to the cost of your share.

Winter CSA: Queen dead, queen liveth. The Summer CSA is over, but the Winter continues, every-other-Wednesday, beginning next week. Consider this a reduced, modified Winter CSA, per summer rains. The cost is $100, total … from which you may select mostly $10 chunks of items — garlic, root vegetables, herbs, frozen fruit, greens. The style is nearly identical to the Farmstand / Farm Bucks program this coming summer. If you miss a pick-up, no problem on my end, as most items are non-perishable, and no problem on your end, as you still have your ‘farm bucks’ in hand. I do not expect the Winter share to continue for very long, but should you use your $100, we can re-up or re-imagine. If money remains, but the veggies don’t, your farm bucks are good in the farmstand next summer, good in exchange for dollars in the CSA — at the value paid —, and good for the strawberries (amen) and asparagus in the spring, before the Summer starts.

Dates: 12/05/18, 12/19/18, 01/02/19, 01/16/19, 01/30/19, 02/13/19, 02/27/19, 03/13/19, 03/27/19, 04/10/19, 04/24/19, 05/08/19, 05/22/19

Also, super early stages in a possible small-scale bread / baker / bakery collaboration for next year. Let me know your thoughts.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Asian Greens, 2nds
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Carrots
Celeriac
Leeks
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Burdock
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint
Turmeric

Staples
Popcorn

Thanksgiving get-together, sister’s new puppy, new puppy pees, picked-up puppy keeps peeing, clothes go into the washer, three pages of notes from the day go with it, momentarily confused ‘what’s this here after all the clothes are out?’ interjection, yellow owl-pellet thing sits staring, farmer finally realizes. ‘ha! i know what you are!’  Because, what wouldn’t this year try to drown? :) And what wouldn’t our wonderfully learned response be, but, ‘Ha!’

Thanksgiving get-together, sister’s new puppy, new puppy pees, picked-up puppy keeps peeing, clothes go into the washer, three pages of notes from the day go with it, momentarily confused ‘what’s this here after all the clothes are out?’ interjection, yellow owl-pellet thing sits staring, farmer finally realizes. ‘ha! i know what you are!’

Because, what wouldn’t this year try to drown? :) And what wouldn’t our wonderfully learned response be, but, ‘Ha!’

A Thanksgiving

A brown marmorated stink bug in the zen bowl. From time to time they have played random, solitary notes on the ukulele that hangs on the summer kitchen wall; but this is the first time they have ever rung the zen bell. Lunchtime, and it rang out … and so we do what one does, no matter who rings it.

A brown marmorated stink bug in the zen bowl. From time to time they have played random, solitary notes on the ukulele that hangs on the summer kitchen wall; but this is the first time they have ever rung the zen bell. Lunchtime, and it rang out … and so we do what one does, no matter who rings it.

2018 Week 47, Summer CSA Pick-up 25 of 26

What a gift we have in this institution of thanks-giving, because to me it feels too much — this giving of thanks — like a tool in the back of the barn that we had lost or hardly used, but when taken out now for the yearly planting of garlic, seems a thing we should maybe keep around. I mean, isn’t a true thanks-giving a lingering on what is present? And how much do we — by which I mean, I — live, or not live, in a hazy focus on what is absent?

And, so, of course, let me give more thanks to you. Thank you. Thank you!

And, also, I have been feeling an unexpected gratitude for the fields, who miraculously brought us this far — and further — despite their youth and a post-inundation lack of what the British farmers call ‘heart.’ Absence, of course; but, still, 25 weeks of presence.

It’s not a great shot, but this week is our best shot at getting the garlic in. And so if you don’t see me at pick-up on Wednesday, have a look around the corner, and hopefully I’m there putting the cloves to bed for the winter.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Asian Greens
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Carrots
Celeriac
Leeks
Radish, Winter
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Burdock
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint
Turmeric

Staples
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

A few of the 2019 beans. "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” There's more to it than that, but the quote came to mind as I unpacked some of the 2019 bean varieties for trial. I have 2018 videos (plural) where I walked the 25 varieties on trial and commented on their height, their color, their pod formation, and their overall health. They were really looking pretty good … before they weren’t, when the rains continued and the rot came on. But, gee, I sure am excited about the 2019 beans.

A few of the 2019 beans. "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” There's more to it than that, but the quote came to mind as I unpacked some of the 2019 bean varieties for trial. I have 2018 videos (plural) where I walked the 25 varieties on trial and commented on their height, their color, their pod formation, and their overall health. They were really looking pretty good … before they weren’t, when the rains continued and the rot came on. But, gee, I sure am excited about the 2019 beans.

Rain

How exciting! I didn’t do any of the work, but it’s still pretty cool to have farm honey. Some big farmers actually import hives to pollinate their early summer squash seedings, or their orchards, for that more common matter.

How exciting! I didn’t do any of the work, but it’s still pretty cool to have farm honey. Some big farmers actually import hives to pollinate their early summer squash seedings, or their orchards, for that more common matter.

2018 Week 46, Summer CSA Pick-up 24 of 26

After the last three, this new two inches of rain delays us a bit more in the planting of garlic. But a favorite farmer and early mentor of mine, way up in Zone 5 New York, just got his cloves in the ground, so we have some permissive leeway. I can double-check the gauge, but we are inching nearer to five feet of rain for the season, which means that we are nearly literally up to our eyeballs in it. I have visions of cousins standing shoulder-to-shoulder beneath the “you must be this tall to ride this ride” sign of total accumulation, and so pretty clearly showing the ridiculousness of the rain this year. For now, that mental image will have to do. Just wild.

We had a 17F low this past Sunday morning. With forecasts saying as much, I spent Saturday harvesting the winter radishes, turnips, carrots, and celeriac, as well as some Asian greens, leeks, and herbs. Most things on the farm seem to have made it through okay, though. I made a bit of a calculated risk, and did not harvest any extra lettuce, as I already had a bin extra after last week. It also looks pretty good in the field, which means that we — tentatively — should have lettuce all the way through to the end of “Summer.”

I will spend this pick-up working through the super-modified Winter CSA and end-of-summer bulk-buy plan. The latter of which would simply consist of bulk berries, garlic, roots, etc. for sale at the last pick-up, or the week or two beyond. Let me know your thoughts.

For those searching for further uses for your turmeric, try some golden milk. Don’t skip the black pepper, as it has been shown to be critical in the absorption of the more important compounds in turmeric. Also, note that the new ashwgandha & burdock go very well together in a slow-cooker decoction for when you come in from the cold. My favorite.

Stay cozy,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Asian Greens
Kale
Lettuce

Veggies
Carrots
Celeriac
Fennel, Bulb
Onion
Radish, Daikon
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter*

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Burdock*
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint
Turmeric

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Berseem clover prickles in the sunrise after a 17F low. I harvested a few crops early, before that night, just in case they didn’t make it …

Berseem clover prickles in the sunrise after a 17F low. I harvested a few crops early, before that night, just in case they didn’t make it …

I reckon the standard farm penalty for complaints regarding the digging of carrots, should be the digging of burdock. :) I took a record of leaf size, so I don’t forget in the future plan … because they’re big!

I reckon the standard farm penalty for complaints regarding the digging of carrots, should be the digging of burdock. :) I took a record of leaf size, so I don’t forget in the future plan … because they’re big!

‘Dazzling Blue Lacinato’ kale. I am trialing 8 varieties of kale for winter-into-spring cold-hardiness this year … plus a slew more next year. Although coming from a very similar genetic place as ‘Rainbow Lacinato,’ this ‘Dazzling Blue Lacinato,’ is a bit more stable in its variation, and just looks better to me. A nice new find. Lacinato types, in general, are not renowned for their cold tolerance, but they don’t do well with the spring bugs here either, so this variety, with its better cold-hardiness, gets them in the door. Great.

‘Dazzling Blue Lacinato’ kale. I am trialing 8 varieties of kale for winter-into-spring cold-hardiness this year … plus a slew more next year. Although coming from a very similar genetic place as ‘Rainbow Lacinato,’ this ‘Dazzling Blue Lacinato,’ is a bit more stable in its variation, and just looks better to me. A nice new find. Lacinato types, in general, are not renowned for their cold tolerance, but they don’t do well with the spring bugs here either, so this variety, with its better cold-hardiness, gets them in the door. Great.

Bedtime

Bedtime — the not quite sleeping, but the farmer reads the fields to sleep — time. That chicory was lush all year.

Bedtime — the not quite sleeping, but the farmer reads the fields to sleep — time. That chicory was lush all year.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Asian Greens
Kale
Lettuce
Spicy Mix

Veggies
Carrots
Celeriac
Fennel, Bulb
Onion
Radish, Daikon
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Salad

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha*
Chives & Garlic Ch.
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint
Turmeric

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

2018 Week 45, Summer CSA Pick-up 23 of 26

We end the growing year as we began it, with some beautiful rains to manhandle the schedule. As I have noted in the past, the last thing we do on the farm each year is really the first thing we do for the next. Should the fields dry in time, garlic goes in the ground next week, starting our 2019 planting schedule. Two months later, everything else starts rolling in the greenhouse with the new onion seeds, the spring broccoli family crops, and the perennial herbs and flowers. But we all have our winter first — amen. And so it really does feel like bedtime on the farm, right now. Or story time …

You would not be surprised to hear that I talk to the fields around this time of year, thanking them, encouraging them, promising good treatment in exchange for good vegetables. And also talking of my dreams. Really, I am buttering them up … because after one goes through the checklist of soil remediation and science, one feels a little empty without a little heart-to-heart. And what the heart feels is thankfulness, but also a kind of powerlessness. My favorite sailor, Bernard Moitessier — on his way to winning the first round-the-world Golden Globe race, before he decided he would rather sail through the South Pacific than arrive at the finish — wrote, “People who do not know that a sailboat is a living creature will never understand anything about boats and the sea.”

How much more so — and more obviously so — for a farm, which has all the halyards and sails of a boat in its beaminess. I can’t imagine a sailor — especially one with a heart like his — feeling powerful in his boat. But thankful, yes. And alive, and blessed, and challenged. And so it is with these fields and our yearly circumnavigation.

Which brings us back to the garlic. The annual planting of garlic, as a bedtime ritual — in a mode of being that the frenzy of summer can never conjure — always feels like a benediction. Bulb by bulb.

See you on the farm,
Austin

The appropriately named “Assassin bug” does what s/he does with a wasp.

The appropriately named “Assassin bug” does what s/he does with a wasp.

A photo from a month back, but on the same theme of insect-insect interactions. A tobacco hornwoom after the parasitic wasps had their way. Two cocoon silk sacks remain. No touching on my part; this was as I found it.

A photo from a month back, but on the same theme of insect-insect interactions. A tobacco hornwoom after the parasitic wasps had their way. Two cocoon silk sacks remain. No touching on my part; this was as I found it.

Honey

Atelier Farm co-farmers …

Atelier Farm co-farmers …

2018 Week 44, Summer CSA Pick-up 22 of 26

If you did not hear at the last distribution, we have honey available from the bees this year. For all who put their name on the list, but did not pay — and for those who did not hear, but now want a jar — you may come with $10/jar, cash, and I can place your order with our beekeeper, Adam. A jar is 16oz. of raw, straight from the farm honey. How exciting! Perfect with the dried winter tea, or on bread with butter. Mmmmm … Once I have all the logistics nailed-down with Adam, this will be a regular part of the CSA. For now, though, it is an add-on. Thanks for understanding.

There is more ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass to freeze, if you are into that. Most will start to go bad in the next week or so, so grab it while you can. Lemongrass bulb freezes really well when cut into small discs. Just sprinkle a handful of those, frozen, into your next Thai meal at cooking, and it will be just like the fresh thing.

A quick note this week, but I think mostly because this season leaves me dumbstruck. A quote, then — "It is easier to include the universe in a word than in a sentence" — for a word like ‘Autumn.’

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Bok Choy*
Kale
Lettuce
Spicy Mix

Veggies
Carrots
Celeriac
Fennel, Bulb
Onions
Radish, Daikon*
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Salad

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Chives*
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint
Turmeric

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Passage

Up and sideways with the wind. Even in death, okra is quite beautiful.

Up and sideways with the wind. Even in death, okra is quite beautiful.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Arugula
Kale*
Lettuce
Spicy Mix
Tokyo Bekana*
Yukina Savoy*

Veggies
Bean, Soy
Carrots
Celeriac*
Fennel, Bulb
Onions
Sunroot*
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Salad
Winter Squash*
& Thai Winter Melon*

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Chives, Garlic*
Cilantro
Dill
Fennel, Leaf
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint*
Turmeric

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers — last week’s leftovers, and then we’re done for the year.

2018 Week 43, Summer CSA Pick-up 21 of 26

I do have to say that, from a farmer’s perspective, in an unimaginably long but beautiful race, frost is a like a finish line you don’t get to see until you cross it. And we had frost! — 31F Friday morning, and 27F this morning — which means there must still be some indentation in the field where I collapsed to the grass and sprawled, unmeasurably grateful. It is nearly impossible to describe the gratefulness that a farmer feels for fall.

As I mentioned to some last week, for this particular year, it also feels a bit like a mercy killing for an old, tired horse who had seen too many miles. But I am uber pumped about a new nutrient regimen next year, including, among other more foundational things, what I thought was just a brilliant, great new idea, but is also probably old as dust, and in Korean Natural Farming circles turns-out to be called “Fermented Plant Extract.” You know, a nitrogen-fixing, deeply-rooted-nutrient-pumping, plant-aromatic producing living mulch walkway mowed into a bag, fermented with a bit of rock dust and effective microbes, and reapplied at the root zone with more biology and bioavailability. Maybe, maybe not … but we shall see.

That cucurbit — cucumber / squash family — you saw growing outside the greenhouse was my friend’s Thai Winter Melon, from seed straight from Thailand this February, and is in the share this week. It is perfect in a soup with broth, carrots, garlic, and onions — and hot peppers if you like it that way. I also harvested the compost pile’s Winter Squash before frost, as I had to mow this year’s true crop down and would otherwise have had none for you. The fall Carrots are starting to come in, including ‘Dolciva,’ which was first to mature last fall as well, is one of the best at the end of winter, and should probably just be the farm’s mainstay variety. While I am into roots, I will grab one of the beds of Celeriac, and some of the Sunroot, too.

Sunroot at this time of the year has a fair amount of inulin, which is a non-caloric carbohydrate digested by your microbiome, but not you, potentially resulting in stomach pain and methane offgassing. To put it politely. I have heard of two techniques to correct that matter: slow cooking, and time in cold temperatures, might convert inulin into a more digestible, simpler sugar. So, take note, and maybe don’t make a whole dinner of it just yet.

Lastly, for those of you who asked what to do with the Fennel: Roast it, cut it into salads, use the tops for tea, or read what a real chef says.

I hope you all are well,
Enjoy this cooler weather, &
See you on the farm,
Austin

Maybe just a contrail, but breathy all the same. And what a breathy day!

Maybe just a contrail, but breathy all the same. And what a breathy day!

A wee bit of the willys came over me as I dug the sweet potatoes and found these last week. But it was true that we had no rodent damage on the roots this year. The very first time I ever found snake eggs, they were in the wood-shaving box of a composting toilet, in a pile of some 20 of them, and that really kind of got me thinking …

A wee bit of the willys came over me as I dug the sweet potatoes and found these last week. But it was true that we had no rodent damage on the roots this year. The very first time I ever found snake eggs, they were in the wood-shaving box of a composting toilet, in a pile of some 20 of them, and that really kind of got me thinking …

Cultivation

‘Cherokee Long’ popcorn, with some maybe bad but definitely beautiful streaking of the kernels.

‘Cherokee Long’ popcorn, with some maybe bad but definitely beautiful streaking of the kernels.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Arugula
Bok Choy
Komatsuna
Lettuce
Spicy Mix

Veggies
Bean, Snap*
Bean, Soy*
Carrots
Fennel, Bulb*
Okra
Onions
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Salad*

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Thai
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint
Turmeric

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

2018 Week 42, Summer CSA Pick-up 20 of 26

What a transportation this new weather has been. It’s hard to believe that I am on the same farm as last week, with cool greens to harvest in the morning, and a pile of crops to gather before the first frost. The farm sometimes — and I wish I knew which-times — runs up to 7 degrees colder at night than the forecast, which means this Thursday (36F) or Sunday (32F) could bring the fall’s first frost.

I am in full harvest mode with the cold-sensitive crops — like sweet potatoes, ginger, turmeric, ashwagandha, fennel, lemongrass, and hot peppers — though most of those can take a light frost before they bow out to a hard one. If anyone is particularly interested in freezing ginger or turmeric, let me know, as the technical term for the quantity we have is “oodles.”

To harvest the sweet potatoes, I broadfork the bed, which is just what I do to decompact it prior to planting. The symmetry wasn’t lost on my body, which reminded me that I did the exact same thing, in the exact same place, four months ago. Realizing this, I heard myself mumble, “Numberless perils,” halfway conjuring the lines: “Round the world! There is much in that sound to inspire proud feelings; but whereto does all that circumnavigation conduct? Only through numberless perils to the very point whence we started …” Said Melville, in ‘Moby Dick.’

Cultivation. That’s the point of all this farming. We plant our seeds, we tend, we harvest, we watch the coming frosts wash the year away, we rest, and then, rounding the cape, we do it all again. Because it permits and inspiries — and sometimes even demands — our own cultivation. I thought, as the sunset and I brought in the sweet potatoes. Work, rest, and cultivation.

See you on the farm,
Austin

How do you spell unbelievable? This is the first year I’ve grown ‘Murasaki’ sweet potato, and really couldn’t believe the color when I unearthed the first one. The fresh washing makes them shine, so they might dull by the time you get to them, but there’s no image processing or editing here, aside from a crop.

How do you spell unbelievable? This is the first year I’ve grown ‘Murasaki’ sweet potato, and really couldn’t believe the color when I unearthed the first one. The fresh washing makes them shine, so they might dull by the time you get to them, but there’s no image processing or editing here, aside from a crop.

What a rough afternoon, digging those sweet potatoes in a fresh breeze and a new autumn sun. Someone’s got to do it, though … / If you remember, it was a cold spring in the southeast, and our North Carolina sweet potato slip grower was several weeks late in getting them up to us. Also, we got 4 feet of rain this summer. The harvest felt fair as I went along, but the numbers don’t lie. Last year we averaged 165lbs per bed; this year, 80lbs. So interesting …

What a rough afternoon, digging those sweet potatoes in a fresh breeze and a new autumn sun. Someone’s got to do it, though … / If you remember, it was a cold spring in the southeast, and our North Carolina sweet potato slip grower was several weeks late in getting them up to us. Also, we got 4 feet of rain this summer. The harvest felt fair as I went along, but the numbers don’t lie. Last year we averaged 165lbs per bed; this year, 80lbs. So interesting …

Because for the first time in a while my camera’s working, why not add another? ‘Cherokee Long’ again, with a few ears looking particularly glassy this year. These aren’t quite dry enough yet, so it will be just a bit before they are out for popping.

Because for the first time in a while my camera’s working, why not add another? ‘Cherokee Long’ again, with a few ears looking particularly glassy this year. These aren’t quite dry enough yet, so it will be just a bit before they are out for popping.

Autumn

‘Emerald’ okra gets to be mighty tall — maybe 11 feet for this one. Out in the morning for harvest, I had not noticed the moon until it caught my eye on the way up to the okra. Speaking of which: This season always brings to mind Italo Calvino’s, ‘The Distance of the Moon,’ which, back in mythological time, was approachable by boat.  Liev Schreiber reads.

‘Emerald’ okra gets to be mighty tall — maybe 11 feet for this one. Out in the morning for harvest, I had not noticed the moon until it caught my eye on the way up to the okra. Speaking of which: This season always brings to mind Italo Calvino’s, ‘The Distance of the Moon,’ which, back in mythological time, was approachable by boat. Liev Schreiber reads.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Arugula*
Bok Choy
Lettuce
Spicy Mix*
Yukina Savoy*

Veggies
Carrots
Okra
Onions
Pepper, Sweet
Sweet Potatoes

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Basil, Holy
Basil, Thai
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Mint*
Turmeric*
Ginger*

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

2018 Week 41, Summer CSA Pick-up 19 of 26

It was 91F this weekend, which I checked the weather station to discover — when I wondered about my “let’s just catch my breath a moment” slugishness. It looks like we’re reverting to the mean, though, with the forecast calling for highs in the low to mid 60s next week. The heat has not been kind to the lettuce, but all of the other greens have taken off — Bok Choy, Yukina Savoy, Arugula, and a Spicy Mix will complement the lettuce that I did grab from bolted and bolting, but still fine tasting, plants. Field notes include, “Summer lettuce in the fall. No fall lettuce in the fall!”

I harvested some of the ginger and turmeric yesterday, and it looks great. I left the wispy roots on the bottom of the turmeric because, to me, they taste almost candied in their own right. Give them a try. If you take some of either in excitement, but never get a chance to use it in a dish … before it goes bad, put it in the freezer. Because our temperate season is not long enough to grow these two crops to full maturity, they are considered “young” ginger and turmeric, and so will not keep or dry especially well. They freeze, though!

I am still discerning the timing on the fall broccoli-family crops. The second and later round looks good, at the moment, with various kales coming in. More greens — I know — but un-devoured by harlequin bugs is a step in the right direction. This week I identified a collection of new, winter-hardy kales to try for next year — ‘Alive Vates’, ‘Western Front’, ‘Lofthouse’s Hardy Kale Grex’, and ‘Beedy’s Camden’, this last of which is out in the field right now, and is first to the pole among its current competitors. A cold-hardy kale picks longer into the winter, and will give a bit of regrowth before bolting in the spring. I should also give ‘Russian Hunger Gap’ a go, which is noted for its slow-bolt-ness, but needs some work on its overwintering (Nature and Nurture Seeds in Ann Arbor, MI — where I used to farm — is working on that one.)

One final geeky but very interesting note. I finished my cold-hardy kale list because I stumbled onto “Lofthouse’s Hardy Kale Grex” while researching the possibilities of an Atelier Farm tomato. The start of that work might be some many years down the road — one thing at a time — but this year made me increasingly interested in a landrace population for the farm. Joseph Lofthouse — of the above-named Kale — has some very good explanations on cytoplasmic male sterility, and promiscuous pollination and landrace tomatoes. Easier than writing it all out myself, and super interesting.

Be well,
See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: The CSA sign-ups go public now, so sign-up for / let me know if you’re interested in next year while we have room.

They weren’t all this big — and I eventually broke these up to be more consumable — but obviously some were. I jump-started them in trays in the greenhouse earlier this year, but these grew outside, without plastic,  au naturel, en plein air,  etc. Now for consistency — because if they were all like this.

They weren’t all this big — and I eventually broke these up to be more consumable — but obviously some were. I jump-started them in trays in the greenhouse earlier this year, but these grew outside, without plastic, au naturel, en plein air, etc. Now for consistency — because if they were all like this.

Little wins

Turmeric being turmeric. I think of  canyon wave striations  …

Turmeric being turmeric. I think of canyon wave striations

2018 Week 40, Summer CSA Pick-up 18 of 26

The fall weather feels pretty good, here on the farm. A breeze came in and out as I picked the raspberries yesterday, and I heard myself call it ‘refreshing.’ Imagine that, weather that’s refreshing! It beggars belief in these mid-80 days, but we are three weeks to the average first frost — last year it nipped the beans and basil on October 26th, right on schedule. Some crops like it cold — the rutabagas and carrots get sweeter — but most, not so much. I will be pulling in the lemongrass, sweet potatoes, ginger, and turmeric over the next few weeks. Today I hope to get into the sweet potatoes and lemongrass for this week’s pick-up, so ‘hip hip.’ But while we have this good heat, I will let the turmeric and ginger size-up just a little bit more.

In the midst of so much failure this year, the successes are down right beatific. The Asian greens, to wit. Yesterday morning I harvested the Bok Choy and Vitamin Green, and there was much smiling while I hauled in their green glory. Little wins.

The last of the summer crops are drawing to a close. Tomatoes — this 4th and final planting — have mostly run their course. The cherries might produce for a week more. I harvested all the final sweet peppers — mostly green — and will mow their plants in shortly. The okra will continue until frost, but their production greatly slows with the cooler days and nights. I meant to get a photo of their 10-12 foot height, and the humor of harvesting that high — next time.

In conversation with a member last week, I noted that one can reserve a spot in the CSA for next year with 25% down, and still have until the end of December to get the 10% off that comes with full payment … should that make a difference. No pushing, but note that in a week or two I open the CSA to outside interest.

See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: As I finish this note, I see a small animal just outside the farm fence. It looks like a big cat, maybe a fox … but it almost seems smaller than a fox. It’s in tall’ish grass, and too far to see, though. Through my binoculars, it becomes clear. A dark-furred, very baby deer. :)

Expected Harvest

Greens
Bok Choy*
Vitamin Green*
Lettuce

Veggies
Carrots
Celery
Okra
Onions
Pepper, Sweet
Sweet Potatoes*
Tomatoes

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Basil, Holy
Basil, Thai
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass*
Mint*

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

A monarch on some old Tithonia. I’ve added a yellow Tithonia to the list for next year, among 32 new varieties for species new and old.

A monarch on some old Tithonia. I’ve added a yellow Tithonia to the list for next year, among 32 new varieties for species new and old.

Wet and Dry

Wet and Dry

Seeds

I kept pulling gloves out of the bin as I searched for a lefty. Two-to-One. What happened? :)

I kept pulling gloves out of the bin as I searched for a lefty. Two-to-One. What happened? :)

2018 Week 39, Summer CSA Pick-up 17 of 26

Gabriel Garcia Marquez made it rain for four years, eleven months, and two days … but that was in a novel he wrote. This year we’re getting the real thing, novellic as it all may be. We had some lettuce in the greenhouse, growing much too large as it waited for the fields it could not move to. So, on a trial Hail Mary yesterday, that lettuce ensconced itself into old bean beds which had previously been mowed to a thin mulch. It might have been too late, but let’s hope not. That odd string of mid-90s days at the start of September bolted the first fall lettuce — remember, lettuce is a shoulder season crop that does not like the heat. Although I would normally mow that down, some of you have been antsy, so I gathered the bit that I could. A month of plantings awaits after that, plus whatever comes from the new transplants. On the rest of the greens front, Chard is out, but the Asian Greens are in. I harvested some Komatsuna and Tokyo Bekana on Monday, with Bok Choy to follow next week, and Tatsoi, Vitamin Green, and Yukina Savoy the week after that. I will narrow down the varieties in 2019, based upon my and your preferences.

Summer 2019 News!

  • I put together the 2019 Grow List / Year-in-Review. You are welcome to have a look if you are are curious about some of the farm details. If anyone wants a walk-and-talk of the farm and farm plan, we can also schedule that for some near Saturday this fall. It’s always fun for me to explain the agricultural questions this farm is asking.

  • Summer CSA

    • As a heads-up, I will be putting the Summer CSA up for sale to the wait list / general public beginning in October. You have a head start. :) If you are interested in next Summer, you may either sign-up online, or let me know in person.

    • Due to low market sales from low yields this year, I would appreciate a 25% downpayment for seeds and materials — upcoming costs include $5000 for seeds, $5000 for materials, $5000 for orchard continuation. Most of that needs to be purchased in the next few months, though the orchard -could- wait another year. The bank account isn’t zero, but it’s getting there. :)

    • Get 5% off your total with 50% down, or 10% off with 100% down … in cash, before December 31st, 2018.

    • One will be considered “signed-up” after some kind of downpayment. Again, necessity, not preference, pushes that requirement this year. “Some kind of,” means we can figure this out.

    • I am preliminarily limiting the CSA to 25 shares = 50 Adults — we sold 20 shares this year, with an “average” 15 showing each week. That’s the early limit. As the spring moves along, though, I will have a better sense as to whether I can up that to 30 shares. I’d like to.

    • The $20/adult/week price is staying still for 2019. 2020 prices might be higher due to: 1) the fact that $23-$24 went out for $20 in when 2018 was such a bad farming year, 2) an orchard — namely blackberry & strawberry — production increase in the future, and 3) some expected impact on the acutal $/adult/wk and % show/wk numbers from the introduction of Farm Bucks — see below — which will likely cut off the lower end of the curve and move it right — i.e., less light eaters, more big eaters, more often.

  • Farmstand: I will likely be dropping the Farmers’ Market next year in favor of a Farmstand. Woot!

    • It gives me more time to focus on the farm.

    • You get a better “I missed Wednesday” option.

    • Neighbors who just want some corn and tomatoes, not a CSA share, can get that.

    • Not everything will go out for sale, but all the perishable post-CSA leftovers — greens, herbs, flowers, veggies like tomatoes, etc. — plus a set-aside quantity of non-perishable items, like carrots, beets, etc. The remainder I have to save to keep the CSA happy. :)

    • Tentatively, Thursdays, 3-7pm. Let me know if there’s an obviously better day & time. This is the CSA pick-up back-up.

    • This is a 2019 trial, as the future could also simply entail someone live fermenting / pickling all leftovers for the winter, while I dry the herbs, freeze the fruit, and sell-off the flowers. But that would mean no back-up for the CSA, and no accommodation to the ‘corn & tomato’ neighbor.

    • I could imagine a future possibility in which the farmstand might be closed to all but Farm Bucks folks — 1) this limits strange strangers, 2) this helps to assure there’s something remaining for those who pay early. I don’t suspect high market demand early on, though.

  • Farm Bucks are new for 2019.

    • In essence, buy farmstand coupons at a discount, spend them as you wish.

    • Is the CSA too much food, too much money, too much on your schedule? Come to the farmstand as you like, but still support the farm.

    • This also helps with the Market to Farmstand transition on my end.

    • I’m still imagining the particulars of the implementation, but the gist is there.

    • $95 for $100 in Farm Bucks — that’s 5% off. Or $180 for $200 in Farm Bucks — that’s 10% off.

    • They expire one year after purchase, with discretionary extensions.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Asian Greens*
Lettuce*

Veggies
Carrots
Celery
Okra
Onions
Pepper, Sweet
Potatoes
Tomatoes

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha
Basil, Holy
Basil, Thai
Cilantro*
Dill
Garlic
Hot Pepper
Mint*

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

Heavy winds, tall plants, big mess. :) The Jerusalem artichoke do their late summer thing.

Heavy winds, tall plants, big mess. :) The Jerusalem artichoke do their late summer thing.

Slosh

So many clouds to notice in this weather!

So many clouds to notice in this weather!

2018 Week 38, Summer CSA Pick-up 16 of 26

Fall starts next week, and so what an appropriate close to the summer this rain has been. It would almost feel wrong to leave it with anything less than a 2-inch week … which we have had. It was pretty sloshy picking raspberries in the rain today, but it was windy too, which made it more adventure than routine. I hope you all are dry — or, if wet, warm like me, which has been a pretty cozy and spirited way to take in this much water, I have found.

As before, the raspberries are frozen, so as not to give you wet berry goo. We have an abundance of cherry tomatoes, which are great for hot-pop pasta — garlic, onions, hot pepper, sweet pepper in a skillet, then add a few cherry tomatoes cut in half, but a preponderance of uncut fruit, which are fun to pop in your mouth, warm and sweet. Celery is on the list for another week or two longer, so make note.

I have been working on the 2019 plan, and entering-in 2018 data as I go. I have most of the summer in, and it is good — truly — to be able to sit with the numbers, which are so much more useful than speculation. Per those numbers, the farm produced at 20% this year, a 60% reduction from last year. Wow! Something of a wipe-out. So far, though, we’ve managed $23/adult/week out for the $20 that came in. So, good news and bad news.

I am working on a “Thank you for your endurance, here’s the next summer’s discount” plan. I, of course, am also walking, looking, staring, reading, and questioning all I can to make sure that it all doesn’t happen again — should such an anomalous summer repeat itself.

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

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard

Veggies
Carrots
Celery
Okra
Onions
Pepper, Sweet
Potatoes
Tomatoes, Large & Small

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha, dried
Basil, Holy
Basil, Thai
Dill
Garlic
Hot Pepper, Fresh & Dried
Mint, of some kind
Scallions
Shiso
Sorrel

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

I was trying to disentangle the interaction between two variables — this farm, this year — when compared to past years. 100% is what I’ve done in the past on other farms, when looking at ‘Percent of Crop Goal’ as either pounds/row-foot/week x % weeks available, or lb/row-foot total for bulk crops. Blue is the wet 2018, Green is the friendlier 2017. Crops are sorted by 2017 % goal, low to high. Aside from Garlic, Snap Beans, and Chard, everything did worse this year. And when compared to expected goals, obviously not very well.  I only sold 40% of goal yield to the CSA, thinking that was a fair enough buffer, after looking at the 2017 numbers and upping plantings appropriately, and understanding that the soil — just the second year working on it — was at maybe 50-60% capability. I also cover cropped extensively, continued to amend according to soil tests, and adjusted crop spacing for better yields. Again, in a normal year, we should have been somewhere close to 60%.  Twice as many summer squash went into the field this year, but that that gave only 1/3 as many fruits … meaning 1/6th as much productivity. Cucurbits — squash family crops — were hit especially hard by the weather, with winter squash & watermelon at 0%, cucumbers at 16%, and summer squash at 17%. And though there were varietal winners — ‘DMR 401’ and ‘General Lee (F1)’ cucumbers lived while everything else died — and we will use them all in the future, the real work will be to improve the chemistry > physical structure > biology > ecology of the soil to improve crop health. See the far compost pile photo for a tantalizing counterpoint.  In short, 1) the farm was running at 20% this year, which was 2) a 60% reduction from last year, meaning 3) the rain was pretty gnarly, and 4) it’s the farm’s fault we’re at 50 percent, but the rain’s fault we were at 20 … momentarily excluding any thought of farm-rain interactions, and using words like ‘fault.’

I was trying to disentangle the interaction between two variables — this farm, this year — when compared to past years. 100% is what I’ve done in the past on other farms, when looking at ‘Percent of Crop Goal’ as either pounds/row-foot/week x % weeks available, or lb/row-foot total for bulk crops. Blue is the wet 2018, Green is the friendlier 2017. Crops are sorted by 2017 % goal, low to high. Aside from Garlic, Snap Beans, and Chard, everything did worse this year. And when compared to expected goals, obviously not very well.

I only sold 40% of goal yield to the CSA, thinking that was a fair enough buffer, after looking at the 2017 numbers and upping plantings appropriately, and understanding that the soil — just the second year working on it — was at maybe 50-60% capability. I also cover cropped extensively, continued to amend according to soil tests, and adjusted crop spacing for better yields. Again, in a normal year, we should have been somewhere close to 60%.

Twice as many summer squash went into the field this year, but that that gave only 1/3 as many fruits … meaning 1/6th as much productivity. Cucurbits — squash family crops — were hit especially hard by the weather, with winter squash & watermelon at 0%, cucumbers at 16%, and summer squash at 17%. And though there were varietal winners — ‘DMR 401’ and ‘General Lee (F1)’ cucumbers lived while everything else died — and we will use them all in the future, the real work will be to improve the chemistry > physical structure > biology > ecology of the soil to improve crop health. See the far compost pile photo for a tantalizing counterpoint.

In short, 1) the farm was running at 20% this year, which was 2) a 60% reduction from last year, meaning 3) the rain was pretty gnarly, and 4) it’s the farm’s fault we’re at 50 percent, but the rain’s fault we were at 20 … momentarily excluding any thought of farm-rain interactions, and using words like ‘fault.’

Some of the cover crops come in. Buckwheat and Tillage Radish predominate, with just a bit of Austrian Winter Pea poking through. I shall edit those ratios in the future to get a little more nitrogen fixation.

Some of the cover crops come in. Buckwheat and Tillage Radish predominate, with just a bit of Austrian Winter Pea poking through. I shall edit those ratios in the future to get a little more nitrogen fixation.

One of the experimental subjects escaped containment this year. This is Pearl Millet. It was in a biculture with soybean for a late summer in-situ mulch to roll-kill. It was slow to grow in the spring, so worried that it would be in the way of the fall crops, I mowed and tilled it in before planting. … but not all of it! And boy did it grow this summer once the heat came on. Some of it got to six feet, and started to think about spreading seed.

One of the experimental subjects escaped containment this year. This is Pearl Millet. It was in a biculture with soybean for a late summer in-situ mulch to roll-kill. It was slow to grow in the spring, so worried that it would be in the way of the fall crops, I mowed and tilled it in before planting. … but not all of it! And boy did it grow this summer once the heat came on. Some of it got to six feet, and started to think about spreading seed.

That’s a single winter squash plant coming out of a compost pile. Some of the leaves are close to three feet across. Three feet! ‘Genetic Potential’ is something I think about a lot.

That’s a single winter squash plant coming out of a compost pile. Some of the leaves are close to three feet across. Three feet! ‘Genetic Potential’ is something I think about a lot.

Sleep

End of the day. The  Tithonia  on the right are about eight feet tall. What does that make the sunroot / Jerusalem artichoke on the left?

End of the day. The Tithonia on the right are about eight feet tall. What does that make the sunroot / Jerusalem artichoke on the left?

2018 Week 37, Summer CSA Pick-up 15 of 26

These great rainy days who never wake; we sleep with them. And it is not hard at all to feel that we are still dreaming, as we move from mist to mist; that all the movements of our arms are like slow rivers who gather in the flowers, or the beans. I finished harvesting the raspberries just as it was too dark to see them anymore, and could not help but smile deeply at this certain kind of milestone: we have reached the point in the passage of the earth when both the sunrise and the sunset limit the hours that we can work. And how great to have this happen on a day who had neither, and so slept the whole way through — no sunrise, no sunset, just varying shades of fog.

I will be moving the raspberries straight from the fridge to freezer Tuesday morning, so expect them that way, especially as the Wednesday harvest will probably also be wet. The sweet peppers are on their way out with the summer, the okra will slow as the temperatures cool, this week’s chard is a little light, and that lovely fourth generation of tomatoes is likely to burst with the rain to come. I harvested “breakers” this morning, trying to beat the pop.

I saw a map this morning that generally listed our neck of the woods at greater than 300% of normal precipitation this summer. Too much rain + clay soil = a lack of oxygen -> the yields we saw this year. What might this coming hurricane do? There are five inches in the current forecast, on top of the 1.3 that just fell … but other models show 1 to 2 feet! I direct seeded the spinach and transplanted the fall lettuce, and put down cover crops last week. If we don’t wash away, all of the essential field work for the fall is done. Now we just tell the fields, “Hang in their Tiger,” and let what happens happen.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard

Veggies
Beans, Snap
Carrots
Celery
Okra
Onions
Pepper, Sweet
Potatoes
Tomatoes, Large & Small

Fruit
Raspberries

Herbs
Ashwagandha, dried
Basil, Holy
Dill
Garlic
Hot Pepper, Fresh & Dried
Mint, of some kind
Shiso
Sorrel

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

Holy Smoke. NOAA