It has been a great week here on the farm. We completed the final major spring transplanting sessions with a round of herbs and flowers planted Thursday evening. We interplant certain herbs and flowers with vegetable “friends” to help them with various pests. The technique of planting different combinations of vegetables, flowers, and herbs together for mutual benefit is called companion planting. Sometimes we know why we do it, for example marigolds are supposed to repel a harmful root eating nematode that harms tomatoes; and sometimes we don’t, we planted dill with cucumbers because” I read it somewhere, I’ve seen other farmers do it, and beside it tastes good!”
Friday evening we welcomed all newly transplanted plants into the field with a fertilizer mixture of ground fish, liquid calcium, and some liquid potassium (all nutrients we are short on in the field). We are especially excited about our fish fertilizer because we found a western North Carolina source. There is a company in Murphy that raises trout for food. They have recently added a fertilizer sides to the business to eliminate a waste stream. By the end of the evening we smelled like trout ourselves!
While we planted and prepared for summer crops we harvested another week of delicious spring greens. This week you will enjoy kale, swiss chard, baby spinach, head lettuce, and lettuce mix among other things. Remember, spring is the season to eat all the green you can, because before you know it they are out of season! Believe it or not, spinach is a finicky plant to grow. It lets you know when its happy and pouts when it is not. We are trying to keep it happy so that we can extend the harvest in this humid weather. Its harvest window is short and sweet like strawberries and asparagus. Enjoy!
Each season brings a new round of delicious vegetables and fruit, but unless you ship food cross country, it also marks the end of another food. The food industry has tried to convince us that this is a terrible hardship and that no one should go without tomatoes in December or lettuce in August. But eating in season ensures that you always get the best flavor as well as health. Why eat a January strawberry when the only indication that it’s a strawberry is that it looks like one?
There is an interesting article in the New Yorker a week or two ago about PepsiCo that a CSA member brought to our attention. The article goes into detail into how PepesiCo (a huge conglomerate that includes beverages such as Naked and Gatorade, food products like Quaker Oats brand and Frito Lay, as well as their more traditional sodas) is shaping our tastes for the future. PepsiCo is making food products with the express purpose of convincing us that they are what we should eat. They are dreaming of one day even manufacturing “quasi-medicinal” food products to improve our health! Just think one day we can be healthier because we eat the right PepsiCo product.
Until then, we hope you will enjoy our truly medicinal food made using only the finest sunlight, soil, water, and air available.
Your farmers, William and Marie
Every day around the farm now comes with several cleansing sweats. On Monday, Marie got a little taste of dizzying heat exhaustion after 2 ½ hours of hoeing weeds from kale plants. And it was only 10:45 am! Even William admitted to still feeling tired from the previous day’s unintended dehydration when we were harvesting veggies this morning.
Because of this uninviting heat, our schedules around the farm have shift slightly the past 2 days. During the 12:30-3 lunch “siesta”, we eat a healthy farm lunch, take a 15 minute power nap, make phone calls, box eggs, purchase animal feed at the mill and think of more projects outside! I’m even writing the newsletter now, instead of at 11 pm! After the siesta, we’ll check up on the farm animals and head back out for more garden work.
The life of a pea plant is ephemeral. T he vigorous vines twirl upward and the little tendrils unfurl, revealing delicate white flowers. Will Coffey, CSA member and volunteer extraordinaire, ate one of the first 3 peas that we harvested last Wednesday. We had to search hard for those first peas. Today, just one week later, we harvest 30 pounds of sugar snap peas from the plants! Enjoy them while you can- we don’t think there will be much of a harvest next week due to the suffocating heat killing the flowers.