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Farm Update, April 28, 2017

Welcome to the opening week of our 30th Season.  I can’t believe it, yet at the same time yes I can.  A little over 30 years ago on a Sunday evening at my grandparents house in Potomac, our big brother home from his freshman year of college sitting at the dinner table as my grandfather asked us what we would do over the summer.  My uncle joined in the discussion explaining that back when he was a student he would drive out to a farm in Poolesville, negotiate pricing on products just picked and resell it out in front of Congressional Country Club.  My brothers’ ears perked up and they began asking him questions such as, “How much did you make? Where is this farm? How much did things cost?”  Next thing I remember there is a 1986 Ford Aerostar filled with corn, cantaloupes, peaches and tomatoes and a stack of plywood signs painted with stencils reading “Fresh Local Produce”.

Moving forward, there is a great deal we are excited to announce in kicking off our 30th Season. This is the first time we are producing strawberries and they are looking exceptional. We are launching our brand new home delivery program this week after mulling over the idea for several years and I think we have a great solution.  On May 1 we will also be going live with a brand new website which has been a true labor of love over this past winter.  We are transitioning over to new trucks to replace our 15 year old dinosaurs. So stay tuned, this should be a good year for us.  Here is what is going on with the farm.

We’ve had a warm April clear of frost which has allowed us to plant about a week ahead of schedule. Since late February our crew has been helping out at Sharp’s Farm in the greenhouses growing from seed.  We began in April transplanting our cool weather crops such as cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, chard and lettuce into our fields.  Also we transplanted about ten thousand sweet onions.  Each week we are direct seeding a mesclun mix, stir fry mix, beets, radishes, and arugula.  Our strawberries are loaded with blossoms and showing tons of fruit.  Looking ahead, next week we will plant our first tomatoes and peppers.
As for pressures, we have covered our lettuce and kale to protect them from deer and noticing some added benefit of them growing a bit faster and keeping the flea beetles away while under the thin white blanket.  We will need to do this on cucumbers and squash up until they blossom and need to be pollinated to keep the cucumber beetles off the young plants.  We have surrounded the strawberries with a solar powered electric fence also as a deterrent for deer and have treated them to prevent mildew and mold.  There is plowing, tilling, raising of beds, and laying of plastic as well as the setting up of irrigation.  Lots to do and it’s about to get busier.  Have a great week everyone.

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