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Farm Update, May 19, 2017

It’s the eve of our first ever pick your own strawberry event and I feel like this is a milestone.  I just walked in from the farm in soggy clothes from sweat and rain. It was a hot one today out in the sun gathering up firewood from the trees that were knocked down into the field during the last storm.  Then getting caught in a downpour while mowing which I thought would pass quickly but just kept getting heavier.  Then the sun came out and a rainbow appeared and it turned into a gorgeous evening. I circled the pasture and noticed an old snapping turtle on the top of the hill grazing on clover and not minding me a bit.  I respected his space and named him Ferdinand. I couldn’t help but think the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  It’s pretty darn green right here. I looked at Ferdinand and he at me.  Agreed. I sat on top the hill at the picnic table that we just repositioned to overlook the strawberry patch and drank a beer.  I believe we are ready.

I say this is a milestone because there is still a newness to this farm.  Last year was our first on the property which was a big step scaling up from five acres to sixty. This is our first year growing strawberries and our earlier, smaller variety, ‘earliglow’, is outstanding. I don’t think you can beat it. And although this is our 30th year selling farm fresh produce along the roadsides of Montgomery County, Maryland, this is our first year inviting everyone out to the farm to come and pick there own and I hope that you do.

Things have been sailing relatively smoothly as we continued to plant our warm weather veggies such as tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and cucumbers.  We have the beds prepped and ready for some volunteers tomorrow to help us with planting basil.  We have uncovered the lettuce and kale. Begun staking tomatoes. Harvesting lots of mesclun mix, stir fry greens, arugula and one hundred flats of strawberries.  We believe there are another eighty flats ripe for the picking tomorrow.

In fact this week things were running so smooth I even found myself looking toward future years.  Over lunch with a neighboring farmer whose operation I drive past every day admiringly. I was encouraged and even began entertaining ideas of fruit orchards which have evaded and intimidated me up to this point because of the risk, up front expense, and lengthy amount of time in recouping our investment.  But at this moment with the grass fresh mowed, the beautiful evening, the tomato stakes and row covers patterning the horizon like sixteenth notes, and the rainbow landing right on our little red tractor barn anything is possible.
Farmer John

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