We are in the final stretch of summer at the stands and I’ve got my sites set on Labor Day Weekend. Not because we have plans for some elaborate cookout or last hurrah weekend getaway. Rather it is because Labor Day is a landmark on the calendar which indicates we have made it through the crunch of peak harvest while operating four daily stands and managing a large crew of seasonal workers. This final crunch is stressful and feels a bit like being an astronaut re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. Almost there but in for a rough, turbulent ride. Every day we are losing key trained staff heading off to college or back to school, while hiring and training new staff to take their place and wondering how I’m going to cover the schedule. As we lose workers the rest of us pick up the slack. Saturday morning while unloading the trucks someone calls in sick, somebody else has an overuse injury, and yet another took a spill the previous day and is all aches and pains. We are becoming a rag tag bunch. The ship is definitely leaking, but as long as I can keep plugging the holes and make it to Labor Day we’ll be golden (I keep telling myself).
After Labor Day? Yes we are still open and distributing CSA shares don’t worry. Two of our markets will remain open daily while the other two go to weekends only because they are on school grounds. We will have a much smaller more manageable staff and our drivers (and unloader-ers) will stop burning it at both ends and we can catch our breath. The focus at the farm will start shifting toward clean-up and cover cropping as we continue to harvest and there will be light at the end of the tunnel and a sense of completion on the horizon. This has been a very good season and I’m not complaining, just a bit tired and looking forward to some much needed R & R.
At the farm this week we received some 17,000 strawberry plants to be planted in a 1 acre plot. We have prepared the bed and amended the soil with lots of organic matter to help the plants become healthy and established before becoming dormant during winter. This way when they re-emerge in the spring they will have a strong foundation and healthy root systems which will hopefully translate to good production.
This week we continued to harvest plenty of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant which should continue. We are in our last picking of cantaloupe though. Zucchinis, cucumbers, beans and sunflowers have been somewhat sparse however we are getting into a new patch and should see a new wave. Our lettuce is just a few weeks away and our fall cool crops of cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are looking good. We are noticing pumpkins developing on the vines as well. Sadly our basil did not do well this season based on it’s location in our crop rotation nor did our baby greens of salad, stir fry and arugula blends, however we are establishing a new bed for the latter and hope to be back into greens by mid-September. That’s all for now, have a great week everyone.