Early afternoon on a hot summer day I finally made it back out to the farm. I took my time walking row by row, plot by plot noticing all the progress since my last visit. We are about to begin trellising our blackberries and raspberries for next year. Strawberry plants have also been cut back and the clover established in the walking aisles is mowed. Greenbeans abundantly drape like tassles ready to be picked on our first planting from back in early May. We expect to harvest about 20 bushels on Monday. Tomatoes are all staked, loaded with fruit, and we are trellising the next wrung (we add a new string every time the plants grow six inches) . We will start picking cherry tomatoes next week. We are busy picking cucumbers and zucchini almost every day. This week we will harvest an acre of sweet onions and begin the curing process. Sunflowers are about to boom. Squash blossoms are making their way to the CSA and the stands on select days. Basil is lush and fragrant ready for market. Soon we will take a lettuce sabbatical, but start planting the next round for August harvest. We do this partially because of the summer heat, but also to budget our time and energy. We will need to concentrate on harvesting tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant and melons. In the coming weeks we will plant cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and broccoli which we will harvest beginning in late September. Already our pumpkins and fall squash are coming along nicely.
My favorite discovery on the farm was the adorable little watermelon which are soon to be very big, juicy watermelon. Eventually they will tip the scales at 25 to 30 lbs, but right now they are miniature yet proportionate versions of themselves about the size of an egg and I feel like Gulliver in the land of the Lilliputians as I discover the tiny watermelon beneath a canopy of leaves and the curled tendrils of vines.
One day on my way out to the farm I noticed our beekeeper, Jim Fraser, tending to his hives at the corner of 650 and Hipsley Mill Rd in Etchison. I have an affinity for this location because it used to be our operation base over twenty years ago. Jim surrounded by some twenty hives while in his beekeeping suit and cannisters of smoke, inspects drawers of bees dripping honey as we talk about when we will harvest ours and the special jars and labels we will use. I’ve been hearing about an adopt-a-hive business model which benefits the farmers, the beekeepers, and most of all the bees. In this business model a patron, “adopts” a hive by providing the finances for the upfront and maintenance expenses of setting up hives on the farm. In exchange the patron gets to name the queen, and receives a 5 lb jar of honey from their hive. At our farm Jim thinks we can host 18 hives. We are currently at 12, so I am hoping to increase our honey bee colony by eight. Stay tuned.
This coming week we will be celebrating the 4th of July with loads of fresh produce at the stands and CSA. I have a story I like to share every year about this time, back when we operated out of Jim Fraser’s spot in Etchison in fact. I love the fireworks, and cookouts, and the smell of fresh corn and cantaloupes and the busy lines at the markets. But every year when the cherries hit our tables I can’t help but think about Jon Deutsch and the Tower of Cherries… Enjoy. https://normansfarmmarket.com/farm-market-folklore-4/