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Farm Update, June 2, 2017

This week at the farm we came to accept that the short and sweet season of the strawberry is winding down and moved onto to other tasks at hand such as staking and pruning tomatoes.  We also took advantage of a perennial herb sale or rather a sale of perennial herbs at Sharp’s Farm and staked out one of our more irregularly shaped plots and converted it into an herb garden. I can’t wait until next year to open a bottle of bordeaux while watching the sunset from a comfy adirondack surrounded by lavender and sunflowers. When you are out at the farm you could be just about anywhere in the world. There is a universality in the rows of vegetables and the deep chug of tractors, in the rolling hills and enormous sky, the cries of a hawk or flock of crows and the banter of the farm crew.  It’s far from traffic lights, social media, and rapid fire headlines. There are no manmade monuments save for silos, barns and windmills. I meandering through pasture, woods and streams with my jeep’s windows down listening to NPR on the way to work. I was thankful that the burden weighing on my mind was simply how many flats of strawberries we were going to pick today. It sometimes feels that all you need is a couple of sunny days to take the weight of the world and turn them into balloons floating away into a big blue sky.

This week in addition to strawberries we harvested lots of lettuce, kale, napa cabbage, bok choy, kohlrabi, and chard.  We picked lots of baby greens such as assorted lettuces, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, mustards, and kale and tossed it altogether to make a wonderful spring mix. The beginning of the week felt like doom and gloom as we battled slugs, clouds and rain.  But the end felt triumphant as the beans, sunflowers, squash, and cucumbers shot up and began trumpeting a few blossoms.

May has been so cloudy, wet and cool that many farmers are way behind.  We have someone that farms the areas of our property we do not currently have in cultivation.  It is about 25 acres.  It works out well for us and helps with nutrient management, soil conservation, crop rotation and a diversion for the deer.  This year he is planting soy but is late getting it in.  The reason is that the ground has been too wet and needed to dry out. “Plant in mud your crop’s a dudd,” he explained to me in old farmer rhymes and stressed the importance of not compacting the soil as we watched the tractor drilling seeds on its first pass.  We discussed last year how even though he took care of spreading lime, manure, and planting cover crop for us that he may still owe us a bit of money.  I thought of his cows and access to manure and thought maybe we can start a stockpile for compost which we can work into the ground late fall.  We shook hands and went to survey a nice flat area in the back corner of the farm where it can be dumped.  Ah the bartering life of a farmer.  That’s all this week folks.  Enjoy the food.

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