On the way out to the farm I noticed loads of people picking blueberries at a neighboring “pick your own”. While on our farm this week we faced our fears and met our challenges head on. Last week I listed some of this season’s hinderances such as deer and erosion but I left out an important one, pollinators. Our farm manager noted very few bees on our vegetable blossoms which is necessary for the plants to produce. We speculated reasons for this and have heard many beekeepers describe how this was a hard winter and numerous bees perished. This week Jim Fraser of the Maryland Honey Co. set us up with six beehives on the farm. Jim teaches beekeeping courses for Montgomery County and supplies bees and materials to many local beekeepers. We’ve been selling Jim’s honey for at least a decade and he manages hives on many farms in the area.
Next I met with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to walk the farm and discuss the pressure we are feeling from all the deer. They provide special hunting permits to farms that are suffering from crop damage as a result. We’ve had major losses in lettuce and strawberries and basically given up on our baby greens for the time being which include mesclun, arugula, and a stir fry mix. The DNR granted our permit and we have lined up a couple hunters which also happen to be CSA members, who will act as our agents in culling the herd. Currently we are trying to line up a butcher to process the meat so we can provide to area food banks and fill our freezers.
While looking for the silver lining of this season I asked our farm manager for the good news. He said at least we are on the high ground. Our farm is somewhat hilly and we have planted our beds on the hilltops. Other flatter farms have really suffered from all the rain. I said I’ll take that. Our zucchini and cucumber plants are doing great and our tomatoes are sizing up nicely. I feel good that we are addressing our things head on and looking forward monitoring the results. Have a good week everyone.