So, Grassroots came and went and no rain! It’s the first time that I can remember that happening since I’ve been in the Ithaca area. But we got some today, and boy, did it feel good. I didn’t get a chance to check the rain gauge but when I went out to the field this afternoon, I checked the soil, and we definitely got a much-needed soaker. It was probably mostly in my head, but the plants looked significantly bigger this afternoon than when I was out in the field early this morning. They certainly looked a lot happier! We need a lot more days like today in the coming weeks but I’m not going to get greedy at this stage of the season. Although, I will admit that I looked at the 10-day forecast for the first time in a long time. Not sure if you saw this last week, but there was an article in the Ithaca Journal about the drought and how it’s effecting CSAs in the area.
I promised myself that I would limit writing about the downsides of the season this week. We all know that it’s barely rained and that we need more. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention The Great Woodchuck Purge of 2016. We continue to fight for our right to parrr-tayyy…. oops, I mean, fight for our vegetables. They may have won the Spring/early Summer battle but we are on the offensive and are seeing positive results in our efforts to win the war. I hope I’m around long enough to hear the ballads about this epic showdown.
Alright, so on to the really awesome positive things happening on the farm! I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but we really have an amazing group of students this semester. They spend an intense 2 months on the farm during the Summer and we ask a lot of them. Most are taking other classes or working along with this class and I couldn’t be more impressed with how well and how hard they all have worked. There’s always some type of adversity during a farm season because so much is out of our control and our students have rolled right along with it. One of the things that really impresses me about the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students, is the community that they build. We have folks from all different backgrounds, ages and experiences and they’ve really come together and formed a tight-knit group. There are 2 weeks left in their semester and I’m really proud of their growth. They just keep plugging away, working together to get everything done that needs to get done. This past week we continued to transplant, cultivate, water (the new term is crop savior), clear out the rest of our garlic, hand weed in the field, hill potatoes,
move rocks (lots of them), sucker and trellis tomatoes, fertilize, seed in the greenhouse and hand weed the ginger.
In addition to all of that work, we’ve had the opportunity to go on some great field trips. Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit the Wegmans Organic Farm in Canandaigua. Last week, we went to The Youth Farm Project in Danby and Shelterbelt Farm in Brooktondale. In between those two trips, we took a short visit to the American Legion in Danby, where 2 of our students are working on a demonstration garden plot where they will hosting farming/gardening workshops for Veterans.
On to this week’s CSA share! There will be garlic scapes, kale, chard and lettuce (aka, the staples), the last of the itty bitty, micro kohlrabi, and more basil. I’m hopeful that there will be enough cucumbers for at least 1 per share but we’ll have to see. There may also be some summer squash tomorrow. Our plants are starting to recover and are slowly starting to produce and our good friends over at Main St Farms may have a surplus. Another new item for tomorrow will be single serving cabbages. Now that all the broccoli has been eaten by the woodchucks, they are starting to move in on the cabbage. If we leave it in the field any longer, there may not be any left. The other new item for tomorrow will be….. the first maters of the season!!! I’m not sure how they will divide up yet but there are both heirloom and cherry tomatoes ripening in the hoophouse. There are also u-pick herbs available. It always seems like such a long wait for the first tomatoes but it is oh, so worth it. To fully appreciate locally grown tomatoes, I always enjoy sliced tomatoes with a little salt and a really good fresh bread, especially with the heirlooms. Throw in the fresh basil and now we’re talking next level kind of stuff. Drizzle a little balsamic and you’ll be in tomato eating heaven.
Until next time!!