Well folks, we made it! The start of the TC3 Farm CSA is here. It’s hard to believe, but we are embarking on our 5th season and I’m appreciative that you are taking this journey with us. We have a long way to go, but the farm has grown immensely since our first summer when it was me and a rototiller. It’s been a whirlwind start to the season. We broke ground about 3 weeks later than we usually do because of the cold wet spring we had and then things got unseasonably warm. Definitely a strange start to the season but we are doing our best to be resilient. There’s a great group of student interns this summer who have been working their tails off since they started at the end of May. We’ve been doing our best to get ourselves caught up. I don’t have an exact number but there are probably close to 20,000 plants in the ground already. I think we’re about a week behind at the moment and with all the uncertainties that come with farming, I’d say that’s pretty good. I could go on and on with all that we’ve been up to but that would take way too long. Some highlights so far for this season are: we have 25 varieties (700 plus plants) of beefsteak, cherry and heirloom tomatoes planted in the hoophouses, 1000 new strawberry plants got put in the ground and after last season’s complete onion failure (I don’t even want to get into it), there are 6000 onions, leeks and shallots in the ground and they are doing pretty good.
Well, here we are folks, the second to last CSA pickup of the 2017 season and the night before Halloween. The wind is howling this chilly night. Where I grew up the night before Halloween was known as Mischief Night. The only mischief I’m getting into these days is eating a few too many pieces of candy corn.
This past week, we checked off another item on our end of the season list. We got our garlic planted. Garlic is the one crop that we save seed to replant the following season. We sort our bulbs when we harvest them at the end of July and the largest most uniform bulbs are saved for seed.
I usually aim to plant garlic at the end of October, using Halloween as my guide. I was feeling like it would be good to get it in last week and I’m glad that I did. We got some serious rain Saturday night into this morning out on the farm. It made for a difficult harvest today, with our feet sinking in the mud. I can’t imagine it being any better later this week because of off and on rain in the forecast.
We’ve made it to the home stretch, folks. Week 19 of the CSA is upon us. There are 3 remaining weeks to the CSA season after this week. It’s been a roller coaster ride of a farm season that I’ll be sure to recap in the coming weeks.
But first, some farm updates. We finished getting the rest of the potatoes out of the ground last week. It definitely feels good to get a harvest like that done for the season. Potatoes aren’t one of the easiest of crops to harvest at the TC3 Farm. We really don’t grow enough potatoes to justify purchasing a potato harvester, so we dig our taters by using a digging fork. After loosening the soil with the forks, it’s on to our hands and knees to go searching for our “buried treasure”. It’s definitely a satisfying job but not always the easiest, especially when you have as many rocks in the field as we do.
After a beautiful weekend, today was the first real miserable day (mostly the morning) on the farm of the season. Even after all the wet weather we had this year, I can honestly say that. This was the kind of day that comes to mind when people comment to me on how awesome it must be to be working outside all the time. You know, that first really cold, wet kinda day. The one where your hands are really cold and they start to go numb while you harvest or do field work or wash veggies. Now, this isn’t a Puddles Pity Party, not in the least. I’m just saying that farmers work in all extremes to get done what needs to get done. And today that was harvesting.
The weeks keep rolling by as we get closer to the impending end of the season. The mornings are much cooler and darker when I start my day and I’m afraid that I’ll be adding more and more layers sooner than later. But the optimist in me is ever hopeful that we will have a resurgence of warm dry days. As Autumn quickly approaches, we shift gears a little to start to get ahead. With the uncertainty of the weather, we want to stay on top of getting crops out of the ground. Last week we got a jump on getting a chunk of our potatoes and carrots out of the ground. Most of our potatoes have died back (their tops of turned brown and are starting to wilt) and because they are planted near our tomatoes that have late blight, it’s hard to tell if they are diseased or not.
Welcome to the CSA members who are starting pickups for the Fall Only share!
This past week marked the start of a new semester and that means a new “crop” of students who are doing their internship at the TC3 Farm. The start of the fall semester is always an interesting time because I am in full on farm mode going 101 mph and then I have to come to a screeching halt to get new students up to speed. I appreciate the new energy on the farm but it always takes a little time for folks to get acclimated. But the work doesn’t stop and these fine young folks will get thrown into the deep end of the pool. Let’s hope they don’t sink ;). We spent the first class doing an in-depth farm walk to familiarize themselves with the farm. This week, it’s back to the grind of harvesting and field work.
A big thank you to the folks who came out to the farm over the weekend to help us do a little weeding. We had a great turnout and got through a bunch of beds.
Happy 4th of July!
I’m not exactly sure what happened to June but here we are. Things are rocking and rolling on the farm; transplanting, weeding and harvesting. This past week, we started planting our fall brassicas. It never ceases to amaze me that we plant our fall broccoli and cabbage before we start harvesting our spring plantings. We continued our weekly maintenance of our hoophouse and greenhouse tomatoes. The signs of summer are here because fruits are starting to form on the plants.