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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week 11 June 11-16

What a great week! We made pickles with Chef Andrew in the Burge Kitchen! Then Thursday, Friday and Saturday we were followed around by a camera man from Georgia Public Broadcasting for an episode of Georgia Outdoors. They are doing a show on old farms in Georgia. Ours has been in the same family since 1809 so it qualifies. They got a lot of footage of us weeding and harvesting as well as setting up and selling at market. The show won't air until September but when it does you'll be the first to know.

Harvest

Filling the harvest bins this week were; Okra (green and purple), Zinnia,  TOMATOES (cherries, hybrids and heirlooms), Squash, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Carrots, Pac Choi, Blackberries, Kale, Chard, Basil, Green Beans (Tons), Shishito Peppers, Perperocinis, Jalapenos, Potatoes, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Asian Salad Greens, and Green Onions. Phew!


Zinnias
Huge Brandywine


This happened a couple times this week. 
So many tomatoes

Shishito Peppers


Production and Distribution


In the CSA Box

-1#+ assorted Hierloom Tomatoes
-1 pint Cherry Tomato selection
-1# Summer Squash/Zucchini
-1# Cucumbers
-1# Chard/Kale/Choi Mix
-3/4 pint Blackberries
-1 bunch Carrots
-1 head Burge Heirloom Garlic
-1 Zinnia/Basil Bouquet





Cucumber 2nds getting washed


Our cucumber seconds went to the kitchen this week where we all helped Chef Andrew pickle them. Wednesday Kathy and I took the cucumbers over and helped wash and slice them. Thursday Jason and Daniel went to the kitchen to prepare the pickling mix and can them. We'll get to sample the pickles in two weeks. Kathy and I are already big fans of Chef Andrew's pickles. We eat last year's pickles almost every day with our PB&J for lunch.


Chef Andrew slicing on the mandolin
They sat over night in a lime/salt bath


This should make them crisp and ready to can by tomorrow


For market this week we made some gorgeous bouquets. They had Sunflowers, Globe Amaranth, Basil, Zinnias, Alyssum, and Celosia. They held up much better in travel than just taking stems. The bouquets are more labor intensive but they attract more attention and people get more excited about them and are willing to pay extra to have us do the work. 

Bouquet stations
Finish products










Market

Was awesome this week. We brought 22 separate items (which were hard to fit on the board) including over 300lbs of tomatoes. It was the most physical set up yet because there was just so much produce to unload and find a place for in our little tent. It was worth it though. We beat our all time market sales record by over $600. That ain't peanuts in this business. People were really excited about the heirloom tomatoes. We were actually a bit late to the tomato party at the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market but we're the only ones with a big selection of exciting heirlooms. Cory and I were both nervous about the sheer volume of produce we brought but we had surprisingly little left when the closing bell rang and a big restaurant pre-order at Farm Burger. It was the busiest market I've yet experienced. The first 30 minutes were hand-over-first cash-veggie-cash-veggie-cash craziness. After that it leveled off but never to a lull. It was a great day and it ended with a free bag of organic peaches from Watsonia Farms, our market neighbor across the aisle. 

Market offerings 
A true bounty









We also sold to Farmer's Fresh this week and filled our restaurant CSA with the Hyatt. This is a pretty cool deal. The Chef at the big Hyatt in town is a believer in local food and is working with the chain to get them to source more of their food locally. That's a huge shift for such a big corporation. It requires each hotel's staff to take more responsibility and be more creative with their menus. We have a deal with this Chef that works kind of like our CSA. He wrote us a big check at the beginning of the season and we give him a share of our harvest whenever we have enough extra to do him good. This week he got tomatoes, cucumbers, Kohlrabi, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes and a bunch more.

Maintenance

We did a ton of weeding this week starting with Main House Field first thing Monday morning and really never ending. The Strawberries in Hoop House 2 pooped out a few weeks back so we pulled them out and got those beds ready for planting. We also pulled the sunflowers out of Hoop House 4. 

Here is a brief History of those Sunflowers:


April 2nd, young transplants

May 7th, Teddy Bears are blooming but the tall ones are still short.
May 31st. After a month of production they are starting to wane
June 11. Rippin' em out.

Last stop, into the woods.

Oh, Deer!

Cory holding the electric fence that was broken and dragged.



The deer are out in force and have been munching on our foods. Thursday while we were weeding in Gus' field we saw proof. The field is surrounded on 3 sides by a 3 dimensional but short electric fence. One the 4th side is this 4' wooden fence with an electric fence wire running above it at about 6'. A deer had jumped the wooden fence but clotheslined himself on the wire, breaking the wooden support and the wire and dragging it halfway across the field. 


Deer prints, it looks like he was limping after his run-in with the fence


Because the deer had already gotten used to jumping the fences before we turned them on for the season we have to find a way to get them to touch it, get shocked, and be deterred. Turns out, much like dogs, deer love peanut butter. Kathy and Daniel spent some time this week attaching peanut butter coated foil to the electric fences so that the deer would get a nasty shock when they went in for a snack. It's a little sneaky and cruel but then, so is eating all of our hard work while we sleep.




Sweet Corn





Another method of deer deterrent that I have mentioned before is a product that we spray called Deer Off or Deer Stopper. It is made of "Putrescent Whole Egg Solids" (I can't make this stuff up). I spent about an hour spraying our Sweet Corn in Jeff Cook Field this Thursday.


Corn is a hungry plant that requires lots of Nitrogen. (Remember nitrogen fixation from last week?) Our sweet corn is putting on tops and forming ears so we side dressed it this week with some Chilean Nitrate and chicken manure. Yum. 

Sweet Corn Silk














Deer aren't the only mammals eating our crops. We have some serious bunny damage in our edamame in Gus' field. You can tell it's rabbits because the plants have been chewed off close to the ground at an angle and what's left looks like it was cut with a sharp tool (tooth). We are going to try sprinkling blood meal around the perimeter of the field to see if that discourages them.

Bugs

Harlequin Bugs sleep with the fishes

Harlequin Bugs are a big problem this year. We have them in every field it seems and they love greens, leaving them full of holes. These are the ones we pulled off our broccoli harvest this week 













Tiger Beetle

Of course, not all bugs are bad. I met the Tiger Beetle this week. We like him because he likes to eat other bugs that we don't like so much. He's a fierce predator and he moves Fast. I barely got a look at him, let alone a picture so I had to find this one online. Kinda pretty, isn't he?




Planting

Transplanted Cucumbers into Hoop House 4 where the Sunflowers once were. Transplanted more tomatoes into Hoop House 7. These will be some of our fall tomatoes. We spent a lot of time this week just trying to keep up with harvesting and weeding and need to get some more things planted next week, both in the fields and the green house.

Farm Life

Georgia Public Broadcasting crew

We spent a lot of time on camera this week for the Georgia Public Broadcast show Georgia Outdoors. It should air in September.









Sweat ring-It's getting hotter

Farm Fresh Marinara


With all the tomatoes coming up I couldn't resist making some spaghetti sauce this week. It's all from the farm: Garlic, Onions, Red and Yellow Tomatoes, Basil and Honey. This lasted most of the week and was Delicious. 
Can your dog come out to play?




 We have a new neighbor in the horse pasture. Two young cows showed up this week. We suspect they are our next door neighbor's 4-H project for the summer. 


Sunset over the pasture/backyard



?

Apart from being an illustration of my now red-neck, you can see a blister in this photo. I'm not sure where it came from. Possible explanations are; sun-blister, insect sting, or a tick. I'm hoping for one of the first two and no lyme disease. Blah.




Puddy Time





Tail all-a-blur

Our new neighbor was super excited to meet Puddy. So much so that he ran toward her and freaked her out so she decided to stay on her side of the fence. 


As a special treat here is a short clip of Puddy frolicking with the next door neighbor's dog who occasionally risks being yelled at to come over and play. 

video


























3 comments:

  1. Amazing week, Erica. You guys are doing life-changing work and our posts are inspiring. And i miss you.
    Ami

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Ami! I miss you too, and your hugs. You are more than welcome to come visit if you can make it up here any time before November. Thanks for the feedback! It's pretty rewarding.

    ReplyDelete

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