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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Week 20 August 19-24

What a wonderful week! It started off strong with Atlanta's own Crop Mob. This is a group of volunteers who swarm upon local farms to lend their labor and their love. We were visited by the Mob on Sunday. Around 40 volunteers made light work of a few large task. 

The rest of the week was so incredibly pleasant both and on and off the farm. It is still hot out but there are occasional breezes and a few mornings this week I wore a sweater in to work (not that it lasted long once I started moving). Fall is coming. Our Fall CSA also started this week. All in all the vibe on the farm was positive and hopeful. 

Then the weekend came and it got even better when I became a Godmother to this little beauty:
Eleanor, her Mom, and co Godmother/Amazing Dress Maker

This is why the blog is so late this week. Try looking at this beautiful baby and being upset about it, or anything.  This is also why this week's blog will be pretty brief. It's already Wednesday and I don't want to fall any further behind. 

Crop Mob
We don't normally work Sundays but when you have 40 people coming to help you out for free you'll meet them anytime they like. We actually had over 60 signed up but it rained Sunday morning early and must have scared some of them off. Too bad for them. The rain cleared but the clouds stayed and it was the most pleasant day we have had in months. The Mob worked for about 3 hours and then our Chef friend Thomas, from the Hyatt, made us all lunch. 

My crew weeded the sweet potatoes and planted blackberries in Main House Field

3 rows of blackberries almost done

Many hands make a happy farmer

We also laid some irrigation and fabric for row number 4

Lunch was delicious and well earned

Some of my farm hands for the day

Cory's crew harvested winter squash

Look familiar? It used to be full of tomatoes. Not anymore. Thanks Crop Mob!


Eggplant, Okra, Sweet Potato Greens, Arugula, Turnips, Green Beans, Okinawa Spinach, Peppers, Southern Peas.
Sweet Potato Greens? Yes! Recipe coming soon. 

Siamese Eggplant

Sweet Potato Plants
Bunch of Sweet Potato Greens


Production and Distribution

CSA is back for the fall! This was the first week filling and delivering CSA boxes for the fall season. This week's box contained: 
-1# Mixed Gala and Ginger Gold Apples (Beech Creek Farm)
-1 bunch Hakurei Turnips
-1# Green Beans
-1# Okra
-1# Asian Eggplant
-1 bunch Sweet Potato Greens
-1 bunch Arugula (Crystal Organic Farm)
-1 African Winter Squash (Similar to butternut)
-1 Mixed Herb Blend (Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, Lemon Verbena, Sage)
They surely do

It was my turn to deliver the boxes to Atlanta. All was well until I got stuck in the black hole of closed down roundabouts that was Emory. It took me twice as long to get to the last stop as it should have due to road closures with NO signs or detours. Then I couldn't leave because this truck was blocking all traffic coming into and trying to leave the roundabout. Ugh! I have to say, living in the country, I don't miss city driving. Not. One. Bit.

Saturday Cory went to market with Elizabeth. It was pretty slow. We don't have a ton of variety right now as we wait for the fall crops to start producing.


More fall planting and transplanting this week. 
Started Lettuce, Chicory, Cabbage and a few others in the Green House.
Transplanted Fennel, Leeks, Blackberries, and Raspberries. 
Direct seeded Beets, Choi and more. 

Transplanting Fennel into the hoop house
New starts in the Green House
Direct seeding in the field

Farm Life

A collection of Bugs and Flowers for you.
This little green spider was hanging out on my sleeve in the Okra
A fan of Sweet Potato Greens 

First things I saw Monday morning :)
There are hundreds of these in the lower fields now
What happens when you don't plant out the sunflowers in the greenhouse. Tiny Sunflowers. 

We worked really hard this week. There were lots of extra hours to make up for being 2 men down and yet we did it with a grace that comes from being happy where you are and seeing the fruits of your labor every day. Cory noticed and took us out to lunch on Friday.  

Mexican food at Las Flores, Conyers. Yum.

To my second pair of gloves this season:

Thank for your for many hours of protection from wooden handles, spiders, dirt, okra spines, caterpillar poop, horn worms, rotten tomatoes and other rough, squishy, smelly or generally gross things. Thank you also for the perfect time when you were worn down just enough that I could operate the touch screen on my I-Phone but you still kept out the elements. You were good to me and I appreciate it. 

Puddy Time

Puddy harvests turnips

Worn Out

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week 19 August 13-17


Not much to harvest this week. We are finishing up the summer crops and the fall crops are a bit behind. Timing is everything in this field (well, all 9 of them).

Okra (still going strong), Eggplant, Peppers, Cucumbers, Turnips, Tomatoes (not too many though), Tobacco (experimental), Peas, and Green Beans.

Here is a little sneak peak at October's harvest:

Orange Bulldog Pumpkins

Production and Distribution

We harvested more tobacco this week and hung it out to dry. Here is the what the leaves that we harvested 2 weeks ago look like now.

Okra is still coming in faster than we can get it out. Destiny Organics,  a local distributor, bought 10 cases from us early in the week and the rest went to market. We also put together an order for Farmer's Fresh


Hoop House one has been being solarized for the last month. It's best to let it cook for 6-8 weeks but impatience got the better of Cory and we took the plastic off. We laid out the beds, 50" beds with 20" walkways, and prepped the soil for planting. The goal was not to disturb the top layer too much because that is where all of the heat penetrated which means there could still be live weed seed below.

A line in the clay


This week we started Squash, Zicchini and Cucumbers in the greenhouse, direct seeded carrots and turnips in the hoop house and did whole lot of transplanting. All of the seeds we started for fall are ready to hit the fields. 
Strawberries transplanted

Direct seeded carrots
Hoop House 1 is full again with spinach, carrots and turnips

The white fabric is a row cover we are using to help keep the soil cool while these seeds germinate. The black lines on top are the irrigation drip tape.

Van full of transplants

Truck full of transplants

Thursday and Friday we spent several hours on the transplanter setting out all manner of Broccoli, Broccoli Raabe, Kale, Collars, Kohlrabi, and Choy.

Farm Life

It was a long week. We had two 12 hour days and two days over 12 hours. It's still hot but every once in a while you'll feel a breeze that reminds you fall is coming and gives you a little bit of strength to get through the rest of August. I made lunch Friday for the crew; cornbread, turnip greens with spinach and peppers, french style turnips with butter, sugar and white wine, cucumber salad and roasted eggplant. I'll post the cornbread recipe because it was delicious. 
This lil guy hangs out at the barn
Puddy Time

Puddy helps weed the endive

Puddy came to work with us one day this week too. 10 points if you can find her in one of the earlier pics from this entry. Post it in the comments if you do. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week 18 August 6-11


This week we continued to harvest an insane amount of Okra. In case you've forgotten, that means wearing something over your arms to protect you from the prickly, itchy leaves, gloves, and a hat to try and keep the leaves out of your face. Then you wade your way through because our rows are (in my opinion) too close together. Harvesting okra is a full-contact sport. 

This is what you see at eye level when you "go in"

Curly-Q Okra
The 80 some pounds of Okra we harvested on Thursday were still in bins in the truck when we got caught in a massive downpour. We got 4 inches of rain in one hour. To save the soggy okra we laid it out on table cloths in the barn and turned the fans on it for a few hours. Thank goodness that worked, I don't know how could have spared all that Okra! (jk)

Drying Rain Soaked Okra

The rest of our take this week included the usual peppers and eggplant, about 80 pounds of tomatoes from one row in a hoop house (the other 3 rows should be coming online soon), Hakurei Turnips, Okinawa Spinach, Lady Peas, Purple Hull Peas, McGahee Peas (a local heirloom variety protected by our very own Ricky), Arugula, the last of the melons (SO SAD!), the first of the African Squash, and Cucumbers. Things are slowing down in general, even the eggplant and peppers. 

Bountiful Colors

Production and Distribution

What do you do when you have more Okra than you can hope to sell? You can it. Tuesday we pickled Okra with Chef Andrew in the Burge Kitchen. For me that meant 6 hours stuffing Okra in pint jars Tetris style. Of the 220 pounds we brought in we were only able to pickle about 70 pounds in 6 hours. Gah!

You pack it raw and then add the pickling liquid which is part water, part Apple Cider Vinegar. I will be posting the recipe soon.

The Okra has to pickle for at least 3 weeks. I'll let you know how it turns out. For now I just know it looks real pretty.

We made one delivery this week to our local farm specialty grocery store, Noring Farms on Floyd

And I got to go to Market this Saturday.


Water, water, everywhere. Our pump house for Jeff Cook Field was trampled by the neighboring cows. It seems they weren't too fond of that pesky fence between them and the pump, so they knocked it over. Maybe there was already a leak and they were thirsty? There's no telling why they did it but it seemed intentional. The timing couldn't have been worse because we discovered this as we were setting up irrigation for the 2 fields we had Just planted. Unable to repair it quickly and unable to water the new seeds we prayed for rain. 

And we got it, the next day, 4 inches in one hour. Perhaps we should have been more specific in our request. We are not sure how much damage the rain did but chances are good it washed away some of the seeds we planted the day before.

Have you ever "borrowed" and extension cord from an important appliance and forgotten to put it back? Like say, a refrigerator full of duck eggs? Well, that happened some time last year and now this fridge is a bonafide bio hazard. I'm happy to say this happened before I arrived and that I will have nothing to do with cleaning it out. Cory says he'll be cleaning it out next week. If there is anything you need to tell Cory or scores you need to settle, you may want to do it before he opens this bad boy up.

Other maintenance tasks this week: sinking T-posts and trellising tomatoes in the hoop houses, weeded the hoop houses, turned under the last planting of melons for the year :(


If you've read this far you know we did some planting this week. We direct seeded brassicas, endive, beets and some other fall crops Monday morning for about 5 hours. Tuesday we went back to set up irrigation and discovered there was no water because the neighboring cows took out the pump house. We covered a few of the rows with cloth row cover and ran most of the drip tape while Daniel tried to fix the pump. He got it back together but the pressure was not good enough to actually irrigate anything. Perhaps the pressure switch is gone. We will have to get back to this next week. For better or worse we got a deluge of a rainstorm the next day. Whatever seeds it didn't wash away certainly got enough water (for now). 

A few months ago Cory purchases a few hundred Blackberry and Raspberry plants. Since then they have been living just outside the greenhouse where we water them when it doesn't rain and they filled out their gallon pots with healthy root balls. They are now ready to go in the ground. We spent a few hours laying out irrigation and landscaping fabric for their new forever home in Main House field. We then planted them assembly line style. One person cut a hole in the fabric at every water emitter, the next person dug the hole and the third person placed and tucked in each transplant. By Friday evening we got half of the blackberries in the ground. Hopefully we get to the rest next week. 

Daniel digs, Cory plants behind

Half way down the row

Farm Life

You can see his tail in the foreground

I saw a Beaver! This things was almost as big as Puddy. He was in the road on the way to the barn and ran off into the brush when I drove up. He waddled in about 10 feet then turned around, sat up on his hind legs and looked at me. 

I see you!

More Bugs. There were a ton of tobacco hornworms, where else but on the tobacco. And this cool spiny spider. 

We are also on some sort of flight path. A huge Skein of Geese flew over while we were working in pasture field one day. The pictures are okay but I wish you could have heard the racket they made. It was impressive. Interestingly,  a group of geese is referred to as a gaggle only when on the ground, a skein when in flight.

Friday fiesta was hosted by our resident Chef Andrew. He loves "gourmet southern" and made us an amazing mac n cheese featuring our eggplant. Eggplant in Mac N Cheese? Yes, please. With it we had a delicious arugula salad with our Hakurei Turnips (both fresh/raw and pickled in ginger from last year), and tempura Okra. It's like fried Okra, only fancier and it melts in your mouth. Bravo Chef!

Fancy Friday

Puddy Time

Friday was not too hot so Puddy came out to work with us after lunch. She was great help. 

Riding shotgun in the farm truck

Helping keep the spacing on the Blackberries

Selecting choice sunflowers for market

Add caption

Special Guest: This little Hot Dog is the mascot for the Hot Dog vendor at Market. I'm glad Puddy wasn't there, she might have been confused and tried to eat him.